Basella alba Health Benefits and Home Remedies

Basella alba is a wildly cultivated, vegetable which is a climbing herbaceous vine, several metres in length. This succulent has fleshy leaves and green or purple stems which are used for medicinal purposes. It is also called Ceylon spinach, Malabar spinach and Indian spinach. In India, it is called pasalai keerai in Tamil and poi in hindi. The plant is known for its anti-fungal, anti-convulsant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and androgenic activities and for the treatment of anemia.

Basella alba health benefits and home remedies
Basella alba

The leaves are low in calories but etremely nutritious. The chemical composition of the leaf extract include: proteins, fat, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B9 (folic acid), riboflavin, niacin, thiamine and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron.

Medicinal Uses of Basella alba in Traditional Medicine

Traditionally the Basella alba has been used in many cultures for a variety of medicinal purposes.  The leaves of B. alba are used in ayurveda to induce sound sleep by applying it on the head for about half an hour before bathing. In Ayurveda, it is also used for hemorrhages, skin diseases, sexual weakness, ulcers and as laxative in children and pregnant women. The leaves and stem of Basella alba has been used in ayurveda  for anticancer treatments such as melanoma, leukemia and oral cancer.

Leaves of B. alba is used for the treatment of hypertension by Nigerians in Lagos, and malaria in Cameroonian folk medicine. The leaf juice is used in Nepal to treat dysentery, catarrh and applied externally to treat boils. The stem and leaf has been used in Bangladesh for acne and freckle treatment. The Bede community of Bangladesh, who since ancient times have always practiced their own traditional medicinal system, eat the stems, leaves and seeds of B. alba to keep healthy, to prevent anemia and to increase body strength.

Basella alba Health Benefits for Boosting Testosterone

Several studies have been made on animals to determine the effectiveness of Basella alba on boosting testosterone. The belief is that, the effectiveness of Basella alba on testosterone levels is because of its ability to stimulate androgen production and also to help increase the amount of free testosterone in the body. Free testosterone helps increase muscle mass, sexual drive and stamina. Read more on health benefits of the herb for boosting testosterone 

Health Benefits of Basella alba (from A Review on Medicinal Importance of Basella alba L.)

Some of the health benefits of Basella alba are 

  • It is an astringent and the cooked roots are used in the treatment of diarrhea.
  • The leaf juice is a demulcent, used in cases of dysentery.
  • Basella mucilage has been used in Thai traditional medicine as topical application for irritant, bruise and ringworm.
  • Stem and leaves are used as mild laxative, diuretic and antipyretic.
  • Root and leaves has been used for the removal of after birth,
    stomach pains and increase milk production.
  • Basella alba is administered orally for the treatment of anal prolapsed or hernia.
  • Leaves are used in constipation, poultice for sores, urticaria and gonorrhea.
  • It is also used in poultice local swellings and intestinal complaints.

Basella alba Home Remedies

  • A paste of the root is applied to swellings and is also used as a rubefacient.
  • The sap is applied to acne eruptions to reduce inflammation.
  • A decoction of the leaves is used for its mild laxative effects.
  • Pulped leaves can be applied to boils and ulcers to hasten suppuration.
  • Sugared juice of leaves is useful for catarrhal afflictions.
  • Leaf-juice mixed with butter, is soothing and cooling when applied to burns and scalds.
  • The paste of root of red B. alba along with rice washed water cab be taken in the morning on an empty stomach for one month, to cure irregular periods.

 

Jasmine Oil Health Benefits

Jasmine Oil

The jasmine oil or absolute is produced by collecting thousands of blossoms overnight, when the aroma of the flower is at its most intense. It is said that, it takes 8000 jasmine sambac blossoms to create a single millimeter of oil. A concrete is first made from the jasmine flowers by solvent extraction, from which an absolute is obtained, by separation with alcohol. The essential oil is then produced from the absolute by steam distillation. Absolutes are even more concentrated than essential oils, and their shelf-life is much longer than the essential oil.

Jasmine oil, is one of the the most expensive and exotic oils used in today’s perfumery. Jasmine is considered to be the “King of Oils” as it is the the most masculine of all the floral oils. The colour of Jasmine oil is light or dark amber. It blends with many oils, but to maintain its fragrance, it is best used alone or with a mild oil. It is said to blend particularly well with sandalwood and citrus oils.

Health Benefits of Jasmine Oil

Jasmine oil is beneficial in treating many health problems. It is a powerful antiseptic, sedative and tonic. It is also possesses anti bacterial, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. The antibacterial properties of Jasmine sambac essential oil, helps in combating bacteria and other harmful microbes causing infectious diseases. A 2008 study on ‘Antibacterial potential assessment of Jasmine essential oil against E.Coli’ confirmed that jasmine oil contains antibacterial activity.

