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Erbe e piante medicinali che non sapevi di avere nel tuo giardino (o balcone)

Al giorno d’oggi quando siamo malati siamo abituati a prendere subito una pillola o una piccola iniezione per sentirci meglio (o almeno così si spera!). Tuttavia in passato la conoscenza e l’uso delle erbe medicinali era l’unica soluzione possibile per curare le malattie. Col tempo vennero così studiate, catalogate e impiegate tutte le erbe e piante definite “medicinali” o “officinali“, ovvero usate e vendute nelle “officine” (=farmacie, speziali, ecc.) come vere e proprie medicine.

Gli speziali dell’epoca (i nostri farmacisti, per dire) erano coloro che conoscevano le varie tecniche di lavorazione, preparazione e conservazione delle piante, e se ne servivano per realizzare svariati rimedi medicamentosi (oli, unguenti, decotti, tisane ecc.), prodotti cosmetici e profumi. Non era inusuale che anche i monaci si dedicassero a questa attività, assicurandosi così un po’ di profitto per il monastero e più indipendenza dal mondo esterno (specialmente se seguivano una vita in clausura).

Oggi le erbe e le piante officinali sono per lo più utilizzate in prevenzione alla salute e al benessere, piuttosto che per la cura di per sè (tralascio al momento la naturopatia, fitoterapia, ecc.). Possono essere anche impiegate in cucina (le cosiddette “aromatiche“) oppure, attraverso processi chimici, per creare integratori, cosmetici e altri prodotti per la casa.

In generale, la parte utilizzata della pianta (foglie, fiori, semi, radici ecc.) è chiamata “droga“, ed è la parte che contiene il fitocomplesso cioè l’insieme dei principi attivi che caratterizzano le proprietà del vegetale, non riproducibili per sintesi chimica. Secondo l’OMS infatti, sono definite “medicinali” le erbe e le piante officinali che “contengono in uno o più organi, sostanze che possono essere utilizzate a fini terapeutici o preventivi o che sono precursori di emisintesi chemiofarmaceutiche”, ovvero da cui derivano preparati farmacologicamente attivi. Di conseguenza una pianta è definita officinale o medicinale in un paese e non in un altro a seconda delle legislazioni e dei processi di lavorazione.

Se avete intenzione di iniziare a coltivare voi stessi il vostro giardino officinale e/o aromatico, considerate bene se la pianta che volete coltivare è annuale o perenne, se ha bisogno di stare a terra oppure in vaso (generalmente le aromatiche possono stare in vaso), quanta acqua e sole necessita e se è compatibile o meno con altre piante attorno (per il rischio di parassiti ecc.).

  • MENTA / MENTA PIPERITA

Ne esistono di tantissimi tipi ma la menta piperita ha una concentrazione di essenza molto alta nelle foglie, che vengono raccolte tra Luglio e Agosto.

Agisce per lo più a livello del sistema gastrointestinale, perché aiuta la digestione e ha un’azione antispasmodica della muscolatura liscia. Il mentolo che la menta contiene ha un’azione tonificante, quindi non bevetela prima di dormire se non si vuole soffrire di insonnia. E’ inoltre noto che la menta sia utile per lievi infiammazioni delle vie aeree: i famosi suffumigi hanno un’azione battericida e liberano anche il naso essendo balsamici.

Attenzione! Non si usa sui bambini perché può dare spasmi.

  • TARASSACO

Tutti possono riconoscerlo grazie al suo caratteristico fiore giallo e al suo frutto, il soffione. Cresce spontaneamente in campi e prati, quindi non sarà difficile trovarne in abbondanza nel vostro giardino. Del tarassaco si utilizzano le radici, il cui raccolto va da Maggio a Novembre.

Una volta raccolte, le radici vanno essiccate al sole e conservate in barattoli di vetro o di latta. Possono poi essere utilizzate in infusione per la preparazione di una tisana dall’effetto diuretico e depurativo, oppure per uso esterno sul cuoio capelluto per combattere la forfora.

Attenzione! La tisana è controindicata per chi ha problemi ai reni, cuore, chi assume già farmaci diuretici e in chi soffre di allergia all’ambrosia.

  • AGLIO

L’aglio può vivere benissimo in vaso, piantandone i bulbi a Novembre per consumarlo in primavera. L’aglio è il più potente antibatterico naturale. Inoltre, abbassa il colesterolo e la pressione, contribuendo a fluidificare il sangue. Il sapore non piace a tutti, ma se essiccato dà generalmente meno fastidio.

Attenzione! Il consumo di aglio è controindicato durante l’allattamento, e va usato con attenzione da chi segue già cure per la pressione, colesterolo e fluidificazione del sangue, in quanto potrebbe potenziare l’effetto dei farmaci.

  • MELISSA

Ha un’azione miorilassante sulla muscolatura liscia dell’intestino e per questo motivo viene considerata come un ottimo rimedio per chi soffre di sindrome del colon irritabile. Usata in una tisana insieme ad altre erbe (camomilla, valeriana, ecc.), aiuta il rilassamento in generale ed è un buon rimedio contro l’insonnia e l’ansia.

Attenzione! La melissa stimola la tiroide ed è controindicata a chi soffre di problemi di salute in merito.

  • SALVIA

La salvia è un arbusto sempreverde la cui droga è rappresentata principalmente dalla foglia.

