user-icon chevron-right minus plus cross google shopping-cart caret-down chevron-down chevron-circle-up menu search youtube facebook twitter rss linkedin2 pinterest

mental health

The search for mental clarity, emotional balance, and spiritual openness will makes it possible to develop your unique creative potentials. The sky is the limits.

Featured

Rhodiola - Renew Body And Life

Rhodiola - Renew Body And Life

“Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners” Shakespeare One of the most powerful healing plants in the world originates in the dry, hostile environment of Siberia. For eons it was prized as a source of strength for Viking warriors, Russian cosmonauts having to endure the demands of space travel, and Olympic athletes. A beautiful perennial plant with pink, red or yellow flowers, it is called “Arctic Root” or “Golden Root.” Its proper name is Rhodiola rosea. If you don’t already make use of this incredible gift from nature, you don’t know what you’re missing. QUEEN OF ADAPTOGENS Rhodiola is the most versatile adaptogenic plant in the world. An adaptogen is a plant or herb which acts in non-specific ways to improve health and increase resistance to stress, without upsetting the body’s biological functions. Numerous studies carried out in France, Norway, Germany, Sweden and Russia confirm what has been known for centuries by shamans and wise woman healers: Rhodiola brings endless blessings to anybody using it. Here are just a few of its benefits. restores normal menstrual cycle in women prevents and clears fatigue increases vitality enhances immunity improves athletic prowess supports heart strength promotes improved wellbeing protects muscles when exercising helps endurance increases the metabolism of fats increases work capacity reduces stress and damage from stress supports thyroid function improves sexual function in men Whew! I could go on and on. The scientific research into this beautiful plant is voluminous and inspiring. I first learned of Rhodiola many years ago when Professor of Medical Science, Israel Brekhman—the much celebrated Russian research scientist in organic medicine and biologically active substances in Vladivostok—visited Britain. Brekhman’s career focused on the genetics of plants and herbs, and on improving health and wellbeing. It was he who first coined the word adaptogen. NON-TOXIC HEALING One of the wonderful things about Rhodiola is that it has a very low level of toxicity and very few side effects. (Since safety issues are as yet not available for pregnancy and lactation, however, it should be avoided in these circumstances.) There are many ways in which Rhodiola—which now grows in Greenland, Iceland, Canada and Alaska—as well as its native Siberia, can be used. One of the most surprising is this: If you can get hold of the plant itself (unfortunately in some countries, Rhodiola plants are not available because of agricultural import regulations), it will thrive in your garden. You can cook its shoots and leaves which are edible, prepare its roots as you would any starchy vegetable, serve its leaves raw in a mixed salad, and even serve its shoots prepared as you do asparagus. More about Rhodiola in a moment. Meanwhile, there are some important things you need to know about using herbs of any kind. NATURE’S MEDICINES Plants hold powerful medicine for men and women. To state such an obvious truth seems absurd, since every culture in the world from the beginning of human history has turned to herbs, trees, and other plants as medicine. Yet in our post-industrial world, we find ourselves in the absurd position of having to rediscover our medicinal and health-promoting heritage—not only by unearthing long neglected local practices, often passed on verbally from woman to woman, but also by investigating herbal traditions from other parts of the world: Tibet, China, India, Japan and Native America. The benefits of making nature’s medicinal plants a part of your day-to-day life becomes obvious when you realize that the origins of most drugs lie in plants. Using plants and herbs for strength and healing offers many advantages. First, their powers for enhancing wellbeing go far beyond their ability to alleviate symptoms. For centuries, women healers preferred to use the whole of most plants. They had no belief in the practice now propounded by today’s mainstream medicine which chooses to use isolated ingredients and make them into patented drugs. In every medicinal plant, there are two kinds of compounds, each of which has an important part to play in treatment. The first are the active ingredients—these are what capture the imagination of chemists and drug producers to make the biochemically twisted molecules that Big Pharma turns into patented drugs. The second are the compounds and substances which drug manufacturers ignore altogether—even seek to eliminate—but which good herbalists insist play a vital supportive role in the healing a particular herb can bring to the body. These compounds work synergistically with the active ingredients, making them more easily accessible to the body or dampening the effect of what are often very potent plant chemicals—helping to protect the body from side-effects. Some even help protect from overdose by causing nausea if the body's safe level of tolerance is passed. It is the synergy of these primary active ingredients and their secondary helpers that makes herbs work so well. There are many different substances and compounds in plants and herbs which offer health-supporting abilities. The volatile oils for instance, the tannins, phenylpropanoids (like those in Rhodiola), alkaloids, bitters, glycosides, and flavonoids. WAYS AND MEANS You can take herbs in many different ways—as infusions, decoctions, syrups, tinctures, suppositories, capsules, and in baths, ointments or creams. You can grow your own herbs or buy them in bulk dried. Using the dried plant is by far the cheapest way to use herbs, since you can buy a large amount at a time very cheaply and make up your own infusions, decoctions, suppositories and ointments, as well as tinctures. You can even buy empty gelatin capsules and fill them with dried herb yourself. However, it is often easiest if you are a complete beginner to rely on good quality ready-made herbal products from a good supplier—whole herbs, herbs in capsules, herbal extracts and tinctures. Tinctures are made by using water and or alcohol to draw out a plant's chemical constituents and preserve them. They are taken in a little water. These are best either bought ready-made from a reputable supplier, or left until you have mastered the use of herbs in other ways, as each herb demands a specific ratio of water and alcohol to plant material. MEET THE SOUL OF A PLANT It is worth remembering that, just as people have different personalities, so do plants. Once you get to know the actions of various herbs—and the best way of doing this is to use them or to watch them work on other people—you begin to develop a feel for the character or soul of each plant. Eventually you develop a skill that enables you to call on the right plant or plants when you need their help. But it is important to remember that plants, such as Rhodiola, are slower acting than drugs, so you need to be patient. It is necessary to use most herbs for a few weeks before you come to experience its full benefits. That being said, I sometimes find a plant can will bring almost immediate relief too. One big advantage of using herbs is that many herbs, when taken steadily over a period of time, will do the job for which they were being taken so well that you no longer need to use them. Another important thing to remember when using herbs is that some work well in combination. Whatever herbs you are using, they need to be fresh, clean and either well-crafted or grown organically. Some herbs on the market today have been grown in countries where pesticides and herbicides are sprayed heavily. Others are not fresh or have been irradiated or are contaminated with chemicals. Often suppliers themselves are not even aware of how the dried plants have been handled. BACK TO RHODIOLA The active constituents of Rhodiola root are many. This is one of the reasons that this plant acts so powerfully in so many ways to benefit your health. The most important ingredients it contains include Rosin, Rosavin, Salidroside, and Tyrosol. Although Rhodiola can be prescribed by an herbalist as a tincture or extract, for many reasons, this plant is usually best taken in capsules. In no small part, this is because its taste in tincture form is far too intense for most people. For those of you who, like me, love to know the minutiae: A typical dose in tablet or capsule form for long-term administration is 360-600mg per day when standardized for 2.6 Rosavin, 180-300mg when standardized for 2% Rosavin, or 100-170 when standardized for 2.6 Rosavin. Some products list the Rosavin in milligrams, such as 6mg of Rosavin per 120 mg of Rhodiola root, or 12 mg of Rosavin per 240mg of Rhodiola root. These formulations are an even more robust 5% Rosavin content. Even so, such products provide a large margin of safety. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Always read labels carefully. (This is one of the reasons I order almost all of my nutritional products—including capsules of Rhodiola—from iHerb, where they provide both clear in-depth ingredient information as practically no other company does, and they ship DHL incredibly fast worldwide.) Always check out where any herb such as Rhodiola has been sourced. Make sure the raw materials it contains are the most active and desirable ingredients. Use products only from a first-rate manufacturer who relies on high-quality processes and extraction methods. Reject nutritional supplements of any kind that contain flow agents like magnesium stearate, which is made from stearic acid. It can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb nutrients via the digestive system. Thanks to Rhodiola rosea’s stunning versatility, it is able to nurture the nervous system, cardiovascular system, hormonal system, immune system and musculoskeletal system all at the same time. It’s little wonder, given its wide spectrum of therapeutic benefits, that in this time of physical, emotional and financial pressures, demands and work loads, growing exposure to environmental stressors and increasing costs of health care, this unique inexpensive herb with its excellent safety profile is gradually becoming better known. Most people see an improvement in energy levels, mood, mental clarity, memory, stamina and endurance within 2 to 6 weeks of using it. I for one wouldn’t be without Rhodiola in my family herb cupboard. Personally I take it twice daily as does my son Aaron. You want to choose the very best Rhodiola you can buy. I’ve investigated a good dozen readily-available products, so 2 of my personal recommendations below: Gaia Herbs, Rhodiola Rosea This is a wonderful product in no small part because of the way Gaia encapsulate it as a liquid which is rapidly absorbed. Each capsule contains the equivalent of 2,000mg of the dry herb. I keep mine in the fridge once the bottle is open. Order Gaia Herbs, Rhodiola Rosea from iherb Eclectic Institute, Rhodiola Another excellent Rhodiola 100% fresh freeze dried. Order Eclectic Institute, Rhodiola from iherb

