Tuesday, November 27, 2012

10 Amazing & Natural Anti-Inflammatory Agents

Inflammation is a healthy reaction of the body to any trauma that initiates the healing process. It can be classified as either acute or chronic. Acute inflammation is the initial response of the body to harmful stimuli and is achieved by the increased movement of plasma and leukocytes from the blood into the injured tissues. A series of biochemical events propagates and matures the inflammatory response, involving the local vascular system, the immune system, and various cells within the injured tissue. The classical signs of acute inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. It is not a synonym for infection, even in cases when inflammation is caused by infection. Although infection is caused by a microorganism, inflammation is one of the responses of the organism to the pathogen. Without inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal. Similarly, progressive destruction of the tissue would compromise the survival of the organism.

Prolonged or chronic inflammation leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells present at the site of inflammation and is characterized by simultaneous destruction and healing of the tissue from the inflammatory process. Chronic inflammation can also lead to diseases, such as hay fever, periodontitis, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, even cancer.

In some instances, this normal defense system wrongly begins or continues an inflammatory state when there are no invaders to fight. In this mode, your body's normally helpful immune system causes damage to the surrounding tissues.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids are often the standard treatment for chronic inflammatory conditions, but these drugs can cause health issues of their own if used for extended periods of time as well as side effects like gastric ulceration and, infrequently, myocardial infarction and stroke. Safer alternatives are offered by mother nature! The best and most effective natural anti-inflammatory agents are those that have both an anti-inflammatory and an analgesic effect on the organism. They must be able to track the inflammation, reduce the swelling and ease the pain.

After quite a lot of studdying and experimenting (!), I have concluded to this list of natural anti-inflammatory agents:                                                   
1. TurmericThe active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has strong anti-inflammatory and disinfecting properties. As a natural anti-inflammatory, turmeric aids in giving relief to sufferers of arthritis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It may also slow the progression of multiple sclerosis.Taken orally as an anti-inflammatory, turmeric does not have the side-effects commonly associated with some modern pharmaceutical medicines. These include intestinal bleeding, ulcers, and the decrease of white blood cells. This makes turmeric a safe and very effective alternative to some non-prescription drugs.


2. Chili/Cayenne pepper 
Chili owes its stinging pungency to the chemical, capsaicin. Capsaicin produces highly selective regional anesthesia. It also inhibits NF-kB, thus producing an anti-inflammatory effect. Capsaicin can cause a burning sensation when it comes in contact with human flesh, and also in the digestive tract. Chili/Cayenne pepper is rarely used alone, so if you decide to use it topically you should mix it with a base oil like olive oil, which also has anti-inflammatory properties.

3. St John’s Wort ( Hypericum  perforatum)
St. John's wort has a history of being used as a medicine dating back to ancient        Greece, where it was used for a range of illnesses, including various "nervous disorders." St. John's wort also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Because of its   anti-inflammatory properties, it has been applied to the skin to help heal wounds and burns. In the case of an inflammation it is recommended to use St. John’s wort oil on the affected area. It is very useful in cases of nerve inflammation such as sciatica and neuralgia and for recovery from wounds/injuries where there has been nerve tissue damage. It also provides relief for swollen joints and muscle cramps and from pain cause by injuries. 


4. Bee Propolis 

Propolis is a mainly resinous substance that bees collect from trees and plants. Being made up of waxes, resins, fatty acids and even amino acids. Aristotle reputedly coined the name Propolis, which in greek means "defender of the city". Propolis is a unique natural medicine because of its breadth of action. It is probably best known for its antibiotic properties, but it also has important  antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and immunomodulatory effects. A survey of Propolis consumers showed that arthritis was the health problem that Propolis was used to treat the most. This is because of the potent anti-inflammatory properties of the propolis constituents in particular CAPE (Caffeic acid Phenyl ester), CAPE has been shown to suppress T cell activation. A paper by Park et al in 1999 concluding that the ethanolic extract of propolis had profound anti-inflammatory effects on both chronic and acute arthritic inflammations. These anti-inflammation properties extend to other illness and disorders such as asthma and allergies reducing both smooth muscle airway contraction and allergic responses. Any disorder or illness related to inflammation could be helped by Propolis. I usually prefer it in the form of a tincture, but you can also get it in its natural form or in capsules.


5. Ginger Root 

Ginger is the root of a plant in the same family as turmeric. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb and there has been much recent interest in its use for joint problems. Red ginger, in particular, has the ability to stop chronic and acute inflammation. In a study published in February 2010 in the "Journal of Medicinal Food," red ginger was found to reduce inflammation in a mouse experimental model. The active ingredients were found to be gingerdiols, and proanthocyanidins, two phytochemicals, or plant chemicals that can impact health. These active compounds were able to stop the expression of nitric oxide, a gas in the body that can lead to conditions such as arthritis when too much is present. In a study published in 2010 in "Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry," rats fed with ginger showed reduced ear swelling caused by inflammation.


