What about …. #21

We all fall sick once in a while, we have to take what is necessary to get on our feet again, and for that we’ve got two types of medicine, the Chemical and the Herbal. Once someone told me that “every Chemical medicine is natural, because what we call Chemical, comes from nature itself”.

Actually I think that’s true, let’s say for instance that you have a headache, you might take an aspirin (or a paracetamol / ibruprofene, they’re all non inflammatory drugs, in which the major ingredient is the Salicylate found in the brark of the willow tree) which consist of about 90% acetylsalicylic acid, along with a minor amount of inert fillers and binders, or you might drink a decoction of a willow tree’s bark. Both will give you the same result, in approximately the same amount of time. But we must chose between the passion of herbalism and its preparation or the practicity of the drug already in a tablet. Herbal medicine vs Chemical medicine is what we’re going to focus today.

Let’s start with a bit of History: Since the beginning of times people cured themselves with plants; wounds, colds, pains, etc…were taken care of quite easily, obviously not every disease had its cure but most of them had. Greeks and Egyptians were the most renowned for their healing theories. Lots of stories are known from the middle age, the preparations were made by a herbalist which were mostly men at the time. Women who possessed the knowledge were treated as witches in most places till the 19th century when women began to stand up for themselves. Very few women were renowned for their knowledge in the 12th century; there was Dorotea Bucca head of the university of Bologna in Italy and Abbess Hildegarde of Bingen in  Germany.

Still, women couldn’t practice herbalism without apprehension, “The superior learning of witches was recognised in the widely extended belief of their ability to work miracles. The witch was in reality the profoundest thinker, the most advanced scientist of those ages… As knowledge has ever been power, the church feared its use in women’s hands, and levelled its deadliest blows at her”. Matilda Joslyn Gage, 1893,

During the 16th and 17th century, all across Europe, in every town and village, women were killed, en masse, as witches. The killings went on for two centuries and touched everyone’s lives. They spread fear, destroyed networks and resistance and did not stop until the population was sufficiently subordinated and the emerging state, capitalist social relations and church had got its claws into the lives and psyches of the people. The beginning of the western medicine started in Iran. The best university of medicine was in Isfahan, at the time of Avicenna in the 11th century. Muslims and Jews students learned together, they spread their knowledge wherever they went. Medieval European medicine became more developed during the Renaissance of the 12th century, when many medical texts both on Ancient Greek medicine and on Islamic medicine were translated from Arabic during the 13th century. The most influential among these texts was Avicenna’s The Canon of Medicine, a medical encyclopedia written in circa 1030 which summarized the medicine of Greek, Indian and Muslim physicians until that time.

Herbalism is a way of curing diseases in a natural way, as all the plants are not harmless, a herbalist is necessary to find the right plants and to prepare them in the right way. The plants are gathered, dried for a few days and then, either they are stored as they are or they are used to prepare the medicine and then stored for further necessities because sometimes it takes up to a month depending on the medicine and taken many times a day. Knowledge, patience and passion are required for the job. But as I said, all plants are not harmless such as these Marijuana, Cannabis and Hashish.

I would say that the chemical medicine (also called drugs) started with Pasteur in the 19th century, this kind of medicine is obtained through extraction from medicinal plants, but more recently also by organic synthesis. Much more diseases are cured, and in a easier way to take. Lots of expenses are needed and it takes years of learning and research to find a cure.

For instance, Sometimes a part of the body can’t make enough of a certain substance, and this can make a person sick. When someone has type 1 diabetes the pancreas can’t make enough of an important chemical called insulin, which the body needs to stay healthy. If the body makes too much of a certain chemical, that can make us sick, too. Luckily, medicines can replace what’s missing (like insulin) or they can block production of a chemical when the body is making too much of it. Many people also take chemical medicines to control illnesses that don’t completely go away, such as diabetes, asthma, or high blood pressure. With help from these medicines, people can enjoy life and avoid some of the worst symptoms associated with their illnesses which can’t be found in the Herbal medicine. Finally, there are important medicines called immunizations, and they are usually given as a shot. They prevent people from catching serious illnesses.

So the pros and cons of these two kinds of medicine are:
I think that for the love of Nature and what has been given to us through those little harmless leaves and roots, it’s better to use Herbal medicine as long as the disease isn’t life threatening, but for much more serious diseases, the chemical medicine is mandatory.  Now the choice is  yours, do you prefer to heal Naturally or Chemically?