Da sempre usata masticandola contro l’alitosi e per avere denti più bianchi, è un battericida naturale, ha grandi proprietà digestive, diminuisce l’eccessiva sudorazione e contiene anche alcune sostanze simili agli ormoni femminili estrogeni che la rendono perfetta in caso di “caldane da menopausa”.

Attenzione! Ne è assolutamente vietato l’uso durante l’allattamento e in gravidanza in quanto blocca la produzione del latte ed ha molecole che possono interagire con gli ormoni femminili. Da utilizzare molto cautamente come olio essenziale.

  • ORTICA

E’ un’erba perenne le cui foglie possono essere raccolte da Aprile a Settembre, ovviamente utilizzando dei guanti (e tutti sanno il perchè!). Il potere irritante delle foglie di ortica scompare con l’essiccazione o dopo la cottura.

L’ortica è considerata benefica per il suo contenuto di sali minerali e vitamina C, nonchè per avere un potere antinfiammatorio (cosa piuttosto ironica). La tisana può essere bevuta calda al momento, oppure una volta raffreddata, è un ottimo tonico per il viso per la cura della pelle grassa o mista.

  • TIMO

In questo caso la droga della pianta sono le foglie ed i fiori, che oltre ad avere una buonissima aromaticità da usare in cucina, sono anche antibatteriche grazie al timolo contenuto in esse.

Il timo agisce benissimo sull’apparato digestivo e respiratorio essendo espettorante e mucolitico. Può essere usato anche come tonico del cuoio capelluto, stimolando la crescita del capello.

Attenzione! L’olio essenziale di timo non va mai usato per uso interno, perché anche a basse dosi può dar fastidio.

  • LAVANDA

La lavanda ama molto la siccità e se ne utilizzano i fiori appena sbocciati fatti essiccare al sole. È usatissima come profumatore di cassetti ed armadi o per fare cuscini aromatici.

E’ molto usata in aromaterapia perché rilassa il sistema nervoso centrale, oppure come sedativo in aggiunta alle tisane.

Attenzione! Se le dosi sono troppo alte ha l’effetto contrario di eccitante. L’olio essenziale non deve andare a contatto con la pelle dei bimbi.

Altre erbe e piante che vale la pena menzionare ma di cui non posso fare tutta le descrizione sono le seguenti: Dragoncello, Erba cipollina, Rosmarino, Finocchio, Maggiorana, Origano, Anice, Basilico, Prezzemolo, Peperoncino, Coriandolo, Santoreggia, Aneto, Issopo, Calendula, Camomilla, Echinacea, Tanaceto, Valeriana e Malva.


Mi raccomando fate attenzione quando utilizzate rimedi fitoterapici di qualsiasi tipo, specialmente gli oli essenziali. Rivolgetevi sempre al vostro farmacista o naturopata di fiducia riguardo il dosaggio e le controindicazioni e sempre prima di iniziare una cura. Non dimenticate inoltre di chiedere un parere al vostro medico curante!

Behavioural Iridology: Can your eyes show your personality?

For those who have followed my blog so far, you have probably read the article about Iridology. For those who don’t know what I am talking about, please have a look at it, but in the meantime I can tell you very briefly that iridology is a method used in alternative medicine to analyze the health status by studying the colors, marks and signs in the iris and the whole eye in general.

I bet you’re asking: What is the difference between “normal” iridology and the behavioural one? Well, originally they were completely distinct from one another, because there was a common will to departure from the world of pathology and medicine. Although with time in the early 90s, from the “only” concept of the iris as health indicator, researchers began to step forward, and link the iris to our DNA, as indicator of “genetically inherited” constitution. From the idea that the constitution is not only a product of physical, but also psychological, manifest or latent characteristics, it has been believed so far that through the study of the iris, iridolgists can also “scan” and analize the behaviour and personality of a person. From here all the differences schools of thought in behavioural iridology started, such as Deck, Heller, Wolf, Rayid and Verghis.

Although the categories of personalities changes from schools to schools, it is possible to distinguish 2 different types of “primary structures” or main personality characteristics.

  • The Emotional Type or the Flower

In the iris it appears as an open structure with the presence of lacunae (=absence of substance). Infact, they can genetically carry or develop conditions caused by “lack” of something, such as poor immunity, loss of organ function, hormonal instability, depression, poorly defined personal boundaries, mood swings, emotional negativity, loss of direction in life.

They also have lots of qualities like receptivity, open mindedness, creativity, emotional honesty, selfawareness, flexibility, versatility, spontaneity, instinctual intelligence, opportunity for healing. What are for these people the lessons to be learned? Self-control, focus, consolidation, thinking and centredness.

  • The Thinking Type or the Jewel

This type shows itself in the iris with the presence of pigment spots, so “accumulation of color”. This accumulation reflects also on their health, developing conditions like accumulation, sluggishness, crystalization, deposition, toxins, deposits, lithiasis (e.i. kidney stones). They are quite susceptible to enzyme and digestive problems.

In terms of personality, they usually experience caution, reserve, mistrust, unexamined emotions and withdrawal, but they can also have very high intellect, organizational and logic abilities, verbal skills, attention to detail and planning. The lessons to be learned in this case are certainly trust, delegating, flow, release and feelings.

In addiction to these 2 main categories, 2 more “secondary structures“, also called “modifying”, can be found.

  • The Empathic Type or the Stream (none of the above)

It has a very dense iris structure and contains neither of the above mentioned signs (spots or lacunae). As persons, they tend to be grounded, compassionate, sensitive, empathic, practical, carer, networker, methodical, honest, reliable, and able to carry out tasks to conclusion but requires direction. Out of balance they can show exhaustion, depression and indecisiveness. Trust, release and find a purpose are definetely lessons to be learned.

