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Chinese Herbs and Treatments

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Traditional Chinese medicine has long used herbs and other types of natural treatments for maintaining the body's optimum health. Most of these treatments have even reached mainstream medicine with alternative treatments such as acupuncture being accepted by medical practitioners. Chinese herbs play a large role in traditional Chinese medicine. Below are some of the commonly used Chinese herbs and their benefits.

Ginseng (renshen)

One of the most popular Asian herbs in use today, ginseng has long been used as n integral part of different herbal treatments in traditional Chinese medicine. It has also been regarded as an effective way of treating and preventing many diseases. Benefits of ginseng include stress reduction, improved memory, and it could also be used as an aphrodisiac.

Some of the benefits of using ginseng includes improved stamina, strengthens the immune system and promotes better respiration in patients.  People who are susceptible to infections such as respiratory diseases may use this to compensate for diminished immune functions and weaker bodies. Ginseng addresses this need by boosting immune functions and promoting oxygen absorption in the lungs.

Ginseng can be prepared in a variety of ways, but is best taken raw. Rinse and thoroughly cleanse the ginseng, slice a piece of a fresh or dried ginseng and ingest it orally just like fresh fruits or vegetables. Cooking or boiling may damage some of the compounds contained in ginseng so careful preparation should be done not to overcook the ginseng.

Ginseng is normally served as tea; it may be taken alone or in combination with other herbs. Today, the herb comes in different form such as tablets, capsules and powder. Dosage may depend on the type of treatment it is designed for and taking in large amounts may lead to certain side effects. Known side effects of ginseng intake are nervousness and hormonal imbalances in women. Recommended dosage for ginseng intake is 0.5 to 3 grams daily.

Rhubarb (dahuang)

The root was one of the first Chinese herbs adopted in the West. It has been widely used as a laxative and other benefits include treatment of jaundice, diarrhea, ulcers, menstrual disorders and burns. Largely regarded as a Dietetic, the herb is mainly used for relieving symptoms of digestive conditions.

Uses of rhubarb includes pain relief, reduced autoimmune functions, improved blood circulation and decreased chance of acquiring digestive infections. Cooking time plays a great role in the herbs preparation. Cooking the herb for more than the prescribed time decreases its laxative properties but other medical benefits are maintained. Normal intake consists of taking 0.5 to 3 grams daily. Although the herb is widely used as a way of treating symptoms of digestive disorders, rhubarb should not be taken by patients suffering from irritable bowel conditions as they lead to uncontrolled diarrhea and abdominal cramping.

Salvia (danshen)

Derived from the red roots of the Chinese sage plant, salvia has been used for centuries as a treatment for tissue injuries. Salvia is currently being studied as a treatment for traumatic injury, chronic inflammation, post-stroke syndrome and infections caused by some degenerative diseases.

This herb has played an important role as a domestic herbal remedy treatment, providing relief for common symptoms in digestive disorders. It is also used as an antiseptic gargle and can heal sore throats and mouth sores. Salvia is also effective in relieving tooth pain when gargled.

Medical properties of the herb which make them useful in relieving symptoms are its antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, stimulant, and vasodilator properties. Popular medical applications of the herb include management of excessive lactation, excessive salivation, and menopausal problems.

The use of salvia in the treatment of TB symptoms is also well documented. Salvia has been used in the management of common TB symptoms such as night sweats and profuse perspiration. Other medical applications include treatment of some female sterility problems.

Patients suffering from Cardio Vascular diseases may also benefit from the use of salvia. The herb is known for improving blood circulation. Other benefits resulting from the use of this herb are lower blood pressures, reduce cholesterol levels and improved liver functioning.

However, the use of salvia in pregnant women is discouraged. Use of sage in pregnant women may result to miscarriage or abnormalities. It may be used alone or in combination with other herbs to produce desired effects. Recommended consumption is tagged at 1 to 20 grams per day, with special consideration as overdose may result to adverse side effects to the patient.

Rei Shi (Ganooderma lucidum)

The use of mushrooms in Chinese medicine has been practiced for centuries. These are often used in combination with other herbs to provide symptoms and even cures for simple diseases. Rei Shi mushrooms are the most widely used medicinal mushrooms in Chinese medicine.

Rei Shi mushrooms are rich in antioxidants and polysaccharides. They help improve immune functions and facilitate the elimination of cancer causing free radicals. Herbs are often used in relieving fatigue and improving general health conditions.

Managing Chronic Pain Naturally

Written by Lisa Jillanza

It is estimated that around 100 million Americans are chronic pain sufferers. And a quick stroll into your local pharmacy's extensive pain management section will confirm this. In today's hustle and bustle world, finding relied from pain can be as easy as popping a pill. But even the “safest” pain medication is bound to have its own share of dangers and risks if not taken properly.

The danger with long term use of pain medications is that the body may become immune to its effects or worse damage vital organs such as the kidney. Some of us even go as far as self-medicate which could be dangerous even with the use of over the counter drugs.

