Saturday, October 29, 2011

Healing Chicken Pox Naturally

A good friend of mine just got Chicken Pox.  She’s an adult, poor baby, and it’s more than an unpleasant feeling as well as a bit shocking to endure those itchy spots that should have been vaccinated away as a child.

Chicken Pox is a contagious viral infection that mostly affects young children, but once they get it, their bodies create appropriate antibodies so that they never get it again.  Chicken Pox finds its way into the blood stream via the respiratory system as the virus is transmitted through the air by the mere act of a sneeze, cough, or touch of someone already infected.

Besides the fluid-filled eruptions that emerge all over the body, symptoms of Chicken Pox include fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite.  These symptoms can last up to two weeks, depending on the strength of your immune system. 

Here are a few things you can do to speed up the healing process if you or a child is suffering from Chicken Pox.

Number one is don’t scratch the itch!  Scratching can burst the pimple, whereby the infectious liquid inside can cause more infection and the opened skin can lead to a scar.  Some of the ways you can lessen the discomfort of Chicken Pox are:

  • Tie up oat meal flakes in a sock or a cloth, run under tepid water and daub on skin
  • Make a strong tea of nettle, burdock, and peppermint – add to cool bath water and submerge yourself for 15 to 20 minutes
  • Apply Aloe Vera gel to the skin to cool down the burning sensation
  • Apply tinctures such as chickweed, calendula, or lavender to soothe, heal, and prevent further infection

Drink plenty of water and fresh organic juices.  There are a number of herbs that are anti-viral in nature.  Taken in tea or capsule form, these herbs can help with the healing process:

  • St. John’s Wort
  • Pau D’arco
  • Ginger – boil 10 slices in water for 10 minutes and place in a teapot.  Sip throughout the day.
  • Burdock root – helps to breaks fever
  • Cats claw – helps to alkalize the body, taking away the acidic properties of the rash
  • Nettle – a strengthening tonic that heals skin

Echinacea and goldenseal are two essential anti-viral herbs that can be taken separately or in combination.  They help boost the immune system and should be a part of your health regimen for preventing and healing any type of viral invasion. 

Some good homeopathic remedies for Chicken Pox are:

  • Sulphur
  • Rhus tox
  • Animonium crudum
  • Antimonium tartaricum
  • Pulsatilla

With all the above, healing from Chicken Pox has to take its course.  Easy to say and difficult to do… but have patience!  This too will pass and once it does, you’ll never get it again!

Please take a look at The Body In Form store to find hand-picked items for easy purchase online such as:  vitamins, herbs, beauty products, and self-help, health, and recipe books that encourage you to have a body - and life - in form! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Forget the Coffee: Stimulate Your Mind and Get Healthier with Yerba Maté!

Delicious as it is, the coffee addiction doesn’t provide any nutrition for the body and definitely has the ability to blow out your adrenal glands, make you jittery if you’ve had more than your normal quota, and cause a whopping headache the minute you decide to go cold turkey!

Yerba maté, otherwise known as the “Drink of the Gods” is, on the other hand, able to keep you awake and alert while simultaneously nourishing your body with no known side effects! 

Let’s explore!

What exactly is Yerba Maté?
Ilex Paraguariensis is its scientific name and it is found throughout the subtropical climes of Argentina Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil.  A member of the holly family, yerba maté was introduced to South American settlers by the Guarani Indians who made a tea of the leaves and stems to keep up their endurance during long treks through the mountains.  

Yerba maté rapidly became the national drink of Uruguay and Argentina where it is consumed daily by aficionados who recognize its potent qualities. 

What are the components of Yerba Maté?

Yerba maté contains similar health factors as green tea, but has many more nutrients.  Maté in fact contains 196 active chemical compounds, including:

  • ·      11 polyphenols (anti-oxidant chemicals that strengthen the immune system to fight the destruction of cells)
  • ·      Saponins (phytochemicals that stimulate the immune system to fight against disease)
  • ·      15 essential amino acids
  • ·      Vitamins: A, C, E, B1, B2, Niacin, B5, B-complex, pantothenic acid, and inositol
  • ·      Minerals: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron selenium, manganese, zinc, and trace minerals
  • ·      Other healthful components: carotene, fatty acids, chlorophyll, flavonols, polyphenols, tannins

What are the Powers of Yerba Maté?
One of the primary abilities of yerba maté is to awaken the mind without causing a sensation of nervousness.  Maté contains a substance known as matéine, which helps to stimulate the nervous system, relax the smooth muscles to reduce blood pressure, increase urination through its mild diuretic properties, and keep the mind alert.  Though matéine is related to caffeine, it has a different chemical structure, which causes it to be absorbed into the body differently, allowing maté drinkers to enjoy alertness and clarity without creating a depressive state once the feeling wears off.
Because of its nutritious properties, maté energizes, invigorates, and stimulates the body in its function as a whole-body tonic.  This has been documented at both the Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific Society where scientists have claimed that yerba maté contains almost all the vitamins necessary to sustain life.

A reference list of the benefits of Yerba Maté:

  • ·      Enhances mental clarity
  • ·      Enhances focus
  • ·      Elevates mood
  • ·      Sustains energy levels
  • ·      Reduces fatigue
  • ·      Helps in weight loss by depressing the appetite
  • ·      Helps the body maintain a greater state of balance

  • ·      Boosts the immune system
  • ·      Helps to detoxify the blood
  • ·      Helps to relieve allergies by opening respiratory passages
  • ·      Stimulates the adrenal glands to produce corticosteroids that reduce inflammation and heighten immune response
  • ·      Improves digestion by lessening gastrointestinal disorders
  • ·      Helps excrete wastes
  • ·      Increases the supply of oxygen to the heart
  • ·      Helps the body use carbohydrates as fuel when exercising
  • ·      Helps reduce symptoms of irritability when withdrawing from caffeine
  • ·      Fights bad breath due to the abundance of polyphenols

Additionally, yerba maté may be helpful in cases of depression, attention deficit disorder, diabetes, and in reducing excess sugar in the bloodstream.

