Thursday, November 26, 2015

29 Nettle Tea Benefits: Sipping on Nettle Tea for Better Health

Milarepa, the Tibetan saint, was said to have lived on nothing but nettles for decades of meditation. Yet another weed that most of us pull and throw out, like dandelions, nettle is a wonderful health-boosting herb that should never be dowsed with weed-killer, but plucked and dried to make into an herbal panacea that could make the local pharmacy go bankrupt. Nettle, from the flowering plant genus Urtica in the family Urticaceae, has so many health benefits, they can hardly fit into this small space.

Stinging nettle is: diuretic, astringent, pectoral, anodyne, tonic, rubefacient, styptic, anthelmintic, nutritive, hermetic, anti-rheumatic, anti-allergenic, decongestant, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, and anti-histamine, anti-lithic/lithotrophic, herpetic, galactagogue, and an anti-histamine.

29 Nettle Tea Benefits

To give you an idea of just how powerful this singular plant is, nettle has the potential to treat the following ailments:

  1. Nettle stimulates the lymph system to boost immunity
  2. Nettle relieves arthritis symptoms
  3. Nettle promotes a release from uric acid from joints
  4. Helps to support the adrenals
  5. It helps with diabetes mellitus
  6. Strengthens the fetus in pregnant women
  7. Promotes milk production in lactating women
  8. Relieves menopausal symptoms
  9. Helps with menstrual cramps and bloating
  10. Helps break down kidney stones
  11. Reduces hypertension
  12. Helps with respiratory tract disease
  13. Supports the kidneys
  14. Helps asthma sufferers
  15. Stops bleeding
  16. Reduces inflammation
  17. Reduces incident of prostate cancer
  18. Minimizes skin problems
  19. Eliminates allergic rhinitis
  20. Lessens nausea
  21. Cures the common cold
  22. Helps with osteoarthritis
  23. Alleviates diarrhea
  24. Helps with gastrointestinal disease, IBS, and constipation
  25. Reduces gingivitis and prevents plaque when used as a mouth wash.
  26. Has been shown to be helpful to in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
  27. Relieves neurological disorders like MS, ALS and sciatica
  28. Destroys intestinal worms or parasites
  29. Supports the endocrine health by helping the thyroid, spleen and pancreas

You can brew stinging nettle leaves in almost boiling water and drink daily as a curative to all these ailments. Just be sure to check with your doctor since nettle can interfere with certain pharmaceuticals. Enjoy nettle tea benefits today!


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Chaga Mushroon as a Potent Immune Enhancing Fungus

Recently my wife and I were walking in the woods when I spotted a rotting birch tree. All over the decaying trunk were clusters of a gnarly black growth, which I quickly recognized as chaga (Inonotus obliquus). Relatively unused in the west, chaga is a potent immune enhancing agent that is highly popular in Russia and parts of Europe, and it enjoys a major body of science for its health benefits.

Unlike most fungus, chaga is hard and woody, bearing no resemblance to mushrooms. Instead, it looks more like a cracked piece of burned charcoal. Chaga’s black color is due to a concentration of melanin, the same pigment that colors human skin. Because chaga can be used to start fires, it is also known as the “tinder fungus.”

The name chaga derives from the Komi-Permyak language of Russia’s Kama River Basin, where the fungus has played a role in traditional medicine for centuries. Chaga can be found throughout northern Asia and in Canada, Norway, northern and eastern Europe and northern parts of the United Sates.

Chaga is rich in natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phenols, containing the compounds betulin and betulinic acid – which derive directly from host birch trees. Both betulin and betulinic acid demonstrate anti-tumor effects, which explain why chaga is known as an anti-cancer agent. Additionally, some science shows that betulin can play a beneficial role in controlling metabolic disorders, such as obesity and metabolic syndrome. A group of compounds in chaga called lanostanoids also appear to play significant anti-cancer roles.

The exact anti-cancer activity of chaga is not completely understood, but some compounds in the fungus boost immune activity, some specifically prevent cancer cells from replicating, and others cause premature cancer cell death. This argues for the utilization of a whole chaga extract, rather than isolating a single compound. In chaga, many agents appear to be active against cancer.

One of the most surprising benefits of chaga is in regards to psoriasis. In one Russian study, psoriasis patients who took chaga recovered from their condition. Given that psoriasis is notoriously difficult to treat and responds to very little therpaies, this effect alone could be of enormous benefit to many.

The compound ergosterol in chaga, along with related agents, shows anti-inflammatory activity. This may account for why chaga is thought of as a life-extending agent in China, as inflammation is part of every chronic, degenerative disease. Reducing systemic inflammation can mitigate or help prevent a variety of health problems, leading to a healthier life – and presumably a longer one.

Traditionally, chaga has been used for a variety of purposes. Scientific investigation chaga’s use as an anti-allergy agent shows that in animals, the fungus has the ability to prevent anaphylactic shock – a serious and potentially fatal consequence of a severe allergy. In another study, administration of an extract of chaga reduced infection due to the Herpes simplex virus.

In a cell study, chaga showed potent activity against the hepatitis C virus. Whether this same activity will prove true in living humans remains to be seen, but if it does, then chaga will benefit thousands of people who often suffer for many years with this crippling disease.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Weight Loss Benefits of Damiana Tea

What is Damiana?

Damiana, or turnera diffusa, is a flowering shrub found throughout Mexico, the West Indies, and parts of Central and South America. The leaves have historically been used as traditional herbal therapies for tonic and cleansing purposes. Indigenous people in Central and South America have used the leaves to make a tea, which is believed to have relaxing and aphrodisiac effects.

Currently, the “Physicians’ Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines,” recognizes damiana leaf as an herbal supplement that may be helpful for boosting libido, relaxation, and weight loss.

How Does Damiana Work?

Damiana has a complex chemical makeup, its known compounds include α-pinene, β-carotene, β-pinene, eucalyptol, tannins and thymol. The compound damianin, a chemical essential to the plant’s structure, has been shown to produce a relaxing effect on the central nervous system. Damiana has also been shown to have a hypoglycemic effect, prompting discussion about its potential for diabetic and weight loss therapies.

It is believed that damiana may function as an aromatase inhibitor. A 2008 study by the School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi investigated the anti-aromatase and estrogenic activity of damiana. Compounds isolated from the leaves were evaluated for aromatase activity using a tritiated-water release assay and for estrogenic activity using yeast estrogen screen assay. Damiana extract, and the extracted compounds pinocembrin and acacetin lessened aromatase activity. Other compounds, Apigenin 7-glucoside, Z-echinacin and pinocembrin showed estrogenic activity.

Damiana For Weight Loss

Damiana encourages loose stools, which may help promote internal cleansing. However, damiana has gained the most attention when used with other plants to produce thermogenic activity.

A 2001 Denmark study noted that, when combined with guarana and yerba mate, the combination produces thermogenic effects with appetite suppression. Over a span of 45 days, overweight participants were given YGD in capsule form before a main meal. The study concluded that the combination significantly delayed gastric emptying, reduced the time in which participants “felt full” and produced significant weight loss.

