By Thomas Doyle
Essential oils are GREAT!!! They can be used to help with a wide variety of ailments and household issues. Essential oils have powerful therapeutic properties, and despite the critics, there are lots of scientific studies to back it up. However, a WARNING is in order. Essential oils are concentrated solutions of natural occurring chemicals. As such they are only safe when used properly. They have a wide range of benefits include health, beauty, cleaning insect control and more. There is a reason they are popular.
Because they are concentrated solutions of chemicals there are RISKS. A single drop of essential oil has the same amount of chemicals as many cups of herbal tea from the same plant. For example, did you know that it takes?
First- Some Basic Rules
How to dilute your essential oil.
Please consult with an aromatherapist, Master Herbalist or medical professional before using essential oils on children under two years of age. Hot oils such as Cinnamon, Clove Bud, and Oregano should be diluted to 0.5%, and should not be used on children under ten years of age.
THESE SUGGESTED RANGES ARE NOT RECOMMENDED DOSAGE.
Patch test: For first time use of an essential oil, a safe practice is to place a drop of diluted essential oil to a small area of skin such as the inside elbow. After application, be aware of adverse reactions for the first 24 hours. Possible reactions include skin irritation, headache, nausea, respiratory complaints or dizziness.
Some Essential Oils Increase photosensitivity
Certain oils can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, which can set you up for a sunburn, even with just minor exposure. Never apply any of these essential oils to your skin if you are going to be exposed to the sun or to UV rays. They do not promote tanning. Instead they are likely to cause pain, blistering, swelling and irreparable damage to your skin. If you have used any of those oils on your skin, wait a minimum of four hours after applying before being exposed to the sun. Here is a list of these oils
4. Pregnant or Nursing
Everyone knows that while pregnant or nursing you should be careful about what you eat and do. Essential oils can affect hormones, gut bacteria and other aspects of health and extreme care should be used when taking them while pregnant or nursing. There is evidence that essential oils can cross the placenta and get to the baby. The effects of essential oils can be compounded in utero. I’m not saying they should not be used during pregnancy, but that extreme care should be taken and research done first. During pregnancy and nursing I recommend using essential oils for aromatherapy and highly diluted use of approved essential oils for topical application.
Many oils are considered safe during pregnancy, especially after the first trimester. A good rule is to always check with a professional and use caution with any herbs used during pregnancy.
The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), recommends that pregnant women avoid the following essential oils:
If you’re nursing, you may want to avoid peppermint essential oil as it can decrease milk supply. On the other hand, if you’re in the process of weaning, it can be helpful when used topically on the breasts.
Potential Medication Interactions
If you take a prescription drug, it’s important to find out if the essential oil you plan to use may interfere with it. If you’re uncertain about whether to use the oil with a medication you’re taking, don’t use it. Individuals with liver disease, renal disease, a compromised immune system, or those taking multiple medications, should consult with a qualified, professional before using essential oils. Here are some common herbs/essential oils and the medications they interfere with.
There are many more so do your homework
Children or babies
Never, Never treat children as an adult. This includes treatment with essential oil, herbs and tinctures. Children are smaller, have much thinner, more delicate skin are in the process of still growing. They tend to be more sensitive to essential oils. Most experts recommend that the oils should be diluted at least two times more than an adult.
Generally, oils such as orange, lemon, lavender, chamomile and frankincense are considered safe for use on children when diluted, although it’s still advisable to check with a professional first, and then perform a skin test. There are also certain oils that should never be used around a young child or baby, like wintergreen, eucalyptus, rosemary and peppermint. Those oils contain compounds that can actually slow breathing, or even stop it in those who have respiratory problems. Additionally, you should always treat essential oils like you would any type of medicine, and keep them out of reach of children – oils like wintergreen can be fatal if swallowed.
More is not better!
The biggest mistake one can make with essential oils and other herbal medicines is using too much and or using it too often. Treat essential oils like you would a medication and, be sure to consult an expert. In many cases the actions of essential oils and herbal medicines, can change dramatically dependent upon the dose taken. And just because you can’t smell it anymore does not mean it’s not still in your system.
