Saturday, February 14, 2009

List your herbal blog at SlogBite

Get your herbal blog listed in SlogBite. The benefits of joining SlogBite is to increase your site’s exposure, increase your sites traffic, increase your site’s readership, have fun and become part of a growing and influential community.

Folow the following steps to be listed in SlogBite.
1. Join SlogBite for free and create a post entry (like this one) about SlogBite.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Herbs & Spices for every servings

Get acquainted with herbs and spices. Add in small amounts, 1/4 tsp. for every servings. Crush dried herbs or snip fresh ones before using. Use 3 times more fresh herbs if substituting fresh for dried.

Basil

This herb has a sweet, warm flavor with an aromatic odor. It can be used whole or ground and is
good with lamb, fish, roast, stews, ground beef, vegetables, dressings and omelets. (I grow my
own in a small pot in my kitchen window. It seems the more leaves I pick off the more the plant
produces.)

Bay Leaves

It has a pungent flavor. Use whole leaves but remember to remove the leaf before serving. It's
good in vegetable dishes, seafood and stews.

Caraway

Spicy in taste with an aromatic smell. Good used in cakes, breads, soups, cheese and
sauerkraut.

Chives

Sweet, mild flavor of an onion. Great in salads, fish, soups and potatoes. (This is another one
that I grow in my kitchen. I cut it just above the dirt and like grass, it grows right back.)

Cilantro

Use fresh. Excellent in salads, fish, chicken, rice, beans and Mexican dishes.

Curry Powder

This is a blend of spices that gives a distinct flavor to meat, poultry, fish and vegetables.

Dill

Both seeds and leaves are flavorful. Leaves can be used to garnish, cook with fish, soup,
dressings, potatoes and beans. (I like fresh dill but the plant gets a little large for my kitchen
window so I keep a pot growing on my porch. The only problem I find is the squirrels seem to
like it too. So I put small rocks on top so they can't dig up the plant.)

Fennel

Sweet, hot flavor. Both seeds and leaves are used but use in small quantities in pies and baked
goods.

Ginger

This is a pungent root sold fresh, dried or ground. It's common in cakes, cookies, soups and
meat dishes. See Ginger - Zingiber Officinale - Halia (Medicinal Herbs)

Marjoram

Can be found both dried or green. It's used to flavor fish, poultry, omelets, lamb, stew, stuffing
and tomato juice.

Mint

Aromatic with a cool flavor. Excellent in beverages, fish, lamb, cheese, soup, peas, carrots and
fruit desserts. (This is one plant that should come with a warning. I planted one plant and ended
up with it spreading throughout my gardening area. I now buy my mint from the store.)

Oregano

Strong, aromatic odor. Use whole or ground in tomato juice fish, eggs, pizza, omelets, chili, stew,
gravy, poultry, vegetables and of course Italian dishes. (This is another herb that is easy to grow
in the kitchen window and it too likes to have it's leaves pinched off so it can grow more.)

Paprika

A bright red pepper used in meat, vegetables and soups or as a garnish for potatoes, salads or
eggs.

Parsley

Best when used fresh, but can be used dried as a garnish or as a seasoning. Try using it in fish,
omelets, soups, meats, stuffing and mixed greens. (Another kitchen window plant.)

Rosemary

Very aromatic. Can be used fresh or dried. Season fish, stuffing, beef, lamb, poultry, onions,
eggs, bread and potatoes. Great in dressings. (This is an outside plant that starts out small and
becomes enough for a large neighborhood to share. And it gets bigger every year.) See ROSEMARY - Rosmarinus Officinalis (Medicinal Herbs)

Saffron

Orange-yellow n color. It will flavor and color foods. Use in soup, chicken, rice and breads.
(This herb is a little expensive to buy.)

Sage

Can be used fresh or dried. The flowers can be used in salads. May be used in tomato juice,
fish, omelets, beef, poultry, stuffing, cheese spread and breads. (This is another porch plant. I
do have to plant it yearly but the use of fresh sage is worth it. As the plant dies out I break off
small branches and hang in my kitchen to dry and then store in a plastic bag. To use, I simply
pull the leaf off it's stem and rub the leaves between my palms.)

Tarragon

Leaves have a pungent, hot taste. Use to flavor sauces, salads, fish, poultry, tomatoes, eggs,
green beans, carrots and dressings.