Core Energy

Core Energy

The core of a human being - that source of virtually boundless creative power as well as physical and psychic energy - will never be found by dissecting the human body. Nor can it be arrived at by analyzing the human mind. Yet a sense of what I call living from the core or the soul, an experience of living - living truthfully to your own values - is something each of us experiences at certain times in our lives. Although most of us only happen upon this experience accidentally, it can also be cultivated by pursuing actions which we enjoy, or which make us feel good about ourselves and our lives. It can happen when we fall in love, when we feel happy because everything seems in harmony around us, or when we feel pleased with ourselves, our children, or some accomplishment. In such moments everything seems to fit together, or feel right, and life has meaning. Such a sense is central to an experience of living with energy. The techniques for building a high-energy lifestyle are only of lasting value if you value yourself and live your life on that assumption. tuning into core energy Psychologist Abraham Maslow, who spent his life studying not human pathology but rather human beings who lived their lives with great energy, creativity and joy - he called them self-actualizers - referred to the special moments in our lives as ‘peak experiences.’ After examining the experiences of thousands of high energy creative and happy people, he came to the conclusion that these self-actualizers have certain things in common. They tend, for instance, to be the healthiest people in society mentally and physically. They tend to have a lot of values in common too such as prizing simplicity, wholeness, effortlessness, truth, honesty, uniqueness, completeness, and perfection - in fact, the same values one might expect mystics to possess. They are, in effect, fully functioning people who tend frequently to have peak experiences - moments of great happiness, rapture, ecstasy - in which life’s conflicts are at least temporarily transcended or resolved. Other psychologists, anthropologists and philosophers have described Maslow’s self-actualizing person too. Carl Rogers - perhaps most appropriately of all - refers to Maslow’s self-actualizer as a ‘fully functioning’ person. Out of their work has emerged a whole new picture of what it is to be human. It has changed our perspective, so that we no longer see a human being the way Freud did - as a collection of repressed destructive urges, only barely restrained by learned moral constructs from destroying ourselves and others - but as potentially autonomous human beings. We recognize that the destructive and self-defeating tendencies which we all have are far less the hidden truth of a person than the results of a frustration in the expression of what Maslow called the Self - or soul - of life itself. Not only boundless energy, but happiness and freedom from this frustration and from negative thought patterns and the behavior they engender lie in letting your natural self-actualizing tendencies (which in most of us are still weak or dormant) develop. Until they grow, we all regress into fear and frustration or laziness. Once they become stronger, one’s life becomes an ongoing process of energy release, growth, and unfolding of potential as well as, quite simply, much happier. what are your peak experiences? Describe a moment or moments in your life where you felt a sense of `living from your core' - a time when everything seemed to work for you, where you felt temporarily fulfilled and good about yourself. If you are not sure you understand the idea, simply describe a moment when you felt particularly happy. Remember the scene as vividly as possible and use as much detail as you can to recall your impressions. Use this description as a reference point from now on for how good you can feel and how wonderfully life can fit together. As you become more and more self actualizing and come to live more and more from your soul, peak experiences become more frequent. create new visions of you and your life Now start now to dream of what it will be like for you to have all the energy you ever need. Begin to play with a number of clear mental pictures of yourself fit, well and looking great. But don't just consider the physical changes you would like to make. Get to know the person you aim to be and see yourself in this image. Record what you see, hope for, want to bring into being in a notebook and refer to it often when you feel unsure of your goals and direction. Here are some of the characteristics of high energy self-actualizing to use as inspiration: An exceptional ability to cope with change and to learn from it. Most people have trouble with change. It is unsettling and frightening. It needn't be. It all depends on how you look at it. We all face fear with changes, but the more you come to live from your core - to manifest your soul energy - the more you will tend to view change not as threatening but as a challenge to learn from and grow from, whether any particular change at face value appears to be `good' or `bad'. And as far as failure is concerned, instead of being a source of fear, it can be viewed as something that shows how to deal with a similar situation in the future. After all, human beings do fail sometimes. No great worry about saying ‘No’. Not aggression, but assertiveness, plays a central role in creating energy. It implies a strong sense of your individual right to your values and opinions, and a tendency to respect the rights of other people as well. You need to be able to say no to a food or drink you don't really want, a request from a lover or spouse, a demand from a child or a colleague. The best way to develop healthy assertiveness is simply to practice it. It feels a bit strange at first, but the more you do the easier it becomes. Paradoxically, only when you are positively assertive can you discover what real unselfishness is, because then what you give is what you choose to give, not what you feel obliged to give. A well-conditioned body. This not only brings you energy, it also helps you cope with stress better, look better and younger, and strengthens your sense of self-reliance. It also shifts hormonal balance and brain chemistry, making you highly resistant to depression and anxiety, and highly prone to feeling good about yourself and your life. Top-level fitness leads to a freedom to achieve excellence in other nonphysical areas of your life as well. It increases stamina, strength and flexibility, not only physically but emotionally as well. A marked absence of common minor ailments and troubles. Most people believe that the Monday morning `blues' or the aches and pains in joints after forty are a normal part of living. But they take up little space when you have an abundance of energy. `Normal' means moving with ease, and feeling pretty good about things day after day - sometimes feeling very good indeed - not because something stupendous has just happened, but because when you are really fit and well that is the normal way to feel. Laughter comes easily. An ability to laugh at the absurd (including yourself when appropriate) and a sense of fun are perhaps the most important of all the high-energy characteristics. Joy is health-giving. Paradoxically, often the most delightful sense of humor parallels a strong sense of purpose in a person - another high-energy characteristic. Integrity. The more you become a self-actualizer, the more you set your own standards and live up to them. Your values become a source of strength and energy for you. You don't have to compromise them to achieve some temporary advantage. You can feel the truth, be who you really are, and make your life work.

