Archive | March 2012

Please Read My New Holistic Articles!

Hi All!

I’ve recently acquired my own webpage as the SF Holistic Living Editor at http://www.examiner.com. I get to post informative articles and reach a global audience – But, I need your help to get things started. 

If you could take 2 seconds to click on the link below and read my short article, the Examiner will know that I have some excellent wellness readers. Since readership is based on number of clicks, this will give me the credit on the site to continue writing great wellness articles. =)

 

5 Spring Shedding Secrets

http://www.examiner.com/holistic-health-in-san-francisco/5-spring-shedding-secrets

I really appreciate you helping me out and clicking the link and passing it on to friends, colleagues and family. 

Namaste and Many Blessings to You!

Julie

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Holistic Cooking Class!

Veda health announces the next Holistic Cooking Class:

The Healing Power of Food

6:15pm Thursday, April 19th

at Soulutions for Daily Living, Newtown, PA 

Please call 215-968-9750 and reserve your spot as space is limited.

Arnica – A Deeper Look

Amidst the mountainous regions of Europe and the Northwestern United States, a yellow-petalled perennial flower holds the power of true bruise-healing wonder. Arnica montana, one of 25 species of flowering plants in the Asteraceae family, is an herbal gem for medicinal uses in Ayurveda, European folk medicines and homeopathy.

Commonly known as mountain tobacco and wolf’s bane, Arnica was traditionally used in native folk medicine to treat bruising, wound healing and to reduce pain and swelling. Historically, it was also praised as a popular treatment for typhoid and rheumatic fever in the 1800s because of its febrifuge qualities. Since then, several studies have demonstrated the efficacy of Arnica in treating various skin disorders and reducing fever and joint pain associated with rheumatism and osteoarthritis.

Biochemically, Arnica contains compounds called sesquiterpene lactones, which can induce allergic reactions and are poisonous in large quantities. Interestingly, these same compounds appear to be safe in small amounts and can actually potentiate anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antibacterial effects that make them valuable for acute injuries. In particular, the lactone helenalin, from arnica flowers, selectively inhibits the activation of transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-KB) which in turn, prevents the production of inflammatory cytokines and attenuates the inflammatory process. This key mechanism is extremely potent and useful for preventing tissue swelling when an Arnica preparation or gel is applied upon immediate injury. It is also postulated that helenalin may account for some of the anti-inflammatory benefit observed in rheumatism since it inhibits TNF-α, a major inflammatory cytokine involved in rheumatoid arthritis and a target of NF-KB.

In addition to its fever reducing and skin healing properties, Arnica has been shown to have a favorable effect on the cardiovascular, respiratory and immune systems. When taken internally in small doses and under the care of a physician, it acts as a vasodilator, expectorant and immunostimulant. More specifically, Arnica has been found to engage coronary heart vessels and improve circulation and is a potent diuretic that affords both positive and negative benefits for patients. Its advantages in treating respiratory infections may be attributed to the antibacterial properties of the compound thymol, which is extracted from its roots. Case reports also demonstrate the expectorant qualities of Arnica, making it useful for coughs and colds. Lastly, Arnica has been shown to stimulate phagocytosis by macrophages and strengthen the immune defense upon infection.

Although Arnica has tremendous medicinal benefits, it is not without side effects, and certain precautions should be taken before its use. If the plant is ingested directly and not prepared with the appropriate medicinal dilutions, it will severely irritate the stomach and alimentary tract mucosa and induce vomiting. Arnica also contains two coumarins, anti-coagulant compounds that can inhibit platelet aggregation and enhance blood thinning. Persons with diabetes or those already taking blood thinners are theoretically at risk for excessive bleeding and other potential adverse interactions if Arnica is used internally. Since Arnica is a diuretic and vasodilator, it is not advised for those with hypertension. Lastly, it is recommended that Arnica not be applied to open wounds or cuts or to ingest Arnica unless it is appropriately diluted as in homeopathic preparations.

Amazing Arnica!

I love Arnica. Yes, it’s odd that someone could be in love with a flowering plant, but this little daisy like panacea has bailed me out on multiple occasions. And, it has done it once more...

Clumsily, I fell the other night – a nasty fall that almost broke my foot. I tripped over a cement curb in the dark and busted what could only be my medial metatarsal vein. As the bluish stain began to ecchymose under my skin’s surface, I rushed for my tube of trusty Arnica gel. After just three applications of this quick-dry homeopathic remedy and 40 min of RICE first aid treatment, the hematoma that was forming slowly, subsided and left a sore, but peachy skinned dorsal right foot. I continued to apply the Arnica the next morning to help alleviate the pain, but most of the benefit transpired within the first 30 min of the injury. Either way, I was eternally grateful to have this herbal treasure on hand. 

Being a strong proponent of herbal and Ayurvedic medicine, this incidence prompted me to take a closer look at the biochemical and physiological benefits of Arnica. If you’d like to glean a deeper insight into the various health benefits and precautions of this miraculous plant, read my article that follows this post. 

In terms of practical use, I think Arnica is worth its weight in medicinal gold and highly recommend keeping a tube close by in your first aid kit. A popular and trustworthy brand is Arnicare ™ by Boiron and can be found anywhere from your local Walgreens to Whole Foods. 

Namaste

Holy Choppino!

This video is superb for making San Francisco style Choppino! 

Remember, tomatoes are a nightshade that along with the fish and spices can be pitta aggravating, so this soup is best for vata and kapha constitutions in moderation. 

Brown Toothpaste?!

Hey Natural Product Enthusiasts!

Here is a very interesting natural toothpaste press release.

It’s Zion Health’s Claybrite Xtra.

Say Chia!

Remember those little green sprouting ceramic pets we all had back in the  80s? You know, the one where you mixed the little seeds with water and brushed it onto a little pig or sheep terracotta figure and watched it grow a bushy little garden “fur” coat. Well, I bet you never thought those little chia pets were the same chia seeds known today as a wonderfood!

As raw foodist Angela Stokes points out in her post, Chia seeds are a longtime superfood for the Mayan and Aztec cultures. They provide large amounts of protein and calcium and are easily absorbed and digested by mixing into a gel with a small bit of water. You can also grind up these chia babies into a flour and bake or cook with them.

Chia seeds are mild in taste and offer great digestive benefits.

They are a fantastic source of soluble and insoluble fiber (about half and half) and will aid with daily elimination. The soluble fiber will help bind matter in the gut to reduce cholesterol and the insoluble fiber will help keep your BMs regular. A good daily fiber ration for insoluble to soluble fiber is 3:1.

Ayurveda practitioner John Douillard offered me advice once to use chia seeds to improve the absorption of nutrients and to take it regularly for my digestive health. So, I of course rushed to add it to a favorite food of mine – Cookies! Yes, I modified a lemon poppy seed cookie recipe with chia seeds and it was delish!

The nutrients in Chia seeds are better absorbed when the outer layers of the seeds are broken down. Now, I recommend the more conventional way of ingesting chia seeds, soaking them in water for 10 min – 1 hour, to obtain a much greater amount of the nutrients, but I can’t say baking them whole wasn’t fun. =)

Chia seeds can be found at Whole Foods Market and other natural grocers as well as everywhere online. As always, organic chia seeds are best, but might be a bit pricey. Here’s a link to the great article by Angela Stokes and wiki’s thoughts, which provide even more background on chia and some recipes.