Thyme

Sprinkle the leaves on fish or poultry before broiling or baking and throw a few springs directly
on coals shortly before meat is finished grilling.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kacip Fatimah as anti-ageing agent

Labisa Pumila, commonly known as Kacip Fatimah is the female version of Tongkat Ali. Kacip Fatimah is a small woody and leafy plant that grows and can be found widely in the shade of forest floors. The leaves are about 20 centimetres long, and they are traditionally used as a kind of tea by women who experience a loss of libido.

Herbal Uses

Extract from these herbs are usually ground into powder substances and are made into capsules and pills. A concoction made from boiling the plant in water is given to women in labour to hasten delivery of their babies. After childbirth, it may still be consumed by mothers to regain their strength. In other medicinal preparations, it can treat gonorrhoea, dysentery and eliminate excessive gas in the body.

Traditionally, it is used for enhancing vitality, overcome tiredness and help to tone vaginal muscles for women. Kacip Fatimah, the women’s tongkat ali has been used for generations in Borneo in maintaining the figure, health and vitality of women. Kacip fatimah is the female Tongkat Ali and for centuries -it has been used in Borneo to restore womenhood.

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Kacip Fatimah in the news

From TheStar
Researchers unlock herb’s anti-ageing secret
Compiled by LEE YUK PENG, V.P. SUJATA and A. RAMAN

UNIVERSITI Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and South Korean researchers have found an anti-ageing agent in the traditional herb kacip fatimah which stimulates the production of collagen and acts as an anti-oxidant, reported Kosmo!

The research conducted by UTM’s Faculty of Chemical Engineering professor Dr Mohamad Roji Sarmidi and South Korea’s Dongguk University’s Chemistry and Bio- chemical Department professor Dr Chan Seo-par showed that the herb could make the skin fairer.

UTM vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Zaini Ujang said extracts from the kacip fatimah leaves could also curb the production of melanin, which darkens the skin as well as reduces sunburn.

Kacip fatimah, better known for boosting women’s health, has now been found to be effective in skin care, he said, adding that Dongguk University was chosen because it had a research laboratory to conduct tests that was not available in Malaysia.

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Photos of Kacip Fatimah



Saturday, January 3, 2009

VALERIAN - Valeriana Officinalis

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Valerianaceae) is a hardy perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers. The flowers are in bloom in the northern hemisphere from June to September. Valerian was used as a perfume in the sixteenth century.

Native to Europe and parts of Asia, Valerian has been introduced into North America. It is consumed as food by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species including Grey Pug.

Other names used for this plant include garden valerian (to distinguish it from other Valeriana species), garden heliotrope (although not related to Heliotropium) and all-heal. The garden flower red valerian is also sometimes referred to as "valerian" but is a different species, from the same family but not particularly closely related.

Valerian, in pharmacology and phytotherapic medicine, is the name of a herb or dietary supplement prepared from roots of the plant, which, after maceration, trituration, dehydration processes, are conveniently packaged, usually into capsules, that may be utilized for certain effects including sedation and anxiolytic effect.

The amino acid Valine is named after this plant.

Medicinal use

Valerian is used for insomnia and other disorders and can be a useful alternative to benzodiazepine drugs.

In the United States Valerian is sold as a nutritional supplement. Therapeutic use has increased as dietary supplements have gained in popularity, especially after the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was passed in 1994. This law allowed the distribution of many agents as over-the-counter supplements, and therefore allowed them to bypass the regulatory requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Valerian is used against sleeping disorders, restlessness and anxiety, and as a muscle relaxant. Valerian often seems only to work when taken over longer periods (several weeks), though many users find that it takes effect immediately. Some studies have demonstrated that valerian extracts interact with the GABA and benzodiazepine receptors. Valerian is also used traditionally to treat gastrointestinal pain and irritable bowel syndrome. However, long term safety studies are missing. As valepotriates may be potential mutagens, valerian should only be used after consultation with a physician.

Valerian is sometimes recommended as a first-line treatment when benefit-risk analysis dictates. Valerian is often indicated as transition medication when discontinuing benzodiazepines.

