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Category: Tips

11 Superfoods For Your Heart

11 Superfoods For Your Heart

To prevent heart attacks, avoid unhealthy food, and eat foods rich in nutrients, fiber, and healthy fats.

While deaths due to heart disease have dropped in recent years, it’s still the No. 1 killer of Americans. The good news is that we now know a ton about how to prevent cardiovascular disease, which includes both strokes and heart attacks.

It’s clear that healthy eating and living (like exercising more!) can make a huge difference.

While deaths due to heart disease have dropped in recent years, it’s still the . The good news is that we now know a ton about how to prevent cardiovascular disease, which includes both  and .

It’s clear that healthy eating and living (like !) can make a huge difference.

Read on to see what you should be including in your diet to keep your ticker happy for decades to come.

1) Oatmeal

Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol. “It acts as a sponge in the digestive tract and soaks up the cholesterol so it is eliminated from the body and not absorbed into the bloodstream,” says Lauren Graf, a registered dietician, and co-director of the Cardiac Wellness Program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. Graf recommends avoiding instant oatmeal, which often contains sugar, and heading instead for old-fashioned or even quick-cooking oats. Other whole grains such as bread, pasta, and grits are also good for the heart as long as they still contain the entire grain.

2) Blueberries

Not just blueberries, but strawberries and other berries as well. According to a 2013 study of women aged 25 through 42 who ate more than three servings of blueberries and strawberries a week had a 32% lower risk of heart attack compared with those who ate less. The authors of the study attributed the benefit to compounds known as anthocyanins, flavonoids (which are antioxidants) that may decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels. Anthocyanins give plants their red and blue colors.

3) Citrus fruits

Women who consume high amounts of the flavonoids found in oranges and grapefruits have a 19% lower risk of ischemic stroke(caused by a clot) than women who don’t get as much of these compounds, a 2012 study found. Citrus fruits are also high in vitamin C, which has been linked with a lower risk of heart disease. Beware of citrus juices that contain added sugar. And be aware that grapefruit products may interfere with the action of the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins.

4) Tomatoes

Tomato consumption in the U.S. has been rising and that’s a good thing. Like potatoes, tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium. Plus, they’re a good source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that may help get rid of “bad” cholesterol, keep blood vessels open, and lower heart attack risk. And because they’re low in calories and low in sugar, they don’t detract from an already-healthy diet. “They’re excellent for the body in a number of ways,” says Graf.

5) Legumes

Because they come from plants, legumes such as beans, lentils, and peas are an excellent source of protein without a lot of unhealthy fat. One study found that people who ate legumes at least four times a week had a 22% lower risk of heart disease compared with those who consumed them less than once a week. And legumes may help control blood sugar in people with diabetes. Lowering blood sugar levels is key in helping people avoid diabetes complications, one of which is heart disease.

6) Nuts

This includes almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, and macadamia nuts, all of which contain good-for-your-heart fiber. They also contain vitamin E, which helps lower bad cholesterol. And some, like walnuts, are high in omega-3 fatty acids. “Some people in the past have avoided nuts because they’re higher in fat, but most of the studies show that people who consume nuts daily are leaner than people who don’t,” says Graf. And leaner people are at a lower risk for heart problems. Look for varieties that don’t have a lot of added salt.

7) Green tea

Long a favorite in Asia, green tea has grown more popular in the West and may bring with it significant health benefits. A 2013 study found that people who drank four or more cups of green tea daily had a 20% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke compared with people who “seldom” imbibed the beverage. The findings echo a previous study that found lower rates of death, including death from heart disease, among avid drinkers of green tea. Antioxidants known as catechins may be responsible for the effect.

8) Broccoli, spinach, and kale

When it comes to your health, you really can’t go wrong with vegetables. But green vegetables may give an extra boost to your heart. These are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and free your body of potentially harmful compounds. They’re also high in fiber and contain tons of vitamins and minerals. Kale also has some omega-3 fatty acids. “Green vegetables are super health-promoting foods,” says Graf.

9) Organic Coffee

Another widely consumed beverage—coffee—may also promote heart health. One study found a 10 to 15% lower risk of dying from heart disease or other causes in men and women who drank six or more cups of coffee a day. Other research has found that even two cups a day could lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by 30%. It’s not clear where the benefit comes from and the news isn’t necessarily a reason to pick up the habit. “If you’re already drinking coffee and enjoying it, continue,” says Graf. “If not, there’s no reason to start.”

10) Flax seeds

Flax seeds as well as the ultra-chic (among the health conscious) chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, says Graf. That’s one reason they’re good for your heart. Another reason is its high fiber content. Plus, there are a million ways to enjoy them. Try them ground up with other heart-healthy foods, such as dried blueberries, cranberries, or oatmeal or even blended with soy milk and fruit to create a smoothie.

11) Pomegranate

Pomegranates contain numerous antioxidants, including heart-promoting polyphenols and anthocyanins which may help stave off hardening of the arteries. One study of heart disease patients found that a daily dose of pomegranate juice over three months showed improvements in blood flow to the heart. Ultimately, though, it’s important to have variety in your diet. If you don’t like pomegranates or can’t afford them, reach for apples, which also contain plenty of health-promoting compounds, says Graf.

Article from: https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20720182,00.html

5 Yoga Poses to Reduce Hypertension

Chances are at least one person in your life—a family member, someone you work with, or a good friend—has high blood pressure and takes one or more pills a day to bring it under control. Why so likely? Because high blood pressure—what doctors call hypertension—affects one in three adults in the United States.