  • The Driven Type or the Shaker (both the above)

It has a very variable iris structure and contains both flowers and jewels’ signs (spots and lacunae). They can be fiery, challenging, progressive, pioneer, inventor, leader, unpredictable, good at initiating and inspiring but not so good at completing tasks. Out of balance they can be a bit reckless, isolated and extremist. Consistency, moderation and stability are definetely lessons to be learned.

If we mix all these structures, we obtain 4 behavioural types, which can define personalities in a more specific and detailed way:

  • The Stream Jewel Type
  • The Shaker Jewel Type
  • The Stream Flower Type
  • The Shaker Flower Type

…I let you discover them by youserlf! I also invite you to have your eyes checked, because although behavioural iridology doesn’t medically diagnose or treat any disease, it addresses most physical and behavioral conditions. Because those missing pieces are identified and the whole person is treated holistically, several aspects of your life can improve. Behavioral iridology offers explanations for situations that are happening in your life today, and it can definetely help knowing a bit more about yourself!

How to read your eyes? Find an iridologist (UK) or try online!

 

 

 

 

Photos by: Intro to behavioural.key, CNM uk

5 Common Myths about Yoga

This is a guest post written by Emily Lopes (find out more). Thanks for this great article and for collaborating to Abundy Holistic Studio’s purpose!

 

Yoga has been making its way to the mainstream. According to a survey from the Yoga Journal and the Yoga Alliance, the yoga industry is booming in America. It grew from an approximate of 20.4 million in 2012 to 36.7 million yoga practitioners last 2016 in America alone. This 2019, the yoga industry is transitioning to be at the top of the fitness trends. The yoga revolution will continue to take place from 2019 to 2020, making the revenue projection to an approximate $11.6 billion in 2020.

But despite the rapid growth yoga shown within the years, there are still a lot of people who have a tweaked view about this practice. Here are the most common myths about yoga:

  1. If you’re not flexible, you can’t do yoga 

You have to do some stretching in yoga. That’s a fact. Practicing yoga regularly can improve your flexibility. But flexibility is not a prerequisite. With patience and dedication, you will become more flexible. No matter what your skill level is, you are always welcome to do yoga. Besides, nobody said that you have to be ripped or fit already before going to the gym. 

  1. Yoga is for the young

There is a stereotype that yoga is for the young, the slim, the active, or the beautiful. Since people think that yoga is for flexible people, there is a weight, body physique, or age requirement – which is generally incorrect. Just because we usually see people deemed to be perfect in figure or young and active individuals posting on social media, doesn’t always mean you have to be like that. While it is attractive and inspiring, it can be misleading. Yoga is for everybody. No matter what size, shape, color, or race, you are welcome to enter the world of yoga. 

  1. Yoga is not for men

In connection with the myth above, yoga has been associated with women. There are instances that when you visit a yoga studio, it is flocking with women. But to tell you the truth, yoga was pioneered by men. According to history, most of the best yoga teachers are men. In today’s time, more and more men are finally engaging and participating in yoga classes. The list includes Tom Brady, LeBron James, and Kevin Love. So if people say that yoga isn’t ‘manly’ enough, prove them wrong by joining a class or two. 

  1. Yoga is expensive 

If you’re worrying that you do not have the ‘right look’ for yoga, throw it away. You do not need a collection of branded outfits just to practice yoga. Yoga doesn’t care about who you wear. It cares about how you perform your salutations, how you keep up with the pace, and how great it is that you’re going to experience the amazing benefits of yoga. Though having such pieces of clothing can make you look good and feel good, yoga is not about the looks. As long as you are in your comfortable self in comfortable and yoga-appropriate clothing, you look good already.

In terms of yoga classes, there are a lot of studios from all over the world that provide free to less costly trial classes. Most of the yoga studios offer packages that help you save more than purchasing a single class from time to time. You can also attend yoga classes offered by different retreat venues for hire. The most important thing that yoga practitioners wanted you to know is that yoga is not an expensive practice. 

  1. Yoga is boring because it’s too slow and takes too much time

There are various formal yoga classes that run from 30 – 90 minutes. There are also lots of online yoga classes that you can try for 5 minutes or so. A class in a few minutes is not enough to unlock the whole package of benefits yoga has to offer. All good things take time. If you also worry that pace is too slow for you, you can find different yoga types that are more rigorous and that have more challenging styles and poses. 

Here are other misconceptions about yoga. Yoga is neither magic nor a religion. It is not just for the ‘hippies’ or the ‘cool ones’ but for everyone. Yoga is more than just an exercise or a body of work but a combination of it with psychology and spirituality. Yoga has a lot to offer and is best to experience for yourself. May we have the courage to debunk these beliefs if we hear them from someone somewhere.

Your tongue speaks for your health

“Stick out your tongue!” This is what a traditional chinese medicine (= TCM) pratictioner will say to you as soon as you are checked. But don’t worry, he is not making fun of you.

Your tongue does more than just taste food and articulate words, and that was well known since ancient times. Back then doctors had to practice the “tongue diagnosis” to check the overall patients’ health, when x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans did not exist.

But even now it is a very usefull diagnostic tool, because once this check is done and other aspects of the patient’s status are evaluated, the TCM practitioner may recommend treatment with such therapies as acupuncture, herbal medicine, diet and/or massage.

