Top 5 Super Herbs You Should Be Using!

2 07 2009

1) Pau d’Arco
Pau D’Arco (Avellanedae or Tabebuia Impetiginosa) is the inner bark of a majestic flowering Amazonian tree. The pau d’arco tree grows up to 30 meters in height and the base of the tree can measure up to 3 meters in diameter.

Indigenous people noticed that the pau d’arco tree does not rot, even when it is dead. Pau d’arco bark contains intrinsic chemical factors that fight fungus and mold, even in some of the wettest environments on Earth. This was likely how and why indigenous people started using the bark medicinally to fight fungal conditions.

Pau d’Arco is a wonderful herb with many documented properties and may help provide the following benefits:
• Improves toxic-blood related conditions, such as acne, hepatitis, environmentally produced allergies and asthma, and poisons attacking the liver.
•    Stimulates the immune system to such a positive degree that it has been traditionally used as a primary treatment for viruses, such as flu, herpes or hepatitis.
•    Eliminates Candida, and Candida-type problems from the body as a systemic anti-fungal, by stimulating the body’s own Candida scavengers.
•    Inhibits free-radical induced cell-mutation, especially those within the blood or skin. May also decrease in the spreading of mutated cells and the formation of new malignant growths.
•    Balances blood sugar levels, and reduce the amount of insulin needed by diabetics.

Pau d’Arco teas make a fantastic base to cacao drinks. Simply add cacao beans or nibs and blend. Also adding some form of sweetener (such as raw yacon root syrup, agave cactus nectar, stevia, honey, fruit, etc.) makes a wonderful tasting beverage; yet take note that the more sweetener that is used, the less effective is the pau d’arco.

Pau d’Arco tea possesses a wonderful flavor and has a naturally sweet taste, yet contains no sugar. Pau d’Arco is a great herbal base for all teas. Experiment with mixing it with other herbs.
Dosage: 10 grams makes 1-2 liters of tea. One may add 3.5 grams of the herb cat’s claw to the pau d’arco tea to make a traditional Shipibo Peruvian tea.

NOTE: As with many herbs, an excessive amount of Pau d’Arco tea, may cause cramping, nausea, or intestinal upset. However, there have been no reports in the scientific literature of any danger of ingesting Pau d’Arco tea. Pau d’Arco tea has been in human use for thousands of years.

Pau d’Arco tea recipe:
Pau D’Arco (10 grams)
Cat’s Claw (3.5 grams)
Goji Berries (20 grams)
Chancapiedra (3 grams)
1 raw vanilla bean
(This makes 2 liters of healing tea and is extraordinary when chilled)

2) Vanilla Bean

From the exquisite blooms of the vanilla orchid come the pods that yield one of the world’s greatest flavors. Vanilla beans (pods) are the cured dried fruit of the only fruit-bearing orchid. Although there are about 150 species of vanilla orchids, only a few are used commercially.

Vanilla is one of the oldest and most expensive spices as well as one of the most familiar that is best known for its flavor enhancing qualities as well as its aromatic uses.

Among the purported health benefits of vanilla by ancient peoples was that it could act as an aphrodisiac. In the 1700’s it was recommended by physicians to be drunk as an infusion or tincture to increase male potency.

Studies have shown that vanilla can help people fall asleep faster and enter into deep REM sleep or dream state.

When purchasing vanilla, look for beans that are hand-cultivated and hand-picked without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, and cured only in the sun. Also, many vanilla beans are blanched in hot water to start the curing process, this is other-than-the-best-ever. Stay away from vanilla extracts, especially artificial vanilla extracts, for when vanilla is processed into this form, it losses it’s health-enhancing herbal properties. Nothing compares to using whole, raw vanilla beans when you want real vanilla flavor!

Suggested use: Use in all your favorite raw creations, including chocolate drinks, smoothies and desserts. If you have a Vita Mix or other powerful blender, you can snip (with kitchen scissors) small pieces of the whole bean right into your blended creations (the beans, flavor and nutrition go further this way). You can also add half of a vanilla bean into any tea recipe along with the other herbs for a delicious and smooth taste. Another way to use vanilla is to split the bean open lengthwise, scrape out the thousands of tiny black seeds and add them to your cuisine.

3) Chanca Piedra

Chancapiedra (Phyllanthus niruri) is one of the most important superherbs discovered in the entire history of herbalism due to its effect on directly fighting calcium-forming organisms called nanobacteria. Nanobacteria have been linked to inflammation and the production of “bad calcium” in the human body. Nearly every disease condition known to humans, mammals, reptiles, and birds involves calcification. Calcification is the overproduction of “bad calcium” due to the growth of nanobacteria.