The following sequence is designed to prepare you to work toward the practice of inversions safely and without raising your blood pressure. At no time should you feel agitated or uncomfortable in any of these poses. If you feel flushed, hot, or dizzy while practicing, come out of the pose and rest in balasana (child’s pose) until you feel normal again.

End your practice with at least five minutes of savasana, using a blanket, if necessary, to support the back of your neck so it stays long and your face can completely relax toward your chest.

(Downward-Facing Dog Pose) with Support

Begin on your hands and knees and place two or three blankets (folded lengthwise) underneath your chest. Press the weight evenly through the hands as you straighten your arms and lift up through the inner edges of the arms. Release your shoulder blades away from your neck toward your hips, straighten the legs, and lift your pelvis up into adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog pose). Separate your feet wider than hip-width apart.

Pranayama for High Blood Pressure

Lift the pelvis away from the wrists and, keeping the legs firm, press the fronts of the thighs away from the torso toward the backs of the legs and lengthen your calves down toward your heels. Extend the inner arms from the wrists toward the shoulders as you move the shoulder blades away from the neck toward the pelvis.

Let the back of your neck release down so that your head (somewhere between the top of your forehead and the crown of the head) can rest on the support. If your head doesn’t comfortably reach your support, add another blanket. You shouldn’t have to bend the elbows in order to reach the blankets. If your neck feels compressed or your head jams into the blankets, lower your support.

When you can balance the dynamic action in the limbs and torso with the rest and relaxation in the head and neck, you’ll be able to hold the pose for a few minutes without feeling strain. When you come down, separate and bend your knees, sit on your heels, and release your head to the floor in balasana.

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose) with Head Support

Separate the feet as wide apart as the narrow side of a yoga mat. Align the outer heels and little toes on the edges of the mat, and place a block at its tallest height between your feet and in line with your big toes. Depending on your proportions and the flexibility of your hamstrings, you may need more or less support. Stack a couple of blocks, if necessary, or put the blocks or a folded blanket on the seat of a chair to rest your head.

Pranayama for High Blood Pressure

Bend forward, straighten your legs, and place the crown of your head on your support. Hold the ankles and spread the elbows apart from each other. Move your shoulder blades away from your neck, but let the back of your head descend toward the floor. Even though your head is resting on your support, keep the majority of your weight in your feet, balancing the weight evenly between the front, back, inside, and outside edges of the feet. Lift your thighs firmly and press the thigh bones toward the backs of the legs without disturbing your head. The back of the neck should feel long and the chest broad. Breathe normally and stay in the pose for as long as you like, up to three minutes. Place your hands on your hips, inhale, and come up.

Pashchimottanasana (Posterior Stretch Pose)

Sit on two folded blankets and extend your legs straight in front of you in dandasana(seated staff pose), feet hip-width apart. Place a bolster lengthwise on top of your legs, with a folded blanket on the bolster closer to your feet. Lift the sides of your torso up. If you find that you’re slumping backward, sit on more support. Extend forward and hold the outside edges of your feet with your hands. Lengthen your abdomen over the bolster and rest your forehead on the blanket.

Pranayama for High Blood Pressure

If you can’t reach your feet, hold a belt around the feet; if your head doesn’t reach the blanket, rest it on a chair instead, padded with at least one blanket. Straighten your legs and press the thigh bones toward the floor as much as you can without allowing your heels to lift. Relax the forehead and spread your elbows as you release the shoulders apart and away from your neck.

Extend through the backs of the heels and move your back ribs toward your front ribs down onto the bolster. Keep the back of the neck long and soft and relax your facial features. Hold for two minutes and then return to dandasana.

Halasana (Plow Pose)

Experiment with this pose using blankets, a bolster, and a chair for support. If you feel any discomfort, simply come out of the pose and rest in shavasana. Stack three folded blankets at the end of your mat. The smooth, folded edges of the blankets should be in line with the edge of your mat. Open another blanket on the floor in front of your mat for the back of your head, place a bolster on the mat behind your blankets for your pelvis to rest on, and position a chair on the floor in front of your mat and folded blankets. Lie down with your shoulders, upper back, and base of your neck on the stacked blankets, your head on the blanket on the floor, and your pelvis resting on the bolster.

Reach your arms overhead and hold the feet of the chair. Push the chair away from you until your arms are straight. Bring your arms back by your sides and place your palms on the bolster. Rotate your upper arms outward and open the chest. Pressing your hands into the bolster, bend your knees toward your chest, lift your pelvis off the bolster, and take your feet overhead, toes onto the seat of the chair. Separate your feet as wide apart as the seat of the chair, toes curled under.

Pranayama for High Blood Pressure

Clasp your hands behind your back, straighten your arms, and roll onto the outer front edges of your shoulders. Press your wrists into the bolster and lift the sides of your chest away from the floor. Relax your throat and allow the back of the neck to softly lengthen.

Pressing your toes down, lift the fronts of your thighs away from your head and straighten your legs. Release the clasp of your hands and rest the backs of your hands on the floor besides your head, elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your legs active but your head and neck passive, and your throat and face completely relaxed. To come down, bend your knees and slowly roll your upper, middle, and then lower back to the floor, keeping your head down. Rest on your back for a minute before rolling to your side to sit up.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Sit on the front end of a bolster and belt the tops of your thighs together. With your knees bent and your feet on the floor, lie back onto the bolster. Using your feet to push against the floor, slide off the bolster just until your shoulders reach the floor and are at the same level as your head. Then extend your legs straight, backs of the heels on the floor.

Pranayama for High Blood Pressure

Roll the outer edges of the shoulders underneath you and broaden your chest as you lengthen your arms alongside the bolster. Turn the upper arms out and the palms toward the ceiling. If your lower back aches or feels compressed, elevate your feet on a support and lengthen the sacrum and buttocks toward your heels.