Essential Oil Quality
To really benefit from essential oils, it is imperative to use oils that are 100% free from adulterants, additives and extenders. Oh, and one last note, there is no such thing as therapeutic grade. Essential oils are either pure or adulterated. The amount of specific chemicals in an essential oil can vary dependent upon the plants used. Environment, weather, stressors, soil make up and many other factors can cause variation in essential oil make up.
Bearberry Essentials carries 30 different essential oils, and we custom blend 8 for special purposes. We also take orders and will blend to specific to your needs. If at any time you have a question about using essential oils, herbs or tinctues please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Thomas Doyle
Essiac tea is said to have been an ancient recipe made by the Ojibwe tribes of Native Americans who populate areas of Canada and the northern United States. It was referred to as the “Ojibwa Tea of Life.” This tea was first made popular by Rene Caisse and Nurse in Canada.
Rene Caisse used essiac to treat thousands of people throughout her life. She first learned about the tea in 1922 during a conversation with a patient, an older English woman. Rene noticed a scar on her breast. The woman told Rene about her trip from England to northern Ontario, and how she had developed swelling and pain in her breast during that time. An old native medicine man had told her that she had cancer, and that he could heal her. She decided to seek medical attention and, after traveling to southern Ontario, the old English woman was diagnosed with advanced cancer. The doctors suggested that her breast be removed completely, but the cost of the procedure was more than she could afford. Instead she decided to try the medicine man’s remedy Upon reaching the mining camp, the English woman sought out the consultation of the medicine man and began taking the medicine as a treatment for her cancer. Rene, entranced by the story, wrote down the names of the plants and herbs used in the medicine, and kept them for herself to help if she ever developed cancer in future.
recovered completely and lived 18 more years. To date there are Thousands of patient testimonials testifying of the healing ability of Essiac Tea. This herbal remedy can now be found in health stores all over the US and Canada and is a popular product sold in online markets.
There are four primary herbs that make Essiac tea so effective. These herbs help to destroy overgrowth of bad bacteria, viruses and parasites, and detoxify the colon, liver and kidneys. These major herbs include:
The Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Reports that Essiac demonstrated antioxidant and cytotoxic properties in vitro, but stimulated growth of human breast cancer cells both via estrogen receptor (ER)-dependent and ER-independent pathways. Similarly, studies of its antiproliferative effects on prostate cancer cells yielded conflicting data. Remission of hormone-refractory prostate cancer was reported in a patient, but a retrospective study of breast cancer patients found that Essiac did not improve quality of life or mood . Despite unsubstantiated claims, Essiac remains a popular anticancer therapy today.
The anticancer effects of arctigenin a component of burdock root in Essiac tea have also been reported in various human cancer cell lines, in which arctigenin induced apoptosis mainly via the mitochondrial pathway and cell cycle arrest. Reports of G0/G1 arrest in lung and bladder cancer cells, but G2/M arrest in colon cancer cells, suggest that arctigenin exerts differential effects at the molecular level in different cell types (Thressi Maxwell, 2018).
A 2007 Canadian study conducted in a lab with no human test subjects revealed Essiac contains more antioxidant properties than red wine or green tea. No antibacterial effects were observed, but Essiac did stimulate several immune system cells and enzymes (Whitmer, 2015).
All human clinical trials were either stopped by government authorities or kept hidden from the public (Whitmer, 2015).
Dr. Ralph Moss was appointed to the Cancer Advisory Panel that evaluates alternative cancer therapies for the government. On his original web site and in his book CANCER THERAPY, Dr. Moss pointed out that each of the herbs in Essiac has been scientifically shown to contain anticancer substances.
“I was diagnosed with level 3 melanoma cancer in 1995. It metastasized to a gland in my forearm. It was confirmed at UCI Cancer clinic. Well, I was told that it was not a good thing, and that I need to prepare for a battle.” (Thomas Smith - Jan. 18th 2015)
“I started a Essiac tea regiment. In Four weeks the tumor in my arm disappeared and became a scar ball. My immune system identified the cancer and killed it. I know this because when the doctors went in to remove the tumor and opened up the spot on my arm – this is what they found. I have been cancer free for almost twenty years now. Go figure…. (opn4bzns - Nov. 17th 2013).
