Health & Organic Tea

Organic TeaMore and more people are discovering the benefits of drinking various types of organic tea. Whether it be green tea, Chinese medicinal teas, herbal teas, or specially blended “weight loss” tea, those seeking the maximum “cleansing” benefit of these special kinds of tea are choosing the “organic way” to insure receiving the utmost health benefits without danger of pesticides and other chemicals that may possibly be found on regular, commercially grown and processed tea.

Green tea, for example, is derived from the plant species known as camellia sinensis , which also is made into a number of other teas, including black, oolong, pu-reh or medicinal tea, and white tea. The final type depends on when the tea is picked and processed afterwards. Green tea is known to many for its high levels of anti-oxidants, as well at it’s successes in preventing and treating various forms of heart disease and cancers. Many green tea drinkers in oriental countries consume as many as eight cups of tea per day; the result being a mush lower incidence of prostate and other cancers than by people living in western countries. The high anti-oxidant levels found in green, together with a diet consisting of more fish and vegetables and less meat a dairy fats account for this trend for less cancers and heart disease among Orientals.

Pu-erh tea is also derived from the same plant as green tea, but is processed differently to give a different taste. Being a darker tea, it is claimed by many to be al alternative to drinking coffee, yet maintains many of the same benefits of green tea. Pu-erh tea has much less caffeine than coffee; and is often aged in caves to give it a strong, natural flavor. It is recommended to drink at least one glass of pu-erh tea with every meal, especially the main meal.

Oo-long or wu-long tea undergoes a special fermentation process to give is a special light, sweet taste resembling flowers. Oo-long is often served in fine Chinese restaurants as a desert tea to cleanse to palate following a meat of fish meal. Organic brands of Oo-long tea are supposed to be free of any chemicals that might be used in the fermentation process. This tea is often recommended as an aid to digestion, and many drink at lest four cups of tea daily.

Other types of tea derived from the camellia sinensis tea plant include Baozhong tea, a cross between green and Oo-long tea, and white or yellow teas. Baozhong tea is reputed to undergo less oxidation in processing and is said to contain the same beneficial anti-oxydents as green tea with the medicinal qualities of Oo-long tea. White tea is actually derived from a sub-species of the camellia sinensis plant and is dried and steamed immediately after picking. It is known to be high in anti-oxidents. As it comes from only one province of China, it is not as well known as other types of tea.

As with all types of organic food and beverage products, true organic teas must bear the proper organic label. Those sold in the U.S.A. and are at least 95% organic must be labeled UDSA Organic; and those which are 100% organic must state this fact accordingly. The most beneficial value of all of these teas results from drinking several cups or glasses per day, combined with a diet high in whole grains, vegetables and fish. Watchdog for the Health Products Industry

Consumer Lab logo
Ever wonder who is largely responsible for make sure those vitamins and dietary supplements you take are safe and effective? In the multi billion dollar health products industry, one testing laboratory stands out as a leader in the health and nutrition products testing field. Known as, this independent testing laboratory tests and certifies a multitude of fitness and wellness products; many of which a large number of people take on a daily basis.

As an independent certification company,, usually known by their ‘CL’ initials, is used annually by a large number of dietary and healthcare products company to have their products tested and clinically certified before being marketed to the general public. In fact, this laboratory has tested and certified more than 1,800 products, representing mores than 350 brands, in the past seven years alone.

Just a few of the many kinds of products being evaluated by CL include: vitamins, health and nutrition products, herbal preparations, sports energy products, food and beverage products, and personal care products. One of the most common types of evaluations carried by CL are product reviews, in which samples of various submitted products are evaluated and compared to other similar products for quality and content reliability. In order to not be seen as patronizing any particular manufacturing company, CL purchases many product samples for several companies, and evaluates them independently before placing it’s coveted “CL” seal of approval on the tested product. Products tested, not only include well known ‘popular brands’ but smaller, less known brands as well, including what are known as “house brands”. CL selects a number of independent laboratories to conduct “blind testing” on products to which the actual manufacturer is not disclosed. The results of these independent tests are then evaluated in order to complete the certification process.

Upon completion of these testing reviews, people who are subscribers to CL’s services can obtain the final reviews for a number of products, enabling them to choose the products they want to purchase more prudently. If a product fails the CL testing, the manufacturer can resubmit it again at a later date for re-evaluation.