Article from: https://yogainternational.com/article/view/5-poses-to-reduce-hypertension

5 Yoga Poses to Reduce Hypertension
10 tips that simplify holistic living

10 tips that simplify holistic living

Diet fads, new workout regimens, exotic health supplements — every day, people are inundated with headlines about health trends. Out of the clutter and confusion a new, arguably more sensible, health movement is gaining traction: holistic living.

Taking a holistic health approach means looking at your overall wellness from a big picture perspective. That means you take thoughtful steps to better your mental and physical health while doing things that bring you joy.

1. Savor each bite. 
 Take time to delight in the eating experience. Doing so helps you feel more satisfied with smaller portions of your favorite foods. Slow down to notice flavors, textures, and changes as you chew each morsel.

2. Embrace mindful snacking.
Focusing the mind is nearly impossible when hunger strikes. Almonds are the perfect portable snack to stave off hunger. Forget bland snacking by trying a new flavor of almonds to energize your taste buds.

3. Shift your intentions around food. 
 Instead of focusing on dieting and will power, focus your energy on creating a nourishing, nutrient-dense plate of whole foods, and find bliss in your intention to care for yourself.

4. Try new nutrient-dense ingredients. 
 From almond butter to almond milk, almond flour to whole almonds, there are many ways to incorporate almonds into your daily snacks and meals to ensure you’re consuming adequate amounts of key nutrients.

5. Snack for heart health.
 Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of almonds (28g) has 13g of unsaturated fat and only 1g of saturated fat.

6. Eat with gratitude. 
 Gratitude practices can bring happiness. The same can be said for creating joyful eating experiences. Shared meals with loved ones can be uplifting and provide a positive boost to any day.

7. Create convenience foods. 
Resist unhealthy vending machine temptations by preparing wholesome convenience foods. For example, just one serving of almonds contains 6 grams of protein. Keep servings in your car, gym bag, purse or office so you have a crave-worthy, crunchy snack on hand at all times.

8. Grow something.
Growing your own food is healthy and rewarding. Indoor container gardens are easy to maintain all year. Plus, the presence of plants in the home can improve air quality while reducing stress and anxiety.

9. Preplan breakfast. 
 Ensure you have time for this essential meal by preparing breakfast foods ahead of time. Make smoothie packets and store them in the freezer, or blend up a smoothie the night before. Add a scoop of almond butter to create a more satisfying meal.

10. Embrace Meatless Monday
Become part of the “Meatless Monday” movement and incorporate plant-based proteins, like almonds into your meals. Plant-based proteins often contain good, unsaturated fats that offer many health benefits.

Article from: https://www.wausaudailyherald.com/story/life/2016/03/03/10-tips-simplify-holistic-living/81154740/

Photo credit: BrandPoint

2 DIY Skincare Recipes to Help Shrink Those Pores

Well okay, it’s impossible to shrink the size of your pores, literally. You can thank your parents for them. However, by maintaining (or attaining at this point) clean and unclogged pores, it’s possible that no one will be able to tell how sizeable they really are, hopefully even you (although we tend to be much tougher on ourselves).

The simplest homemade recipes can help to eliminate the oil, bacteria, and grime that make even smallish pores look hefty and unsightly. Getting rid of blackheads – which are simply clogged pores – has never been so easy, cheap and natural. And utilizing the yummy humectant that is honey, we’re ensuring you don’t shrivel up, especially as the heaters start to crank up. Honey also opens up the pores so that these natural acids can sweep in and do a thorough clean up.

honey-ccflcr-muted
Photo from https://www.organicauthority.com/energetic-health/2-diy-skincare-recipes-that-shrink-pores-honey

Begin by using a Pore Minimizer scrub every other day:

  • 1 tablespoon of organic warm honey
  • 1 tablespoon of organic brown sugar
  • 3 drops of organic lemon juice

After cleansing your skin, massage into pore-plentiful areas for 3 minutes. Keep those circular motions going until your fingers cramp up, or the 3-minute buzzer goes off. Then rinse with lukewarm water, emphasis on the “luke” as hot water opens up pores.

Now, it’s time for an Awesome Apple Astringent:

In a container of your choosing, preferably something with a cap, add…

  • 1/2 cup of purified water
  • 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • It’s optional, but you may also want to add a couple drops of lavender essential oil to get past that whole vinegar smell
  • And for extra power, you can include a squeeze of lemon

Refrigerate this, and whenever you need it (or at least twice a day post cleanse), shake up and tone with an organic cotton ball or piece of soft fabric. Apple cider vinegar is anti-bacterial and helps dry up excess sebum, removing dirt and debris from your pores. It also balances your skin’s pH level.

Article from: https://www.organicauthority.com/energetic-health/2-diy-skincare-recipes-that-shrink-pores-honey

2 DIY Skincare Recipes to Help Shrink Those Pores
6 Best Essential Oils To Help Tighten Loose Skin & How To Use

6 Best Essential Oils To Help Tighten Loose Skin & How To Use

Loose of Saggy skin is the result of various factors. Many women are experiencing it everywhere. Loose skin occurs when you lose fat or after childbirth. For some saggy skin is a result of aging. Aging is a natural phenomenon, and it is constant of life. Nature itself has provided us with essential oils to help tighten skin when it sags or goes loose.

Loose skin is almost unavoidable. The best we can do is to correct the skin when this happens by making it firm up. Skin tightening, therefore, a form of anti-aging and pore-reducing treatment.