Furthermore, the mood enhancing effects, combined with the appetite suppressant effects, of damiana may lead to situational improvement of conditions that predicate to overeating, particularly persons who eat for emotional comfort.

The efficacy of damiana for mood and thermogenic response has resulted in multiple patents being filed for oral appetite suppressant supplements that contain damiana.

Damiana is widely available in health food and supplement stores in a variety of delivery methods that include tea blends, capsules, extracts, tablets, and tinctures. Damiana has shown to be most effective when used with other plants and herbs for sexual potency, weight loss, mood, and normal systemic function.


Zhao J, Dasmahapatra AK, Khan SI, Khan IA. Anti-aromatase activity of the constituents from damiana (Turnera diffusa). J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Dec 8;120(3):387-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.09.016. Epub 2008 Sep 26.
Andersen T, Fogh J. Weight loss and delayed gastric emptying following a South American herbal preparation in overweight patients. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2001 Jun;14(3):243-50.
Kumar S, Madaan R, Sharma A. Estimation of Apigenin, an Anxiolytic Constituent, in Turnera aphrodisiaca. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2008 Nov;70(6):847-51. doi: 10.4103/0250-474X.49143.
Kumar S, Sharma A. Anti-anxiety Activity Studies on Homoeopathic Formulations of Turnera aphrodisiaca Ward. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2005 Mar;2(1):117-119.

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14 Uses For Calendula Tea

Calendula is loaded with powerful skin-healing, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, yet is gentle enough for most people and animals to use safely.

This week, on the blog, I’ll be sharing recipes and projects that you can make with calendula flowers and then we’ll wrap it up around Thursday with a free little eBook that you can download to your computer for easy reference.

The majority of the projects can be made with either fresh or dried flowers. I grow most of my own calendula (Baker Creek Heirloom is an excellent place to buy seeds), but occasionally supplement my supply with high quality flowers purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs or Bulk Herb Store. (affiliate links)

Quick overview of how to make calendula tea:

  • Boiling water method with dried flowers: Place around a tablespoon of dried calendula flowers in a heat proof mug and pour boiling water over them. Cover with a saucer and let steep for around 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Boiling water method with fresh flowers: Fill a heat-proof jar with fresh flowers and pour boiling water over them. Cap and let infuse until the tea is cool enough to drink.
  • Sun tea method: Fill a jar with fresh flowers (or 1/4 full with dried flowers) and cover with water. Cap and place out in the sun for at least 5 or 6 hours.
  • Once your tea has finished infusing, you’ll want to strain it before proceeding to the next steps. (The remaining petals can be composted.) Make small batches at a time and store any leftover tea in your refrigerator. Water infusions have a fairly short shelf life, so discard the remainder after a day or two.
  • Important note: Calendula can stimulate menstruation, so pregnant women (or animals) should not use it internally. Also, if you’re on medications, have chronic health issues, or just questions in general, check with a qualified professional before self-treating with home remedies.

Here are 14 uses for calendula tea:

  1. Use as a gargle for sore throat.
  2. Use as a mouth rinse to help relieve blisters, inflamed gums or thrush.
  3. Dip small cloths or clean rags into the tea and apply as a compress to scraped, itchy, scratched or otherwise inflamed skin conditions.
  4. Use with homemade baby wipes to help alleviate diaper rash.
  5. Strain through a coffee filter and use as an eye rinse for itchy eyes due to allergies, dryness and viral pink-eye.
  6. Wash your face with calendula tea nightly, if prone to acne and breakouts.
  7. Pour some in a foot bath, for fungal conditions such as athlete’s foot.
  8. Add some to your regular bath to help soothe and heal inflamed skin or rashes.
  9. Use as a hair rinse, after shampooing, to alleviate itchy scalp conditions.
  10. Pour into a small spray bottle to make a disinfecting wound spray.
  11. Drinking calendula tea is reported to help heal gastric ulcers, congested lymph nodes and sore throat. It can potentially help break a fever by causing a sweat. Dosage is no more than 2 to 3 cups per day.
  12. Make Calendula Ice. (Freeze tea in ice cube trays. Once frozen, remove from tray and store in single layers in labeled freezer bags. Rub a cube over rashes, scrapes, or other general boo-boos as needed.)
  13. Calendula tea can safely be used on most non-pregnant animals including: dogs, cats, horses, cows, rabbits, goats, chickens and ducks. It can be used as a soothing rinse for flea bites, eczema, scratches, scrapes, itchy coats or to help cleanse and heal minor wounds.
  14. For dogs prone to hot spots or other raw areas, calendula tea can be gently dabbed or spritzed on the area. This works fantastically on my little old albino dog, who frequently gets a chapped and sunburnt nose just from being outside a short while.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How Parsley Tea Cleared Up My Skin

It wasn’t until I turned 30 that I started using makeup — and even then it was mainly because my upper lip, cheekbones and chin were covered in blemishes. But the worst was a butterfly-shaped mark that covered my forehead. It looked like a pregnancy mask. Only I was not pregnant.

I tried every possible treatment and remedy: aromatherapy, crystal scrubs, whitening formulas, you name it! Once I even rubbed onion all over my face because my grandmother said it might help. Then every time I ran, swam or cycled in the sun, the marks got darker.

Then one day, a holistic practitioner asked if I had ever tried parsley tea. Blemishes can be a sign of liver malfunction, she explained, and parsley is great for detoxing the kidneys and liver.

As usual, I did my homework and learned that parsley contains immune-enhancing vitamins (C and A) and is a powerful antioxidant. In fact, many spas use parsley for skin treatments because vitamin C not only nourishes the skin, it reduces scars and blemishes and stimulates the production of collagen, which is the key to cell reproduction and repair. Bingo!

Flat leaf (Italian) parsley is more fragrant and less bitter than the curly leafed kind, so for the next 30 days I brewed up some parsley tea twice daily, before breakfast and dinner. I bought it in bulk every week. My routine:
  • Soak parsley in water with a splash of vinegar.
  • Wrap in a towel and store in the fridge.
  • Bring a small saucepan of filtered water to a boil.
  • Put ¼ cup of parsley in a cup or teapot.
  • Pour the boiling water on top, let steep for 5-6 minutes.
  • Splash of fresh lemon (optional).
  • After a month and many cups of parsley tea (always brewed fresh, to preserve vitamins and minerals), my face was spotless. Twelve years on, it still is — even though now I only drink parsley tea occasionally.

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Top 10 Health Benefits of Bitter Melon (Gourd) and How to Make its Juice

Bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd or balsam pear, is commonly grown in tropical areas and used as a food as well as a medicine.

It belongs to the gourd family and has a warty texture. It tastes very bitter. In fact, it is the most bitter among all edible vegetables.

The pods can be light to dark green in color and have oblong or oval shapes with a pointed tip at the blossom end. The inner flesh is white with rough-edged seeds. The seeds turn red when ripe.

The nutritional value of this vegetable includes protein, carbohydrates, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, folate, vitamins A, C and several B vitamins.

It also contains a good amount of dietary fiber and is low in calories. It also has linolenic acid (an essential, omega-6 fatty acid) and oleic acid (an unsaturated fat).

