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You’ve probably trampled on a weed that could help you kick the smoking habit. The North American wild herb, plantain (Plantago major), helps reduce cravings for cigarettes. That could be one of the main reasons it is being used in many commercial smoking cessation products.
Growing on lawns, between sidewalk cracks, and in wild spaces alike, plantain is regularly killed by grass aficionados in search of lawn perfection. This is not the same plant that produces banana-like fruit also known as plantain found in tropical destinations.
Not only does plantain reduce cravings for cigarettes, it also reduces lung inflammation and helps to clean out the lungs. Available as a tea, tincture (alcohol extract), a quit-smoking spray, or as a dried herb in many health food stores, it is easy to take advantage of its health-promoting properties.
If you choose the dried herb, simply add one teaspoon to a cup of boiling water, steep for at least 10 minutes then drink before you reach for a cigarette. Many people find they’ll be butting out soon afterward since the craving is gone. You may also feel like you’ve had enough before you finish that cigarette.
Plantain is also used my natural medicine practitioners to reduce bronchial congestion, laryngitis, lung irritations, coughs, toothaches, ulcers, digestive complaints, gout, and kidney infections.
If you choose the tincture or quit-smoking spray, follow package directions. Usually you’ll want to take the plantain just prior to lighting up. Of course, you should always consult a qualified health professional prior to using any new product.
Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, ROHP is an international best-selling and 17-time book author and doctor of natural medicine, whose books include: 60 Seconds to Slim, Weekend Wonder Detox, The Ultimate pH Solution, and Healing Recipes. She is the publisher of the free e-magazine World's Healthiest News. Subscribe to receive health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook. Learn more about her work on her website DrMichelleCook.com.
First Nations and Native American people used the herb stinging nettles for thousands of years to treat many health conditions, including allergies. Now, science has proven what these wise people knew from experience: nettles are an effective allergy treatment. In a 2009 study published in "Phytotherapy Research," Drs. Roschek, Fink, McMichael and Alberte at HerbalScience Group LLC, found that nettles worked on multiple levels to reduce inflammation linked to allergies.
In another recent double-blind study, the leaves of the stinging nettle were investigated for their ability to assist with sinus problems due to allergies. Participants taking nettles had noticeably higher rates of symptom improvement from allergic rhinitis than those taking the placebo.
Don’t be alarmed by the name. This plant’s survival mechanism is found in fine hairs on its leaves, which are relatively harmless unless you try to pick the plant without wearing gloves. Most gardeners can attest to the aptness of the plant’s name.
Unlike pharmaceuticals which cause heart problems or drowsiness, nettles does neither. Nettles are actually a nutritional powerhouse. If you eat the fresh ones, be sure to wear thick gloves. And, they are best cooked or made into an alcohol extract—called a tincture—to nullify their stinging effects. They can be added to soups and stews. However, they are also conveniently available in the dried form for making tea, liquid tinctures to take as drops, or in capsule form.
Of course, if you're absolutely sure you've identified nettles correctly, you can quickly and easily make your own allergy remedy. (If you're not sure, Mountain Rose Herbs sells dried nettle leaf you can use or nettle seeds if you want to grow your own nettle in your yard. They also sell the extracts pre-made). Simply add a couple of handfuls of nettle leaves (washed, of course) to a half cup of water and a half cup of vodka. Blend in a blender and strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer, allowing the liquid to fall into a pitcher below to collect the liquid. Squeeze any remaining liquid out of the cheesecloth. Pour the liquid into a bottle with a cap. The typical dose is one teaspoon three times daily for a couple weeks prior to and throughout allergy season.
Check out my new books Weekend Wonder Detox and 60 Seconds to Slim. Subscribe to my free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow my blog on my sites HealthySurvivalist.com and DrMichelleCook.com, and Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.
Horsetail is a good source of the mineral silica. No, this plant has nothing to do with actual horses, it is simply the name of an herb that grows in sandy soil in damp areas. It does the same for the plants near where it grows as it does for humans who use horsetail: it provides important nutrients, especially silica.
One mineral is essential to bone-building, immune system strengthening, the proper use of calcium in the body, and building strong nails, hair, and teeth, yet most people never give it a second thought. It is silica. Silica supports the body’s production of an enzyme called prolyhydroxylase that is involved in the formation of collagen in bones, cartilage, and connective tissue.
Here are some of the most common signs of a silica deficiency:
Excessive wrinkling of the skin
Poor bone development
Soft or brittle nails
Thinning or loss of hair
Of course, these symptoms can be a sign of another health issue so it is important to see your doctor. But it’s also important to be sure that you are eating enough foods rich in silica. It usually takes about two months after using horsetail or eating a diet rich in silica to notice a difference.
Silica is water-soluble, which means that you can make a tea from the dried or fresh herb and the silica will be extracted from the plant to the tea and then into your body where it will support healthy nails, teeth, bones, and hair.
Horsetail is also good for allergies, bladder issues, weak joints, and weak connective tissue. For cystitis, blend with any of the following herbs: couchgrass, yarrow, or bilberry.
To make the tea: use one rounded teaspoon of dried horsetail per cup of boiling water and allow to brew in a teapot or cup for 10 minutes. A common dose is three cups daily; however, it is important to consult a physician if you have any health condition or are taking any medication.
Horsetail has a long spindly stalk with many small, whose leaves look more like long pine needles than leaves. It doesn't flower and usually grows up to a foot tall along roadsides, gardens, and in waste ground areas.