Why the tongue exam assess the overall health

In TCM, it’s thought that different areas of the tongue reflect connections in the body, both to the meridians and the 5 major internal organs (liver, lung, spleen, heart, and kidney). Therefore, it is very useful and important for confirming or not a diagnosis. It can show also strong visual signs of a person’s overall energetic balance or imbalance.

What to look for

There are mainly 4 features in a tongue that should be examined:

Color: An healthy tongue looks pink and vital. Of course the natural tongue color can vary individually, but taken in conjunction with other information, it is still a very good indicator of what is happening inside your body. Changes in tongue color are said to be te sign of a chronic illness.

Shape: Normal tongue shape is neither too thick nor too thin and the body is smooth with no cracks. This feature tells the amount of the fluids and moisture running through the whole body.

Changes in its shape may include a swollen or puffy tongue, presence of cracks and curling at the sides of the tongue.

Coating: Normally your coating is thin and white/yellowish, but if you are getting sick, you may see a thicker coating developing. The consistency of the tongue’s coating also indicates the state of the fluids and heat in the body (more or less dry tongue).

As the coating is the feature that changes more rapidly, it provides an indication of acute illness in process.

Cracks: When ulcers, wounds or open areas appear on the body tongue areas usually indicate an imbalance problem (deficiency) in that organ and/or meridian. For instance, horizontal cracks are commonly associated with Yin deficiency.

Some tips and key point

  • Remember that some disorders don’t show up in the tongue, and that’s why the TCM pratictioner evaluates the patients’ health considering more diagnostic tools.
  • The tongue should be examined for no longer than 15 seconds at a time, otherwise the extending position may cause changes in its shape and color.
  • Color can be changed by food and beverages, smoke or lack of personal hygiene. Please brush your tongue and avoid oral intakes such as coffee, green tea, beet, or artificially colored candies before your assessment.
  • Patient’s age, gender and weight can influence the tongue look. For instance, overweight patients can show a larger and lighter color tongue and infants tend to have white thick coating that is easily removed, or commonly peeled tongues.
  • The season of the year can affect the look of your tongue. Infact it should be normal during spring, but it may tend to be more dry during summer or more damp in the winter.
  • The time of the day could also be an influencing factor. The coating of the tongue usually becomes thinner as the day progresses, while the color becomes more red and shiny.

I bet now you are very curious to look at your tongue in front of the mirror and check your health. So…which tongue are you?

Discover the properties of Hawthorn

Hawthorn, also known as Mayblossom or Mayflower, is a medicine for the heart on all levels and one of the oldest known medicinal plants. Centuries ago tribes across the northern hemisphere, from North America to China, used this small thorny tree as a wonderful treatment. For instance its berries were the favourite of the Native American Indians as a heart tonic and used against gastrointestinal complaints.

But hawthorn’s effectiveness as an heart medicine was first described by AncientGreek physician, Dioscorides, in the first Century AD. Medical herbal research then has validated this use nowadays, and we can all benefit from it.

How does it look like?

 All the parts of this amazing plant (leaves, berries, and flowers) except for the root, can be used to create an herbal medication. As a plant species, hawthorn was only native to the northern hemisphere, where there are a variety of different types, which produce slightly different fruits. The most common hawthorn fruit is quite small, has a berry shape and is tart, red to pink in color. If you noticed, I did not say that they are berries, but that they have a “berry shape”. This is because they contain a single seed stone inside, much like peaches or plums.

How does it work?

Physiologically hawthorn can help improve the amount of blood pumped out of the heart during contractions, relax the the blood vessels further from the heart, and increase the transmission of nerve signals. It seems that all these effects are due to a component called proanthocyanidin.

Research also suggests that hawthorn can lower the accumulation of fats in the liver and the bloodstream levels of cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad cholesterol”), and triglycerides (fats in the blood). All these thanks to the increase of the excretion of bile, the reduction of the formation of cholesterol, and the enhance of the receptors for LDLs. It also seems to have antioxidant activity.

In 2002 a 10 week study was conducted on 38 volunteers who had been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Half of the subjects were given 500mg of Hawthorn extract and 600mg of the mineral Magnesium daily, while the other half received a placebo.

After 10 weeks, the Hawthorn/Magnesium group showed a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure, whilst the placebo group did not improve. Additionally, the Hawthorn/Magnesium group reported an improvement in mood as well as lower anxiety levels.

The benefits

  • Improves heart health
  • Stabilizes blood pressure
  • Reduces chest pain
  • Boost the immune system

In addition to the antioxidants eliminating dangerous toxins from the body, the vitamin C contained in hawthorn also helps in boosting the activity of your white blood cells to increase your overall health.

  • Reduces anxiety

Very often, this herb was offered to people who had recently had a broken heart, a loss of a family member, etc. because it was said to improve mood and mend a broken heart. Enzymatically, it turns out that hawthorn may have an impact on our hormonal levels, which then would explain why in the past it was believed so.

  • Increases energy

Hawthorn is known to expand the coronary blood vessels, which allows for more blood to be circulated through the body, which can result in a higher level of energy or alertness.

  • Improves digestion
  • Helps against skin conditions

The antioxidant content in hawthorn makes it useful for applying topically to the skin, particularly on burns, sores, or acne.

On an energetical level, this amazing herb can be used as an energy medicine for the heart. Infact as a flower essence, hawthorn helps open the heart to giving and receiving love, and can help in healing heartache. It encourages self-love and self-acceptance. As with many heart-acting energy remedies, hawthorn helps us to develop courage.