The process of skin tightening helps us to maintain firm, taut skin. It also helps to minimize pores which then makes the skin look more fresh and flawless. Compared to the popularly expensive and chemically-filled beauty products, there are natural and healthy means that have been used to tighten the skin over time.

This alternative is to use essential oils. Cold pressing or steam distillation is the process for the production of essential oils. They contain high powerful plant extracts that have medicinal and healing benefits.

Photo from: https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/13-benefits-jasmine-essential-oil/

1. Jasmine Oil

Like many other essential oils, jasmine oil is known to promote blood circulation thereby helping your skin regenerate cells. With new skin cells, your body can then hydrate skin, providing it with more elasticity and decreasing the appearance of scars and wrinkles. Jasmine oils, pair well with Almond Oil. Mix the two together and apply the solution to any part of your skin that needs to be tightened.

Photo from: https://www.healthline.com/health/essential-oils-for-high-blood-pressure#types

2. Lavender Oil

Lavender is well known for its antibacterial properties. As such, this essential oil can work to tone and rejuvenate the skin. Plus, it smells delightful and has a range of other uses, including stress relief and aiding in sleep. To tighten skin, use Lavender Essential Oil with rosehip seed oil for a powerhouse skin treatment.

Photo from: https://draxe.com/10-geranium-oils-benefits-healthy-skin-much/

3. Geranium Oil

Geranium oil is one of the best essential oils for repairing collagen and therefore increasing your skin’s elasticity. That, of course, results in the reduction of wrinkles and stretch marks. In addition, this particular oil supplies extra nourishment to the skin to give you a glowing appearance. A few drops of Geranium Essential Oil mixed with Moroccan Argan Oil makes a lovely facial application.

Photo from: https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/myrrh-essential-oil/

4. Myrrh Oil

Myrrh oil isn’t just a part of the annual Christmas play. This oil can help improve skin flexibility by oxygenating body tissues. It also moisturizes the skin. Together, these properties treat chapped skin and decrease the appearance of wrinkles. Myrrh Essential Oil with Avocado Oil and apply to your skin regularly.

Photo from: https://healthjade.com/frankincense-oil/

5. Frankincense Oil

The small molecular structure of frankincense oil allows it to work wonders on the skin. By penetrating your bodily structure, it protects skin cells while encouraging the growth of new cells. It also keeps the skin oxygenated, which in turn improves elasticity. For these reasons, frankincense is a great oil for tightening skin, especially around the eye area. Pair the Frankincense Essential Oil with Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a DIY skin care treatment.

Photo from: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/neroli-essential-oil.html

6. Neroli Oil

Many experts agree that neroli oil is the best for tightening skin. That’s because it contains citral, a chemical known to regenerate skin cells. In addition, neroli oil helps to improve skin resilience, giving it awesome anti-aging properties. Mix Neroli Essential Oil with Grapeseed Skin Care Oil and apply to your skin liberally.

Article from: https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/lifestyle-buzz/the-6-best-essential-oils-to-help-tighten-loose-skin/ar-BBQwU5m

9 Herbs to Fight Arthritis Pain

Arthritis symptoms can keep you from going about your everyday activities. The pain and inflammation may still persist despite medical intervention. To get relief, more and more people with arthritis are seeking a natural approach by using herbal remedies.

Certain herbs may have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by reducing pain in all forms of the disease. Still, there is a lack of scientific evidence supporting such claims. Before you treat arthritis the “natural” way, make sure you talk to a doctor first to avoid life-threatening side effects.

1. Aloe vera

“aloe-vera”

Aloe vera is one of the most commonly used herbs in alternative medicine. Known for its healing properties, it’s popular for treating small skin abrasions. You may already have a bottle of aloe vera gel in the medicine cabinet from a past sunburn. This same type of product may be applied topically to soothe aching joints.

Aloe vera is also available in the whole form from the leaves of the plant. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) says that oral aloe vera can cause decreased blood sugar and gastrointestinal side effects, such as diarrhea. Topical aloe vera, on the other hand, does not cause any side effects and should be safe to try for arthritis.

2. Boswellia

“boswellia”

Boswellia, also called frankincense, is praised by alternative medicine practitioners for its anti-inflammatory capabilities. It’s derived from the gum of Boswellia trees indigenous to India.

This herb is thought to work by blocking substances (leukotrienes) that attack healthy joints in autoimmune diseases such as RA. The NCCIH acknowledges promising evidence of Boswellia in animal studies. But it notes a lack of human trials. Boswellia is available in tablet form and topical creams.

3. Cat’s claw

“Cats Claw”

Cat’s claw is another anti-inflammatory herb that may reduce swelling in arthritis. This herb is from a tropical vine, and its usage dates back to Incan civilizations. Traditionally, cat’s claw is used to boost the immune system.

In recent years, the immunity powers of the herb have been tried in arthritis. The downside is that cat’s claw may overstimulate the immune system and make arthritis pain worse.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, a study showed cat’s claw can help with RA swelling. But there’s no proof that this herb can prevent further joint damage.

4. Eucalyptus

“eucalyptus”

Like aloe vera, eucalyptus is widely available in Western markets. It’s used in oral medications, and topical oil extracts are used for a variety of conditions. Topical forms of eucalyptus leaves are used to treat arthritis pain.

The plant leaves contain tannins, which may be helpful in reducing swelling and the pain arthritis causes. Some users follow up with heat pads to maximize the effects of eucalyptus on swollen joints.

Be sure to test yourself for allergies before using topical eucalyptus. Put a small amount of the product on your forearm. If there is no reaction in 24 to 48 hours, it should be safe to use.

5. Ginger

“ginger”

You may have ginger in your spice cabinet for cooking, but this herb is also a staple in many alternative medicine cabinets. The same compounds that give ginger its strong flavor also have anti-inflammatory properties.

