Dandelion Detox

This common flower is a favourite in western folk medicine and once we understand how beneficial it can be I don’t think we will ever look at it in the same light again. Creeping up through cracks in the pavement and popping up where we least want it, the unassuming Dandelion has enormous healing powers.

Dandelion’s (Taraxacum officinale) main uses in herbal medicine are:

• cleansing the liver

• purifying the purifier

• a diuretic

• improving digestion

• promoting lymphatic activity

The Chinese use Dandelion is for clearing heat from the body. Heat that is deep within the body and Chinese herbalists believe that it cleanses the sinuses. An indication that this is required may not be as obvious as a blocked nose but if white spots are visible on the tongue, or there is a film over the tongue, this can indicate that fluids in the body are clogged by mucus. This congestion can move into the bones casing aching.

These symptoms all link back to the liver, the main area of the body supported by Dandelion as the liver is responsible for detoxification and elimination from the body. The liver and kidney work together; the liver breaks down larger molecules so the kidney can eliminate them.

Due to its bitterness, Dandelion is a diuretic, which increases bile production, which in turn increases digestive activity, which has, clear remedial effects in liver disease by increasing the flow of bile through the liver and cleansing it. Thus increasing urine flow too, so it is important to drink plenty of water when taking Dandelion.

The beauty of using herbal medicine is that we benefit from all the healing properties the plant offers us. Most diuretics cause potassium loss in the body, but Dandelion has the added benefit of containing more potassium (three times as much as most other green plants) so it actually replenishes potassium rather than depletes it. The leaves are the best part of the plant for this action.

Due to its liver cleansing properties Dandelion, especially when combined with celery seed can have very beneficial effects for arthritis, gout or rheumatic conditions too.

If you have ever tried to dig up a Dandelion you will know that their roots run very deep and as they feed the plant they are bringing up calcium from the deeper soil and this could explain how it helps re-calcify the bones and teeth.

Emotions can be related to illness too, and anger, nervous tension and sluggish feelings are associated with the liver and these can manifest themselves when the liver is not functioning properly.

Parts to use:

Roots and Leaves

Harvesting:

Roots – collect from 2 year old plants or older. The older the better. Collect in early spring when they are filled the maximum amount of sap, although they taste sweeter in Autumn due to higher inulin content.

Leaves – pick young in the Spring/early Summer

Preparation:

Roots- wash and cut into long pieces (not too small as sap drys out). Dry by gently heat, or leave on a wire rack in the airing cupboard.

Leaves – Dry by hanging in a dark airy room or use fresh in salad, cooking or smoothie.

Properties:

Citric Acid, Vitamin B, Vitamin A, potassium, Inulin (sugar complex safe for diabetics), tannins, glycosides and hormone like substances.

Dosage:

I believe that with herbs it is better for our bodies and to aid absorption by taking less but more regularly throughout the day.

TEA: As a remedy at least 3 cups of tea are needed a day, or a couple of cups of tea plus a handful of leaves in a smoothie or salad. To make tea use 30g of dried or 60g of fresh root or leaves to 1 litre of boiling water. Always cover while cooling to avoid loss of essential oils.

TINCTURE: 5-15 drops 4-5 times a day. (see our How to Make a Tincture blog if you would like to make your own).

Be patient, as with all herbal treatments this can be a slow process but remember that you are actually curing and supporting the body using plants, not just masking the problem as with many conventional medicines.

Before taking any herbs medicinally you should always seek advise from your doctor first.

Refs:

The Book of Herbal Wisdom by Matthew Wood

Holistic Herbal by David Hoffmann

The Herbal Drugstore by Linda White / Steven Foster

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Yellow – the colour of positive thinking

In our series looking at the colour vibrations in essential oils, today we are looking at the colour yellow.

Colour: Yellow

Chakra: Solar Plexis – energising to regain personal power and dispel fear seated in childhood memories.

Feeling: Positive, empowering and uplifting
Bring sunshine into your life and fill your heart with light and hope. See beauty all around us and allow vital energy into your system. Rekindle your love of life. Yellow aids communication and thoughts, it recharges the aura and protects you from psychic attack.

Mental: Yellow is the colour of the mind, linking to the logical left hand side of the brain.

Physical: Nervous System
Yellow strengthens the nervous system and muscles, including the heart to aid circulation. It also helps the digestive system and elimination process with an alkalising effect, helping liver and pancreatic function and stimulating insulin production.

Essential Oils which reflect the yellow ray:
Basil: cheerful, balance and wholeness
Bergamot: assertiveness, confidence, harmony, joyous
Lemon: humorous, rejuvenating, focus, positivity, great for meditating
Citronella: flexibility, positivity, well grounded, openness of mind, alertness,
Lemongrass: relax the nerves
Neroli: sharing, innovation, peaceful (at peace with the world), brine s lightness and happiness. Good in times of shock.

