Top 10 Blessed Herbs 0
The healing power of medicinal herbs has been recognized from prehistoric times. The earliest historical written records of hundreds of medicinal herbs were found on clay tablets used by thousands of year old Sumerian civilization. Scientist have investigated and are investigating the therapeutic potentials of those plants which have been used by ancient population as medicinal herbs. In fact, scientists have discovered hundreds of useful compounds in this way. These include the widely used modern medicines such as morphine, aspirin, quinine, and digoxin.
Medicinal plants are commonly used in developed and underdeveloped countries for the treatment of variety of diseases. The annual global export value of medicinal plants was over 2.2 billion US$ in 2012.
After reviewing therapeutic potential of various medicinal plants, here is a list of top 10 medicinal herbs which are enormously blessed by nature.
The first blessed herb is Garlic known to contain over 70 active phytochemicals, including selenium, allicin, flavanoids, sulfur and oligosaccharides. This spice is used in preparation of food in many cultures. Its use started well over 5,000 years ago. Garlic can be crushed and eaten raw, but the taste may not be so appealing. Therefore, many prefer to include it in foods as a spice.
Research has shown that garlic can be helpful for the treatment of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, allergies, and fungal infections. Garlic is also used to fight and prevent cancer.
Another blessed herb is Ginger, which is widely used as a spice in almost all parts of the world. It can be used for the treatment of nausea, morning sickness and sea sickness. This is achieved by the action of the oily resin called gingerols, which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
Ginger is also used to relieve indigestion, boost immune system, treat ulcers, alleviate pain, fight fungal and bacterial infection, improve diabetes and prevent cancer. Ginger can be eaten raw, included in tea, taken in powder form or used in oil form.
Cinnamon is another blessed herb, which has received enormous attention by scientists for its therapeutic potential. In a recent research in Germany, type 2 diabetics were required to take cinnamon extract on daily basis. Their blood sugar successfully reduced by 10%.
This blessed herb has also been shown to significantly lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It is also used to fight bacterial and fungal infections, cut risk of heart disease and prevent cancer.
This is a very popular herb, dating back to more than 4000 years. More than 3000 publications on turmeric have been released. The herb is normally added to food but can also be taken as supplements.
Turmeric has powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is mostly used to prevent blood clotting, alleviate arthritis pain, reduce depression, manage diabetes, reduces inflammation, lower cholesterol to healthy levels, treat digestive tract issues and prevent cancer.
This herb originated from the Mediterranean regions. Its main active ingredients are the Rosmarinic Acid and canosol.
When cooking meat at high temperatures, heterocyclic amines are normally produced. These can cause various types of cancer. Rosemary leaves are added to meat to reduce the production of heterocyclic amines.
The Rosemary herb is well-known for its effects on hairs, it is also used to enhance memory, reduce stress, suppress allergic responses and nasal congestion, boost immunity system, relieve pain and freshen the breath.
This blessed herb has more than 75 active ingredients, including amino acids, vitamins, enzymes, saccharides, minerals, saponins and salicyclic acids. Aloe Vera is widely used in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry. It is used to treat skin diseases, bacterial and fungal infections, irritable bowel syndrome, reduce constipation and inflammation, boost immune system, fight allergy and soothe rashes and skin irritation.
This is known as a sister herb to the Rosemary. It has woody stems with purple or blue flowers, and is evergreen. Sage is a powerful herb able to promote memory, reduce inflammation, treat Alzheimer’s and dementia, assist in digestion, improve the immune system, help in bone development, treat skin conditions and manage diabetes.
Cumin is enormously blessed by the nature for its therapeutic benefits. This flowering plant produces seeds that are used as a condiment in many countries across the continents of America, Asia, Africa and India. Cumin assists in digestion, treats insomnia, asthma, respiratory disorders, lactation, bronchitis, skin disorders, boils and common cold, improves immunity and prevents diabetes.
St. John’s Wort
This herb is mostly known for its antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties. The two important ingredients in St John’s Wort are hypericin and hyperforin.
St. John's Wort herb is also able to improve mood during menopause, soothe skin irritations and lessen symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder.