Free The Body: Charge The Mind

Free The Body: Charge The Mind

Too many of us - fitness freaks and lounge lizards alike - experience our body not as a joy or a finely tuned instrument of expression for our inner being, but rather as a prison incarcerating the Self which cries out for physical expression but is rendered mute by walls of chronic tension, fatigue or postural distortions. Most of us live at only a fraction of our capacity for vitality and we have not the least notion of our body's potential for beauty and for pleasure. For exercise to be of real benefit it needs to be an integrating activity which draws together mind and body. We live in an age of aerobic fitness. Joggers pound the pavements summer and winter, dance studios brim with all sizes and shapes of sweaty women in lycra, and every month or so a `new' system of physical exercise appears on the scene. You'd expect to find the world full of strong supple bodies brimming with grace and energy. The reality is somewhat different. The fine muscle tone, buoyant energy and rich mobility of a coordinated, supple and responsive physical body is a rare occurrence in the Western world even amongst those who consider themselves most fit. Instead we are faced with contracted shoulders and sunken chests, distorted thighs and faces which have aged before their time thanks to poor muscle tone and flagging energy. the body as energy Just as it's important to recognize that the aging process as a whole is not only a biochemical phenomenon but is also dependent upon energy changes - structural information that comes to us through our food and our environment, and our mental attitudes and expectations - so a new approach to exercise is needed to make the most of its potential. Thinkers such as von Bertalanffy and researchers such as Szent-Gyorgyi and the American orthopedic specialist and expert in electrobiology Robert Becker have helped to create a new awareness of the physical body and the mind as a single complex. They have demonstrated that it is no longer enough to consider the body as a physiological and biochemical phenomenon alone. Beneath our physiology and biochemistry lies a unifying system of energetics, which is subtle and complex as well as enormously potent in its effect on body, mind and overall vitality. Becker even uncovered a second `nervous system' previously unrecognized by science which he insists controls growth, healing and regeneration of broken bones. This energetic system appears to be influenced by both our environment and by our thoughts. It is currently being used to explain such diverse phenomena as why acupuncture can be used for pain relief and how hypnosis works. So far very little of the new scientific findings about the body as a unified energetic system has filtered down into the awareness of exercise physiologists and teachers. As a result there are still a great many people for whom even a dedicated and dynamic exercise program followed regularly but mechanically does little good. To an unfortunate few it can even be harmful. To make the most of aerobic exercise for ageless aging, you need not gear yourself up for some superhuman effort. You only need to leave behind the mechanical approach to exercise which tends to treat your body as a machine to be put through its paces - and to get back to basics.