As CL’s testing and evaluations is strictly voluntary, it encourages manufactures to pay closer attention to the quality standards to go into the product’s manufacture. This is due largely to the positive reputation that CL’s testing and evaluation findings are in respect to more positive feedback on the part of the purchasing consumer. The CL certification label is vary important for manufacturers of sports energy supplement products due to the problem of various banned substances, including steroids, that could ruin an athlete’s credibility in an athletic competition.

Tested brands that pass CL’s stringent reviews and voluntary testing programs are later posted on their website, together with the CL “stamp of approval”. In today’s tough and competitive consumer market, having the CL approval label is a added boost to marketing a dietary, or fitness product to an already wary consumer public.

Couch Potato or Fitness Program – the difference can add years to your life!

Couch PotatoOur modern society, especially in the United States and the U.K., often encourages people to become lazy and less likely to take care of their bodies. Improper diets of high levels of carbohydrates, sugars, and fats (particularly saturated fats) not only results and increased weigh gain, but can even shorten our very lives by as much as 10 or more years. The term “couch potato”, referring to people who spend their leisure time sitting in front of the T.V. and consuming quantities of snack foods, is an all too common phenomenon in today’s modern society. As a result, many children and adults have not only become grossly overweight, but are even obese; not only making their lives miserable but shortening them as well.

A number of things can be done to help alleviate this problem, without resorting to fad dieting, and spending large sums of money on weight loss dietary supplement products; which in the end may not only be ineffective, but health damaging as well. People can not only lose weight but tone up their bodies by making adjustments in their daily diets by consuming more green vegetables, fresh fruits, and whole grains, as well as becoming involved in a daily program of moderate exercise. Moderate exercise can be in various forms, including swimming (if available) fast walking in their neighborhood for at least half an hour per day (or in a shopping mall, if more convenient), and exercises at home.

While not everybody has a gym or health club available to them, especially due to logistical factors as well as sheer costs of belonging to one, everyone has the ability to walk or jog as well as do exercises at home, including push and sit ups, knee bends, and other floor exercises that can be done with a simple pad or small mattress laid out in one’s living room.

Another thing that can be done is simply to east less. Scientific studies have found that people who consume approximately 20% fewer calories per day, based on a normal diet, can add 5 or more years to their life. Many people eat more food than they should at a meal simply because the food is there, and not because they are actually hungry! It is amazing that by simply stopping to eat after a certain quantity is consumed will result in a person not feeling hungry after a few moments. By skipping that extra helping of potatoes, bread, and especially a heavy desert (eat something light instead like sherbet instead of ice cream, etc.) one can actually gain less weight, as well as feel better.

So instead to spending your weekends consuming pizza and other junk food while watching a ball game on your 40 ” LCD screen, go out and exercise a bit. You’ll feel better – and live longer!

Prince Edward Island Farmers To Go Organic

This is an internesting article about the move from conventional farming to organic farming headed by the leaders of Prince Edward Island in Canada. I like the reference to the shiny new John Deere and the costs associated with conventional farming.

Gary Claudeheid, a long-time organic farmer and Green Party candidate, said people who argue that organic growing is not economically feasible fail to see the failing economics of conventional operations.

“Between 1950 and 1980, the Island lost 80 per cent of its farmers,” he said. “Between 1986 and 2001, it lost another 1,000. In the last five years, we’ve lost another 147. They are never taken into account.

“They like to point to the 750 farms on Prince Edward Island that are grossing over $100,000. But how much of that is left when they have to pay for a shiny, new, green John Deere machines, all the chemical fertilizer, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, sprout inhibitors and all the other chemicals they are using?”

Labchuk said her party would restore some of the economic sense to organic farming by removing the subsidies that support chemical-based farming and offering money and training to help growers’ transition to organic methods.

Ashwagandha The Herb For All Seasons

One of India’s most beneficial medicinal herbs is one called Ashwagandha, or “Winter Cherry”. An herb originating in the Indian Sub Continent and Africa, this biological member of the solonaceae plant family, has been used by practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine for over 4,000 years. A relative of the Chinese ginseng shrub, the Ashwagandha root has similar medicinal properties, and is said to aid in longevity, as well as aiding those with sexual related problems.