This blessed herb contains melatonin. It also increases the body’s level of melatonin. Melatonin is the nutrient that controls sleeping cycles. Therefore, the herb is taken to improve sleep.
St. John’s Wort has been shown to interact with a number of medicines. Therefore, consultation with your healthcare provider is always important before using it.
This herb has white and yellow flowers and leaves which are used to prepare medicinal teas. The leaves can also be chewed. Feverfew herb relieves headaches, arthritis pain and improves skin conditions.
- Dr. Danish Raza
Vegan Vitamins and Supplements: What you must know about 0
Vegans, for a variety of reasons, don’t eat animal products and their by-products. They focus on fresh vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds and fruits. This type of diet is very beneficial, but likewise has its own disadvantages. The major pitfall is the likelihood to fall short on some key nutrients such as Vitamin B12 and D, proteins, calcium and zinc. This cannot be ignored if one is to lead a healthy life. Vegans are therefore advised to consider taking some supplements on top of their diet. Here are some of those recommended vegan supplements.
1. Vitamin B12
Research has shown that people differ greatly in their ability to absorb Vitamin B12. With a vegan diet, there is a high possibility of being deficient of this nutrient. Therefore, it is advisable to go for a blood test regularly to check the B12 levels. If it falls below 500pg/mL, you should take vegan vitamin B12 supplement. Injections may be required in those people whose absorption of the nutrient is so poor.
There are two forms of B12 supplements in the industry, namely cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. The best form is the cyanocobalamin. The recommended dose is at least 1000 micrograms of B12 twice or thrice a week. Vitamin B12 supplements are available in capsules, tablets, lozenges, liquid and a variety of other forms. You should let the B12 lozenges sit under the tongue for more efficient absorption.
Most of the calcium rich foods are animal products and byproducts, but vegans don’t consume these. Vegans derive calcium from foods such as kales, tofu, soya beans, white beans, Brazil nuts, almonds and almond milk. Failure to eat plenty of these may make you fall short of the recommended target of 1000 mg per day. Vegan calcium supplements come in handy in this case.
The choice of Vegan calcium supplements can be tricky. Some of them are made from oyster shells, and thus are not vegan. Other brands use lanolin-derived vitamin D. Some other brands are marketed in gelatin capsules, or formulated in tablet form with non-vegan coatings. It is therefore advisable to particularly shop for a Vegan calcium supplements.
3. Protein Powders
The most obvious source of proteins is meat and eggs. Since vegans don’t consume these, they have to look for proteins in foods such as beans, wheat gluten. These may however be difficult to digest, especially for the young vegans. The need for proteins can therefore be adequately fulfilled using vegan protein powders.
One scoop of protein powders mixed into water is equivalent to a 16-ounce can of beans. This is certainly a great alternative to the natural proteins.
4. Vitamin D
This nutrient together with Calcium is essential in bone development. It is mostly obtained through exposing your skin to direct light or drinking fortified milk. The skin must be exposed directly to sun to produce Vitamin D, which may not be possible during the cold months. On the other hand, too much exposure to the sun may lead to premature aging of the skin. Vegan vitamin D supplements are therefore necessary for such individuals.
Vitamin D2 supplements have been there in the market for quite a long time. It is only until recently that supplements with the more potent Vitamin D3 have been produced.
Vegan sources of Omega-3 fats include walnuts, chia seeds, flax, hemp and pumpkin seeds. The strange part is that your body may not be properly converting the Omega 3 fats to provide adequate levels of DHA and EPA. This is the reason you may need DHA/EPA supplements. Vegan DHA/EPA supplements are extracted from algae. This makes them almost free of mercury and other heavy metals. Despite of drops in prices over the years, these supplements remain the most expensive for the Vegan.
Vegans can get iron from seaweed, some types of beans and leafy green vegetables. However, during pregnancy, women experience difficulty in getting iron from these foods. Vegan iron supplements or multivitamins that contain iron can adequately solve this problem.
It’s important to note that Vitamin C increases iron absorption. You can therefore squeeze some lemon in water and take along with the iron supplement.
7. Vegan Multivitamins
Vegan multivitamins ensure that the vegan diet does not fall short of some vital nutrients like Zinc and iodine. These are hard to obtain through Vegan foods.