Banish The Blues

Banish The Blues

Depression can be a killer. I know. I suffered from it badly in my early twenties. I suspect I was born with a genetic tendency towards it. I am familiar with the deep sadness, feelings of shame and helplessness, the terrible fatigue coupled with not being able to sleep to relieve it, the poor concentration and strange shifts in appetite. I have learned a lot about handling it over the years. There are many causes of depression—some are of the body, and some of the psyche. I don’t think you can separate the two. Just as body and mind feed each other in producing the dark, seemingly endless blues which can set in at any period of your life, the herbs you call on for help will improve both body and spirit. When you feel depressed, you can feel anxious as well. Many of the plants which are effective in lifting the blues help to clear fear and anxiety too. Cleanse Body And Soul Where you find depression, you almost always find a mass of creative energy which, for one reason or another, has remained blocked. This can make you feel impotent and helpless. You also often find a tendency to live life by other people’s rules rather than your own—from the depths of your own soul. Indeed, if depression is deep and debilitating enough, you may even come to feel you have no soul to live from. Deep-cleansing the body is important in releasing blocked creative energy and restoring the biochemical balance that helps wash away the blues. Use the Herbal Cleanse. Take a look at my brand new 10 Day Clean-Up Plan book, just published on Amazon. When your cleansing program is done, try following a long-term way of eating based on fresh vegetables—many of them raw—and good quality proteins from fish, organic meat, free range chicken and eggs. Avoid milk products including milk itself, yoghurt, and cheese (butter is OK because it is a fat, and it is the milk protein that tends to cause problems for people prone to depression). Also cut out wheat and anything made from flour such as pasta, breakfast cereals, breads and biscuits and, finally, make highly processed convenience foods a thing of the past. It was just such a diet—one in which at least 50-75% of the foods I ate were raw—that began to lift my own deep depression in my twenties. Sacred Plants Then, turn your attention to herbs and discover just how useful they can be to rebalance brain chemistry, strengthen the body and clear the mind. Then call on the healing powers of some of the best plant-based antidepressants you can find, from St John’s Wort, rosemary and California poppy, to the gorgeous ginkgo. Ginkgo Clears Cobwebs The beautiful leaves from ginkgo biloba—also known as the Maidenhair tree—improve circulation throughout the body and brain. Ginkgo’s seeds were sent to Europe in the 1720s from Japan and China. The Chinese use the ginkgo seeds, but research in the West has mostly concentrated on the leaves. They contain ginkgolides, unknown in any other plant. These phytochemicals block blood platelet activating factors. In doing so, they inhibit all sorts of allergic responses. Meanwhile, ginkgo’s flavonoids do wonders to improve circulation to the brain. Recent studies show that this long-standing Oriental gift can help people clear depression. Ginkgo increases the rate at which information is transmitted at the level of nerve cells. This helps depression in many, thanks to the plant’s ability to enhance the flow of neurotransmitters in the brain. An effective antidepressant dose in one study where ginkgo was used to specifically counter depression was 240 milligrams of the powdered herb a day, in capsule form. It can take six to eight weeks to experience the full effects of ginkgo. So be patient. California Bright Lights Its watery sap has long been used by Native Americans to relieve toothache. It relieves pain, relaxes spasms and warms your body. California poppy is the best anxiety-calming herb I know and it works quickly—in a few hours. Don’t worry, it is not a narcotic, only a gentle sedative and tranquillizer so safe that herbalists give it to children. Neither does it depress the central nervous system as many sedatives do. The usual dose of tincture is 1 teaspoon to half a glass of water taken twice a day in the afternoon and evening. I like to combine tincture of golden California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, with that of St John’s Wort—in equal parts—to lift the blues. Bright As Sunlight The yellow flowers and dancing leaves of St John’s Wort—Hypericum perforatum—can bring balance and joy. This plant may be slow to act, but its effects are deep and long lasting. St John’s Wort is nature’s answer to Prozac. Every part of this joyous herb yields uplifting power—its leaves, its shoots, its glorious yellow flowers. Even the way it grows seems to celebrate life. St John’s Wort can banish anxiety, bring light into the dark depths of depression, and help transform difficult times—the loss of a job, of a lover, or of sense of purpose—into times of power. In the past 20 years, dozens of randomized clinical trials have shown that this plant is just as, if not more, effective than standard antidepressant drugs. Yet it comes without the negative side effects. In Germany alone, 1 million prescriptions are written for this plant each year. The bright yellow flowers of St John’s Wort contain a red oil called hypericin, which is anti-viral and probably mood enhancing. Many studies show that it is whole plant extracts, however, rather than hypericin alone that have the best antidepressant effects. Help From St John's Wort To make tea, use 1 teaspoon of the dried herb in a cup of boiling water. Steep for 10-15 minutes, strain, and drink 1 to 3 times a day. Another effective way to use St John’s Wort for depression is as a tincture. When you feel at your lowest you don’t have to go to the trouble of making a tea. Take 1 teaspoon of St John’s Wort tincture in a little water 3 times a day. When used as an antidepressant it should be taken for at least a month before results can be seen. A lucky few people, however, respond right away. Caution: In a few people St John’s Wort causes mild nausea, stomach-ache, depressed appetite, tiredness, and in even fewer still, sensitivity to sunlight. It shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy. If you are already taking antidepressant drugs do not stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor. Lift Your Spirit Tea Rosmarinus officinalis grows just about everywhere. Who would ever suspect that the rosemary plant is one of the most useful herbs you will ever find for lifting the blues. The strong and sturdy plant is an excellent tonic as well as an all-round stimulant. It raises spirits and energizes the body, clearing apathy, nervous exhaustion and digestive disturbances. Rosemary has a long-standing reputation for strengthening the memory as well. That’s why Greek scholars wore garlands of rosemary when taking exams. It is also rejuvenating, in no small part thanks to the flavonoid diosmin which it boasts in abundance, to strengthen capillaries and collagen in the skin. In the 14th century, 72 year-old Izabella, Queen of Hungary, was crippled with rheumatism. She used masses of Hungary Water (rosemary leaves macerated in alcohol) and regained her youth so well that the king of Poland proposed to her. One of the first to be distilled, a few drops of essential oil of rosemary in the bath can help clear a fuzzy head with ease. You can use the fresh leaves or the essential oil in steam inhalations for exhaustion and shattered nerves. Meanwhile, simple rosemary tea is bracing and wonderfully uplifting. Spirit Lifting Tea Put a handful of rosemary leaves (1 tablespoon of the fresh herb or 1 teaspoon of the dried herb per cup) into a warmed pot and pour boiling water over them. Replace the lid to prevent the aromatic vapors from being wasted. Leave to brew for five minutes. Drink hot. Top quality herb products: Gaia Herbs, Kava Kava Root Liquid Herbal Extract Validated Full Spectrum Extract Dietary Supplement Supports Normal Relaxation from Tension Brought on by Daily Stress Promotes Muscular and Nerve Relaxation Encourages a Sense of Emotional Well Being Order Gaia Herbs, Kava Kava Root from iherb Natrol Ginkgo Biloba Helps Improve Memory Supports Sharpened Alertness Dietary Supplement Natrol Ginkgo Biloba may help support circulation, which is one way researchers believe this herb helps enhance cognitive function. Our formula is standardized to guarantee a potent level of highly active compounds. Order Natrol Ginkgo Biloba from iherb Gaia Herbs St. John's Wort Liquid Herbal Extract Validated Full Spectrum Extract Dietary Supplement Order Gaia Herbs St. John's Wort from iherb Herb Pharm, California Poppy We prepare our California Poppy Extract from fresh (undried) whole Eschscholzia californica plants (root, leaf & flower) which are Certified Organically Grown on our own farm without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. To assure optimal extraction of bioactive compounds, the plants are hand-harvested while in full flower and are then taken directly to our laboratory and promptly extracted while still fresh and succulent. Our poppy plants are never fumigated or irradiated. Order Herb Pharm, California Poppy from iherb