Interactions and side effects

Hawthorn is a gentle medicine that, when indicated, is safe and effective for long term use. It is also safe to use with common cardiovascular medications, but in some people, hawthorn can cause nausea, stomach upset, fatigue, sweating, headache, dizziness, palpitations, nosebleeds, insomnia, agitation, and other problems.

This herb is definetely not indicated if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or you recently had or are going to have surgery.

Hawthorn can also interact with prescription medications (such as digoxin or some beta-blockers), so you must always check with your doctor or medical herbalist before embarking on an herbal treatment plan!

Create your home made herbal remedy

Nowadays deciding to be treated only with herbal/holistic/homeopatic remedies is becoming a thing. People want to go back to the oringins, being more healthy and natural, find a way to cure themselves minimizing the risks and potential side effects. DIY is becoming generally very popular as well, maybe for the lack of trust in the health system or for feeding our curiosity and improve our own skills. No matter what are the reasons for both these tendencies, but I thought it would be interesting writing about it, combining the herbal remedies with the DIY side. Obviously you need some knowledge in order to treat yourself properly, so I suggest you to take these advices only if you have some experience or after you have spoken with a professional herbal therapist for the dosage and type of herb you may need to use.


Let’s start from the very beginning, so by collecting herbs from field or garden. For a number of good reasons you should gather your own herbs: you are assured of their freshness and potency, you also know their source, if they are clean, pure and wholesome. You will also save yourself money and gain self-sufficiency and with time you will build an increasing knowledge of plants and their medicinal uses. Although each herb is different and some may require unique handling, the following general principles can be used for gathering herbs:

  • Herbs are generally gathered according to their particular growth cycle: annuals (plants that have one growing season, the seed germinates the plant flowers and bears fruit and then dies), biennials (plants which germinate and establish a good root system during the first year, flower and bear fruit at the end of the second year, and then die ), or perennials (plants that live and bear fruit a number of years before they die).
  • Herbs must be gathered in dry weather, as those collected in moist or rainy periods are generally weaker and more apt to spoil.
  • Gather in the cool of the morning after the dew has evaporated or in the evening before the dew forms on the plant. Also before the sun is high in the sky.
  • Preferably gather wild plants from high, dry soils, exposed to clean air and abundant sunshine.
  • In all cases, gathering must be selective according to the type of plant and the part to be used (flowers, leaves, roots, etc.).

It is an excellent thing to do cultivating your own herbs in the garden, and I would encourage you to consider it, but try to be selective in the number of herbs you are going to grow. If you do not have enough time, space or knowledge, just purchase what you need from a health shop or a recognised herbal supplier. This is the most quick method to start herbalism.

Once collected your herbs, you need to know how to dry and storage them in a proper way, in order not to lose much of their medicinal value. Dry all herbs carefully outdoors (spreading a layer of herbs on a drying screen in the shade as quickly as possible), indoors (in a dust-free room, at mild temperature, on a drying screen covered away from direct sunlight) or with artificial heat (be very careful, oven drying under 38°C is difficult and often done improperly).

To store them, place them in a tight appropriate container, not made of formaldehyde or certain damaging plastic types, and seal with sealing wax to keep the air from getting to the herb. Always label and date them, and make sure they are used within a year. Never put them under direct sunlight or in room too hot or cold. If its a oil, use a brown bottle or can.

General guidelines should be also followed when starting making your own preparations, for example never use aluminium ware as it poisons with its gases and metallic acid, stainless-steel ware is the best because it does not break, although you should watch for over-high temperatures that cause burning.

It is time now to describe the most common various herbal preparations. Remember that dosages must be adjusted according to personal need.

Capsule: Take the herbal powders and other materials that, because of their nauseous taste or smell, would otherwise be difficult to administer, and place them into a soluble gelatin shell or capsule. These capsules are easy to buy and they are made in different sizes for easy swallowing, with numbers 1 to 4, 0, and 00 being the most common. To fill the capsule, simply take the two halves of a capsule apart and push these halves into the powder and towards each other, pressing the halves together again and at the same time compressing the powder. Dosage depends on the age, size, vitality, condition being treated, and the strength of the ingredients in the capsule itself.

Decoction: This is a process used with hard materials such as roots and barks, chips, etc. Decoctions are intended for immediate use within a twenty-four hour period (72-hour maximum limit when stored in a very cool place) and are generally made by pouring cold water upon fresh or dried herbs. The harder the material, the longer the simmering and extractive period will be. Consider to pulverize them first by mechanical means or pounding; next, soak the ingredients for twelve hours, then set this liquid on the fire and gradually heat to a slight boil. After the extractive period, drain off the liquid while hot and press the herb hard to make sure that all of the therapeutic ingredients are removed, then let stand until cool.

The usual preparation is 1 ounce of herb placed into 1 and half pints of cold water (the half pint will be lost in the extractive process). The herb and liquid is then brought slowly to a boil. The decoction differs from the infusion in that heat is applied and continued over a period of time, because roots and barks generally need longer heating to extract their active principles. When cool, pour off the clear liquid on top, separating it from the settlings and, finally, sweeten to taste. Add more water when decoctions are too strong. Dosage depends on age, size and temperament, but generally 2 fluid ounces to a cupful of liquid three times a day.

