Herbal Teas that Relieve Bloating

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A reader recently made a request. She asked about herbal teas that relieve bloating. I’m happy to respond with a post that offers help.

Bloating is a condition in which the abdomen feels uncomfortably full. Triggers for bloating include:

  • intolerance to dairy, gluten, high protein or high fiber
  • build up of gas
  • intestinal bacteria out of balance
  • constipation
  • parasites

Up to 30% of the population experiences bloating, the majority as a result of food intolerance. If this discomfort is a problem for you, check out these herbal teas that relieve bloating.

Herbal Teas that Relieve Bloating

Peppermint

The use of this herb for healing the digestive system dates back to ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt. Peppermint relieves bloating, gas, constipation and other digestive disorders by relaxing the gut and calming intestinal spasms. It is especially helpful in treating irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.

Steep 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried peppermint in a cup of very hot water for 15 minutes.

Lemon Balm

A member of the mint family, lemon balm has a pleasant lemony scent and flavor. This herb possesses antiviral, antibacterial and sedative properties. It’s a digestive stimulant as well. As a tea it soothes indigestion, nausea and bloating. Many people suffer with sensitive stomachs and guts. Lemon balm soothes and calms the nerve receptors in the digestive tract and reduces inflammation so that the nerves become less sensitive. It is also anti-parasitic.

Add 2 – 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried lemon balm leaves to a cup of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes.

 

Herbal Teas that Relieve BloatingFresh lemon balm

Fennel

One of the most widely used herbs in the world, fennel seeds are used to treat many ailments, including stimulating the digestive system. The plant with the slight licorice scent and taste eases the discomfort of gas while stimulating bile for better digestion. And better digestion means less risk of bloating.

To make fennel tea, steep 1- 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes.

Chamomile

A member of the daisy family, this herb contains flavonoids and terpenoids that provide medicinal properties. Chamomile relaxes the digestive system, relieving the discomfort related to bloating. The herb also treats gassiness, indigestion and nausea, which commonly accompany bloating.

Use 2 teaspoons of fresh or dried chamomile flowers to make tea, steeping them for 15 minutes in a cup of boiling water.

Ginger

The healing power of ginger has been used for thousands of years to cure a host of digestives problems. The root of the plant contains bioactive compounds that ease bloating quickly. Ginger stimulates the digestive system, eases nausea and soothes acid reflux. It also fights against pathogens in the gut.

Peel a 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger and slice into slivers. Steep in a cup of boiling water for 5 – 10 minutes.

Herbal Teas that Relieve Bloating

Dandelion

Although considered a weed, this powerful little plant makes a great herbal tea that relieves bloating. Dandelion flowers stimulate the digestive system and have a cleansing effect on the intestines, eliminating bloating.

Gather a handful of fresh dandelion flowers, in an area free from chemicals, pollution and herbicides. Steep flowers in hot water for 15 minutes. Or cover flowers with water and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Strain out flowers and sip on dandelion water throughout the day.

Lavender

This very versatile herb originated in the Mediterranean. It’s been used medicinally for centuries. Drinking lavender tea eases digestive problems that cause bloating, including gas, an upset stomach, abdominal pain and swelling. Lavender also stimulates a sluggish appetite, which can accompany bloating.

Pour boiling water over 2 – 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried lavender flowers. Steep for 15 minutes.

Herbal Teas that Relieve Bloating

Additional Tips to Ease Bloating

Bloating is a symptom, indicating the digestive system is sluggish or reacting. Consider eliminating dairy, gluten, high protein and high fiber, one at a time, for a week. Notice whether bloating is relieved or improved.

I talk to people every day who want to feel better. However, they don’t want to give up their “favorite” foods, even though those foods are making them feel bad. Many people have a dairy or gluten intolerance and don’t realize it. Stop eating those foods, for a short time, to confirm whether that’s the case or not.

Eliminating those problem causing foods reduces gas build up and restores digestive health. Drinking herbal teas increases water consumption, which helps to ease constipation. Turmeric balances gut flora. And adding raw organic honey to herbal teas that relieve bloating adds an anti-parasitic property to the drink.

