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130 articles in food

I must have flowers

I must have flowers

Whatever else happens in my life, I must have flowers. These gifts from Nature nourish the soul. We scatter their petals when we marry. We send bouquets of them to celebrate the birth of a child. We decorate our homes and our places of worship with them. We use flowers to comfort the lonely and the ill. We even honour the end of a person’s life by laying floral wreathes on a grave. Not only do flowers play a central role in the rituals of life, they bless our ordinary daily existence by blossoming in our gardens, waste ground and hedgerows – and gracing our windowsills by protruding gaily from a cracked teapot. Perhaps it is the velvet softness of their petals and their luminous colours that make these affirmations from nature so precious to us. Maybe it is the uplifting energy they carry – an energy you sense lying in a field of poppies or when you go into a florist’s shop. It could be the fragrance of flowers, or the transient nature of their coming and going. I don’t know. Ancient Wreaths Our passion for flowers and the awareness that they carry deep healing and sanctifying energies are both as old as history itself. Not long ago, archaeologists digging in the Cave of Shanidar within the Zagros Mountains of Iran unearthed nine bodies of primitive people and discovered that, at least 60,000 years ago, men and women were carrying out flower rituals similar to those we use today. The archaeologists found soil samples in which clusters of pollen from twenty-eight different species of flower lay in a circle forming a wreath which had been laid to rest with human remains. One of the interesting things about the find was that the flowers these primitive people chose to use as a sacred and healing offering to their dead were not the most beautiful, nor were they the most readily available in that area. The flowers from which these wreathes had been made were chosen from plants that are specifically known for their healing properties - hollyhock, grape hyacinth and horsetail - all of which we still use today for medicinal purposes. Precious Offerings The Ancient Greeks and the Egyptians used aromatic oils and flowers for healing too, as they did for embalming, expanding consciousness and for sanctifying space. The Bible is riddled with words of praise for flowers and what they have to teach us, both about the realms of Spirit and about the ordinary world in which we live most of our lives. It tells us “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Mathew 6:28-29). In Song of Solomon 2:12 “The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is at hand…” Soul Healers Not only does humanity have a passion for flowers. Flowers have a passion for us. They love to share with us their beauty, their healing powers – their very life force. “When I touch a flower, I am touching infinity,” said the American botanist George Washington Carver: “Through the flower I talk to the Infinite… a silent force… that still small voice.” American clairvoyant and healer Edgar Cayce celebrated the healing power of flowers again and again. He insisted that flowers bring companionship to those of us who are lonely, that they speak to the “shut in”, and that they bring Divine grace and upliftment to everyone. That is certainly my own experience of flowers. The Time Is Now Despite our longstanding love affair with flowers - despite the way for thousands of years we have used them for healing and to mark life’s passages, never in recorded history have we experienced a greater need for their healing and their blessings than right now. For we who live in the post-modern world often feel ourselves to be alienated, isolated, suspended, caught somewhere between the magnificent technology we have created and a longing to bond with the earth and with our own souls. Flowers can help bridge this gap. I think they do this better than anything else in nature. Flowers delight us, bless us and heal us. They clear the spiritual anorexia so widespread in urban life and help fill up our starving souls. They remind us of our own simple humanity as well as our essentially divine nature: They whisper to us of the splendour in the world around us—a world of which we humans are the guardians. Most important of all our relationship with flowers helps realign our ordinary day-to day lives with the authenticity of our unique soul energies. A big statement to make? Yes, but having worked with flower meditation for many years, having explored the potential flower essences have to build bridges for us between our inner truth and our outer lives I have come to believed with all my being that this is so. How Do Flowers Heal? No-one knows for sure. There are so many of their elements which carry healing potential that it would be hard to list them all: Their colours influence our mind, our energy levels, our clarity of thought. Colourful flowers and the plants they come from often carry health-enhancing nutrients within them - anti-oxidants such as flavinoids, which give plants their wonderful colours and help protect from degeneration, and other phyto-chemicals that help to strengthen immunity, improve circulation or delay ageing. Then there are the more recently discovered vibrational energies which Dr Bach called on when he fashioned flower essences and, of course, essential oil treats and treatments for person and place. Last, but by no means least, is the power of flower meditation. Here is where the soul of a human being meets the soul of a flower to bring healing, friendship and blessings to both. To Each His Own Flowers are as individual in their personalities as they are in their looks and fragrance. Some love the night. They only display their beauty and emit their fragrance once the sun goes down. Like night-owl people, at their best in the wee small hours of the morning, these blossoms have a passionate nature. They often carry exotic names like Queen of the Night, Night-Blooming Silene, and Gilliflower. Other flowers, like goatsbeard, poppy and marigold, open their petals at the crack of dawn then close down each evening and drift away into sleep. The sunflower stretches itself boldly towards heaven, while the bright blue borage flower, worshiped by Celtic warriors for its ability to bring courage in battle, bows its tiny head towards the ground. A shy soul with a great power to heal, borage prefers to go unnoticed – despite its heart-rending beauty. I have learned much about the individual personalities and soul nature of flowers not only from meditating on them and using them for healing but also from photographing them. Some, like peony, love the spotlight. Put them in front of a camera and they upstage everything else. Many have very strong likes and dislikes about where you plant them and where you place a bouquet of them in a room. On one table a particular flower becomes recalcitrant. But move it to the top of a bookcase in front of a window and suddenly it surrenders its beauty to the camera the way a woman yields to the touch of her lover. Each flower has unique healing properties and each speaks its own silent language. Learning that language, listening to flower wisdom and opening your heart to a flower’s healing energy can be a joyous and often life-changing experience. Spotlight On Flower Essences Get to know half a dozen of the most useful essences. Choose them depending on where you are in your life now and as you change explore more of these wonderful floral friends. Here is my personal selection with some information about each essence. It can open up a whole new world for you of beauty, healing and joy. Here are a few flower essences you might like Bach Original Flower Essences, Vervain Vervain is essentially a plant of ease. It eases heartache, headache, stomach-ache, concern for the future and bad luck. Dr Bach made a flower essence from vervain to ease stress and tension. Vervain is an essence for those of us who tend to ‘live on our nerves’. These people are likely to take on tasks beyond their strength then force themselves onward through will-power alone. They are the martyrs of this world who will do anything for their cause. Vervain essence is calming. It helps you to slow down long enough to listen to your own needs, and to the opinions of others as well as to let you restore your strength. In all its forms vervain brings relief. Order Bach Original Flower Essences, Vervain from iherb Flower Essence Services, Lotus The lotus is no symbol of abstract perfection never to be achieved. All true lovers of the lotus will tell you that true spirituality grows out of the depths of material form. Step by step it reaches toward the light. The unique power nestled within the lotus’ genetic structure is this: Only this flower among all water plants is born from the muck with such strength of stem that, instead of floating on the water as do others, the power of its life force raises it a foot or more above the pond. Flower essence made from lotus can help when you find yourself knee deep in an endless swamp. Meditating on the lotus flower opens you to a pride-free experience of your soul’s divinity. I find both the essence and the meditation useful in blearing illusions and dissolving spiritual pride. Lotus reminds us that all true spirituality is deeply rooted in imperfection. Order Flower Essence Services, Lotus from iherb Flower Essence Services, Sunflower Sunflower essence helps those on a spiritual path, who tend to forget their bodily needs. It brings grounding and helps us manage times of dramatic change with ease. Its wisdom is a fine example of the Australian aboriginal idea of 'keeping your head in the stars and your feet on the ground'. Sunflower essence also helps strengthen self-esteem. It can improve the way you relate to people in authority by allowing you to maintain your sense of self in the face of someone else’s demands. Order Flower Essence Services, Sunflower from iherb Flower Essence Services, Mallow, Flower Essence The mallow is a flower of the heart. Its flower essence can help you to align the demands of your head with the intuition of the heart – in effect, to hear the whispers of your soul. Mallow is of great help to those who ‘lead from the head’ rather than from the heart and who often feel that life is a struggle although they are not sure why. This essence helps you to integrate your deepest beliefs and desires with your daily thinking and, in doing so, to live out more fully your true nature. Order Flower Essence Services, Mallow, Flower Essence from iherb Bach Original Flower Essences, Honeysuckle Honeysuckle flower essence was a favorite of Dr Bach – father of all flower essences. He prescribed it “to remove from the mind the regrets and sorrows of the past.” It is an essence which can help anyone who is stuck in the past, either through regret or nostalgia. As Dr Bach insisted, the important thing about any experience is that we learn from it, not continue to relive it. Honeysuckle flower essence helps put the events of the past where they belong – behind you – so that you can go forward into the future with the enthusiasm and innocence of the child reborn. Order Bach Original Flower Essences, Honeysuckle from iherb Flower Essence Services Calendula The flower essence of calendula is both warming and calming. It can help speakers, writers, teachers and leaders use words with clarity, compassion and creativity. The flower boasts a benign energy that makes it easier to express yourself and at the same time honor the opinions of others. Marigold can be especially useful for people who find their discussions too often end in arguments. This flower essence brings warmth and patience. It encourages you to listen as well as to make your point and furthers the cause of real communication. Order Flower Essence Services Calendula from iherb

