The Natural Health Benefits of Basil Herb

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Essential Oils, Information About Herbs, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Beauty, Natural Health, Quick and Easy Natural Remedies You Can Do At Home | Posted on 15-03-2016

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basil herb

This week we will carry on with our look at fresh herbs as medicines and health foods. There are so many choices out there and they are all so healthy and good for us! Today’s fresh herb is basil. Fresh basil is used around the world in countless delicious dishes. Italian food is a favorite, and sprigs of fresh basil in a sauce or on pizza are a delightful touch to a delicious dish. But, I’ll bet you didn’t realize how wonderful basil was for your health too!

Scientifically basil is called “Ocymum basilicum” (sweet basil), and also ” Ocymum minimum” (basil bush). Basil can actually be found growing all over the place here in Kuwait, and is next to homes and buildings, along the street sides, in public parks, and just everywhere! You can also buy fresh basil herb in most supermarkets in the green grocer section. If all else fails though, you can use it dried as well. In Arabic it is called “rayhaan”. While basil belongs to the mint family of plants, it doesn’t really resemble mint in taste or aroma.

basil herb organic

Basil is one of the most versatile and beneficial fresh herbs. It has a wonderful strong aromatic aroma that is sweet yet powerful. If you are looking for it on the streets, it is a leafy bushy plant with lovely purple flowers growing up in spikes. Basil is practically indestructible once it gets started, and that is probably how it is able to grow all over the dry desert lands of Kuwait. Here in Kuwait the basil plant that you find outside in the “wild” is a bushy, woody type, but the leaves are the same, and extremely loaded with the essential oil that is what makes basil medicinally beneficial. It is the leaves of this plant that are used medicinally, but you might like putting the beautiful purple aromatic flowers in a vase, giving your home an aromatic spicy smell (and having the basil aroma flowing around in your home will keep it a healthier place as well).

basil seeds organic

If you suffer from digestive problems, particularly upset stomach, vomiting, nausea, or flatulence, just drink a light basil tea or eat a few basil leaves. You can make basil into a lovely tea by infusing it with plain steaming hot water for a few minutes. You can also just pop a few leaves right into your mouth! It is also great for aches and pains, and can be applied directly onto a painful area.

I will never forget the time a friend and I were preparing my first herbal clinic in Kuwait for opening back in 1994 and I was standing on a ladder, painting herbal names around the ceiling. I was busy painting and I reached back with my arm, when suddenly I felt a horrible searing pain! Without realizing it I had put my arm into the path of the ceiling fan, which hit my forearm with force. The pain was excruciating and I’m blessed that my arm wasn’t cut off. The only thing that we had around was some fresh basil that was growing coincidentally outside the front door of the place. My friend Renee, who was also into herbs, rushed out and picked some basil, crushed it, and immediately applied it to my arm, which, by then, I was incapable of moving and which was becoming blacker by the minute. The pain immediately eased when the basil was applied, and we wrapped it in gauze to keep the basil on, and continued working. Thanks to good ole’ basil, the day was saved, the basil helped the bruise to resolve itself in record time, and I was none the worse for wear!

basil essential oil

Basil is also great for respiratory ailments such as bronchitis, or any other phlegmy ailment that causes coughing, because it helps to get the phlegm out of the system. If you have a fever basil can be applied directly to the head or body, in the form of hot packs (make an infusion and soak cloth or towels in it). It is also good for colds and the flu, and is noted to be great for earaches. Basil is know to strengthen the immune system, so if you are one of those people who seem to be sick all the time, basil might be just what you need!

Some people swear that basil can get rid of any migraine, and since most migraines are sinus related, that makes perfect sense. If you are having trouble with your menstrual cycle, basil can help to regulate it for you, and if your problem is that your cycle is too light it will solve that problem for you as well. If you suffer from skin problems, basil might be just what you are looking for. It is said to be antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, thus, people who are suffering from acne and other inflammatory ailments can try applying fresh basil directly to the places where they have problems, and it should help.

The Chinese use basil for many purposes as well, including bladder and urinary problems, and blood diseases. Some people throughout history have even used basil to cure cancerous tumors! In Ayurvedic medicine basil is called “tulsi”, and is used widely in India for many purposes similar to how basil is used medicinally in the West and other Eastern lands.