Ref: Colour Scents by Suzy Chiazzari

STOP! PLEASE check products for palm oil.

With recent news articles bring our attention to health problems associated with palm oil I wanted to look deeper into this to understand what the dangers actually are.

Firstly I was totally surprised about the number of everyday products containing palm oil – it is literally everywhere and not just in foods but also cosmetics, cleaning products and fuels. It’s a source of huge profits for multinational corporations, while at the same time destroying the livelihoods of smallholders, displacing indigenous peoples, causing deforestation and loss of biodiversity. These are all consequences of our over consumption of palm oil.

Palm oil plantations cover 27m hectares, the size of New Zealand!

As consumers, we are unaware that we are complicit in horrific crimes against animals, people and the environment.

PALM OIL ENVIRONMENTAL FACTS:

• An area the size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared EACH HOUR to make way for palm oil production.

• Large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction – the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years.

• Government data has shown that over 50,000 orangutans have already died as a result of deforestation due to palm oil.

• In 2006, at least 1,500 orangutans were clubbed to death by palm workers.

• Only 35% of palm growers that are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil are actually certified by the RSPO… the other 65% pay to be “members” and not adhering to the sustainability regulations.

• Palm oil ranks among the U.S. Department of Labour’s top four worst industries for forced and child labour.

• For every hectare of peat forest cleared, 6,000 tons of carbon dioxide are released.

The industry is linked to major deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and displacement of indigenous peoples. According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. If nothing changes this large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years.

Everyday, huge areas of rainforest in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa are being bulldozed or burnt to make room for more plantations. This releases vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and as a consequence, Indonesia – the world’s largest producer of palm oil – has surpassed the United States in terms of greenhouse gas emissions in 2015. With their CO2 and methane emissions, palm oil-based biofuels actually have three times the climate impact of traditional fossil fuels.

Palm oil is not only bad for the climate: endangered species such as the orangutan, Borneo elephant and Sumatran tiger are being pushed closer to extinction while smallholders and indigenous people who have inhabited and protected the forest for generations are often brutally driven from their land. Even on supposedly “sustainable” and “organic” plantations, human rights violations are everyday occurrences,

Orangutans have been found buried alive, killed from machete attacks and guns. Government data has shown that over 50,000 orangutans have already died as a result of deforestation due to palm oil in the last two decades. This either occurs during the deforestation process, or after the animal enters a village or existing palm oil plantation in search of food. Mother orangutans are also often killed by poachers and have their babies taken to be sold or kept as pets, or used for entertainment in wildlife tourism parks in countries such as Thailand and Bali.

PALM OIL HEALTH FACTS

• Palm oil is high in saturated fat. One tablespoon of palm oil contains 55 percent of the daily recommendation of saturated fat.

• Half of all supermarket products contain palm oil.

• Half of the palm oil imported into the EU is used for biofuel.

• The 2nd most consumed vegetable oil in the world.

Although there are undeniable health benefits of fresh, untreated palm oil, processed palm is a totally different story and should be avoided.

FRESH PALM OIL:

Palm oil is one of the few fatty fruits in existence. It is different from other plant and animal oils in its fatty acid composition (50% saturated, 40% unsaturated, and 10% polyunsaturated) in that it does NOT promote atherosclerosis or arterial thrombosis.

Where coconut oil has around 90% MCFA’s (fat your body can easily burn for energy) palm oil only contains around 50% MCFA’s.

But in addition to MCFA’s, palm oil is also loaded with the following phytonutrients:

• Carotenoids (alpha-,beta-,and gamma-carotenes)

• Sterols (sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol)

• Vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols) – more Vitamin A than any other plant-based oil

• Water-soluble powerful antioxidants, phenolic acids and flavonoids

Subsequently, the health benefits of palm oil include reduced risk of a variety of disease processes including:

• Alzheimer’s disease

• Cancer

• Cataracts

• Cognitive impairment

• Macular degeneration

• Platelet aggregation (blood clotting)

• Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol levels)

• Hypertension (high blood pressure)

• Vitamin A deficiency

OXIDIZED PALM OIL

Palm oil can be sold in a fresh state or at various levels of oxidation. Oxidation is a result of processing the oil for various culinary purposes. However, a considerable amount of the commonly used palm oil is in the oxidized state, which poses potential dangers to the biochemical and physiological functions of the body.

Oxidized palm oil induces an adverse lipid profile, reproductive toxicity and toxicity of the kidney, lung, liver, and heart.

PROCESSED AND HYDROGENATED PALM OIL

put simply, you want to TOTALLY avoid all processed, hydrogenated oils. Even the amazing health benefits of palm oil are completely negated due to this harmful process which is used to extend shelf life.

