‘Natural’ and ‘Safe” Are Not Always The Same

The use of medicinal plants is increasingly widespread in society. They are used seemingly for anything: from weight loss, to sleep, to stress management.

In short, to feel better. But we must always ask ourselves the following question: Is natural always safe? Today’s video will try to answer this question.

Medicinal plants are an important therapeutic arsenal that nature offers us. They have been the first medicines of Humanity and have served as a model for the subsequent development of most industrial medicines.

They are generally safe and are widely used to treat mild ailments but, since they are products that have a clear pharmacological activity, it is essential to take into account that they do not interact with other drugs that we are taking or that they may be counterproductive for other diseases that we suffer.

People who take anticoagulant drugs, for example, have to be especially careful since they are using very complicated treatments that interact with a multitude of medicinal plants, such as green anise, common chamomile. People with high blood pressure may need to be careful about using licorice as it tends to raise it.

People with thyroid problems should also be especially careful, for example, with seaweed-based preparations, as they can provide an extra amount of iodine that can affect their pathology.

Pregnant and lactating women should also be especially careful not to take any medicinal plant without first consulting their doctor or pharmacist; this is the case of the use of aloe vera to treat constipation in pregnant women (it is a laxative of the so-called irritants that can cause contractions, so it should not be used).

These are just some examples, but the recommendation we give you is the convenience of always asking a healthcare professional about whether a certain product can be used together with the specific medication and diseases of each person.

So, the morale of the story is: do not try medicinal plants without researching them first and preferably only after going to your registered herbalist for advice and choose the most appropriate for you.

Homemade Spray To Relieve Muscle And Joint Pain

Aches and pains due to muscle or joint issues? This remedy blend is super fast and easy to make, can be made cold (no need to heat the oils) and the result seems good to me. It is effective, fast and very simple to do. Also, everyone who doesn’t like the feel of oily and sticky creams loves this spray too.

Check out the video here and the ingredients and written instructions below

Ingredients

2 ounces of 70% + alcohol pharmacy alcohol.

1 oz of menthol crystals.

1.5 oz of camphor crystals.

35 drops of turpentine essential oil

35 drops of wintergreen essential oil

5 drops chamomile essential oil

Process

  1. Weigh the menthol and camphor crystals using a scale.
  2. In a clean, dry, wide-mouth glass jar, add the rubbing alcohol and then the crystals.
  3. Shake well until the crystals have dissolved in the alcohol. The crystals should dissolve perfectly at room temperature.
  4. Now add the drops of essential oil, close and shake again. I
  5. Package in a dark glass container with spray, very clean and dry.
  6. Store it in the cupboard or bathroom cabinet, away from light, heat, and moisture. And away from children.

Ways of use and precautions

  • First and foremost, they cannot use it: pregnant women, during lactation, small children under 8 years old. We must be very careful with people who are asthmatic or sensitive to aromas.
  • We must be careful with the mucous membranes (eyes, nose and mouth) and we must not apply it to open wounds.
  • It is applied as a normal spray on the area where we feel pain, for example, a sore ankle, a sprain, a contracture, etc. The ideal is to apply it and cover it with a gauze or bandage and let it act. It can even be used before or after a massage, depending on what we see.
  • We can use it one to two times a day safely, for several days in a row.

Best Digestive Tea Blend After a Large Meal

Digestion is a complex process that involves many organs in our body. Correct digestion, among other things, is essential for the body to assimilate the necessary nutrients to carry out its vital functions.

Stress, a heavier than normal meal, ultra-processed foods, changes in routine, excess cold or heat … All these things can influence your digestion and when faced with the discomfort of poor digestion, plants may be your allies.

The ideal is to take it after a large meal, to facilitate the digestive process and reduce the effects of heavy digestion (bloating, gas, heartburn, general discomfort). To aid digestion after a heavy meal you can take a digestive infusion made with three very special herbs. Check the video and directions below:

Digestive Infusion

  • Mint 50%
  • Licorice 25%
  • Fennel Seeds 25%

Mix all the ingredients following the indicated proportions and add to a glass jar, mixing thoroughly. When ready, use a single level tablespoon of herbal tea for every 250 ml (8 oz) of hot water. Avoid scalding hot or boiling water.

During the warm season you can also have this infusion cold and enjoy it as a flavored drink to finish your meals and dinners.