The NCCIH says that early studies in reducing joint swelling with ginger in RA are promising. But more human trials are needed to better understand its action. In folk medicine and Chinese medicine, ginger is used to increase blood circulation, which brings heat and healing properties to the affected area. Research shows promise for the use of ginger in all types of arthritis.

6. Green tea

“green-tea”

Green tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and has been used to reduce inflammation in the body. It’s possible that green tea can be used to treat arthritis inflammation in the form of beverages, tablets, or tinctures.

In a 2010 study, the NCCIH found that green tea might help people with osteoarthritis (OA) and RA. But many more studies are still needed to prove the potential benefits of green tea.

7. Thunder god vine

“thunder-god-vine”

Thunder god vine is one of the oldest herbs used in Chinese medicine. Extracts from skinned roots are known for suppressing an overactive immune system. This makes thunder god vine a possible alternative treatment for autoimmune diseases such as RA. It’s best to apply directly to the skin in a topical form. Thunder god vine may work best along with conventional RA medications.

Use extreme caution with this herb, as it can be poisonous if extracts are derived from other areas of the vine. Long-term use is not recommended.

8. Turmeric

“turmeric”

Turmeric is a yellow powder made from the related flowering plant. It’s used in cooking to make curry. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Lab studies on rats have also found this herb may slow the progression of RA. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been used in folk medicine for years. Unlike other types of herbs, the NCCIH found turmeric may work best in fighting joint pain when taken orally.

There still needs to be more studies done on the safety of turmeric, but its use is promising.

9. Willow Bark

“willow-bark”

Using willow bark is one of the oldest treatments for inflammation. In fact, people during Hippocrates’ time (fifth century B.C.) chewed on willow bark to help treat inflammatory conditions.

One study reported that the herb shows promise in relieving OA-related joint pain, particularly in the knees, back, hips, and neck. This treatment is taken orally, either by tea or tablet.

Getting the right dose is crucial. An overdose can cause rashes and other forms of inflammation. Do not use willow bark if you take blood thinners or are allergic to aspirin.

Article from: https://www.healthline.com/health/osteoarthritis/herbs-arthritis-pain

9 Herbs to Fight Arthritis Pain
Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes

Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes

Do Mother’s Natures Treatments Help Hot Flashes?

Black Cohosh

(Actaea racemosa, Cimicifuga racemosa) This herb has received quite a bit of scientific attention for its possible effects on hot flashes. Studies of its effectiveness in reducing hot flashes have produced mixed results. However, some women report that it has helped them. Recent research suggests that black cohosh does not act like estrogen, as once thought. This reduces concerns about its effect on the hormone-sensitive tissue (eg, uterus, breast). Black cohosh has had a good safety record over a number of years. There have been reports linking black cohosh to liver problems, and this connection continues to be studied.

Red Clover

(Trifolium pratense) In five controlled studies, no consistent or conclusive evidence was found that red clover leaf extract reduces hot flashes. As with black cohosh, however, some women claim that red clover has helped them. Studies report a few side effects and no serious health problems with use. But studies in animals have raised concerns that red clover might have harmful effects on hormone-sensitive tissue.

Dong Quai

(Angelica Sinensis) Dong Quai has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat gynecologic conditions for more than 1,200 years. Yet only one randomized clinical study of dong quai has been conducted to determine its effects on hot flashes, and this botanical therapy was not found to be useful in reducing them. Some experts on Chinese medicine point out that the preparation studied was not the same as they use in practice. Dong Quai should never be used by women with fibroids or blood-clotting problems such as hemophilia, or by women taking drugs that affect clotting such as warfarin (Coumadin) as bleeding complications can result.

Ginseng

(Panax ginseng or Panax quinquefolius) Research has shown that ginseng may help with some menopausal symptoms, such as mood symptoms and sleep disturbances, and with one’s overall sense of well-being. However, it has not been found to be helpful for hot flashes.

Kava

(Piper methysticum) Kava may decrease anxiety, but there is no evidence that it decreases hot flashes. It is important to note that kava has been associated with liver disease. The FDA has issued a warning to patients and providers about kava because of its potential to damage the liver. Because of this concern, Health Canada does not allow kava to be sold in Canada.

Evening Primrose Oil

(Oenothera biennis) This botanical is also promoted to relieve hot flashes. However, the only randomized, placebo-controlled study (in only 56 women) found no benefit over placebo (mock medication). Reported side effects include inflammation, problems with blood clotting and the immune system, nausea, and diarrhea. It has been shown to induce seizures in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia who are taking antipsychotic medication. Evening primrose oil should not be used with anticoagulants or phenothiazines (a type of psychotherapeutic agent).

Use with Caution

Of course, as with all therapies, there are some risks involved. The public usually takes herbal therapies in the form of supplement pills, not as a preparation made directly from the herb by a trained herbalist. Keep in mind that herbal supplements are not as closely regulated as prescription drugs. The amount of herbal product, quality, safety, and purity may vary between brands or even between batches of the same brand. Herbal therapies may also interact with prescription drugs, resulting in dramatic changes in the effect of the botanical, the drug, or both. To be safe, tell your healthcare provider about all botanical therapies you are considering and always stop all herbal treatments at least 2 weeks before any planned surgery.

 

Article from: http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments/natural-remedies-for-hot-flashes

Natural Solutions for The Double Burden of Depression & Anxiety

As if depression or anxiety is not enough to deal with, many people have to deal with both. Alarmingly, about 85% of people with depression also experience some anxiety; about 90% of people with anxiety suffer some depression (Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 2016;266(8):725–736). When people suffer from depression and anxiety simultaneously, the condition is more disabling and harder to treat

There is also a condition called Mixed Anxiety and Depressive Disorder (MADD), in which neither one predominates or is severe enough to warrant a psychiatric diagnosis separately, but, combined, do warrant a diagnosis.