The herbal teas ease bloating, and improve health and wellbeing, while you discover the underlying cause. Be sure to check in with your primary care physician also.

Here’s to enjoying health, at every age!

Herbal Teas the Relieve Bloating

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Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

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A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed foraging for tea in my own yard. Spring announces itself with a flurry of early blooming flowers and plants. I learned last fall that many of these harbingers of spring are edible, making them suitable for tea.

Since that day, I’ve enjoyed delicately flavored lilac tea and earthy redbud tea. From the backyard I gathered dead nettle and henbit. It grounds and centers me to gather wild edibles and savor them as tea.

I had one last tea to try, before this first blooming season ended. Sweet violet tea offers many health benefits and the gift of beauty as well.

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Sweet Violets

This common flowering perennial, which is considered an herb, is among the earliest to appear after winter. The hardy plants favor the edge of woods and are not too shy to show up in lawns and gardens, uninvited. The herbs prefer shady areas. Look for them near house foundations, in areas of the yard and garden protected by other plants and on the north side of structures.

The flowers range in color from dark purple to lilac to pale yellow to white. The plant, which reaches a modest height of four to six inches, has dark green heart shaped leaves.

In the late Victorian era, the sweet scent of the violet proved popular in fragrances and perfumes. The French created violet syrup and the Americans used this concoction to make violet scones and violet marshmallows.

Culturally, Shakespeare mentioned this sweet flower in these now famous lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, with sweet musk roses and with eglantine.”

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Medicinally, sweet violets have been used for centuries, valued for their healing properties. The entire plant is edible and rich in vitamins A and C and full of bioflavonoids, alkaloids and anti-inflammatories.

Benefits include:

Anti-cancer properties that are effective against lung, skin, stomach and breast cancers.

Soothe respiratory ailments such as coughs, bronchitis, congestion, asthma and sinus infections.

Contains high amounts of rutin and salicylic acid which act similarly to aspirin. This makes the herb helpful for treating aches and pains, inflammation, flu symptoms, headaches and arthritis pain. Those same compounds help to prevent blood clots as well.

Eases nervousness, anxiety, stomachaches, indigestion, ulcers, insomnia, swollen glands, canker sores and gum disease.

Lowers blood pressure.

Added to baths, the flowers and leaves help treat psoriasis, eczema, rashes, sores and skin cancer.

Purifies the blood, strengthens the heart and detoxes and cleanses the entire body.

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Sweet Violet Tea

This herb is available online or at health conscious stores as dried tea, capsules, syrup, tinctures, extracts, creams and salves. Fresh flowers and leaves are suitable additions for salads, smoothies and fruit bowls.

However, in early spring it’s fun to gather sweet violet flowers and leaves and create freshly brewed tea.

I gathered a handful of delicate flowers and several small leaves from plants clustered in shady areas of my yard. When foraging, choose a patch of violets that are in a familiar area, where no chemicals or fertilizers have been used.

To brew sweet violet tea, cover 2 to 4 teaspoons of fresh or dried flowers and leaves with 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and allow tea to steep for 15 minutes. Strain and sweeten with organic honey if desired. Or for fun, leave the flowers and leaves in the tea.

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Enjoying Sweet Violet Tea

I sipped my first cup of sweet violet tea and savored the mild flavor. The brewed tea is a pretty shade of pale green, the perfect representation of spring’s arrival. My freshly prepared tea paired well with a bowl of apple slices, creating a simple afternoon tea.

I might get to enjoy a couple of cups of sweet violet tea before the flowers fade away.

It’s just the beginning of the growing season, however. Dandelions are popping up all over the yard. And while some see these cheerful plants as weeds or wishes, I see tea!

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Start a tea time tradition. Pick out your favorite teacups below.

 


 

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30 Foods That Fight Inflammation

Inflammation is a condition in which a part of the body becomes swollen, hot, painful or reddened, in reaction to an injury or infection. Continued inflammation can result in premature aging and diseases, including those referred to as autoimmune disorders. What I’ve discovered, through the teachings of Anthony William and by switching to a plant based diet, is that the underlying causes of inflammation, when not due to an injury, are pathogens such as viruses.