Why Organic Food Matters

Why Organic Food Matters

When World War I ended, manufacturers of chemical weapons did not know what to do with their company’s deadly products. A few inventive scientists—mostly in Germany—came up with the bright idea that these killer chemicals could be used on food crops. After all, since they killed enemies in wartime, surely they could be used to wipe out insects, fungi and other pests on farm crops. Who knows, they might even serve as fertilizers for farmers. CHEMICAL FARMING IS BORN They discovered that a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) would grow big yield crops of good-looking vegetables, grains, legumes and fruits. But little interest was taken in their discoveries until years later, at the end of World War II. At that time, most foods were still grown pretty much as they had always been—by farmers who manured, mulched, and rotated their crops to keep soils rich and in good condition. To put it another way, most food was grown organically, although nobody had even coined the word by then. By the time World War II ended, chemical conglomerates involved in the manufacture of phosphates and nitrates as war materiel found themselves stuck with huge stockpiles. So they went looking for new markets. Aware of the early research into chemical fertilizing, they began to sell them artificial NPK fertilizers at costs low enough to make it all look very attractive. DECEPTIONS BEGIN These purveyors of chemicals spread the false belief that NPK is all you need to grow healthy crops. However, there were unfortunately two very important facts which chemical hawkers left out. Probably they did not even know. (Or perhaps it was not so good for their profit margins to know.) The first is that, although plants grow big on artificial fertilizers, they do not grow resistant to disease. The second is that the health of human beings eating plants grown this way can be seriously undermined. Plants grown only on NPK are deprived of essential minerals and other micro-substances which they need to synthesize natural complexes in roots and leaves that ward off attack by insects, weeds and animals. SOIL LIFE DESTROYED So before long, the new artificially fertilized vegetables and fruits began to develop these diseases. Chemical hawkers were quick to the rescue. The answer to this problem, they told us, was to be found in using MORE chemicals. This is when pesticides, herbicides, nemacides and fungicides came into being, providing chemical companies with yet another exciting business opportunity—especially since the longer you fertilize chemically, the more depleted in organic matter all soils become and the less they contain of the minerals and trace elements needed to synthesize natural protective complexes during growth, so the more pesticides you need. As time went on, more and more pesticides including other even nastier chemicals were sold. Before long, another important fact began to raise its ugly head. It was this: like plants, human beings need a lot more than nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus from the foods they eat to maintain their own health. MINERALS VANISHED Your body cannot make minerals. It has to take them in, in a good balance, from the foods you eat. In addition to nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, your body requires magnesium, manganese and calcium, selenium, zinc, copper, iodine, boron, molybdenum, vanadium and other trace elements, some as yet undiscovered, to stay healthy. These elements can only come from the foods you eat. This they do, so long as the foods you eat are grown organically in healthy, traditionally fertilized soils. But they are completely missing and unbalanced in the foods we buy today, thanks to our legacy of chemical farming. The organic matter in healthy soil is Nature's factory for biological activity. It is built up as a result of the breakdown of vegetable and animal matter by the soil's natural ‘residents’—worms, bacteria and other useful micro-organisms. The presence of these creatures in the right quantity and type gives rise to physical, chemical and biological properties that create fertility in our soils and make plants grown on them highly resistant to disease. When it comes to human health they do a lot more. GIFT FROM MINERALS The minerals and trace elements you need to trigger your metabolic processes, on which health and leanness depend, have to be in an organic form—this means they have to be taken from living things such as plant or animal foods. You cannot eat nails—inorganic iron—and expect to protect yourself from anaemia, or chew sand—inorganic silica—and be sure to get enough silica, the trace element to help keep your nails and hair strong and beautiful and protect your bones from osteoporosis. It’s the organic matter in soils which enables plants grown on them to transform inorganic iron and silica into the organic form, which is taken up by the vegetables and fruits, grains and legumes which we then eat, making these nutrients available to our bodies. Destroy the soil's organic matter through chemical farming, and inexorably you destroy the health of people and animals living on foods grown on it. Organic methods of farming also help protect against significant distortions in mineral balances—an increase in one or more mineral elements which can alter the availability of others. This can also undermine your health. No such protection is available when your foods have been chemically grown. STRUGGLING TO COPE Your body has a remarkable ability to compensate for a mineral or trace element missing from your food. But, after years of our eating nutritionally-depleted foods, multiple deficiencies are virtually ubiquitous. According to large scale studies, these days almost none of us get the minerals we need to ensure that our metabolic processes work adequately—processes on which health, leanness, and the immune system depend. And the deficiencies we have developed from this, as well as the metabolic distortions that come in their wake, cannot easily be corrected. Popping the latest multi-mineral tablet from your corner pharmacy or health-food store won't do it, by the way. NATURE’S OWN Nutrients in foods exist in complex synergy and affect each other. They also interact and work together in your body. A balance of bio-available minerals and trace elements in fresh, organic foods is infinitely more complex than vitamin fanatics would have us believe. To restore balance once it has been disturbed, you need to return to good wholesome food—supplemented with extra green plants such as kelp, spirulina, chlorella, barley grass or alfalfa. However, this is a slow process taking months and even years. OSTRICHES EVERYWHERE Our indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and other chemicals has quite literally poisoned the land we live in, and fostered degenerative diseases throughout the world. It was Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, who, back in 1947, warned that this would happen. At the time, she was viciously attacked for her brilliant book. Chemical interests did everything in their power to discredit what she wrote. Now, more than half a century later, her prophetic words have turned out to be terrifyingly accurate. Since Silent Spring, many laws have been passed and many official agencies have been set up throughout the world designed to regulate the kind and quantity of chemicals used on the land. They vary greatly in their approach and powers from one country to another. Sadly, they all have one thing in common: an inability to stop or significantly alter the ubiquitous poisoning of lands, people, animals and the earth itself. So the poisoning of our air, land and water continues. In most countries it grows worse year by year. Like ostriches, we often bury our heads in the sand, hoping that what we don't see won't hurt us. Meanwhile, each year, billions of gallons of chemicals are sprayed onto crops. In the US alone, billions of pounds of pesticides are spread over the soils including herbicides, chemical fertilizers, rodentocides, and other chemical contaminants. GO ORGANIC Even better... grow as many of your own fruits and vegetables in the garden, in the windowsill of your kitchen, or anywhere you can find good soil that has not been chemically treated. Organic growing will help protect you from significant distortions in mineral balance. Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are sprayed with pesticides—petrochemically derived compounds which behave like low-dose synthetic oestrogens in the body. Many are also treated with fungicides or wax. Each one of these chemicals contributes to the toxic overload which ages your body rapidly, putting pressure on your liver and encouraging free radical damage. When it comes to maintaining good insulin balance, you do not want this to happen. A stressed liver has trouble managing glucose and controls insulin poorly. Shop as often as you can in stores which offer organic produce and non-GMO foods. Not only do organic vegetables taste better, the organic matter in healthy soil is nature’s factory for biological activity that, when you eat them fresh, is communicated to you. Organic vegetables supply us with an excellent balance of minerals, trace elements, and vitamins. The organic matter in soil is built up as a result of the break-down of vegetable and animal matter by its natural residents - worms, bacteria and other micro-organisms. The presence of these creatures in the right quantity and type, which you never find in factory farming, gives rise to physical, chemical and biological properties which create fertility in our soils and make plants grown on them highly resistant to disease. This resistance to illness and degeneration is then passed on to us when we eat the foods.