Valerian has uses in herbal medicine as a sedative. The main current use of valerian is as a remedy for insomnia, with a recent meta-analysis providing some evidence of effectiveness. It has been recommended for epilepsy but that is not supported by research (although an analogue of one of its constituents, valproic acid, is used as an anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing drug). Valerian root generally does not lose effectiveness over time.

SIDE EFFECTS: Headache, blurred vision, nausea, change in heartbeat, and morning grogginess may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor promptly. Very unlikely but report: dark urine, stomach pain. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Making herbal tea with Turmeric

Which part to use for turmeric herbal tea ? The dried powder (1 teaspoon) are used for making the brew.

Making herbal tea with Turmeric

The standard way to make an infusion of Turmeric Herbal Tea, unless otherwise specified, is to pour a cup of boiling water over the material to be infused, let it stand for 5 minutes, strain it, and drink it.

* Fresh plant material - When the recipe refers to fresh plant material to be used, a 1/4 cup fresh material is used, following the method above.

* Dried material - When the recipe refers to using dried material, use 2 teaspoons of material when making it.

* Bark or seeds - Should the recipe call for bark or seeds to be used, use 2 teaspoons of seeds or 1 tablespoon of bark.

* Sweetening your infusion - You could sweeten your health drink with honey, should you so require, and a dash of fresh lemon juice may also enhance the taste.

Reference:
http://www.ageless.co.za/turmeric.htm#how%20to%20make%20an%20herbal%20tea

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

TURMERIC - Curcuma Longa

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae which is native to tropical South Asia. It needs temperatures between 20°C and 30°C, and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and re-seeded from some of those rhizomes in the following season.

It is often misspelled (or pronounced) as 'tumeric'. It is also known as kunyit (Indonesian and Malay), Besar (Nepali) or haldi (Hindi) or arishina (Kannada) or pasupu (Telugu)or manjal(Tamil) in Asian countries. In Assamese it is called Halodhi. In HawaiƬ, it is called "`Olena." In medieval Europe, turmeric became known as Indian Saffron, since it is widely used as an alternative to far more expensive saffron spice.

Its rhizomes are boiled for several hours and then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice in curries and other South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, for dyeing, and to impart color to mustard condiments. Its active ingredient is curcumin and it has an earthy, bitter, peppery flavor and a mustardy smell.

Turmeric as traditional Asian medicine

The rhizome (root) of turmeric ( Curcuma longa Linn.) has long been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat gastrointestinal upset, arthritic pain, and "low energy." Laboratory and animal research has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties of turmeric and its constituent curcumin. Preliminary human evidence, albeit poor quality, suggests possible efficacy in the management of dyspepsia (heartburn), hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), and scabies (when used on the skin).

Herbal remedies using Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Also known as haridra and was previously classified as Curcuma domestica. The use of herbal remedies, including the herb turmeric (also known as haridra) and classified as Curcuma longa, (previously classified as Curcuma domestica) are popular as an alternative to standard Western allopathic medicine for a variety of problems, including lowering cholesterol, reducing risk of stroke and heart attack as well as eczema.

Curcuma longa is an effective remedy for various ailments, and this natural holistic approach to health is becoming more and more popular, but should NOT replace conventional medicine or prescription drugs.

Medicinal uses

In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is thought to have many medicinal properties and many in India use it as a readily available antiseptic for cuts, burns and bruises. Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine say it has fluoride which is thought to be essential for teeth. It is also used as an antibacterial agent.

It is taken in some Asian countries as a dietary supplement, which allegedly helps with stomach problems and other ailments. It is popular as a tea in Okinawa, Japan. It is currently being investigated for possible benefits in Alzheimer's disease, cancer and liver disorders.


Scientists have studied turmeric for the following health problems:

Antioxidant - Some research suggests that as an antioxidant, turmeric may help in the prevention of conditions such as cancer and heart disease. These studies, however, are small and of poor quality, and most have involved animals. Better studies performed in humans are needed to provide more definitive answers.

Cancer - Several laboratory studies, animal studies and low-quality studies in humans have examined the effects of turmeric on different types of tumors. However, currently it is not clear if turmeric is effective in the prevention or treatment of cancer. There are several ongoing studies in this area.

Heartburn and stomach ulcers - Turmeric has been used traditionally for stomach and intestinal conditions. There is limited study in this area, and the effects of turmeric are not clear. Turmeric may actually cause heartburn or ulcers when used long-term or in high doses.

