have you heard of pitaya?

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Here’s a fruit that caught my eye!

Also known as dragonfruit, this little beauty is not only cool to look at, but is delicious too!  While it may be a cousin to the kiwi, it definitely differs in taste.  It is actually a cactus and only blooms at night displaying little white flowers known as moonflowers.

The best part is the nutritional punch they pack!  Here is what Natural Food Benefits has to say about this little powerhouse.

Dragon Fruit (Pitaya) Cholesterol
Keeping a heart healthy low cholesterol diet? Don’t worry about your cholesterol Dragon fruit cholesterol is not an issue. Dragon fruit is both low in cholesterol and has little to no unhealthy cholesterol producing fats (certain fats which are metabolized to cholesterol contribute to increased cholesterol levels more than even cholesterol itself in food sources of cholesterol).

Dragon Fruit Vitamin C
The amount of vitamin C in dragon fruit is high, and because the dragon fruit is a natural fruit providing you with a rich balance of nutrients coming along with the vitamin C, you absorb the Vitamin C in dragon fruit efficiently when you eat dragon fruit as part of your fruit healthy diet.

Dragon Fruit Antioxidants
Eat dragon fruit as a good natural source of anti-oxidants which help to prevent the dangers of free radicals which can cause cancer and other undesirable health detriments. The number, quantity, and variety of antioxidants in real foods like dragon fruit is completely unmatched by any food supplement or pills – even those claiming to have ‘antioxidant’ health benefits. Nothing compares to the rich array of nutrients and antioxidants in a real natural food like the dragon fruit.

Dragon Fruit Fats
Dragon fruit does have a small amount of fats because there are so many seeds in the edible part of the fruit. There can be literally thousands of the small black seeds in any given dragon fruit, and like most seeds and nuts they have both fats and protein in them while the flesh of the fruit itself has virtually none.


Dragon Fruit Fiber
Pitaya, or dragon fruit has lots of dietary fiber with almost 1g of fiber per 100g of the fresh dragon fruit. Of course, the amount of dietary fiber in dragon fruit which is dried on a gram for gram basis is much higher than the amount of dietary fiber in dragon fruit as the fresh fruit.

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BOTTOM LINE?  The flavor is sweet and fruity and unlike anything you have tasted before.  Some say it has an earthy taste like a raspberry-strawberry mix.  Check and see if your grocer carries the Pitaya!

nuts over this yummy scrub!

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Rosmarinus officinalis, or Rosemary is  a wonderful herb to have in your garden, your kitchen and even your bathroom!

Rosemary has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that leave the skin smelling clean with its earthy aroma.  This particular scrub is made with rosemary and pecans, which have more than 19 vitamins and minerals to their name!

You’re going to want to keep this scrub near the sink with a small (think demitasse) spoon nearby.  Use this scrub after gardening or whenever your hands feel dry and need an extra kick of moisture.  This is also good to have in the shower for elbows, feet and knees.  Just be careful if you use a glass container….maybe you should find a cute plastic one for the shower.

ROSEMARY PECAN SUGAR SCRUB (recipe source)

1/4 cup turbinado sugar

1/4 cup pecans (raw)

1/4 cup sea salt

6 T. coconut oil

2 T. fresh rosemary

In a food processor, combine all ingredients.  Pulse until well blended.  Pour mixture into a decorative glass container with lid.

Gently rub spoonful of scrub onto hands (or feet) and rinse with warm water.  Use scrub within one week for best results.

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He Shu Wu….who?

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Well, here’s a new one to me!  He Shu Wu.  (pronounced huh show woo)

He Shu Wu is is one of the most popular and highly revered tonic herbs in Asian herbalism.  It is said to possess almost magical properties and the ‘elderly’ love it the most, believing it can maintain hair color, preserve youthfulness and restore fertility.  What’s not to love?

According to dragonherbs.com,

He Shou Wu is widely used in Chinese tonic herbalism as a tonic to prevent premature aging by tonifying the Kidney and Liver functions, toning up Jing (vital essence), nourishing the blood, and fortifying the muscles, tendons and bones. It strengthens and stabilizes the lower back and knees. He Shou Wu is used to enhance sexual drive, increase sperm count and to strengthen sperm and ova. It is also widely used in Asia to maintain the youthful condition and color of the hair. This is one of its most popular attributes. Because it is a very mild sedative, it will calm the nervous system, and because it has components that are potent antioxidants with gentle anti-inflammatory action in the liver, it can clear the eyes.”

Well…….there you go! 

images  Pretty, no?  No. 

But, let’s summarize:

  • liver and kidney tonic
  • relieves constipation (with Dang Gui and Hemp Seed)
  • helps with insomnia
  • clears skin problems
  • elevated serum cholesterol
  • weakness
  • excessive sweating
  • pain

But before you get all giggly about this herb, there are some side effects you might want to investigate first……Read more about side effects HERE.  And ALWAYS consult your healthcare practitioner before starting any new program…

  • loose stools
  • skin rash
  • numbness
  • liver dysfunction
  • estrogenic effects

It can be purchased HERE in tablet form.  According to Natural News, William Rudolph, “Potency and quality are keys when consuming He Shou Wu. It should have been  growing for at least 4 years and it needs to be properly prepared (by a  qualified herbalist) to experience the full tonic effects. This is done by  slicing the root shortly after harvesting and then boiling it in a soup of black  beans. It can then be made into a powder suitable for mixing in smoothies, or it  can also be taken in capsule or tincture form.”

Learn more:  http://www.naturalnews.com/028709_gray_hair_He_Shou_Wu.html

oh those pesky age spots!

age-spots%20(260%20x%20260) Oh those pesky age spots!   Most of them show up on our face, neck and hands but they can appear anywhere on the body as we age.