It is useful to treat skin infections. It soothes the body, helps to alleviate dry skin and is very good for sensitive skin. It is used as a massage oil in creams and lotions. A study on the antifungal avtivity of Jasminum sambac against Malassezia sp and non-malassezia sp isolated from human skin samples, concluded that, “J. sambac may be used as an alternative treatment against Malassezia-associated skin infections.”

It is also used in aromatherapy to lift up the mood. Jasmine oil increases alertness and improves mood. It is recommended for breathing difficulties, coughing and nervous debility.

At the psychological and emotional level, the sedative property of the jasmine oil is said to soothe and calm the mind and body. It is also considered a strong aphrodisiac.

It is anti-inflammatory in nature and is recommended for any kind of physical pain. ‘Preliminary Studies on Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic Activities of Jasminum sambac (L.) Aiton in Experimental Animal Models’ have proved that Jasminum sambac extracts exhibit anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive (reducing sensitivity to painful stimuli) properties that are helpful in treating muscular aches, rheumatism, back pain, headache and inflammation.

HOME REMEDY

  • Jasmine oil gives relief from poisonous stings. Just apply the oil on the affected area.
  • Jasmine oil is a natural remedy for relief from pain or inflammation. Mix 2 drops of jasmine oil with 1 ml of olive oil and apply gently on the inflammed area.
  • To control negativity and depressed emotions, inhale the aroma of Jasmine sambac essential oil. It helps to pacify the senses.
  • For treating tension, fatigue, anxiety, and postnatal depression, add 2 drops of jasmine oil to a vaporizer or diffuser to inhale.
  • To get relief from pain and inflammation, mix 2 drops of Jasmine sambac oil with 1 ml of olive oil and massage gently on the painful area. You can also add 2 drops of jasmine oil to warm bathing water, or to a hot compress.
  • Add 2 drops of jasmine oil to your regular cream or lotion and massage it gently on your body to treat dry skin, and for getting rid of scars.
  • Jasmine sambac oil is extremely good for the skin and it acts as a natural tonic and improves the skin health. To remove excess oil and blemishes from the skin, add a drop of Jasmine sambac oil to hot water and steam regularly.
  • Jasmine oil is considered a great anti-depressant. Adding two drops the oil in warm bathing water, or to a massage oil, helps to inspire positive thoughts, strengthen the mind and boost your confidence.

Lime Oil Health Benefits

Lime oil comes from Citrus aurantifolia also called Lime. Lime oil has a sharp citrus scent, and is pale yellow or light olive in color depending on the method of production. Lime oil is produced in two ways, cold-pressing the peel of the lime and distilling. Cold pressed oil has a yellow or green color, with a rich and fresh lime peel scent. Cold pressed lime oil is usually recommended as it contains more of the natural compounds that make it so beneficial.

Lime oil health benefits
Lime oil from Amazon.com

How to Make Lime Essential Oil                    

Lime essential oil for therapeutic purposes is made through two processes – expression and distillation.

Expression is a method of extraction which is specific to citrus oils. It is also called cold pressing. In olden times, expression was done in the form of sponge pressing. The zest or rind of the citrus would be first soaked in warm water to make it more receptive to the pressing process. A sponge would then be used to press the rind, thus breaking the essential oil cavities and absorb the essential oil. Once the sponge was filled with the extraction, it would then be pressed over a collecting container and there it would be allowed to stand till the separation of essential from the liquids.

A more modern method is one that involves a prodding, pricking and sticking action to release essential oil. The rind is placed in a container having spikes that will puncture the peel while the device is rotated. The puncturing of the rind releases essential oil that is collected in a small container below.

Distilled citrus oils deteriorate more quickly and are not recommended for aromatherapy use. If the oil is not extracted using steam distillation or cold expression, it is not considered a therapeutic grade oil.

Health Benefits of lime oil

Citrus fruits are very good sources of nutrition with a large amount of vitamin C. They are also abundant in other macronutrients, including sugars, dietary fiber, potassium, folate, calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Citrus fruits contain a number of secondary metabolites, such as flavonoids, alkaloids, coumarins, limonoids, carotenoids, phenol acids and essential oils. These secondary metabolites are known to show several activities which are of importance to human health. These  include anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, cardiovascular protective effects and neuroprotective effects.

Lime essential oil is full of antioxidants and other nutrients. Lime oil, like lime is an antiseptic, antiviral, astringent, bactericidal and a disinfectant. It is also a febrifuge (reduces fever), haemostatic (stops bleeding), restorative and a tonic. Lime oil extract has a sharp citrus smell and is used in aromatherapy. Due to its refreshing properties,  Lime oil can be used as a massage oil or in a cream or lotion. The oil can also be added to bathwater.