I healed from years of chronic pain and the shingles virus, which had attacked my sciatic nerves, by eating fruits, vegetables and herbs that not only soothed the inflammation but killed off the viruses. What I’ve continued to learn about my health is that when I do get a slight injury, my body reacts with an inflammatory response still.

I am grateful that I know how to deal with inflammation.

30 Foods That Fight Inflammation

Fighting Inflammation

Three times, in three years, I’ve injured myself slightly. And every time, it’s my left leg that suffers as an inflammatory response is triggered. This time I tangled with the front door, loaded down with bags of groceries, and lost my balance. As I fell, I threw myself forward toward a nearby chair, preferring to fall onto a cushioned seat, rather than onto the floor.

I’d love to see a slow-mo replay of that move! I successfully, albeit awkwardly, landed with a thump in the chair…and twisted my left knee in the process. This poor leg, that I call Darling with a mix of affection and exasperation, seems to be the weakest part of my body. The shingles virus affected it horribly, causing a great deal of pain over the years. After my graceless plop into the chair, I scanned my body, mentally, checking for injuries. Other than mild pain around the left knee, I seemed to be okay. However, within days I felt the tell-tale signs of inflammation in that leg. They included heat around the joint, muscle soreness and tightness, spasms, and pain. I began to limp.

I’m not a doctor or nurse, however, I do know my body well. And although I have healed from so much, this leg continues the recovery process. It reacts to stress by succumbing to inflammation. Thankfully, I can speed up the healing process by turning to foods that fight inflammation.

30 Foods That Fight Inflammation

Fruits that Fight Inflammation

First of all, when dealing with inflammation, whatever the cause, avoid wheat and dairy products. Both foods can aggravate and increase inflammation in the body.

Add these fruits, as many servings as possible during the day:

  • berries – all kinds
  • cherries
  • cranberries
  • grapes
  • kiwi
  • melons – all kinds
  • pomegranate

These can be eaten fresh or added to salads and combined in a variety of ways in smoothies. While oranges don’t make the list, for fighting inflammation, they are great for soothing body pains. I add them to smoothies and salads or eat them on their own.

Vegetables that Fight Inflammation

Add these veggies to eliminate inflammation:

  • asparagus
  • celery
  • cruciferous vegetables – all kinds
  • cucumbers
  • leafy greens
  • onions
  • potatoes
  • radishes

These foods can be eaten raw or cooked. My favorite anti-inflammatory meal includes steamed veggies, from the list above, with a fresh salad incorporating the rest of the list and pomegranate seeds tossed on top.

Herbs that Fight Inflammation

And finally, include these anti-inflammatory herbs and wild foods, in the form of fresh, tea, capsules or tinctures:

  • aloe vera
  • astralagus
  • burdock root
  • cat’s claw
  • chaga mushroom powder
  • chicory
  • cilantro
  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • garlic
  • hemp seeds
  • honey (raw, organic)
  • lemon balm
  • nettle leaf
  • turmeric

Many of these can be taken in capsule or tincture form, however it works well to create tea blends and sip on the hot drink throughout the day. Combine dried burdock root, lemon balm and nettle leaf in a single large cup, add very hot water, and steep for 15 minutes. Stir in a spoonful of raw organic honey to receive the healing benefits from four inflammation fighting foods. Cinnamon and cloves can be added to chicory for a savory hot drink. Turmeric and cinnamon, combined with dairy free almond or coconut milk, makes a soothing anti-inflammatory drink.

Detox smoothie, celery juice, anti-inflammatory smoothie, turmeric milk (made with almond milk)

Sample Anti-inflammatory Menu

When I realized inflammation had settled around my left knee, I focused on consuming foods from the lists above. Here’s what a day of meals looks like:

Breakfast – 12 ounces of celery juice, 32 ounce smoothie (frozen berries, mango and pineapple, bananas, kiwi, grapes, pomegranate seeds, fresh aloe vera gel, teaspoon each of chaga mushroom powder and hemp seeds)

Lunch – plain baked potato with cooked cauliflower, salad of leafy greens, cucumbers, radishes and pomegranate seeds

Dinner – steamed veggies (potatoes, white and sweet, and asparagus), salad of leafy greens, cucumbers, radishes and pomegranate seeds.

