Monthly Archives: September 2013

Free Radical Fighters

Herbed Carrot Soup

Herbed Carrot Soup

A man may esteem himself happy when that which is his food is also his medicine,” wrote Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), American philosopher, author and naturalist. What was true 150 years ago is even more true for us today. Our typical North American diet of processed and fast foods, full of sugar and trans-fatty acids, contaminates our bodies with free radicals – leading villains in the aging process as well as cancer and other diseases.

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Courting the CRANBERRY

CranberryAs long ago as 1840, German doctors discovered that the urine of people who ate cranberries contained a chemical called hippuric acid. The doctors were researching the finding that these same people had a significantly lower incidence of urinary tract infections (UTIs) such as cystitis and pyelonephritis.

By the 1960s, when doctors were dispensing antibiotics like candy, the use of cranberries to counteract UTIs had fallen out of favor. Researchers claimed that tests showed the acidifying effect of cranberries and cranberry juice was inadequate to prevent infection.

However, as late as 1994, a Harvard University study involving 153 elderly women with repeated urinary tract infections showed that regular consumption of cranberry juice cocktail decreased the frequency of UTIs. Recently, in a clinical trial yet to be published at the time of writing from Weber State University in Utah, a concentrated cranberry product in dehydrated, capsule form – equivalent to 12 to 16 six ounce glasses of cranberry juice a day  – was found to be equally effective. Some health professionals recommend the capsules over cranberry juice because of the sugar content of cranberry cocktail and the unpalatable taste of the unsweetened juice.

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Cleansing for life: Natural Body Maintenance

Dandelion: Herbalists endorse dandelion root as one of the most effective detoxifying herbs.

Dandelion: Herbalists endorse dandelion root as one of the most effective detoxifying herbs.

Being mechanically challenged I always relied on my friend Hans the mechanic to give me good service and sage advice on car maintenance. His overwhelming recommendation was, “If you do nothing else, make sure you change your oil regularly.” But he also advised flushing out the cooling system, the transmission and the fuel line every so often.

Regrettably, Hans used to scoff at my advice on health issues. He ate badly and too much, smoked and drank to excess. Last year, at the relatively young age of 52, he died of a heart attack after being diagnosed with colon cancer.

Why do we lavish so much care and money on chattels while neglecting our most precious possession, our health? An accretion of pollutants in the body can lead to a condition known as toxemia.  This can be defined as the accumulation of wastes, toxins and other poisons which in themselves can inflict untold harm in the form of skin diseases, headaches, impaired immune function, lethargy, allergies, impaired digestion and nutrient absorption, depression and irritability. Eve Campanelli, Ph.D., a holistic family practitioner in Oregon, says, “The most common causes of headaches are constipation and liver malfunction.”

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Chickweed: “Worth its Weight in Gold”

 

Chickweed

Chickweed

How many medicines do you know that are effective for a variety of ailments, taken internally or applied topically, have no drug interactions and can be used in unlimited doses? Not only that, but this miracle tastes good and is incredibly nutritious.

A new medical marvel from the folks in long white coats?

No! The simple, humble ubiquitous Chickweed (Stellaria media), a bane to the unenlightened gardener, but a boon to the rest of us.

Dr. Herbert Nowell, calls this perennial “worth its weight in gold” in the Dominion Herbal College Chartered Herbalist course manual.

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Burning Away Fat

Burn-fatOne of the current “fat” gags going the rounds jokes that if you step on the scale and the little window reads “To be continued” then you know that you need to lose weight. Funny? Well, maybe. However, obesity is no laughing matter. It’s a serious disease at epidemic proportions. Dr. Joseph Mercola, author of The No Grain Diet, maintains that “a staggering 61% of American adults currently meet the scientific definition of obesity, putting them at increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, depression and several forms of cancer. Obesity rates among US adults have gone up 30% since the late 1970s.” The statistics for Canada show a similarly depressing picture.

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Dazzle with Basil

Basil

Basil

Canadians love basil for its tantalizing, pungent scent and flavor. To the ancient Greeks and Romans, the herb was a symbol of malice and lunacy. They believed that to successfully grow basil, one had to yell and curse angrily while sowing the seeds. In French, semer le basille, “sowing basil,” means ranting.

In other cultures the herb is associated with love rituals. In Eastern Europe it was assumed that a man would love the woman from whose hand he accepted a sprig of basil. In Italy, when a woman place a pot of basil on her balcony, it meant that she would be receptive to her lover.

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Anti-Ageing: Eight Tools to Help Enhance Your Healthy “Golden” Years

anti-agingAmerican journalist and humorist Don Marquis (1878-1937) once commented that middle age is the time when a man is always thinking that in a week or two he will feel as good as ever.

Well, while optimism and a positive mind are important, today folks whose maturing maladies are nagging them into indolence can find renewed health and vigor with the aid of some key supplements.

The leading villain in the ageing process has been identified as an anarchist-sounding rogue with the name “free radical.” A free radical is an atom with an unpaired electron. Like an overly aggressive suitor seeking a mate, a free radical charges through you snatching electrons from cellular tissue and wreaking havoc. Although some free radical activity is vital for immune function and hormone and enzyme production, too many will accelerate the ageing process, suppress the immune system and be a factor in age-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis. The formation of lots of free radicals stimulates the development of even more free radicals, snowballing their production and damaging genetic material.

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