Making Herbal Poultices

Making Herbal Poultices

 

Making herbal poultices is not difficult and can be done relatively quickly. A poultice is like a salve or an ointment and is often heated before applying to the skin. Always applied externally, they are effective treatments for wounds, infections, and inflammation and swelling. Very likely your grandmother or great-grandmother made poultices as a treatment for arthritis, bursitis, gout, and a host of other joint and muscle ailments.

A poultice is a mixture that is applied to one side of a clean cloth and placed over the affected area. Fresh herbs are chopped or ground and then added to an emulsifier such as mineral oil, olive oil, or aloe vera juice. Slippery elm, which contains a great deal of mucilage, can also be added. In making herbal poultices powdered herbs can be used, however freshly prepared organics are always best. Once the cloth is situated over the skin it can be secured with an elastic bandage to keep it securely in place.

Mustard Plaster

One of the most well known poultices is a mustard poultice. Used to relieve symptoms of the common cold and respiratory ailments it can be formulated very quickly. Combine a tablespoon of dry mustard with four tablespoons of flour. To prevent blistering of the skin also add one egg. Blend these ingredients with an emulsifier or a small amount of water and rub directly on the patient?s chest to bring relief from cold symptoms.

Onion Poultice

Use an onion poultice to reduce the pain and swelling resulting from strained or pulled muscles and tendons. Adding a finely chopped onion to aloe juice and applying this mixture to a cloth is a remarkably simple poultice recipe. Place this on the area of the strain. To intensify the anti-inflammatory properties of this poultice add white willow.

General First Aid Poultice

A general purpose poultice for a range of skin wounds and infections contains Slippery Elm, Goldenseal, Aloe Vera juice, and Comfrey. The berberine in the goldenseal kills bacteria which are the source of infection. Comfrey contains allantoin which speeds healing and reduces scaring. Slippery elm is a soothing herb with mucilage that helps bind the other ingredients together. The aloe vera juice acts as the emulsifier and is a conduit for the other herbs to penetrate the skin.

Making herbal poultices is a time-honored tradition dating back to Native American medicine. This is one more remedy for your home herbal pharmacy.

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The 55 Best Herbal Remedies

The 55 Best Herbal Remedies

Not long ago, American herbalists had to rely on folklore and anecdote. There was little clinical data on herbs, and what did exist was mostly published in German. But researchers (and translators) have been busy of late, and we now have proof that herbs are viable treatments for many ailments.

“Herbs won’t replace pharmaceuticals, but the research shows that–for many conditions–herbs work well, are cheaper than drugs and cause fewer side effects,” says Mary Hardy, M.D., medical director of the integrative medicine program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. “Herbs aren’t quite mainstream, but they’re moving in that direction. Patients are interested in them, and doctors are increasingly familiar with herb research.

“Twenty years ago, there was no integrative program at Cedars-Sinai” she adds. “Now there is. That says something” Here, then, are the proven, 55 best herbal treatments. Stick to the dose specified in the studies or on the product label. When making teas, use 1 to 2 teaspoons of herb per cup of boiling water, steeped for 10 minutes. Tell your physician about any herbs you plan on using, especially if you’re pregnant or nursing, have a chronic medical condition or take medication regularly.

(1) Aloe Vera for Burns
Sometimes studies tell us what we already know. Aloe vera is the herb for minor burns, a fact that was confirmed most recently in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand. Keep a potted aloe on your kitchen sill; it requires no care beyond weekly watering. For minor burns, snip off a thick leaf and slit it open; scoop out the gel from the inner leaf and apply to the burn.

(2) Black Cohosh for Menopause
The Algonquin Indians used black cohosh to treat gynecological ills, and it was a key part of Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, sold in the 1870s to treat “female complaints and weaknesses.” In a recent German study on menopausal hot flashes, subjects were given estrogen, a Valium-like tranquilizer or black cohosh (Remifemin, two tablets twice a day). The herb, which is an option for women who can’t take estrogen, worked best. “The vast majority of studies show benefit,” says Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council.

(3) Boswellia for Arthritis and Joint Injuries
Did the three wise men suffer aches and pains from their long camel ride? Luckily, they had frankincense, aka boswellia, a traditional Ayurvedic medicine for arthritis and joint injuries. In a study published in Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Egyptian researchers gave people with osteoarthritis of the knee boswellia and turmeric or a placebo. After three months, the herb group showed significantly greater relief from knee swelling.

(4) Chamomile for Digestive Problems
“Chamomile tea, perhaps the best-known herbal tisane, is widely employed as a digestive remedy throughout Europe, and its therapeutic use is well documented,” says David Hoffman, author of Medical Herbalism. This herb relaxes spasms of the smooth muscles and counters inflammation in the gut lining; it also has antiseptic and vasodilatory effects. Allergic reactions are possible, especially if you’re sensitive to ragweed.

(5) Chaste Tree for Premenstrual Syndrome
It won’t preserve virginity, but chaste tree has hormonal effects that minimize monthly symptoms. When 1,634 German PMS sufferers took chaste tree, 93 percent reported benefit. In tests against two other popular treatments, vitamin [B.sub.6] and Prozac, the herb worked as well as the drug and better than the vitamin. “Chaste tree is the best herb for PMS,” says James A. Duke, Ph.D., author of The Green Pharmacy. “It’s safe and the studies are convincing. “Just be patient: It can take three months to experience benefit. Some women report stomach distress, headache and increased menstrual flow.

(6) Coffee for Athletic Stamina
The caffeine in coffee or tea stimulates not only alertness (and jitters and insomnia), but also athletic performance. Korean researchers at the Institute for Elderly Health in Seoul asked athletes to ride stationary cycles until they felt exhausted–before and after drinking the equivalent of one tall Starbucks coffee. After their java break, they were able to ride significantly longer.

(7) Coffee for Pain Relief
Anacin and Excedrin claim that their “extra ingredient” provides greater pain relief. What is it? Caffeine. Many reports, including one in the Archives of Internal Medicine, have shown that adding about 65 milligrams of caffeine to aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen increases pain relief by around 40 percent. Caffeine blocks pain perception, has pain-relieving action, and elevates mood, which also helps minimize pain. Next time you have a headache, wash down your favorite pain pill with coffee or tea for more relief.

(8) Coffee as a Decongestant in Colds, Flu and Asthma
Caffeine opens narrowed bronchial tubes, according to Joe and Teresa Graedon, authors of The People’s Pharmacy. According to a report in the Annals of Epidemiology, the odds of experiencing current asthma symptoms were reduced 29 percent for subjects who drank coffee on a regular basis when compared with non-coffee drinkers.

(9) Cranberry for Urinary-Tract Infection
Cranberry prevents bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall long enough to cause an infection. Finnish researchers divided 150 recurrent UTI sufferers into three groups. One drank cranberry juice (50 milliliters a day). Another took Lactobacillus. The third took nothing. After six months, 36 percent of the no-treatment group and 39 percent of the Lactobacillus group reported at least one recurrence. Of the juice drinkers, only 16 percent had recurrences. Other options are dried cranberries (Craisins) and cranberry-extract capsules. “I recommend cranberry for UTI,” Duke says. “But if you drink the juice, you have to drink a lot. It’s usually easier to munch on the dried berries or take capsules.”

(10) Echinacea for Colds and Flu
The root of this daisy-like flower revs up the immune system. According to an analysis by University of Wisconsin researchers, in eight of nine studies evaluating echinacea for upper-respiratory infections, the herb reduced symptoms and accelerated recovery compared with placebos. “As soon as I feel a cold coming on, I take it–and my cold is mild and brief,” says Duke. Echinacea is available in teas and capsules, though most herbalists prefer tinctures. Liquid echinacea products may cause temporary, harmless numbing or tingling of the tongue; minor stomach upset is possible with tinctures. To manage your cold and flu symptoms while the Echinacea kicks in, you can use an OTC medication. While these medicines won’t cure or shorten the duration of your illness, they can help get you back on your feet again.

