Did you know that Bay Leaves, Marjoram, and Oregano Are GREAT for Your Health?

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Health | Posted on 05-07-2016

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Italian Herbs

If you like Italian food, you’re going to love what I have to say today! We are going to talk about three of the most important green herbs in Italian food. For those who cook Italian you will definitely know what I’m talking about, and for those of you who don’t know how, never fear, the Italian cooking wonder is here!

Italian Herbs Organic Dried

The three most important herbs in Italian cooking are bay leaves, marjoram, and oregano. (Basil is also important but we have already sung its wonders in a previous article).

Scientifically bay leave (also known as bay laurel) is called Laurus Nobilis, and is an evergreen herb, mostly grown in Asia and the Mediterranean. This herb has been used since ancient times, and was considered the herb of champions. Haven’t you ever heard of “resting on your laurels”? (That is when people who are winners get lazy). In ancient Greece and Rome, poets and others were crowned with wreathes of bay laurel, in honor. Also, at that time and after people believed that bay leaves could protect people against evil and disease. Although this herb is mostly used in cooking (and is imperative for a great Italian tomato sauce, but only for flavoring, not for eating), there are plenty of medicinal uses as well. Bay is good for muscle aches and pains, rheumatism and arthritis (for which it is apparently like a miracle), colds, bronchitis, and the flu, stomach ailments (also gassiness), and skin problems (like rashes). It is said that pregnant women shouldn’t take bay leaf though, because it is very astringent and might cause contractions. It is also good to help bring down a fever, and is supposed be great for diabetics, being particularly helpful in metabolizing sugar.

Bay leaves organic

In order to treat with bay leaves, you can make a nice light tea with the leaves, or make an infusion and use it for hot compresses on achy muscles and joints. It can be used as a poultice on the chest (for flu, bronchitis, etc), and directly on bruises, sprains, etc. And low and behold, putting a few in your drawers or closets will help to keep the moths and other bugs out.

organic oregano

Now, the deal with oregano and marjoram is that they are from the same “Origanum” family, and are basically the same. They are both native to the Mediterranean areas, although they are also found in the Sham areas (like Syria, for example), as well as practically everywhere else around the world now as well. Oregano is stronger than marjoram, which has a very mild, sweet flavor. Interestingly, all marjorams are oreganos, but not all oreganos are marjorams. Go figure! Oregano is known scientifically as Origanum vulgare (which is also known as wild marjoram), while marjoram is known as Origanum majorana L. What’s even stranger is that they act the same in some ways, and very differently in others. Oregano is considered a winter herb, while marjoram is considered a summer one. It would be ideal to use marjoram fresh, but it isn’t available in Kuwait like that unless you grow it yourself, so dried will probably have to do. You can usually find it in the grocer’s herb and spice section of any larger supermarket. Oregano can also be used fresh, but here in Kuwait is probably only available in dried form. Don’t confuse it with some kinds of what they call “zaatar” here in Kuwait. That’s not really what it is.

organic marjoram

These herbs are also known to be good for diabetes, and they are both antibacterial and antifungal. There is nothing better for an upset stomach than marjoram, and it is also amazing for sore throats. It is one of the most soothing herbs I have ever seen, and can reduce swelling practically immediately. These herbs have also been used since ancient times, and again, the ancient Greeks and Romans used to love both.

Marjoram and oregano are both great for stomach problems, colic, and many people say headaches. They are also good for colds, flu, fever, and cough. You can also take it for relaxing because it is so soothing that many use it as a sedative. People who have menstrual problems use marjoram and oregano to soothe the cramping. If you suffer from arthritis or rheumatism, you will also find relief in these two herbs, and you can both drink it and use it externally. Both oregano and marjoram are great for getting rid of swelling and can also be taken both internally and used externally for that purpose. If you suffer from edema, then a nice light tea will help if you drink it on a regular basis, and swelling due to injury will be greatly relieved with both of these herbs. You can use an infusion with compresses for relief.

Like bay, both oregano and marjoram are supposed to be very helpful for those who suffer with diabetes, and they are said to help the body metabolize the sugar taking the place of the missing insulin. Marjoram is good for high blood pressure and more. They both are also great for liver problems and gall stones.

Oregano has been found to be so high in antioxidants that it leaves even garlic in the rear, and if you’ve been watching Oprah in the past year, you will have seen a program talking about super foods, and how great blueberries, etc, are. Well, I have news for you! Statistically, oregano beats them all. Listen to this. From an antioxidant point of view, according to an Internet source, oregano has: 4 times more than blueberries, 12 times more than oranges, 30 times more than potatoes, and 42 times more than apples! Now that is incredible!

Organic italian seasoning

But, don’t overdo any of these herbs, because they can be harmful. Always remember, in herbal medicine, less is more. Go light on any herb you take and you will never have a problem. When you make any herbal tea, always make your tea as light as possible. You want a light green color, nothing dark! Keep that as a rule, and you will never go wrong.