Stress Is A Gift

Stress Is A Gift

The idea that stress is all bad is patent nonsense. As human beings we would be little more than vegetables without stress in our lives. Also, and most important, the more committed we are to the lives we are leading and the more right they are for us, the less likely we are to suffer the ravages of stress. Nevertheless we worry about stress, wonder about it, and wish it would go away. Yet seldom do we even stop to ask what it is. Little wonder. For stress is complicated even to define. YOU NEED STRESS TO LIVE The word stress comes from the language of engineering, meaning “any force which causes an object to change.” In engineering the specific change caused by stress is known as strain and there are four possible kinds: torsion, tensile, compression and sheering. In human terms the strain is you body's response to physical, chemical, emotional or spiritual forces, asking in some way that you adapt to them. As we learn this art, we also discover a great secret: How stress can become the spice of life, the exhilaration of challenge and excitement, the high of living with heavy demands on you and and thriving. For, like the tempering process involved in the production of a piece of good steel, once you make a friend of stress, forces which had seemed to be working against you become positive energies that define you, strengthen you and help you express your own brand of creativity and joy. This is one of the great gifts that stress has to offer. Without physical and mental challenges your body would become feeble and you would never feel the excitement and creative energy which are such an important part of wellbeing. But too much stress can be a killer since stress, or rather the inability to cope with it, is the common denominator in all disease states. It is also a strong contributing cause in almost every illness to which we are susceptible. Develop methods for neutralizing the negative effects of stress and you can begin to thrive on its positive aspects. TOSS OUT THE PILLS Drug-based therapy is not the answer: the a million tons of Valium swallowed each year, as well as sleeping pills and other tranquillizers, produce unpleasant and dangerous side-effects ranging from addiction to acute rage, withdrawal, long-term worsening of anxiety symptoms, sub-clinical vitamin and mineral deficiencies, aggressiveness and even acute psychotic episodes. New evidence indicates that taking tranquillizers may also encourage the growth of tumours, impair neuromuscular coordination and make takers more prone to road accidents. Quite apart from the detrimental effects these drugs exert on mind and body, the fact that they treat only the symptoms of overload and do absolutely nothing towards eliminating the causes, means they can never make a positive contribution to wellbeing. What’s worse, relying on pills weakens your ability to cope with life and undermines your autonomy and your self-esteem. QUICK ENERGY NOW It is actually possible to breathe in energy whenever you feel burdened with worry and fatigue. Try this for a couple of minutes: Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply from your diaphragm, so your stomach (not your chest) swells with each in breath. Imagine that you are breathing in vitality from the air to fill your whole body through your solar plexus. As you breathe in, feel that your whole body is becoming more and more relaxed. Imagine it as a centre of immense light radiating outward in all directions, as though you are taking in energy through the solar plexus itself, transforming it into light and radiating it out again everywhere. YOUR FEELINGS MATTER Emotional stressors in your life can take their toll. But f most emotional hurdles can be overcome. Take a look at what continues to trigger off the stress response in your own life. Ask yourself whether it is something which prevents you from turning a lot of your energy to more constructive use. Some stressors provide challenges from which we can grow. Others are simply habitual. They lead nowhere and bring little in terms of increasing awareness or your ability to make better use of your energy. If there are any of these in your life see if you can eliminate them. For instance, take a look at the work you do and ask yourself if you find it really satisfying. Are the financial responsibilities you have taken on really necessary? Can you reduce them in any way? If so, have the courage to drop them and to accept the changes this will bring about; this too can make you stronger. We humans have a tendency to hang on to the status quo at all costs - and often the cost is in terms of lost adaptive energy - occasionally even life. Regardless of whether you learn the world's finest techniques for meditation to counteract stress, if you are in a job you hate year after year or are faced with a relationship that no longer has meaning for you, they will do little good. To make stress work you must not only face up to its demands, but also take responsibility for removing it wherever it is no longer useful and relevant to you. GET INTO JOY Each of us needs to develop our own personal ways of throwing off stress. A walk in the woods for clearing consciousness is something quite specifically ordered by Tibetan doctors to patients who suffer from rapid swings of mood and worry. Or you could try sailing, running, dancing, gardening, listening to music or some other form of hobby. I have a passion, verging on an addiction, for good movies. Explore them all. Find out what works best for you and make it an important part of your day-to-day life. By eliminating unnecessary stressors from your life, practising relaxation and exercise, and becoming more and more aware of which challenges are important to you and which you are better off without, you will develop a way of being which will keep you free from unnecessary illness. You will soon be tapping the kind of vitality and enthusiasm a child has which most adults have long forgotten. A special bonus too - you will quite automatically preserve your good looks and vitality decade after decade. THE ART OF SIGHING When you begin to unwind and let go the muscles' tension, the release is often accompanied by a very slow deep breath - in fact, a sort of sigh. You can use sighing throughout the day to calm your nerves and prevent tensions building up. Think of a stress producing situation which occurs fairly frequently at work, e.g. the telephone ringing and each time it happens, take a deep breath and let it out again, then answer the phone. Be sure to let your shoulders drop as you inhale and breathe deeply down into your belly and lower back. Let the lower ribs expand away from your spine as much behind as in front. When you exhale, don't collapse, but think of your head and spine lengthening upwards. THE BLISS OF BALANCE Stress and relaxation are like two sides of a coin. Learn to move easily from one to another and you will begin to experience your life as a satisfying and enriching challenge like the ebb and flow of the tides. Then you will never again have to worry about getting stuck in a high-stressed condition which saps your vitality, distorts your perceptions and can even lead to premature ageing and chronic illness. The secret of getting the right balance between stress and relaxation is threefold. First, take a look at the kind of stress that is part of your life, eliminate unnecessary stressors and discover new ways of working with the others. Second, learn one or more techniques for conscious relaxation and practise them until they become second nature. Finally, explore ways of expanding your mind, honouring your individuality and for creating an environment that supports both. Not only will this help your body stay in balance and increase your level of overall vitality, it can bring you a sense of control over your life that is hard to come by any other way.