All multivitamins contain cobalamin (B12). However, you should not rely on multivitamins to cover your B12 needs. This is because many people are not able to absorb enough of the B12 even if they take the supplements daily.
Some multivitamins contain iron. Taking too much iron can be hazardous, therefore you should shun such multivitamins unless the doctor recommends it boost your blood iron.
How to choose Vegan Vitamins?
Generally, vegans should not use multivitamin supplements as the only source of vitamins and minerals. Eating a variety of fruits, fresh vegetables and whole grains supplies quite a considerable amount of these minerals and vitamins. Therefore, you should not rely only on supplements for acquiring 100% of all the vitamins and minerals.
When choosing a multivitamin, you should first consider your diet. If the diet is more of fortified cereals or plant-based milk, you should consider buying calcium supplements. If the diet is more of lentils and other legumes, you’ll need multivitamins that provide B12, Vitamin D and iodine.
Side effects of Vegan Vitamins
Most vegan vitamins have little or no side effects. However some people may experience mild side effects such as upset stomach, headache and unpleasant taste in the mouth. More serious side effects may include allergic reactions, hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat. In such cases, it is usually advisable to seek help from your health-care provider.
We have clearly seen that not all the vital nutrients can be extracted from plants alone. Therefore, vegans should take vegan vitamins to fill this gap of nutrients. Care should also be taken to purchase multivitamins meant for Vegans. Some multivitamins are derived from animal products. If taken by vegans, it contradicts their decision to stay away from animal products and byproducts.
- Dr. Danish Raza
Hypoallergenic Sunscreen: Best for Sensitive Skin 0
Lack of strict regulation on cosmetic products has forced many people not to trust these products, regardless of the manufacturer’s claims. It would therefore be prudent to know how to choose a hypoallergenic sunscreen so as to avoid undesired skin reaction.
This is possible by examining the ingredients used in the production of these products.
What ingredients should I avoid?
In your search for a hypoallergenic sunscreen, you should watch out for these irritating ingredients that are commonly known to be toxic
- Preservatives - These are notorious irritants of the skin and eyes. Think twice whenever you see a sunscreen labelled with formaldehyde, methylisothiazolinone, parabens or BHT as part of the ingredients
- UVA, UVB blockers – These include mostly dibenzoylmethanes and para-aminobenzoic acid.
- Fragrances – Learn not to be attracted to fragrant sunscreens. It’s normally a temptation to go by these, but fragrances are one of the most common allergens.
- Benzophenones such as dioxybenzone, oxybenzone, and sulisobenzone are UVB filters that can cause photo-allergic and contact allergic dermatitis.
- Propylene glycol – This is famously used too promote cohesion of ingredients in products.
- Dyes – Always choose white or clear sunscreens that are void of dyes.
- Retinyl palmitate – This, plus other Vitamin A derivatives can be toxic to the skin cells.
- Ethanol – When this dries and penetrates into the skin, chances of contacting eczema increases. Ethanol is normally used in mist sprays.
With this much valuable knowledge, you now need to know what beneficial ingredients to look for in your choice of a hypoallergenic sunscreen.
What Ingredients should I look for?
First, a general rule of thumb would be, the fewer the additives, the better the sunscreen for a sensitive skin. There is however no guarantee that even the sunscreen with the least additives will not cause any reaction.
Zinc oxide and titanium oxide are two minerals that you should look for. The two are non-synthetic filters that offer considerable protection without much side effects.
How to purchase
This has sure shed some light on shopping for hypoallergenic sunblocks. Always take time to scrutinize the ingredients before making any purchase. Even so your body make up may still cause you to react to these skin products termed as hypoallergenic. Your doctor can give advice on the best ones to use, of course after the necessary tests.
- Dr. Danish Raza
What's the difference between psoriasis and eczema? 0
Eczema vs Psoriasis
- Eczema is the most common inflammatory skin problem in children. Psoriasis is another skin disorder which occurs in both adults and children. In fact, almost 1% of children develop psoriasis, and it occurs for the first time in about the third of the affected patients in childhood.
- Eczema is triggered by a hypersensitivity reaction, whereas psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disorder that causes overproduction of skin cells.