Among the herb’s other benefits are those including stimulating the nervous system and improving memory in older persons. Ayurveda holistic practitioners subscribe this herb for a variety of bodily ills, including anemia, cancer (especially during and after chemo-therapy), immune system problems, nervous exhaustion and fatigue, infertility and impotence, chronic and acute stress, and even ulcers. Those who are familiar with the science of Ayurvedic medical practice know that various parts of an herb, from its leaves to the roots, are useful for different types of medically related problems. The same is true for the Ashwagandha, as its leaves (which are very bitter) are used as an anthelmintic (ridding the body of intestinal worms), and also for the treatment of large boils or carbuncles.

The berries, or fruit, are used to improve kidney function as well as to coagulate milk, which is beneficial for those requiring a more strict vegetable based diet. The roots are used for treating problems of the nervous system, as well as for giving relief to physical weakness and muscle fatigue.

As a nutrient, the Ashwagandha root is recommended to give strength to pregnant women and old people. It also acts as an aphrodisiac, and is said to help restore sperm content in men. Those suffering from back or shoulder pains (lumbago) can also find relief from taking this herb.

Although no noted side effects have been reported, is it recommended not to take preparations of Ashwagandha herb if one is suffering from lung congestion. This is especially true in the case of small children or older persons.

Natural Body Care Products

Organic SoapsFor those who have experienced the pleasure and rejuvenation from being treated at a natural body care spa, it is now possible to have almost the same relaxing treatment in the privacy of one’s own home. By purchasing an ever increasing array of natural skin body, are hair care products, and together with creating an intimate atmosphere in either the bath or bedroom, you can give yourself the personal treatment that can cost hundreds of dollars at a weekend body care retreat.

For years now, many people have been abandoning commercial skin and body care products in favor or natural, organic based ones. These products, available either at health products stores, pharmacies, or via the internet, contain natural soaps, oils, herbs, and products derived from royal jelly – that mysterious substance derived from bees. For those who like to shop via the internet, a wide choice of natural body products manufacturers and suppliers are available by just clicking onto to a natural products website. If you are looking for special bath oils, soaps and shampoos, for example, you can find them on the web, with all the most natural and exotic ingredients imaginable. Shampoos containing soy extracts, rosemary and birch leaf oil, lavender, and natural vitamins and minerals will not only give your hair a much more natural feeling, but will help prevent hair loss and damage to the scalp.

Natural oils, including olive and palm oil, coca bean butter and oil, and jojoba bean oils, help restore your skin cells and even helps to prevent aging. Even products that Grandmothers used to swear by, such as eggs, natural herbs (rosemary, chamomile, thyme and nettle), as well as citrus seed extracts and citric acid all have their own skin and hair rejuvenating effects.

Whether or not you have a Jacuzzi or ‘hot tub’ in you home, you can still feel like you’ve received a royal spa care treatment, by just using these natural body care products in the intimacy of your own home.

Oh, by the way, don’t forget the aromatic candles and appropriate mood music.

Organic Soaps Shampoos and Shower Gels

Organic SoapsOrganic products not only include food and food supplements, but an exciting range of soaps, shampoos, and cleaning products as well. A wide variety of bio-friendly products are available, containing such natural ingredients as natural olive and coconut oils, jojoba oils, cocoa butter, and extracts from large variety of herbs, including basil, rosemary, thyme, etc. Once the near exclusive products of natural products specialty stores, organic soaps and cleaning products can now be found in most supermarkets and pharmacies.

Ingredients in many popular soaps and shampoos have been found to be harmful to peoples’ health, and some ingredients are even carcinogenic, or cancer causing. By substituting harmful ingredients with organic ones, people not only improve their own health and well-being, but that of the environment as well.

To give you a better idea of the benefit of ‘natural’ ingredients, some of these are noted here, together with each one’s own beneficial qualities.

Basil: known not only for a flavorful herb in many food dishes, but for its detoxifying and energizing qualities.
Cardamom: antiseptic, cleansing and invigorating
Geranium: body toning, rejuvenating and uplifting qualities
Lavender: soothing, healing and tension relieving
Lemon Grass: detoxifying, deodorizing, anti-stress relief
Pine: antiseptic and physically elevating
Rosemary: stimulating, revitalizing, illuminating

In addition to herbs, a wide variety of natural essences, many made from plants and flowers, add to the benefits received from using these products.