There are definitely safer and more natural ways to manage pain. These methods do not only help in controlling pain but also restores the natural balance in our body. And one little known way is by simply switching to a healthier diet. This could be done by eating a plant-based, nutrient rich diet that reduces inflammation naturally.

A huge contributor to nagging chronic weight problems we see today could be traced to the Standard American Diet which has been described as one of the more inflammatory diets. Our fast food culture and salty snacks have lead to overweight, chronic pain and fatigue problems. Most of us seem to be unaware or generally unconcerned with how a typical western diet affects our health.

We are what we eat and most of the health problems we see today are diet or lifestyle related. Finding relief from chronic pain can be done by switching to a healthy diet. So the next time you're planning a short trip to the pharmacy for some pain medications why not take a look into these simple tips before popping in that pill.

Eat green-leafy vegetables. If there is one great reason to start going the veggie route, it's because it helps reduce chronic pain by increasing the number of good bacteria in the gut. This area of the body is constantly exposed to toxins from food and the environment. A healthy digestive system keeps our body in tip-top shape. Nutrients from food are processed better therefore strengthening our immune system. This is also the area where 96 percent of our serotonin is produced. Serotonin is a feel-good hormone that lessens the stress of chronic pain.

Cane sugar can be a good way of providing temporary relief from pain by stimulating reward centers in the brain but also increases pain levels in the long run. Sugars could set people suffering from chronic pain by 3-4 weeks. Avoid artificial sweeteners. Just because these are alternatives it does not mean that they are not likely to produce the same effects as other sugars.

Margarine and other hydrogenated contain fatty acids that coat cell membranes which interfere with cellular communication. It could also lead to toxin buildup and disrupt waste removal. A body full of toxins and lactic acid increases our risk for chronic pain.

Other foods that chronic pain sufferers should avoid include wheat and all its products. People should also avoid common allergens such as corn, eggs, peanuts and other dairy products.

Healthy sources of essential fatty acids include avocados, walnuts, fish and flax seed oil. Anti-inflammatory fatty acids reduce symptoms of asthma and chronic pain. Build your immune and inflammatory system by strengthening it with healthy fatty acids.

Stress is a major trigger for pain. This might only be psychological but it places so much pressure on our body that constant high levels of stress could lead to chronic pain. Low impact exercises such as swimming, brisk walking or yoga helps release pent-up stress. Getting enough sleep also helps the body recuperate more quickly.

Get that natural high by helping your body release more endorphins, the body's answer for pain medications. Pain is our body's signal that something is wrong physically. Pain is a personal experience and the intensity varies from one person to another. A positive attitude helps reduce the stress of pain and lessens our need for pain relievers. When we are able to handle pain naturally, we are able to live fuller and happier lives.

Healthy Weight Gain - Naturally and Safely

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Most of us are concerned with shaving off unwanted pounds in our body but there are also a good number of people who are actively seeking ways to put on weight. But before you start gorging on fatty foods or salty snacks, you should also consider what you put in your body. Everybody should know their ideal weight. While being overweight is unhealthy, dieting to the point of depriving our body of badly needed nutrients is far from being healthy.

Each person might have different needs in terms of maintaining their ideal body weight. It is totally normal for a taller person to weigh more than those who are shorter but they can still be considered healthy.

For those who feel that they are tool lanky and would like to create more curves or guys who would like to develop their physique then gaining some much needed pounds is a must. Below is a simple guide to healthier weight gain:

Determining your Ideal Body Weight

Before starting your journey, you must first consider your ideal body weight. This is crucial in keeping weight gain within healthy limits. Gain too much and you risk suffering from medical conditions due to overweight problems. Make a diet program and calculate the amount of pounds you need to reach your ideal weight. Working with a dietitian could help you plan effectively. You should also consider the amount of time needed to achieve this. After all, your body needs time to adjust itself to these extra pounds.

Count your calories

After determining the amount of pounds you need to achieve your ideal weight. Make a conscious effort to record your calorie intake. This way you could increase your weight safely. This allows you to plan your meals accordingly. Gaining weight does not give you the license to go on an eating spree and grab all the food you could find.

Keep off the junk

Eating salty snacks could be the easiest way to gain some pounds. If you've managed to keep yourself slim by staying away from salty snacks then this would not be the right time to start another unhealthy habit. Gain weight by stocking up on healthy food and nutrients. Fast food, processed food, salty snacks and chocolate bars might give you an instant boost on your road to gaining weight but these could exact a huge toll on your health.

Stick to healthier alternative rich in protein and nutrients. Tofu, fish, lean meat, beans and white meat in general are healthy choices. Switch to healthy snacks like fruits to gain healthy pounds and not stuff yourself with excess fats.

Eat more frequently

If eating large meals is not your thing then eat small frequent meals. Instead of targeting three large meals a day then why not insert healthy snacks between meals. This also improves your digestion. Improved digestion means food is processed more efficiently.