(11) Evening Primrose Oil for Lowering Cholesterol
Evening primrose seeds contain an oil with a high concentration of compounds rarely found in plants: essential fatty acids, specifically gamma-linolenic acid. In one study, reported in The Review of Natural Products, 79 people with high cholesterol took 4 grams of Efamol every day for three months (which provides about 320 mg of GLA), and their average cholesterol level fell 31.5 percent. The suggested dose for evening primrose oil starts at 1-gram gelcaps twice or three times a day. High cholesterol requires professional care, so consult your physician about GLA.

(12) Evening Primrose Oil for Rheumatoid Arthritis
The EFAs in EPO are also a powerful anti-inflammatory. University of Pennsylvania researchers gave 37 arthritis sufferers borage oil (which contains GLA) or a placebo, The placebo had no effect, but the herb group reported 45 percent less pain with no side effects. Other studies utilizing GLA obtained similar results. Rheumatoid arthritis requires professional care, so consult your physician about GLA.

(13) Feverfew for Migraine Prevention
British scientists at the University of Exeter analyzed six studies of feverfew, concluding that the herb significantly reduces the frequency of migraine occurrence. “In my experience,” Duke says, “feverfew prevents migraines in about two-thirds of those who use it consistently.” Dosage is generally 50 to 150 mg per day of powdered leaves.

(14) Flaxseed for Menopausal Discomfort
Safety concerns have reduced the number of women on hormone replacement therapy, but flaxseed is rich in phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) that can take the heat out of hot flashes. At Laval University in Quebec, Canada, researchers gave 25 menopausal women HRT or flaxseed (1.4 ounces per day, mixed into food). After six months, flaxseed relieved hot flashes as effectively as HRT.

(15) Flaxseed for Osteoporosis
Because flaxseed is a natural hormone replacement therapy, it also mimics HRT’s bone-preserving ability. Oklahoma State researchers gave a placebo or flaxseed (1.3 ounces per day) to 38 postmenopausal women for 14 weeks, and measured blood and urine for markers of bone loss and regrowth. The flaxseed group showed decreased bone resorption and calcium excretion, indicating reduced bone loss.

(16) Garlic as an Antibiotic
From ancient times through World War I, garlic has been used to treat the wounded. During the 1920s, researchers at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland isolated garlic’s antibiotic compound, alliin, which has no medicinal value until the herb is chewed, chopped or crushed. Then an enzyme transforms alliin into a powerful antibiotic called allicin. Modern antibiotics are more potent and easier to take (just try chewing a dozen raw cloves), but if you’re concerned about ulcers, use more garlic in your diet. Researchers at the University of Washington have shown that garlic kills H. pylori, the bacteria that cause ulcers. Raw garlic has the most antibiotic potency, but garlic still has benefits when cooked. “I use lots of garlic in cooking,” Duke says, “for reasons of taste and health.”

(17) Garlic for Cholesterol Control
Researchers at New York Medical College in Valhalla analyzed five studies and found that one-half to one clove of garlic per day reduces cholesterol by 9 percent. If you’d rather not eat fresh garlic every day, garlic supplements, including “deodorized” brands. have a similar effect. (Supplements with proven benefit include Kwai and Kvolic.) “Garlic doesn’t work as well as the statin drugs,” says Blumenthal, “so if your numbers are really high, you may need medication. But if your cholesterol s just mildly elevated or if it’s normal and you want to keep it that way, garlic definitely helps.” Garlic can impair blood clotting; if you notice increased bruising, stop taking it. and consult your physician.

(18) Garlic for Cancer Prevention
Garlic reduces the risk of several cancers. In the long-term Iowa Women’s Health Study. researchers followed 41,837 middle-aged women. Subjects who ate the most garlic had the lowest risk of colon cancer. A few cloves a week cut risk by 32 percent and greater intake decreased risk even more While fruit and vegetable consumption in general helps prevent cancel in this study, garlic yielded the greatest preventive benefit of all the plant foods analyzed. Other studies have shown that garlic helps lower risk for prostate and bladder cancers.

(19) Ginger for Motion Sickness
In ancient China, sailors chewed ginger root to prevent motion sickness and modern studies have confirmed that ginger prevents nausea and vomiting. Danish scientists at Svendborg Hospital observed 80 naval cadets in heavy seas and found that those who took ginger experienced 72 percent less seasickness than a placebo group. Take a 1-gram capsule of powdered ginger root about an hour before you embark, and another every two hours or as needed (without exceeding 10 grams a day) during a journey, Ginger’s only side effect is occasional minor heartburn. “t use ginger myself.” Duke says, “It works for me.”

(20) Ginger for Morning Sickness
Speaking of nausea, ginger also assists in preventing morning sickness. In a stud’. published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers at Thailand’s Chiang Mai University gave 70 nausea-plagued pregnant women ginger powder (1 gram a day) or a placebo. In the latter group, 28 percent reported relief But in the ginger group, the figure was 88 percent, use the dose given in the study, or brew a tea using 2 teaspoons of freshly grated root per cup of boiling water.

(21) Ginkgo for Alzheimer’s Disease
The big study was published in 1997 in the journal of the American Medical Association: Researchers n a multicenter study gave 202 people with Alzheimer’s either a placebo or ginkgo extract (120 mg a day). A year later, the ginkgo group retained more mental function, and subsequent studies have corroborated this finding. Ginkgo Improves blood flow around the body–including through the brain. It’s safe. but it has anticoagulant properties, so increased bruising is possible.

(22) Ginkgo for Mental Acuity
Beyond its benefits for Alzheimer’s, four recent studies show that ginkgo improves mental function in people who are cognitively normal, In a study published in Phytotherapy Research. 31 health, adults, ages 30 to 59, received ginkgo (120 to 300 mg a day) or a placebo, The herbs significantly improved several measures of memory. Buy a standardized extract and take 120 to 240 mg a day.

(23) Ginkgo for Erection and Libido Problems
Ginkgo improves blood flow into the genitals. In a study published in the Journal of Urology, 60 men with erection problems caused by narrowed arteries and impaired blood flow to the penis were given ginkgo (60 mg a day); after six months, half had regained erection ability. When researchers at the University of Hawaii and Stanford University tested ArginMax, a sexual-enhancement supplement that contains ginkgo, ginseng and L-arginine, 80 percent of the male subjects had improved erection function, while 74 percent of the female subjects reported more libido, less dryness and greater frequency of orgasm.

(24) Ginkgo for Anti-Depressant-Induced Sex Problems
An enormous number of Americans take antidepressants, The relief comes at a price: a substantial risk of libido loss erection impairment, vaginal dryness and inability to reach orgasm. Investigators at the University of California at San Francisco gave ginkgo (209 mg a day) to 63 people suffering from antidepressant-induced sex problems. The herb helped 91 percent of the women and 76 percent of the men to return to normal sexual function

(25) Ginkgo for Altitude Sickness
Traveling from a low elevation up to the mountains often produces symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headache, sluggishness and excessive thirst, due to the decrease in available oxygen. (Over a few days. the body makes more red blood cells, which boosts oxygenation of the blood.) Researchers at the Hopital de Chamonix in France gave 44 mountaineers ascending the Himalayas ginkgo (80 mg twice daily) or a placebo. In the latter group, 82 percent developed respiratory problems related to altitude sickness, but among the ginkgo users, the figure was only 14 percent.

(26) Ginseng for Athletic Stamina
Many athletes take ginseng as part of their training. In a study published in Clinical Therapy, Italian researchers gave 50 physical education teachers a placebo or ginseng (with some vitamins and minerals), and then had them run on a treadmill, Hearts and lungs in the ginseng group worked more efficiently, and those subjects’ stamina increased significantly, Ginseng is safe, but it does have anticoagulant action. so increased bruising is possible.

(27) Ginseng for Immune Enhancement
Many studies show that ginseng revs up the immune system. Scientists at the University of Milan. Italy, gave ginseng (100 mg a day) or a placebo to 227 people. A month later. everyone received a flu shot (which does not kill the flu virus. but rather stimulates the immune system to resist infection). In the placebo group, 42 people got the flu, but in the ginseng group, the figure was just 15, demonstrating that ginseng enhanced immune response to the shot.

(28) Ginseng for Diabetes
Ginseng also reduces blood-sugar levels. In a study published in Diabetes Care, 30 subjects newly diagnosed with diabetes were given ginseng extract (100 or 200 mg a day) or a placebo, with the ginseng groups showing lower blood-sugar levels. Other studies concur. Diabetes requires professional treatment; consult your physician about ginseng.

