Calm Nerves With Passion Flower

Perhaps you feel nervous or anxious some or all of the time, but just don’t want to take drugs to calm yourself down. If you wish to allay your nervousness without becoming dependent or suffering unwanted effects, you can turn to Passion flower, or Passiflora incarnata. Also known as May apple, this traditional remedy for calming nerves enjoys a long history of safe use, a very significant body of science regarding its compounds, and human studies demonstrating its effectiveness.

Passion flower is a perennial creeping vine, native to the tropical and semi-tropical southern United States, Central and South America. The plant is now cultivated in various tropical and subtropical regions, including the southeastern United States, central America, and parts of Asia. Passion flower makes a spectacular garden ornamental, and many people plant passionflower to add beauty to a home garden. For commerce, passion flower is obtained from wild and cultivated plants, mainly from the United States, India, and the West Indies.

Native Americans applied passion flower topically to boils, and drank infusions for liver health and as a blood tonic. Other tribes consumed the edible fruit of passion flower, whole or juiced. The Aztecs of Mexico used it as a sedative to treat insomnia and nervousness. The plant was taken back to Europe where it became widely cultivated and introduced into European medicine.

The name passion flower derives from Spanish missionaries, who thought that the threads of the flower resembled a crown of thorns, and that other aspects of the flower corresponded to whips, wounds and stigma associated with the passion of Christ. Thus this unusual flower became inextricably associated with Christianity.

Beyond its physical appearance, passion flower is a first-rate sedative, a nerve calming agent and a sleep aid. I have personally spoken with several dozen people who, having taken passion flower, have been able to relax, unwind and enjoy a decent night’s sleep. Here a question arises – if passion flower is so effective for calming nerves, why don’t more people know about it? This plant cannot be patented. As a result, there is no incentive for a pharmaceutical company to promote it. Instead, pharma companies develop novel molecules that can be patented profitably for many years. But in parts of Europe where drug regulations are different than in the U.S., passion flower is sold in drug stores as a nerve calming aid.

Passion flower herb for nerve calming purposes consists of the fresh or dried aboveground parts of Passiflora incarnata and their preparations. Passion flower is a protective antioxidant powerhouse. The plant contains the antioxidant compounds vitexin, isovitexin, kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, apigenin and luteolin glycosides. The plant also contains indole alkaloids, fatty acids, gum, maltol, phytosterols, sugars and a trace of volatile oil. Purely from a protective standpoint, passion flower is quite extraordinary. The quercetin in passion flower is one of the most powerfully protective compounds known, and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

But for a nervous, stressed-out society, passion flower offers even more than excellent cellular protection. The British Herbal Compendium describes the actions of passion flower as sedative, anxiolytic, and antispasmodic. Numerous studies support central nervous system sedative and anxiolytic effects. The British Herbal Compendium indicates its use for sleep disorders, restlessness, nervous stress, and anxiety. Other uses include neuralgia and nervous tachycardia. Germany’s Commission E has approved the internal use of passion flower for nervous restlessness.

So how do you use passion flower? The simplest way is to get passion flower tea in bags, and make a cup of soothing, relaxing tea. You can also get passion flower in fluid form, and can put a few drops of that extract into water, juice, or just right into your mouth. I like both the Gaia and HerbPharm brands of fluid extracts. Additionally you can get passion flower in capsules or tablets. Take as directed.

Jittery nerves, anxiety and sleeplessness can ruin your day and prevent you from enjoying life. But getting onto drugs that calm nerves can result in habituation, sleep disorders, digestive problems and depression. By contrast, passion flower shows no toxicity, it doesn’t interact negatively with any other medicines, and it is safe for anyone to use. So the next time you feel tense and stressed, reach for a soothing cup of passion flower tea, and relax with the calming power of one of nature’s great medicinal plants.

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5 New Reasons To Drink Tea + How to Brew Your Spring Detox Cup

1. Anti-aging

Green tea is a wonderful source of special antioxidants called catechins that help fight back against the aging process. The antioxidant catechins do this by decreasing oxidative stress, the underlying cause of aging.

2. Immunity-boosting

Green tea has polyphenols that can increase the number of “regulatory T cells” that are important for immune function.

3. Fat-burning

Tea is also found to have the potential to boost your metabolism and help youlose weight. Researchers in the Netherlands discovered that tea can help you burn fat. What’s more, they found that people who drink tea regularly have less body fat and lower Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) than people who don’t drink tea.

4. Mood-boosting (and focus-enhancing!)

Tea can help us stay focused and improve our performance. Drinking tea has been linked to psychological benefits such as enhanced creativity andimproved work performance.