People with a busy lifestyle could also benefit by bringing healthy snacks to work. The problem with today's hectic world is that we often grab the first food available. Gain weight while building your discipline by sticking to healthy snacks. You can avoid this unhealthy habit by preparing snacks and meals at home. Fruits, juice drinks, fiber rich rice, whole wheat bread and vegetable salads are some of the healthy alternatives.

Protein and health Shakes

Health shakes are the quite popular now with those hoping to gain some pounds or those building muscles because they are easy to consume nutrient rich sources. This is especially useful for people who regularly visit the gym. It gives them an instant source of nutrients for muscle building.

Yoga and Detox, Meditating for a Healthier You

Written by Lisa Jillanza

You wake up 20 minutes after you hit your alarm clock to catch a few minutes of extra sleep. You barely had had 5 hours or sleep after coming home late after a grueling day at work. You jump out of bed realizing that you only have half an hour to shower, dress up and grab a piece of sandwich for breakfast. Not exactly the ideal way to start a day, isn't it?

If this is the typical normal morning routine for you then you should be alarmed. Today's society is exposed to large amount of toxins from taking in loads of toxins from processed foods, prescription drugs, air pollution and everyday stress. These toxins stay in the body until it wreaks havoc on your normal body processes.

The body is blessed with natural ways of coping with these toxins. Mechanisms such as perspiration, urination and normal bowel movement are just some of the ways we could get rid of built-up toxins. But the body can only take so much so what do you do when you've reached this level?

Toxins and Free Radicals

Before you can appreciate how yoga can help flush out these harmful substances, it is important that we first discuss what toxins are and what harm it can do to you.

The reason why toxins are so harmful to the body is because its presence help trigger the creation of free radicals. These are molecules that have a missing electron. These unstable molecules rob electrons from surrounding electrons making them unstable. This can cause damaged cells that lead to premature aging or decay.

If cell degeneration is not stopped early, this may lead to medical conditions such as arthritis, stroke, hypertension, arteriosclerosis and other immune disorders.

Getting rid of toxins naturally

The body has its own way of naturally getting rid of toxins. This is basically done through four or our major organs. These organs are the skin, liver, intestinal tract and kidneys. When you ingest toxins by consuming food or drinks for example, your digestive system brings these into the bloodstream. Once inside the bloodstream, these are picked up by the liver deactivating them consequently. Toxins that are not picked up are captured by the kidney. The rest are flushed out as perspiration or passed out together with our feces.

Detoxification and Yoga

Detoxification is the process of removing harmful toxins from the body. Your liver, kidneys, skin and bowels are mainly responsible for neutralizing these substances but what happens when they are overloaded with toxins?

A fantastic part of a detox regimen is the practice of meditative exercises that are said to stimulate the function of your internal organs. And one of the most practiced meditative exercises is Yoga. This is an ancient practice from India. It involves the performance of a series of methods and techniques that aims to achieve optimum physical and mental health.

The branch of Yoga called “Hatha Yoga” in particular is a great exercise system for those who aim to detoxify their bodily systems. It provides detoxification by helping rid the digestive, cardiovascular, lymphatic, pulmonary and epidermal systems of toxins and waste. Hatha Yoga may also stimulate brain function and balances the nervous and endocrine system. This results in a greater sense of well-being, increased mental clarity and emotional stability.

How Yoga Detoxifies

Hatha Yoga is said to detoxify through the practice of Yoga poses or “Asanas,” breathing techniques or “Pranayamas,” hand gestures or “Mudras” and energy locks or “Bandhas.” Yoga poses of Hatha Yoga reportedly free up blockages and obstacles that hinder energy flow in the body.

Hatha Yoga may teach you powerful detoxification techniques and poses that help increase oxygenated blood flow to the brain, relax and cleanse the body and calm the mind of stress and worries. Every part of our body is turned, twisted, pulled, pushed and upended in a well-rounded Yoga practice. This is said to facilitate the removal of waste products like lactic acid, lymphatic acid and carbon dioxide that no other exercise or regimen could reach. These Yogic poses and techniques help push your body to heal itself and make it strong and pliable. Because of the said effects to healing, many health centers and spas consider it as an integral part in managing lifestyle diseases and detoxification.

Detox for a longer, more productive life

Detoxification is essential to prolong and improve the quality of life. If you live a hectic, toxic lifestyle then now is the time to change. Ask your nearest gym or fitness center for yoga classes so you could get more information about the types of Yoga practices.

As much as possible, lessen exposure to pollutants and chemicals found in processed foods, smoke, cleaning agents and the like. Stick to fresh, pesticide-free produce like organic fruits and vegetables. Avoid complicated beverages that are packed with sugars and artificial ingredients and stick with plain water or natural juices.

Train yourself to stop worrying or thinking too much about things. Approach every problem or situation systematically and if there is nothing you could do about it, then don't stress yourself about it. Changing your outlook into a positive one contributes greatly to an effective detoxification program.