What about… #12

Sometimes it’s difficult to change the way things are, but when it’s about Health, the faster is the better.

Being slim nowadays is the image of being sexy, attractive and at ease in its own skin. Some people find being overweight attractive as well, even though a slim person is often seen in better shape than a fat one. The appearance is a matter of opinion. But as this post is about health and not shape I’d better start my topic by what’s noxious about junk and canned food.

1. We’ve all been taught since our teens that Cholesterol and Saturated Fats are what causes heart disease. The principle is that these two block the heart’s arteries, so that the blood doesn’t flow anymore, the heart stops working and we get a heart attack. So some of us have been avoiding these two for most of our lives. But new discoveries have shown that Cholesterol and Saturated Fats are not involved with the heart disease.

I know that it’s hard to believe at first, but it’s true. Here is why: Most of the researchers are convinced that the human body is capable of changing the Saturated Fat into Cholesterol while new proofs have demonstrated that only the rat is capable of such transformation. The human being can’t. What is Cholesterol remains such and what is Saturated remains Saturated. That means, if someone has a bad heart condition, there is not much he could do about it because the Cholesterol which blocks the arteries comes from within, from our own body production.

Now among these Fats there is a Fat called Trans-Fat or Hydrogenated fat which has been used for decades, new evidences have shown that this one is bad for the human being. Trans-Fat is an oil that has been manipulated to change it into a hard grease like butter. It is or was (due to the fact that it is forbidden in some Europeans countries but not in the US) still found in a variety of aliments, widely in margarine, biscuits, noodle soups, cakes, donuts… It is advisable to eat what we were used to eat for billion of years, such as butter, eggs, home made cakes, home made pop corn… Rather than Pre-made meals/ Junk Foods which are often source of Cholesterol, Salt, Trans-Fats and Sugar among other noxious ingredients.

Trans fat also increases your cholesterol level. It’s even worse than saturated fat because it raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol. Of course not every pre-made meal is bad, what if you’re looking for cooked/frozen fish, cooked/frozen vegetables or even frozen berries these are good, but I’m speaking about canned lasagna, canned chilly, long life cakes, frozen hamburgers, you know what I mean. I know, that is bad news but eating healthier helps. Just take your time reading the ingredients of what you buy, don’t buy any kind of crisps or the cheapest ones, search for their differences. Sometimes to pay a little extra saves us from paying much more for a cure.

Here is a link to read more on Trans-Fats: https://chriskresser.com/the-diet-heart-myth-cholesterol-and-saturated-fat-are-not-the-enemy/

But you can make your own research if you like, to have more details. Oh by the way, don’t expect your doctor to tell you this. If he spent his entire life prescribing medicine anti-cholesterol he won’t be brave enough to tell you that he was duped as well in this pharmaceutical business.

2. Who hasn’t been told not to eat too many sweets because it’s bad for your teeth and health? Too much sugar can lead to Diabetes. About 75% of the American people are overweight or obese, roughly 10% of the population have diabetes type 1. While 50% of the Europeans are overweight and 10-30% are obese.

Junk foods are high in calories but low in nutritional value, this can cause them to digest more quickly, which can spike blood sugar levels and increase bad cholesterol levels and get you hungry faster so that you’ll eat more and buy more, that’s why it isn’t so expensive. In general, these foods include processed and prepared snack foods with long, often unpronounceable ingredient lists. Consuming excess sugars and fats found in these foods can contribute to weight gain. This excess weight is associated with diabetes.

One of the top risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes is being overweight. Sugar also shows up in flavored yogurt and condiments like salad dressings, mayonnaise, and ketchup. It’s also found in high quantities in some fat free foods, as it’s used to substitute for fat ( becaus the human body turns sugar into fat)

The good news is that you can lower your blood sugar by using some natural products every day. You may not believe that it works, but as I personally use them, I can assure you, that it really works in a few weeks only.

a/ you need to use the cinnamon as much as you can, for instance put two soup spoons of it in your coffee or tea daily, some on your food, or on top of your cakes, why not in your bread. Now the thing is that there are two kinds of cinnamon.

The cassia which comes from China and the Ceylon/Zeylanium which comes from Sri Lanka and Madagascar. The second one is better for long term use. Because researchers found in the latest study that coumarin, a naturally-occurring substance found in the cassia, may cause liver damage taken for long periods of time.