Snack – fruit salad, mixing all the fruits from the list together.

During the day, I drank plenty of water and cups of hot tea, combining dried herbs together and throwing in several cranberries. I took cat’s claw and turmeric in capsule form, increasing my usual dosage. Several times during the day I iced the knee, to ease pain and reduce heat in the muscles.

List in hand, I headed to the grocery store and purchased as many of the healing foods as possible. I noticed improvement within 6 hours of including anti-inflammatory foods in my diet. After a couple of days of eating these foods, primarily, I am well on my way to being back to normal.

And this is what I’ve learned, finally. Because even a slight injury seems to trigger an inflammatory response, especially in my left leg, I need to be including foods from this list regularly, rather than waiting until I feel inflammation. I do eat lots of potatoes, celery and cilantro, and berries go into my smoothies most mornings. However, I want to be more intentional, more consistent, about eating these healing foods.

I’d rather be proactive. And perhaps someday, a little bump or tumble won’t set Darling off!

30 Foods that Fight Inflammation

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Peppermint Tea Benefits

It’s seems fitting to close the year with a post about peppermint tea benefits. Although this distinctive herb flourishes in the summer months and it is available year round, many associate peppermint with the holidays. Think of gingerbread houses with peppermint candies adorning them. Or imagine steaming mugs of hot chocolate with a stick of peppermint as a stirrer.

For the more health conscious, avoiding sugar, peppermint leaves make a flavorful hot tea that pairs well with healthy treats. The herb does so much more than contribute flavor, however. It offers healing benefits as well.

Peppermint Tea Benefits

Peppermint Nutrition

Spearmint and peppermint are members of the mentha family. Peppermint has a higher level of menthol than spearmint, which has a sweeter flavor. The plant originated in Asia and the Mediterranean and has been used for thousands of years medicinally and in teas and cooking.

Nutritionally peppermint offers vitamins A, B and C, iron, manganese, calcium, folate, protein and fiber. It also contains small amounts of phosphorus, potassium, zinc and copper.

Mint is extremely easy to grow in gardens and containers. In fact, the plant is considered invasive. I grow peppermint and spearmint in my herb garden, off by itself where I can limit the spread of the plants.

Peppermint Tea Benefits

Peppermint Tea Benefits

Add peppermint into the diet for the following health benefits:

• Aids digestion. Improves hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach and soothes intestinal spasms. Peppermint calms and cleanses a spasmodic liver, reducing liver heat brought on by toxins. It also helps the liver rebuild its glucose and glycogen storage reserves. (From Liver Rescue by Anthony William)

• Soothes an upset stomach, easing nausea and indigestion, and calms the entire digestive system. Peppermint is especially beneficial for those experiencing irritable bowel syndrome, a condition that causes abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, bloating and cramps.

• The menthol in peppermint relieves congestion and eases the symptoms of colds and flus.

• Powerful anti-microbial properties freshen the breath and kills off bacteria in the mouth.

• Just inhaling the aroma of peppermint enhances brain function and memory and increases alertness.

• Balances hormone levels in women, easing a condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome.

Peppermint Tea Benefits

How to Make Peppermint Tea

Peppermint is available as an essential oil or a tincture. Dried peppermint leaves are available in bulk form for tea or it is easily found packaged in teabags. Use 2 – 3 teaspoons of dried peppermint leaves in a cup of hot water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Use teabags in hot water and steep for the same amount of time. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.

My favorite way to enjoy peppermint tea is to pick a few sprigs of the herb from my garden. After lightly rinsing the leaves I add them to very hot water, cover and steep for 15 minutes. Peppermint leaves can be combined with a variety of other fresh herbs for a hot drink that not only blends flavors but boosts health benefits.