Virtually no modern shopping mall is without at least one bath and body soap shop selling natural soaps, bath oils, and shampoos. Soaps offered in these shops, along with their wonderful scents and colors make these stores a true “garden of earthly delights”.

Along with personal body products, the harsh, abrasive, and even dangerous compounds found in most commercial preparations are resulting in many people turning to organic home cleaning products. Though more expensive than the commercial ones, the manufacturers of these products claim that they do not contain the caustic ingredients that can today be found in even the most well known dishwashing and laundry detergents. There is still some speculation as to whether organic cleaning products are really 100% bio-friendly. But even so, a growing number of people prefer to trust these products more and more.

Organic ‘soapless soap’ products come in a wide array of colors and fragrances. Ranging from aloe vera to sea weed, these products are found in virtually every modern home. To be assured that the ingredients are indeed from organic sources, one should examine the label carefully to make sure the product does not contain various ‘additives’ usually call “red………..” or “yellow………..” to disguise various chemicals which are definitely not from organic sources.

To be sure these products meet acceptable standards, they should have the logo for Organic Standard Soil Association, or one displaying the Good Shopping Guide for Ethical Companies.

Sources: &

Herbicides and Pesticides in Intensive Farming

Herbicides and Pesticides in Intensive FarmingEnvironmental dangers from over use of herbicides and pesticides in commercial, intensive farming has been known for years. One of the first warnings of damages from the use of pesticides in modern agriculture came from American novelist Rachel Carson in 1962 with her book The Silent Spring. Ms. Carson’s thought provoking book portrayed a bleak future in regards to birds and other wildlife that were being killed or mutated due to the over use of both pesticides and herbicides by farmers. Though written more than 40 years ago, she predicted that the ongoing effects of these chemical agents would be so far reaching that people might one day experience ‘silent springs’ devoid of song and migratory birds that herald the changing of the seasons.

Though Ms. Carson’s warnings have not completely come to pass, the use of carious chemical agents, not only by agriculture but also by many people on their own lawns and garden plants, eventually find their way into the water that we drink, resulting in health hazards ranging from birth defects to cancer. Many studies have been made relating to environmental damage caused by these chemicals, some of the more common ones being sulfonylurea (SU) and atrizine types of herbicides which are used by farmers as ‘weed killers’ for crops such as corn and soybeans – both important food crops. These herbicides eventually find their way into ground water aquifers, and have been shown to cause a number of health problems in humans ranging from learning disorders to over aggressive behavior patterns. A well known pesticide, DBCP, was once wide used in American states such as California and Iowa. This pesticide, though now banned in most places still causes a number of diseases and health disorders, including male infertility (the main effect it was supposed to have on insects, rodents, and other pests).

In Iowa, for example, a study made in 1966, only four years after the publication of Ms. Carson’s book, it was found that more than half of that state’s ground water was already contaminated by weed killers. The situation in many other states in America is as bad or worse as intensive commercial farming methods still use many of these chemical agents in order to increase crop yields.

Organic farming methods, though still on a much smaller scale than that of commercial agriculture, is showing a better way to grow crops without causing harm to the environment. By changing to an organic lifestyle, including the care and maintenance of one’s own lawn and garden, people can help contribute to preserving our environment and improving our health as well. It’s a small start, but by eliminating insect sprays and weed killers on our own properties we can contribute to improving our planet’s eco-system.

Olive Season – The Organic Way

Olive Season - The Organic WayLike many other Mediterranean countries, Israel is blessed with the climate suitable to grow an array of fruits indigenous to the region as well as the land’s history. Olives are one of the oldest fruits known to man and have been mentioned in biblical texts all the way from the story of Noah in the Book of Geneses: “And lo, the dove returned to Noah, this time with a freshly plucked sprig of olive branch in her mouth”. Both the fruit as well as the oil are used extensively, not only in Israel, but all over the world. The benefits of using non-saturated olive oil in cooking is well known; and is gaining in popularity everywhere, despite the higher price for it, as compared to vegetable oils made from soy beans, corn, peanuts, and even canola. Olive oil was used to anoint kings in many ancient lands, and was used extensively by the ancient Greeks as both a protection against sunburn as well as to make their bodies ‘glisten’ during athletic competitions.