“March 2013 my wife was told she had cancer of the colon that had spread to her liver that showed 8 tumors. Her cancer markers, a cancer test of the blood, was over 2200…normal is under 5. She started chemo immediately and I started her on Essiac Tea…3 ounces 3 times a day. The Pet Scan taken in October 2013 showed the cancer in the colon was not even showing up on the scan any more…Doctor said it was asleep whatever that means. Only 1 tumor was found on the liver…7 are gone. Her cancer marker went from 2200 to 2.5 which is in the normal range. Doctor said in the beginning they can’t cure her cancer…just maybe prolong her life. Was it the Chemo or the Essiac that bought this wonderful change?…I don’t know, but her doctor is amazed at her progress, so we are going to continue the Essiac. Good luck to all of you out there.” (Wendy Johnson - via Facebook Mar. 31 2013).
By Ashley Doyle
I love essential oils. Not for the obvious reasons like scented bathes, homemade soaps, natural perfumes, and air fresheners. They don’t have just aromatic purposes. They also have cleansing abilities!
My exploration of the world of essential oils has led me into the science of aromatherapy and its healing abilities. I’ve always believed that if you didn’t need to turn to drugs then it was always better to use natural means of healing, and that includes essential oils. Sooo – essential oils are wondrous to me.
Now that I’ve discovered that I can clean with them, they have gone from been wondrous to magical. I mean, seriously!
And why not! These little bottles can be spread so far and be used for some many different purposes, it wasn’t a hard decision to go out and expand my collection of essential oils. Originally, I only had Lavender and Spearmint because I enjoyed putting a few drops in my bath after a long day. Now my collection includes Vanilla, Lavender, Spearmint, Tea Tree, and Lemon. However, I only use Tea Tree, Lemon, Eucalyptus, and Peppermint for cleaning. Mostly because I relate those scents to cleanliness.
Using these natural cleaners instead of chemicals is fun and healthy. You don’t have to spend all that money on extra cleaning supplies. All you need is an empty spray bottle, a bucket, a couple of old rags, and a few things you’ll find in every kitchen. Instead of having to air out by opening a few windows to get rid of the fumes, your house is left smelling wonderful :)
Another plus, its eco-friendly!
When I fist decided to switch to essential oils. I decided that I would find ways of incorporating essential oil cleaning as my cleaning supplies ran out. Luck would have it that the first thing that ran out was my all-purpose cleaner. So I tried using essential oils on my kitchen floors.
Now I have two recipes for the floor. I liked this first one because I feel it’s more of an all-purpose cleaner. It’s also perfect for hardwood floors. I actually liked it so much that I decided to make my own paper towelettes for easy cleaning.I was pretty excited about this especially when I realized that by making these I was only spending about .75 cents per batch of cleaning wipes. It only takes a couple minuets. So, it’s worth the time :)
This is how I did it.
You’ll need Floor Cleaning mixture, a paper towel, a canister with a plastic lid for holding the finished product, a sharp knife, and a needle.
Floor Cleaner (works on hardwood too)
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 gallon of warm water
2-3 drops essential oils
I started first by cutting a paper towel roll in half and then fit the halved roll into the container. Leave cardboard in, this will make it easier to find the paper towel in the meddle of the roll so that you can pull it out.
Next, pour your Floor Cleaning mixture in the container and wait until the towels have soaked up the mixture. Carefully remove the cardboard middle of the paper towels. You’re almost done!
Now pull the inner towelette pull and put it through the container, by puncturing a hole through the top and inserting the towelette through that hole.
And you’re done!
Here are a few suggestions for essential oil mixtures that you can use in your towelettes.
Lavender + Lemon
Citrus Blend: Lemon, Lemongrass, Orange, and Lime
Spicy Blend: Orange, Clove or Cinnamon
Sanitizing Blend: Tea Tree + Eucalyptus
Minty Refresher: Peppermint + Wild Orange
This next cleaner I love is explicitly to be as a floor cleaner. The essential oil mixture calls for is very nice and relaxing. I found myself enjoying the cleaning process. The suds were an added bonus…because I like bubbles...