It depends on where you live but if you live in UK you can easily find it in any health store (except Holland & Barrett) and it’s cheap about 1.£50 for 30-40 grams. If you’re in Ireland or Switzerland you can buy it from Lidl for 0.40-0.€50/CHF for 40 grams. In France, Spain and Belgium you can buy it from a Bio store or from a health shop/herbalist like anywhere else in the world actually, and it will cost roughly 1.€50.

Always check at the back of the bottle for the type of cinnamon, if nothing is written than it’s the most common one i.e cassia.

b/ With that you must add Cider vinegar (apple vinegar) in your diet. Instead of using white/red wine vinegar use this one as often needed. Plus you can add it to your tap water instead of drinking it still. Don’t say that you won’t like it before tasting it!

Stop drinking sodas too often, stop drinking beer that will swell your belly. Take some still water and add 5-10% of cider vinegar and drink it, you’ll find it strange at first but as soon as you get used to it, you won’t be able to drink any still water anymore. I personally never drink tap water without vinegar; it’s too dull.

It is very easy and cheap to buy this kind of vinegar, it is roughly 1€/£ or less in any European country for 500-750ml. The quantity of vinegar that you have to put in the water mustn’t be excessive, just enough to give the water a yellow hue.

You can make your own research to have more details.

3. The salt is a good and useful condiment, but in high dosage and many times a day, it is harmful. For people with high blood pressure, the salt can increases their blood pressure and can cause them a heart attack. For normal people it isn’t that dangerous but salt has the inconvenience of making your body retain water. The excess of water in our body has an impact on our shape. The maximum dosage for an adult is 3g a day.

There are a herbal teas that you can take that will help you get rid of the excess of water such as: centella asiatica, fillipendula ulmaria…. it works pretty well in a months.

You may read further about water retention: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/187978.php

Junk foods are everywhere. You see them in vending machines, rest stops, hotels, theaters, gas stations, etc… and if that isn’t enough, incessant advertising promotes junk food on television.

If you’re a fan of hamburgers or chips or even sodas, make them at home. You can fry your own chips in olive oil or sunflower with no extra ingredients and it is more fun. Make your own hamburgers with mince meat and spices, your own bun. Your own sodas with sparkling water, honey and lemon for instance. Resist the urge of eating junk food and opt for a healthier living style, you won’t regret it.

Stop buying what commercials tell you to buy. Try to lose some weight, you’ll fell better afterwards, it might be hard at first but the human body is very flexible, it can adjust itself to be satisfied with less food. I’m not overweight myself, I weight 52kg now, but I’ve been dieting for three months last spring, and I lost 4kg. There are many free apps to help you lose weight such as “mynetdiary” which I used, it is easy and with no boring ads. To look slimmer is better, more sophisticated than looking overweight. It is not what food can do for you, but what you can do for yourself.

Here is what to look for:

foods that are low in sodium foods that are low in trans fat whole unprocessed carbs such as vegetables, fruits, and whole high fiber grains a managed amount of carbohydrates an adequate amount of protein

Also, eating smaller meals instead of three large meals a day can help you manage your hunger better.

Getting plenty of exercise will help you lower your blood sugar too. keep a food journal to note when you eat and how much.

It will help you see: if you’re overeating if you eat a particular junk food often

Try to swap out junk foods with healthy alternatives. If you enjoy eating out, it’s best to avoid fast food restaurants.

Don’t fall into the trap of ordering a deluxe or super-sized food option because it’s a good money value. It may save you money, but it doesn’t save on calories, sugar, or fat consumption.

Avoid fried foods and go for grilled or broiled instead. Choose lean meats such as turkey or chicken breast.

Watch the condiments. Mustard is healthier than mayonnaise, ketchup, or rich sauces.

In the morning, stick with whole-grain high fiber buns, bread, or English muffins, which are lower in calories and fat.

Order your burger without cheese, which has additional calories and fat.

Salad bars are good, but limit toppings such as bacon and cheese.

Choose healthier fat options such as nuts, seeds, and avocado. Load up on carrots, peppers, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery as well as greens.

If eating pizza, select only veggie toppings. .

