2-Herb Blend To Help You Lose Weight

In these stressful times when we need feel good experiences, it is very common for people to increase the amount of sugar and sugary-converted foods as they trigger the release of serotonin and beta-endorphins, soothing us and making us feel better, at least temporarily.

These include not just sugary treats but simple refined carbohydrates that are easily converted to glucose (sugar), like bread, white rice white pasta and others.

Unfortunately, and as you probably know, sugar overuse can lead to some serious health issues including obesity, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, type-2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, hormone irregularity, and depressed mood and anxiety.

In my practice as an herbalist, I often get asked what to do to help control sugar cravings while you take other steps to learn how to eat and have a better relationship with your foods.

I’ve mentioned one of the 2 herbs here before, the other one may be new to you. But both of them in combination are even more powerful to kill sugar cravings and assist in your weight loss journey.

Fenugreek Seeds 

These seeds taste a little sweet and are often used in Indian cuisine, both sweet and savory dishes.

It is an antioxidant herb used to manage metabolic disorders like diabetes or anemia, clear excessive mucus and reduce inflammation

Fenugreek can be used to control sugar cravings and even blood sugar effectively. A study published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, “fenugreek delayed the onset of diabetes in subjects with prediabetes and even helped to reduce fasting plasma glucose, postprandial fasting glucose, and LDL cholesterol.” It was also observed that the control ground had a “4.2 times higher chance of developing type-2 diabetes compared to subjects in the fenugreek group.”

Gymnema Sylvetre

The Hindi name for gymnema translates to “destroyer of sugar.”

The plant’s compound can reduce the absorption of sugar from the intestinal tract and boost insulin production, all of which could help lower blood sugar. In some animal studies, gymnema extract also causes subjects to eat less and eventually lose weight.

How To Use It

1 Tbsp each in 24 ounces of water

Bring to a slow boil and simmer for 5-7 mins.

Let it cool

Drink 4 ounces of this drink 4-6 times a day until you have drank 3, eight-ounce cups per day

Stress Relief Herbal Compress

The stress of the new world we’re living in can be is overwhelming and can cause a reduction in our immunity response. Adding to the risk, is the toll that stress take on our emotional & mental health and wellbeing.

You may have an extremely busy schedule, working longer and longer hours, are taking care of children, the elderly, the sick. Perhaps you are out of a job and struggling to make ends meet. Or you simply struggle to make a difference in the face of so much pain.

Today I want to share a very simple remedy you can do even if all you have to spare is 5 minutes of self-care each day. It is a stress relief compress that you can apply to your head (over your eyes and forehead), wrap your feet with it or even apply on your chest near your heart, feeling not only its warmth but its healing embrace as well.

All of these ingredients can be easily found in markets around the world and you can use a cheese cloth or small hand towel for the compress. Check it out:

1 lavender tea bag

1 lemon balm tea bag

1 valerian root tea bag

1 chamomile OR passionflower tea bag*

*If you can’t find all 4 of these, pick whatever 3 you can find from the above list. You can still have a truly wonderful blend

Instructions

  • Place all 4 tea bags in a deep ceramic or glass bowl and pour hot water (16 ounces will do)
  • Cover the bowl for 30 mins
  • Strain the herbs or bags out of the liquid
  • Dip a clean cloth or light hand towel in the warm infusion and then squeeze out excess liquid
  • Apply the compress over your eyes (you can use another cloth for your feet, even your chest area. Leave for 4-5 mins at a time.
  • When the compress cools, dip it into the warm infusion again, squeezing out the excess, and reapplying as often as needed*

*Please do not rewarm the water in the microwave. Use the stove 🙂

Fever Reducing Tea Blend

When trying to bring a fever down, herbal remedies can help cool the body down. The herbs can stimulate the circulatory system, help your body sweat, pushing pathogens out of your body through sweat and cooling you down in the process.