Floor Cleaner (not hardwood friendly)
2 tablespoons unscented liquid soap
8 drops lemon essential oil
4 drops tea tree essential oil
1 gallon of warm water
I live in an older building. The change I saw in my floors with both recipes was a wonderful success.
Which…Is why I brought up the building I live in. This past month it had its 100th birthday! Which makes it one of the oldest buildings in the cit, which also means it has the most problems including …. spiders, and … mice. So I decided to test a theory I saw somewhere on the web.
According to “Essential Oils in Insect Control: Low-Risk Products in a High-Stakes World” by Catherine Regnault-Roger, Peppermint is one of the scents that insects and mice hate. They loathe it and, therefore, avoid it. Yayyy!!
So I switched out the lemon for peppermint oil.
The mice have retreated and I have seen no spiders. Granted, it’s only been a week, but I’m still calling it a success.
I’m still in the process of trying to replace my regular cleaning supplies with essential oil cleaning. So far I love it. It makes your house smell heavenly. The lack of chemicals isn’t as damaging to your skin and you don’t have all the left over fumes. Another reason I like it is that it is healthier for you to clean with essential oils. Natural and eco-friendly methods have always been better for the body and the earth.
Other Cleaning recipes I liked…
Laundry Soap Powder
2 cups washing soda (sodium carbonate)
2 cups Borax (sodium borate)
1 bar unscented Bear Berry Essential Castile Soap
3 teaspoons lavender tea tree essential oil
1 teaspoon lemon essential oil
1. Using a box grater, grate the soap.
2. In a bowl, thoroughly mix all ingredients until a damp powder forms.
3. Use up to 1/4 cup per normal sized load of laundry.
4. Store in a plastic container.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
18 ounces water
1/4 cup liquid soap
4 drops lavender essential oil
4 drops tea tree essential oil
4 drops lemon essential oil
Combine ingredients in a 22-ounce spray bottle
Spray and scrub toilet bowl
Spotlight on Essential Oils -- Specifically Lemon
Lemon is known for its natural cleaning and disinfecting properties. The brain relates that scent with cleanliness. That the reason why when you breathe in a cleaner with lemon scent and the main way to describe it is clean. Simply put, this sweet scented lemon oil is a purifying oil perfect for cleaning.
Is Your House a Smoke House?
Burning herbs can eliminate bacteria and provide a quick way to administer herbal medicines. This practice has been around for a thousand years and has recently seen a comeback due to scientific evidence. Hospitals in Eastern Europe use smoldering Bearberry to rid hospital rooms of harmful bacteria, which has reduced the infection rate among their patience’s. The idea is not to burn the herbs but let them smolder to give off the smoke which contains the medicinal benefits. It only takes a little bit of smoke not a lot. Research shows that burning herbs for just 60 minutes cleans the air for 24 hours and reduces bacteria for up to 30 days.
There are three ways to do this in your own home. Use loose herbs, smudge sticks and herbal incense. I recommend herbal incense or smudge sticks. Loose herbs do not stay smoldering and require constant attention.
Here is one of our recipes for an herbal incense cone, that we use for getting rid of harmful germs that cause us to get sick during the cold and flu season.
Smudging (burning herbs and plant resins for medicinal and spiritual use) has been used since ancient times, by cultures all over the world for healing and to clear the buildup of emotional or spiritual negativity. Smudging is often viewed as some sort of magical practice, however recent studies at the National Botanical Research Institute have shown that there is scientific evidence that medicinal smoke is a powerful antiseptic that can purify the air of 94% of harmful bacteria for up to 24 hours and drastically decreased pathogenic bacteria for more than 30 days. These bacteria include those responsible for urinary tract infections, septic arthritis, sepsis and staph infections.
The authors of a 2006 study called “Medicinal Smokes” have concluded that smudging indeed has the ability to purify the air and that this practice is very efficient in delivering the medicinal substances to the brain promptly. When they are released through smoke, these substances are also absorbed by our organism faster and more effectively than through other methods. This analysis can be found in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
Although smudging and similar practices have been classed as “new age” or dismissed as fantasy or spiritual nonsense by those attempting to discredit them, research is scientifically proving that there are great benefits to the rituals that the Native Americans (along with many other indigenous groups) have inherently known of and practiced with faith throughout time.