What about #59

This is a post I wanted to make for a long time. I hope that it will be useful for everyone of you who has to eat food made by others without thinking about it. 😑

It bothers me to buy food from the fast food restaurants or even take aways, but unfortunately most of my food source comes from those establishments. 😞

Along the years I’ve learned lots of things about their hygiene. 😕And depending on the location where you find yourself, you’re most likely to eat dirty food most of the day unless you eat at McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, etc…. 😒

 Let me explain:

In most of the countries, when you buy/take food from a private fast food such as a Kebab house, a Deli or even your friendly neighbor be sure that they’re going to prepare your food without washing their hands. 

The cashier is the cook at the same time, so they take the money (with all its microbes and viruses), they answer the phone which is the most dirty thing around us (google it), they might even handshake their frequent customers and then touch your sandwich or your pizza or whatever you ordered without washing their hands or putting disposable gloves on. 

I don’t want to go into details but unfortunately there is no hygiene in public food places. Half the year we can find flies walking and jumping on bread, cakes, sandwiches, vegetables …. and that doesn’t bother the customers ! 😲

Can you imagine flies walking on your food? 😨 Well….. that’s normal for most of the countries. Or you can find supermarkets where the bakery is self service, so the people/customers take the pasteries or bread they want with their bare hands (some people even dare to feel and touch some cakes or bread without buying them) . As they have contact with the food, they can touch, cough, pick them up if they fall and put them back….it’s disgusting ! 😵

When you vist your friends, they offer you biscuits for instance. But they didn’t wash their hands before (no offense please). They brush their hair before you arrive, they check their eyes in the mirror (with their hands), and then they open the door for you when you arrive. They ask you to make yourself at home and they jump to the kitchen to bring you coffee and something to eat. But did they bother to clean their hands first or will they take a look at their them and judge them clean as there is no sauce or dirt that they can see? 😕 According to them if they don’t see anything on their hands, they suppose that they are clean. 😡

Let me give you an example:

The last time I was in Switzerland I went to a Turkish/Italian Restaurant. I’ve ordered some plain pasta. There was a girl at the till, a boy who was making pizza and the cook. I couldn’t see the kitchen but I could see the cook coming out or in. As I always try to see who and how my food is prepared. After a while,  I saw the cook coming out of the kitchen and going to the toilet. 😮

I was a little overturned by the fact that MY cook went to the toilet before my food was ready. And very seldom cooks washed their hands after doing their personal business. 😬

Guess what I saw?

The cook came out of the toilet very slowly, CLOSING HIS ZIP!! 😲 do you know why? because he didn’t wash his hands. 

And that’s not all. I went toward the toilets as if I wanted to pee and looked inside the kitchen (perhaps he was washing his hands 😏). Do you know what I saw? God knows that I’ve never, ever imagined in my whole “experienced ” life that I could see such a thing 😶. My pasta was cooked, and He was pouring the pasta with HIS HANDS in the trays!! 😵 My God, I was shocked. 

He just came out of the toilet with his wet fingers, directly into my food! 😨 The girl at the till was there helping him. She looked confused or perhaps ill at ease that I saw everything. When I told them that I would never buy that food, she became angry asking what was wrong. I told her everything. She defended her cook saying that her cook was clean and that he had washed his hands (how would she know, she wasn’t there at the time😕). I told her so, well the only thing she found to say was that I had to leave and to hurry.

I tried to put my review in google maps, but they weren’t on it so….. 😠

Another story:

A very long time ago, I was just a child. We ordered chinese food by phone, which was customary in US. After a while the order was delivered. We began to eat when at a certain point my mom found something awful in the food: a big dead green fly.😲

Of course we vomited for a long time and then my dad went to the take away to show them what we’ve found. 

The point is, never trust a fast food or restaurant if you can’t see the kitchen or toilets. Never eat something which can be touched or spoken on by anyone except by the seller if he/she is hygienic. Beware of what you ingest. Lots of diseases come from our own fault. Some people are used to taste grapes directly from the store without washing them or even washing their own hands and after they complain that they’ve fallen sick. I’ve seen some people put their car keys, their parking ticket or even their money in their mouth as if they were dogs! 😶

The good news is that some countries have rules for the food. Such as Portugal,  Ireland and very often in Germany. The person at the till never touches the food with their hands, kitchen hats are always in use, they use gloves or tools to serve the customer, they wash their hands if they’re going to touch the food directly…. Those are special countries where you can eat more safely. 😊
Please be more careful with your health. And watch what you eat 😉