(29) Ginseng for Erectile Dysfunction
According to a review of studies at Yale University, ginseng boosts the body’s synthesis of nitric oxide. As NO increases, so does the likelihood of erection. In a report in the Journal of Urology, Korean researchers gave 45 men with erection impairment a placebo or ginseng (900 mg three times a day). Those taking the herb experienced significant erection improvement.

(30) Ginseng for Low Sperm Count
At the University of Rome, Italy, researchers gave ginseng (4 grams a day) to 30 men suffering from low sperm counts. Three months later, the subjects’ counts almost doubled, from an average of 15 million/ml to 29 million/ml.

(31) Goldenseal for Digestive-Tract Infections
Goldenseal, an herbal antibiotic, is often marketed in combination with echinacea as a treatment for infections, but it is effective only in the digestive tract, not for colds or flu. At the University of Illinois in Chicago, researchers tested goldenseal against H. pylori, the bacteria that cause ulcers, and the herb inhibited bacterial growth. For GI infections (ulcer, food poisoning, infectious diarrhea, etc.), ask your doctor about using goldenseal in addition to medical therapies.

(32) Hawthorn for Congestive Heart Failure
In heart failure, the heart keeps beating, just not as forcefully as it should; people with the condition become exhausted from minor exertion. Many studies show that hawthorn stimulates fatigued hearts to beat more normally. In a study published in Phytomedicine, German researchers gave hawthorn (240 mg a day) or a placebo to 40 people with heart failure. Three months later, the hawthorn group was able to exercise significantly longer. “We reviewed much of the published research on hawthorn recently,” Blumenthal says, “and 13 of 14 studies showed benefit in heart failure.”

(33) Hibiscus for Hypertension
Hibiscus is the trumpet-shaped, tropical flower that puts the color in Red Zinger tea. A report in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that 12 days of drinking hibiscus tea (2 teaspoons per cup of boiling water several times a day) lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 11 percent. High blood pressure requires professional care; ask your doctor about adding hibiscus to your treatment plan.

(34) Horse Chestnut for Varicose Veins
“Mainstream medicine offers only support hose and surgery,” says Blumenthal, “but standardized horse chestnut seed extract has shown efficacy in most clinical trials.” At the University of Heidelberg, Germany, 240 sufferers of newly visible varicose veins were treated with compression stockings or horse chestnut (50 mg aescin twice a day). After 12 weeks, both groups reported equal relief. Off the tree, horse chestnuts are poisonous, but commercial extracts are detoxified and safe.

(35) Horsetail for Skin Healing
Before steel wool and abrasive cleansers, this herb helped scour pots and pans. Today it’s used to heal the skin. A Spanish study published in Revista de Enfermeria showed that horsetail speeds the healing of wounds; it’s also used in skin-care products.

(36) Lavender for Anxiety
Lavender flowers are an age-old remedy for anxiety. British researchers at the University of Wolverhampton had women add lavender oil or a placebo to their bath water. Bathing by itself is calming, but in this study, a bath infused with lavender oil significantly reduced anger, frustration and negativity. Use a handful of lavender flowers, or buy lavender oil and add several drops to your bath. Ingesting lavender oil is toxic; keep it away from children.

(37) Lemon Balm for Relaxation
The 17th-century English herbalist Nicholas Culpeper wrote that lemon balm drives away all melancholy. That’s an overstatement, but science has shown that lemon balm is tranquilizing. The herb and its oil have been used in Alzheimer’s care units to calm those who are agitated. To decompress after a tough day, try a cup of lemon-balm tea; for extra benefit, mix with chamomile.

(38) Lemon Balm for Herpes
Lemon balm has antiviral action. As reported in Phytomedicine, German researchers gave 66 people in the early stages of herpes simplex labialis outbreaks lemon-balm cream or a placebo. The herb group had milder outbreaks that healed faster. Lemon balm is the active ingredient in the herpes treatment Herpalieve. “If you have herpes,” Duke says, “drink lemon-balm tea. If you have an outbreak, apply lemon balm to the sore.”

(39) Licorice for Sore Throat
In a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers gave either a placebo or Throat Coat, a licorice tea from Traditional Medicinals, to 60 sore-throat sufferers 4 to 6 times a day for seven days; the tea tipplers reported significantly less pain on swallowing. Add a teaspoon of chopped or powdered root to a beverage tea, and feel relief almost immediately.

(40) Milk Thistle for Liver Health
Silymarin in milk thistle seeds has a remarkable ability to protect the liver. This herb has been shown to help treat hepatitis and alcoholic cirrhosis, and it’s been found more effective than traditional medicine at treating “deathcap” mushroom poisoning. “In our analysis,” Blumenthal says,” 19 of 21 studies support milk thistle seed extract for liver conditions.” Because most drugs are metabolized through the liver, many herbalists recommend silymarin for anyone who takes liver-taxing medication.

(41) Papaya for Herniated Disks
Papaya has been used by Caribbean Indians to treat skin wounds and infections and by the Japanese to treat digestive disorders. In 1982, the Food and Drug Administration approved injections of the papaya enzyme chymopapain to dissolve cellular debris in herniated or slipped vertebral disks in the back. Allergic reactions are possible.

(42) Peppermint for Indigestion
In ancient Greece, people chewed a sprig of mint after feasts to settle the stomach, a tradition that evolved into our after-dinner mints. German researchers gave 118 adults with persistent indigestion a standard drug (cisapride) or twice-daily capsules of enteric-coated peppermint oil (90 mg) and caraway oil (50 mg), another traditional stomach soother. (The enteric coating allows the capsules to survive stomach acid and release their oil in the small intestine, where non-heartburn indigestion develops.) Four weeks later, the drug and the herb blend produced the same relief. If you use herbal oils, do not exceed the recommended dose, and keep them away from children. You also can brew a peppermint tea, and add a teaspoon of chopped caraway to meals. “When I get indigestion,” Duke says, “I go to the garden, pick some peppermint, chew some leaves, and make tea. It works for me.”

(43) Peppermint for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS involves persistent abdominal cramps, bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea or constipation. British researchers at the University of Exeter analyzed five studies of peppermint oil as a treatment, and found that it provided benefit. (See the previous item for options and cautions.)

(44) Psyllium for Diarrhea and Constipation
Psyllium is a tiny seed that contains mucilage, a soluble fiber that swells on exposure to water. For diarrhea, psyllium can absorb excess fluid in the gut. For constipation, psyllium adds bulk to stool, which presses on the colon wall and triggers the nerves that produce the urge to go. You may find psyllium at health-food stores, but it’s easiest to take Metamucil, which is psyllium with flavoring. When using psyllium, drink plenty of water. Allergic reactions are possible.

(45) Red Pepper for Pain Relief
Capsaicin, the compound that gives red pepper (cayenne) its fiery flavor, is a potent topical pain reliever, according to the Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs. When rubbed on the skin, it causes mild superficial burning. But that sensation desensitizes nearby pain nerves, and soothes pain in deeper tissues. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in several over-the-counter pain-relieving creams, such as Capsin, Zostrix and Pain-X.

(46) St. John’s Wort for Depression
For mild depression, St. John’s wort often works as well as Prozac and Zoloft, but with fewer side effects. “We recently concluded a comprehensive review of the scientific literature on St. John’s wort, and 21 of 23 studies support it for mild-to-moderate depression,” says Blumenthal. Studies showing benefits have used 600 to 1,800 mg a day; most have used 900 mg a day. Stomach upset is possible, and St. John’s wort interacts with many drugs, including possibly reducing the effectiveness of birth-control pills. Depression requires professional care; ask your physician about St. John’s wort.

(47) Saw Palmetto for Benign Prostate Enlargement
In a study published in the journal The Prostate, saw palmetto extract (32-0 mg) was compared with finasteride in 1,098 men with prostate symptoms. After 24 weeks, both treatments were equally effective, but the herb caused fewer side effects. Researchers at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center analyzed 18 studies and found saw palmetto to be effective for prostate symptoms.