Here’s a simple blend using 4 herbs. Three of these herbs are very easy to find in markets across the country. The 4th one, yarrow, may be a bit harder to find (but never impossible).

Check out the video and the recipe and “how to” below.

2 tsp ginger root, grated

2 tsp dry basil

1 tsp of peppermint

1 tsp of dry yarrow leaves

*If you can’t find yarrow, take elder flower or dry catnip

Directions

  • In 2 cups of hot water (not boiling), add all herbs and steep for 30-45 mins
  • Strain and drink small amounts of about ¼ cup of this infusion every 30 mins
  • Must be used within a 24 hour period

Three Oils That Protect your Respiratory System

The US Surgeon General said in an interview last week: “… we would rather prevent disease than treat disease”.  The worldwide struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic has made this more evident than ever before.

You have been seeing my IG Lives and YouTube videos where I am sharing various ways to keep your body healthy, strong and have yet another line of defense against preventable diseases like the cold, the flu and the coronavirus.

Essential oils are another way in which we can keep our immune system strong and ready to fight pathogens. Here are 2 essential oils (to be used topically) and one oil-based infusion (to be used internally) that my family has been using for generations.

– EUCALYPTUS: This highly anti-oxidant oil can help you relieve cold symptoms, break down congestion in the chest, clear your nasal passage and promote relaxation, helping you sleep at night.

My mom used to put a few drops in our chests before bed when we were super congested. I still remember those moments fondly.

– THIEVES essential oil: a blend of oils

The blend includes herbs like cloves, cinnamon and rosemary and is believed to help boost the immune system. It has antimicrobial activity and can help you fight nasal and sinus congestion. It is also good at promoting respiratory health and energizing the mood.

My sister would put 3-4 drops on my little nephew’s hands right before dropping him off to school every morning. He rubbed his hands together and smell the oil before rubbing it on his temple and neck. That first year of use, he avoided the cold when most kids in his school got it at least once.

– OIL OF OREGANO: This is a natural antibiotic and antioxidant with antiviral properties. It contains various potentially healing compounds that can also help reduce pain and symptoms of the cold and flu.

I often use it at the first sign of symptoms, adding 3-4 drops of the oil blend (NOT the essential oils but the oil infused in a carrier oil) in a cup of tea, 3-4 times a day. You can also take it in small caps.

Immunity Boosting Herb-Infused Vinegar

This is an incredibly versatile herb infused vinegar, based on the original recipe made famous by the story of the 4 thieves who, legend has it, during the black plague stole from the dead and dying without getting sick themselves.

The herbs on this blend are all regularly used to help us strengthen our immunity, reduce inflammation and most are amazing at helping you improve digestion and absorption of nutrients.

This vinegar can we used topically, can be used in food or as a remedy. Check out the video here and the recipe / ingredients below the video.

Ingredients

16 oz organic apple cider vinegar
2 tsp of cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

2 teaspoons dried sage leaves
2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorn seed, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 bulb fresh raw garlic cloves, chopped

Directions

  • Fill a large jar with the herbs and then add the organic apple cider vinegar, making sure all herbs are fully covered in the liquid.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon and ensure the herbs are thoroughly saturated with the vinegar.
  • Seal the jar using plastic paper, then add the metal lid to prevent the vinegar from corroding the metal in the lid.
  • Let the mixture marinate for a minimum of 2 weeks (ideally 4 weeks) in a dark place, shaking the jar daily to ensure better extraction.
  • Once done, you can strain all the herbs and store in an amber or dark blue color glass jar and start using your vinegar in salads, in tea blends or topically.

Herbal Tonic for the Cold, Flu, Other Respiratory Illnesses

This powerful tonic can be used by people who are perfectly healthy and trying to stay healthy and those with the cold, the flu and other symptoms.

If you have a fever, aches and pains, and are concerned about getting sicker, this can help shorten your symptoms, reduce inflammation, rest easier and feel better a little sooner.