Faux Grains Are Fabulous - Amaranth, Buckwheat, Millet, Quinoa, Wild Rice

Faux Grains Are Fabulous - Amaranth, Buckwheat, Millet, Quinoa, Wild Rice

Eating cereals, grains and packaged foods distorts hormonal regulation and interferes with the body’s ability to maintain its functions within a normal range. These foods wreak havoc with insulin and blood sugar levels, produce peaks and troughs of energy, cause cravings, create chronic fatigue, weight gain and a myriad of other problems, including brain fog and depression. Independent studies confirm all this and more. What’s the alternative? The answer is simple. Replace them with FAUX GRAINS so health and vitality can soar. WHAT ARE FAUX GRAINS? As yet few people have even heard of faux grains—also known as pseudo-grains. These are seeds and grasses which for generations have been mistakenly labeled grains. Grains they are not. They are completely different. High in protein and fiber but low-glycemic compared to grains, they are full of vitamins and minerals including magnesium, iron and calcium. Far easier to digest and assimilate than grains, they are also gluten-free and alkaline-forming when we eat them. These pseudo-grains are great for making muffins, pancakes, cereals, loaves, pilafs and all sorts of other dishes. You can even sprout many of them with ease to supply even more vitamins, minerals and important plant factors to your body. Here are a few of the most-celebrated faux grains. Try adding them to your diet. Amaranth Buckwheat Millet Quinoa Wild rice We’ll look at some more of the benefits that come from using each of these amazing foods in a moment. But first it’s important that you know about the grains you will benefit from eliminating from your life, and why. BAD INFORMATION Most people—including those who believe they are eating a “healthy diet”—are amazed to learn that the common grains we eat, which form the base of convenience foods, play a major role in the development of diabetes, coronary heart disease and a myriad of other degenerative conditions. For more than half a century food manufacturers, intent on making profit, have been producing a great variety of palatable “foods” by fragmenting and reducing raw material foodstuffs—grains and fats and sugars—to simple “nuts and bolts” ingredients. These nuts and bolts are then whipped up into the manipulated convenience foods that fill supermarket shelves—from ready-to-eat meals to candy bars, cakes, breads, and cereals—in short, the stuff that makes up some 75% of what the average person eats. Eating these foods and or the grains they contain encourages rapid aging. Eat a diet full of grains and cereals, and your body gets busy fabricating wrinkles, sags, a puffy face and a lackluster complexion. Then you wonder why it appears to be aging so quickly. Also, as a result of the chronic high blood sugar and insulin resistance which develops from eating grains and cereals, you can end up muddle-minded, depressed and lacking in the energy to change any of this. DUMP THE GRAINS Here is a short list of grains you benefit from avoiding: Barley Bulgar (cracked wheat) Corn and Popcorn Oats Rice Rye Sorghum Spelt (which is an older form of wheat) Wheat (which includes emmer, farro, einkorn, durum and kamut) There are numerous reasons to get rid of these grains from the meals you eat. Here’s an aide memoir: The vast majority of grains cause inflammation. Causes weight gain, sugar issues, food cravings, and predisposes you to diabetes. Grains are significant contributors to the development of chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, depression and rapid aging. 95% of corn and soy grains throughout the world are genetically modified. It is virtually impossible to tell if you are buying drinks or foods that contain GMO soy and corn. This is because neither the grains themselves nor the convenience foods which contain them are marked as such. Under no circumstances do you want to put any GMO food into your body. Nowadays, most grains are badly grown and processed, so that whatever nutritional value they once contained is now vastly diminished. A large part of the 21st Century population are gluten intolerant. Gluten is a protein not only found in wheat but the majority of other common grains, whether or not they have been highly processed. Many still believe that gluten only is only present in wheat. In truth it is also present in many other grains as well. These are but a few reasons to seriously minimize or completely eliminate grains, cereals, and convenience foods from your life. Most people who do are surprised to by how much better they feel. Many shed excess weight and in the process develop a spontaneous desire to increase the quantity of fiber-rich fresh raw vegetables in their diet. They report renewed vitality and wellbeing. They are able to control their weight without having to restrict the quantity of food they eat. To anybody who has conscientiously fought—and too often lost—the battle of the bulge, this can seem like a miracle. In truth, it’s no miracle. All this comes as a result of the metabolic rebalance which takes place by turning away from convenience foods, sugars and grains, and replacing them with nourishing seeds and grasses. SEEDS AND GRASSES RULE Amaranth This seed, which you can even sprout if you want to, comes from a Central American plant rich in potassium, phosphorous and vitamins A, E, and C. It has a light peppery flavor and mixes well with other pseudo-grains. Relatively high in protein, it’s blessed with natural essential oils and it is a great source of the amino acid lysine, which is not abundant in most plant foods. You can make delicious porridge from amaranth. It also works well with foods that have a strong flavor, such as chocolate. Use 1 part amaranth seeds to 3 to 6 parts water. Bring water to a boil, then add the seeds and gently simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Gradually amaranth thickens the liquid. When cooked, rinse the amaranth and let it drain. Use it in stews and soups, or add some butter and stevia and serve as a delicious and satisfying breakfast. Buckwheat One of the most ancient of all the seeds and grasses, buckwheat has nourished humans for 10,000 years. Do not be deceived by its name. It has no relation to wheat itself, and is not a grain but a broadleaf plant in the same family as sorrel and rhubarb. In Russia they call it Kasha and use it instead of rice. Buckwheat is great for making everything from soba noodles to light-as-air pancakes, muffins and breads. It is full of magnesium and potassium and it has a distinctly nut-like taste. The buckwheat seed is triangular in shape with a protective hull which is most often taken off when it’s milled. Millet This tiny seed which we feed to birds is full of magnesium, manganese, copper, calcium, tryptophan, phosphorous, B vitamins and antioxidants. It makes creamy-like “mashed potatoes” as well as “fluffy rice”, and couscous. Millet is a particularly delicious seed, which many still think of as a grain, with masses of health benefits. Use 2 to 3 parts water to 1 part millet. Boil water, add grain and gently boil for 35 to 40 minutes. You can also "toast" millet in a hot pan before boiling to get a nuttier flavor. Quinoa Pronounced KEEN-wa, a sacred staple of the Incan empire, quinoa is a powerhouse of nutritional goodness. It boasts eight essential amino acids, B complex vitamins, phosphorous, iron, calcium and Vitamin A. More delicate in flavor than some of the other seeds and grasses, it’s great for stews, pilafs, salads and breads. You can toast quinoa flour by spreading it onto a baking sheet and putting it into a high oven for half an hour stirring occasionally. It turns a dark golden color and smells wonderful. Quinoa cooks in just 15 minutes. Use 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. Use quinoa instead of bulgar to make tabbouleh. It’s a great substitute for rice and rice pudding. Wild Rice Not a true member of the rice family, wild rice is an aquatic grass with edible seeds. It grows in cold-weather country and is very high in protein. It’s one of my personal favorite foods. It was once a staple of Native Americans from the Algonquin to the Soux. I was first introduced to wild rice by my mother, who was part American Indian. It has a distinctive nutty flavor, chewy texture and contains almost twice as much protein and fiber as does brown rice. Like many of the seeds and grasses, wild rice is relatively low in calories. It is also easy to cook the same as you would ordinary rice, and wonderful served with chicken, fish, or curry. THE WAY AHEAD Eliminating wheat, maize, sugars, starches and sweets from your diet, and drastically reducing or cutting out the other grains and cereals, transforms the biochemistry of your body, restores energy and wipes out cravings for alcohol, drugs and sweets. It helps the body grow leaner and stronger, then supports it to stay that way. Although as yet little known these delicious grasses and seeds—are important for everyone, even young children. They're naturally high in fiber and filling to eat. And, when eaten regularly, they help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes—even certain cancers.