Infusion: An infusion extracts the active principles of herbs in water, or other fluid, without simmering or boiling;. Pour a liquid over the raw or powdered herb. The liquid may be hot or cold, but the flavour of the herb is generally much stronger and the action is much faster when made and administered hot. Generally a standard infusion is used with the lighter herbs (such as the leaves, flowers, etc.), and is made by placing one teaspoonful of finely cut dried herb or two teaspoonfuls of bruised fresh herb into a cup and adding boiling, distilled water; cover and let steep for 15 minutes; strain and drink.

Be sure to cover the vessel and stir occasionally, and then carefully strain off the clear liquid. Dosage varies according to type of herb and problem condition, but usually one cupful three times a day. Regulate the quantity to fit the patient’s strength, kidney problems, extreme debilitation, etc.

Oil: This preparation is made from the plant oils. For instance, with the mints (peppermint, spearmint, etc.), the oils come from the leaves. Many of these oils, when properly made (with olive oil), do not go into rancidity easily. The amount of herbs used depends upon the quantity of oil desired, but often a pound of fresh herbs to a pint of olive oil is used. Simmer the herbs for hours until the oil comes out of the herb. In the case of cloves, grind up fine, and simmer the powder in olive oil at a temperature of 50-65°C. Never use mineraloils. For olive oil, which is high in nutritional value, massage as much as the skin will absorb; it can be also used in small doses internally, except when for gallstones or kidney stones.

Ointment: It is a soft, semi-solid fatty herbal preparation used for a protective and emollient effect, liquefying when applied externally. Ointment bases are generally composed of various mixtures of waxes, animal and vegetable oils and the medicinal substances are mixed with them. Start with a melted base, such as olive oil and beeswax, and combine with herb. A good standard is 14 ounces of olive oil, 2 ounces of beeswax, and 1 pound of fresh or 1 and half pound of dry herbs. Place into a closed container, put into the oven and leave there at low heat (around 80°C) for 3-4 hours. Periodically, take a fork and lift the fresh herbs to see if they aregetting browned and brittle, and whether the oil has drawn the value from the herb. Vaseline as a base is generally inferior to animalor plant oils, but may be used if you do not want the preparation to be absorbed quickly into the skin.

Pill/Tablet: In this case the herbal agent is ground into a very fine powder and mixed with a mucilage of gum Arabic (made by dissolving gum Arabic in water), slippery elm, or a syrup, etc. which is then worked up into a pill mass. A portion is then cut off, sliced into small strips and then into smaller pill-sized pieces, which are then rolled into little round balls for easy administration. A small amount of powdered rhubarb or flour on the board in preparation will keep the mass from sticking, but keep the pill mass in a quite firm consistency, or else the excess mucilage or syrup will absorb too much rhubarb or flour.

Pills can be coated or uncoated, but the pearl-coated pill is a favourite and is readily soluble in the stomach. Pills are usually made so that one pill equals about 300-400 milligrams of the herbal compound. A pill differs from a tablet in that a pill needs mucilage or other substance added to keep the herbal agent in an adhesive mass, whereas the tablet will adhere by its own characteristics upon compression.

Poultrice: This herbal preparation is a soft, semi-liquid mass made of some cohesive substance mixed with water, vinegar or other substances, and used for supplying heat and moisture to an area, or to act as a local stimulant. Have the herbs ground or granulated. When using fine powder, just use enough moisture to make a thick paste, and when using the granulated form, a thick paste may be made with a mixture of water and cornmeal. If fresh green leaves are used, simply heat, bruise, triturate or chop the leaves up finely, and apply to the affected parts. Be generous in making poultices, covering the afflicted area thickly.

Spirit: It is an alcoholic or hydro-alcoholic preparation containing ordinary alcohol and a watery liquid that has been distilled from an alcoholic tincture or mash. It is a volatile prepared by distillation, whereas a tincture is prepared by infusing the volatile substance in alcohol. These are used as tonics, etc.  A few drops on up are used as specified.

Syrup: A thick, sticky liquid preparation made by dissolving sugar into distilled water, decoctions, infusions, juices, or other aqueous solution, and it is used to suspend medicinal or flavouring agents for easy administration alone, or to combine with other preparations. For making a syrup with herbs, settle out the heavier matter and pour off the clear liquid; then add to that 1 and 3/4 pounds of sugar, place into an appropriate vessel, heat until the sugar is melted, cool, and store for future use. Another formula for making a simple syrup is to pour 1 pint of boiling water over 2 and half pounds of sugar, place on a hot stove and stir until the liquid begins to boil, and then instantly remove. Dosage varies from 1 teaspoonful to 1 tablespoonful once or few times per day.

Tincture: This is technically a fluid extract, but the medicinal virtues are extracted into solution with grain alcohol or vinegar, which are better preservative for long term storage of extracts. Take approximately 4 ounces of ground dried herbs or 8 ounces of finely chopped fresh herbs and place them in a glass bottle with at least 16 ounces of alcohol or vinegar, until the herb is completely submerged under the liquid. This is tightly capped and each day for 10 days to 2 weeks the bottle is shaken vigorously at least 3 times a day or more. Extract all liquids, squeezing the herb residue thoroughly, with a regular juice press, or wring out by hand through cloth, etc.

After the liquid is extracted, place the tincture extract in dark or painted bottles, stopper thoroughly and store. When administering a tincture internally, you may evaporate the alcohol from the solution by putting it into hot water, or it can be taken as is. Dilute at least 1 teaspoonful of tincture to each cup of water.