You can do this with just 5 ingredients:

2 inches of ginger root (boiled in 16 ounces of water)

1 cap full of raw apple cider vinegar

½ lemon juice (freshly cut)

1 dash of cayenne pepper

1 tsp of raw honey (avoid if you’re a vegan)

You can also add a couple of other ingredients, to create a one-two punch of protection:

20 drops of reishi tincture

10 drops of oil of oregano

Take this 12 ounce drink once a day as a protective tonic and 3-4 times a day if you’re fighting a cold, the flu or something else!

How to Make Hand Sanitizer at Home

In light of the continued spread and worldwide struggle with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the CDC’s directive to practice social distancing and other guidelines, many of you have asked if alternative practices like herbal medicine can help add an extra layer of protection to your health and immunity.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing with my community simple herbal and other home-made remedies to help you stay strong and supporter through this world-wide pandemic.

In this post, I’ll show you how to make WHO and CDC approved hand sanitizer at home with just 4 ingredients.

I tried it at home and showed you the process here.

Here is the mix/recipe:

4 ounces of isopropyl alcohol (91% or above)

1/2 tsp of glycerol or glycerin

1/2 tsp of hydrogen peroxide

1 ounce of water (boil the water, let it cool)

5 drops of tea tree oil

5 drops of lavender

*Add to a clean, empty bottle with a spray cap

Coronavirus: Can Herbal Medicine Help Protect You?

The coronavirus is wreaking havoc around the world, not just in the health of people but in our psyche and in the world economy as a whole. We don’t know as much as we’d like to about this virus and that is one of the reasons for the type of panic we’re seeing. If you don’t know an enemy, how do you fight it, right? In my practice as an herbalist, I’ve had a dozen people ask me if I could recommend botanicals that can protect them from getting the coronavirus. Check out my answer and my recommendations here:
Practical recommendations from the US Federal Government: coronavirus.gov In addition, please make sure to check for symptoms, like:
  1. fever
  2. dry cough
  3. shortness of breath – less common
In Herbal Medicine we take a 3-step approach: 1 – Prevention 2 – Lessening of symptoms 3 – Strengthening the immunity The Botanical/Herbal recommendations for prevent and protect your respiratory and immune systems include: Respiratory:
  1. garlic
  2. elderberry
  3. plantain leaf
  4. echinacea
  5. thyme
Immune System:
  1. reishi/chaga mushrooms
  2. oil of oregano
  3. tea tree
  4. ginger
  5. eucalyptus

How To Improve Memory with Herbal Blends

How’s your memory? Do you forget people’s names, can’t remember if you turned the stove off, forgot the wallet yet again!?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Memory decline can happen at any time in our lives, and for a variety of reasons. Your memory and brain work like the memory in your computer. Lots of information is taken in first, then connections are formed.

Your brain then creates specialized messages that are stored as memories in the appropriate “place,” so you can access them later. Stress, chemical changes, poor diet, lack of sleep, age all affect your ability access those “places” and remember things.

So, how to get those brain areas to work more efficiently so you can remember things better? Well, with my trusted herbal blends, of course! Here are 3 of my favorites:

REMEDY NO 1: GINSENG

-stimulates nervous system

-increases concentration

-reduces mental fatigue

INFUSION

1 tsp, 1 cup of water

1x / day

4 weeks

REMEDY NO 2: SALVIA

-antioxidant activity

-improves brain activity

-improves memory

INFUSION

2 tbsp, 1 cup of water

1-2x/day

daily

REMEDY NO #: GINGKO BILOBA

-improves blood flow

-blocks free radicals

-activates the brain

INFUSION

2 Tbsp, 1 cup of water

1-2x/day

Foods and Herbs To Help Manage Earaches

These alternative remedies can be administered alongside necessary antibiotics as additional synergistic treatment.