Bitter melon is used in cooking for its bitter flavor, usually in stir-fries, soups and curries. You can even brew tea from the fruit, leaves and stems of the plant or drink bitter melon juice.

Steps to make bitter melon juice
  • Wash 1 or 2 medium-size bitter melons under cold running water.
  • Slice them down the center with a sharp knife, then scoop out the seeds and white flesh with a spoon.
  • Cut the green flesh of the melon into small pieces.
  • Soak the pieces in a glass of water for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Blend the soaked bitter pieces along with the water.
  • Strain the juice to remove any solid pieces.
  • Add honey, black pepper powder, lemon juice or ginger juice for taste.

Controls Diabetes

Bitter melon helps control diabetes due to its blood glucose-lowering effect. It has three active substances with anti-diabetic properties, including charantin, vicine and polypeptide-p.

It helps increase pancreatic insulin secretion and prevents insulin resistance, making it beneficial for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics.

According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, a 2,000 mg daily dose of bitter melon significantly reduced blood glucose levels among people with Type 2 diabetes. However, the hypoglycemic effect was less than that found with a 1,000 mg/day dose of metformin.

Drink ½ to 1 cup of bitter gourd juice on an empty stomach each morning.
You should also include one dish made with bitter gourd daily in your diet.
Note: Do not forget to take your diabetes medications as directed by your doctor. Also, keep monitoring your blood sugar level.
Purifies Blood

Bitter melon also works as a natural blood purifier. Impure blood can cause symptoms like constant headaches, allergies, fatigue and weakened immunity.

Bitter melon helps in cleansing or detoxifying impurities in the blood. This helps in the treatment of blood disorders like blood boils and itching due to toxemia. It even imparts a “glowing” effect on the skin and keeps the skin free from problems like acne, psoriasis and eczema.

Add a little lemon juice and honey to a glass of fresh bitter melon juice. Sip it slowly on an empty stomach daily for six months.


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Monday, November 23, 2015

A Healthy Reishi Mushroom Tea Recipe

The practice of drinking reishi mushroom tea has existed for years, and it's still one of the best ways to reap the benefits of this medicinal mushroom.

The reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum and other species) is a polypore that is cultivated on logs or woodchip beds. Although softer when fresh, it becomes quite hard when dried. This is due to the presence of chitin, a carbohydrate that helps makes up the cell walls of fungi.

How does this affect your mushroom tea? It means that dried reishi is tough, with some of the medicinal molecules locked up in the indigestible chitin. So we're going to need a long hot water extract to get these molecules out, far longer than you would brew a traditional tea.

The benefits of this tea come from water-soluble polysaccharides known as beta-glucans. These molecules are thought to:

  • Stimulate the immune system to fight infection and foreign cells
  • Inhibit tumor growth
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Stabilize blood sugar

For this recipe I recommend buying your dried reishi mushrooms from Mountain Rose Herbs! Read my review of the company here.


  • Dried reishi mushrooms
  • Water
  • Pretty simple. The amounts are up to you. A standard reishi recommendation is 3 - 5 grams a day, although doses up to 15 grams are not uncommon for more serious illnesses.
  • If you don't have a scale, know that 3 grams is about 1 heaping tablespoon of broken or ground reishi pieces.

The amount of water is your choice as well. It all depends on how many cups of tea you want to drink. I use about 4 - 5 cups of water for every 3 - 5 grams of reishi (you can see how exact I am about this). This will boil down to a fraction of the original amount.


dried reishi mushroomsSmaller pieces are better for a hot water extraction. That said, have you ever tried to pulverize Ganoderma lucidum? I once broke a coffee grinder blade trying to break one apart!

Use whatever you have to break them into pieces. If you have an appliance that will grind them, that's great. Otherwise you can try to cut with a heavy blade or break apart pieces with your hands. If this is all too much work you can still use a whole dried mushroom per pot of water.

An easy solution is to buy a pre-sliced bag of dried reishi. This will save you the trouble of having to break them apart.

- See more at:

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What is Valerian Tea Good For?

What is Valerian Tea?

Valerian is a plant native to Europe and Asia. It grows to up to four feet high and has trumpet-shaped flowers. The roots are used medicinally. Although the fresh root is relatively odorless, the dried root has a strong odor that many find unpleasant.

Valerian is believed to have been used since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. It was used as a folk remedy for a variety of conditions such as sleeping problems, digestive complaints, nervousness, trembling, tension headaches and heart palpitations.

Valerian's popularity waned with the introduction of prescription sleep medication.

There is no consensus on the active constituents of valerian. It's possible that valerian's activity may result from a combination of compounds rather than any one. Valerian appears to increase the body's available supply of the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), possibly by increasing its production, decreasing its absorption or slowing its breakdown.

Valerian can be found in capsule, tea, tablet or liquid extract forms in most health food stores, some drugstores and online.

Other names for valerian include All-heal, Amantilla, Setwall, Setewale, Capon's Tail, and Valeriana officinalis.

Uses for Valerian Tea

So far, scientific support for the potential benefits of valerian is fairly lacking.

1) Insomnia

The use of valerian is supported by some evidence from clinical studies. The problem with many of the studies, however, is they've generally been small, used different amounts of valerian for varying lengths of time, or had problems with the study design, making it impossible to form a conclusion about the effectiveness of valerian.

Valerian appears to be less effective than prescription sleep medication.

One possible advantage of valerian, however, is that it may not have as much of a "hangover" effect on mental or physical functioning the following day. Also, people taking sleeping pills sometimes have a temporary worsening of insomnia when they are discontinued, an effect that hasn't been reported with valerian.

2) Anxiety

Valerian is also used for anxiety, although there's insufficient evidence that it's effective.


People taking medications for insomnia or anxiety, such as benzodiazepines, should not combine these medications with valerian.

Side effects of valerian may include headache, dizziness, itchiness, upset stomach, drowsiness during the daytime, dry mouth and vivid dreams.

Rarely, liver damage has been associated with the use of valerian. It's not certain whether the cause of the liver damage was due to valerian itself or to contaminants in the product. Until we know more, people should use valerian only under the supervision of a qualified health care practitioner and those with liver disease should avoid it. Although liver damage doesn't always produce noticeable symptoms, if excessive tiredness, intense itching, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain or discomfort in the upper right side of the abdomen, or a yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin occurs, see your doctor immediately.

Valerian may cause excessive sleepiness or daytime drowsiness if combined with other drugs that cause drowsiness, such as the benzodiazepines Ativan (lorazepam) or Valium (diazepam), some antidepressants, narcotics such as codeine, and barbituates such as phenobarbitol, or with over-the-counter sleep and cold products containing diphenhydramine and doxylamine.

It may also cause excessive sleepiness if taken with herbs thought to have a sedative effect, such as hops, catnip and kava.

Valerian is broken down in the liver. Theoretically, it could interfere with the effectiveness of medications that are broken down by the same liver enzymes, such as:

  • allergy medications like fexofenadine
  • cholesterol medication such as lovastatin
  • antifungal drugs such as itraconazole and ketoconazole
  • cancer medications such as irinotecan, etoposide, STI571, paclitaxel, vinblastine or vincristine
Valerian supplements haven't been tested for safety and keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get tips on using supplements here, but if you're considering the use of valerian, talk with your primary care provider first.


Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, eds.: Valerian root. In: Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 2000: 394-400.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Lower Blood Pressure Naturally With Hibiscus Tea

Recent studies show that hibiscus tea can lower blood pressure as effectively as some standard hypertension drugs can. Hibiscus is widely consumed around the world as a ruby-colored, lemony beverage (it’s the main ingredient in Red Zinger tea).

Hibiscus is safe and, unlike most blood pressure drugs, rarely causes side effects. Plus, hibiscus plants can be grown in much of the United States, so you can actually grow your own blood pressure medicine.

Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) has been used to treat high blood pressure in both African and Asian traditional medicine. In 1996, researchers in Nigeria confirmed this age-old wisdom by showing that hibiscus flowers reduced blood pressure in laboratory animals. Soon after, researchers in Iran showed the same benefit in people. After measuring the blood pressure of 54 hypertensive adults, the researchers gave them 10 ounces of either black tea or hibiscus tea for 12 days. Average blood pressure decreased slightly in the black tea group, but decreased a significant 10 percent in the hibiscus group.

Since then, several additional studies have confirmed this effect, including two that tested hibiscus head-to-head against standard blood pressure medications:

Scientists in Mexico gave 75 hypertensive adults either captopril (Capoten; 25 milligrams twice a day) or hibiscus tea (brewed from 10 grams of crushed dried flowers — about 5 teaspoons per 1 to 2 cups water — once a day). After four weeks, the herb had worked as well as the drug, with both groups showing an 11 percent drop in blood pressure. In another study, the same researchers gave 193 people either lisinopril, (Zestril, Prinivil; 10 milligrams per day) or hibiscus (250 milligrams in the form of a capsule). After four weeks, the herb had worked almost as well as the drug: Blood pressure decreased 15 percent among those on the drug, and 12 percent among those taking hibiscus.

How does hibiscus lower blood pressure? Recent research suggests a combination of reasons: It has diuretic properties, it opens the arteries, and it appears to act as a natural angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, which means it slows the release of hormones that constrict blood vessels. In addition, hibiscus boosts immune function and provides valuable antioxidants.

Dose recommendations vary from about 1 teaspoon of dried “flowers” (technically, the calyxes surrounding the flowers) per cup of boiling water up to the 5 teaspoons used in one of the Mexican studies. Steep five to 10 minutes. If you have high blood pressure, you should own a home blood pressure monitor. Take readings before different doses and retest an hour later to see what works best for you. Check with your doctor prior to taking hibiscus if you’re currently on medication to lower blood pressure — often a combination of an herb and a lower dose of a pharmaceutical provides the same benefit.


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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Spearmint Tea Benefits

Spearmint, also simply called mint, is in the same family as peppermint but is a different species. According to the Natural Standard website, spearmint has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.

Ayurveda, which is India's traditional medical system, acknowledges spearmint for its ability to soothe colic in infants, reduce nausea and help relieve other gastrointestinal issues such as flatulence, stomach aches and irritable bowel syndrome. No side effects to spearmint have been discovered. But it's always smart to consult with your doctor before taking any herb if you're pregnant, breast-feeding or on medication.

Remedy for Nausea

Spearmint is considered an anti-emetic herb, which means it works to lessen or alleviate nausea and vomiting. Ayurveda promotes it as a remedy for vomiting during pregnancy. In a study published in "Ecancermedicalscience" in 2013, scientists looked at the effect of spearmint on nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients. Compared to the placebo group, patients administered spearmint oil experienced significantly less nausea and vomiting within 24 hours after consumption. There were no side effects to the spearmint oil, leading the scientists to conclude it's both safe and effective.

Hirsutism Remedy

Hirsutism is the condition of a woman having a large amount of dark, coarse hair on unwanted places, such as above the lips, on the chin and on the chest and back. It's caused by having higher levels of male sex hormones, which can be caused by certain medical conditions and drugs. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends drinking 2 cups or spearmint tea a day to treat hirsutism. In a study published in "Phytotherapy Research" in 2007, 12 women with hirsutism were given 1 cup of spearmint tea twice a day for five days. By the end of the study, their levels of male sex hormones had decreased and female hormones increased. The scientists concluded that spearmint could be used to treat mild cases of hirsutism.

It May Kill Bacteria

In a study published in "Microbios" in 2001, scientists looked at the effect of spearmint oil on various types of pathogenic bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella, in test tubes. They found that the spearmint oil inhibited growth of all bacterial strains they tested for. The larger the amount of spearmint oil was applied, the larger effect it had on inhibiting the growth of the pathogens. The scientists concluded spearmint has an antibacterial effect. Spearmint is commonly associated with cleanliness, which is why it's used in mouthwashes, soaps and other products for cleaning. The antibacterial effect of spearmint tea in the human body has not been confirmed, however.

It May Reduce Inflammation In a study published in the Chinese medical journal "Zhejiang Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban" in 2008, scientists investigated the effects of spearmint oil on inflammation in rats. Rats induced with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were given spearmint oil daily for three weeks. By the end of the study, the scientists found that destruction of lung tissue diminished. They concluded the spearmint oil had a protective mechanism and decreased lung inflammation and oxidation. The effect of spearmint tea on inflammation in humans has not been determined.


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How to Harvest & Preserve Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

When I planted raspberries (Rubus idaeus) on the property back in 2010 it was for the delicious fruit. It was years later while researching natural remedies to ease my menstrual symptoms that I discovered that red raspberry leaf tea is a natural remedy for conditions involving the uterus, including menstrual support and menopause (Native American Medicinal Plants).

Red raspberry leaves have also been used as medicine for centuries for pregnancy and childbirth, astringent for skin irritations, gargle for sore throats, and for diarrhea. Raspberry leaf tea has no known side effects or drug interactions, but it can lower blood sugar and impede with the absorption of some vitamins (Healing Herbs A to Z).

It is not known precisely why Raspberry Leaf tea is so effective for uterine health. Herbalists believe that the presence of tannins and the alkaloid fragarine combined with other nutrients, including calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamin B, C, and E help tone and relax the pelvic and uterine muscles (Herbal Healing for Women).

After researching, I felt pretty confident in trying red raspberry leaf tea for my menstrual discomforts, and I had plenty of access to leaves to harvest. After drinking raspberry tea for several months, it relieved a lot of my symptoms, including headache, cramps, and overall energy level and moodiness during that time of the month.

I wasn’t completely convinced until I casually remarked to Kevin that I thought the raspberry leaf tea was helping. The next thing I knew, he was outside in the raspberry patch harvesting more raspberry leaves for me to use. Hmmm….

How to Harvest Raspberry Leaves

Collect raspberry leaves before the plant blooms. Harvest mid-morning after the dew has evaporated and before it the sun is hot to preserve the oils and flavor. Wear gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself from the thorns. Select young, healthy leaves that have not been treated with chemicals and clip them from the cane.

I grow Heritage Raspberries, an everbearing variety that produces two crops each season, a light crop in July followed by a heavy crop in fall. I allow the canes to begin leafing out before pruning the raspberry patch in the spring. I cut whole canes and trim the young leaves off into a bowl as I prune.