5 Plants that Can Strengthen Your Immunity and How To Use Them

People often ask me how seasonal foods and medicinal plants can be an ally to increase their defenses. According to the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) the vitamins and other micronutrients contained in certain foods can contribute to the proper functioning of the immune system.

Other studies show that malnourished people are more exposed to infections and diseases due to the lack of nutrients.

Despite the fact that a person who follows a healthy life will hardly have a lack of vitamins or mineral salts, it is possible that, at times, their immune defenses may be more exposed to attacks by viruses and bacteria.

The change of seasons are usually key moments for our immune system. In addition, stress and bad habits like smoking poor sleep and excessive alcohol intake are other factors that can affect the functioning of your defenses and weaken our immune system.

That’s where some of the amazing botanicals I love the most come to play! These are plants that, when used in combination with a whole foods plant-based diet, exercising and resting correctly are amazing tools that could make a difference in your ability to stave off disease. Check them out here:

1. Echinacea. It is probably one of the most used plants in natural preparations against flu and colds. Echinacea root extracts have been shown to have immunomodulatory effects (stimulate or depress the immune system) in in vitro and in vivo experiments.

2. Thyme. It is rich in flavonoids and tannins, substances that help to strengthen the defenses, and essential oils with bactericidal properties. Using thyme in the kitchen is a very good idea not only to strengthen our defenses, but to improve digestion.

3. Rose Hip. It contains above all vitamin C and flavonoids, important antioxidants that strengthen our defenses and help prevent colds and flu.

4. Garlic. It is a great ally of health and should not be missing in our kitchens. It is renowned for its protective properties of the circulatory system and for being an antioxidant. In addition, garlic extracts have shown antiviral activity, among others.

5. Sea buckthorn. The fruit of this plant has traditionally been used as a topical healing and anti-inflammatory.

Teas In Bulk Versus Tea In Sachets + Which One Is Best?

Before I started researching medicinal plants and studying herbal medicine, I used to drink infusions in ready-made sachets. There are amazing brands and blends on the market, to meet all tastes and needs. However, over time I have moved to buying herbal blends in bulk and avoiding the use of tea bags and herbal teas. Why?

For several reasons:

Taste: The aroma and flavor of an infusion prepared with loose or fresh plants are usually better than that of infusions in a sachet.

Process: The preparation of an infusion for me is a ritual, I enjoy every detail, the aroma, the colors, the calm … Dedicating a few quality minutes each day to take care of ourselves either with an infusion, a little exercise or reading a book, it should be imperative. Do not you think?

Savings: Infusions in sachets tend to be more expensive compared to bulk plants.

Quality: The raw material contained in the bags and stored for a long time can lose its properties. The same happens with loose plants, but if they are acquired in a trustworthy place and stored correctly, they last longer and keep the active principles unchanged.

Safety:  Acquiring infusions in bulk in trusted establishments is synonymous with security. We can ask about the origin and date of production of the plant. The material used to produce the sachets often contains plastic and other toxic products. So it is appropriate to read the packaging or ask the manufacturer. If you want to know more about this point, I suggest you read this article on Living without plastic.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t amazing advantages of using tea in little bags.

First and foremost, in this form they are easier to take to the office or when you go on a trip. But also:

Blend Variety: The blends, or blends, are created to provide a tasty infusion. There are them with mixtures of very varied herbs and spices for all palates.

Easy to Get: They are found in any supermarket, herbalist, or health food store.

In short, if you want to enjoy a good infusion and let the process become part of your ritual, very pleasant and relaxing… AND if you dare to create your own mixes it will be even more entertaining to savor the final result in a cup.

If you don’t want to give up a good infusion when you travel or at work, infusions and tea bags are perfect in these situations. You just have to choose the ones that best suit your needs and tastes.

So tell me: do you prefer infusions and tea in bulk or in bags? I wait for you in the comments!

5 Aromatic Plants That are Also Medicinal

Do you know the difference between aromatic and medicinal plants? Do not worry, it is a fairly frequent question since, despite the different definitions of medicinal and aromatic plants, many times the same plant can fit into the two categories.

What is the difference between aromatic and medicinal plants?

Both medicinal and aromatic plants have been present in our culture since ancient times. First, let’s review the definition of aromatic and medicinal plants:

Aromatic plants, also known as aromatic herbs or fine herbs, are characterized by their perfume and flavor. Its green leaves are usually the edible and nutrient-rich part and for this reason they are used for cooking.

Medicinal plants are those that contain in one or more parts active compounds that are beneficial for the health of humans and animals. If you want to know more about this topic, you can read the post “Medicinal plants: history, types, uses”.