Tonight I walked into the herb garden, with a flashlight. The garden sleeps in the cold, crisp air. In late fall I cut back the mint plants however, hope spurred me on this evening as I peered closely at the ground. I found them…tiny peppermint leaves pushing upward out of the rich soil.

Those tiny fresh leaves created one perfect cup of hot peppermint tea. I am savoring it.

Peppermint Tea Benefits

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Schisandra Berry

Have you heard of schisandra berry? I had not. I learned about this medicinal berry, used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, in Liver Rescue, by Anthony William. Anthony included schisandra berry in his most recent book because its powerful antioxidants protect the liver.

There are other amazing benefits as well.

Schisandra Berry

What is Schisandra Berry?

Schisandra…Schisandra chinensis…has been used for thousands of years along with other ancient herbs like ginseng, goji berry and reishi. In the 1960s it was recognized as an “adaptogen agent”, following the discovery that the berry helps fight adrenal fatigue, heart disease and the negative effects of stress.

Schisandra’s name comes from the fact that the berries have a unique taste. They contain five distinct flavors: bitter, sweet, sour, salty and hot. That’s why schisdanra is often called “the five-flavored berry.” In traditional Chinese medicine, the flavors are important for understanding the way schisandra works. It’s said that the five flavors represent five elements that work in multiple meridians within the body to restore health.

This complex herb is high in vitamins C and E, and a host of phytochemicals.

Schisandra Berry

Schisandra Berry

Health Benefits of Schisandra Berry

The powerful antioxidants in schisandra berry promotes health in the following ways.

• Increases the liver’s adaptogenic abilities and protects liver cells from excess adrenaline damage and toxin overload. Helps increase oxygen to the liver and reduces toxic liver heat.

• Fights free radical damage and lowers inflammation. Lowering inflammation reduces the risk for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It halts hardening of the arteries, balances blood sugar and brings the body into balance.

• Supports the adrenals, which helps the body deal with the effects of stress.

• Eases stomach disorders and ulcers. Helps to heal a fatty liver.

• Protects the skin from the damaging effects of wind, sun exposure, allergic reactions, dermatitis, environmental stress and toxin accumulation.

• Improves mental clarity and function. Protects against neurological and psychiatric disorders, including neurosis, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, alcoholism and Alzheimer’s.

Schisandra Berry

How to Use Schisandra Berry

Schisandra is available in a variety of forms. It can be purchased as a tincture, powder or capsule. Dried berries can be brewed to make a healing tea.

Add 2 – 3 teaspoons of dried schisandra berries to a cup of very hot water. Steep 15 – 30 minutes. Add other health boosters such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon or licorice root.

You can order schisandra berry products below.

Schisandra Berry

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Oregon Grape Root Benefits

Oregon grape root is a flowering perennial, related to the barberry plant. I learned about this herb in Liver Rescue, by Anthony William. Join me in discovering the healing benefits this plant offers, naturally.

Oregon Grape Root Benefits

Oregon Grape Root Info & Nutrition

Oregon grape is native to western North America and it is especially prevalent in the Pacific Northwest, as the name suggests. The herb is bushy, with shiny holly-like leaves. It is commonly found in mountainous regions and adapts more easily to its environment than the barberry herb does.

The plant reaches two to six feet in height and produces small blackish-blue berries that resemble tiny grapes. Oregon grape berries are edible but not palatable, possessing an intensely tart flavor. It’s the golden yellow root that’s used medicinally. The herb is often substituted for goldenseal, as the two have similar properties.

Like goldenseal, the Oregon grape plant contains the same powerful alkaloid, berberine, making it an herbal antibiotic.

Oregon Grape Root Benefits

Benefits of Oregon Grape Root

Include this supplemental herb in the diet to receive these healing benefits:

• Improves liver health by killing viruses and bacteria inside the liver and preventing them from invading the heart. Oregon grape root improves bile production and reduces pathogenic activity in the intestinal tract, which allows nutrients to be absorbed better.

• Heals skin irritations and conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.

• Strengthens bone marrow and assists chemotherapy and radiation patients in their recovery.