Chancapiedra’s name means “stone breaker” due to its ability to break up calcium phosphate crystals (bad calcium). This superherb’s historical use in achieving excellent gall bladder and kidney health is well-studied. In South America, Chancapiedra is also known for many other healing properties including helping: malaria symptoms, fever, flu, alleviating liver stagnation, improving digestion, and even as a mild laxative and pain reliever.

Precautions: People with heart conditions or taking prescription heart medications should consult their healthcare practitioner before taking this superherb. This superherb is generally not recommended for those with hypoglycemia symptoms.

4) Chaparral

Chaparral is a desert-growing plant that contains a powerful substance known as NDGA (nordihydroguararetic acid). The active ingredients are found in the leaves which can be soaked in water for an hour; this cold chaparral tea water is then taken internally or applied topically to the skin or hair. Chaparral has also been noted for its ability to ease arthritic pain, and contains potent antioxidants which may act throughout the body to help reduce inflammation.

Suggested Uses for Chaparral:
Make a cold infusion of Noni Leaf Tea and Chaparral. Both Noni Leaf and Chaparral contain a wide range of antioxidants, and work in combination to help protect our cells from free-radical damage. To make an even higher antioxidant drink, use this cold tea as a base for a smoothie or sauce made with Raw Cacao.
Both Chuchuhuasi and Chaparral hold the potential to relieve arthritic pain. Bring 3 cups of water with 2 teaspoons of Chuchuhuasi to a gentle simmer, and let simmer for one hour. At the end of the hour, steep 2 teaspoons of Chaparral in this tea. Let cool to room temperature, strain, and drink slowly throughout the day.

5) Sacha Jergón

Sacha Jergon is one of the main herbs in traditional Amazonian herbalism. Sacha Jergón helps improve the effectiveness of herbs that it is used with and is perhaps one of the best herbs in the world for liver support and rejuvination. This perennial herb grows wild in the Amazon basin up to the lower elevations of the Andes Mountains. The active elements of this herb are found in the tuberous off-white colored root. In its native habitat the root is pulverized in cold water and then drunk immediately for the highest level of therapeutic benefit. This herb earned its name due to its effectiveness in combating snake venom.

Sacha Jergón is as an activator of other herbs as well as a liver rejuvenator. Sacha Jergón provides the key that unlocks the potential of many of the extraordinarily rich herbs of Amazonia. Sacha Jergón can be used in conjunction with any combination of herbs to help improve immunity, cleanse the body, and restore optimal health and well-being.

NOTE: When choosing Sacha Jergon, look for sustainably harvested and wildcrafted products.
Raw Sacha Jergón powder is in a form which may be easily mixed into any juice, smoothie, or beverage. This herb has traditionally been used in cold water infusions, therefore no special preparation is required. Sacha Jergón mixes easily into cold water and has a mildly sweet taste. Sacha Jergón may even be mixed into a smoothie with Raw Cacao Beans to increase the antioxidant and heart-opening effects of the raw chocolate.

Advertisements




Powers of Herbs and Spices: Cinnamon.

26 06 2009

Cinnamon is, for many raw foodists, a very reliable friend. You want something sweet and comforting? Apple sauce, cinnamon and honey equals happy days.

Fortunately, cinnamon has many health benefits. In fact, the more you eat, the better.

Cinnamon is the inner bark of  a small tree, the Cinnamon Tree. There are two types of cinnamon, Chinese and Ceylon, of which Ceylon is generally more difficult to come by.

Studies have been made, which concluded in the suggestion that cinnamon oil and cinnamon extract have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-parasitic properties. The dreaded and common yeast infection, caused by Candida Albicans, has been shown to be severely inhibited by cinnamon. Cinnamon also helps ease the discomfort of excess gas.

Cinnamon has a warming effect on the body and so can be used to solve cold related discomforts. This includes colds and flu, and circulatory problems.

For those ladies that are prone to urinary tract infections, cinnamon has been shown to suppress completely the bacteria which causes this discomfort.

Buying

When buying cinnamon, be sure to smell it. Cinnamon should have a sweet smell, an indication that it is fresh.

Storing

Cinnamon should be kept in a sealed container in a cool, dark place. Ground cinnamon, like other powdered spices loses its flavor quickly. Ground cinnamon should keep for 6 months. Cinnamon sticks are able to retain their flavor for longer periods of time and should last for a year or more.

Preparing

If you are going to grind your own cinnamon, be sure to use Ceylon. Grinding the cinnamon quills in a coffee or spice grinder will result in a ground cinnamon with a pungent taste.