Secret Powers Of Plants

Secret Powers Of Plants

Herbs are hardy beasts. Like street kids who grow up in tough surroundings, these plants are survivors. Most have had to withstand harsh weather and little nourishment from the soil. This helps clear out the weaklings, making their genetic strains stronger. Their strength has also led them to develop an array of potent plant powers—phytochemicals: flavonoids and saponins, tannins and phytosterols. HEALING FOR YOU These plant chemicals, which play a beneficial role in the developing herb, also bring us health when we use them. Take bitters, for instance. You find them in herbs like dandelion, mugwort, gentian, horehound, burdock, and yellow dock. Botanists believe bitter elements probably help protect the plant from being eaten in the wild. Bitter herbs are wonderful for improving digestion in our bodies. They help heal the lining of the gut, improve the way digestive enzymes, juices and hormones flow, and stimulate the flow of bile. Bitter herbs seem to validate that old saying that the worse something tastes, the better it is for you. MIND BENDERS Alkaloids—plant chemicals which botanists tell us help regulate plant growth, while discouraging damage from predators—can exert powerful effects on our minds when we use them. Coffee is full of alkaloids. So are opium, black tea, cocoa, and tobacco. All of these plants are considered sacred by our ancestors, going back thousands of years. Many immune-enhancing plants, so useful in protecting from illness and clearing infection, are also rich in alkaloid compounds. Take echinacea and goldenseal, which I have used for half a century to heal my family when they were threatened with infection of any kind. Meanwhile, gums and resins such as myrrh, pine, and the Ayurvedic remedy guggul, taken from branches and woods, carry the life blood of a tree or shrub. They transport nutrients to wherever the plant needs them. Many of these plants, including the wonderful guggul, can be used to enhance our own circulation and even to rebalance good and bad cholesterol. EAT YOUR COLOR The brilliant colors of flowers, stems, leaves and fruits are not just beautiful to look at. They are rich in flavonoids—phytochemicals responsible for vivid yellows and oranges and reds, that attract bees and other insects for pollination. Such glorious living hues also attract animals. Then the beasts who eat these plants unwittingly act as carriers for their seeds. Colorful flavonoids bring to us humans great anti-aging benefits. They are powerful antioxidants against free-radical damage—even more powerful than the well-recognised Vitamins A, C, E and the minerals selenium and zinc. Plants rich in flavonoids help protect us from degeneration, they strengthen our blood vessels and the collagen in our skin, they guard our cells from oxidation destruction, they calm inflammation, and help keep the body free of water retention. Some flavonoids can even help clear muscle spasm. SUPERB SAPONINS The saponins which you find in roots and leaves lather like soap. Some are useful expectorants for coughs. Others help us regulate our hormones or counteract stress. Meanwhile, the essential oils of herbs, found in leaves and flowers, fruits and barks, help plants like mint, bergamot, lavender and ginger attract pollination thanks to their signature fragrances. And they protect these plants from disease thanks to their anti-microbial actions. In our lives, some essential oils make it possible for us to create beautiful perfumes and incense. Others have antiseptic actions, others improve digestion, stimulate circulation, improve the look and texture of skin and do a hundred other good deeds. The anthraquinones, found in the roots and leaves of herbs like yellow dock, protect plants from fungal and bacterial destruction. For us, plants rich in these yellow phyto-chemicals can help stimulate bile production, boost a sluggish liver, and improve digestion. It is fascinating to become familiar with the actions of phytochemicals. The more you learn about them, the more you realize just how all-encompassing herbal healing can be.