• Soothes the digestive tract. The bitterness of this herb has a positive effect on the digestive system. It soothes and sedates the smooth muscles lining the digestive tract. Because it stimulates the flow of bile as well, the herb’s properties loosen wastes in the intestines and help prevent a myriad of complications such as constipation, stomach cramps, diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, gallbladder disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

• Fights infections resistant to antibiotics, such as MRSA. Oregon grape root is effective in treating eye infections, skin wounds and urinary tract infections.

Oregon Grape Root Benefits

Using Oregon Grape Root

As a supplement Oregon grape root can be purchased dried to brew tea, and in tincture and capsule form. Use in the same way as goldenseal, for a couple of weeks at a time, with at least three weeks between use.

Order Oregon grape root supplements through the links below.

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Goldenseal Health Benefits

Although I’ve only recently discovered the healing properties of Goldenseal, this plant is one of the top selling medicinal herbs in the United States.

Native Americans used it for years as a treatment for skin disorders. Goldenseal is now appreciated for a variety of health boosting reasons.

Goldenseal Health Benefits

What is Goldenseal?

This perennial herb is a member of the Buttercup family. The sprawling plants grow low to the ground, preferring rich shady soil in the forests of North America. Goldenseal’s name comes from the yellow-gold scars that form on the base of a stem when it gets broken. The scars resemble a gold wax letter seal, hence the name.

The plants have fuzzy stems with five to seven jagged, lobed leaves. Its small white flowers turn into raspberry-like red berries. Goldenseal roots are bright yellow or brown, twisted, and have a sharp, bitter taste.

The underground stems and roots of the herbaceous plant are dried and used to make teas, tinctures and capsules. Goldenseal’s powerful healing benefits are due to the alkaloids berberine, canadine and hydrastine. These phytochemicals produce an astringent effect on mucous membranes, reduce disease-causing inflammation and have antiseptic properties.

Goldenseal Health Benefits

Goldenseal Benefits

Include this herb in the diet for these healing benefits:

• Liver health. Destroys pathogens, both bacterial and viral, in the liver. Goldenseal expels bacterial debris, viral byproducts, neurotoxins and other pathogenic wastes. It also benefits the nearby lymphatic system.

• Natural antibiotic and immune booster. When combined with echinacea, Goldenseal enhances immunity by increasing antigen-specific antibody production. This powerful duo is a natural bronchitis remedy and aids in the fight against allergies, cold and flu.

• Fights cancer. The berberine in Goldenseal has been found to induce cell cycle death in cancer cells in multiple studies. Berberine also shows promise in destroying tumor cells.

• Improves digestive health. The herb’s bitterness stimulates appetite, aids digestion and encourages bile secretion. The berberine in Goldenseal relieves bacterial diarrhea and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) symptoms.

It also helps to heal gastritis, peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, constipation and hemorrhoids. Goldenseal inhibits the growth of H. pylori, a type of bacteria that can cause gastritis, ulcers and stomach cancer.

• Heals mouth disorders. A tea can be made from the herb and used as a mouthwash to heal sore throats, gum irritation, and canker sores while reducing inflammation and bacteria in the mouth.

• Protects heart health. The berberine in Goldenseal helps to treat arrhythmias and congestive heart failure. It improves heart function and health in general by lowering bad cholesterol.

• Heals skin ailments. Thanks to its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, Goldenseal is effective against acne, eczema, dry skin and psoriasis. It can even help eliminate dandruff.

Goldenseal Health Benefits

How to Use Goldenseal

The herb is available dried for teas, in tincture form and as capsules. Look for Goldenseal products in health stores and health conscious grocery stores or purchase online. See links below.

To brew tea, add 1 – 2 teaspoons of dried Goldenseal to one cup of hot water. Cover cup and let tea steep for 15 minutes. Add raw honey to sweeten, if desired.

It is recommended that use of this herbal supplement not exceed three weeks at a time. Use for up to three weeks and then take a break of at least two weeks between uses.

Check out my new Amazon Storefront, for Goldenseal and other supplements and products. Or order Goldenseal by clicking links below.