End Your Depression

End Your Depression

Depression is a killer. I know. I suffered from it badly in my twenties. I think I must have been born with a genetic tendency towards it. As a result, I know so well the deep sadness, feelings of shame and helplessness, the terrible fatigue coupled with not being able to sleep to relieve it, the poor concentration and the strange shifts in appetite that come with it. When you feel depressed, you often feel anxious as well. I’ve learned a lot about how to help people banish both. depression There are many causes of depression—some come from the body and some from the psyche. I believe you can’t separate the two. Just as your body and mind interact with each other to produce the dark, seemingly endless blues that can set in at any period in your life, so can your body and mind work together to clear depression from your life. Few people know this, but wherever you find depression, you almost always find a mass of creative energy as well, which—for one reason or another—has remained blocked. This makes you feel impotent and helpless until it can be set free. You may discover that you have been trying to live your life too conventionally—that is, by other people’s rules—rather than trusting yourself, honouring your own unique truths, and living by them, come hell or high water. When depression is long-standing and debilitating, you may even come to feel you have no soul to live from. This is completely untrue. I love the wonderful American saying, “Tell the truth and shame the devil.” Once you learn to do this, depression begins to its grip on you forever. Deep cleansing your body Deep cleansing your body is the first step to releasing blocked creative energy and restoring the biochemical balance to wash your blues away. Try following a long-term way of eating based on real food, not the packaged stuff they try to sell you in supermarkets: fresh spray-free vegetables—many of them raw—and top quality proteins from wild fish, organic meat, free range chicken, and eggs. Avoid all cow’s milk products including milk itself, yoghurt, and cheese (butter is OK because it is a fat, and it’s the milk protein that tends to cause problems for people prone to depression). Explore sheep milk, cheeses and yogurts, goat milk products or buffalo milk products—my favorites. Must important: Stop eating anything made with wheat or other grains and cereals, including pasta, breakfast cereals, breads and biscuits. Make all processed convenience foods a thing of the past. Eat Real Food A diet free of convenience foods releases you from the sort of metabolic disturbance which causes mood swings and depression. It was just such a diet—one in which at least 50-75% of the foods I ate were raw—that cleared my own deep depression. It frees your body and opens up your mind. You start to see life with a much broader view. You begin to feel a sense of excitement each day with whatever you are doing. But be patient. It takes time for the transformation to happen. Gradually feelings of depression and impossibility melt away like snow drifts in the warmth of spring sunshine. You begin to experience your own natural energies as a more balanced state of mind emerges. More peaceful and centered, you come to see that you are really able to do whatever it is you want to do. Your body is a magnificent system capable of the most incredible regeneration and renewal. You can let go of all the anti-depressant drugs. Recent research shows that most are no better than placebos. When you learn to live on simple, pure, natural organic foods, this helps you transform your whole being physically, emotionally and spiritually—in effect, to discover who you are at the deepest level of your being, and come to live your life from there. I did it. So have thousands of others who never dreamed this might be possible. So can you. A human being is most certainly "fearfully and wonderfully made". It’s time to discover this for yourself.

Stress? What Stress?

Stress? What Stress?

What goes up must come down. These words should be engraved on everyone’s brain, particularly those of us who live full and busy lives. We worry about stress, wonder why we don’t do anything about it, and wish it would go away. Seldom do we even stop to ask what it is. If stress gets out of hand it can wear you down, ruin your looks and destroy your peace of mind. Yet stress is the spice of life, the exhilaration of challenge and excitement, the ‘high’ of living with heavy demands. The big secret about stress is that it is not what appears to be causing it that does the damage. It’s how you respond to it that does that. Change your attitude to stress and you can make it work for you rather than against you. In short, chill out. Stress is hard to pin down: fatigue, overwork, loss of blood, physical injury, grief and joy can all produce stress, but none of them accurately describes what it is. The word stress comes from the language of engineering meaning ‘any force which causes an object to change’. Austrian-Canadian scientist, Hans Selye, first coined the word stress in relation to humans back in the 1930s. In human terms it refers to your body’s response to physical, chemical, emotional or spiritual forces that ask you to adapt to them. Selye discovered a typical physical reaction to stress which he called the General Adaptation Syndrome. Its function is to keep your body in a steady state, known as homeostasis. Every stressor you come into contact with threatens to destroy this steady state. The General Adaptation Syndrome has three states: alarm, where the body becomes alert; resistance, where all systems go in order to meet the challenge and protect you from harm; and exhaustion, which happens if stress lasts for too long and the body’s weakest systems begin to break down causing illness, chronic fatigue, even death. you are unique Everyone responds differently to stress. This depends to some degree on your conditioning, and on the amount of adaptive energy you were born with. This is why some people seem to breeze through stressful situations while others quickly reach exhaustion. Selye believed that once adaptive energy is used up, nothing can be done to restore it. We now know that this is not altogether true, but adaptive energy is certainly precious. This makes it imperative to examine carefully how yours is being used and if it is being burnt up unnecessarily. It also makes it important to remember that what goes up must come down. For making stress work for you means being able to switch off at will. This is something that most of us have to learn to do. Learn to move easily between stress and relaxation, and you will begin to experience your life as a satisfying and enriching challenge like the ebb and flow of the tides. Then you will never again have to worry about getting stuck in a high-stress condition which saps your energy, distorts your view of the world, and can lead to premature aging and chronic illness. Humans are natural seekers of challenge. Primitive man faced the daily challenge of survival – when in danger, the body reacted instantaneously to provide the energy needed to fight or flee, then relaxed again when the danger passed. We may no longer need to worry about meeting a saber-toothed tiger, but we still react to stress with the same physical responses – raised blood pressure and breathing, a rush of adrenaline throughout the body. The trouble is that modern life, with its noise, quick pace, social pressures, environmental poisons, and our tendency to sedentary, mental work, presents many of us with almost constant threat situations. This is particularly true in the business world where someone, instead of moving rhythmically in and out stressful situations, remains in the danger state for long periods, with all the internal physical conditions that accompany it. balance it The automatic, or involuntary, functions of your body are governed by the autonomic nervous system. It looks after the changes in the rate at which your heart beats. It regulates your blood pressure by altering the size of veins and arteries. It stimulates the flow of digestive juices and brings on muscular contractions in the digestive system to deal with the foods you take in. It makes you sweat when you are hot and is responsible for the physical changes in your body that come with sexual arousal. This autonomic system has two opposing branches: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The sympathetic branch is concerned with energy expenditure - particularly the energy involved with stress and meeting challenges. It spurs the heart to beat faster, makes you breathe hard, encourages you to sweat, raises your blood pressure, and sends blood to the muscles to get you ready for action. The other branch of the autonomic nervous system - the parasympathetic - is concerned with rest and regeneration rather than action. The parasympathetic branch slows your heartbeat, reduces the flow of air to your lungs, stimulates the digestive system, and helps relax your muscles. When you are in a state of stress, the sympathetic nervous system comes into play. The parasympathetic branch is dominant when you are relaxed. A good balance between the two is the key to making stress work for you. Balance makes it possible for you to go out into the world to do, to make, to create, to fight, and to express yourself, as well as to retire into yourself for regeneration, rest, recuperation, enjoyment, and the space to discover new ideas and plant the seeds of future actions. make stress work for you The secret is getting the right balance between stress and relaxation, between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches. Unfortunately, few of us get it right by accident - we have to learn. Take a look at the kind of stress you think you are under, eliminate unnecessary stressors, and discover new ways of working with stress. Second, begin to support your body physically with food, exercise and natural stress relievers to enable you to face stress with ease. Finally, learn to relax fully so that you can find the right balance between stress and relaxation and keep it. Not only will this help your body stay in balance and increase your level of overall vitality, it can bring you a sense of control over your life that is hard to come by any other way.