How to Dry Raspberry Leaves

Wash leaves and drain or pat dry. Spread the leaves out on a screen and allow them to dry naturally away from dust and sunlight. Or you can gather the leaves by their stems, tie the ends, and hang them to dry. Depending on the humidity, drying usually takes 1-2 weeks. The quickest way to dry Raspberry Leaves is by using a dehydrator. Spread the leaves out on the screens and dry at a low temperature. Check every 30-minutes until completely dry. You can tell when the leaves are dry, by crushing a leaf or two. It should crumble easily. Once dry, store leaves lightly packed in a glass jar away from direct sunlight. Try not to crush them to reserve the flavor until you are ready to brew your tea.

How to Make Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Raspberry Leaf Tea tastes like a mild green tea, but without the caffeine. To make tea, use about 1-teaspoon of crushed, dried raspberry leaves per 8-ounce cup of boiling water. Steep for at least 5 minutes and drink like regular tea.


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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Is Fenugreek Seed Tea Safe to Drink?

Fenugreek, a kitchen spice and primary ingredient in pickles, is an ancient herb. Egyptian texts attest to its use as early as 1500 B.C. Fenugreek seeds, sometimes taken in the form of a tea, have traditionally been used to treat digestive disorders and menstrual cramps. Herbalists today are likely to advise fenugreek to treat diabetes and high cholesterol. Although human clinical trials are limited, laboratory and animal research supports fenugreek's ability to lower blood sugar and cholesterol. Consult your doctor before using fenugreek.


Fenugreek, botanically known as Trigonella foenum-graecum and also called methi in Ayurveda, features grayish-green toothed leaves and pale yellow or whitish flowers that develop into seed pods. The yellow-brown seeds within are dried to produce the spice. Fenugreek has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat kidney problems, arthritis and digestive problems; it has also been employed in folk medicine as a diuretic and anti-inflammatory and in poultices to treat boils and swelling. Fenugreek seeds were one of the original ingredients in Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, a 19th century patent medicine marketed to treat menstrual cramps and menopause symptoms. The seeds, which have a rich, sweet taste, are also used in maple flavoring.

Constituents and Effects

Fenugreek seeds contain a group of glycoside steroidal saponins known as graecunins, as well as the compounds diosgenin and fenugrin B and an alkaloid known as trigonelline. The seeds are rich in protein and mucilagenous fiber. Also present in fenugreek seeds are coumarin compounds, galactomannans and the amino acids lysine and L-tryptophan., which provides peer-reviewed medical information to consumers, reports that fenugreek's high levels of polyphenolic flavonoids give it antioxidant properties in test tubes. Blue Shield Complementary and Alternative Health credits the steroidal saponins in fenugreek with the ability to inhibit both the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines and its production by the liver. The seeds' high levels of soluble fiber help to reduce blood sugar by slowing down carbohydrate digestion and absorption. Fenugreek may also have the ability to lower triglycerides.


Scientific research supports the protective and antioxidant effects of polyphenols in fenugreek seeds. In a laboratory study published in 2004 in "Plant Foods and Human Nutrition," researchers found that fenugreek seed extracts protected human red blood cells from oxidative damage, supporting the seeds' potent antioxidant properties. Researchers credited the gallic acid in the seed extract with the beneficial effect.

Usage and Considerations

You can brew fenugreek tea by adding 1 tbsp. of fenugreek seeds to 1 cup of boiling water. advises letting the mixture steep for 45 minutes to unleash the full beneficial effect of the seeds, then straining, cooling and drinking it after meals to help with digestion. Fenugreek is generally recognized as safe when used as a food. Mild diarrhea and gas may accompany its use. BSCAH notes that this side effect almost invariably resolves after using fenugreek seeds or tea for a few days. Rare allergic reactions have been reported with fenugreek. Traditionally used to hasten delivery, fenugreek can cause uterine contractions; don't use it if you are pregnant. Fenugreek seeds and tea can interact with prescription drugs, and may increase the effects of anticoagulants such as warfarin. Consult your doctor before using fenugreek.


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Monday, November 16, 2015

Nettle Tea Benefits

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) grows wild in temperate regions around the world. A staple among herbalists, stinging nettle is considered a classic “nutritive” herb, meaning it is very nutrient dense and nourishing. Nettle has been used as food, medicine, and a nourishing tonic since ancient times.

Urtica comes from the Latin urere, meaning "to burn," because of its erect, bristly hairs covering the leaves and stem which sting when touched. These stinging hairs, along with the leaves’ sharply serrated edges, are distinguishing features of stinging nettle.

Infusing a large amount of dried stinging nettle leaves in water for a long period of time is one of the easiest and most traditional ways to obtain nettle tea benefits.

Nettle’s Nutrients

Stinging nettle is packed with vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals along with hefty dose of potent phytonutrients including deep-green chlorophyll and carotenoids.[2,3] In fact, more than 100 chemical components have been identified in nettle, including:

• Minerals – iron, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, boron, strontium
• Vitamins - A, C, K, and B vitamins
• Phytonutrients - chlorophyll, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin,[4] quercetin, rutin

Packed with Minerals

Nettle tea, made from dried nettle leaves, is perhaps best known for its high mineral content. The leaves are packed with more minerals, especially magnesium and calcium, than a number of other medicinal herbs.[6] One recent study found that dried nettle leaf has more magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, boron, and strontium than dried chamomile, peppermint, sage, St. John’s wort, linden, and lemon balm.

The exact amounts of various minerals extracted from the leaves into the tea depends on many factors, including the plant’s growing conditions, the type of mineral, the amount of dried nettle leaves and water used when preparing the tea, and the steeping time. One recent study found that 500 mL (about one quart) of tea made with 20 grams (about 0.7 ounces) of dried nettle leaves, steeped for 30 minutes, contains 76 mg of magnesium, which represents about 20-25% of men’s and women’s daily requirement, respectively.[6] This may not sound like much, but it’s quite remarkable for a beverage. Furthermore, most Western herbalists recommend a slightly higher tea to water ratio and longer steeping times than those used in this study in order to potentially increase the mineral content even more. This is discussed more below; first, let’s take a look at some of nettle tea’s other numerous health benefits.