Olive oil comes in many varieties, and flavors, ranging from more acidic (and bitter) natural varieties, to the more refined types which foreign households are accustomed to using.

Today, one sees olive trees all over Israel; and many parks, private homes, and apartment buildings have olive trees gracing their lawns and gardens. Olives are ‘in season’ from mid-September to late March, depending on location and type of olives picked. The most popular type of olive is the round Maraschino which is grows in most locations as ranges anywhere in size from around 1 cm to 2 1/2 cm in length. These olives are either picked green or ripe, and can either be found in cans, jars, or in barrels in many grocery stores and open air markets. My favorites are the extra large Greek olives, most of which are imported either from Greece, Turkey, or Cyprus. They have a unique taste that appears to be from secret recipes handed down from generation to generation. One of the favorite types more indigenous to Israel and the Middle East is the Syrian olive which is longer and more pointed than the Maraschino. It is often found in open air markets and is usually ‘cracked’ or partially broken during processing to enhance its flavor, together with the addition of lemon wedges and garlic cloves.

I like to process my own olives, which, if done properly, taste better than the commercially processed ones. A simple recipe involves taking about two kilograms of freshly picked olives and soaking them in water for about two weeks, changing the water daily. After this process, place the olives in clean jars with intermittent layers of salt, lemon wedges and garlic cloves. Olive leaves can be added as well for both taste enhancement and eye appeal. Fill with water until full. Before closing the jars, add a layer of olive oil on top to enhance the flavor and prevent mold from forming. Place the filled jars in a dark place like a pantry for a minimum of 2-3 months before opening. It’s a good idea to write the date when the jars were filled so as not to open them too early. Olives not stored long enough will have a bitter taste.

Olive production has been recently hampered by pests like the Med-fly, which damages and deforms the fruit. For this reason, especially if you are ‘going organic’ and want olives from unsprayed trees, you will probably have to ‘cull out’ at least 20% or more of what you pick. The results are worth it, for you will not only have the pleasure of eating home processed organic olives, but the satisfaction of partaking in a tradition that is as ancient as the Bible itself.

Find out more about Organic Foods, Organic Teas, and Organic Herbal Supplements.

Watching Your Yin and Yang – Natural Healing Through Macrobiotic Diets

Watching Your Yin and YangNatural healing, or letting one’s own body heal itself through harmony in lifestyles, diet, and other factors, is becoming more and more practiced these days. One of the world’s most authoritative persons on the subject of natural healing, Micho Kushi, wrote a very informative book on natural healing through macrobiotic diets.

Professor Kushi, of Japanese origin, and connected with the Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine at the University of Illinois, became interested in macrobiotic eating and its connection with fighting diseases. Kushi theorized that a person’s health and ability to fight disease coincides with a ‘balance’ in the Yin and Yang (or right and left) hemispheres of his physical harmony. All different kinds of medical dysfunctions, including various types of cancer, were noted by Professor Kushi; as well as his macrobiotic way to treat them.

Most people have diets which have an imbalance of Yin and Yang hemispheres. Foods compatible to each hemisphere, Yin or Yang, and how they should be prepared, and even consumed, have been subjects of intense research of macro biologists like Kushi.

For example, he noted that meats and dairy products, both Yang category foods, should be avoided by persons suffering from most forms of cancer. He also noted that foods which are allowed to be eaten should be cooked rather than eaten raw; and that one should chew each mouthful between 30 and 50 times before swallowing. The reasoning for this is not only does the thorough chewing make the food more digestible but the additional saliva and other body fluids are actually beneficial to ridding the body of the malignancy; a very important part of the body’s natural healing.

In other words, as per the time-worn expression goes, “you are what you eat”; and the diet consumed is very important in regards to the macrobiotic way of life. For this reason, it’s easy to see why people living in eastern Asian countries, including men, live long lives; with average life spans into the mid 80’s being considered normal. In countries like Japan, it’s quite common to see people still alive there up to age 100!

Source: Natural Healing by Michio Kushi, pub. 1978 by East West Publications, Boston Mass.

Find out more about Organic Foods, Organic Teas, and Organic Herbal Supplements.