Salts Of The Earth

Salts Of The Earth

Our energy is balanced between dynamic, outpouring energy—which is exciting, creative, fun and challenging—and inner, moving energy, which is receptive. It’s a kind of quiet expectance that allows the universe to give you the gifts that it has to give. And of course, we can’t receive those gifts unless we know how to move from the dynamic state into the real receptive one. One of the things that’s important in helping us learn to do this—and almost everybody I know needs to learn to do it in our hectic, overstressed, dynamic world—is using water. Water itself is a powerful energy balancer. For instance, when you apply hot and cold water alternately to the surface of your skin, this stimulates circulation through the cardiovascular system, and it also spurs really good lymphatic drainage. From an electromagnetic point of view, by stimulating these systems you are increasing electricity at the heart of your cells, heightening your body's ability to produce energy at a cellular level and to produce vitality in your life. Hydrotherapy works in other ways too. Like a really good way of eating, high in fresh green vegetables and low or no processed and convenience foods, water helps detoxify acid wastes which are interfering with normal energetic processes. An excellent technique that works fantastically well is Epsom salts baths. They are magical in the way they can help you to balance your energies, not only on a physical level, but emotionally. Epsom salts are magnesium sulphate. Both magnesium and sulphate molecules have an ability to leach excess sodium, phosphorous and nitrogenous wastes from the body. By reducing toxicity, your body's energy becomes freed up for more efficient use. Magnesium and sulphur are also some of the most alkalinizing earth minerals. In practical terms, what this means is that they have the ability to create more physical space between the atoms and the molecules of your body. The greater the acidity in the body, and the more compressed the molecular space becomes, the greater the physical and emotional pressure you feel. When you get into an Epsom salts bath, the magnesium sulphate disturbs the pressure in your body, dispersing it and helping to restore balance. Magnesium sulphate dissolved in a body of water creates an electrical unified field. When you put your body into this field, it removes any excess electrical discharge from one area of the body and sends it to areas which are undercharged, creating a magnetic balance. There is nothing quite as good as an Epsom salts bath when you have been on a long flight or if you are suffering from jetlag, emotional tension, great fatigue or upset. Here’s How [video src=http://d1vg7rm5xhtxe9.cloudfront.net/video/sd/epsom-salts.mp4 poster=http://d3oy45cyct8ffi.cloudfront.net/health/video/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2013/08/epsom-salts-baths.jpg ] Take two cups of industrial grade Epsom salts. These are available from the chemist and sometimes from supermarkets. Pour it into a bath with a tiny, tiny bit of household bleach—the bleach is optional, but strangely enough it is another helper which, in minute quantities (and I’m talking less than a teaspoonful in a whole bath) ionizes wastes that are stored in the body. Fill the bath with tepid water, just above body temperature. Then immerse yourself in it for at least 20 minutes. If you begin to feel cool, add some more hot water. If you feel too warm, add a little bit of cold water, so that you are able to sustain being in this bath in a very relaxed state for 20 to 30 minutes. Get out of the bath, wrap yourself in a towel and rub yourself vigorously. This is lovely last thing at night and brings blissful sleep. You can also take an Epsom salts bath during the day, or before going out for the evening after a stressful day. When you get out of the bath, wrap yourself up in a towel and lie down for 10 minutes then get up, get dressed and go about whatever you are intending to do.