 

email me: mia@yournaturalhealthonline.com




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

 



Quick and Easy Way To Get Rid of Muscle Spasms From Exercise

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Natural Health, Quick and Easy Natural Remedies You Can Do At Home | Posted on 30-10-2015

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muscle spasm in leg

Lot’s of people complain of muscles spasms in various parts of their bodies, particularly their legs or lower extremities. Some people say that the problem is worse when they are in bed sleeping (or trying to). The really bad spasms even have their own name. We call them Charlie horses (when they are in our leg muscles), but don’t let that cute name fool you. They hurt like crazy, and some people get them quite often. Some people get muscle spasms in their feet too, which is very painful and makes it difficult to walk or move around, particularly when they come regularly. So, the question is… what is happening inside the body that would cause the muscles to go into a spasm like that? There are several possibilities, with some being commoner than others. Let’s look at these causes and see what we can do to remedy the problem.

Probably the commonest reason of all for muscle cramps is over exercise. Naturally, if you have just done a super workout, don’t be surprised if you feel the burn, as they say. Also, if you have taken up a new sport, it is perfectly normal for the muscles to go into a kind of shock in the beginning, so don’t worry about it. The best thing to do in these cases is to soak in hot salty water. It will help your body to work out the lactic acid buildup/low mineral intake that is causing the cramping feeling. But, don’t worry too much, since this problem is only temporary, and will go in a day or two.

Another of the reasons that people may get muscle spasms in their lower extremities could be dehydration. This is a fairly common cause. Here in Kuwait this is particularly likely since the weather here is hot most of the year and it is easy to forget to drink enough water if you are not careful. While this isn’t usually a very dangerous problem, it can quickly turn into one, so always make sure that you drink enough water. Besides the obvious dangers of getting dehydrated, muscle spasms in your legs and feet are not pleasant and if you can avoid them with a little water, do. This is particularly important in the Holy Month of Ramadan, since you are not able to drink water all day. So, do make sure that you get in enough water at night. If not water, at least some kind of liquids, but water is the first choice.

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Another common reason for muscle spasms is the lack of salt in the body. Now, you don’t have to go out and buy a salt block to lick all day long. Just make sure that you’re eating a balanced diet, and that, if you are suffering from leg or foot cramps, you get a little more salt in with your daily intake of liquids. This problem of salt depletion can also occur with the depletion of calcium and other minerals and vitamins, which upsets the equilibrium in your system and can cause all sorts of other problems as well as the muscle cramps. So, always make sure that you eat a well balanced diet, drink plenty of liquids and, if you need to take a multivitamin with minerals, take one! This is particularly important if you are suffering from some type of acute ailment, such as diarrhea, or vomiting, where it is easier for you to become dehydrated and depleted of these important things. But, if you are well and still complain of muscle cramps, drink more water, eat food with a little more salt, and eat foods with plenty of magnesium (like dark leafy greens, avocados, nuts, seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), fish, bananas, dried beans, lentils, brown rice, and yes! dark chocolate).

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Sometimes there is no internal problem perse that is causing your cramps… but there are also external factors that can contribute to the problem. The most common external factor would be the cold. While you wouldn’t necessarily think that in Kuwait this would be a problem (everyone knows that the weather here easily goes up to 50 C in the summer months) yet, it really can be a problem here, even in the summer. This is due to the extensive use of air conditioning. So, if you tend to suffer from cramps in the lower extremities, in the summer be careful from overly cold air conditioners, and in the winter make sure you keep warm and out of the cold desert air. Keeping your muscles warm is a simply way of solving your problem. If you must be in a cold environment, either indoors or out, make sure that you are properly dressed. You might even want to go as far as wearing leg warmers and heavier socks. While this might look slightly unusual in the summer, no one will blink an eye in the winter, and don’t worry about it anyway, since your health is more important. Another good remedy is to soak your legs and feet in hot salty water. This is a great remedy for muscle spasms, and just feels good, even after just walking too much. You can also put hot salt water compresses, which will give you the same effect.

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It is also very effective to use black pepper and ginger essential oils in a base of organic olive oil (or any other organic oil like almond, etc…. all you have to do is put a few drops of each in the base oil and rub it all over the affected area for practically instant relief.

black pepper essential oil ginger essential oil

And a good old foot bath will do wonders for any type of leg muscle spasm. Use water that is quite hot, as hot as you can stand, but not hot enough to burn you obviously 🙂

leg spa foot and leg bathClick HERE to get this foot and leg spa from Amazon

There are some other possible causes of muscles spasms in the legs and feet, but they are rare and caused by a variety of organic diseases, most of which are less common, so before you run off to the doctor to see what the problem is, consider the possible causes that I have mentioned above. Once you have ruled out all of these possibilities, then a trip to a general doctor or other medical practitioner might be in order. It isn’t a good idea to leave this type of ailment too long, without finding out what the problem is, just in case.

If you or someone you know suffers from muscle spasms (cramps) in the legs or feet, it is usually easy to get rid of. Don’t worry about it too much, but just take action, and don’t leave it. You need to make sure that your health in number one on your list of things to do!

 

Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com