Natural Hair Care and Treatments

Spending too much on expensive shampoos, conditioners, oils etc. but not getting the desired results that you see in TV ads? It is mostly possible and very common. First, because TV results are obviously overly exaggerated. Second, there an ugly truth we all need to face: hair care is very personal. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. That’s why I decided to write this post and share some tips to my audience, hoping that following these easy and simple beauty advices for hair will give that strenght and shine all of us are looking for!

1. Egg treatment
Use the entire egg to condition your hair. If you have dry or brittle hair, use egg whites to moisturize your hair. Use ½ cup of any egg mixture (egg white, entire egg) and apply to clean, damp hair. Leave it for 20 minutes and rinse with cool water. You will immediately notice changes.

2. Avoid hot water
I know, it’s hard. But try to skip hot water showers, because hot water will make your hair dry and brittle as it strips protective oils from your hair. Thus, prefer a temperature which is just a bit warmer than your body temperature.

3. Bottle gourd treatment
Extract some bottle gourd juice and apply it into your hair. Keep this solution for half an hour and wash it off thoroughly. This is one of the simple beauty tips for hair that would do wonders.

4. For that shiny soft hair
Prepare a mixture of 1 cup of your daily conditioner and 2-3 tablespoons of honey. Apply this mixture evenly on your wet hair. Leave it for 30 minutes and wash it off thoroughly. This mixture will close down your hair’s cuticle and give your hair 
that amazing shine.

6. Baking soda therapy
Quite a common and well known beauty therapy. Make a mixture of 3 tbsp of baking soda and some water. Rinse your hair with this solution after shampooing. Let it set in for at least 5 minutes before the final rinse. This therapy will help to remove the excess shampoo and styling product from your hair.

7. For bouncy hair
Apply a one to one mixture of warm water and apple cider vinegar to your hair. Rinse it thoroughly after 5 minutes to get rid of the apple cider smell.

8. Don’t wash your hair frequently
Wash your hair every 2-3 days, for proper regulation of natural hair oils. Washing your hair less often will also help regain your hair’s naturalbody and luster.

9. For strong hair
Use almond oil to treat dry and damaged hair. It is a very simple procedure, pour some almond oil in a bowl and heat it for 40 seconds. Then evenly distribute on your hair. Leave it for 30 minutes and then rinse normally with shampoo and conditioner using cold water.

10. Say bye-bye to dull hair with lemon juice
After the final rinse, apply 1 tbsp lemon juice to your hair. Simply towel dry your hair and style as normal to get rid of dry hair.

11. Treat sun damaged hair
Make a mixture of ½ cup honey, 1-2 tbsp olive oil and 1-2 tbsp of egg yolk. Apply this mixture on your hair for 20 minutes and then rinse with warm water. This treatment will help to replenish keratin protein bonds.

12. Moisturize your hair
Pour a little beer in your wet hair. Distribute evenly and massage your scalp with your fingers for 20 minutes. Then rinse it thoroughly to get rid of the beer smell. Do this procedure once a week, but it is recommended that people with sinus and cold should avoid using this treatment.

13. Do not brush wet hair
Wet hair is three times weaker and thus more likely to break. He recommends, towel dry your hair first and then gently detangle your hair using a wide tooth comb. Also, you should get your hair trimmed at least every six weeks to eliminate dry, split ends.

14. Let your hair air-dry
Allow your hair to dry by itself instead of using a blow-dryer or hot rollers. Using this artificial mode of drying technique will make your hairmore brittle and dry. If you have no time to let your hair air dry, then use blow-dryer sparingly and make sure you use a warm setting instead of a hot setting.

15. Use a miracolous home-made Aloe Vera mask
Against hair fall: Mix two tbsp. of fenugreek tea into one cup of aloe Vera gel. Blend both the ingredients so that you get a smooth paste which is easy to apply and easy to wash. fenugreek is very famous as it makes hair shiny, smooth and thick when used regularly. Apply this hair mask for 30-45 minutes and the rinse out the mixture.

For dry hair: Take 4-5 tbsp. of fresh aloe Vera gel, 3 tbsp. of coconut oil and mix it with 2 tbsp. of honey. Mix everything well and apply this on your hair in root to tip direction. This is a hydrating hair mask and if your hairs are dull and dry then this will nourish them deeply. Keep this mask for 20-25 minutes and then wash off.

For shiny hair: You need 2-3 tbsp. of fresh aloe Vera gel, 2 tbsp. of yoghurt, 1 tbsp. of honey and 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Mix all the ingredients well in a bowl and then apply it on your scalp. Massage your scalp for initial 10-15 minutes and then let it stay for extra 25 minutes. This hair mask will promote hair growth and it also reduces dandruff problem. Repeat it 3-4 times a month.

Reduce and prevent dandruff: Take one cup aloe Vera gel, 2 tbsp. of ACV and one tbsp. of honey. Mix it well and then apply it on your roots and strands. Rinse out the mixture by shampooing regularly. Do this 2 times a month to get rid of dandruff completely.

For hair growth: You need one cup of aloe gel. Add tow tbsp. of castor oil and powdered fenugreek of each in the aloe Vera gel. Mix these ingredients well; you can also blend it in a blender to get a smooth paste for easy application. After everything is mixed start applying it on your roots and strands. Cover your head with shower cap and keep it overnight so that the hair-mask can penetrate deeply. This mask is highly conditioning, nourishing and it also promotes hair growth.