Arthritis treatment - A few small studies suggest turmeric may help improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, larger studies are needed to determine the exact benefit of turmeric for these conditions.

Other - Turmeric has been studied for the treatment of high cholesterol, inflammation, scabies, viral infections, HIV, AIDS and a vision disorder called chronic anterior uveitis. Other studies suggest that turmeric may prevent gallstones and the formation of blood clots and may have a protective effect on the liver. Turmeric has not been proven for any of these uses, and more research is needed before turmeric can be recommended for these conditions.

Unproven Uses

Turmeric has been suggested for many other uses, based on tradition or on scientific theories. However, these uses have not been thoroughly studied in humans, and there is limited scientific evidence about safety or effectiveness. Some of these suggested uses are for conditions that are potentially serious and even life-threatening. You should consult a health care provider before using turmeric for any unproven use.

Alzheimer's disease
Antifertility agent
Anti-inflammatory
Antimicrobial
Appetite stimulant
Asthma
Bile flow
Bleeding
Boils
Bruise
Cataracts
Cervical cancer
Colic
Cough
Cystic fibrosis
Decreased breast milk
Diabetes
Diarrhea
Dizziness
Flatulence
Fungal infections
Gastric cancer
Gonorrhea
Hepatitis
High blood pressure
Human papillomavirus
Insect bites
Insect repellent
Jaundice
Kidney stones
Lack of menstrual period
Leprosy
Liver protection
Menstrual cramps
Multidrug resistance
Neurodegenerative disorders
Ovarian cancer
Pain
Prostate cancer
Protozoal infections
Ringworm
Scarring
Scleroderma
Seizures
Snake venom
Spasms
Sperm count
Sperm motility
Stomach bloating


Potential dangers of Turmeric

Allergies - Individuals who are allergic to spices that include turmeric or to yellow food colorings should avoid turmeric. Contact allergy to curcumin has been reported. Turmeric is a member of the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family and should be avoided by people with allergies to these plants.

Side Effects - Few side effects have been reported when turmeric is used at recommended doses. There are reports of skin rash and mild giddiness. Stomach irritation, including heartburn and ulcers, may occur with long-term use. In animal studies, turmeric has caused hair loss, changes in blood pressure and liver damage. In theory, turmeric may increase the risk of bleeding. You may need to stop taking turmeric before some surgeries; discuss this with your health care provider.

Individuals with gallstones, blocked bile ducts, stomach or intestinal ulcers, high levels of stomach acid or immune system diseases should speak with a health care provider before using turmeric in amounts greater than commonly found in foods.

Pregnancy And Breast-Feeding - Turmeric cannot be recommended during pregnancy or breast-feeding in amounts greater than usually found in foods. Turmeric may stimulate contractions of the uterus and may alter menstrual periods.

Synonyms

Amomoum curcuma, anlatone (constituent), ar-tumerone, CUR, Curcuma, Curcuma aromatica, Curcuma aromatica salisbury, Curcuma domestica, Curcuma domestica valet, Curcuma longa, Curcuma longa Linn, Curcuma longa rhizoma, curcuma oil, curcumin, diferuloylmethane, E zhu, Gelbwurzel, gurkemeje, haldi, Haridra, Indian saffron, Indian yellow root, jiang huang, kunir, kunyit, Kurkumawurzelstock, kyoo, NT, number ten, Olena, radix zedoaria longa, rhizome de curcuma, safran des Indes, sesquiterpenoids, shati, tumeric, turmeric oil, turmeric root, tumerone (constituent), Ukon, yellowroot, zedoary, Zingiberaceae (family), zingiberene, Zitterwurzel.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Herbs can decrease anxiety

Herbs have been used for thousands of years to treat both physical and mental illnesses. There are several herbs that can be used to decrease anxiety and reduce the symptoms of anxiety attacks. Herbs known as adaptogens, such as ginseng (Panax ginseng), wild yam (Dioscorea villosa), borage (Borago officinalis), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), milk thistle (Silybum marianum), and nettle (Urtica dioica) may help to alleviate anxiety attacks.

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Anxiety Attacks
By: Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, PhD, ND, DACBN

What Is an Anxiety Attack?