The difference between the two concepts is in the plant’s use. While the former are used above all for culinary use, so they are edible; the latter have healing properties, but not all of them can be ingested.

Here are some examples of aromatic plants with medicinal properties.

1. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

It is a very aromatic and common herb of Mediterranean cuisine that is also curative.

Its active principles promote digestion and stimulate the appetite.

2. Rosemary (Rosmarinus)

It is another herb very commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine.

Its essential oils and chemical compounds have a carminative (reduces gas) and hepatoprotective effect. Scientific studies are also investigating the antioxidant properties of this aromatic and medicinal plant.

3. Sage

A plant with a delicate and unique aroma, ideal for flavoring all kinds of dishes. It is also traditionally used for its antifungal and antibacterial properties to relieve and prevent inflammation of the oral cavity.

4. Thyme

It is a plant with a very intense and balsamic aroma. The European Medicines Agency validates the use of this plant for the relief of flu states and coughs based on the traditional use of this plant. Find out more about thyme here.

5. Mint

The fresh and intense aroma of this plant is unmistakable and that is why it is used in many sectors, from the pharmaceutical industry, to perfumery and food. The leaves of this aromatic herb are rich in essential oils and other compounds that alleviate disorders related to poor digestion.

Do you take advantage of the medicinal properties of any aromatic plant? Let me know in the comments below.

How To Get Rid of Intestinal Parasites… Naturally

There are home remedies that are prepared with botanicals like peppermint, rue and mugwort, which have anti-parasitic properties, and are very efficient in eliminating parasites and intestinal worms.

These can be used every 6 months or in small doses on a regular basis to keep the intestine clean, but can also be used after confirmation of the presence of pinworms as a way to complement the treatment indicated by the doctor. It is important to remember that in the case of pregnant women, nursing women or children, it is important to first consult a doctor before ingesting them.

Here are 5 home remedies with anti-parasitic actions traditionally used to manage intestinal parasites. They are:

1. Rue tea with papaya seeds

The home remedy with papaya and rue is optimal in the treatment of worms, since rue is a powerful anthelmintic.

Ingredients

1/2 tablespoon of papaya seeds;

1 tablespoon of dried rue leaves;

1 cup of water.

Preparation mode

Place the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Then it should be strained and drunk warm, during the day.

2. Turmeric tea

7 home remedies to kill parasites and intestinal worms

Another good home remedy to treat intestinal parasites is turmeric tea (curcuma longa), because this root has curcumin as an active principle, which according to some studies, inhibits the growth of some pathogens, including helminths and protozoa. In addition to this, turmeric is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Ingredients

12 ounces of water;

1 teaspoon of turmeric powder.

Preparation mode

Boil the water and add the teaspoon of turmeric, let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink up to 3 cups a day between meals.

3. Olive oil with garlic

7 home remedies to kill parasites and intestinal worms

Garlic is optimal for the elimination of intestinal worms and can be consumed raw, but it can also be consumed daily as a flavored oil, as it maintains its anthelmintic properties.

Ingredients

16 ounces of olive oil;

1 branch of rosemary;

3 cloves of peeled garlic.

Preparation mode

In a bottle of approximately 700 ml place the peeled and gently crushed garlic cloves and then add the oil and the rosemary branch. Close and store in a dry, moisture-free place for at least 10 days. Use this oil to cook food and to dress salads or soups.

See all the health benefits of garlic.

4. Mugwort tea

Mugwort is excellent for eliminating intestinal parasites due to its antiparasitic properties, its scientific name is mugwort vulgaris.

Ingredients

20 g of artemisia leaves;

32 ounces of boiling water.

Preparation mode

Add the leaves to the boiling water and let it rest for 5 minutes. Strain and drink when hot 3 times a day.

5. Anise tea

Anise tea also has anthelmintic action, being useful to complement the treatment against intestinal parasites.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of anise seeds;

1 cup of boiling water.

Preparation mode

Place the seeds in the boiling water and let it rest for 8 minutes. Strain and take after meals. Learn more about anise and its properties.

Three Ways to Combat Dandruff Naturally

Struggling with dandruff? Many of us do. Dandruff can be caused by a variety of reasons: from poor hygiene and low-quality hair products, to fungal infections, eczema, psoriasis or other serious health conditions.

Depending on the reasons for your struggles with dandruff, you should get your scalp checked by a dermatologist to rule out any serious problems.

