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Spices, Herbs – Mantra of Diet

The Mantra of Diet today is constantly shifting.  However, the pursuit of spices has helped shaped our world as we know today. Hundreds of years ago, merchants from Europe traveled by land and sea to transport exotic and expensive plants such as cinnamon, rosemary, nutmeg and turmeric from Asia. But when the Ottoman Empire restricted Europe’s spice routes to Asia in the 1400s, explorers such as Christopher Columbus looked for alternate routes to India and instead stumbled on our glorious land. It’s not a far stretch to thank cinnamon for our providence.

Spices hold a special place in human existence that we are just starting to understand. Sure, they are prized to provide bold and unique flavors, aromas and colors to otherwise bland foods. But many don’t know the hidden story: before the invention of refrigeration, spices’ underlying bioactivity, in the form of potent and diverse antioxidant and antimicrobial food-preserving properties, helped to prevent sickness and contagion caused by food spoilage. Thus, spices carried a magical aura for those who demanded them, and at the same time, they provided a livelihood for many generations of farmers, harvesters and suppliers.

Today, our interest in spices has shifted to the scientific study of their health benefits, to see if they can help us live healthier lives. On a molecular level, the chemical properties that make spices great flavorings, colorings and food preservatives are closely linked to the properties which help to promote human health. Polyphenols, carotenoids and terpenoids are all highly bioactive and health-supporting classes of compounds common to many spices, and are the focus of thousands of medical research studies.

Consuming enough of these active compounds to make a difference in our health can be tough through food alone. The mantra of many is that a diet with a diversity of spices can help us live longer, but no one is suggesting that fried chicken made with 14 of them is a health food (yet!). And while variety may be the “spice of life,” research suggests a variety of spices added to food can lead to a tendency to overeat.1 Likewise, consumer health media recommendations to sprinkle some cinnamon on toast or add a pinch of turmeric powder to curry may be naïve to some key underlying practical and scientific caveats such as compliance, dose response and opposing effects.

For instance, a clinically significant effective dose of cinnamon powder often recommended for managing blood sugar is a teaspoon or more—quite a “cinnamon challenge” for the palate and the stomach. Impurities that can be found in cinnamon powder, such as added sulfites and naturally occurring coumarin can tip the opposing-effects equation in the wrong direction, especially when doses are in baking measurements. On the other hand, science has validated the efficacy of concentrated, purified extracts, both from Chinese cinnamon (cassia) as well as “true” cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum syn. zeylanicum). Both the “whole food” and the scientific approaches have merits, but the second seems to garner increasingly more credibility among top medical experts.

Topical applications of spices have been used in traditional medicine like Ayurveda for hundreds of years, with turmeric being well proven and used by allopathic physicians for its wound-healing capabilities. The bioactivities of spices that preserve food also promote health in ways that are well known mechanistically, but in a clinical-sense are just now emerging. For example, in a 2014 study, an ointment containing cinnamon was effective at reducing pain after childbirth.7 In another study, a topical application of black pepper essential oil improved vein visibility for IV insertion better than the standard of care.8 This study did not measure whether sneezing increased, although the essential oil used in the study would probably have improved dinner too.

The potential of spices in human health and wellness is vast, and with sound science, more is learned every day about how and why spices can be beneficial.


 

Sources:

Original Article by Blake Ebersole

1.       Jones JB et al. “A randomized trial on the effects of flavorings on the health benefits of daily peanut consumption.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Mar;99(3):490-6. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.113.069401.

2.       Nieman DC et al. “Influence of red pepper spice and turmeric on inflammation and oxidative stress biomarkers in overweight females: a metabolomics approach.” Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2012 Dec;67(4):415-21. DOI: 10.1007/s11130-012-0325-x.

3.       Cox KH, Pipingas A, Scholey AB. “Investigation of the effects of solid lipid curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population.” J Psychopharmacol. 2014 Oct 2. PII: 0269881114552744.

4.       Pengelly A et al. “Short-term study on the effects of rosemary on cognitive function in an elderly population.” J Med Food. 2012 Jan;15(1):10-7. DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2011.0005..

5.       McCaffrey R, Thomas DJ, Kinzelman AO. “The effects of lavender and rosemary essential oils on test-taking anxiety among graduate nursing students.” Holist Nurs Pract. 2009 Mar-Apr;23(2):88-93. DOI: 10.1097/HNP.0b013e3181a110aa.

6.       Lindheimer JB, Loy BD, O’Connor PJ. “Short-term effects of black pepper (Piper nigrum) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis and Rosmarinus eriocalyx) on sustained attention and on energy and fatigue mood states in young adults with low energy.” J Med Food. 2013 Aug;16(8):765-71. DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2012.0216.

7.       Mohammadi A et al. “Effects of cinnamon on perineal pain and healing of episiotomy: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.” J Integr Med. 2014 Jul;12(4):359-66. DOI: 10.1016/S2095-4964(14)60025-X.