For those who suffer from nervous disorders, such as anxiety attacks, basil is going to be your friend. Keep some with you wherever you go, if possible, and whenever you feel an anxiety attack coming on, just take out your sprig of basil leaves or basil flowers and take a big whiff of it. Inhale as deeply as you can, and you should feel better right away. Basil is relaxing and calming, and is certain to help you to forget why you were anxious in the first place! If you are prone to feeling tired, basil is also your friend. Again, just keep a sprig or two of basil with you and deeply inhale the refreshing aroma. The essential oils that are abundant in the fresh basil herb are great for reviving you and helping you to feel refreshed and revived. This can be particularly useful at the end of a long work day, when you are feeling like you can’t concentrate any longer. Just breathe in the lovely aroma of the basil and you will be able to continue with your day!

So, if you are suffering from any of the ailments we just talked about, carry a few sprigs of basil around with you and use them frequently! You will be glad that you did!

 

Email me: mia@yournaturalhealthonline.com

 



Mint and its Benefits

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Essential Oils, Information About Herbs, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Health, Quick and Easy Natural Remedies You Can Do At Home | Posted on 25-02-2016

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mint herb

 

There are all kinds of fantastic beneficial herbs that you can find right in the vegetable section of your supermarket. In fact, the herb that we are going to talk about this week can be easily found right in your backyard! Mint grows practically everywhere, and is easy to cultivate and harvest. It smells wonderfully fresh, and tastes delicious as well. Mint is also widely available all over the world, particularly here and in this vicinity, with mint being used in practically everything! The great thing about mint is that it tastes so good too!

mint essential oil

The history of the use of mint as a medicine is practically as old as mint itself, and there are records of its use in ancient China (and other countries in the Far East), India, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. It is truly an international herb.

spearmint herb cut

You can get mint as an herbal medicine, in many different forms, including as a fresh herb, dried herb, essential oil, herbal oil, and even in capsule form (for taking as a digestive medicine). But, if you want it in its most natural form, then fresh mint is the route for you. And, what’s even better is that mint is so well tested that some companies are even selling it as a non-prescription medicine, but who needs that when you can have the fresh version and it’s as inexpensive as can be!

peppermint herb cut

There are so many ways that you can have mint as well. If you like warm drinks, then a lovely mint infusion will be the way. If you prefer chewing on green leafy things, then fresh, either plain, in a salad or sandwich is what you need. And, dried is another option that keeps things fresh, practically indefinitely.

organic herb seeds

And mint is great for so many different medical ailments that some people call it a panacea. It is particularly well known for its use as a digestive aid. If you suffer from intestinal gasses, heartburn, flatulence, digestive upset, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), nausea, and even intestinal cramping, then mint is just what the doctor ordered (although it is highly unlikely that any conventional doctor that you know will prescribe it)! Many people swear by its use for diarrhea too. Mint is also great for hemorrhoids, shrinking the swollen veins (you can use fresh mint, or mint juice here, but I find that the essential oil is particularly helpful in this case, particularly if mixed with calendula oil and other essential oils).

china tea cup set

Mint is great for problems in the respiratory system, being a great help with people suffering with phlegm problems such as bronchitis and asthma, breathing-type allergies, and is even used historically for helping with tuberculosis. Mint is good for those suffering with the flu, but try to catch it early before it takes hold. Mint is also great for feverish conditions as well as any type of inflammation.

 

organic mint tea

Mint infusion (made with hot water and some mint leaves) is great for calming down raw nerves and anxiety. In this same capacity, it is well known for helping to get rid of heart palpitations, which is particularly helpful for nervous, anxious people. Mint is also great as an antibacterial and antifungal. It is great for muscle aches and pains, and is also useful for cleansing the liver. It even helps to get rid of nasty urinary system gravel that can be one of the most painful ailments of all.

mango and mint cookbook

In addition to being a great medicament, mint is also loaded with important nutrients as a food too. It contains a certain amount of protein, calcium, iron (and other minerals), and a host of vitamins, including a healthy dose of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E, along with other things like B vitamins. It also contains chlorophyll, which is nature’s antibiotic and freshener. So, mint is clearly great for your health from a variety of standpoints. And it’s much better to get your vitamins and minerals naturally from whole fresh foods than it is to get them from a tablet. The same goes for medicine. Isn’t it better to take your medicine in the form of fresh whole food, rather than a tablet or capsule? I know that I am certainly going to choose natural food over pills any day!

instant pot

For those people who suffer from skin ailments, such as acne, mint is just what you need. You can put mint juice directly on your skin, in order to help kill the excess bacteria that are plaguing you, and it will also help clear up eczema. If you get a bug bite or sting, then applying mint directly over the area will help reduce the burn, sting or itching.

simply mint gum

Mint has been used in candies and chewing gum for ages, and now you will know one of the reasons for that. Mint actually helps get rid of the harmful bacteria that flourish in our mouths, particularly in the presence of food or during the night when we sleep and our mouths are not active in producing saliva (which helps to clean our mouths). It is great for the tongue as well as the mouth, stamping out the harmful bacteria that grow and helping to keep our mouths feeling and smelling minty fresh and clean. (Now you know where all those toothpaste commercials came from).

