Hemp Shampoo

Organic Hemp ShampooFor many years we’ve been accustomed to use soaps and shampoos that contain chemicals that damage our skin and damage the environment. These chemicals can be so dangerous sometimes, that most manufactures have to test their products on living animals before they release these products to the market. Countless bunnies have been blinded by soap manufacturers.

However, there are alternatives. Recent years have seen a surge in organic cosmetics. Usually, these soaps, toothpastes, and make-up, are made of herbs, vegetables, and fruits, without being mixed with additional chemicals or color additives.

I want to present a natural shampoo made in Canada from organic hemp. There’s no animal fat in the ingredients — in facts, it’s even suitable for vegans. The delicate smell of the shampoo bar comes from sweet oranges, and it’s both gentle and antiseptic.

This item, along with other hemp products, and even hemp clothes, can be found at Rawganique.

Have a good scrubbing!

Indian herbs may replace chemical food preservatives

Indian herbs, including Amaranthus paniculatus (cultiv.), Coccinia indica, and Coriandrum sativum (coriander) may soon be replacing chemical preservatives in many foods. The herbs have high quantities of antioxidants which are known to retard spoilage and “aging” in both foods and human beings as well. Most plants produce some antioxidants, but these herbs appear to have much higher levels and chemicals such as ascorbic acid, flavonoids, phenolics and tannin.

Tests have shown that the high levels of antioxidants in these herbs have a positive effect in people’s bodies and though not completely proven, can be utilized by people who are interested in a “natural” manner to preserve foods as well as to prevent aging.

CorianderOne of these herbs, known to Westerners as Coriander and to Asians and Middle Easterners as “Cusbara” is very commonly used in households as a food enhancer and a cooking herb. Although the plant’s pungent, almost bitter, taste is not agreeable with many westerners, people living in the Mediterranean regions love it and use the plant in their foods almost every day.

Synthetic antioxidants used in many foods include butylhydroxytoluene (BHY) and Butylhydroxyanisole (BHA), both of which are very common. By using the Indian ideas of utilizing less synthetic and more natural vitamins, the end result may enable foods to be preserved in a healthier manner by using these herbs. Oxidation is a big factor in what causes food products to spoil so quickly. The Amaranthus plant contains high levels of beta carotene, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and folates, all of which are excellent anti-oxidants.

The demand for natural antioxidants has resulted in a global market for natural antioxidants that now reaches nearly $ 70 million. Indian herbs have been known to have many curative properties, and high antioxidant levels are just some of the many attributes of Indian herbs. These herbs are found in both fresh and dried versions, and those wishing to preserve food items simply have to add certain amounts of these herbs to the foods. In addition to preserving food, many of these herbs, including Coriander and Amaranthus are used extensively in salads to add a unique, zesty flavor.

Source: Natural News; Picture by Gernot Katzer

Rosemary is a great brain food and memory enhancer

The herb Rosemary, or Rosmarinus officinalis in Latin, is often used to complement a number of food dishes. It is a native of Mediterranean regions, and was often mentioned and used in ancient Greek and Roman times as a memory enhancer and as a treatment for certain forms of limb paralysis, it is also mentioned by William Shakespeare in one of his most famous plays, Hamlet. Because of the shrubs’ water holding qualities, it can be easily grown in semi arid climates, and is commonly found in countries like Cyprus, Greece, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and Israel.

Rosemary is a perennial shrub that resembles pine or fir branches in both appearance and taste. It contains an ingredient known as Carnosic Acid which helps to protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals, and as a result helps to protect against strokes and neurodegeneration which can bring on conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Studies made in neuroscience journals show that the carnosic acid found in rosemary helps to protect brain cells from damage caused by free radicals.

RosemaryRosemary is also considered to be helpful in preventing breast cancer by blocking an overabundance of estrogen hormone, found to cause breast cancer. Women who have breast cancer are often given carnosic acid to help lower estrogen levels. Due to its strong, evergreen-like odor, rosemary can also be used to rid persons of head lice.