8.       Kristiniak S et al. “Black pepper essential oil to enhance intravenous catheter insertion in patients with poor vein visibility: a controlled study


 

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8 Herbal Teas You Should Know About

Herbal teas are known for their refreshing flavour and calming properties. They are prepared either by mixing herbs with tea or by simply brewing the herbs. Besides being gentle and readily available, they are also associated with number medicinal and therapeutic properties. Here is a list of top 8 herbal teas with great health benefits you can brew and enjoy.


Peppermint tea

Peppermint tea is mild and is very refreshing. The main component of the tea is peppermint oil which contributes to all the therapeutic effects. The tea is rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium and contains very low calories. It is best known for its properties to soothe the stomach and promote digestion. A warm glass of peppermint tea can also help to effectively relieve nausea [1]. You can easily find dried peppermint leaves in ayurvedic stores and even in some drug store.

Steps to brew – For 1 cup peppermint tea:
In boiling water, put 2 tablespoons of dried peppermint leaves
Let it steep for 15-20 minutes and then strain
You can add some sweetener according to your taste and enjoy your hot cup of tea


Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea is mild and reviving. It is found very powerful to treat a number of maladies. It has sedative properties that can relieve both sleeplessness and anxiety. Here’s how you can deal with anxiety disorders. It has also been shown to be helpful in relieving skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema[2]. Dried chamomile flowers can be found in most grocery stores.
Steps to brew – For 1 cup chamomile tea:
In a cup of hot water, put 2-3 tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers
Allow it to infuse for a few minutes
With the help of a strainer, strain the liquid into another cup
You can add some honey or lemon juice according to your taste


Lemon balm tea

This herb belongs to the mint family and has been used for centuries to treat indigestion, anxiety and sleep disorders. This herb is good for the digestive system and is helpful in reducing flatulence and indigestion. Being antispasmodic in nature, it is also effective in easing menstrual cramps. Lemon balm is a medicinal plant and can be found in any ayurvedic store and or healthy supermarkets like Wholefoods or Choices.
Steps to brew – For 1 cup lemon balm tea:
Add a teaspoon of the dried herb into boiling water
Now steep it for 10-15 minutes and remove the leaves using a strainer
You can sweeten the tea with honey


Ginger tea

Ginger tea is known for its prized medicinal benefits. It is best known for its ability to fight nausea. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to relieve muscle soreness after exercise. Drinking ginger tea during periods can also be helpful in reducing menstrual pain.
Steps to brew – For 1 cup ginger tea:
Slice ginger into thin pieces
Now bring a cup of water to boil and add the ginger slices
Let it steep for 10 minutes, then strain the water to remove the ginger
Add honey or fresh lemon juice, as per preference
Alternately, you can also add some ginger to your tea leaves, steep for a few minutes and then strain.


Lavender tea

Lavender is known for its bright purple flowers and pleasant aroma. Lavender is an antidepressant, expectorant analgesic and an antiseptic. Lavender tea is primarily used to ease anxiety, insomnia, stress and depression. The tea is also good for relieving indigestion and nausea [3]. You can find Lavender tea in most health food stores like Finlandia or Wholefoods.

Steps to brew – For 1 cup lavender tea:
Bring a cup of water to boil and put 2 tablespoons of dried lavender flowers
Now allow it to steep for good 4-5 minutes
Strain and serve the lavender tea with honey or sliced lemon
Lavender tea bags are also a convenient way to enjoy lavender tea.


Lemongrass tea

Lemongrass tea has a strong lemony fragrance. Lemongrass contains a lot of volatile oils that are rich in antioxidants and can protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to reduce pain in conditions such as arthritis. Lemongrass tea leaves are easily available at grocery stores. Dried lemongrass can also be found in ready-to-use tea bags from stores.
How to brew – For 1 cup lemongrass tea:
Add 2 tablespoons of tea leaves in boiling water
Steep it for 10 minutes until the tea becomes golden-brown in colour
Strain and add honey to the tea if you have a sweet tooth


Rosehip Tea
Rosehip is the fruit of rose plant that is typically red or orange in colour. It not only has beauty benefits, but it can also ward off many diseases. Being rich in vitamin C and flavonoids, rosehip tea has good antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can play a role in preventing arthritis, heart diseases and cancer. It is also a rich source of vitamin A which is an immune system booster [4]. You can find rosehip fruit in stores. You can also directly brew the Lipton rosehip tea if you can’t find the fruit.
Steps to brew – For 1 cup rosehip tea:
Boil a cup of water in a bowl and place a handful of dried rosehips in the bowl of boiling water
Leave the rosehips in the boiled water and let it steep for 10-15 minutes
Strain the water and drink the tea immediately before it gets cold


Sources:
Original article
[1] Tate S. Peppermint oil: a treatment for postoperative nausea. J Adv Nurs. 1997Sep;26(3):543-9. PubMed PMID: 9378876.[2] Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E., & Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with
[2] Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E., & Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Molecular Medicine Reports, 3(6), 895–901. doi:10.3892/mmr.2010.377[3] Moss M, Cook J, Wesnes K, Duckett P. Aromas of rosemary and lavender
[3] Moss M, Cook J, Wesnes K, Duckett P. Aromas of rosemary and lavender essential oils differentially affect cognition and mood in healthy adults. Int J Neurosci. 2003 Jan;113(1):15-38. PubMed PMID: 12690999.
[4] Roman, I., Stănilă, A., & Stănilă, S. (2013). Bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of Rosa canina L. biotypes from spontaneous flora of Transylvania. Chemistry Central Journal, 7, 73. doi:10.1186/1752-153X-7-73



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Quiz: Are Your Chakras Blocked? Experiencing health problems or feeling stuck?