(48) Tea for Heart Health
Tea, particularly green tea, has rocketed to prominence as an herbal medicine. It’s high in antioxidants, which help prevent heart disease. In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Dutch researchers followed 3,454 residents of Rotterdam. Compared with those who drank no tea, those who drank two cups a day had 46 percent less risk of heart attack, while those who drank four cups a day enjoyed 69 percent lower risk. Drinking tea also improves survival odds after heart attack.

(49) Tea for Cancer Prevention
Researchers at the University of Southern California surveyed 501 Asian women with breast cancer and 594 who were cancer-free. Those who were cancer-free drank the most green tea; as consumption rose, risk fell. Also, Japanese researchers reported in Cancer Letters that breast-cancer survivors who drank three or more cups a day reduced the risk of recurrence. Green tea also appears to protect against cancers of the colon, rectum, and pancreas. Most research has used green tea.

(50) Tea for Bad Breath and Gum Disease
Forget breath mints. Instead, researchers at the University of Illinois College of Dentistry in Chicago suggest a cup of tea (black or green), which contains compounds that stop the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath. An added benefit: Tea helps prevent gum disease, the main cause of adult tooth loss.

(51) Tea Tree Oil for Athlete’s Foot
Tea tree isn’t tea; it’s an Australian plant with an antifungal, antiseptic oil. In a study published in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology, researchers had people with athlete’s foot apply tea tree oil (50 percent concentration) or a placebo. After four weeks, 31 percent of the placebo group and 64 percent of the tea tree contingent were cured. Pharmaceutical ointments work faster, but tea tree oil is clearly effective. “Apply it with a Q-tip twice a day,” Duke says.

(52) Tea Tree Oil for Dandruff
As reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Australian researchers studied 126 people with dandruff, which is caused by a skin fungus. Subjects were given either an ordinary shampoo or one containing 5 percent tea tree oil. After four weeks, flaking was reduced 11 percent in the plain-shampoo group, but 41 percent in those who used tea tree oil. It’s not a miracle cure, but if your dandruff shampoo isn’t working as well as you’d like, add a drop or two of tea tree oil each time you shampoo.

(53) Turmeric for Arthritis and Joint Injuries
Curcumin, the yellow pigment in this Indian spice, is an anti-inflammatory. In combination with boswellia, it treats osteoarthritis, according to investigators at India’s Central Drug Research Institute. Use turmeric or yellow curries in cooking. “I developed a recipe called ‘Arthritis Soup,’” Duke says, “containing lots of anti-inflammatory herbs. The recipe also calls for 2 tablespoons of turmeric.” When taking capsules, follow label directions.

(54) Valerian for Insomnia
Studies have shown that valerian aids sleep, often as well as pharmaceutical sedatives and without being addictive. In a study published in the European Journal of Medical Research, investigators gave 202 insomniacs valerian or a Valium-like tranquilizer. After six weeks, both treatments were equally effective. “Research strongly supports that valerian works,” Blumenthal says. “It’s been used widely and safely for hundreds of years.” Note: It takes a week or more to begin noticing benefit. Also, raw valerian root smells and tastes terrible (“like funky socks,” Blumenthal says), so pills are more palatable.

(55) White Willow Bark for Back Pain
White willow bark contains salicin, a close chemical relative of aspirin. According to a German study of 451 people with low back pain, 240 mg a day of willow bark worked better than conventional therapeutic options. Like aspirin, willow bark can cause stomach distress, and it shouldn’t be given to children.

To 10 essential oils for scars

CAN ESSENTIAL OILS HEAL SCARS?

You would have to be very lucky to get through much of life without having to deal with scars on your skin. Whether they are caused by acne, surgery or animal bites most of us will have a few battle signs dotted around our bodies.

Of course, it is highly unlikely that you will ever be able to get rid of these scars completely. You are likely to have to carry larger scars such as those caused by surgery or major wounds around with you for life. I have a very unsightly scar on my lower abdomen caused by stomach surgery and as much as it would be great to get rid of it, I have accepted that it is a part of me and will always be a part of me. Even smaller scars will be difficult to eradicate completely and the best you can hope for might be to lighten the scar so as it fades away and gradually becomes almost unnoticeable.



Fortunately for those of us who would like to be rid of unsightly scars, many essential oils provide a safe and natural solution. It is worth remembering that any scar treatment will not be a quick fix. You will need patience and treatment may last many months before you feel happy with the results. A number of essential oils have a great many properties that benefit the skin.

Essential oils can be used to treat skin conditions like acne and eczema or simply applied to keep your skin looking youthful and healthy. Some essential oils are especially effective on blemishes, stretch marks and other minor scars because they contain the cicatrisant properties which promote tissue regeneration.

This article will take a look at the essential oils that have the best scar healing effects; they are not listed in any particular order and there are no guarantees that they will work. You might have to try several oils before hitting upon the one that you feel most happy with but they have made the list for good reason having all been used successfully to treat scarring.

essential oils for scars
essential oils to the rescue!

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR SCARS

1. LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL

Lavender is one of the most popular and versatile essential oils. It is a very effective essential oil that can be used for a variety of skin conditions and is widely used to treat scars. Lavender essential oil can be applied to prevent new scar tissue from forming and also to reduce the evidence of existing scars.

Unlike nearly every other essential oil, it is a very gentle oil that can be applied topically without the need for dilution although it should be diluted when being applied to fresh wounds.

2. HELICHRYSUM ESSENTIAL OIL

If you are desperate to eliminate or dissipate your scarring, helichrysum essential oil is one of the absolute best oils. There are obvious budgetary considerations when choosing your essential oils and helichrysum is extremely expensive.

Because of its price, you may be better trying another oil first but if money is not an object, helichrysum has few equals. As well as its ability to treat scars and blemishes, it has a range of other skin applications and is a popular option for acne, eczema and psoriasis.

3. CARROT SEED ESSENTIAL OIL

Carrot seed essential oil has powerful antioxidant properties and is renowned as a tonic for the skin. It can help treat scarring whether caused by acne, burns or cuts while also working to strengthen your skin’s elasticity and reducing the signs of aging like wrinkles. Carrot seed oil is a popular ingredient in creams designed to treat eczema and psoriasis.

4. CEDARWOOD ESSENTIAL OIL

Cedarwood essential oil is a very popular choice for skin health. It is able to maintain both oily and dry skin and works to expel impurities and excess tissue fat. As well as its general skin care benefits, cedarwood essential oil can be used to regenerate scar tissue and diminish the signs of older scars whether they are caused by acne, stretch marks or small wounds.

5. GERANIUM ESSENTIAL OIL

Geranium is an excellent overall skin tonic. It is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic and has cicatrisant properties that will help eliminate or at least fade out any scarring when applied over a period of time. It is also helps to rejuvenate old skin cells and helps give your skin a fresh lease of life.

6. ROSE ESSENTIAL OIL

Rose essential oil does not come cheap but it is well known for its many skin applications. When applied regularly, it can have a significant impact on the appearance of your scars. Rose oil also improves circulation and helps maintain your skin’s youthful appearance and elasticity.

7. PATCHOULI ESSENTIAL OIL

Patchouli essential oil does not have quite the same reputation and is less popular than many other oils but it should not be discounted when it comes to skin health and scars in particular. Patchouli has outstanding restorative qualities and is able to stimulate the regeneration of skin cells. It is both anti-inflammatory and cicastrisant and can help heal new scar tissue and fade out older scars.

8. NEROLI ESSENTIAL OIL

Neroli essential oil is another very expensive option but it has a great reputation for healing scars as well as treatment of numerous skin conditions.

9. MYRRH ESSENTIAL OIL

Myrrh has some powerful skin regeneration properties and is a popular remedy for a variety of conditions including acne and psoriasis. Myrrh essential oil also widely used to treat scars caused by burns, stretch marks and small wounds. It can help promote the growth of new skin around the area of fresh scars and over time causes any lasting scars to fade away.

10. FRANKINCENSE ESSENTIAL OIL

Frankincense essential oil is yet another great option for scars and skin health in general. This essential oil stimulates the regeneration of the new cells that grow over your scar tissue making the area smoother and the scarring less visible.