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The Spice of a Healthy Life: Cinnamon

This familiar spice has been used for centuries, medicinally and in the kitchen. The scent of cinnamon evokes happy feelings of warmth and home. And, as it turns out, this feel good spice promotes health and wellness also.

The Spice of a Healthy Life Cinnamon

What is Cinnamon?

Cinnamon comes from a type of tree, and the unique smell, color and flavor of the spice is a result of the oils within the tree. The health benefits of cinnamon come from the bark of the tree. This bark contains several special compounds which are responsible for its many health-promoting properties, including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid and cinnamate.

The cinnamon tree is grown around the world with at least 250 species identified so far. However, there are two main types of cinnamon spice used today: Ceylon cinnamon, which is less common and sometimes labeled as true or real cinnamon, and Cassia cinnamon, which is more widely available and most often used.

The Spice of a Healthy Life Cinnamon

Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon supplies a wide variety of nutrients and it is especially rich in fiber, manganese, calcium, iron and vitamin K. It also contains trace amounts of vitamins A, B6, C and E, and minerals such as phosphorus, sodium, potassium and zinc.

Health benefits include:

• High in antioxidants, which reduces free radical damage and slows the aging process.

• Prevents oxidative stress and nitric oxide build up in the blood, lowering the risks for brain disorders, cancer and heart disease.

• Relieves inflammation, which helps lower the risk of cognitive decline and reduces pain, muscle soreness and age related stiffness.

• Reduces high cholesterol and triglyceride levels and high blood pressure to keep the heart healthy and strong and lower the risk for strokes. Cinnamon is a helpful blood coagulant and can stop excess bleeding by helping the body to form blood clots. It also increases circulation and improves tissue repair, which may be especially helpful for regenerating heart tissue in order to help fight heart attacks, heart disease and stroke.

• Lowers blood sugar levels and improves sensitivity to insulin, which helps transport sugar from the bloodstream to the tissues to keep blood sugar levels balanced.

• Aids against the development of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

• Protects against DNA damage, cell mutation and cancerous tumor growth, especially in the colon.

• Boosts the immune system and fights against infections and viruses.

• Protects against certain strains of bacteria that cause bad breath, tooth decay, cavities and mouth infections.

• The powerful antifungal properties in cinnamon can be effective in treating and preventing Candida overgrowth in the digestive tract.

• Its antibiotic and antimicrobial properties help protect the skin from irritation, rashes, allergic reactions and infection.

• Cinnamon’s multitude of beneficial compounds help fight common allergy symptoms by reducing inflammation and fighting histamine reactions.

The Spice of a Healthy Life Cinnamon

How to Use Cinnamon

There are many ways to include cinnamon in the diet. Dried powdered cinnamon can be added to many recipes and drinks or sprinkled onto organic oatmeal or freshly sliced fruit. Cinnamon sticks flavor drinks such as hot apple cider. The bark is an ingredient in many health boosting teas and cinnamon is available in essential oil form as well.

Cinnamon should not be overused, especially the cassia variety. Taken in moderation, however, this powerful spice brings health and wellness into our lives.

My favorite way to include cinnamon this time of year is in hot apple cider and warm turmeric tea, made with almond coconut milk. Fall is all about bringing warmth and coziness into our homes. Cinnamon is an incredible way to spice up life.

The Spice of a Healthy Life Cinnamon

Hibiscus Tea

I was reminded recently about the powerful health benefits of hibiscus. There are hundreds of species of this herbal flower however Hibiscus sabdariffa is most commonly used to make hibiscus tea. As I happened to have a container of dried hibiscus, I’ve enjoyed refreshing cups of hot tea this week and renewed my appreciation for this healing plant.

Hibiscus Tea

What is Hibiscus?

This herbaceous plant is a member of the flowering mallow family. Also known as a rose mallow, the hibiscus plant produces showy flowers in a range of colors and can be either an annual or a perennial, depending on location.

Several species are widely cultivated as ornamental plants. The tea made from hibiscus flowers is known by many names around the world and can be served hot or cold. The beverage is known for its deep red color, tart flavor, and high vitamin C content.