From a nutrient standpoint, rosemary is high in iron, calcium, and vitamin B6.

Consuming too much rosemary, however, can be detrimental, and large quantities should not be eaten by women who are breast feeding, or by those who may be allergic to it. As some people are also allergic to rosemary, it should never be consumed by those who may be allergic to it, as it can result in severe symptoms such as vomiting, spasms, coma, and even death.

Despite any potential health hazards, the benefits of rosemary make it a plant of many uses, especially in the kitchen, where its pine-like taste goes great with both meat and fish dishes, as well as vegetables such as sweet potatoes. It also adds a zest to breakfast omelets.

Picture by Wikimedia

Diabetes sufferers seek a “natural” relief

Insulin InjectorDiabetes, or diabetes mellitus, is a condition in which the body produces too much blood sugar and not enough of the hormone insulin which prevents blood sugars from going too high. Many diabetes sufferers must inject themselves daily with synthetic insulin to enable them to live a near-normal life. Recent research, however, is finding that diabetes can be controlled by a number of natural remedies, in addition to the standard remedies of insulin and special diets.

There are presently more than 20 million Americans suffering from either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and an estimated 6 million more who are not even aware that they may have the condition. The most common symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst and urine extraction, blurred vision and lethargy, and sudden and unexplained weight loss. If not treated properly, diabetes can lead to blindness and kidney failure, loss of limbs due to gangrene, and eventually death.

Although moderate exercise and sugarless diets are recommended to diabetes sufferers, especially those afflicted with what is known as Type 2 diabetes, or the one involving increased blood glucose levels accompanied with lack of natural insulin, the use of a number of natural remedies is now being found to cause improvement to diabetes sufferers. Some of these remedies include fenugreek seed; kelp reduces blood sugar levels; pycnogenol: a powerful antioxidant that is derived from a species of pine tree in France and other European countries. Pycnogenol has been shown to help repair the damage to the eye’s retina caused by too much blood sugar. Other herbal remedies include mulluca root: used to treat diabetes as well as other physical ailments such as high blood pressure and skin diseases; bitter melon: reduces blood sugar levels in a manner similar to insulin; alpha lipoic acid: reduces blood glucose levels by increasing insulin function, and a soup-like preparation from the leaves of the oleander plant which is also said to be good against some forms of cancer.

In addition to herbs such as the ones mentioned here, foods such as apples and almonds, and those containing Omega 3 fatty acids are also said to be beneficial.

It must be advised though to never rely on natural remedies alone without advice from a physician who is familiar with natural herbal remedies. Along with using these remedies, it is important to adhere to a strict diet that avoids fatty foods and foods high in sugar content. By augmenting these natural herbal remedies to a regime of exercise and strict diet, diabetes sufferers may be able to rely less on insulin injections in order to maintain a normal life.

Sources: Natural News, Wikipedia ; Picture by Islets of Hope

Herbs within your reach

Natural HerbsPhoto: Culinary Herb Guide

One of the true benefits of spring is the abundance of fresh herbs. While many herbs such as Basil, Oregano, Parsley and Thyme are available at your favorite grocer or whole foods store, many herbs can be found growing wild, or even in your neighborhood. There is simply nothing more lovely as a food taste enhancer than freshly picked herbs. Basil gives a special taste addition to a variety of foods, ranging from spaghetti and other pasta, to salads, meat dishes, and soups. Along with basil, oregano is a “must have” herb for Italian cookery; and fresh oregano is much more taste enhancing than the dried variety.

Herbs such as Rosemary and Sage are actually perennial plants which can often be found in the wild as well as in private and municipal gardens. Both of these zesty herbs go well will numerous dishes, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, chicken and fish. Chives and Mustard (either domestic or wild) are also common in the spring and add zest and flavor to numerous dishes. Though not actually an herb, Garlic (a cousin to the onion) is a must for cooking and is also grown in organic gardens to help keep insect pests away. Garlic Chives are chive-like perennial plants that resemble chives but also have a special garlic-like flavor. They are often grown in organic gardens for reasons similar to garlic.