6. Omega-3 (Fish Oil) 

Research has shown that the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are some of the most effective natural anti-inflammatory agents available. The biological basis for the effectiveness of fish oil in treating arthritis has been well documented with many positive clinical studies, when compared to traditional pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory agents.

7. Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum) 

Devil's Claw or Harpagophytum, which in Greek means “hook plant”    (Αρπαγόφυτο), has been a popular anti-inflammatory and arthritis treatment since it was first discovered in South Africa by European colonists in the 18th century. It is still quite common in Europe today but is not so well known in the U.S. Devil's Claw can relieve pain from arthritis quite fast, as well as lower back, knee and hip pain. It is also used to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, bursitis, tendonitis and soft tissue pain (muscle aches).Studies have shown no side effects, even at very high doses, so Devil's claw can be an alternative for those taking over-the-counter pain medications.

8. Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) 

Cat's Claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is a vine native to the Amazon rainforest and other parts of South and Central America. The bark and root of the plant have been used traditionally in South American medicine for the treatment of a wide range of health problems, including cancer and AIDS. It was also used as a form of birth control. Today, mainly by word of mouth, it has become one of the best selling herbs in the USA. This herb's anti-inflammatory properties may help to relieve arthritis, gout, and other inflammatory problems. The primary mechanism for Cat's claw anti-inflammatory actions appears to be immunomodulation via suppression of TNF-alpha synthesis.


9. Green Tea
Green tea has long been recognized to have cardiovascular and cancer preventative characteristics due to its antioxidant properties. Its use in the treatment of arthritic disease as an anti-inflammatory agent has been recognized more recently. The constituents of green tea are polyphenolic compounds called catechins.
Green tea research demonstrates both anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective effects. The usual recommendation is 3–4 cups of tea a day.


10. Extra  Virgin Olive Oil
Last but definitely no least, the virgin olive oil! Mediterranean’s secret to longevity! Its rich supply of polyphenols protects the heart and blood vessels from inflammation. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil are also turned into anti-inflammatory agents by the body that can lower occurrences of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers have observed that olive oil reduces the plasmatic concentration of molecules in the walls of blood vessels that promote inflammation. They attribute this beneficial effect of olive oil partly to the high presence of micronutrients, specifically the phenolic compound oleocanthal, which is believed to have an effect similar to that of anti-inflammatory drugs (without all the unwanted side-effects).








Monday, November 26, 2012

Natural Fertility Tonic

I was going through the Herbal Encyclopedia and I came accross this fertility potion. I thought to share it with you, even through I haven't tested it myself, but I really trust the source. And it will deffinitely not harm you in any case. So if you are trying to conceive and you are having trouble with it, it is worth a try!
Uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, stress, age - all have a factor in fertility for women, and these situations need to be addressed and treated before embarking on an herbal treatment for fertility. You should not be in such a hurry to get pregnant that you put yourself or your fetus in any kind of danger.
The tonic is for both men and women and may be used in tincture (3/4 teaspoon daily), capsule (3 capsules twice per day), or tea (one cup three times per day) form. If you need any help in getting hold of the herbs listed, please conctact me and I will assist you. Use the fertility tonic daily for up to 3 months. During this time, change your lifestyle to include exercise, quit (or at least reduce) smoking, cut back on caffeine and alcohol consumption, rest, and above all, adopt a healthy diet. Take a multivitamin that includes folic acid every day, as well as bee pollen. I have been drinking bee pollen every morning in my orange juice for at least three years now and it really is amazing! Just add one full teaspoon in a glass of fresh orange juice and stir well.  Drink it first thing in the morning and avoid eating any food for about 30 minutes.
Your life is a direct reflection of what is going on in your body, both male and female. Take stock and change what you should to aid in overcoming the infertility. And remember - sometimes trying too hard can make it difficult to conceive! Just relax, have faith, and trust your body.