My Love Affair With Plants

My Love Affair With Plants

For more than a million years, our ancestors lived with herbs. They cooked with them, healed with them, used them to scent their bodies and sanctify their prayers. On a molecular level, the human body recognizes herbs when we take them. Get to know the nature of a few specific plants and they will enhance your life immeasurably. In a very real sense, we can come to know an herb the way a woman knows her lover. The spirit of a plant meets the spirit of a human. Expect magic. You won’t be disappointed. A FINE ROMANCE My own passion for herbs began when I discovered the help they could bring me and my family. Simple plants such as nettle or golden rod (Solidago virgauria) have a natural cleansing and diuretic effect on my body. Traveling on airplanes, my ankles used to swell up. I discovered when I got home and made a cup of golden rod or nettle tea, the swelling would vanish. Fascinated, I began to read about what herbs can do for the immune system. I began to experiment with other plants—goldenseal and echinacea, burdock and shiitake mushrooms. I began to give herbs to my whole family whenever any of us threatened to come down with flu or a cold. I discovered that, provided we took them in time, one or a combination of plants would clear the problem before the full force of any illness hit. A doctor friend, Gordon Latto, taught me that gargling with red sage and sticking a clove of garlic in its paper shell in between the teeth and the inside of the mouth for a few hours a day would clear a sore throat and nip throat infections in the bud. I began to wonder just how many other remarkable things plants could do for us. THE SUPERB ADAPTOGENS I was lucky enough to meet with the famous Russian scientist I.I. Brekhman, expert in adaptogenic herbs, who won the Lenin Prize for Science. From him I learned that the adaptogens such as ginseng, eluthrococcus or Siberian Ginseng, and Suma from South America strengthen a person’s ability to resist illness as well as making it possible for us to work and play longer and harder without experiencing the negative effects of prolonged stress. That was thirty years ago. Since then I have come to use herbs and flowers, fresh raw juices and vegetables, water and tender loving care to help the body protect itself from illness, heal a sickness when it struck, calm an agitated mind, induce slumber when unable to sleep, clear depression, and care for my skin. I have also learned to use herbs to decorate my house and sanctify my working space. I also fell in love with photographing them. Meanwhile, I raised four children without antibiotics or over-the-counter drugs thanks to the blessings of herbs. DAZZLING POWER The classic definition of an herb is ‘a non-woody plant which dies down to its roots each winter’. This definition is far too limiting. It was probably made up by 19th century European botanists who had never seen the rainforest in which, of course, there is no winter to die back in. Neither had they ever heard of woody trees and shrubs such as hawthorn, ginkgo and elder, which provide us with some of the best-selling herbs on the market these days. My own definition of an herb is simply a medicinal plant. It can come from any climate and be a leaf, a bark, a flower or a root. It can be home-grown or wild—a weed, a spice, a plant which is used for its healing, culinary or beautifying properties. So powerful are the health-enhancing capacities of herbs that a vast number of common prescription drugs have been derived from a mere 90 species of plants. According to Professor Norman Farnsworth—leading American expert in pharmacognosy at University of Illinois —74% of common drugs have been developed directly out of traditional native herb folklore. In the United States alone, the annual sales of prescription drugs developed from plant products used by tribal cultures is already in excess of $6 billion. Unlike prescription drugs, whose side-effects can be devastating, most herbs are both safe and simple to use. Most carry no side-effects at all. MEDICAL FAILURE The way we have thought about health and healing for the past century—what the experts call our biomedical model—has come to the limits of its usefulness. Conventional medical practices view the body as a collections of structures—bones and blood, cells and tissues. Common medical treatment consists of acting on these structures in a symptomatic way. Doctors give one drug to lower blood pressure or cholesterol, another to get rid of headaches or put you to sleep. Whether these drugs are medically prescribed or over-the-counter products, virtually all carry negative side effects. Most have no concern with genuine healing. They instead focus on ‘managing’ illness by suppressing symptoms. Herbal treatment, like all of the great natural approaches to health through history, looks at things differently. It insists that at every level of biological organisation—from chromosomes in our DNA all the way up to our eyes and toes, stomach and liver—the body has a stunning capacity for self-treatment. It is capable of removing damaged structures and renewing them on its own. The natural capacity of living organisms as complex as ours to regenerate themselves is something that symptomatic drug-based medicine ignores altogether. Yet self-regeneration lies at the very core of using natural foods, water, air and movement therapies, and of course herbs, to strengthen, balance or heal. Chinese medicine is functional medicine; it did not develop along structural lines as Western 20th century medicine did. So is Ayurvedic and Unani medicine from India, and nature-cure in the West. The Chinese pharmacopoeia is the richest in the world. Chinese doctors value plants for their ability to strengthen the body’s functioning, heighten its own defences and improve immunity. They use herbs, as we are only now beginning to in the West, to extend longevity, to increase resistance to illness, to heighten energy, and to calm disturbed emotions. BRING MAGIC INTO YOUR LIFE There is an endless parade of different ways you can use herbs. In the health food store and mail order catalogue you can find a confusing array of capsules, pills, tablets, extracts, tinctures and ‘whole herbs’ or ‘bulk herbs’, none of which seem to relate to the ‘infusion’ you have decided you would like to take. And what about the herbs you have growing in your garden? Here is a rough guide to finding your way through the confusion. First, find yourself a reputable supplier. I have a passion for iHerb.com, since the variety of herbal products they offer are the best and cheapest anywhere, and they ship worldwide. Personally, I’m wary of buying herbs in health food stores or pharmacies unless they come from a manufacturer or supplier I know. With a supplier you trust and with whom you can discuss your needs, you can be sure you are getting a good potency and that the herbs have not been sitting in a cupboard somewhere for months. BULK/DRIED/WHOLE HERBS What you are buying is a bag or box of a specific weight of dried herb, either in its whole form, crushed or powdered. This is the best way to purchase herbs if you want to make teas (infusions), decoctions, or your own capsules, or if you want to use them in potpourris and sachets. It is also about the cheapest way to buy dried herbs. TINCTURES A tincture uses alcohol diluted in water to draw out the plant’s chemical constituents and preserve them. You can buy tinctures by the bottle and they are pretty potent. You take from several drops to 1 teaspoon or more of a tincture in a little water several times a day if needed. Tinctures are best bought from a reputable supplier. You can make them yourself, but the process is less accurate than when they are professionally produced. I buy many herbs in tincture form as I find them so convenient. You will sometimes find a figure such as 1:4 on a bottle of tincture. This gives you the ratio of the weight of the herb—in this instance 1 part of herb—to alcohol/water mix. An herbalist may suggest you take a specific ratio in which case your supplier can advise, but for general usage you don’t need to know the ratio. EXTRACTS Extracts are easy to confuse with tinctures. They are far more concentrated. They aim to contain all the active chemicals of the plant, not only those that will dissolve in alcohol. Extraction processes vary from pressure rolling to heat treatment to vacuum extraction. These are best left to the experts. Extracts have a limited shelf life. They should be kept in the fridge. Herbalists often prescribe extracts during an illness, rather than using them for prevention. Extracts can also be useful to add to a cream or salve for external use: ¼ extract to ¾ base. They are pretty strong in their action. TABLETS, PILLS & CAPSULES Tablets, pills and capsules are often more readily than the loose dried herbs themselves. Tablets, pills and capsules usually contain the whole herb, not just the constituents extracted in a tincture or infusion. Therefore, in taking them, you are making use of the synergy in action between all the constituents of each plant. Choose those from a reputable manufacturer/supplier. Tablets are made from dried plant material—leaves, roots, bark and/or flowers—mixed with a base, sometimes lactose, both to help you hold them in your hand to take them and to aid absorption in the stomach. Pills are, basically, tablets with a coating. If the plant is sticky, smelly, or tastes dreadful—or all three—it is more likely to come in pill form than tablet form as the protein or sugar coating disguises less pleasant aspects of the plant. Usually I avoid these, since sugar in any form is far from beneficial. Capsules, made of gelatine or a vegetarian equivalent, are filled with dried herbs—even the stickier, smellier ones. They need to be stored in a cool, dry place, but they preserve herbs well. You can buy gelatine capsules from a chemist and fill them yourself, either with herbs you have dried yourself or with dried herbs you have bought in bulk. The standard 00 size capsule holds about ½ gram (500mg) of herb. Make sure the herb is ground into as fine a powder as possible before filling, so that it can be easily absorbed by the body. A WONDROUS WORLD Plants speak volumes when you know how to listen. One of the great joys of our herbal tradition has been the love affair that takes place when the spirit of an herb meets the spirit of the person using it. It is an old art by which, using your intuition and trusting your instinct, you can move towards an awareness of the central nature of a plant and how best it can be used. For example—the herb Leonurus cardiaca is a powerful strengthener of the heart, reducing tachycardia and hypertension and promoting normal heart action. The essence of its personality, however, is better expressed in its common name—motherwort. This herb has the ability to bring a sense of absolute security—the way a baby feels lying in the arms of its mother—during periods of deep and unsettling change. Every plant has secret wisdom and power. It will tell you its tales and offer its richness to you as you open your heart to it.