OTHER ESSENTIAL OILS TO CONSIDER FOR SCARRING

The list above is by no means definitive and many other essential oils are well known for their ability to treat skin complaints and reduce the effects of scarring. Rosemary, hyssop, Calendula and juniper essential oils have all been used with great success.

HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR SCARS

FOR FRESH WOUNDS AND CUTS

Clean the affected area with a mixture of warm water and 5 drops of lavender essential oil to help disinfect the area.
Dilute your chosen essential oil with a suitable carrier oil and apply it to the wound.
Cover the affected area with gauze or a band aid and change it several times a day.
If the wound is so serious that you need stitches, it is important that you see a doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor might recommend that you don’t apply essential oils until the stitches have been removed.

FOR OLDER SCARS

Make sure that you dilute your chosen essential oil with a base oil before applying it topically. Rosehip and hazelnut oil are considered to be excellent carrier oils when it comes to scarring.

Don’t expect immediate results; scar tissue takes a long time to fade and there are no guarantees that it will work. You should however start seeing some satisfactory results within a few months.

~~~

For essential oils you can buy that help heal scar tissue, click here to see them from our original article.

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Magickal Goody of the Day for July 14th – Calendula/ Marigold Healing Salve

Magickal Goody of the Day

witch potion 001

Calendula/ Marigold Healing Salve

Used externally for burns and irradiated skin, bruises, soreness, and skin ulcers. I love to use it for cracked, dry skin, eczema, diaper rash, and garden hands. It can help reduce bleeding and is wonderful for sore nipples and varicose veins! In other words, this salve is good for almost everything! And is a must-have in my healing cupboard.

3 cups dried calendula/ marigold petals
1 cup extra virgin olive oil, grape seed oil, or almond oil
2 ounces grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles
Optional: frankincense essential oil, 5 drops; tea tree oil, 5 drops
Cheesecloth
Heavy pot
Spoon
Measuring cup
Rubber band

Heat flowers in oil to a simmer (about 20 minutes).

Let the oil flower mixture set over night (the longer it sets, the stronger the salve).
Next, using cheese cloth over a clean cup or jar, strain the oil flower mixture (you will now have a lovely golden infusion).

In a double boiler, heat oil infusion and grated beeswax until melted and pour into clean jars and let cool, then seal (store in a cool dark place).

Magical uses: Being an herb of the sun, calendula can be used to remove negative energy. Oil can be used to consecrate tools, and the petals can be used as part of incense for divination.

The plant can be used in any ritual to honor the sun, as part of a sacred bath, incense, or strewing herb as well as to produce a yellow dye for and altar cloths for use in sun-honoring rituals. For protection, hang garlands of calendula over entry doors to prevent evil from entering.

Farmhouse Witchcraft
Penny Parker

101 Essential Oil Uses – Natural Remedies

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in various cultures for medicinal and health purposes. Essential oil uses range from aromatherapy, household cleaning products, personal beauty care, and natural medicine treatments.

The particles in essential oils come from distilling or extracting the different parts of plants, including the flowers, leaves, bark, roots, resin and peels. In ancient times, Jews and Egyptians made essential oils by soaking the plants in oil and then filtering the oil through a linen bag.

Essential oil benefits come from their antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. These healing oils are rapidly growing in popularity because they act as natural medicine without any side effects. Ready to harness the power of the world’s most proven therapeutic compounds? In this list, Dr. Axe talks about 101 ways to use these amazing essential oils.

As Natural Remedies

essential oil uses
essential oil natural remedies

Want some stylish ideas on how to wear essential oils with you without having to rub it on your skin every time?  Check out our Eupterrae store’s EF Designs!

Subscribe to our seasonal newsletter for more essential oil tips, product coupons, and discussion!

Luv Green Freebies + Ethical Consumerism

Luv Green Freebies

luv green freebies
Is a “healthy” free lunch possible?

Do you like free stuff?  Actual quality free stuff…

Hello!

My name is Charlene, merry meet.  If you have been browsing Eupterra’s pages for a while, you have probably discovered that I am a fan of organic, all-natural, raw/paleo food, medicine, and personal care orientated items. (I do hope you have enjoyed many of my articles)

What you may not know is, I am also a hunter and a sucker for freebies, too 🙂

Since I have been doing this for a while and apparently have gotten rather successful at it (from $20 Android Turbo smartphones to free Abercrombie sweaters), by popular demand I have put together a list of some hard-to-find, but really great quality freebie offers centered around something useful in the green/all-natural department and a couple of fan-favorite deals.  Let’s just say I have found this to be a way to try something out that is new, get something real cheap (if not free!) that I like for a while, or just buy gifts for people (you didn’t hear me say that). Check them out, and read below if you want to hear my thoughts on the “system”:



This one is popularly liked for clear reason; Disney movies have a tendency to be good, but expensive and over-priced.  But Disney is known as a leader in hospitality 🙂 If you click the picture above and its link, you can join the Disney Movie Club to get 4 movies for just $1! Simply pick your movies, join the club, and build your library.  That is all it takes, enjoy!



Kiwi.com is becoming a pretty big deal. It allows travelers to find and book the cheapest flights possible. With an extensive database of low-cost flights and traditional airlines, interactive maps, and guaranteed arrival, you can more easily fly with less stress. Due to its success and rapid growth, Kiwi has actually been featured by Business Insider, The New York Times, USA Today.  Want to see nature’s wonders?  Now, you might get to Hawaii on the cheap!  Just click above.



A good wrinkle reducing cream?  Yes, they are out there, and they do actually work to a certain extent.  Here is one good one that provides a free trial, and promotes natural cellular regeneration.  Called Naturacel, I find this great as a gift and as a product.



Grocery gift cards, aren’t they nice?  No matter how good you are at homesteading, urban gardening, or foraging through the woods, you inevitably have to go to the store, right?  Well, here is a chance to get some of those necessities covered.  Check it out, one of my faves!



Here is another one.  Upon taking a survey, you can potentially win a gift card for $1,500 for groceries.  Wouldn’t that be a lot!  Also, it is mobile friendly.

~~~

The logic behind my success, and why consumerism is not a bad thing

To explain how I got to be so good at hunting for freebies, especially ones that are truly good quality, here are my thoughts on how I developed a mindset in what to look for and some thoughts on how our culture of consumerism isn’t as self-destructive as it appears made out to be:

Most of us live in a capitalist system, or are connected to it by respective countries.  After the advent of mass production technologies, the largest and pre-dominant corporations among us have as you may have noticed encouraged the development of a consumerism-centric culture to market and employ all sorts of snagging techniques to get you, the consumer, to buy something from them.  Let’s face it, you may have realized this by now, it’s rather hard to resist (Superbowl ads and their cult following, Amazon – how easy is Prime, Walmart – nuff said, Chipotle – gosh, I’m hungry, Coca-Cola – even 3rd world countries in Africa have billboards advertising Coke seriously, etc.).

luv green freebies

Now some of this has been really good for us (let’s not forget Ford Motors and the Model T car making automobile ownership accessible to many Americans), but sometimes it kind of feels like we are being taken advantage of – being pressured to buy all the time!  Rather than debate ethically how “bad” this might be, I think it wise to point out the bright side of this bombardment of sell, sell, sell tactics…

These companies have deep-pockets.  Deep enough that they have no qualms about giving away a lot of “free samples” to get you to buy.  When I say a lot, I mean A LOT!

luv green freebies

Think about this…how many times have you gone to the grocery store and purposely hit up all the “free sample” stations?  Uh-huh, you can be shameless here. The point is, even your local farmer, rancher, winery, deli counter, (insert producer here) is doing it.  And the reason why…Marketing.  They want to market new, or refresh your memory of their product.

So, to take advantage of this online, you can search for almost any high quality deal out there and get a sample of what they have to offer.  The question is knowing the best places to look, and that is the hard part; hence, my above compiled list.  Sometimes, it is a matter of timing – like AT&T stores will sometimes host big giveaways if you just know to keep tabs on when.  Most of the time, it just boils down to a huge amount of digging.

Know somebody who wants to lose weight in your family healthfully?

Or what about one who wants to travel?

How about Disney movies (The Lion King, WALL-E, Bambi, Jungle Book, Free Willy, Disneynature’s Oceans)? Check out this cool guide to Disney’s top eco-themed movies by Smithsonian.com.