Herbs which have a special use include varieties of Mint, Fennel, and Dill. Mint is common in many gardens and besides its use in teas and other beverages has many uses as a flavor enhancer for meat dishes, especially lamb. Fennel is both an herb and a succulent vegetable whose flowering tops are used for flavor enhancers for food and sweets, especially licorice. Fennel’s bulb-like stalks resemble celery and can be cooked into many delicious vegetable and meat dishes. Dill is a common pickling herb as well as a taste enhancer in breads such as rye bread.

People who live near wooded or marshy areas can find many of these herbs growing wild during the spring and summer months. By picking them wild and consuming them immediately, you gain the benefit of using truly organic herbs. The alternative to picking them wild is growing them in you own organic garden, which can even be on your apartment balcony if you are a city dweller. Plant and garden nurseries provide special trough-like planters for growing herbs as well as special soil and other needed materials. You can also buy fresh organic herbs at whole food centers and other similar establishments, including public markets.

Drinking the “Juices of Life”

With all the information available concerning natural health remedies, none are so beneficial as those involving drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juices to receive natural vitamins and minerals that are essential to good health. Many people may not be aware, however, that it’s not only drinking these juices, but the right combination of these natural elixirs that are even more important for maintaining good health. Taking this fact in mind, here are some of these natural juice “cocktails” that should be taken together in order to receive their full benefits:

Carrots, ginger, and apple: Most people are familiar with these; one being a yellow vegetable, one an herb, and one a fruit. By drinking a combination of 45% Carrot and 45% apple juice, with the addition of 5% ground fresh ginger, the result is a very refreshing drink that boosts our immune system and keeps us regular. Carrots are also said to be excellent for healthy eyesight and ginger has a number of medicinal uses, especially in preventing and treating certain forms of cancer. And as for apples, the old saying o f “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” alleges to the healthful benefits of this very versatile fruit.

Apples, cucumbers and celery are said to help fight cancer, reduce cholesterol levels in the body and for relieving upset stomachs and treating headaches. Cucumbers also contain an ingredient useful for treating skin conditions, and celery is rich in vegetable fiber which helps prevent colon problems, especially cancer.

A combination of carrots, apples, pears and mangos helps lower body heat (which rises during illness or when stressed) counteracts toxicity, lowers blood pressure, and reduces free radicals which cause oxidation and aging. Mangos are rich in flavenoids which are excellent anti-oxidants.

A combination of honeydew melons, red grapes, water melon and whole milk creates a drink that is high I vitamin C and B2 which not only helps stimulate cell growth and activity but strengthens to body’s natural immune system. Although the milk does contains some cholesterol, it is counterbalanced by the acidity and vitamin C in the fruit. Red grapes, which contains high amounts of flavenoids, help clean our cardiovascular system and slows down the effects of aging.

And a cocktail of fresh papayas, pineapples, and milk is rich in vitamin C and E, as well as in iron. This combination drink is said to aid our metabolic rates as well as improve skin complexions. Papayas in themselves are considered high in flavenoids and other antioxidants, as well as being a great aid in digestion.

From these fruit and vegetable combinations, we can see that it is possible to obtain many health benefits at relative low costs. It simply makes good sense to go the “natural way” for maintaining good health.

Eggplant: Nature’s Lesser Known Miracle Plant

Eggplant: Nature's Lesser Known Miracle Plant The humble eggplant, found in most green grocers and supermarket, is turning out to be more than just a tasty veggie on your dinner plate. While found to be rich in dietary fiber (8%) and containing ample amounts of potassium, vitamins B1, B6 and C, and protein, this very versatile plant with it large purple colored fruit has also been found to contain a substance that might actually save your life.