Other Nettle Tea Benefits

In addition to its high nutrient content, results from preliminary studies show that stinging nettle has many other health-promoting properties. For example, nettle has been shown to:

• Decrease oxidative stress. The natural polyphenols in nettle leaves are thought to be responsible the powerful antioxidant abilities of nettle tea. Oxidative stress is implicated in accelerated aging as well as many chronic diseases.
• Relieve pain. Nettle tea has analgesic effects.
• Fight infections. Nettles have antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal effects. Nettle tea has notable antimicrobial activity against gram-positive and -negative bacteria when compared with standard and strong antimicrobial compounds.
• Decrease inflammation. Nettles work as a natural anti-inflammatory through a number of different mechanisms, such as decreasing nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) binding activity to DNA. Nettle extract, used to treat arthritis, has been shown to decrease levels of pro-inflammatory compounds such as interleukin-6 and • C-reactive protein.
• Lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Nettles are used in diabetics to combat high blood sugar and cardiovascular risk factors.
• Fight cancer. Nettles have a beneficial effect in prostate cancer.
• Heal stomach lining. Nettle tea helps heal the mucosal lining of the stomach in the case of ulcers or stomach irritation.
• Treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Nettle roots instead of the leaves are used to decrease symptoms of enlarged prostate.
• One of the best ways to obtain nettle tea benefits is by steeping a hefty amount of the dried, cut leaves in boiling water inside a large, covered container for a long period of time.
A general guideline for making mineral-rich infusions with nutritive herbs like nettle is to use one ounce of dried herb per quart of filtered or distilled water (or about a heaping tablespoon per eight ounces water). One ounce of plant material per quart of water is generally thought necessary to provide a sufficient quantity of minerals if you drink one quart of tea daily. Consider this: an ounce of dried herb is roughly equivalent to four ounces of fresh plant and although not all the minerals are 100% extracted into the tea, this this mineral beverage is like a liquid salad.


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What is Eucalyptus Tea Good for?

Eucalyptus tea is made from the smooth grey-green leaves of eucalyptus trees and shrubs, which are indigenous to Australia, Tasmania, Indonesia and the Philippines, but now commonly grown in many other subtropical countries. The aromatic oils found in eucalyptus leaves are strong antimicrobials and decongestants, which is why they have been traditionally used to combat colds and nasal congestion. Eucalyptus Tea The pungent lance-shaped eucalyptus leaves are used to make herbal tea, or more accurately called a herbal infusion or tisane, although sometimes a little eucalyptus bark is added too. The leaves have a strong scent because they are rich in aromatic oils such as eucalyptol. The leaves are usually dried and lightly macerated before adding hot water and steeping for at least 15 minutes in order to draw all the beneficial compounds out of the plant fibers. However, don’t use boiling water because some of the compounds are destroyed with high heat.

Benefits of Eucalyptol

Eucalyptol comprises about 70 percent of the volatile oil in eucalyptus leaves. In addition to being a strong antibacterial, eucalyptol affects the mucus membranes that line the nose, sinuses and lungs, which leads to decongestion and the release of mucus and phlegm. Consequently, eucalyptus products such as oil extracts, teas and lozenges are safe and effective for reducing the symptoms of head colds, sore throats, sinus infections and bronchitis. Eucalyptus oil is toxic if consumed in large doses, which is why the leaves are typically heated and inhaled. Eucalyptus tea, which is much more dilute than oil extracts, has the dual benefit of being able to be inhaled and consumed.

Other Beneficial Compounds

Eucalyptus leaves also contain tannins, which are astringents, and caffeic and gallic acids, which are strong antioxidants also found in green tea. Antioxidants eliminate free radicals, which damage a variety of tissues, especially blood vessels and skin. Other strong antioxidants found in eucalyptus leaves include hyperin, eucalyptrin, quercetin, rutin, alpha-pinene, limonene and alpha-termineol. The combination of these compounds with the volatile oils in the leaves makes eucalyptus tea an effective breath freshener, mouthwash, deodorant and topical antibacterial.


Side effects from drinking eucalyptus tea are rare and mild, but eucalyptus oil is toxic and harmful in single doses as small as 3.5 milliliters. It’s virtually impossible for you to consume that much oil in one day from drinking eucalyptus tea, but to be on the safe side, it’s probably a good idea not to allow children to drink it. Consult with an herbalist or practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine before consuming large amounts of eucalyptus tea.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

What Are the Benefits of Yellow Saffron Tea?

Yellow saffron tea gets its name because of the yellow color it has when brewed. In reality, saffron tea is made from red-orange-colored saffron threads, the same ones you use for cooking. One of the most expensive spices on the market, saffron has a host of health benefits as well as a naturally rich taste and delicate aroma that are imparted to the brewed tea.

Helps With Premenstrual Syndrome

In a study published in a 2008 issue of “BJOG,” researchers found that taking 30 milligrams of saffron a day led to reduced premenstrual syndrome in women with regular menstrual cycles. The study was conducted over the course of two menstrual cycles. While researchers found the study promising, they stated that a study regarding the safety of consuming saffron in such high quantities -- the amount used could make up to 20 cups of tea -- was needed before recommending saffron as an alternative treatment to PMS.

May Help Treat Alzheimer's Disease

In 2010, the “Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics” published a study on saffron and its potential use as an herbal aid for dementia. Study participants with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease took 30 milligrams of saffron per day for 16 weeks. The study found saffron was safe for use in such high quantities, and those taking the saffron supplement showed improved cognitive function when compared to those on the placebo. While the study suggested saffron may be useful in treating some aspects of Alzheimer’s disease in the short term, longer, randomized studies are still needed.

May Aid Depression

A 2013 issue of the “Journal of Integrative Medicine” included a large-scale analysis on the studies where saffron was used as a potential anti-depressant. Researchers found that when comparing studies conducted on adults and in the presence of a placebo option in the study, saffron showed significant benefits toward relieving the symptoms of depression. They concluded that longer-term trials were needed, however, with greater geographical variety. As well, larger study groups would help further confirm saffron’s safety and efficacy as a natural anti-depressant.

How to Make Saffron Tea

You can purchase yellow saffron teabags or make tea from loose saffron threads. Because saffron is expensive, teabags may not contain the best quality or as much saffron. Making it at home gives you more control over the final product. While you can steep the threads in only room-temperature water to make iced tea, using water that's around 180 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended so that the aromatic and health compounds are fully released. Use a 1-teaspoon serving, a little over 1 milligram, of threads for every 8 ounces of water. Let the tea steep for at least 10 minutes. The threads dissolve when exposed to hot water, so give your tea a quick stir before drinking. Saffron tea can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to three days.


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Thursday, November 12, 2015

What Are the Benefits of Bitter Melon Tea?

Bitter melon, the fruit of a vine in the cucumber family, has the impressive appearance of a warty cucumber. Bitter melon is grown and eaten as a vegetable throughout Asia and it also prepared and consumed as a tea. Bitter melon has traditionally been used for a variety of purported medicinal benefits, some of which have been proven scientifically.

Blood Sugar Management

Herbalists and natural medicine practitioners often recommend bitter melon to help control blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes, according to New York University Langone Medical Center. Typical doses range from 50 to 100 mililiters of fresh juice divided into two to three doses throughout the day. A study on laboratory animals published in the September 2005 issue of the journal "Plant Foods For Human Nutrition" found that bitter melon lowered blood sugar levels by up to 30 percent and improved kidney function. However, bitter melon may enhance the effects of diabetes medication and cause hypoglycemia, which is a condition in which a person has a dangerously low blood sugar level. Consult your doctor about using bitter melon to manage blood sugar levels.

Cancer Prevention

Bitter melon tea may offer protective benefits against some forms of cancer, according to a study published in the September 2012 issue of the journal "Natural Product Communications". In the tissue culture study, water-extract of bitter melon killed human kidney cancer and colon cancer cells. In an animal study that appeared in the November 2012 issue of the journal "Cancer Letters", bitter melon extract induced early cell death in liver cancer. Researchers concluded that bitter melon shows promise as a safe, natural preventive for liver cancer. Further studies are need to determine whether these preliminary benefits extend to humans, however.