Also known as a panic attack, an anxiety attack is characterized by intense episodes in which the sufferer experiences such symptoms similar to a heart attack such as heart palpitations, chest pain or discomfort, sweating, and trembling. They may be triggered by a stressful event or they may come on for no discernible reason. Anxiety attacks, and the fear of their occurrence, can prevent suffers from leading a normal life.

What Are The Symptoms Of An Anxiety Attack?

An anxiety attack is often mistaken for a heart attack as the symptoms are very similar. Increased heart and breathing rates, dry mouth, chest pains, loss of touch with reality, light-headedness, nausea, numbness or tingling in the extremities, sweating, and diarrhea are common symptoms of an anxiety attack.

What Causes Anxiety Attacks?

Anxiety attacks may be triggered by an illness or a stressful situation, or they may come on unexpectedly. The memory of a stressful event that occurred in the past can also cause an anxiety attack.

When To Get Help For Anxiety Attacks

Anxiety attacks can be very distressing and debilitating. Some sufferers have found supplements or home care techniques that allow them to manage anxiety attacks before they become a problem. But you may need to seek the help of a natural health care professional or licensed therapist if your anxiety attacks are interrupting your daily activities and preventing you from leading a normal life. Seek professional help immediately if you experience a sudden anxiety attack that you cannot control, or if you experience chest pain, sweating, difficulty breathing, or pain in your jaw, neck and arm during an attack.

Preventing Anxiety Attacks

Exercise: Any cardiovascular exercise that increases your heart rate is a good way to reduce anxiety and the stress that may cause an anxiety attack. Walking, swimming, biking, Pilates and aerobics are good choices.

Relaxation: Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation may help to alleviate anxiety and provide tools for controlling symptoms during an anxiety attack.

Avoid Certain Substances: Avoid using substances such as drugs, alcohol, and coffee that can contribute to or aggravate the symptoms of anxiety.

Dietary Changes: Many people have found that eating a vegetarian diet can decrease feelings of anxiety. Red meat, in particular, releases stress hormones within the body. Whole grains, on the other hand, release endorphins that promote a sense of well being.

Managing an Anxiety Attack

Herbs: Herbs have been used for thousands of years to treat both physical and mental illnesses. There are several herbs that can be used to decrease anxiety and reduce the symptoms of anxiety attacks. Talk with your health care professional before you try any new herbs or herbal combinations. Herbs known as adaptogens, such as ginseng (Panax ginseng), wild yam (Dioscorea villosa), borage (Borago officinalis), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), milk thistle (Silybum marianum), and nettle (Urtica dioica) may help to alleviate anxiety attacks. Other herbs that may be helpful include:

* Chamomile: (Matricaria chamomilla ) This herb is often associated with relaxation. It may be helpful in reducing anxiety.
* Kava: (Piper methysticum ) Kava is helpful for mild anxiety.
* St John's Wort: (Hypericum perforatum ) St John's Wort has been used for many years to help promote an overall sense of well being and reduce stress and anxiety.

Supplements: As with herbs, check with your health care provider before introducing any new supplements to your diet.

* 5-HTP: (5-hydroxytryptophan) This supplement is a mood lifter that may help to promote restful sleep and decrease anxiety.
* Inositol: Inositol may be helpful in decreasing anxiety with long term use.

Treatment Methods:
* Acupuncture: Anxiety causes tension that disrupts the flow of the qi. Acupuncture can help to restore harmony and induce a state of deep relaxation.

* Mental Exercises: Meditation, guided imagery, art, music, and other mental exercises are a useful way to reduce stress and promote relaxation in your life.

* Relaxation Techniques: Slow, diaphragmatic breathing and conscious muscle relaxation can help to manage stress by calming the body and clearing the mind of stressors.

* Aromatherapy: Essential oils of lavender, chamomile, geranium, rose, neroli, sweet marjoram, and ylang-ylang are commonly recommended for stress relief. They help to reduce anxiety and tension and can be used in a massage, added to a bath, or inhaled through a vaporizer.

* Massage: A regular massage in which the practitioner uses such techniques as rubbing, kneading, and pummeling, can be very beneficial in the management of anxiety attacks. It can help to increase blood circulation, reduce pain, and relieve muscle tension. Massage also help to release endorphins, substances that have a mood-enhancing effect.

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