The 3 herbal blends mentioned below will work for most people as they are to be used topically only and can be used in combination with medicated shampoo.  

Coconut with Lemon: 

Lemon is a key ingredient in most of the hair care remedies.

Mix the juice of a full lemon

4 Tbsp of warm coconut oil (do not microwave)

Apply on the scalp

Massage and cover your head with a plastic bag

Leave it for 30 mins

Shampoo and set as normal

Aloe Vera:
Ideally you want to find fresh aloe from the thick plant leaves but if that’s not available, you can buy a high-quality extract in your local health food store.

Use 5-6 Tbsps of gel extract and apply in your scalp only late at night

Let it dry out a little before going to bed, leaving it overnight

Shampoo and set as normal in the morning.

Camphor Oil with Coconut oil: 

This remedy is skin friendly and coconut has anti-fungal properties so it gives you a one-two punch approach to help your scalp heal.

Mix 1 Tbsp of camphor or a single camphor tablet (if they come in hard tablets, warm them up first until it melts)

Add 4-5 Tbsp of coconut oil

Keep in a small bottle and apply nightly to the scalp

5 of the Most Powerful Medicinal Plants Backed by Science

Chances are, you have heard of these herbs and how powerful they are. You have heard me talk about them many times or your family or ancestors may have used them before.

While we have lots of anecdotal evidence related to many herbal remedies, these 5 in particular have properties backed by science and I wanted to share what modern science has found about them here with you.

These herbs really work and now we have all the persistent stories backed clinically:

MILK THISTLE

Famous as the national flower of Scotland, this lovely looking plant has now spread around the world. We now know that milk thistle:

– protects cells from damage

– helps treat liver and stomach ailments like spasms

– has a relaxation effect on the gastrointestinal muscles

– helps boost digestion

NETTLES

Nettles is famous for its stinginess when the plant is fresh but it has also been used for centuries in herbal remedies. Nettles is a natural diuretic, that:

– aids in gastric health

– can help lower blood pressure

– helps break down stones in the kidney and gallbladder

– can reduce inflammation

GINGKO

Gingko is one of the oldest trees on the planet as well as one of the oldest alternative medicine plants out there. It can be used in many ways but science shows us that gingko:

– can boost brain health

– can treat mild to moderate dementia

– can slow cognition decline and Alzheimer’s

– can help diabetes

TURMERIC

Today turmeric is one of the most popular medicinal herbs in the West, but it has been used for thousands of years in place like India. We know that turmeric can:

– help reduce inflammation

– help reduce pain and discomfort form arthritis

– current studies are conducted to determine its anti-cancer properties

TEA TREE OIL

This is a plant that’s native to Australia. Long been thought to be beneficial for skin conditions, including mild acne, small wounds, insect bites, and other conditions. Research also shows that tea tree oil is:

– a powerful antimicrobials extract that can help heal wounds and skin infections

– can help slow the development of acne-causing microbes

– has antiseptic and antifungal properties

How Does THIS Help You Lose Weight

We all know that carrying excess weight has health consequences, including increased risk of diabetes, coronary heart disease, and even depression, also, lower self-esteem, aches and pains, etc.

For patients who need an extra edge in their weight loss efforts, adding on a specialized weight loss supplement might be the answer.

Historically, supplements that claim to aid weight loss have overwhelmingly been ineffective or unsafe—and sometimes both.

Exploring How Berberine Enhances Weight Loss

Berberine is an isolate derived from many common plants, including the barberry shrub (Berberis vulgaris) after which the chemical takes its name.

Historically, berberine has been used as a pigment and as a curative in Chinese traditional medicine.

More recently, however, scientific interest into berberine has revealed a handful of potential clinical applications, including weight loss.

Berberine’s primary appeal as a weight loss supplement stems from its ability to make production of cellular energy less efficient.

When cells can produce their cellular energy in a highly efficient way, a higher percentage of nutrients are turned into energy.

How Effective is Berberine for Weight Loss?

In 2012, for example, one study showed that obese human patients lost an average of 5 lbs over the 12-week course of treatment.

In another study, those who took berberine lost an average of 7 lbs more than the patients who consumed a placebo.

How To Use It

While berberine is known to be well-tolerated, patients should still exercise caution when using it for weight loss, particularly if they have liver issues.

Currently, data suggests that berberine is completely safe to use for up to 12 weeks.