Cancer Therapy

Bitter melon tea may make chemotherapy drugs more effective, according to a study that appeared in the January 2012 issue of the "Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry." In the tissue culture study of human cervical cancer cells, treatment with bitter melon leaf extract made the cells more susceptible to the effects of drugs commonly used to treat cervical cancer and increased the amounts of the drugs that the cancer cells absorbed. Researchers concluded that bitter melon leaf extract could possibly offer benefits for preventing drug resistance in cancer patients.

Antibacterial and Anti-Inflammatory

Anti-inflammatory properties of a variety of bitter melon known as wild bitter melon may help prevent some forms of acne, according to a study published in the December 2012 issue of the journal "Food Chemistry." In the animal study, bitter melon extract inhibited growth of an acne-causing bacteria. In a study that appeared in the March 2009 issue of the "Journal of Ethnopharmacology" hot water extracts of wild bitter melon reduced levels of several inflammatory molecules. There was significant antioxidant activity where anti-inflammatory effects were observed.


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Science Says Drinking Chamomile Tea Could Help Women Live Longer

A cup of chamomile tea soothes a cold and calms stress, but its benefits appear to stretch beyond that.

New research shows a correlation between regular chamomile tea consumption and a lowered risk of death by any cause in older women.

Over a period of seven years, a team analyzed 1,677 Mexican-American subjects of both sexes, aged 65 or older, who were enrolled in the Hispanic Established Populations for Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly.

Of the 14 percent who drank chamomile tea, only the women appeared to benefit from regular consumption.

However, it was a remarkable benefit: Women who drank the tea were 29 percent less likely than their peers to die of any cause during the study.

Right now, the team’s not sure how its results came about.

Study author Bret Howrey offered possible connections, saying in a press release,

The reason for a difference in our reported findings between Hispanic women and men is not clear…

This difference may be due to traditional gender roles whereby women manage the day-to-day activities of the household, including family health, and may also reflect greater reliance on folk remedies such as herbs.

Women, the study notes, are also more likely to use chamomile over a longer period of time and at a greater frequency than their male counterparts. Indeed, chamomile has long been known as a home remedy for almost every illness. According to a 2011 peer-reviewed article, it can be used as anything from a poison ivy aid to a way to ease insomnia.


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Red Raspberry Leaf Tea In Pregnancy

If you’re pregnant, you’ve probably heard about red raspberry leaf tea and it’s benefits as a uterine tonic. What is red raspberry leaf? As it’s name suggests, red raspberry leaf is a herb derived from red raspberry leaves. It’s been used medicinally for thousands of years, including amongst indigenous Australian cultures. In the 1940s, western medicine practitioners began to use it as a tonic for the uterus during pregnancy and childbirth. So, what are the benefits of using red raspberry leaf and is it safe? Here’s everything you need to know about red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy.

Health Benefits Of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Red raspberry leaves contains a rich assortment of vitamins including Vitamin B complex, calcium, iron, magnesium and fragarine. Across the world, red raspberry leaf is used to treat flu, diarrhoea and acne. It is used to lower the blood sugar of diabetic women, regulate irregular menstrual cycles, decrease heavy periods and lower blood pressure.

When taken during pregnancy, red raspberry leaf is said to aid the mother’s immune system, ease morning sickness and promote better circulation. Taking raspberry leaf is said to strengthen uterine muscles and tone the pelvic floor in preparation for childbirth, as well as assist with breastmilk supply.

Studies have shown that women who take red raspberry leaf have a reduced incidence of birth interventions. Research has also found that women who drink red raspberry leaf tea regularly towards the end of their pregnancies had shorter second stages of labour than those who don’t.

From a study published by Australian midwives in 1999:

“The sample consisted of 108 mothers; 57 (52.8%) consumed raspberry leaf products while 51 (47.2%) were in the control group. The findings suggest that the raspberry leaf herb can be consumed by women during their pregnancy for the purpose for which it is taken, that is, to shorten labour with no identified side effects for the women or their babies. The findings also suggest ingestion of the drug might decrease the likelihood of pre and post-term gestation. An unexpected finding in this study seems to indicate that women who ingest raspberry leaf might be less likely to receive an artificial rupture of their membranes, or require a caesarean section, forceps or vacuum birth than the women in the control group.”

More extensive research is needed, but with very little in the way of side effects and such great benefits observed and recorded, raspberry leaf is a great option for pregnant women.

How Should I Take Red Raspberry Leaf? Lots of pregnant women choose to drink raspberry leaf tea which can be purchased at most supermarkets, health food stores or online. It is available in tea bags or as loose leaf tea – seek out organic, local raspberry leaf tea from a reliable source. Beware of imported cheap teas which may be contaminated with other items.

If you’re not a fan of fruit teas, you can also take red raspberry leaf in tablet form. It is also available as a tincture that can be added to water, juice or tea but be aware that tinctures usually contain alcohol.

How Much Red Raspberry Leaf Should I Take?

It is difficult to be exact with dosages if you drink raspberry leaf tea, because it depends on how long you steep the tea and the quantity you use. The best way to prepare your raspberry leaf tea is to boil a cup of water, placing it into a teapot. Put in a teaspoon of raspberry leaf tea, stir or swish and then let it steep for ten minutes. When ten minutes is up, pour it into your favourite mug and enjoy! The taste of raspberry leaf is a little bitter, so you may want to sweeten it with some honey.

You can have up to 4-5 cups of raspberry leaf tea in your third trimester, but have at least 2-3. If you’re in your first trimester, one cup per day is fine.

If you prefer raspberry leaf tablets, it is suggested that you take two 300mg or 400mg tablets with each meal, three times a day, from 32 weeks (Parsons, 1999).

Potential Side Effects Of Red Raspberry Leaf

Most women do not experience any side effects from taking raspberry leaf tea, however the following side effects are possible:

  • Nausea
  • Loose stools
  • Increase in Braxton Hicks contractions

Can Anyone Take Red Raspberry Leaf?

There is lots of confusing, conflicting information about red raspberry leaf’s contraindications. BellyBelly’s naturopath Nicole Tracy from Nurtured by Nature says that there are no known contraindications for raspberry leaf when used in the third trimester at an appropriate dose, except if previous labour/s have been really fast. You should only use red raspberry leaf under the care of your naturopath or herbalist.

What About Red Raspberry Leaf and VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section)? There is also some confusion over raspberry leaf and VBAC. Rest assured, raspberry leaf is safe for VBAC women. Nicole says: “There is often some confusion around raspberry leaf being contraindicated in VBAC births. This is most certainly not the case, and it does not increase the risk of premature labour or rupture of caesarean scars. It is wise for all women (especially those planning a VBAC) to take raspberry leaf in tea, tincture or tablet form from the beginning of the third trimester in gradually increasing amounts. This nutrient-rich herb should be continued for two weeks postnatally to assist with reducing blood loss, toning the uterus and supporting breast milk production.”

When Can I Start Taking Red Raspberry Leaf?