Here are some herbs used in smudging.
White Sage (Artemisia ludoviciana) is effectively used in smudging as is other members of the Artemisia family. White sage is most commonly associated with this practice, very good as an antibacterial. White sage is one of the 4 sacred herbs of the Native Americans. It has 3 active constituens: Santonin, Artemisinin, and Thujone. Santonin is a drug which was widely used in the past as an anthelminthic, a drug that expels parasitic worms by paralyzing them, which allows
them to be passed out of the body. Artemisinin, also known as qinghao su by the Chinese is used against Plasmodium falciparum malaria. It was discovered by Tu Youyou, a Chinese scientist, who was awarded half of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery. Treatments containing an artemisinin derivative are now standard treatment worldwide for P. falciparum malaria.
Bay leaf (Laurus nobilis) has been used for a long time to prevent common colds and flu. The bay leaf contains a compound called linalool. A study by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists found that linalool decreases anxiety and enhances social interaction. Bay leaves contain mycrene and eugenol. Both of these compounds possess great anti-inflammatory properties and are, in fact, used heavily in stress reduction therapy. When you burn a bay leaf, these compounds become airborne. Once inhaled, they will reduce any respiratory inflammation. This can work wonders if you suffer from allergies or have a bad cold.
Bearberry (Uva ursi) is a very good antimicrobial. Its active constituents include glycosides including arbutin and ericolin, Tannins, flavonoids, and resin. While uva ursi’s medicine may help to heal a urinary tract infection, Native Americans used it to clear the mind, as well as to help bring visions and guidance.
Cedar smudge has a very powerful cleansing ability. It contains over 20 different constituents. The major constituents in cedar smoke are acetic acid, limonene, elemol, α-cadinol, hexadecanoic acid, and kaur-16-ene. The cedar tree has been revered for its spiritual significance for thousands of years. Its wood was used for the doors of sacred temples and burned in cleansing ceremonies for purification. Cedar has a long history of use in indigenous sweat lodge ceremonies and the tree was thought to house important gods and to be an entrance to higher spiritual realms.
Sweetgrass contains coumarins which are antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and antioxidant. It is especially among the native tribes of North American that there are traditions of using this herb not only for religious ceremonies but also to a certain extent for medicinal purposes. The smoke of burning sweet grass was inhaled to treat colds and also used to keep insects at bay.
Rosemary activates and refreshes the body and soul and dispels negative forms of energy with its sharp aromatic vapor. It also boosts one’s self-confidence. Rosemary smoke has antioxidant, anti-infection properties. Rosemary constituents include About 1% volatile oil, camphor, camphene and cineole, diosmin, apigenin, diosmetin, genkwanin, 6-methoxygenkwanin, hispidulin, sinensetin, luteolin and derivatives, rosmarinic acid, carnosilic acid, carnosol, rosmariquinone; ursolic acid, oleanic acids, and carnosic acid (rosmaricine).
Juniper leaves emit warm, fragrant and spicy vapor that is thought to have a strong protective activity. The principal constituent is the volatile oil, with resin. Juniper has rubefacient, astringent, antiseptic, carminative, analgesic, stimulant, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, anti-rheumatic, diuretic, expectorant, anti-catarrhal, antispasmodic, neurotonic and sudorific properties.
Mullien smoke has been considered as an effective remedy for a wounded soul. Its fragrance has a very relaxing effect on the nervous system. It has also been used extensively for lung issues including bronchitis. Mullein constituents include hesperidin, verbascoside and aucubin. Verbascoside has an antimicrobial activity notably against Staphylococcus aureus. It can also have anti-inflammatory properties and has
demostrated wide antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Acubin has been reported in the Journal Of Toxicology as a powerful anti-toxin and is used to protect against liver damage.