No more than 1500 per day or 500 mg 3TID

Salsa Verde (Chimichurri Sauce) Recipe

Today I have the 2nd video recipe with guest Executive Chef Verite Mazzola, who is teaching us how to make a super easy and extra yummy salsa verde (a take on the famous chimichurri sauce.

A few weeks ago we made a fantastic black garlic sauce that you can find here: https://youtu.be/NEDGroK9510

And for the book we reference, check it out here: http://ebookbundle.jovankaciares.com/

Here’s the recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

2 Tbsp dried oregano

1/2 bunch of fresh parsley

1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro

1 Serrano pepper (less if you don’t like spice)

3 garlic cloves

1 full lemon zest

1 cup of oil

1/4 cup of vinegar

salt & pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

In a blender or small food processor, blend until smooth. Safe in a glass jar and place in the fridge until it’s time to use. Spread over your veggies, rice or quinoa right before consuming and enjoy!

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

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. 

Improve Menstrual Cramps

Each month, the lining of a woman’s uterus produces chemicals called prostaglandins, which help the muscles of the uterus to contract and expel tissue and fluids during menstruation.

If the levels of prostaglandins rise a lot, they cause strong contractions of the uterine muscle which are called pains, menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea.

In addition to menstrual cramps, other discomforts may occur such as:

– Pain that radiates to the lower part of the spine and to the thighs.

– Headache

– Vomiting

– Cramps

– Fatigue, etc.

Herbs and blends to fight pain or menstrual cramps

Remedy for menstrual colic #1: Boil, for 10 minutes, 1 tablespoon of calendula and another one of lemon balm in 1/2 liter of water. After that time, remove from heat, cover and let cool. Take this infusion throughout the day.

Remedy for menstrual colic #2: Pour 2 tablespoons of cinnamon in a cup of water that is boiling. Cover and let stand. Take 3 cups of this infusion daily. It is important that this infusion is very hot (but not burned) for ingestion.

Remedy for menstrual colic #3: Pour 1 tablespoon of licorice and another of chamomile in a cup of water that is boiling. Cover and let stand. Take, still hot (but not burning) to feel the first manifestations of pain.

Remedy for menstrual colic #4; Take a mineral bath. To do this, add 1 cup of sea salt and another of sodium bicarbonate to the bath water. Immerse for 20 minutes. This bath helps to relax the muscles and relieve abdominal pain.

Remedy for menstrual colic #5: Crampbark and red raspberry blend. This is my favorite. I take them in tincture or tea.

Endometriosis Pain Management

Struggling with endometriosis pain? There’s much you can do. First of, check out the video below for details, then check out the notes below the video.

Here are the foods that you should avoid or favor:

Foods to avoid

  • dairy
  • processed foods high in refined sugars
  • caffeine
  • alcohol

Foods to increase include:

  • green leafy vegetables
  • broccoli
  • celery
  • blueberries
  • ginger
  • chia seeds

Regarding the herbs and natural remedies to try, check these out:

  1. Castor oil

Castor oil has been used for hundreds of years to treat endometriosis. It can be used at the very beginning, when cramping is first felt, to help the body get rid of excess tissues. It’s important that this technique is only used before the menstrual flow, and not during.

Castor oil should be massaged directly into the abdomen. You can also mix it with a few drops of a relaxing essential oil like lavender to help relax the pelvic muscles, and apply it to a warm compress to place on the abdomen.

  1. Turmeric /ginger

Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial to people experiencing endometriosis symptoms. It can also be used to manage endometriosis in the long term. Some research has even found that it has the ability to inhibit endometrial growth.

You can take turmeric capsules, or make turmeric tea by boiling one cup of water and adding a teaspoon of both turmeric and ginger powder. You can also add honey and lemon. Drink this three times daily while experiencing symptoms, and at least once daily when you’re using it for maintenance.

Ginger tea

Some people with endometriosis experience nausea as a result of the condition. Ginger tea is one of the best home remedies for treating nausea, and research has consistently shown that it’s both safe and effective.

You can purchase ginger tea packets at many supermarkets and grocery stores. Just add them to a cup of boiling water and drink two to three times daily when experiencing nausea.

  1. Pelvic massages with Motherwort oil

Massaging the pelvic muscles can help relax them and reduce inflammation, reducing cramping. Using a few drops of high-quality lavender essential oil can help further relax the muscles. Gently massage the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

Pelvic massages should only be used before the menstrual cycle; it may aggravate symptoms if you use it as a treatment during your period.

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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