Try one of the following 3 remedies, ideally one at a time. Check out the video below and the instructions in writing below the video:

Click Here To Access The Video

Remedy No 1: ECHINACEA

-stimulate white blood cells

-has antibiotic effects

*How To Do It?

Add 2-3 drops of tincture into each ear 2-3 times per day

Remedy No 2: Onion

-antibacterial and antibiotic

-antifungal

-reduces swelling

*How To Do it?

Cut 1/3 of the onion and place it directly over the ear. Hold it in place with a cloth bandage for 15 mins. Add a hot pack over the onion to release the oils into the ear.

Remedy No 3: Tea Tree

-antifungal, antiviral

– can shorten the duration

-relieves pain

*How To Do It?

Mix 1 tsp of coconut oil and 1-2 drops of tea tree. Put it gently into the effected ear.

Change the cotton ball 2-3 times per day.

What have been your tried and true earache remedies? Let me know in the comments below the video.

Upset Tummy Be Gone | How To Soothe Your Tummy

We’ve all been there: a squeezy feeling in the pit of your stomach, and gas bubble that feels trapped and causing pain, a bloated stomach that makes you look 4 months pregnant (even the boys), the funny butterflies that are neither cute nor sexy.


What to do? If you’re feeling that combination of physical discomfort and emotional stress that manifests in discomfort, pain and distention on the belly, I got some herbal blends for you! Check out the video blog and the written list below the video!

Here are some of my favorite tummy soothers:

1. CHAMOMILE

-aromatic and carminative bitter

-loved by kids & elders alike

-great for occasional gas and bloating

-relieves nausea and occasional heartburn

2. GINGER

-warming carminative

-soothes upset stomach and nausea

-supports sluggish digestion

-rekindles digestive fire and reduces gas/bloating

3. PEPPERMINT

-cooling carminative

-smooth muscle of the digestive tract

-soothes the nerves & a nervous stomach

4. BURDOCK

-bitter stimulant

-maintains healthy gut flora

-keeps microbiome in balance

-stimulates digestive secretions

Dark Spot Corrector Trick

Struggling with dark spots on your face, shoulders, arms and back? This is a soothing and repairing remedy for people with dark spots due to hyperpigmentation caused by acne or small skin injuries.

This remedy also works great for those dark spots caused by shaving in the face, legs and bikini area.

Check out the video and written instructions below the video:

INGREDIENTS
Aloe Vera

Cinnamon powder

Lemon juice

Method:
1. In a bowl, add aloe Use fresh aloe for better results
2. Add in cinnamon and lemon juice and mix well.
3. Using a Q-tip, apply on acne scars and dark spots. Keep it overnight.

Note: Use nightly for a month
**Caution- DO NOT apply on inflamed, broken skin. Patch test before use.

Back Acne Herbal Blend

Struggling with back or body acne? Back acne is one of the most annoying skin conditions: most of us don’t notice until it’s become aggressive, it tends to be stubborn to treat, can leave long-term scars and make you feel less confident in your appearance.

Luckily, I’ve been using and recommending a remedy, so simple and accessible, you’re going to wonder why it isn’t more widely known. It just uses 3 ingredients that you can easily find your local markets and can be used as often as needed.

Check out the video below and of course the ingredients and process below the video:

INGREDIENTS

2 TBSP of green tea leaves

3 TBSP Epson salt

10 drops of tea tree oil

Method: Acne bath remedy – 
Mix together equal quantities of green tea and epsom salts, add in few drops of tea tree oil in it. Store it in a jar and use 2 tablespoons of this in your bath tub every time you soak. Wash your face too with it while you soak. 

Magnesium Foot Spray for Insomnia

Struggling with sleepless, achy nights? Maybe you wake up in the middle of the night with cramps? Or perhaps you just can’t wind down after an overwhelming day?

This super easy DIY Magnesium Spray is a perfect compliment to your evening routine. Including lavender and magnesium, fight muscle cramps, exhaustion, spasms, fatigue and insomnia with this super easy remedy. RECIPE BELOW!