5. Bone-strenghtening

Tea may be protective against osteoporosis, according to an in-depth reviewfrom Texas Tech University. Tea and its polyphenols have been shown to help build stronger bones by increasing bone mass and bone formation. The Texas researchers found that tea drinking was linked to 30% reduced risk in hip fractures for those over 50.

Read more

Health Benefits & Side Effects of Senna Leaves

Senna is a yellow-flowered plant that typically grows in India and China. The leaves of the senna plant are used in non-prescription medicines and herbal supplements to treat constipation. There is not enough research to rate senna as effective for other health concerns, such as hemorrhoids or weight loss, according to the National Institutes of Health. Exercise caution when using senna to relieve constipation.

Constipation

If you have fewer than three bowel movements per week or your stools are harder than usual, you may have constipation, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Stress, chronic disease, or certain medications may cause constipation. Inadequate fiber or fluid intake and lack of physical activity can also contribute. If constipation lasts for more than a few days, talk to your doctor about what might be causing it.

Senna and Constipation

Senna may relieve constipation by stimulating the muscles of the colon to push fecal matter through more quickly. It may also help your colon absorb water to soften stool. You may expect a bowel movement within six to 10 hours of taking senna, according to the National Cancer Society. Active compounds in the senna plant, called sennosides, may be responsible for its laxative effect.

Side Effects

Senna can cause diarrhea, which may lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. You may experience nausea or vomiting, although these issues are less common. Some people may be allergic to senna leaves. The color of your urine may change while you are taking senna laxatives, but should go back to normal when you stop. Avoid using senna for long periods of time, as chronic use may impair the normal function of your colon, cautions the American Cancer Society. Consult with your doctor before using senna if you are pregnant or nursing.

Recommendations

Before you consider using senna for constipation, make sure you are consuming enough fiber and water every day. Aim for a total dietary fiber intake of at least 25 grams daily for women and 38 grams per day for men, advises the US Department of Agriculture. Increase your fiber intake gradually and drink at least eight glasses of water daily to avoid potential side effects of fiber, such as gas and bloating. The more fiber you consume, the more fluids you should drink, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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Is Fenugreek Seed Tea Safe to Drink?

Fenugreek, a kitchen spice and primary ingredient in pickles, is an ancient herb. Egyptian texts attest to its use as early as 1500 B.C. Fenugreek seeds, sometimes taken in the form of a tea, have traditionally been used to treat digestive disorders and menstrual cramps. Herbalists today are likely to advise fenugreek to treat diabetes and high cholesterol. Although human clinical trials are limited, laboratory and animal research supports fenugreek’s ability to lower blood sugar and cholesterol. Consult your doctor before using fenugreek.

Features

Fenugreek, botanically known as Trigonella foenum-graecum and also called methi in Ayurveda, features grayish-green toothed leaves and pale yellow or whitish flowers that develop into seed pods. The yellow-brown seeds within are dried to produce the spice. Fenugreek has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat kidney problems, arthritis and digestive problems; it has also been employed in folk medicine as a diuretic and anti-inflammatory and in poultices to treat boils and swelling. Fenugreek seeds were one of the original ingredients in Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, a 19th century patent medicine marketed to treat menstrual cramps and menopause symptoms. The seeds, which have a rich, sweet taste, are also used in maple flavoring.

Constituents and Effects

Fenugreek seeds contain a group of glycoside steroidal saponins known as graecunins, as well as the compounds diosgenin and fenugrin B and an alkaloid known as trigonelline. The seeds are rich in protein and mucilagenous fiber. Also present in fenugreek seeds are coumarin compounds, galactomannans and the amino acids lysine and L-tryptophan.
Drugs.com, which provides peer-reviewed medical information to consumers, reports that fenugreek’s high levels of polyphenolic flavonoids give it antioxidant properties in test tubes. Blue Shield Complementary and Alternative Health credits the steroidal saponins in fenugreek with the ability to inhibit both the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines and its production by the liver. The seeds’ high levels of soluble fiber help to reduce blood sugar by slowing down carbohydrate digestion and absorption. Fenugreek may also have the ability to lower triglycerides.

Research

Scientific research supports the protective and antioxidant effects of polyphenols in fenugreek seeds. In a laboratory study published in 2004 in “Plant Foods and Human Nutrition,” researchers found that fenugreek seed extracts protected human red blood cells from oxidative damage, supporting the seeds’ potent antioxidant properties. Researchers credited the gallic acid in the seed extract with the beneficial effect.