      Fertility Tonic
  • 2 parts ho shou wu
  • 1 part astragalus root
  • 1 part dong quai root (substitute ginseng for men)
  • 2 parts false unicorn root
  • 3 parts wild yam root
  • 1 part vitex berries
  • 1 part squaw vine
  • 1 part cinnamon 

http://www.naturalypure.com (photo1)
http://www.healinghandshuddersfield.co.uk (photo2)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nourishing Body Butter for Stretch Marks and Dry Skin Conditions

This boby butter recipe is made with natural products that are very beneficial (and anti-aging!) for the skin, hair and nails! Coconut oil is loaded with Vitamin E and fatty acids (such as lauric acid, myristic acid, capric acid and more) which are anti-fungal, anti-oxidizing and anti-bacterial. Cocoa and shea butters, besides having moisturizing properties, are also capable of renewing the skin by speeding up skin cell regeneration. These too are rich in vitamin E and fatty acids. Shea butter in particular is also recommended to people that suffer from mild joint pain and arthritis. Aloe vera is just miraculous for the skin and I choose to add it in most creams and cosmetics I make. I have added extra vitamin E in my recipe, not just because it is great  for healing, assisting with hair and nail growth and softening the skin, but it also contains natural antioxidants which extend the life of homemade natural creams and cosmetics and prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

With this body butter your skin stays clear and moisturized day and night. Being 100% natural, your skin will readily absorb it and still allow moisture to flow back and forth.
It is ideal to use during and after pregnancy to prevent stretch marks. Apply it around the breasts, on your belly and around the waist. You may also use it on your infant’s (or baby’s) sensitive skin. It is also ideal for dehydrated and rough skin, for people suffering from severe skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, rashes or psoriasis. 
This recipe also makes a great lip butter, a make-up remover (especially if you add a bit less cocoa butter to make it less thick), it is great to use as a face mask and around the eyes.  It can be also used as a hair mask for damaged, color-treated or very dry hair, in this case again it is much easier if you try to make it less thick by using less cocoa butter (or adding more coconut oil).
It is very nourishing and delicate for the skin, lips and hair, it is easy and fast to make, it is 100% natural (you could actually eat it!) and has a natural yummy, yet subtle, aroma (that makes you want to eat it!!!).

This is what you’ll need:
6 tablespoons organic coconut oil
4 tablespoons cacao butter (cocoa butter also works as the setting and thickening agent in this recipe so you may adjust the quantity you’ll use according to how thick you would like it to be)
2 tablespoon shea butter
1 tablespoon aloe pure, organic aloe vera gel
½ teaspoon vitamin E oil (or 2 vitamin E capsules)

Put the coconut oil, cocoa butter and shea butter in a double boiler on low heat and allow them to melt slowly. Once ready, remove from heat. 
In a separate double boiler, again on low heat, slightly heat the aloe vera gel and mix it in the cocoa butter mix. 
Add the vitamin E oil and stir. If you are using capsules make a small hole on them with a pin and just squeeze out the oil. 
Pour the body butter mix in a jar and allow it to cool. Once it has cooled down to room temperature it will have set.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cold Relief Tea Remedy with Echinacea and Rose Hips

Recently many friends have been calling me to ask me for remedies and advice on how to treat a cold, so here I am sharing one of my most effective cold relief tea remedies. You don’t need to catch a cold to drink this, you can just drink it to prevent a cold or strengthen your immune system. It is best to avoid taking Echinacea on a daily basis, for it will stop being so effective on your system, so it is best to use it for certain periods of time when needed. Rose hip tea on the other hand can be consumed as often as you wish.  All I can say is that I have been using this remedy for years, it really works and here is why:
Echinacea is well known for strengthening the immune system by stimulating the production of T-cells. It also increases the ability of your white cells to fend off pathogenic invaders. A compound known as Echinacein, found in Echinacea, helps keep germs from penetrating healthy cells, so that viruses and bacteria don’t take hold in your body and it really helps to reduce your recovery time. Echinacea is also used as treatment for sore throats, urinary tract infections, enlarged lymph glands, and skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema
Rose hips, the fruit of the wild rose, have even more vitamin C than citrus fruits do. Rose hips were long known as a food, but only since the mid twentieth century has their medicinal value as a premier source of this essential vitamin been recognized. The vitamin C content gives rose hip tea its primary benefit-the ability to help prevent and treat colds and flu. Rose hip tea also contains vitamins A, B, E and K, pectin and organic acids. Besides battling colds, the nutrient rich tea boosts your health in other ways as well; it helps strengthen the body's resistance to infection, reinforces digestive function, combats all kinds of illness with fever, flushes out the kidneys and urinary tract and relieves mild rheumatic pain.
This tea is very easy to make.
Just boil 1 cup of water and pour it over 2 teaspoons of rose hips (fresh or dry) and 2 teaspoons of Echinacea. Let it stand, covered, for 15 minutes. You may sweeten it with honey, if desired. If you suffer from a cold I would suggest to drink the tea lukewarm at least three times a day, in the morning, afternoon and at bedtime, for maximum effectiveness. If you are just drinking it to prevent a cold or strengthen your immune system, you may just drink it in the morning! Alternatively you may use rosehip and Echinacea extracts or tintures.