Essential Oils 

Lavander  mild analgesic, relieves aches & relaxes (plus thyme relaxes tense muscle,relieve pain)

Thyme  stimulant, anti spasmodic, ease muscles aches

Juniper  mild analgesic, increases blood flow, healing

Eucalyptus encourage blood flow one  skin surface and aches

Pine  eases muscle pain

St john wort anti inflammatory, repair damaged tissues, ease pain

Witch hazel  minor burns, frozen for insect bites, bruises

Overall :

Arnica: bruising

Rosehip: scar tissue

St john wort: nerve pain

Comfrey: bruising, painful joints, tendons

Mullein: ear drops

Marigold: moisturizing, healing, anti microbial, anti fungal

Coconut: moisturizing

Blends:

Stretch mark: marigold, wheatgerm, frankincense, mandarin, chamomile 

Muscle: comfrey, arnica, st john wort, ginger, rosemary

Massage: lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang

Baby: sweet almond, lavender, chamomile, fennel

​Healing plants for cold and flu

Elder is an Anti inflammatory, Styptic, Anti viral, and the flowers are laxative 

Willow is an Anti inflammatory, Styptic, Anti Viral and of course a source of Aspirin

Garlic is a Styptic, Antiseptic, Anti Viral, Anti fungus, circulation stimulant

Marsh Mallow is a Soothing, emolient, nutritive , calms the cough, it’s good for throat and mouth infections

Elcampane is an Antiseptic, Anti spasmodic, Expectorant 

Sage is a Stimulant, Astringent, Antiseptic, is is good for the wind and throat

Thyme’s oil is Antiviral & Anti fungus and good for the muscles, bronchitis dilator, good for cough, throat and wind

Colt’s foot is Anti inflamatory, Demulcent, good for cough and its leaves are full of Vitamine C

Cinnamon is a  warming, Anti spasm, Astringent, Antiseptic for cold, fevers, indigestion & irritable bowels

Eucalyptus it’s essantiel oil is anti bacterial,  good for respiratory problems, warming soothing in massages

Hyssop is for respiratory problems, digestive disordre 

Ginger is a warming, reduce travel nausea, calms the digestion & for wind

Turmeric is an anti inflammatory, antiseptic, for cough, cold, flu, digestion and anti-allergic

Relaxing plants

These are relaxing plants that you may grow in your backyard or in your house:

Chamomile is a relaxant, sedative, anti inflammatory and a digestive 

Hawthorn is good for the heart, it relaxes the arteries, it helps the heart’s circulation and it’s against palpitations
Eleuthroccocus Senticocus (similar to the syberian ginseng) helps the body deal with stress, tonic for immune system, nerve tonic and against exhaustion
Rosmarin is a nerve tonic, it stimulate the blood’s circulation, antiseptic, light anti depressive and digestive 
Skullcap is a nervine, sedative, anti stress, insomnia and depression 
Valerian is a sedative and relaxant 
Verbana is a relaxant, nervine, anti spasmodic, diuretic, bitter tonic 
Pasque flower  is an anti inflamatory, sedative, for pains BUT don’t use the fresh plant
Californian poppy is a sedative, it treats insomnia, anxiety and tension
Lactuca virosa (kind of lettuce) is a sedative for anxiety and nervine
Lavender is used for migraine and its oil sooths after a sunburn, and it helps the  digestion

You may check out the Healing plants as well.

Healing plants #1

These are a few healing plants which you can grow at home without too much fuss and which could  be used anytime.

Yarrow is a styptic (wounds), antiseptic, anti inflammatory, nervine and good to treat fevers

Calendula  Officinallis is a styptic, antiseptic, anti inflammatory, nervine, healing, anti fungal

Echinacea is an antiseptic, anti inflammatory, immune system stimulant and for infections such as cold/flu and herpes

St John Wort is an Anti inflammatory, Healing, Analgesic and anti depressant

Aloe Vera is a famous antiseptic, anti inflammatory, Anti Fungal, Healing and for burns of type 1

Agrimony Eupatoria is an astring, anti-diarrhoea and for wounds

Arnica montana is to enhance the blood circulation and  healing properties but NOT on open wounds

Plantain  is an expectorant, can be used for gastric problems, externaly for insect bites, for slow healing wounds & as a poultice

Feverfew  is an anti inflammatory and good for migraine

I hope that this might be useful for those who wish to plant useful plants at home.