Sacred Truth Ep. 40: Eat Fat For Health

Sacred Truth Ep. 40: Eat Fat For Health

All over the world, people are getting sicker by the year, while food manufacturers, government bodies, and the mainstream medical profession keep telling us to eat more low-fat-high-carb foods and plenty of unsaturated golden oils. They warn us to stay away from all the “dangerous” saturated fats and oils. So we go on buying convenience foods riddled with carbs and sugars, believing that we are doing the right thing to protect from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and mounting degenerative diseases that plague the Western World. Well, my friend, such advice from the powers-that-be is not just untrue—it is positively dangerous. To stay healthy, protect yourself from obesity, degenerative conditions, and early aging, it’s important that you avoid starchy carbs, hidden sugars, and all highly processed unsaturated oils. We have been indoctrinated with an irrational fear of fat because of inaccurate research carried out way back in the 1960s when absurd assumptions became turned into quasi-religious non-sense dogma. Since then, instead of protecting us from heart disease, obesity, and other degenerative conditions, what we’ve been told has made us highly susceptible to all these diseases. It’s time to get savvy about the fats—to learn which fats are life-destroying and which are health-enhancing and to change the way you eat. Here’s the truth: Polyunsaturated fats and oils turn rancid when heated. They turn into a health-destroying source of free radicals that do your body great harm. They attack cells and damage DNA. Recent, reliable scientific studies show a definite connection between consumption of these polyunsaturated oils and the development of cancer, as well as heart disease and many other illnesses. Here’s the gen: avoid these oils at all cost: Safflower, Corn, Sunflower, Soybean and Cottonseed. They are badly processed, and are often full of dangerous chemicals. As far as canola oil is concerned—commonly used in the manufacture of convenience foods—it turns rancid quickly and is associated with the development of fibrotic heart lesions. The oils and fats you want to eat to look after your health and to stay lean are these: butter from grass-fed animals, and tropical oils such as coconut oil. Coconut oil is great for cooking. Extra-virgin olive oil is ideal for salad dressings. These are quality fats which, eaten on their own, or together with protein but without an abundance of starchy carbohydrates and sugar alleviate hunger and act as a great source of energy throughout the day. Eating too little of these good fats can lead to an experience of sitting down to a meal and, no matter how much you eat, still craving more food at the end of it. These natural fats let you know when your body is satisfied. They also help balance your hormones while significantly enhancing how you look and feel. Low-fat foods fill our supermarket shelves, attracting ignorant consumers trying to be good and eat what they’ve been told to eat. Manufactured convenience foods have become a roaring financial success story for food manufacturers. So people eat low-fat foods, believing that these are good for them, without realizing that manufacturers, in preparing low-fat menus, have replaced fat with sugar in their wares. We have been told the false notion that all saturated fats are dangerous. Back to the good oils: Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat and one of the safest vegetable oils you can use. It is well suited to dressings and can be heated, but only to moderate temperatures. Make sure that the Extra Virgin Olive Oil you buy is cloudy (not filtered) and a golden-yellow color. Coconut oil is your safest, healthiest choice for cooking since it remains stable, even at high temperatures. It also boasts antiviral and antibacterial properties. The other good, and often forgotten, saturated fat is butter but only from cows who have been grazed on green grass for at least part of their life. Here’s the good news: Natural fats eaten on their own or together with protein, without a lot of carbohydrates and sugar, will not cause the laying down of fat on your body. Neither will they create insulin resistance, as polyunsaturated oils, grain and cereal-based carbohydrates and sugars can. This is the most difficult truth for most people to grasp when we have been schooled for more than half a century in inaccurate and dangerous high-carbs-low-fat approaches to weight loss and protection from illness and obesity. Yet, when it comes to becoming radiantly well and staying that way, you need to grasp this truth and put it into practice. One more thing: Be sure to take a top quality Omega 3 supplement each day. (See below for my recommendation.) And from this moment on, eat GOOD FATS and thrive. You’ll love it. Life Extension, Super Omega-3, EPA/DHA With Sesame Lignans & Olive Fruit Extract, 240 Softgels The body needs fatty acids to survive and is able to make all but two of them: linoleic acid (LA), in the omega-6 family, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in the omega-3 family. These two fatty acids must be supplied by the diet and are therefore considered essential fatty acids (EFAs). Omega-3 fatty acids, found in coldwater fish (and fish oil), perilla and flaxseed oils, are essential elements of a healthy diet. Omega-3 oils contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are usually lacking in the typical Western diet, which is filled with foods containing high amounts of omega-6 fats. EPA and DHA can be synthesized in the body from ALA, but EPA and DHA synthesis may be insufficient under certain conditions and for most people that consume Western diets. Order Life Extension, Super Omega-3 from iherb Carlson Labs, Super Omega·3 Gems, Fish Oil Concentrate, 1000 mg, 250 Soft Gels Medical Scientists Internationally are encouraging people to eat more fish. Fish body oil is the only major source of the polyunsaturated Omega-3's EPA and DHA. For those individuals who do not eat an oily fish diet, Carlson offers Omega-3's in easy-to-swallow soft gelatin capsules. Carlson Super Omega-3 Gems soft gels contain 1000 mg (1 gram) of a special concentrate of fish body oils from deep, cold water fish which are especially rich in the important Omega-3's EPA and DHA. Order Carlson Labs, Super Omega·3 Gems from iherb