Usage and Considerations

You can brew fenugreek tea by adding 1 tbsp. of fenugreek seeds to 1 cup of boiling water. Fenugreektea.org advises letting the mixture steep for 45 minutes to unleash the full beneficial effect of the seeds, then straining, cooling and drinking it after meals to help with digestion. Fenugreek is generally recognized as safe when used as a food. Mild diarrhea and gas may accompany its use. BSCAH notes that this side effect almost invariably resolves after using fenugreek seeds or tea for a few days. Rare allergic reactions have been reported with fenugreek. Traditionally used to hasten delivery, fenugreek can cause uterine contractions; don’t use it if you are pregnant. Fenugreek seeds and tea can interact with prescription drugs, and may increase the effects of anticoagulants such as warfarin. Consult your doctor before using fenugreek.

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Discover the Benefits of Lemon Grass Tea

No Spanish American’s herb garden was complete — at least here in California during the state’s early days — unless it contained te-de-limon, or lemongrass. Then, over the years, the plant, like so many other sources of natural drinks and “cures,” slowly faded from use and cultivation. Today’s renewed and still-growing interest in herbs and herb teas, however, is now bringing te-de-limon back once again: For the first time in years, dried lemongrass is being sold — and purchased! — in health food stores throughout southern California.

Although there seems to be little scientific basis for the claims, Mexican folk medicine holds that the benefits of lemongrass tea include: aiding digestion, calming nervous disorders and helping in the treatment of high blood pressure. Cymbopogon citratus — as the plant is known to the botanist — is also cultivated and distilled in Java, Ceylon, Malaysia and Central America for its oil (which is used in pharmaceutical preparations and skincare products). Furthermore, according to Dorothy Hall’s The Book of Herbs, lemongrass contains vitamin A and is good for “those who wish to have bright eyes and a clear skin.”

Well, I can’t vouch for those claims, but I do know from firsthand experience thatCymbopogon citratus is a perennial grass that can be grown either in the garden or as an indoor (or outdoor) potted plant. It thrives in warm weather (it does not do well in extremely cold climates), grows from two to four feet tall, and — when used as a background for other plants — can add a tropical touch to the garden. Lemongrass seldom bears seeds and is almost always propagated from a section of root. That propagation, however, is easy: The plant thrives on nothing more than a sunny spot, rich soil, and plenty of water.

Just as its name implies, lemongrass easily brews up into a delightful, lemony-flavored tea. Cut several long blades of foliage from the plant, wash them, and chop them into inch-long pieces with a pair of scissors. Then cover the bits of grass with water, bring the liquid to a boil, and steep for 10 to fifteen minutes. Or if you prefer, you can place the cut-up foliage in a heated teapot, pour boiling water into the container, and steep until the resulting tea is as strong as you want it. Sweeten the hot drink with honey, or chill the tea and serve it cold.

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Calm Nerves With Passion Flower

Perhaps you feel nervous or anxious some or all of the time, but just don’t want to take drugs to calm yourself down. If you wish to allay your nervousness without becoming dependent or suffering unwanted effects, you can turn to Passion flower, or Passiflora incarnata. Also known as May apple, this traditional remedy for calming nerves enjoys a long history of safe use, a very significant body of science regarding its compounds, and human studies demonstrating its effectiveness.

Passion flower is a perennial creeping vine, native to the tropical and semi-tropical southern United States, Central and South America. The plant is now cultivated in various tropical and subtropical regions, including the southeastern United States, central America, and parts of Asia. Passion flower makes a spectacular garden ornamental, and many people plant passionflower to add beauty to a home garden. For commerce, passion flower is obtained from wild and cultivated plants, mainly from the United States, India, and the West Indies.

Native Americans applied passion flower topically to boils, and drank infusions for liver health and as a blood tonic. Other tribes consumed the edible fruit of passion flower, whole or juiced. The Aztecs of Mexico used it as a sedative to treat insomnia and nervousness. The plant was taken back to Europe where it became widely cultivated and introduced into European medicine.

The name passion flower derives from Spanish missionaries, who thought that the threads of the flower resembled a crown of thorns, and that other aspects of the flower corresponded to whips, wounds and stigma associated with the passion of Christ. Thus this unusual flower became inextricably associated with Christianity.

Beyond its physical appearance, passion flower is a first-rate sedative, a nerve calming agent and a sleep aid. I have personally spoken with several dozen people who, having taken passion flower, have been able to relax, unwind and enjoy a decent night’s sleep. Here a question arises – if passion flower is so effective for calming nerves, why don’t more people know about it? This plant cannot be patented. As a result, there is no incentive for a pharmaceutical company to promote it. Instead, pharma companies develop novel molecules that can be patented profitably for many years. But in parts of Europe where drug regulations are different than in the U.S., passion flower is sold in drug stores as a nerve calming aid.