Several natural supplements are effective for treating both depression and anxiety. Knowing about these treatments can be important from a perspective both of cost and of effectiveness.

Saffron

An important emerging herb for the treatment of depression is saffron. When people with depression were given 30mg of saffron extract or 100mg of the drug imipramine, the improvement was equal in the two groups, but the saffron was better because it was safer (BMC Complement Altern Med 2004;4:12). When 15mg of saffron petal extract or 10mg of Prozac are taken twice a day by people with depression, saffron brings about a significant effect that is equal to the effect of Prozac (JEthnopharmacol 2005;97:281-284; Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2007;31:439-442). Meta-analyses of saffron and depression have found the herb to be better than placebo and at least as good as drugs with the advantage of being safer (J Integr Med 2013;11:377-383; Hum Psychopharmacol 2014;29:517-527).

Excitingly, a recent study has shown for the first time that saffron is also an effective treatment for anxiety in people with depression and anxiety. This double-blind study gave 54 people with both mild to moderate depression and anxiety, according to the Beck Inventory, either a placebo or 100mg of saffron a day for twelve weeks. The saffron group had significantly greater improvement in depression than the placebo group with a 2 point greater improvement. The significant improvement in depression is consistent with the earlier saffron studies. What is new and exciting about this study is that the saffron group also had a significantly greater improvement in anxiety: the improvement was 3 points better than the placebo group (J Complement Integr Med 2016;13(2):195-199).

The evidence continues to mount for this impressive herb. When sixty people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety were given the SSRI citalopram or 30mg of saffron for six weeks, the response to both treatments for depression and anxiety was significant and equal, meaning that saffron was as good as the drug (Pharmacopsychiatry 2017;50(04):152-60).

And now, in a just-published study that seems to be the first study of kids with MADD, 68 kids between the ages of 12 and 16 were given either a placebo or 14mg of standardized saffron extract twice a day for eight weeks. All of the kids suffered from mild to moderate depression and anxiety. They were then evaluated for separation anxiety, social phobia, generalized anxiety, panic, obsessions/compulsions, and depression. The saffron produced significantly better improvements in overall symptoms and separately on separation anxiety, social phobia, and depression. Overall, the saffron group had a 33% reduction in their symptoms compared to a reduction of only 17% in the placebo group. Anyone who had a greater than 50% improvement in total score was considered to be a responder. While only 11% of the placebo group were responders, 37% of the saffron group were (J Affect Disord 2018;232:349-357).

Lavender

This gentle herb is as powerful as the not so gentle anti-anxiety drugs. Lavender oil capsules were compared to the benzodiazepine lorazepam in a six-week study of people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The results were the same for both treatments: lavender produced a 45% improvement on the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) and lorazepam produced a 46% improvement. Unlike benzodiazepines, though, the lavender oil was safe, non-sedating and non-addictive (Phytomed 2010;17(2):94-9).

Lavender can also compete with antidepressant drugs. People suffering from depression were given 60 drops of lavender tincture and placebo or 100mg of the antidepressant drug imipramine and placebo or 60 drops of lavender and 100mg of imipramine in a double-blind study. After 4 weeks, all 3 groups improved significantly. The group taking both imipramine and lavender experienced a significantly greater improvement than those taking either treatment alone (Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2003;27(1):123-7).

But what if you suffer from both anxiety and depression? When people with MADD were given 80mg of lavender oil or placebo for seventy days in a double-blind study, scores on the HAMA dropped significantly more in the lavender group: 10.8 points versus 8.4. Depression scores also dropped significantly more in the lavender group: 9.2 points versus 6.1. People on lavender had better clinical outcomes and better improvement in the quality of life (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2016;26:331–40).

Adding to the evidence is a study that compared 160mg of lavender oil a day to the SSRI paroxetine in people with GAD. After 10 weeks, HAMA scores decreased by 14.1 points on lavender but only by 11.3 points on paroxetine. 60.3% of people on lavender oil reduced their HAMA score by at least 50% compared to 43.2% on paroxetine. 46.3% of the lavender oil group now had scores below 10 versus only 34.1% of the paroxetine group. Interestingly for our topic, the lavender oil also showed “a pronounced antidepressant effect.” The researchers concluded that, for GAD, lavender oil is better and safer than paroxetine (Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2014;17(6):859-869).

And one more intriguing thing about lavender, depression, and anxiety. Anxiety, stress, and depression during pregnancy can have a negative effect on the health of both the mother and child. So, in a double-blind study, researchers asked 141 healthy pregnant women to rub either a placebo cream or lavender cream onto their legs for ten to twenty minutes 1.5 hours before going to bed. The lavender cream contained 1.25% lavender essential oil. At the end of the eight-week study, there was a significant improvement in anxiety, stress, and depression in the lavender group compared to the placebo group. By the end of only the fourth week, there was already a significant improvement in stress and anxiety (J Caring Sci 2015;4:63-73).

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort is well known as a herb for depression. Less well known is that one double-blind study has also demonstrated that St. John’s wort reduces anxiety (Fortschr Med 1995;113:404-8).