Silica is also found in almonds, apples, beets, celery, flaxseeds (ground), whole grains, grapes, kelp, oats, onions, parsnips, strawberries, and sunflower seeds, silica is still deficient in many people’s diets.
A new study published in the journal Arthritis compared ginger extract to the common drugs betamethasone (cortisone) and ibuprofen for the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
While ibuprofen is a popular pain remedy (such as Advil or Motrin), in this study it showed no effect on cytokine production. Cytokines are immune-regulating substances that can have inflammatory effects on the body, and are therefore linked to pain. In this study, both betamethasone and ginger extract reduced cytokines in comparable amounts. The authors of the study indicate that: “ginger extract was as effective an anti-inflammatory agent as betamethasone in this in vitro model.”
While betamethasone has been used for decades to relieve pain, it is also linked with many serious side-effects, including: vision problems, weight gain, swelling, shortness of breath, depression, seizures, pancreatitis, heart arrhythmias, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, severe headaches, anxiety, chest pains, sleep problems, acne, slow wound healing, and more. Ginger, however, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that is safe for use.
Other research by Dr. Krishna C. Srivastava, a world-renowned researcher on the therapeutic effects of spices, at Odense University in Denmark, found that ginger is an effective and superior anti-pain remedy. In one study, Dr. Srivastava gave arthritic patients small amounts of ginger daily for three months. The majority of people had significant improvements in pain, swelling, and morning stiffness by eating ginger daily. For more information, consult Arthritis-Proof.
Dr. Srivastava also found that ginger was superior to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Tylenol or Advil because NSAIDs only work on one level: to block the formation of inflammatory compounds. Ginger, on the other hand, blocks the formation of the inflammatory compounds–prostaglandins and leukotrienes–and also has antioxidant effects that break down existing inflammation and acidity in the fluid within the joints
Further research in the Journal of Pain also report that ginger is an effective natural anti-inflammatory that helps reduce pain and inflammation. Both raw ginger and heated ginger were used in the study with similar effectiveness. The scientists specifically explored ginger’s effects on muscle pain.
Ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine in India as a natural anti-inflammatory food.
How to Reap the Anti-Pain Benefits of Ginger (adapted from Arthritis-Proof):
-Add chopped, fresh ginger to soups, stews, stir-fries, and other recipes. Ginger is delicious in many savory and sweet dishes alike.
-Add fresh ginger to a juicer while making juices. It combines well with many other vegetables and fruits, such as carrots or apple.
-Ginger capsules (Zingiber officinale) are available for supplementation. Follow package directions.
-Chopped, fresh ginger can be added to water and boiled in a pot for 45 minutes to an hour then drunk as a tea or cooled for an iced tea. Add a few drops of stevia to sweeten (stevia is a naturally-sweet herb).
-Ginger is available in alcohol tincture form. A typical dose is 30 drops three times daily. Avoid the alcohol extract if you are an alcoholic, suffering from liver disease, or diabetic.
Medicine never tasted so good.
Recommended reading: Arthritis-Proof.
If the thought of unleashing bacteria shells filled with viruses that spread pesticides in your foods sounds like something out of a scary science fiction movie, think again. This is the stuff of reality.
Would you knowingly eat a potato that needs to be transported in hazardous waste containers since every cell contains pesticides? This isn’t food terrorism (at least not the kind we recognize as a crime); this is what passes as improvements to our food supply. Perhaps one day we will learn that we can’t improve on nature.
From Flavr Savr tomatoes to Roundup Ready Soybeans, genetically modified foods are being manufactured and unleashed on an unsuspecting public whether we are ready for them or not. The Grocery Manufacturers of America estimates that 75 percent of all processed foods in America contain at least one genetically modified ingredient.
Governments worldwide should have insisted on extensive safety testing of genetically modified ingredients before allowing them to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public. But according to an article entitled, “Health Risks of Genetically-Modified Foods” by Dr. Joseph Mercola, the U.S. FDA even states, “The FDA has not found it necessary to conduct comprehensive scientific reviews of foods derived from bioengineered plants … consistent with its 1992 policy.”
Genetically modified (GM) foods are big business in North America, particularly in the United States. They are also supported in Brazil and to a certain extent in Asia. Europe has been appropriately cautious in its approach to GM foods and to date has limited access to the European market, much to the frustration of U.S. business. There is a very real threat that this could change in the near future.
Recent media reporting has raised the issue of food shortages as crops are diverted to bio-fuel production. In theory, replacing fossil fuels with plant-based alternatives seems like a great idea, and eventually, technology may provide solutions that do not affect the food supply, cause widespread damage to land cleared for “fuel crops,” or wipe out indigenous species for the sake of high-yield bio-fuel species.
Supporters of GM foods are exploiting this “crisis” by insisting genetically engineered crops are the only way to deal with the food shortage, to ensure crops can grow on tired, nutrient-weak, drought-susceptible soil (all signs of over-farming and potentially climate-change factors). Lobbyists have seen a crack in Europe’s closed door and they have stuck their foot in. Let us hope that the European nations stick to their guns —GM foods have become a global, uncontrolled experiment. The long-term impact is unknown and companies like Monsanto are happy to keep the public and farmers in the dark, playing on their fears of food scarcity, poor harvests, or employing more ominous tactics.
Did you know 18 percent of all genetically modified seeds have been engineered to produce their own pesticides? That alone makes foods grown from these seeds potentially harmful, but there’s more: Research shows that these seeds may continue producing pesticides inside your body once you’ve eaten the food grown from them! Those potatoes are sounding even less appetizing now, aren’t they?