The Power Of Herbs

The Power Of Herbs

If you have been following my blog, you’ll know that my life is full of herbs. The wonderful gifts that herbs provide include not just their dazzling power to heal and strengthen, but their magnificent beauty. I’m moved to the core whenever I take time to notice the way a plant looks and smells, when I sense the inexorable persistence of its growing, and its willingness to grace my life with its delicate splendor. When you become aware of a plant’s beauty at every level, even the most commonplace interaction between you and the plant feels sacred. OF GODS AND DEMONS The ancient Egyptians believed that incense was the sweat of the gods that had fallen to Earth. We associate saints with beautiful fragrances and devils with foul smells. I remember once visiting an onsen—a spa in the mountains of Japan. This is a place of healing where hot sulfurous water pours forth from natural underground wells. I walked down endless corridors before reaching the sulfur pool which was enclosed to make it possible to use even during the icy winter months. I was alone in the small room. The pool sides were encrusted with yellow growths, and sulfurous steam filled the room. As I climbed naked into the streaming water, I felt afraid. That’s how deeply ingrained our sense of uneasiness can be when faced with the overwhelming smell of sulfur, which our culture and our ancestors have always associated with the devil. FILL YOUR ROOMS WITH BLISS Use herbs and plants to care for your pets, or to cleanse the space in which you live and work. They help remind us of who we really are, and what is fundamentally important in the desacralized environment in which most of us spend most of our lives. One of the things I most love to do is fill my bedroom with lilies. These are my favorite flowers—but they have to be the white oriental lilies or the marvelous Stargazers, as these are the most scented. Over the years, I’ve come to know lilies well. I know that they give off the greatest amount of fragrance between two and three in the morning. The beauty of their fragrance at this time is so intense that it often wakes me up. Sometimes when this happens, it seems to me that these flowers—so generous with their gifts—are calling to me, asking me to celebrate their wondrous beauty. The word perfume comes from the Latin per fumum, meaning “through the smoke”. The original way in which fragrance was used in human life was to create a union of divine and mundane reality, not only in the lives of priests, but of ordinary people. Our sense of smell plays a powerful role in rituals. Scent is one of the means by which we create the bridges between the transcendent and the day-to-day. It’s just like if you say a prayer before you eat, the very act of eating nourishes your body and your soul too. CLEANSE AND SANCTIFY When you move into a new home, or you feel the need to cleanse or make sacred any space—bedroom, kitchen, workplace, or the whole house—try doing it with the traditional sacred plants first: Desert sage, copal, sweet grass; even dried lavender, thyme and rosemary. I cut back my herb plants three or four times a year, and they love it. It makes them grow stronger and bushier. I then take the cuttings and tie them in small bunches with brightly colored ribbons, and hang them from my kitchen ceiling to dry. Once dry, I can use them for potpourris, sachets, and of course, sanctifying space with their smoke. HERE’S HOW Take a bunch of dried herbs and light them over an open metal biscuit tin to catch the sparks, so that they don’t reach the floor. I use a long rectangular tin that once held a bottle of malt whisky for this. I know other people who use baking trays and turkey tins. When the herbs begin to smoke, walk around the space to be sanctified, lifting up the burning plants with the tin beneath them. All the while, ask with your heart and mind that the room be cleansed and dedicated to whatever purpose you intend for it. This could be to make a joyous harmonious space; a space in which creativity can flourish—this is something I love to do—or a space for meditation, sleep, prayer or making love. It is your intention, coupled with the cleansing abilities of the burning plants, that makes it all happen. When you are cleansing and dedicating the desired space, make sure that you offer up the smoke to all corners of the room, and to the six directions—north, south, east, west, above and below. And when you’ve finished, thank the plants for their help. They will hear you and celebrate their own beauty..

Herbal Sleep Secrets

Herbal Sleep Secrets

Your body thrives on sleep. It is while you are peacefully slumbering that your body is busily repairing the damage the day has done. Your body’s cells including your skin regenerate and rejuvenate themselves during sleep. When you haven’t had enough sleep your face lets you know about it as soon as you look in the mirror next morning—dull eyes, dull lips and a dull complexion. Deep, regular sleep can do more to enhance your wellbeing as well as your good looks than the most expensive creams and potions on the market. NO SLEEPING PILLS There are no hard and fast rules about how much sleep you should get. Some people need a full eight hours. Others thrive on six. The better your diet—the higher it is in fresh fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods—and the more exercise you get daily, the less time you are likely to need for sleep. What matters most is the quality of your sleep. Sleeping deeply does not mean drugging yourself into oblivion. In Britain alone 50 million prescriptions are written for sleeping pills each year. These drugs taken regularly can bring about dementia Alzheimer’s, depression and mental disorders. They also suppress vital rapid-eye-movement or REM phases of sleep. This produces psychological repression. Herbs offer a far safer alternative to drugs without having to pay the pipe with side effects or morning ‘hangovers’. There are three medically recognised types of insomnia—transient, acute and chronic. Transient insomnia lasts from a few days to a few weeks. It is usually linked to something specific—a worrying event or an illness. In acute insomnia your body has learned poor sleep patterns over a month or more and just keeps repeating them over and over again. Both these types of insomnia can be greatly helped by herbs. Chronic insomnia—when it has lasted more than six months—needs more help than short-term remedies can supply. The underlying reason for your inability to slumber peacefully—be it physical or emotional—needs to be identified and addressed. NATURE’S BOUNTY The drug valium takes its name from a plant: Valerian Valeriana officinalis was the primary herbal sedative used on both sides of the Atlantic before the advent of barbiturate sleeping pills. It is a safe and well-tested herbal remedy with a smell like dirty old socks. But don’t let that put you off since valerian is a powerful herb for inducing safe sleep. You can take valerian in a couple of ways. I like the tincture best—10 to 20 drops in a little water before bedtime or in the middle of the night when you awaken. Alternatively you can take a couple of capsules of the dried root. Valerian in lower doses is equally useful when your nerves feel ‘shot’, even during the day. It has the remarkable ability to enhance your ability to deal with stress and bring you stamina while it calms. Occasionally, and only to a very few people, valerian will cause drousiness in the morning. If this happens to you lower the dose or try a different herb. SIGN OF THE CROSS Passionflower Passiflora incarnata is a climbing plant with extraordinarily beautiful flowers. It has a blissful sedative effect on the body. Passionflower is one of the world’s most useful plants if you wrestle with nervous tension. It can be particularly helpful to women around the time of menopause. Not as strong as valerian in its actions, passiflora is more calming than sedating. As such it is a great alternative to tranquillising drugs. But it is a personal favourite for sleep. I even like the taste. Use 10-20 drops of the tincture in water or take two capsules of the dried extract up to four times a day when you need it. As an anti-stress herb many people like to take passion flower throughout the day in small doses to calm nerves and make everything easier. There is an excellent organic passion flower tea too. GLORIOUS POPPY The Latin name is Eschscholzia californica. California poppy has been used for thousands of years by Native Ameicans to calm anxiety, relieve pain and induce sleep. To assure optimal extraction of bioactive compounds, the plants need to be hand-harvested while in full flower then taken directly to the laboratory and extracted while still fresh and succulent. It’s best taken as a tincture. Researchers tellnus that this plant has anti-depressant properties, is an excellent gentle sedative, gentles pain, calm’s restlessness, counters insomnia, and helps establish equilibrium without any narcotic effect. It is my very favorite anti-stress plant. WELL KEPT SECRET You can use the flowers from the hop plant, Humulus lupulus, together with other remedies as a treatment for everything from indigestion to agitated nerves. Like valerian, hops has a pronounced sedative effect but it is a far milder remedy. Unlike valerian, hops smell sweet and you can use them without worrying about side-effects. You can take hops in the form of a tincture too. But by far the best way for sleep—particularly good for people who awaken in the middle of the night and have trouble going back to sleep—is to drink hops tea. Make it before you go to bed by steeping a handful of flowers for 10 minutes in hot water. Strain it and allow it to cool. Put the tea—sweetened with stevia if you like—by the side of your bed so you can drink it should you awaken in the night. It can also be a good idea to use a little pillow stuffed with dried hops blossoms. Put it under your neck when you go to bed or if ever you awaken at night. Traditional Medicinals make a gentle mixture of hops, catnip, chamomile and passion flower tea called Organic Night Night. FUNCTIONAL AND FUN TO MAKE Herb pillows are small cushions filled with fragrant, sleep-inducing herbs, that you can tuck under your normal pillow or keep near you while you sleep. Once you have stuffed your pillow don’t sew it up too tightly so you can replace the herbs as as often as you wish. If you keep it inside another pillow case you will easily keep it clean. Herbs for relaxation include camomile, thyme, lavender, catmint and rosemary, but my favourite pillows include a high proportion of dried hops. A few drops of essential oil of camomile will help with sleeplessness, geranium will relive anxiety and lavender irritation. Sprinkling with a little orris root powder will help preserve the mixture. PERFECT BLISS Create a sleep sanctuary – somewhere you will enjoy going to rest and sleep. Don’t have a television in the room and as far as possible avoid noise and light disturbance. If you awaken in the night, don’t turn on the lights. Research has shown that 15 minutes of light in the night can affect levels of melatonin in the body and make it difficult to get back to sleep. A WORD TO THE WISE: Never drive, drink alcoholic beverages or engage in activities requiring mental alertness while taking calming herbal products. Consult a healthcare provider prior to using any herb or plant if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking barbiturates, sedative drugs or other medications. TINCTURE OF VALERIAN Eclectic Institute Organic Valerian Fresh, Organic Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) root. Organic grape alcohol content: 45%. Fresh Herb Strength: 1:1. Buy Eclectic Institute Organic Valerian ORGANIC VALERIAN CAPSULES Eclectic Institute, Valerian, Rhizome & Roots Harvested Fresh & Flash Frozen for Optimal Quality Freeze-Dried for Ultimate Potency Buy Eclectic Institute, Valerian, Rhizome & Roots PASSION FLOWER TINCTURE Eclectic Institute, Passion Flower Organic Fresh, ORGANIC Passion Flower (Passiflora spp.) flower and leaf. ORGANIC alcohol content: 30% Filtered water. Fresh Herb Strength: 1.1 Buy Eclectic Institute, Passion Flower Organic PASSION FLOWER ORGANIC CAPSULES Eclectic Institute, Passion Flower 100% fresh freeze-dried ingredients, fresh freeze-drying maintains the biologically active constituents for highest potency and action. Buy Eclectic Institute, Passion Flower PASSION FLOWER TEA ORGANIC Gaia Herbs, Sleep & Relax, RapidRelief Herbal Tea Conditions that come rapidly can go rapidly when you give your body the right support. Gaia Herbs' RapidRelief products deliver results fast so you can get back to living life. Buy Gaia Herbs, Sleep & Relax, RapidRelief Herbal Tea NIGHT TEA ORGANIC Traditional Medicinals, Organic Nighty Night The use of passionflower, hops and chamomile for restlessness and mild sleeping difficulties is supported by clinical data and by traditional use. Buy Traditional Medicinals, Organic Nighty Night