5-HTP

In an impressive study, 43% of people who had not responded to any antidepressant drug responded to 5-HTP. An additional 8% improved significantly (Neuropsychobiol1980;6:230-40). A review of studies determined that 5-HTP is as effective as tricyclic antidepressant drugs (Biol Psychiatry 1981;16:291-310). 5-HTP beat an SSRI, the leading class of antidepressant drug: 60.7% responded to the 5-HTP versus 56.1% to the drug. 5-HTP brought about a greater response, and it did it faster and safer (Psychopathology 1991;24:53–81). And in a double-blind study, 5-HTP was the equal of Prozac (Asian J Psychiatr 2013;6:29-34).

But a placebo-controlled study has now also shown that 200mg of 5-HTP significantly reduces the reaction to a panic challenge in people with panic disorders. There was an improvement in anxiety, panic symptom score and the number of panic attacks (Psychiatry Res 2002;113:237-43).

Rhodiola

Rhodiola has the impressive ability to calm you down and energize you at the same time. Rhodiola calms stress, improves well-being and decreases mental and physical fatigue. When 80 people with mild anxiety were given either 200mg of Rhodiola Rosea or nothing twice a day for two weeks, compared to the control group, the Rhodiola group experienced significant reductions in anxiety, stress, anger, depression, and confusion. They also had significant improvement in overall mood (Phytother Res 2015; 29(12):1934-9). So, Rhodiola also helps both anxiety and depression.

Probiotics

A strange addition to the list is probiotics: not usually thought of as a psychological supplement. In the first-ever study of probiotics and psychological conditions, people with depression had significantly better improvement in mood on a probiotic than on a placebo (Eur J Clin Nutr 2007;61:355-61). That study introduced probiotics as a supplement for depression. A second study found that a month of probiotics significantly improved depression and anger (Gut Microbes 2011;2:256-61). But, the same study also found significant improvement in anxiety. An earlier study had already hinted at an antianxiety effect for probiotics: a placebo-controlled study of people with chronic fatigue syndrome found that probiotics significantly reduced their anxiety scores (Gut Pathology 2009;1:6-10). So, the research also points to probiotics as a supplement for people with both depression and anxiety.

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
Natural Solutions for The Double Burden of Depression & Anxiety
Meditation for Beginners

Meditation for Beginners

The best time to start meditating is now. Meditation can help quiet the mind, focus your thoughts, and promote general well-being. Best of all, anyone with a few free minutes can start meditating today. Even if you have never meditated before, don’t be intimidated. Follow the 10 easy steps below, and you will become a meditation expert in no time!

How to Meditate for Beginners

  1. Find your motivation to start.
  2. Pick a peaceful, quiet place.
  3. Choose relaxing clothes and a comfortable pose.
  4. To start, set a timer for two minutes.
  5. Concentrate on your breathing.
  6. If your concentration is interrupted, refocus on your breathing.
  7. Do a body scan by focusing on different areas of your body.
  8. End your meditation with a positive ritual.
  9. Remember not to overthink it. Just enjoy the journey.
  10. Make it a habit.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Meditation

While there are countless meditation techniques and practices, the steps below offer a simple way to begin. Remember, while meditating, there is always room for improvement and a chance to learn something new. Try to enjoy the journey as you hone your meditation skills.

1. Choose to Start

Meditation starts with you. No matter your age or physical condition, meditation is always within reach. What is required on your part is the decision to begin. If you need some motivation, then try thinking about the reasons why you want to try it in the first place. Meditation can relieve stress and anxiety, promote physical and mental well being, and even be a spiritual experience. Find a quiet moment to write down what you are hoping to get out of it and go back and read it anytime you need some motivation to meditate.

2. Pick Your Location Wisely

Your environment is critical to cultivating the right experience. Try to find a peaceful, quiet space that helps you feel relaxed. While a calm bedroom, tranquil garden, or dedicated meditation space is ideal, it’s not always possible. When the optimal location is not available, remember, your car or even work desk can serve as your very own meditation retreat. The most important thing, especially when first starting out, is finding a location where you have the freedom to meditate for at least two minutes without interruption.

3. Get Comfortable With It

Before you can completely clear your mind, you will need to limit as many distractions as possible. Even small irritations will become distracting once you begin to meditate. Scan the area before you start and consider the type of pose you will be in the clothes you are wearing and your surroundings in general. Turn off your cell phone and anything else that might be disruptive.

Pick a Pose

Meditation works in nearly any position. Sitting, standing, and laying down are three basic poses that are great for first-time meditators. Select your starting posture based on comfort and whether or not you can hold it for a few minutes at a time. For most people, a good starting position is sitting cross-legged, hands resting on the legs, and eyes closed.

Clothes

Any clothing can work for meditation, but again, comfort is key. Many people enjoy light, loose-fitting clothes when they meditate, but you can wear anything you find relaxing. If you can’t decide what to wear, throw on your favorite pair of pajamas or comfortable workout clothes.

Chairs & Pillows

Meditation can involve long periods of sitting, especially as you progress. Seasoned meditators will typically have a dedicated cushion or mat in their home, but these are not necessary when you’re first starting out. Choose a comfy blanket or pillow or a sturdy, well-cushioned chair to maximize comfort for extended meditation sessions.

Sounds & Smells

Many other factors such as sounds and smells can help set the stage for a positive meditation session. Some prefer adding aromas in the forms of incense, essential oils, or scented candles, while others like to avoid sensory distractions altogether. Whatever you choose, just make sure the air you are breathing is fresh and clear of any toxins or pollutants. Natural sounds like wild animals or a babbling brook can also enhance or distract depending on the individual. Try a variety of settings to find out which works best for you.

4. Set a Timer

Meditation does not need to be a long process unless you want it to be. If you are just starting out, then begin with small increments of time. Setting a timer is very helpful for beginners because it can help keep your focus on breathing and not on the clock. To start, set the timer for two minutes, and do your best to stay focused and at the moment. As your confidence builds, try extending the timer by 30 seconds every session until you are meditating for five minutes or longer.