All these and more can all be gotten for a heck of a deal, and you know what, you should not feel bad about it.  Not. One. Cent.

Why?

Because consumerism is built to take advantage of you, the consumer, by employing such a plethora of marketing and advertising techniques that somehow, someway you will eventually be convinced to buy from them.  It is just a matter of time and your specific individual desires and needs. Those companies/producers know eventually they will get a return for their samples and efforts – aka profit.

This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, nor does it mean that you can’t take control of yourself. In fact, this gives us, the consumer, a democratic voice.  Yes, that is right, capitalism and democracy go hand-in-hand on the free market for this one  – what you choose eventually determines the next course headed in by profit chasing corporations.  That is, we – together – can be the ultimate influence on our environment…

Ethical/Conscious Consumerism

Here me out on this one.  When one chooses to buy, let’s say a new flatscreen TV or a new grass-fed beef to grill, the “producer” or company earns a profit.  They want profits.  So, if they notice you buying only the cheapest, most likely to break item without care or concern for the sweat-shop labor that probably produced it, then they will respond as “the consumer wants more of these” and produce more of the same kind.  However, what if people chose something different?  What if you chose to buy quality, long-lasting, hand-made, sustainable/fair trade goods that inevitably had a positive impact on the world in terms of: jobs had, bio-degradable/less landfill space occupying, more effective medicines/less side-effects, healthier for you food, less disease causing pollution/pathogen methods, and more humane practices for animals.

Maybe even a boost to your local economy?

The companies would respond in kind, right?  They would respond by producing what you the consumer wants: a better world.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at some natural examples, as I am so fond to do, of this principle in action.  What did Darwin call it – survival of the fittest!

luv green freebies

Ex. A – Bees & Flowers

Bees and a large variety of other insects select flowers to collect pollen and drink nectar on.  What flowers they choose end up propagating more seeds (plants can’t easily propagate themselves). Those plants go on to dominate the next generation in terms of numbers of offspring.  Thus, if one plant produces extra large amounts of nectar or really beautiful attractive flowers, the bees will come en masse to those ones and perhaps not pay as much attention to the rest.  A choice?  The bees have as consumers in essence directed what flowers the flowering plants will produce more of over time.

Perhaps this explains why we have such a wide-selection of wonderful flowers everywhere…they are all trying to advertise and market to us!

luv green freebies

Ex. B – Seeds & Beaks

In one of Darwin’s famous examples of presenting evolution through natural selection, he provided the case study of the Galapagos Island finch.  Or should I say, finches.  Although the Galapagos Island bird population started as just one species, in order to get access to all the different kinds of seeds more easily across the islands, the bird’s beaks adapted to the shape best fit for each seed.  Thus, the birds became many different kinds of finches, albeit rather related to one another. Thus, the choice of specializing as consumers of seeds produced caused a change in the species itself.

What kind of conclusion may we be drawing from this?  Could we say that nature is…

*gasp!

…a consumerism-centric system?

Whoa!

Well, maybe nature is not consumerist in the sense that capitalism is, but there is definitely a relationship between consumers and producers.  The same relationship we see in human civilization today.  The difference is, unlike our animal counterparts, we are actually sentient.  We can make choices much more thought-out then our furry, feathered, scaly, slimy, buzzy brethren friends.

If we choose to make our world a better place today by employing conscientious consumerism that takes into account the ethics, methods, and long-lasting effects of the goods and services we desire on top of the quality of those same things that we need, can you imagine 7 billion people choosing for society to change for the healthier and more sustainable way?

We can do this everyday 🙂

Capitalism and consumerism need not be mankind’s destructive legacy.  We do not have to suffer in thought of a bleak future caused by our ignorant actions to rape our planet, drain our resources, pollute ourselves to disease and misery, and replace our jobs in every single way.  We can in fact use it to our greatest advantage, a weapon that would be our greatest strength.

The choice is yours, I only encourage you to choose sustainably~

~~~

For more information on how to benefit your local economy, check out Northern Indiana’s Purple Porch Farming Co-ops message on how local farming co-opoeratives really help make a difference in your part of the world:

Visit Eupterra Foundation’s page for the video.

Also, if you want to learn more about Fair Trade or hand-made items, check out the info provided at Just Goods – South Bend, IN.

Want to teach your kids to be conscious consumers, check out The Huffington Post’s take on this!

As always, feel free to browse Eupterra, hit us up on social media, and sign-up to our seasonal newsletter for more tips, tricks, and all-natural fun!

Together, let us delve into the past for a healthier more sustainable future.

Charlene A Rountree

~Charlene A. Rountree

Founder of Eupterra Foundation

Herbs for Women’s Health

Foods to Improve Vaginal Health and the Practice of Vaginal Steaming

Foods that Improve Vaginal Health
Corde lisse performance

When it comes to our health, nutrition reigns all-important.

When it comes to the delicate balance of vaginal health, this could not be more true.

Vaginal health is something many women struggle with at some point in their lives as part of the natural cycle of development, maturity, and finally menopause. Yeast and bacterial infections, urinary tract infections, and a host of irritations can be unpleasant, painful, and uncomfortable. About 75% of women get at least one yeast infection during their lifetime, and if you have ever suffered one, you know that it is a real nuisance and can disturb quite a few areas of your life.

You are not alone!

Foods and drinks have a different effect on the body’s pH; some promote your health and vigor, while others are not so supportive of it. Not surprisingly, what we eat also has an effect on the vagina and vaginal health. Often, the key to improving your intimate well-being lies in what you put on your plate.

An emphasis on Nutrition

Here is a list of some common foods that will help you strengthen and preserve your vaginal health:

Natural yogurt and other probiotics

Eating probiotics plays an important role in maintaining the vaginal pH at its slightly acidic level, and warding off yeast infections. Probiotics, also referred to as the ‘good’ or ‘beneficial’ bacteria, keep your gut healthy, thus supporting the well-being of the whole body and balancing the body’s pH.

The best sources include fermented foods like natural yoghurt (Greek yogurt), miso, kimchi, sauerkrauts and kefir (you can also use kefir to cleanse your colon). When buying your yogurt, make sure to go for the one that contains live and active cultures and avoid sugary and flavored yogurts that will do little for your vaginal health.

The jury is still out on the benefits of drinking kombucha (a beverage made by fermenting tea) if suffering from a yeast infection. While some hail this drink for its probiotic effects, others advise not to consume it while fighting a yeast-overgrowth due to the sugar and yeast it contains (these two are food for organisms – such as a candida – that cause yeast infections).

Cranberry juice

Pure cranberry juice is well known for its beneficial effect on the bladder. It both prevents and relives the symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTI). Cranberries acidify the urine and balance the pH of the vaginal area. They contain acidic compounds that don’t get broken down when they travel though the digestive system, so they can fight the bacteria that cause urinary infections.

Most store-bought cranberry juices unfortunately contain way too much sugar to serve its healing purpose. Your best bet is to either look for pure, unsweetened cranberry juice or eat fresh cranberries. Unsweetened cranberries do taste tart and many people find them unpalatable. Try mixing them in your yogurt or sweeten them with honey which will not disturb your vaginal pH.

Nature’s Bounty Triple Strength Cranberry with Vitamin C, 25,200 mg, 60 Softgels

For a more convenient form of getting cranberries into your diet, check out Nature’s Bounty supplement with Vitamin C, an extra bonus!

This is definitely one way to get around that tart taste and still get the fruity compounds you need.

Garlic for vaginal health
Garlic for vaginal health

Garlic

Garlic is known for its antimicrobial and antifungal properties. For best results, eat this ancient remedy raw and try to avoid these 6 common mistakes when using garlic as a medicine. If you suffer from a yeast (candida) infection, a garlic vaginal suppository (garlic pessary) is recommended – it effectively kills the yeasts and soothes the symptoms of the infection, which include itchiness and soreness. As odd as it might sound, you simply insert a clove of fresh, peeled garlic into your vagina and leave it overnight. You can design a sort of a tampon by wrapping the garlic in a gauze or cheesecloth before inserting it. Repeat the treatment for three consecutive nights.

The active ingredient in garlic is called allicin – it is responsible for garlic’s potent smell and its healing effect. True, consuming and using a lot of raw garlic might temporarily give you a distinct odor, but this is not a lot to put up with in exchange for a healthy and vibrant vagina.

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a part of a balanced diet that also supports your vaginal health. Certain vitamins and minerals found in fresh veggies and fruits are particularly good.

Vitamin C is a well-known immune system booster. Citrus fruits, guava, strawberries, kiwifruit, green and red peppers and broccoli are all rich in vitamin C.

Leafy greens should be consumed in abundance. They help with the circulation and prevent vaginal dryness. Try to eat plenty of spinach, kale, cabbage, salad, Swiss chard, collards and other leafy greens. If you find it hard to eat them by themselves, mix them in a smoothie or sautéed them.

Avocado is another wonder of nature that stimulates vaginal health and also helps with the libido. Avocados contain B6 and potassium and support healthy vaginal walls.

Seeds and nuts

Adding nuts to your daily nutrition is a positive step to improving your wellness and overall health since nuts are both a source of protein and healthy fats. Vitamin E prevents vaginal dryness and can be found in sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts, as well as in the oils derived from these nuts. Almonds and pumpkin seeds are also rich in zinc. This essential mineral regulates the menstrual cycle and helps combat itching and other symptoms of dryness.

Flaxseed is another super-food that is good to include in your diet on a regular basis. Rich in phytoestrogens and omega-3 fatty acids, it helps to boost estrogen levels and stops vaginal dryness. It is important to consume ground flaxseed in order to enjoy their benefits.

Water

Agua! The mucous vaginal membranes require plenty of water. To function properly, they need to stay well-hydrated. The best way to achieve this is by drinking sufficient amounts of water. At least six to eight 8-ounces glasses of water should be drank each day (~1.5 to 2 liters). Water helps to lubricate your vagina and also diminishes the smell of your private parts.

Foods to avoid

If vaginal health is your priority, steer clear of certain foods. Products that disturb vaginal (and body) pH and contain nutrients bacteria and yeast feed on should be avoided, especially while you are trying to heal an infection. The main offenders include:

  • sugars
  • alcohols (these also contain sugars)
  • wheat

Often, the best way to treat a candida infection is to starve the yeast – these organisms are very fond of sugary environments, therefore a strict low carb diet is recommended. Yes, I know, we must avoid binge-ing on the ice cream 🙂 Some also advise skipping foods that contain yeasts, such as beer and bread.

Yeast love sugar!
Yeast love sugar!

Generally speaking, if you want to enjoy a healthy vagina, you should stick to a balanced diet, avoid processed and sugar-rich foods and eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits.  Also, avoiding activities such as douching, panty perfume, and wearing not-so-breathable underwear and, of course, always practicing safe-sex and regular visits to the gyno help a bunch, too!