Hibiscus Tea

Health Benefits of Hibiscus Tea

There are many known healing benefits associated with hibiscus tea.

• Rich in powerful antioxidants, the tea helps to prevent damage and disease caused by the buildup of free radicals.

• Contains hibiscus protocatechuic acid which has anti-tumor properties. Research suggests that hibiscus slows down the growth of cancerous cells by inducing apoptosis, commonly known as programmed cell death.

• Boosts and supports the immune system by providing anti-inflammatory properties.

• Rejuvenates the liver and helps to treat liver disease.

• Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.

• Lowers the absorption of starch and glucose which may aid weight loss.

• Relieves cramps and menstrual pain. It helps to restore hormonal balance as well, which can reduce the symptoms of menstruation like mood swings, depression, and overeating.

• Satiates thirst and improves digestion.

• Calms the nervous system, and helps to reduce anxiety and depression by creating a relaxed sensation in the mind and body.

**Do not drink hibiscus tea while pregnant or if low pressure is a problem.

How to Prepare Hibiscus Tea

The tea is easy to prepare. Steep 2 – 3 teaspoons of dried hibiscus in very hot water for 15 minutes. The tea is a beautiful deep magenta color and has a tart taste similar to cranberry juice. Sweeten with raw organic honey if desired.

The tea can be chilled after brewing and served over ice for a thirst quenching cold drink as well. Add lemon or lime juice and a spoonful of honey. I appreciate sour and tart flavors more than sweet, so I don’t add honey to my tea. I love iced hibiscus tea with just fresh lemon juice added.

Dried hibiscus can be purchased at health food stores or health conscious grocery stores, or ordered by clicking the link below. Hibiscus tea bags are available as well.

I’ve just enjoyed a cup of hot hibiscus tea as I wrote about its health benefits!

Hibiscus Tea

Order dried hibiscus below.

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Calendula

This beautiful flowering plant has been used for centuries for ornamental, culinary and medicinal purposes. Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and one of the strongest antiviral herbs.

Calendula

What is Calendula?

This flowering annual originated in western Europe, southeastern Asia and the Mediterranean. It’s commonly found in home gardens throughout the world today and easily blooms and thrives wherever it’s planted. The orange-yellow petals of the flowers are used medicinally, both externally and internally.

These petals contain high levels of antioxidants in the form of carotenoids and flavonoids. Calendula contains both lutein and beta-carotene, which the body absorbs and converts into vitamin A. The flowers also contain fatty acids and they are rich in oxygenated oils.

Calendula

Health Benefits of Calendula

• Powerful anti-inflammatory properties make it a potent remedy for issues such diaper rash, dermatitis, ear infections, ulcers and sore throats.

• Prevents and relaxes muscle spasms and cramps.

• In studies done for slow-healing wounds it was found that using calendula-based gels and topical ointments helped speed up recovery rate and healing. Even more impressive, it increases blood flow and oxygen to wounds and infected areas, which helps the body grow new tissue.

• Contains antimicrobial and antiviral compounds, making calendula effective in fighting pathogens, candida and antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.

• Helps reduce gum inflammation and fights against gingivitis, cavities and plaque. Its astringent properties fight mouth bacteria and promote a healthy oral environment.

• Calendula improves skin firmness and hydration, creating a more youthful appearance.

• Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, calendula can help fight against cancer and irritation due to treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

Calendula

How to Use Calendula

The herb can be purchased in capsule, tincture, oil, lotion or ointment form. The petals can also be purchased dried, to brew tea.

This bright plant is extremely easy to grow. Sow seeds onto prepped ground in the garden or into containers. The herb will bloom all summer. Collect fresh flowers for use in salads or to brew a flavorful tea.

I add drops of calendula essential oil to the skin serum that I make, to improve skin texture and firmness. And calendula tea goes into my afternoon tea rotation during the summer months.

I appreciate this versatile herb. It is a staple of my apothecary garden, and my skin care.

Calendula

Order dried calendula below.

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