5. Focus On Your Breathing

One of the best ways to begin the practice of meditation is to focus on your breathing. Choose your pose and follow your breath as it flows from your nose into your lungs and out again as you exhale. Some find it helpful to count breaths, but it isn’t necessary. Concentrating on your breathing will help your mind focus as it adjusts to the silence. Even seasoned meditators pay close attention to their breathing as a way to be more mindful.

6. Return When You Wander

Most meditation practices aim to clear the brain of all thoughts and be more mindful. However, it is natural and even inevitable that your mind will wander or fixate on rotating feelings and physical sensations. Getting lost in these distractions is entirely normal, but not the goal of meditation. When this happens to you, recognize that your mind has wandered and try to refocus on your breathing.

7. Scan Your Body

Towards the end of each meditation session, take the time to do a body scan. During this scan, focus on different areas of your body. Ask yourself how you feel, and pay close attention to any part that may need healing. Shift your focus from your breathing and gradually move your attention from your toes up through your feet and legs. Eventually, you will reach every area of your body. Similar to your breathing, return focus when your mind wanders.

8. End Your Session on a Positive Note

Carry your mindfulness through to the end of your session. Slowly get up and take note of how you feel. Breathe in deeply and gently adjust your body and mind. Creating a personal ritual to end each session may be helpful. Ending rituals could include reciting a personal mantra or finishing with a light exercise or walk.

9. Don’t Overthink It

Don’t spend your meditation time worrying whether or not you are doing it right. It may take a while for you to become proficient, and that is ok. Just keep at it, have fun, and enjoy the journey.

10. Repeat Often

Meditation can help support a healthy body and mind. It promotes healthy blood pressure, a happy mood, and strengthens coping skills. However, to start seeing the benefits you will need to meditate regularly and make it a habit. Try picking a time and place every day where you can dedicate two to five minutes to meditate.

 

Article from: https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/meditation-beginners-step-step-guide-inner-tranquility/

Photo credit from: http://vividlife.me/ultimate/25586/free-tele-class-the-7-principles-of-spiritual-practice-meditation-with-ed-and-deb-shapiro/

Geranium Essential Oil – Uses & Benefits

Geranium essential oil is made from rose geraniums, also known as Pelargonium graveolens. Although it is most often used as a treatment for skin conditions, there are many other benefits of geranium essential oil that you may not be aware of. So, we are going to look at the various health benefits of and uses for geranium essential oil.

How to Use Geranium Essential Oil

As mentioned, geranium essential oil can be used for many different medical conditions and health issues. And, some of them may even surprise you.

Wrinkles

Geranium essential oil has astringent properties that make it ideal for numerous topical uses, which includes reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Applying two drops of geranium essential oil to your face can help tighten the skin, minimizing wrinkles and the signs of aging.

Muscle Tone

Similar to using geranium oil for wrinkles, it can also be used to help the appearance of muscle tone. Geranium oil’s astringent properties can also tighten the muscles and skin that covers them. This makes the skin appear less saggy, revealing more muscle tone.

You can improve muscle tone by adding five drops of geranium essential oil to one tablespoon of jojoba oil and use it as a massage oil. Massage this oil combination into the muscle areas like your back, shoulders, arms, abdominals a few times a week for best results.

Deodorant

Geranium oil is an effective natural deodorant because it works in two ways. First, geranium oil has antibacterial properties that kill odor-causing bacteria in the body. Secondly, geranium oil also smells very sweet and pleasant.

You can create this deodorant simply by taking a spray bottle filled with water and then adding five drops of geranium essential oil to it.

Bug Repellant and Itch Reliever

Despite its sweet smell, geranium essential oil can be used as a bug repellent due to its high citronellol content.

Mix five or six drops of geranium oil with a water-filled a spray bottle, and spray the mixture on your skin. This same mixture can be used to help take the sting and itch out of bug bites due to the geranium oil’s antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

In addition to these uses, there are a number of health benefits that geranium essential oils carry as well.

There are many geranium rose essential oil benefits to your overall health. From treating blood clotting to possibly helping with a neural disease like Alzheimer’s, there’s much this essential oil can add to your health.

Geranium oil has a good quantity of monoterpenoid compounds like citronellol that gives the oil antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Diuretic

Geranium oil is a natural diuretic which can help increase the amount of urine your body is producing. As a result, it can help your body flush out excess minerals like potassium and sodium. Excessive mineral build-up can cause health issues like kidney stones.

Infections and Inflammation

Due to the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of geranium oil, it can be a help with various infections and inflammation in the body. To prevent wounds from becoming infected, just carefully rub in a few drops of geranium oil in and around the area of the wound.

In the case of health issues like respiratory ailments and colds, using the vapors of geranium oil can help reduce inflammation and clear out some of the bacteria. You can easily do this by adding a few drops of the oil in your humidifier, or into a pot of boiling water and inhaling the fumes.

Helps You Heal Faster

Geranium essential oils can help stimulate blood circulation, which, in turn, may help speed up the healing process. It works best if you take a few drops of geranium oil and rub it into the area that needs healing.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, geranium essential oil may be able to help control it and help with symptoms. The citronellol content in geranium oil can trigger microglial cells, which can help prevent the inflammation of neural pathways. As a result, it may help prevent conditions like Alzheimer’s.

In addition to these health benefits, geranium essential oil can also help you out a great deal if you have issues with acne.

 

Article from: https://www.naturalblaze.com/2018/06/geranium-essential-oil-benefits.html

Geranium Essential Oil – Uses & Benefits