~~~

For more reading on tips for all-natural female reproductive health and fertility, check out the Women’s Health section here at Eupterra Foundation.

Did you know that you can cleanse and detox your vagina? Detoxing your vagina may sound odd but women, especially among the Asian cultures, have been doing it for centuries to regulate their menstrual cycles, reduce stress, fight infection, clear hemorrhoids, and aid fertility.

What is V-Steam?

Vaginal steam baths, popularly dubbed the V-steam baths, aim to cleanse, detox and tone up your vaginal lips, vaginal walls, cervix, and uterus. You sit over a pot or bowl of herbal infused steam that rises into the vagina.

Although vaginal steaming became popular in the recent years and is now being offered by some more progressive spas and holistic health clinics, this treatment is no novice to the world of health and beauty. It has been known for centuries in Central and South America as ‘bajos’, and as ‘chai-yok’ in Korea. While there is still no scientific evidence to support V-steam benefits, this age-old technique has been widely used by Korean women as stress and infertility remedy. It is now being rediscovered once again.

Health benefits of Vaginal Steaming

Vaginal steaming is supposed to help in the treatment of the following conditions and problems according to traditional medicine:

  • Bladder and yeast infections
  • Vaginal cysts
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Infertility
  • Irregular and painful periods
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Perennial tears
  • Scarring from caesarian section
  • Recovery from hysterectomies and laparoscopies

Similar to other forms of steaming, vaginal steaming too helps with stress and anxiety reduction. If you just think about how you feel after taking a soothing herbal sauna, this last benefit rings true.

Check out this book (only $2.99 on Kindle!) on how to perform a vaginal detox through steaming to learn more:

Healing Through Vaginal Steaming
Healing Through Vaginal Steaming

For an herbal pouch used in this steaming detox, check out this Yoni steaming (aka Vaginal steaming) pouch at Eupterra’s page.

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Aiming a Sting at the King: Scorpion Venom Drug (Vidatox) to treat Cancer