The evergreen leaves of pine, fir and sprucepossess an especially potent cleansing ability. The pine has been revered and used all over the world. It was used as a traditional remedy by the Native American Indians, and there is a Taoist practice of surviving only on pine needles to gain supernatural powers that has its roots in the pine tree’s symbolism of integrity and honour. The Scandinavians used pine branches in saunas, and many cultures stuffed mattresses with pine needles to repel lice, fleas, and other insects. In fact, pine-needle mattresses are still used today in the Swiss Alps, as a remedy for rheumatism. Studies in both China and Russia have also found it to be Anti-Fungal, Anti-Bacterial & Anti-Viral, AntiOxidant & Anti-Aging, Helpful for Weight, Cholesterol & High blood pressure, Relieves Sore, Aching
Muscles, Stimulating to the Liver, Astringent for the Bladder, Relaxing to the Mind and Stress Relieving, AND Helpful in Restoring Overall Balance to The Body!
A word of caution
Smudge sticks and incense should never be left unattended. Also, the idea of smudging is not to produce huge amounts of smoke and to inhale it. This can result in respiratory problem, which would completely ruin its goal. Furthermore, smudging should not be practiced in a room where there are pregnant persons, children, and people who suffer from allergies, asthma or respiratory diseases.
C. S. Nautiyal, P. S. (2007, December 3). Medicinal smoke reduces airborne bacteria. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 114(3), 446-451. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2007.08.038
G. P. P .Kamatoua, M. V. (2010). Chemical composition of the wood and leaf oils from the “Clanwilliam Cedar”. South African Journal of Botany, 652-654. doi:10.1016/j.sajb.2010.04.002
Ji, S. (n.d.). Medicinal smoke can completely eliminate diverse plant and human pathogenic bacteria of the air within confined space. Retrieved from GreenMedinfo: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/medicinal-smoke-can-completely-eliminate-diverse-plant-and-human-pathogenic-bacteria-air
0 CommentsCold and Flu Relief1/20/2018
Combat the Cold and Flu
Its 2018 and the Cold and Flu Season is the worst I can remember. It seems that the vaccines are only partially helpful. The good news is there are other ways, Natural Ways, to boost our immune systems and help prevent and or shorten the illness. While there are many herbs that can help, my favorite is Elderberry Syrup. The flowers and berries of the Elderberry plant are nutritious, rich in flavonoids, and high in vitamin C, vitamin A, bioflavonoids, betacarotene, iron, and potassium. Elderberries are known to be effective against eight strains of influenza. This suggests that elderberries are superior to vaccines in preventing flu, because flu vaccines are only effective against known strains of flu, whereas the virus is continually mutating to new strains.” Elderberry has demonstrated its ability to prevent flu and colds when taken before infection. Taken after infection, it prevents spread of the virus through the respiratory tract. In a clinical trial, 20% of study subjects reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed complete cure in three days. In contrast, subjects receiving the placebo required 6 days to recover.”
To read about other herbs that can help go to http://www.bearberryessentials.com/holistic-blog/archives/09-2016
Here is my Elderberry Syrup Recipe.
Makes 1 Quart.
1 cup Dried Organic Elderberries
1/2 cup Dried Organic Elderflowers
4 Tbsp. Dried Organic Rosehips
4 Tbsp. Dried Organic Echinacea Root
4 cups Distilled Water
3 Tbsp. Organic Cinnamon Chips
3 tsp. Dried Organic Ginger
1 Cup of Local Honey
In an Insta pot combine all dry ingredients and 4 cups of distilled water, close top and on Manuel cook for 12 minutes then Quick Release and change to saute' mode for 10 minutes (Water should be reduced by 1/2)(In slow cooker cook until dried Herbs have softened then reduce water by 1/2.) smash, strain, and when cooled add about 1 cup of raw honey.
Bearberry Essentials has put together a Elderberry Syrup Kit that has all the ingredients except water and honey. Click the link below to order the kit.
Bearberry Essentials also has an Immune Boost Tincture.
Sleep is essential to human life. It is as important as breathing and eating. Without proper sleep, the body will cease to function. During sleep, the body consolidates memories, grows muscle, synthesizes hormones, repairs tissue, restores and rejuvenates. Until 1993, when the US Congress mandated a National Center on Sleep Disorders, insomnia was not considered a significant or disabling medical condition. Today, it is recognized as a disease which is produced by a wide variety of causative factors, including emotional disorders and upset, physical imbalances, age, environmental factors, and a genetic component. The Mayo Clinic defines insomnia as a “persistent disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep, or both.”