They are also called liver spots, however they have nothing to do with the liver or liver function….so who named them liver spots?  Silly.

Quite common after the age of 40, age spots are changes in skin color that occur in older skin. The increased color may be due to aging, exposure to the sun or other forms of ultraviolet light.

According to the Prescription for Nutritional Healing,” age spots are the result of a buildup of wastes known as lipofusion accumulation, a byproduct of free radical damage in skin cells.” 

So what does that mean?  Well, exposure to the sun causes the development of free radicals that can damage the skin.  So what’s a girl to do?

Protect your skin from the sun by taking the following precautions:

  • Wear protective clothing such as hats, long-sleeved shirts, long skirts, or pants.
  • Use sunglasses to protect your eyes.
  • Try to avoid sun exposure at midday, when sunlight is most intense.
  • Use high-quality sunscreens, preferably with sun protection factor (SPF) ratings of at least 30. Apply sunscreen at least a half hour before exposure, and reapply often. Use sunscreen in the winter, too.
  • Eat a diet high in vegetable protein and that consists of 50% raw fruits and vegetables, plush fresh grains, seeds and nuts.
  • Omit all animal protein from the diet for one month.
  • Brown or yellow spots can usually be eliminated by freezing them off.  During a painless in office procedure, the doctor brushes liquid nitrogen on the spots with a cotton swab.  In about 2 seconds the cells freeze and within 5 days the cells flake away.

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another headache? try something natural…

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Did you know that about 28 million Americans have migraine headaches?  And that’s just migraines!  There are all sorts of headaches that can give you horrendous pain such as, tension headaches, sinus headaches or cluster headaches.  And you know what comes with the headache…anxiety, stiff neck and shoulder muscles, eyestrain…I can go on and on.

Bottom line?  They hurt. 

Maybe you are tired of popping pills and would like to try a ‘natural’ solution.   Hopefully you will be able to relax away some of the pain with deep breathing, meditation or even visualization (although I do tend to visualize me smacking someone if they dare even look at me during one of my migraines)

Try some of these remedies next time and see if you get any relief…(via)

  • Herbal tea for tension headacheGinger decreases the production of pain-causing chemicals in the body.  Chamomile and linden are mild relaxants that can help ease emotional and physical tension.

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  • Ease headaches with an aromatherapy compress Lavender eases physical and mental stress and marjoram has deeply relaxing properties.  Add 5 drops each of lavender and marjoram essential oils to a basin of cool water.  Soak two washcloths in the water and lightly wring out.  Lie down and apply one cloth to your forehead and one to the back of your neck.  Rest for about 30 minutes.

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  • Lavender massage:  To ease a tension headache, massage your temples with a couple of drops of lavender essential oil.

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  • Take Valerian for painValerian helps relieve the pain of tension or migraine headaches.  Take half a teaspoon of valerian extract diluted in warm water every 30 minutes until the pain has abated.  (Up to 3 teaspoons a day)

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  • Footbath for headache relief:  Try immersing your feet in a bucket of wateras hot as you can stand it – for 15 minutes.  At the same time, wring out a cloth in ice water and place the cold compress on your forehead, temples, back of the neck or where ever the pain is concentrated.  Hot water dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow to the feet, while the cold compress constricts blood vessels in the head, reducing the volume of blood flow and thereby reducing pain.

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  • Loosen mucus:  Spicy foods, such as horseradish and hot peppers, increase the flow of blood and loosen the secretions of mucus in the sinuses.  This has the effect of relieving the congestion that causes sinus headaches.

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American Council for Headache Education:  www.achenet.org

American Headache Society:  www.ahsnet.org

National Headache Foundation:  www.headaches.org

The National Migraine Association:  www.migraines.org

World Headache Alliance:  www.w-h-a.org

Caution:  Always consult with your doctor before starting any new remedy.  Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and women trying to conceive should also consult a healthcare practitioner before taking any herbal medicine.

Black seed … curing it all except death? Let’s look…

Black seeds So there it is.  The cure all. 

What is it?  This little seed is not new to the Mediterranean or the Middle East.  Nigella sative, is not only a food but also a valued traditional medicine that has been used to treat many different ailments for thousands of years.

The black seed is a herbaceous plant although has no relation to the kitchen herb, cumin. It has been said to have a slight peppery flavor and is great sprinkled on breads and cheese.   Black seed is tiny and hairy and about 3mm in length, coming from the fennel flower plant of the buttercup family.

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How does it work?  Black seed can help with:

  • Digestive problems including intestinal gas and diarrhea
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Cough
  • Bronchitis
  • Flu
  • Congestion
  • High blood pressure
  • Immune System booster
  • Cancer prevention
  • Birth control
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Increasing breast milk flow
  • Achy joints
  • Headache
  • Skin conditions
  • Parasitic worms

How can I use it?  There are several ways to use black seed:

  • Eat black seeds plain
  • Eat a teaspoon of black seed mixed with honey
  • Boil black seed with water.  Strain and drink
  • Heat black seed and warm milk until it begins to boil.  Remove from heat.  Cool, then drink
  • Grind black seed and swallow it with water and milk
  • Sprinkle on bread and pastries
  • Burn black seed with bukhoor (incense) for a pleasant scent

Any precautions?  Black seed, when used in small quantities, such as a flavoring for foods, appears to be safe for most people, however can cause allergic rashes when applied to the skin.  Not much is known about the safety of black seed during breast-feeding and for pregnant women, it can cause the uterus to stop or slow down contractions.

Always consult your physician before trying any new supplement. 

Sources:

www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-901&activeIngredientName=BLACK%20SEED

www.amazingherbs.com/nareofarblse.html