Passion flower herb for nerve calming purposes consists of the fresh or dried aboveground parts of Passiflora incarnata and their preparations. Passion flower is a protective antioxidant powerhouse. The plant contains the antioxidant compounds vitexin, isovitexin, kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, apigenin and luteolin glycosides. The plant also contains indole alkaloids, fatty acids, gum, maltol, phytosterols, sugars and a trace of volatile oil. Purely from a protective standpoint, passion flower is quite extraordinary. The quercetin in passion flower is one of the most powerfully protective compounds known, and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

But for a nervous, stressed-out society, passion flower offers even more than excellent cellular protection. The British Herbal Compendium describes the actions of passion flower as sedative, anxiolytic, and antispasmodic. Numerous studies support central nervous system sedative and anxiolytic effects. The British Herbal Compendium indicates its use for sleep disorders, restlessness, nervous stress, and anxiety. Other uses include neuralgia and nervous tachycardia. Germany’s Commission E has approved the internal use of passion flower for nervous restlessness.

So how do you use passion flower? The simplest way is to get passion flower tea in bags, and make a cup of soothing, relaxing tea. You can also get passion flower in fluid form, and can put a few drops of that extract into water, juice, or just right into your mouth. I like both the Gaia and HerbPharm brands of fluid extracts. Additionally you can get passion flower in capsules or tablets. Take as directed.

Jittery nerves, anxiety and sleeplessness can ruin your day and prevent you from enjoying life. But getting onto drugs that calm nerves can result in habituation, sleep disorders, digestive problems and depression. By contrast, passion flower shows no toxicity, it doesn’t interact negatively with any other medicines, and it is safe for anyone to use. So the next time you feel tense and stressed, reach for a soothing cup of passion flower tea, and relax with the calming power of one of nature’s great medicinal plants.

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Chamomile Tea Benefits

Overview

Chamomile tea, a traditional drink mild enough for small children in small quantities, is nonetheless powerful enough to treat a number of maladies, from insomnia to stomach pain. Chamomile can also have potentially serious side effects and medicine interactions. The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) notes that while both German and Roman chamomile contain useful properties, German chamomile is slightly stronger and has been researched more thoroughly.

Insomnia and Relaxant

The UMMC notes that most people turn to chamomile tea for its nerve-soothing and sedative qualities. While chamomile’s effectiveness in humans hasn’t been scientifically proven, animal studies confirm that small amounts seem to relieve anxiety, while larger quantities aid sleep. UMMC suggests drinking 3 to 4 cups of chamomile tea each day for both sleeplessness and anxiety. Use either one teabag or 2 to 3 tsp. of loose tea for every cup of water. The UMMC states pregnant and nursing women should not consume the tea, which could increase the risk of miscarriage.

Immunity Booster

A 2005 study published in the American Chemical Society’s “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” found that volunteers who consumed 5 cups of chamomile tea for two weeks showed an increased level of hippurate. Hippurate is associated with the botanical phenolics that boost immunity by fighting bacteria. This may explain chamomile tea’s reputation for effectiveness in fighting colds and viruses, notes the American Chemical Society.

Menstrual Cramps and Tension

The same 2005 American Chemical Society study also found an increased level of the amino acid glycine in the test subjects’ systems after drinking chamomile tea for two weeks. Glycine helps reduce muscle spasms and relax nerves, including the uterine cramps and nervous tension related to the menstrual cycle. Because chamomile may also have an estrogenic effect, women with hormone-dependent tumors such as breast or uterine cancer shouldn’t drink it without talking first to their physician, the UMMC warns.

Infant Illness

Lukewarm chamomile tea is a traditional home remedy for infants and children suffering from colic, diarrhea and fever. The American Academy of Family Physicians confirms that chamomile tea may help soothe babies with colic, but that it’s helpful to show your pediatrician the tea’s label to ensure that the dose isn’t too strong. Because chamomile relaxes the muscles, it appears to soothe upset stomach and diarrhea. The UMMC recommends that children under 5 take no more than ½ cup of tea a day, while babies with colic should be given no more than 1 to 2 oz. per day. Make sure the liquid cools before giving it to children or babies.

Skin Conditions

Topical or oral use of chamomile tea may help soothe such skin problems as eczema, contact dermatitis and diaper rash, although the benefits haven’t been scientifically proven. Unfortunately, some patients may unwittingly make their condition worse by compounding the original skin problem with an allergic reaction to chamomile, warns the UMMC. If you have allergies to asters, daisies, chrysanthemums, or ragweed, you might also be allergic to chamomile.

Mouth Sores

Although treating the kind of mouth sores known as aphthous ulcers with chamomile tea falls under the “folk remedy/needs more research” category, the American Academy of Family Physicians says that a blend of chamomile and sage teas “may be helpful when used four to six times a day” as a mouthwash.

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