It could be a sign that one of your seven major chakras is blocked.

Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means “wheel.” In traditional Eastern medicine, it is believed that the body contains seven major “energy wheels” or chakras. They are responsible for keeping your mental, physical and spiritual health in balance. If you’re experiencing health problems, it could be a sign that a specific chakra is blocked. See the following quiz to find out which chakras might be causing you issues.

 

Root Chakra

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When your Root Chakra is blocked you are more susceptible to colon issues, lower back pain, varicose veins and emotional issues around money and survival.

  • Do you tend to get constipated easily?
  • Do you often feel fatigued?
  • Would others describe you as “ungrounded” or “spacey”?

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a blocked Root Chakra.

 

Sacral Chakra

539657_418423854913242_500971289_nYou can identify a blocked Sacral Chakra by infertility issues, hip pain, sexual dysfunction and arthritis.

  • Do you have problems with you reproductive organs, such as painful menstruation?
  • Do you feel like your creativity is blocked?
  • Do you wish your sex life was different?

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a blocked Sacral Chakra.

 

 

Solar Plexus Chakra

willpowerYou are more likely to have stomach issues, ulcers, liver issues, eating disorders and a lack of confidence when you’re Solar Plexus Chakra is blocked.

  • Do you have problems with digestion?
  • Do your blood sugar levels fluctuate easily?
  • Do you struggle with issues surrounding will power or self-esteem?

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a blocked Solar Plexus Chakra.

 

Heart Chakra

healing-heart1If you have a blocked Heart Chakra you should look out for heart problems, asthma, allergies and lung disease.

  • Do you have heart disease or high blood pressure?
  • Is it difficult for you to empathize with someone who is going through a difficult time?
  • Does intimacy frighten you?

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a blocked Heart Chakra.

 

Throat Chakra

1310bThe Throat Chakra affects your ability to communicate and can contribute to thyroid issues, as well as esophageal and mouth problems when blocked.

  • Do you have thyroid problems or do you get a sore throat easily?
  • Is it hard for you to express how you feel?
  • Do you feel like your mind and hear live in two different worlds?

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a blocked Throat Chakra.

 

Third Eye Chakra

7917360_f520Your Third Eye Chakra influences the pituitary gland, hormone levels, eyesight, intelligence and intuition.

  • Do you have headaches?
  • Do you have a tendency to have hormonal imbalances or get depressed?
  • Do you have poor intuition?

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a blocked Third Eye Chakra.

 

Crown Chakra

fibromyalgia_RF5468731_sleep-issuesA blocked Crown Chakra can cause spiritual discomfort and insomnia.

  • Do you have difficulty with your sleep/wake cycles?
  • Is it difficult to meditate?
  • Do you feel disconnected from your own body as well as others?

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a blocked Crown Chakra.

 

 

If your experiencing any of above symptoms, you may benefit from a Reiki Crystal healing treatment. Contact info@positivereiki.com for a free consultation.

1400536116237

 

 

 

Original quiz from Dr. Oz


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Getting pregnant : Natural Fertility with Reiki Healing

Getting Pregnant and Natural Fertility: Reiki Therapy

One natural fertility treatment that is on the rise in popularity is Reiki therapy.

Reiki treatments are based on the channeling of positive energy to promote overall health. As such, Reiki healing is a natural fertility method that can help improve your chances of getting pregnant by removing energy blockages and chakra imbalances.  By promoting total relaxation and bringing balance to your core being, Reiki can help minimize health problems and conditions that can hinder your fertility.

Reiki Benefits for Fertility and Labour can help to:

• Reduce levels of stress
• Increase energy levels
• Improve immune system health
• Reduce muscle pain
• Reduce levels of anxiety and depression
• Improve methods of detoxification
• Promote Good Prenatal Health & Ease Labor Pains
• Reduces morning sickness
• Help reduce labor pain

Some tips for conception

Positive Attitude
Positive thinking is an important component of improving your chances of getting pregnant. Keeping a positive attitude is so essential to getting pregnant because it improves your overall mental health; studies have found that positive thinking decreases levels of stress and the risk of depression, which in turn led to increased odds of getting pregnant.

Relax and Let it Happen
Busybodies delight in giving advice to those with fertility issues. One of their favorite claims is: “You just have to relax.”

Learn more about How to use Reiki to Support Fertility

References:
http://www.thechakragarden.com
http://www.gettingpregnant.co.uk/natural_fertility/reiki_therapy.html
http://iarp.org/articles/Enhancing_Fertility_with_Reiki_and_Mind- Body_Techniques.htm
http://www.natural-health-for-fertility.com/reiki-therapy.html

Feature photo by: Elena Shumilova