Natural Mood Helpers For Stress, anxiety And Depression. Alternatives to Antidepressants

Natural Mood Helpers For Stress, anxiety And Depression. Alternatives to Antidepressants

In our vastly overmedicated society, a mind-boggling 230 million prescriptions for antidepressants are filled every year. Over the course of one decade, their use has doubled—they are now the most popular class of drugs in the US. Yet they are far from the miracle drugs many believe them to be. Not only do they carry the risk of seriously dangerous side effects. Many trials have suggested they are no more, and perhaps even less, effective than placebos—mere sugar pills. In light of all this, it would be a mistake to ignore the safe, effective help for anxiety and depression provided by nature, which comes in the form of some wonderful herbs and supplements. It’s vital that you become aware of these natural alternatives in case you, or one of your loved ones, are in need of the remarkable healing they can bring. Natural Remedies For Depression - Banish The Blues There are many causes of depression—some are of the body and some of the psyche. I don’t think you can separate the two. Just as body and mind feed each other in producing the dark, seemingly endless blues which can set in at any period of your life, the herbs you call on for help will improve both body and spirit. When you feel depressed, you can feel anxious as well. Many of the plants which are effective in lifting the blues also help to clear fear and anxiety. Here are a couple of the best. St John’s Wort Known botanically as Hypericum perforatum, St John’s Wort is possibly the best herbal antidepressant nature has to offer. Its Latin name means ‘over an apparition’—a reference to the belief that a mere whiff of St Johns Wort will banish any evil spirit. Used since the time of the Greeks and Romans to treat nerve-related disorders, it is now the most commonly prescribed antidepressant in Germany. This makes good sense when you look at the research: At least 23 randomized clinical trials have shown that this plant is just as effective as standard antidepressant drugs, if not moreso. It’s earned its name as “nature’s answer to Prozac”, but can be used without fear of the dangerous side effects that pharmaceuticals bring. How to use The bright yellow flowers of St John’s Wort contain a red oil called hypericin which is antiviral and probably mood enhancing. Many studies show that it is whole plant extracts, however, rather than hypericin alone, that have the best anti-depressant effects. You can pick the flowers, leaves and stems of St John’s Wort while the plant is in flower. Dry them quickly, as you want to preserve the red oil in the flowers. To make tea, use 1-2 teaspoons of the dried herb in a cup of boiling water. Steep for 10-15 minutes, strain, and drink 3 times a day. One of the most effective ways to use St John’s Wort for depression is as a tincture. Take 1 teaspoon of St John’s Wort tincture in a little water 3 times a day. It should be taken for at least a month before results can be expected. A lucky few people, however, respond right away. Nature's Tranquilizer 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 – more potent than hops or camomile. 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. Very occasionally, and only to a very few people, valerian will cause a hangover in the morning, if this happens to you lower the dose or try a different herb. Sam-E Short for S-adenosyl methionine, Sam-E was discovered in Italy in 1952. It is not actually a herb, but an amino acid, which occurs naturally in our bodies when we are in good health. However it easily becomes depleted by stress, illness and deficiencies. Though it has been popular for treating depression in Europe since 1975, it has largely remained unknown elsewhere in the world—that is, until recently, when it became available in the US. It’s still unknown exactly how it works to lift depression. One hypothesis suggests that it can increase the availability of two neurotransmitters that regulate our mood: serotonin and dopamine. Studies repeatedly find in its favor compared with pharmaceuticals and placebo. (You may be interested to read this 2002 analysis of depression trials by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality) Sam-E is especially recommended for those who have tried and not responded to traditional prescription antidepressants. Help From Omegas Last but not least, there is ever growing evidence to demonstrate the importance of fatty acids in the diet to guard against depression. In particular, the levels of omega-3 in the blood of depressed individuals was found to be significantly lower than those of non-depressed people. This is in addition to the wealth of other well-documented benefits that omega-3s bestow. Yet in the United States alone, it is estimated that over 90% of adults are deficient in this essential fatty acid. Therefore, adding a good quality omega-3 supplement to your diet (see recommendations below) is one simple and effective measure you can take to bolster your mental and overall wellbeing. LESLIE RECOMMENDS I have tested all of the products that follow, both personally and with others who wanted to leave behind antidepressant drugs in favor of natural alternatives. I have also listed below what I believe to be the best brand you can buy in the case of each product. Valerian Root Liquid Phyto-Caps - Gaia Herbs' patented technology delivers a concentrated full spectrum alcohol-free liquid extract in a 100% vegetarian capsule. Extra Strength Liquid Phyto-Caps For Ultimate Support of Restful Sleep 100% Vegetarian A Dietary Supplement Not to be used during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs, please consult with your doctor Order Gaia Herbs-Valerian Root from iherb Omega 3-6-9 Essential Fatty Acids in Hexane Free Nutritional Oils A balanced blend of two essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (and their derivatives) necessary for many body functions: Omega-3 oil from Flax Seed and Canola, and Omega-6 oil (GLA) from Primrose and Black Currant. Oleic Acid, an Omega-9 oil from Canola and Flax Seed, is a monounsaturated fat not considered "essential" but does play beneficial roles in human health. Order Now Foods - Omega 3-6-9, 1000 mg from iherb Flora, St. John's Wort Extract A Wild-grown Full-Spectrum Extract. Flora's premium St. John's Wort is prepared in the traditional manner using freshly gathered wild-grown St. John's Wort flowers. They are sun-infused in extra-virgin olive oil for 1,000 hours to maximize extraction of the full-spectrum active principles into the oil. Flora's St. John's Wort can help reduce the effects of mild depression, anxiety, and nervous tension caused by daily stress. Order Flora, St. John's Wort Extract from iherb Nature's Bounty, SAM-e The body makes SAM-e from the amino acid methionine. However, you may not be able to obtain sufficient methionine levels simply by ingesting food. In addition, because of age or other factors, levels of SAM-e can fluctuate or decline. Supplementation with SAM-e is the easiest way to increase intake. The enteric coating helps the breakdown of SAM-e occur in the small intestine. In addition, the enteric coating is designed to protect SAM-e from moisture and serve as a protective barrier so that SAM-e can be absorbed where it can provide you with the greatest benefits. Order Nature's Bounty, SAM-e from iherb ORDERING FROM IHERB.COM: Get $5 OFF your first order. They ship all over the world very cheaply, and their products are the cheapest and best in the world. Get your order sent to you via DHL. I use them for almost everything no matter where I am.

More in mental health

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 12,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 11 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 12th of November 2019 (updated every 12 hours)

-1.32 lb
for women
-1.29 lb
for men
-1.32 lb
for women
-1.29 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 12th of November 2019 (updated every 12 hours)

sign up for our newsletter

download our free book healthy & lean for life