Although this isn’t exactly herbal, it is a homeopathic remedy I thought I would share.  Whoever thought scorpion venom could be a drug and an oil!
Aiming a Sting at the King
Can our planet’s scorpions actually hold a key to the cure for cancer?
scorpion venom to treat cancer
scorpion venom to treat cancer
According to the most recent and advanced cancer research studies, the native Caribbean practice of using scorpion venom to treat cancer cells and tumors shows serious promise.
Who knew what so many of our indigenous ancestors had as tricks up their sleeve 🙂  Way to go ethnobiologists!
In our medical communities continuous effort to find ways of effectively treating cancer with methods involving better results and lesser side-effects than traditional radiation and chemotherapy, the exploration into biomedicine’s discussion of envenomation (or using venom as medicine in low doses) brings new possibilities to the table.
Read on for how these studies are unfolding, and be sure to check out a special video by Danielle Dufault at Canada’s Animalogic channel.
~~~
Can Scorpions help us cure Cancer? Click for the video on Eupterra’s page.
Blue scorpion venom drug – Vidatox – a proven help against many types of carcinoma

What is a cure in small doses; is a poison in bigger doses and vice versa.

That is what an old saying tells us and its validity is confirmed once again.

A new homeopathic drug made of blue scorpion venom cures many types of carcinoma in humans, according to Cuban scientists.

Blue scorpion (Rhopalurus Junceus) lives on Cuba and it was named after its blue tail at the end of which is scorpion’s infamous sting.

Its body color is actually orange-red, so this scorpion is also sometimes called the red scorpion.
The idea that came from the natives
Scientists from this Caribbean island started examining scorpion’s venom in September 1997, encouraged by the findings that the natives have for centuries been using that substance for tumor treatment.

In comprehensive and thorough research, scientists concluded that venom’s compounds have analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects that prolong the life expectancy of carcinoma patients, alleviate the pain and sometimes even reduce tumor tissue.

“It took us fifteen years to scientifically prove the beneficial effects of scorpion venom. As we came to realize, the native’s beliefs in the healing properties of this venom proved to be correct”, doctor Guevara Garcia, one of the researches, said.

The result of this research is a drug called Vidatox 30 CH produced by a Cuban company Labiofam. It is believed that this drug reduces the spreading of cancer cells and prolongs patient’s life expectancy.

Vidatox 30 CH
Vidatox 30 CH

Which diseases does this drug effect?
Researchers claim that Vidatox enhances life quality of people suffering from breast, liver, spleen, lung, brain, cervix, prostate and other types of cancer.

This drug has been tested on patients from Europe, USA and Cuba, and no severe side effects have been reported.

The venom contains low molar mass proteins which can prevent tumor cell occurrence and spreading.

According to Cuban doctors that support Vidatox treatment in oncology, active ingredients of scorpion venom block certain cell enzymes and prevent angiogenesis, i.e. the creation of new blood vessels inside tumors.

Without new blood vessels, tumor cannot be fed and there is a potential that the tumor will die.

Such effects have been confirmed during laboratory testing on tumor cells in Mexico.

Drug production
The venom is taken from living scorpion that is electrically stimulated to release two to three drops of venom. The drug is produced by taking five to six doses of venom using the aforementioned procedure.

Collected venomous fluid is diluted in distilled water and venom concentration in solution depends on the cancer type and the patient’s condition.

This drug is applied orally and during the treatment patients have to obey special diet instructions created for better absorption of drug’s active compounds.

Cuba is famous for scorpion usage in therapeutic purposes since the beginning of the 20th century.

At that time, scorpion oil came into use. That oil was considered useful against urinary retention, bacterial infections, tumors, and inflammations.

Venom or cure?
Scorpions, as other venomous animals, use their venom for catching prey, for the defense and the subjugation of partners during mating.

Scorpion’s venom contains numerous compounds, some of which target the nervous system.

Each of 1500 scorpion species has slightly different venom which is powerful enough to kill scorpions prey, usually small animals.

Twenty five species, including blue scorpion, have venom that is also dangerous for people.

The most dangerous one is considered to be Arizona scorpion that injects large amounts of venom into his victims.

Consequences of scorpion sting include:

  • Pain similar to that of a bee sting. Within an hour or two the pain subsides and numbness, tingling and sensitivity to touch appear. In more severe cases, the pain can spread to chest areas and backs.
  • Swelling. Usually only around the sting area. In severe cases, in cases of people that are more sensitive to scorpion bite, swelling can spread on face, tongue and throat.
  • Increased body temperature, cramps, vomiting, enhance saliva and tear excretion. These consequences appear in cases when highly venomous scorpions inject large amounts of venom.
  • Death. Very rare consequence, at least in cases of healthy adults. Those in danger of death are: people with allergies, children or people with weakened health that are stung by one of the most venomous species.

Although the scorpion’s sting can be deadly, homeopathic drug Vidatox has not exhibited any negative side effects on the health of patients.

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Is it possible that eating wild honey created from the pollen of certain types of flowers can make a person feel a bit “under the influence”?

rhododendron honey deli bal

In this article, we look into the effects of rhododendron pollen in the medicinal honey called “deli bal” frequently found in regions of the Black Sea.

Watch as a group quest to “hunt” mad honey with members of a tribe in Nepal to find out!

Hallucinogenic Honey
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Learn more about hallucinogenic or “mad” honey by reading up on Rhododendron’s and their honey contributing properties.

Interested in trying rhododendron honey?  Although different than those produced in Turkey and Nepal, Fabrizio’s family in Italy collects honey from rhododendron flowers for those interested in a try!

Learn more about Hallucinogenic Honey

The story of “hallucinogenic honey” starts in Turkey. It is a dark, reddish honey, known as deli bal in Turkey.  It contains an ingredient from rhododendron nectar called grayanotoxin, which is a natural neurotoxin. In small quantities, it brings on light-headedness and sometimes, hallucinations.

In the 1700s, the Black Sea region traded this potent produce with Europe, where the honey was infused with drinks to give boozers a greater high than alcohol could deliver. Wow!

Remember Absinthe and its famous wormwood infused properties…

warning for mad honeyWhen over-imbibed, however, the honey can cause low blood pressure and irregularities in the heartbeat that bring on nausea, numbness, blurred vision, fainting, potent hallucinations, seizures, and even death, in rare cases.

Nowadays, cases of mad honey poisoning crop up every few years—oftentimes in travelers who have visited Turkey.

Check out this song inspired by “mad honey”

If there are rhododendrons everywhere, why is mad honey found only in Turkey?

Mad honey is most common in the region fringing the Black Sea — the biggest honey-producing region in Turkey. Yet, it is produced from rhododendrons, and these plants grow in vast areas, all over the world!

Because:
Though, there are more than 700 different species of rhododendron in the world, only two or three include grayanotoxin in their nectars. (says Dr. Süleyman Turedi, who studies deli bal’s effects, doctor at the Karadeniz Technical University School of Medicine in Trabzon, Turkey.): Rhododendron ponticum and Rhododendron luteum.

The mountains around the Black Sea provide the perfect habitat for these flowers to grow in monocrop-like swaths. Bees arrive in these fields, where there are no other flowers, so no other nectar gets mixed in. It results a pure, potent honey.

Why are the Turks producing it?

Because they are using it as medicine. 🙂
Hallucinogenic or “mad” honey is used in the indigenous Black Sea area to treat hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and some different stomach diseases. And, some people use deli bal to improve their sexual performance.”

The honey is taken in small amounts, sometimes boiled in milk, and consumed just before breakfast. This means it is considered medicine and taken likewise, not on toast or with tea.

Is it legal?

It is legal in Turkey. And we can also find it over the internet. Hallucinogenic honey is expensive and hard to be sure it’s the real thing. The beekeepers who produce it typically only sell it in a closed circle.

After how much mad honey are we poisoned?

If anybody eats more than 1 spoonful of hallucinogenic honey including grayanotoxin, is at risk of mad honey poisoning! And if we refer to fresh honey, than we should eat even less than 1 teaspoon.

Science facts:

“Many plants of the Ericaceae family, Rhododendron, Pieris, Agarista and Kalmia, contain diterpene grayanotoxins. Consuming the honey made from these plats may result in intoxication specifically characterized by dizziness, hypotension and atrial-ventricular block.
Symptoms are caused by an inability to inactivate neural sodium ion channels resulting in continuous increased vagal tone.

Grayanotoxin containing products are currently sold online, which may pose an increasing risk. In humans, intoxication is rarely lethal, in contrast to cattle and pet poisoning cases.
Scientific evidence for the medicinal properties of grayanotoxin containing preparations, such as honey or herbal preparation in use in folk medicine, is scarce, and such use may even be harmful.” (according to www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

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Want to learn more about honey’s medicinal uses, check out Honey in Ayurveda.

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Allergies: Anaphylaxis

As much as I talk about there being so much in nature’s bounty to help mitigate if not cure a person of the many ailments we can have with far fewer side-effects, there are some things that are just too much to be left to the less potent and subsequently slower acting natural remedies.  Here is where high-tech conventional medicine shines in all its fast-acting synthetic glory.

These are the times in which herbs are just not enough:

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Anaphylaxis (an-a-fi-LAK-sis) is a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction most commonly experienced in reaction to foods, insect stings, medications and latex.

If you are allergic to a substance, your immune system overreacts to this allergen by releasing chemicals that cause allergy symptoms. Typically, these bothersome symptoms occur in one location of the body. However, some people are susceptible to a much more serious anaphylactic reaction. This reaction typically affects more than one part of the body at the same time.

Anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock requires immediate medical treatment, including an injection of epinephrine and a trip to a hospital emergency room. If it isn’t treated properly, anaphylaxis can be fatal.

Certain people are more at risk of anaphylaxis. If you have allergies or asthma and have a family history of anaphylaxis, your risk is higher. And, if you’ve experienced anaphylaxis your risk of having another anaphylactic reaction is increased.

Accurate diagnosis and successful management of allergies is essential. An allergist / immunologist, often referred to as an allergist, has specialized training and experience to diagnose the problem and help you develop a plan to protect you in the future.

Symptoms
Symptoms of anaphylaxis typically start within 5 to 30 minutes of coming into contact with the allergen to which you are allergic. In some cases it may take more than an hour for you to notice anaphylactic symptoms.

Warning signs typically affect more than one part of the body and may include:

•    Red rash, with hives/welts, that is usually itchy
•    Swollen throat or swollen areas of the body
•    Wheezing
•    Passing out
•    Chest tightness
•    Trouble breathing
•    Hoarse voice
•    Trouble swallowing
•    Vomiting
•    Diarrhea
•    Stomach cramping
•    Pale or red color to the face and body
•    Feeling of impending doom

Diagnosis
To diagnose your risk of anaphylaxis or to determine whether previous symptoms were anaphylaxis-related, your allergist / immunologist will conduct a thorough investigation of all potential causes. Your allergist will ask for specific details regarding all past allergic reactions.
Treatment and Management

The best ways to manage your condition are:
•    Avoid allergens that trigger your allergic reactions
•    Be prepared for an emergency

If you are at risk of anaphylaxis, carry autoinjectable epinephrine (adrenaline). This is a single dose of medication that is injected into the thigh during an anaphylactic emergency.

It is important for you, family members and others in close contact with you to know how to use the autoinjector.

Complete an Anaphylaxis Action Plan and keep on file at work, school or other places where others may need to recognize your symptoms and provide treatment.

Important Reminder
If you think you are having an anaphylactic reaction, use your autoinjectable epinephrine and call 911 immediately. Your life depends on this. Don’t take an antihistamine or wait to see if symptoms get better.