INGREDIENTS

½ cup coconut oil

1 cap of magnesium

10 drops lavender oil

HOW TO:

In a jar, add magnesium and coconut oil. Stir.

Add in lavender oil and mix again. Pour the solution in a spray bottle.

Spray it on your feet before bedtime. Massage and wear socks.

Herbal Ideas for Hyperactive Children

Children around the world seem to be getting diagnosed more and more with hyperactivity and impulsivity. It’s estimated that 6.4 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD in the U.S. With that diagnosis, often comes medication, but is there perhaps a natural option you can try first?

Some of the symptoms of ADHD and anxiety can be also seen in perfectly healthy children. Issues like acting out, Difficulty focusing, aggression, withdrawn attitude or academic struggles can be attributed to changes in the environment, diet or even lifestyle changes (like changing schools or a divorce in the family).

While parents should always, always, always consult their pediatrician when these and other symptoms arise, they can also help manage these with lifestyle changes like exercise, better eating habits, sufficient sleep, or even less screen time.

In addition, there are also safe and effective natural options to help with hyperactivity. It’s important to note, before giving any herbs or supplements to your child, be sure to discuss potential risks and benefits with your child’s doctor.

Here are the herbal ideas to consider:

1. Magnesium

Magnesium is incredibly important to overall health. It regulates sleep and can improve overall mood, it’s no wonder many ADHD children are found to be deficient in this mineral. Low levels of magnesium can cause irritability, short attention spans, and confusion. A magnesium supplement or a magnesium rich diet can be helpful for hyperactive children.

2. Ginkgo Biloba

This herb is known for it’s memory boosting capabilities and improving the ability to focus. Ginkgo biloba can also lower anxiety and help with depression. Children with hyperactivity or ADHD might find taking gingko biloba helps clear “brain fog” and focus on projects or school work more easily.

3. Ginseng

Another herb you’ve probably heard of is ginseng. It increases memory, concentration, and alertness, all of which can help someone diagnosed with ADHD. Gingsenosides are the key active ingredient that make ginseng such a beneficial natural remedy.

4. Gotu Kola

Also know as penny wort, this herb helps with depression while improving memory. It’s also helpful for alleviating the restlessness that’s common in ADHD and hyperactive kids. Gotu Kola can help combat short attention spans, anxiety, and depression as well.

5. Chamomile

Another herbal remedy commonly taken in tea form is chamomile. It’s a natural relaxant and is a gentle option. It can also aid in better sleep if taken before bed.

6. Valerian Root

This can be used as an effective sedative or sleep aid, but is not habit forming. Children need upwards of ten hours of sleep each night, and adequate sleep is helpful in lessoning the symptoms of ADHD. Valerian root has been used to treat insomnia and genuinely leads to better quality sleep. You can find this root in a powder form or as a tea.

7. Catnip

Although catnip may cause you pet to behave widely, it’s another relaxant and sleep aid when it comes to hyperactivity. It’s safe for children and can lesson anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia. Steep catnip in a tea alone or combine it with chamomile and lime blossom for a relaxing blend.

8. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is both antiviral and antibacterial. Just like the herbs mentioned above, it can be used to calm nerves. This can help to lessen fidgeting and other symptoms of hyperactivity or impulsivity.

9. Avena (wild oats)

Oats have a number of uses, and treating hyperactivity is one of them. Hyperactivity is a form of stress, and avena sativa can help to reduce stress and anxiety, lessoning behavioral symptoms of AHDS or hyperactivity.

About Jovanka

Jovanka Ciares is a former entertainment executive turned Wellness expert, detox specialist, nutrition educator and author. She is the creator of the Wellness Smackdown™, a proprietary detox and weight loss program for natural weight loss which was featured on the first season of ABC’s “My Diet Is Better Than Yours”...

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