Stay safe and keep your shelves stocked with UNREFINED, COLD-PRESSED oils!

Saturated Fat: Palm oil is particularly high in saturated fat. In just 2.5 tablespoons of palm oil, you would exceed the recommended daily maximum of saturated fat.

Cholesterol: Marion Nestle, author of the book “What to Eat”, palmitic acid is a type of saturated that makes up most of the fat in palm oil. She goes on to say in her book that this fat is “especially adept at raising cholesterol levels” and that “palm oils are decidedly worse than butter” for this reason.

Hypertension: In addition to causing weight gain and elevated cholesterol, consuming palm oil that has been heated may elevate blood pressure. Heating vegetable oil produces free radicals. Over time, free radicals can lead to chronic disease.

SOME OF THE COMPANIES THAT USE PALM OIL:

Warburtons: palm oil accounts for between 15-20% of the blend of oils used in its products.

Unilever: the makers of Flora margarine, Knorr soups, Pot Noodles and Dove soap is the world’s biggest user of palm oil.

Premier foods: the makers of Hovis bread, Mr Kipling cakes, Cadbury cakes and Bisto gravy granules uses 30,000 metric tonnes of combined palm/vegetable oil each year.

Nestle: the makers of Kit Kat, Quality Street and Aero uses palm kernel oil in a range of their confectionery and dairy products.

Kelloggs: claims the vast majority of its cereals do not contain palm oil and, where present, it is in small quantities.

SUMMARY:

Although there are health benefits to consuming unprocessed palm oil, there is undeniable evidence showing the health dangers of the processed oil and catastrophic environmental consequences due to our over consumption of palm oil.

I urge us all to read the labels of the products we buy so we can make an informed choice and try to cut down on our use of palm oil as the devastation being caused to our planet is irreversible. It is not necessary to use so much oil in products, when home cooking we would not use so much. Industries are bulking their products out with cheap oils rather than proper ingredients, causing dangerous health effects simply to increase their profits whilst showing a total disregard for the environmental impact they are imposing on the planet.

Please share this article to help prevent the over use of palm oil, therefore saving the lives of innocent animals, indigenous peoples… and us!

Together we can influence corporations to change for the better.

More blogs available at www.wildmedicines.co.uk

Refs:

http://www.Redapes.org

http://www.saynotopalmoil.com

http://www.thedailyhealth.co.uk

http://www.onegreenplanet.org

http://www.rainforest-rescue.org

http://www.greenpeace.org.uk

http://www.draxe.com

http://www.healthyeating.sfgate.com

Purple – the colour of kindness and creativity

In our series looking at the colour vibrations in essential oils, today we are looking at purple.

Colour: Purple / Violet

Chakra: Crown chakraFeeling: Inner harmony and protection. Purifies, balances the mind. The colour of transformation and spirituality.

Purple vibrates at a higher frequency that most other colours and this aids in our transformation and melts away fear. This is the perfect colour to use in a room to create calm and purity of mind. Purple is antispetic and stimulates without heat, it protects against psychic attack and balances mind and body to be at one with each other.

Purple in the aura is a sign that spirituality is being sought and development in this area along with a need to be creative is very important for this person’s well-being.

Mental: Purple is the colour of self-knowing, self respect and tolerance. It promotes creativity and the need to help others… the colour of kindness. It can also sedate the mind therefore helping with anxiety.

Physical: Normalises glandular and hormonal activity, strengthens weak eyes and assists with building white blood cells. Violet light shone onto varicose veins can help to heal inflamed conditions.

Essential Oils which reflect the purple ray:

Juniper: blood purifying, toxin elimination and cleansing.

Lavender: soothes immune system, eases anxiety and negative thoughts, balances and brings patience.

Sandalwood: intuition and prevents recurring dreams.

 

Ref: Colour Scents by Suzy Chiazzari

Source: Purple – the colour of kindness and creativity

Blue – the colour of intuition and clarity

In our series of looking at colour vibrations, colour therapy and associated essential oils, today we are looking at indigo blue.

Colour: Indigo Blue

Chakra: Third eye, bringing clarity and vision helping us direct our thoughts and energy.

Feeling: Soothe and Balance
Encourage positivity, purity, intuition and clarity of vision. Help direct our thoughts to areas which will provide self-development and spiritual growth. Raises our sensitivity to sacred things and used for deep pain, healing, sedation and purification. Protects the aura.

Mental: Links to the higher mind, intuition and power by knowledge

Physical: Cools, use to treat sunburn, itchy skin, burns.

Essential Oils which reflect the Indigo ray:
Bay Laurel: express true feelings, wisdom, peace, protection, intuition and expression.
Clove: focus, vision, knowledge/ Stimulates the mind.
Tea Tree: vision, perception, purity, release fears and anxiety and allows us to trust higher guidance which is often revealed to us in dreams.
Cinnamon: loyalty and trust.