Recently research scientists connected with the Royal London Hospital, have found that an eggplant derived extract called BEC5, is amazing effective in treating forms of non-melanoma types of skin cancer, with some cases being cured in as little as three months. The Royal London researches carried out a study in which thousands of patients were given derivatives of the BEC5 extract, and many cases not only improved, but were actually cured. Furthermore, not only were many of these patient cured, but the squamous and basel cell types of cancer they had did not recur. In addition to being effective against skin cancers, the extract has also been found to be effective in treating other skin conditions, including those unsightly blotches known as “age spots”.

Since the studies have been carried out over a 20 year period, literally thousands of people have already benefited from being treated by something that comes from one of our most common vegetables. Eggplants are actually part of the nightshade vegetable family that includes both tomatoes and potatoes. The plant is eaten extensively in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, as well as in man European countries. In addition to the already mentioned nutrients, eggplants also contain powerful anti-oxidants called phytonutrients. The plant is very versatile, even though it has a somewhat bitter taste. By salting slices or cubes of eggplant for several hours, much of the bitter taste can be removed. Very young eggplant fruit is also less bitter, and many people like to pickle them in the same manner as they would cucumbers and other vegetables. Eggplant can be grilled, fried, baked, or boiled; and many delicious salads are also made from them, especially in Middle Eastern countries.

Because this vegetable is relatively low in price, the BEC5 extract is also not expensive as compared to medicines and anti-aging preparations that are supposed to perform the same functions. The extract can usually be in holistic medicine pharmacies and also in whole foods stores that also stock a big selection of natural herbal remedies and products.

Ring in Chinese New Year with Herbs and Remedies

Although the 2008 Chinese New Year is still several weeks away (February 7), it’s never too early to begin ‘celebrating’ the Year of the Rat by using medicinal remedies and treatments that have been proven effective for hundreds of years. The Chinese people rely on a myriad of natural herbal remedies to cure virtually all types of physical complaints and diseases ranging from allergies and skin conditions to problems associated with aging and sexual dysfunction.

Regarding remedies involving herbs and other natural plant products, some of the most common ones are those many people use on an almost everyday basis. These include cinnamon bark and powder, ginger root, ginseng (which is actually three different kinds of roots), garlic, and of course a number of medicinal teas. Ginseng roots in particular are used in wide variety of remedies ranging from capsules, teas, ointments, and other forms. The most common variety is what is known as panax ginseng radix or Oriental ginseng is very much in demand in Chinese medicine. It is a favorite among athletes and others needing remedies to increase physical endurance. Due to its being a natural product, it is accepted by international authorities monitoring athletic competitions. Oriental ginseng is also effective in nourishing the spleen (one of the body’s main supplier of blood cells), the lung, and in replenishing vital body fluids.

Another common Chinese herb, ginger root, called Gan Jiang in Chinese, is used to treat a number of conditions including nausea, motion and morning sickness, flatulence (bloated feeling connected with overeating and constipation), and for upper respiratory infections including coughs and bronchitis. It is especially effective for cancer patients who suffer from nausea when undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Ginger can be drank in medicinal teas, taken in capsule form, or simply eaten raw. Ginger is also an important spice and taste additive in Chinese and other types of foods.

Cinnamon is a common spice that is also widely used in Oriental medicine. Cinnamon bark and powder is used to warm the body and stimulate the kidneys as well as reproductive organs. It is widely drunk in teas and is easily prepared by simply boiling pieces of cinnamon bark in water.

Flowers are also widely used in Chinese medicine, with the chrysanthemum flower (the national flower of Japan) being widely used to cure sinus congestion and to aid digestion, especially after eating heavy, greasy foods. It is often made into a tea and is a refreshing drink on a hot summer day.

Virtually all kinds of plants and animal products, including fungus, bones and deer antlers, and marine plant and animal products are used in Chinese medicine. Due to their usage for more than 3,000 years, one can find a Chinese medicinal remedy for virtually any type illness.