Studies of Yerba Maté
In a study published in 1996 by “Biochemical and Molecular Biology International,” it was stated that water extracts of yerba maté “were more potent antioxidants than either ascorbic acid or butylated hydroxytoluene.” Another study conducted in March 2000 and published in “Biochemical and Biophysical Research   Communications” states that the “ingestion of extracts of Ilex paraguariensis could contribute to increase the antioxidant defense of an organism against free radical attack.” The 2001 issue of “Fitoterapia” claims that yerba maté contains a “higher content of flavonoids and caffeoyl derivatives than any other assayed species.” 

Tips for Yerba Maté enjoyment!
Maté is an acquired taste and many people unaccustomed to its rather bitter flavor reject it before experimenting with sweeteners.  Though sugar is the common antidote, I prefer using natural stevia, which does the trick without creating acidity.  You can also always use a bit of organic honey.  There are also many distinct varieties of loose maté that vary in flavor, including some that are mixed with orange, lemon, peppermint, and other fruits or herbs.

It is becoming easier to find the tea in bags, or already prepared and bottled yerba maté in many health food, specialty, and gourmet stores.  

If you want to drink it the way the natives do, its best to have a native maté drinker show you how to prepare the tea, as it is not something traditionally common in North America or Europe.  There are many Argentine or Uruguayan grocery stores in almost all cities where you can buy loose yerba maté, as well as the gourd used to hold the herb and the “bombilla,” which is the silver or wooden straw that is used to sip the tea once it is placed in the gourd.  Note: When adding water to the tea, make sure it is at drinking temperature, as if it is too hot, it will burn your mouth and throat when sipped through the straw.

Drinking yerba maté prepared from the loose tea is beautiful social ritual where the gourd is passed from one person to another, sharing the tea as it stimulates conversation and conviviality. Developing a taste for the tea may take time, but it is well worth it in view of all the incredible benefits it brings. 

So away with the coffee and on with the yerba maté!  Be alert, be healthy, and enjoy!

Food for thought:  Albert Einstein was known to enjoy yerba maté.  Could that be the secret of his genius?

Note:  As with coffee, don't overdo it!
Please take a look at The Body In Form store to find hand-picked items for easy purchase online such as:  vitamins, herbs, beauty products, and self-help, health, and recipe books that encourage you to have a body - and life - in form!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Our Nails: A Sign of Health and Beauty

One of the most obvious signs of health is the condition of our nails.  A smooth, pink nail without grooves or ridges that lies in a natural cuticle bed speaks of a balanced diet and intelligent care of the body in general.  Our nails are a great example of how we feel about ourselves, and with conscious care and some change in habits, there is no reason why they can’t reflect the beauty that we all deserve to radiate.

Nails are made of keratin, a protein that forms in layers underneath the nail bed.  As new keratin cells grow old they harden and push out towards the fingertips.  Nourishing the nail bed is fundamental in assuring a strong, healthy, shiny nail. 

A Healthy Diet for Nail Health
It is not difficult to obtain and maintain good nail health.  A balanced diet is the key.  Here are a few essential nutrients that are important to include in our daily regime:

Biotin is one of the B-complex vitamins. Biotin if fundamental in assisting the growth of cells and is found in egg yolks, goat and cow milk, liver, peanuts, almonds, strawberries and raspberries, Swiss chard, carrots, cauliflower, and cucumbers.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is filled with antioxidants and helps with the formation of collagen, which is essential for keeping nails at their best and hangnails at bay.  Eating foods containing vitamin C, such as fruits and brightly colored veggies, is key to having gorgeous nails.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Nail health increases dramatically when Omega 3 fatty acids are added to the diet.  Eating walnuts, flaxseeds, kidney beans, soybeans, sardines, herring, mackerel, sockeye salmon and other coldwater fish are a great way to get your dose.  You can also take on Omega 3 supplement in the form of fish oil, flaxseed oil, or evening primrose oil to keep your nails supple and in top form.

Good Nail Habits
Taking care of our nails often has to do with changing our habits. Here are some key suggestions to ensuring that your nails show off their natural beauty:
·      Keep you cuticles moisturized
·      Use hand cream several times a day
·      Use sunscreen on hands and cuticles during the summer months
·      Always wear gloves when doing dishes, housework, and gardening
·      Make sure all of your nail implements are clean and disinfected
·      Change your nail files often to avoid a build-up of bacteria
·      If you have cuts or tears in your cuticles, disinfect them with hydrogen peroxide
·      Avoid products containing formaldehyde or toluene
·      Never soak your nails as they expand and weaken with prolonged exposure to water
·      Don’t overuse nail polish remover and avoid getting it on cuticles and skin
·      Never push your cuticles back, just leave them alone
·      Don’t pull out your hangnails, instead cut them away gently
·      Don’t type with the tips of your nails use your finger pads instead
·      Use a letter opener instead of your fingers when opening mail

Please take a look at The Body In Form store to find hand-picked items for easy purchase online such as:  vitamins, herbs, beauty products, and self-help, health, and recipe books that encourage you to have a body - and life - in form!