Most of us have suffered from some form of insomnia from time to time in our lives, however, for millions of Americans, this nightmare is repeated night after night. Estimates show that over 70 million Americans suffer from chronic insomnia which includes 90 different sleep disorders. Chronic insomnia can lead to a variety of health complications including obesity, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and more. Although many people reach for over-the-counter and prescription medications to help them sleep, they often only mask the cause of the sleeplessness and complicate the issue.
Before turning to drugs (OTC, prescription or herbs), first consider the root cause and take steps to address them. The root cause could be stress, diet, a medical issue, being overweight, or many other reasons. Here are some tips and ideas that have been proven to work.
Another option to use herbs as a sleep aid. This could be in the form of a sleep pillow, tea, or other herbal preparation.
Sleep Pillow: To make your own sleep pillow, simply fill a cloth bag with your favorite blend of relaxing herbs such as lemon balm, chamomile and lavender, and sew it up. Place it either inside your pillow’s case and during the night your body heat will help the active substances contained in the herbs are activated. The aromatherapy will help you to calm you down and induce a better night’s sleep.
There are many herbs that when used in the form of a tea or tincture that can help the body relax, reduce stress and help achieve restful sleep. Here are my favorites.
time it takes a person to fall asleep and also help increase the duration and quality of sleep. Be sure only to take valerian for three weeks or so before switching to another herbal remedy as your body will get used to it. After you switch for a couple of weeks, you can go back to the valerian, and it should have the same impact that it initially had. In the United States, herbalists use valerian extensively for its sedative action against insomnia, nervousness, and restlessness. It is recommended for those type of people who have a hard time falling asleep, because it shortens sleep latency. It also reduces nighttime waking. Valerian is an excellent herbal sedative that has none of the negative side effects of Valium and other synthetic sedatives. It works well in combination with other sedative herbs, such as California poppy, skullcap, hops, and passion flower.
Dose: Tea, 1 cup as needed; Tincture, 2-5 droppers full 1 hour before bed.
Hops (Humulus Spp);
Hops is another sedative herb, and valerian can be combined with hops extract for greater sleep benefits. They’re both mild and safe. In the early 1900s, Eclectic physicians used hops as a sedative specifically for insomnia due to worry or nerve weakness. Hops, a major flavoring component of beer, has a long history of use for sleeplessness, nervousness, and restlessness. Hops pillows are sometimes used for mild insomnia.
Dose: Tea, 1 cup 2-3 x daily; Tincture, 30-40 drops 2-3 x daily.
of Christ.” As an herbal remedy, passionflower has been used for a very long time to ease mental stress and slow the down a “running” mind. Historically it has been used both as a sleep aid and a stress reliever. The chemical composition of this plant is nothing short of amazing. Scientific studies confirm the sedative properties of this magnificent plant. Rich in flavones, alkaloids and coumarins, passionflower extract is also found to contain GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, that can play role in regulating excitability and muscle tone while it feeds and relaxes nerves. When used appropriately, passionflower is safe for children and persons with health conditions and taken in the form of a tincture. Herbalists consider passion flower an important herb for insomnia caused by mental worry, overwork, or nervous exhaustion. In England it is an ingredient in forty different commonly-sold sedative preparations. Passion flower is used for minor sleep problems in both children and adults.
Dose: Tea, 1 cup 3 x daily; Tincture, 30-60 drops 3-4 x daily.
of the legend that said that the orange petals were gold filled. Although not filled with gold, the California poppy is not only a good food source but also has some potent medicinal properties. Historically used for such illnesses as toothaches, headaches and sores, this perky little plant has also earned a reputation as a strong sedative. It can ease insomnia that results from restlessness and anxiety and can be used even for children. California poppy can currently be found in a variety of herbal remedies sold in the United States for promoting sleep, helping one to relax, and easing mild anxiety. Clinical and laboratory work on California poppy has clearly demonstrated the plant’s sedative and anti-anxiety properties.
Dose: Tea, 1 cup 2-3 x daily; Tincture, 30-40 drops 2-3 x daily.