6 Pros & Cons of Acupuncture

There are many forms of alternative medicine that have gained popularity to those who are open-minded enough to be accustomed to their application. One popular treatment is acupuncture, which is able to relieve various types of pain, relaxing and for reducing stress levels in the body, including other issues to wellness. It basically works in order to help your body heal itself. But what exactly is it?

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese remedy that is at least 2,500 years old. It works by correcting the imbalances of your Qi (energy flow) at some parts of your body close to your skin, by inserting some thin and sterile needles into specific points of your body (acupoints).

acupoints-tcm

Even though this tecnique can radically improve your health, before booking an appointment with the nearest acupuncturist in town, you should ask yourself if it is the correct type of treatment for you at the moment. Acupuncture certainly comes with many advantages, however, some people believe that there are certain disadvantages that should be taken into consideration. Well, take a better look at the pros and cons of acupuncture to determine if this is indeed advantageous or otherwise.

PROS

  1. Painless Tecnique and Very Few Side-Effects
    Most people evalue acupuncture sessions to produce minimal side-effects. Despite the fact that this method will allow the use of needles to penetrate the pores of the skin, the skill of the treatment provider will make the experience as painless as possible.
  2. Provides Higher Energy Levels
    The rejuvenating power of acupuncture may cause the feeling of being energized after undergoing a session, according to many people. This may have actually come from the stress management or pain relief capabilities of acupuncture.
  3. Can Be Incorporated with Traditional Treatments
    Acupuncture can be incorporated with treatment plans, unlike other methods such as herbal therapy, supplements, and other alternative medicines. For this reason, patients are able to take medication and following the medical advice of their physician while having acupuncture treatment. In this way it can be given a huge amount of relief that a patient can get (take the best of both sides!).
  4. More than just Pain Control
    Acupuncture is also known to help certain individuals with nausea complaints, ongoing vomiting, problems with the stomach, and even migraine headaches. Although many people may be hesitant to use acupuncture as a first-line treatment for such issues, this practice can often provide some, if not complete, relief when other traditional forms of medicine are lacking.
  5. Acupuncture Practice Requires Professional Studies
    Those who want to become an acupuncturist will be required to study a lot to get practical skills and knowledge. In some countries it will also require the person to pass a national exam to gain a license to practice. This will ensure that patients undergoing acupuncture will gain professional treatment, as when you go to see your GP.
  6. New Forms of Acupuncture don’t even Require Needles. 
    In the last 2,000 years, acupuncture has only evolved new practices a few times. Thanks to modern technology, one of those innovative periods in this alternative medicine practice is today. Instead of using needles, some acupuncturists are using low intensity laser beams instead to replicate the nervous system responses that the needles would typically provide. Acupressure also provides a viable alternative. In this practice, the pressure points where the needles would be placed are simply pressed to provide similar results. Because acupressure is non-invasive, many doctors are recommending this practice as a acupuncture alternative, especially when there is fear of needles.

CONS

  1. Infections can Occur
    The quality of the sanitation process on the acupuncture needles is essential. Without doing so, infection can occur which will bring about pain and in the worst cases life-threatening circumstances. If possible, you can ask the acupuncturist to witness how the sanitation process should be done or you can also see if it comes from a sealed package prior to use.
  2. Training and Experience Can Affect Treatment Quality
    Those who aspire to become an acupuncturist should include real experience to their qualification. So if you will be under the care of a novice or someone who is still new to this profession, treatment can sometimes become painful. Always talk to an acupuncturist about their experiences and ask for references to discuss treatment practices outside of the clinic before agreeing to any procedure.
  3. Not Guaranteed of Success
    Just like most medical processes, acupuncture can’t assure success in treatment. In fact, it may not be beneficial at all. According to a clinical research related to this practice, many patients have found out that there were no noticeable results when they completed their sessions. There were also instances that people feel worse after paying a visit to an acupuncturist. Even if you may have relaxed throughout the session, the issues of chronic pain might still be there when the procedure has finished.
  4. Takes a Lot of Time to Succeed
    In order to get relief from chronic pain, acupuncture provides immediate results after the session. However, in the worst clinic scenarios it will take around two to three months before experiencing relief for those having chronic conditions. For this matter, it will require the patient to visit an acupuncturist at least one or two times a week in order to achieve the said results. The number of treatment sessions may vary depending on the specification of the provider. The only problem though is that people end up spending a lot more money on something that could not do them any good.
  5. Might Disrupt Daily Routines
    The fact that visiting an acupuncturist can provide relief from pain, it can also offer a number of behavioural changes for the patient. Such changes will include sleeping patterns and appetite. Whether it is an endorphin overload, relief from pain, or the removal of anxiety, many people find themselves feeling an increasing sense of fatigue in their dailylife. Although all of these are temporary, and aren’t necessarily a bad thing, this can be a cause for concern when it reaches more than two to three weeks.
  6. It can be Expensive
    I can only talk about U.K. costs. But starting prices for acupuncture treatment vary considerably across the country. In London, the cost of a first treatment, which can take anywhere between an hour and an hour and a half, can range from £50-£70. In the rest of the country the ranges are sometimes about £10 lower.

The pros and cons of acupuncture show that there is a chance for many people to receive some unique benefits. Although acupuncture doesn’t work for everyone, it may be worth a try. It is just up to you to consider all the options you have in order to achieve the best of your health condition. Hope this short list will help you in your decision!

 

 

Picture taken from: https://afsananaturecure.com/