Visit WildMedicines.co.uk to learn more about colour therapy.

Ref: Colour Scents by Suzy Chiazzari

Colour Healing

Color Healing, or Chromotherapy is an ancient art dating back to early Egyptian times and the Hindus have used colour and its’ healing benefits as part of their Ayurvedic medicine system since 1025AD  when Persian philosopher Avicenna completed his series of five books called The Canon of Medicine. The Canon of Medicine remained a medical authority for centuries. It set the standards for medicine in Medieval Europe and the Islamic world and was used as a standard medical textbook throughout the 18th century in Europe. It is still used today in Unani medicine, a form of traditional medicine practiced in India.

Avicenna (980-1037) saw colour as vitally important both in diagnosis and in treatment. He wrote that “colour is an observable symptom of disease” and he developed a chart that related colour to the temperature and physical condition of the body. His view was that red moved the blood, blue or white cooled it, and yellow reduced muscular pain and inflammation.

Chromotherapists use light in the form of colour to balance “energy” lacking from a person’s body, whether it be on physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental levels.

Each color has its own frequency vibration, and corresponds to a particular chakra (or energy center) in your body. Selecting and using the right color allows you to harness its frequency vibration, which in turn helps you to create your reality intentionally.

Everything in the universe is made up of light energy. Light energy moves at different frequencies, but the human eye is only capable of perceiving light in a frequency range of about 400nm-700nm (from red to violet). However, there are other animal species that are capable of perceiving even more frequencies and colors (for example, many birds and insects can see ultraviolet light, which is of a higher frequency than we can perceive).

Regardless of the range of color and frequency vibration that we are able to see, the ability to perceive different colors simply means that we have an innate ability to easily detect the vibration that we need and want. An easy way to help create your reality is through using colors that align with the vibrations of what you desire.

Colour theray can be as easy as painting your office wall yellow to promote communication, or wearing pink to bring calmness to your day.

We will looking into individual colours over the next few weeks on our Wild Medicines blog page.

 

Part #2 ADHD : Herbal and natural treatments for an intriguing kind of mind.

The history of ADHD / ADD.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental behavioural disorder, or that is how it is classified anyway. It becomes noticeable in some pre-school children or early on in school years. Many children struggle to control their behaviour and have difficulty paying attention. In the USA the National Institute of Mental Health estimates 3-5% of all American children have ADHD – so in a class of 25-30 there would be at least 1 child likely to have ADHD. Although Harvard researcher Joseph Biederman puts the estimate at around 10%. Interestingly 4 out 5 children with ADHD are boys.

30 to 40% of children will grow out of AHD at puberty, but 60% will continue having to cope with this into adulthood and there is no apparent cure. Of those with ADHD, learning disabilities, Tourette’s anxiety, depression and bipolar are all much more common than in the rest of the population.

Symptoms:

Inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity – all with potential to disrupt school life, relationships and home life. Children may have difficulty in time keeping, keeping their mind on track for more than a few minutes and forgetfulness. Positives are that when presented with something that really interests them their focus can be better than those without ADHD. Hyperactivity is common – children in constant motion and eternally restless. Children and adults will do things which have immediate rewards rather the put in more effort for a greater but delayed reward.

Diagnosis:

There is no definite test for ADHD, instead diagnosis by a professional is made based on a number of criteria. The DSMIV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) defines 18 symptoms, of which 6 must be present for diagnosis of ADHD and it defines 3 different behavioural patterns:

  • Inattentive type (inattention symptoms)
  • Hyperactive type (impulsive and hyperactive symptoms)
  • Combined Inattentive / Hyperactive type

Symptoms must be demonstrated to a degree inappropriate for the person’s age, appear early in life (prior to age 7) and present a handicap to normal life.

Diagnoses must be by a professional – for example psychiatrist, family physician, neurologist, psychologist, etc. The professional must first rule out other causes and symptoms and they will then interview the child’s teachers, parents and those that know the child well. For adults it can be more difficult and often it is necessary to go back through the person’s childhood history to establish behavioural patterns.

Part #3 to follow

  • Effects of brain formation in children.
  • Physiological problems causing inadequate nutrient absorption.
  • Blood sugar and how this effects ADHD / ADD.
  • Food additives and toxic exposure.
  • Stress and lifestyle influences on ADHD / ADD
  • Conventional treatments.
  • Plant based treatments.
  • Vitamin supplements and ADHD and ADD.
  • How to structure learning.
  • Ideal jobs for those with ADHD / ADD.
  • Any other related topics I stumble across!
  • Case study.

 

References:

http://www.additudemag.com/
Ohlone Herbal Centre: ADHD by Daniel Burton
Gingko Biloba by Dr Desmond Corrigan
University of Maryland University
http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/healthy_kids