India’s Wonderful Herbs

The Indian Subcontinent, aside from being one of the most populous regions of the world, also contains many of the most beneficial medicinal herbs known to man. From the country’s northern mountains to it’s lush southern regions, medicinal herbs have been grown and used by the country’s 1+ billion population for thousands of years. The herbs are both cultivated and found growing wild in virtually all regions, and are used to treat a wide variety of illnesses and complaints including arthritis, cancer, heart disease, intestinal complaints, skin conditions, sexual impotency, and even snake bites.

In this virtual “garden of earthly delights” the herbs are picked and processed into a variety of preparations, many of which are sold worldwide. The names of these herbs are as exotic as the country from which they come; and just a few of them are noted here:

Andrographis paniculata: an extremely bitter tasting herb usually found in southern and southeastern India. This herb is used extensively in treating various types of cancer, inflammatory conditions, and as a treatment for snakebites.

Ashwagandha: Also known as winter cherry, this herb is used to treat a variety of health problems including nervous and stress disorders, anemia, infertility, and is also used to coagulate milk.

Neem tree: A shrub-like tree found in a number of locations ranging from tropical to mountainous, the Neem’s leaves, roots, and berries are used to treat a number of skin disorders ranging from boils to leprosy. It is a very important element in natural or Ayurvedic medicine.

Shatavari plant: A climbing plant found mainly in northern India, the Shatavari is used to treat a number of respiratory ailments including bronchitis, as well as diarrhea, dysentery, and other gastric related problems.

Triphala plant: Also known as “three fruits” the tripahala plant is used extensively to treat conditions of the liver and gall bladder, and is also widely used as a laxative. Due to its cleansing properties, it is often referred to as “nature’s body cleanser”. Due to a high vitamin content it is often used as a food supplement.

Tulsi plant: The tulsi plant is a basil-like herb that has long been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Many refer to it as the “queen of herbs” and its value as a sexual enhancer was even mentioned in the Kama Sutra, the classical Indian work on sexual techniques. The tulsi is also used to treat lung congestion, skin diseases and malaria. It is also a popular spice and is added to a number of food dishes, including curries.

Tumeric plant: Turmeric plant is a popular food enhancer spice that has been used in India for centuries. It is also used to treat a wide range of stomach problems, including gastritis and ulcers. Its benefits in treating cancer is also being studied.

These are just a few of the many kinds of medicinal herbs and plants found on the Subcontinent. There are many more and these can be found in stores and websites specializing in holistic remedies and natural products.

Andrographis The Herb For All Seasons

Andrographis The Herb For All SeasonsPicture Thanks To ICS

The andrographis paniculata is an herb that has been used in Chinese and oriental medicine for centuries. Widely grown throughout many parts of Asia, the herb is used for treatment for a number of ailments including throat and other infections. Known for having a very bitter taste, the roots and leaves are often made into a tonic and was in use long before antibiotics came into being. In India, the plant is known as “Maha-tita” which means “king of bitters”. The plant is used often in Siddha and Ayurvedic medicine in India and is said to have antibiotic, anti-malarial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and is even used as an anti-venom for snake bites.

Due to its availability and low costs, the herb has been used extensively in local village medicine all over southern and eastern Asia. It is even said to have a positive curing effect for some forms of cancer, though this is still under study by scientists.
The plant has been found to have anti-cancer and immunomodulatory (immune system treatment) affects on the body and is therefore being studied as a possible cancer treatment.

There is even some hopeful indication that the plant is beneficial in treating HIV related viruses.

Found in a variety of locations and climate conditions and altitudes, the plant is usually dried and ground into a powder before being made into a tonic or elixir. It’s extremely bitter taste is its main drawback in regards to its use as a medicinal herb.

Additional benefits of the herb include protecting the liver when large doses of analgesics such as paracetamol are used. The herb is often known as a common drug called Kalmegh or “green chiretta”. It is also used to reduce to durations of viral ailments like colds. One of the best places for finding versions of this herbal remedy is through India medicinal remedy sources.