Note: Since the tea is mild, a tincture is recommended when a stronger dose is desired.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula officinalis);
A cup of warm lavender tea before bed is a great way to promote relaxation and help with anxiety, depression, stress and insomnia. In addition to drinking tea, try putting a drop of lavender essential oil on your pillow, or soaking in a hot bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil and Epsom salts. Lavender is a gentle strengthening tonic for the nervous system. A few drops of lavender oil added to a bath before bedtime are recommended for persons with sleep disorders.
Dose: Tea, 1 cup 2-3 x daily;
Essential oil–oil may be inhaled, massaged into the skin (use 10 drops essential oil per ounce of vegetable oil), or added to baths (3-10 drops).
is commonly used in Europe, South America, and Mexico for insomnia and restlessness combined with irritability, particularly in children.
Dose: Tea, 1 cup 2-3 x daily;
Tincture, 30 drops 3 x daily.
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum):
This common yellow-flowered weedy herb from Europe is quickly becoming an important part of modern herbal therapeutics. It has a long history of use dating back to ancient Greek times. Modern scientific studies show that it can help relieve chronic insomnia and mild depression when related to certain brain chemistry imbalances. Because this herb can sensitize the skin to sunlight, if you are taking a full dose, avoid direct skin exposure to bright sunlight.
Dose: Tincture, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon 2-3 x daily;
Allow 2-3 weeks for the full therapeutic effect to develop. If you experience light sensitivity or other unpleasant symptoms, reduce or discontinue the St. John’s wort and consult a qualified herbalist for a total program.
•Passion Flower (20%)
For either formula, blend the loose herbs, place in a quart jar for future use, and store out of the direct sunlight in a cool place. Use 1 tsp/cup to make a tea. Make 1 quart at a time, adding 1 extra tsp ‘for the pot.’ Add the herbs to boiled water and cover. Let steep for 20 minutes, strain and store in the quart jar in the refrigerator. This blend will keep for 3 days. Pour out 1 cup, warm it, and drink several times daily or before bedtime as needed.
Know before you eat!
The grapefruit was bred in the 18th century as a cross between a pomelo and an orange. It was given the name grapefruit due to growing in clusters, similar to grapes. There is a great deal of literature on grapefruit on how good it is for you and how bad it is. Lets clear things up a bit.
Grapefruits are low in calories but are full of nutrients, and an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. Grapefruit is 92% water, giving it one of the highest water contents of any fruit. Harvard Medical School states that grapefruit has a glycemic index of 25. This suggests that it does not significantly affect blood sugar and insulin levels.
Grapefruit has been studied and it has been demonstrated that eating grapefruit decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality. It can also help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, lower blood pressure and stimulate your immune system. Red and Pink grapefruit are even better for you, because they contain higher antioxidant levels, specifically beta carotene,and lycopene.
Before you go running out and buying grapefruit to eat, we need to look at some very real concerns. Grapefruit contains chemicals that inhibit a enzymes in the liver and intestine that are needed to break down toxins, over the counter medicines and prescription drugs in the body. The inhibition of these enzymes can lead to these drugs and toxins accumulating in your body. These natural chemicals in Grapefruit permanently bind with CYP3A4 enzymes. This means that until your body can produce more those enzymes will not help detoxify your body. The process to produce more enzymes takes 72 hours. While many drugs are deactivated by CYP3A4, there are also some drugs which are activated by the enzyme. Some substances, such as grapefruit juice and some drugs, interfere with the action of CYP3A4. These substances will therefore either amplify or weaken the action of those drugs that are modified by CYP3A4.
So what does all this mean? Grapefruit is good for you but if you are on any medication at all, check with your doctor and check for yourself if there are any adverse reactions. Also keep in mind that Grapefruit inhibits enzymes important in eliminating toxins from your body, so limit your intake of grapefruit. I would recommend taking a break from grapefruit of at least 6 day every two weeks. It takes your body 72 hours to recover from grapefruit. This includes all products that contain grapefruit including juice, ice-cream, deserts, and soft drinks.
Here is a partial list of drugs that Grapefruit inhibits.
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