Another great thing about mint is that it is safe and beneficial for babies as well as adults, and thus is one of the most useful medicinal foods anywhere. Then you have the added benefit of its being available practically everywhere, and you have perfection. So, get out to your supermarket, green grocer (or the little Afghani guys on the street) and get some fresh mint! It’s inexpensive and great for your health!

 

Email me: Mia@yournaturalhealth.com



Western Herbalism

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Natural Health | Posted on 15-02-2014

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Western Herbalism

The first leg in our tour of herbal medicine will be Western herbalism (also known as Western phytotherapy). That is the tradition that I practice and is the tradition that is practiced in America, where I’m from. Although it is not the absolute oldest herbal tradition, it has certainly been around since the first people inhabited Western Europe and used the herbs they found growing naturally in those areas. From England and the surrounding areas of Western Europe, western herbalism went to the Americas with the settlers and the use of some of the American naturally growing herbs became a part of the western herbal pharmacopeia. The western herbal tradition goes back as far as the Greeks and the Romans and is still valid up to the present time. Throughout the ages there have been some well-known practitioners of herbal medicine, including those most ancient of practitioners, men such as Galen, Dioscorides, and the most famous Hippocrates, after whom the Hippocratic Oath (that all doctors up to the present day still take) was named.

Later in history there were other important herbalists whose herbal traditions were so accurate that their findings are still used now. In fact, when you compare the older herbalists to the newer ones, you will usually find that the older herbalists had far more knowledge than any of the modern ones. People like Nicholas Culpeper are still well-known even now, and their works are still valid.

In fact, it is interesting to note that many, if not most of the modern day chemically formulated medicines that we use today were originally formulated from natural herbals. Later on, certain constituents of the herb were isolated and often reconstructed with chemical additives in order to produce the medicine that is now used. Aspirin is a good example of this process. The ingredient in aspirin that was originally taken from the white willow tree was salicin, which is turned into something called salicylic acid, or the precursor of acetylsalicylic acid, otherwise known as aspirin. Another extremely important modern medicine, which has been said to be “the most valuable cardiac drug in history”, is Digitalis purpurea (otherwise known as garden foxglove, a beautiful flowering plant), was turned into modern day digitalis. This drug is presently used as a cardiac stimulant. The fact is that there are many more where that came from, and more on the way.

Even in these times of amazing technological growth, new discoveries, and synthetic medicines, often the old standards, and herbal remedies are the fastest working, most effective solutions. In fact, traditional herbal medicine is fast becoming the medicine of choice for many, and with good reason. If used correctly and carefully, herbal medicine should have no side effects at all!

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to 550 Key Herbs with all their Uses as Remedies for Common Ailments

All types of herbal medicine are holistic (meaning for the whole person, physically, spiritually, and emotionally), and Western herbal medicine is no different than the rest in this respect. With western herbal medicine the idea is to gently return the body into homeostasis (natural balance), through as completely natural means as possible. This is accomplished through the medical herbalist’s complete understanding of the patient. The only way this can accurately and successfully be done is by taking an absolutely complete medical history, including environmental, dietary, and familial aspects, and also, taking into consideration the person’s emotional state, life influences, and more. In fact, this is so involved that the initial history taking might take up to two hours, or even more! This is necessary though, because, in order for the practitioner to treat the person properly he (or she) will need to know as much about the patient as possible, in addition to observing the patient and his (or her) reactions to treatment and life in general. At the same time, the person needs to help the practitioner, and over time, the practitioner will be able to see whether or not the person is keeping his end of the bargain by following the advice of the practitioner.

There are around 3000 herbs in the western herbal pharmacopeia, although not all of them are widely used. Some of the most common ones that are used are lavender, which is from England and France, and is so beneficial that it can even kill the worst infection, and prevent the scarring of a serious burn, and Echinacea angustifolia, and Goldenseal herb, which have become two of the most up and coming herbs for increasing the immune system, among other things.

Thus, western herbal medicine, although it has literally been around for thousands of years, is still probably the best choice on your list, in most cases by far. People are constantly amazed at how fast herbal remedies work (although herbal medicine is often rumored to have a slow action). In most cases, they will work so fast that you will forget why you took them. Just be sure to consult a good herbal practitioner (or book, at least) before starting out on your herbal adventure.

And here are a few more really excellent, highly rated books on Western Herbalism from Amazon:

Medical Herbalism

Medical Herbalism: The Science Principles and Practices Of Herbal Medicine

Hebalism

Herbalism