- It’s not always easy to distinguish between eczema and psoriasis. And indeed a study conducted in Australia recently showed that the majority of children with psoriasis were initially diagnosed wrongly by their primary care physicians often thinking that they had eczema. However, a trained dermatologist can easily distinguish between psoriasis and eczema.
What are differences between their appearances, locations on the body and symptoms?
- The psoriasis isn’t contagious and it is characterized by thick, red, silvery-white scaly patches, commonly affects elbows and knees. However, it may occur anywhere including the scalp, face, hands, buttock, and neck. Psoriasis on the face is often embarrassing and a source of social anxiety for the patients. If it appears on the scalp, it can be difficult to treat because of hairs.
- Eczema tends to appear on the body parts that bend such as inner part of the elbow or under the knees. In addition, it can appear on neck, wrists, and ankles. Infants sometimes have it on their face, scalp, chest, back, hands, and legs. Eczema causes skin to appear red, inflamed, or pus-filled.
- Both eczema and psoriasis can be itchy; however, generally eczema is much itchier than psoriasis.
- Similar to the psoriasis, eczema on the face can cause embarrassment and social anxiety. Because it is associated with intense itching, it deteriorates the skin and allows infection or bleeding.
Emory University Hospital
Atlanta, GA, USA
- Dr. Danish Raza
Tips for Buying Supplements 0
What are supplements?
Dietary or nutritional supplements include vitamins, minerals, fiber, herbs, protein, fatty acids, amino acids, and enzymes. Dietary supplements are available in several formulations such as powders, liquids capsules, tablets, lozenges, and softgels.
What are some common benefits of nutritional supplements?
Some supplements can restore the deficiency of certain chemicals in the body; others may help reduce the risk of disease. Be aware that natural products are not intended to replace complete meals, and eating a variety of foods is very important.
Are all dietary supplements safe?
No. Many dietary supplements contain ingredients that can modulate body’s functions. This property of supplements can produce unwanted effects, and even can produce toxic symptoms if taken in large quantities e.g. Vitamin A or D.
The best advice for buying or using dietary supplements
- To get authentic and current information about supplements use not for profit sources or websites (e.g. NIH, USDA, FDA).
- Be aware that supplements manufacturers are not allowed to market supplements for treating, diagnosing, preventing, or curing any health concern. If you find any health claim such as works better than [a prescription drug], cure disease, completely safe, or has no side effects, stay away from these products.
- Name and address of manufacturer or distributor are always written on the product’s label. Feel free to contact them if you want to know more about that particular product.
- Any ingredient in a large quantity whether natural or synthetic can cause side effects.
- Please note that the terms natural or organic not necessarily mean safe.
- Consult healthcare provider before taking any vitamin, herbs, mineral, or other natural products. Also inform them if you are taking any prescription medicine concurrently with a dietary supplement.
- Stop using the product if you notice any negative change in your health.
Emory University Hospital
Atlanta, GA, USA
- Dr. Danish Raza
Are Large Doses of Dietary Supplements Safe? 0
Let’s us talk about a nutritional supplement myth
There is a common myth or misconception that vitamins and herbal supplements are safe even in large doses because they are natural and available over the counter. But the truth is that the use of large doses of vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, and other natural products to combat diseases is not supported by scientific research.
In fact, some research studies have shown that large doses of some minerals or vitamins can cause serious adverse effects in humans. For example, high levels of vitamin C can cause deficiency of copper, a metal required by the body in normal levels, as it can interfere with its absorption. High levels of phosphorous can reduce the body’s absorption of calcium. The human body cannot eliminate the large quantities of vitamins A, D, and K, and Iron, and therefore large doses of these supplements can cause unwanted side effects.
Are water soluble vitamins safe?
Unlike fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), the water-soluble vitamins (B vitamins) do not accumulate in the body. However, overdosing of some of them can produce deleterious effects. For instance, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) when taken in excessive amounts can cause nerve damage, although that is unlikely in doses lower than 300 mg/day.
Consult doctor, nurse, pharmacist or other health practitioners before overdosing any vitamin, mineral, or other natural products.
Emory University Hospital
Atlanta, GA, USA
- Dr. Danish Raza