Sacred Cocoa—A Blessing

Sacred Cocoa—A Blessing

People keep hounding me about hot cocoa. “It is OK to drink?” “Will it make me fat?” “Oh god... I just adore it.” These are only a few of the words I’ve been sent in the past few weeks so I guess it’s time to dive into the cocoa scene and make sense of it. A SACRED FOOD Like coffee, cocoa—from which both chocolate and hot chocolate is made—is one of the world’s most sacred foods. And, like all sacred foods, it is meant to be taken only from time to time, and only from the finest, purest source. The worship of the cocoa tree began with the ancient gods of the New World. The Olmec Indians in Central America are credited with the discovery of this tree. Later the Aztecs and Toltecs—who called cocoa ‘food of the gods’—told the story of how Quetzalcoatl, the supreme god of the air, brought the seeds of the tree to earth as a gift to his chosen people. Montezuma, the great Aztec king, is believed to have downed 50 pitchers of an elixir made from cocoa each day. The drink was called ‘xocolatl’, an aphrodisiac—deliverer of strength, sexuality and vigor. Cortez, who brought it back to Europe in the sixteenth century, soon created a cocoa storm among the courtiers. Madame Pompadour gave her seal of approval to cocoa as an aphrodisiac, while Casanova claimed cocoa was the perfect tool for seduction. Some recent research partly explains why. Scientists in California have isolated a substance in cocoa, which links into our brain receptor sites and, like cannabis, brings sensations of pleasure and relaxation. But cocoa, I suspect, has many secrets. This is only one of them which feeds our passion for this dark,seductive food and at the same time enhances our passion for love. SOOTHING ENERGY Cocoa contains naturally-occurring mild stimulants called methylxanthines. Theobromine is the predominant methylxanthine in cocoa. It’s believed to lend cardiovascular support and the mood-elevating properties ascribed to chocolate. Caffeine is another methylxanthine present in lesser amounts in cocoa that contributes to its energizing effect. If you're going to drink cocoa, only buy unsweetened organic cocoa, not only because it's the most delicious, but also because it is the real thing—as unprocessed as possible. Avoid powdered cocoa with sugar and milk in it like the plague. Such products have none of the health-enhancing properties of the real thing. On the market these days you find all sorts of imitation hot chocolate products, which have had vegetable fats and god knows what else added to them. Avoid them. Make your cocoa drinks with water, sheep’s milk, unsweetened rice or almond milk, with natural stevia to taste for sweetening. ONLY THE BEST My favorite cocoa for hot chocolate is unique in the world. It’s called CocoCeps. Created by Madre Labs, it’s an unsweetened, instant, certified premium organic cocoa into which full-spectrum immune-enhancing micronized Cordyceps and Reishi mushroom powders have been added. CocoCeps Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis) is a mushroom which has been used in Tibetan and Chinese cultures as a tonic to promote energy and longevity. Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is probably the most well-known tonic mushroom in the world. It is known in China by the name Ling Zhi, and revered throughout East Asia as the "Mushroom of Longevity." Low in calories, at 20 calories per serving, all of its ingredients are organic, and the product is not only delicious; it is energy supporting, yet calming, all at the same time. Order CocoCeps from iherb I use the the wonderful Wisdom Natural, SweetLeaf, Liquid Stevia, in English Toffee flavor to sweeten my cups. Spoonable Stevia By Stevita: Spoonable Stevia by Stevita uses only stevia extract with at least 95% pure glycosides (extremely sweet tasting ingredients of the Stevia herb leaves), and a little erythritol, a crystal granulated naturally produced filler found in fruits, vegetables and grains. It is best for baking and sprinkling. Order Spoonable Stevia By Stevita from iherb ENGLISH TOFFEE STEVIA: Wisdom Natural, SweetLeaf, Liquid Stevia, English Toffee Sweet Leaf liquid stevia with all natural flavors is convenient and easy to use. As a supplement, add this nutritious stevia to water, tea, coffee, milk, sparkling water, protein shakes, plain yogurt or anything else you can imagine. It comes in many different flavors including lemon but English Toffee flavor is the best by far. Order English Toffee Stevia from iherb ORDERING FROM IHERB.COM: If you decide to order any products from Iherb.com, you will automatically receive $5 or $10 off your first order. Their products are the cheapest and best in the world…I use them for everything no matter where I am. Get it sent to you via DHL. It will be with you in three to four working days… iHerb.com ship all over the world very cheaply. IMPORTANT - Do not be fooled by the artificially made Stevia products such as Truvia and Purevia. These products are not the natural Stevia plant. To learn more read my post here called beware of Truvia.

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Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 18,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 13 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 31st of July 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.74 lb
for women
-1.12 lb
for men
-0.74 lb
for women
-1.12 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 31st of July 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

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