It is generally recommended not to start taking red raspberry leaf until you are at least 32 weeks pregnant, but if you wish to take it sooner, simply check with a good naturopath. You can then continue to take it until the end of the pregnancy. Raspberry leaf tea takes several weeks to accumulate in the body and take effect.

You should start by drinking one cup a day, and gradually increase this up to three cups. If you choose to take capsules, follow the recommended dosage instructions on the label. If you experience strong Braxton Hicks contractions after taking raspberry leaf tea, speak to your healthcare provider.

You can continue to drink red raspberry leaf tea after the birth to help your uterus shrink back down, boost your immune system, assist with milk supply and fight infection.


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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

6 Great Benefits of Dandelion Root Tea

When people think of a Dandelion, they usually think of it as a weed. But anyone who knows anything about herbs will tell you this awesome plant has so many health benefits that treating them as pests is such a waste.

The yellow flowered plants we frequently see on lawns, aren’t true dandelions, they are part of the dandelion family but they are not the ones to drink as tea, so please don’t go and start drinking those okay :)

Dandelion Root Tea

Dandelion root has been used for centuries for many different medicinal purposes. Today you’ll discover a few of the benefits of drinking dandelion root tea because drinking the root tea is one of the most common ways to consume it.

It’s also referred to as dandelion root coffee too, probably due to the fact that it makes a dark brown coloured tea and tastes good with honey and milk. I prefer to drink it black on most occasions but it does make a wonderful winter warmer in the form of dandelion chai too, using cinnamon, cloves and cardomon pods.

Anyway let’s get on with some of the benefits.

6 Great Benefits of Dandelion Root Tea

1. Vitamin and Mineral Power

Dandelion roots contain a surprising amount of nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin B complex, C, D, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and zinc. The benefit of the vitamins and minerals alone makes this plant a powerful addition to any diet.

2. Best Hangover Cure

One of dandelions major medicinal uses is in treating liver ailments. It has a cleansing effect on the liver. Alcohol floods the liver and lets just say the next day after a big night out, your liver and other organs are going to feel sluggish, making you feel terrible! Drink a few cups of dandelion root tea and believe me you will be springing back into action quick smart. It’s best to drink it black and unsweetened in this situation but if you can’t stomach it this way, drinking it with milk and honey will work effectively too.


3. Relieve Digestive Issues

Your digestive system is a complicated place with many organs performing their various functions. Many people experience discomfort in the digestive region than any other part of the body. Gas, bloating, constipation and indigestion are just a few of the common ailments that come from this area. If you are prone to this type of discomfort, drink some dandelion root tea right after you eat. The tea stimulates digestive enzymes from your mouth all the way down to your small intestine giving you quick relief.

4. Ease Premenstrual Symptoms

Women have been dealing with premenstrual symptoms way before there were drug stores. Water retention, anxiety, irritability and insomnia are some symptoms of PMS that can be helped by herbs. The estrogen levels are at an all-time high for some women at this time of the month. Dandelion is a detoxification herb that helps the liver rid the body of unwanted hormones. In order to reduce the build up of hormones, it is recommended that women drink three cups of dandelion root tea every day during their cycle for effective reduction of symptoms.

5. Lower High Cholesterol

The liver has been long recognised as playing a big part in high cholesterol levels. The body makes it’s own cholesterol via the liver so if your liver is over producing cholesterol or your digestive system isn’t processing it properly, you may get high cholesterol levels. As mentioned above, dandelion root is helpful to the digestive system and it is actually most helpful in cleansing the liver, so it makes perfect sense that drinking dandelion root tea will help your body purge itself of cholesterol or at least help balance things out.

6. Caffeine Detox

Dandelion root tea makes a great coffee substitute, its rich, dense flavor is so delicious making it the perfect beverage to help you eliminate or reduce your intake of caffeine. Try replacing your coffee with dandelion root tea to help overcome your addiction and cleanse your liver at the same time. Start with just one day at a time and when you get use to that routine, eliminate another coffee day and replace it with the tea. Follow this plan until you are completely off it and your overall health will improve as well. or if you want to quit quickly, try this caffeine remedy that will help you get off caffeine without headaches, thanks to dandelion and a few other key ingredients!

These are just a few of the benefits of drinking dandelion root tea, make sure you have it handy after your next big night out. It really is the best hangover cure ever!


The article 6 Great Benefits of Dandelion Root Tea first appeared in Good Food Eating.

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The Benefits & Side Effects of Nettle Leaf Tea

Stinging nettle is a plant in the genus Urtica that originated as a native shrub in colder regions of Europe and Asia and is now found worldwide. It gets its name from the fine hairs on its leaves and stems that release irritating chemicals when they contact your skin. The plant has been part of herbal medicine for centuries. Tea made from stinging nettle contains a number of biologically active compounds with possible health benefits.

Stinging Nettle

For hundreds of years, practitioners of herbal medicine have recommended stinging nettle as a treatment for the pain of arthritis and gout, for anemia, allergies and urinary problems or as a topical treatment for eczema, insect bites and painful muscles. The root and leaves of the plant contain several identified compounds that are biologically active, including flavonoids such as quercetin that have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help remove free radicals from your body; these unstable chemicals can damage your cellular membranes and DNA. Nettle also contains several other compounds, including beta-sitosterol, a plant chemical with a structure similar to cholesterol that can benefit your heart by lowering absorption of dietary fats by your blood.


Consuming stinging nettle tea may help prevent seasonal allergies, or improve symptoms such as sneezing and itching caused by allergic rhinitis if you already have this problem. The results of a clinical trial of stinging nettle as a possible aid for allergies was published in the journal "Planta Medica." After consuming a dried preparation of stinging nettle for one week, subjects with allergic rhinitis experienced a lessening of symptoms compared to a placebo group. Although this study suggests that nettle tea might be beneficial for allergies, this was a small trial and larger studies are needed to confirm its benefit.

Prostate Benefits

Preparations made from stinging nettle are traditional remedies for urinary tract disorders, especially benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH, in men. This non-cancerous condition causes enlargement of the prostate gland that can interfere with urination. Today, stinging nettle is widely used in Europe to treat the problem. Clinical research supports the herb's usefulness for relief of BPH symptoms. For example, in a trial published in "Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy" that lasted six months and involved more than 600 subjects with BPH, 81 percent of subjects who consumed a nettle preparation experienced lessening of symptoms compared to a placebo group. In addition, Memorial Sloan-Kettering says that nettle may slow growth of prostate cancer in laboratory animals. However, clinical studies with human subjects are needed to confirm this possible benefit.

How To Use

Stinging nettle preparations are available at most health food stores, as dried leaves, tincture or extract made from leaves or roots. Prepare a tea by steeping 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried leaves in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes; to obtain benefits from both the leaves and root, add a few drops of a tincture or extract from its roots to your tea. Stinging nettle is generally considered safe, although it might cause mild stomach upset in some people and it could interact with certain medications. Exercise care when handling nettle since it might cause an allergic rash on your skin. Do not consume nettle tea if you are pregnant and do not use the herb to self-treat for any condition. Discuss its use with your doctor to determine if it might be helpful for you.

The article The Benefits & Side Effects of Nettle Leaf Tea first appeared in SFGATE Healthy Eating.


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