  • Lime oil is useful to cool fevers associated with colds, sore throats and flu. It helps to ease coughs, bronchitis and sinusitis, as well as helping asthma.
  • Lime oil can stimulate and refresh a tired mind and helps with depression. Its uplifting scent is used to treat depression, and improve mood in vapour therapy.
  • It may be helpful for arthritis, rheumatism and poor circulation, as well as for obesity and cellulite, as it has the ability to improve circulation. Lime oil can be used as a massage oil or diluted in the bath, to help with painful muscles and joints.
  • Lime oil can be used in a cream or lotion to clear oily congested skin. It also acts an astringent and tones the skin.

How to make lime infused oil

1 cup olive oil
2 limes
Citrus peeler
A sieve

Procedure:

  • Take one cup of olive oil in a saucepan. Wash the limes and dry them thoroughly.
  • Peel or zest the limes.
  • Cut the lime peel into very small strips.
  • Add the lime zest to the olive oil.
  • Heat the oil and allow to simmer for 10 minutes over low heat.
  • Remove the saucepan from heat and cover, allowing the zest to steep for 2 1/2 hours.
  • Sieve the oil and store in an airtight and non-reactive container.
  • Store it in a cool, dry place.

This infusion can be used for up to two weeks. It can be used as a garnish or as a dressing in salads.

Lime infused oil
Watch this video on how to make lime infused oil

 

Lime oil is used extensively in the food and beverage industry. It is also used for making beauty products, fragrances and as cleaning agents.

 

 

How to prepare herbs

 

How to prepaqre herbsHerbalism is the oldest form of medicine known to us, and this knowledge has been accumulated over thousands of years. While modern medicine is all about finding and extracting the one active ingredient in a plant to make it a powerful medicine, herbalists insist that a plant is made up of a number of ingredients, which work together to make it a safer and more effective medicine. Most herbalists believe that modern medicine suppresses the body’s healing powers. The symptoms are healed but the underlying cause of illness is not addressed.

A growing number of doctors and patients are embracing a complementary approach to treating health problems. Minor ailments and non-threatening diseases can easily be treated at home with herbs. The chronic ones need to be treated systematically for months. With more and more people turning to natural remedies, it becomes imperative to know how to prepare the herbs and how to use them correctly to achieve maximum results.

How To Prepare Herbs?

Most medicinal herbs are available with herbalists. We may also grow these herbs – some of them are really easy to grow. One has to be careful however, that the plants have not been exposed to pollutants, pesticides and sprays. Herbs for medicinal purpose should be harvested just before flowering, and the ideal time to harvest is in the morning, says Prof D N Dhar in his book, ‘Natural Remedies’.

Herbs can be taken fresh or dry. Dry herbs are more potent than fresh ones, hence while using dried herbs, it is suggested that the ratio of herb to water should be 25g to 500ml. When fresh herbs are used, the ratio would be 50g to 500ml. There are basically three basic carriers used to extract the healing elements of herbs. These are water, alcohol and oil. The easiest to make at home is water based extractions.

Teas

Teas can be brewed from the fresh or dried flowers, leaves or roots of a herb. Add a tsp of dried herb or two tsp of fresh crushed herb to two cups of water. Bring this to a boil and then let it steep for 10 – 15 minutes. Herbal teas can be had hot or cold. Keeping the pot covered with a close-fitting lid, will help to retain the active ingredients, as otherwise they may be lost due to evaporation. Most of the active ingredients in the herbs are volatile.

Infusions

Place the freshly-crushed herbs, condiments or spices in a container, and pour hot water on them. Cover with a lid, let it cool to room temperature, then use it. Infusions can also be used as herbal teas and for inhalations. Infusions using hot water on the verge of boiling, preserves the beneficial oils that can be sometimes be lost through escaping steam.

Decoctions

Decoctions are usually prepared from the dried bark of trees, seeds and roots. These hard substances need prolonged boiling to release their active principles. Decoctions can also be made from fresh, soft plant parts like crushed flowers, soft leaves and stems. In this case, boil only for 3-4 mins. Take about half a cup of coarsely pounded bark/seeds/roots. To this add two cups of water and boil till only one-fourth remains. Strain through a soft, clean cloth or filter, and use.

Cold Extracts

In case of delicate plants and herbs such as rose, jasmine, marigold, hibiscus, and coriander whose oils evaporate very fast, the ingredients are soaked in cold water and left for 10-12 hours, or even overnight. Half a cup of herbs to a cup of water should be used.

It is best to use these remedies as soon as possible after brewing them, because they start to lose their potency within a few hours of exposure to air. Honey or sugar can be added to bitter tasting teas to make them more palatable. Some teas produce side effects like nausea, hence they are given with aromatics like cinnamon, cloves or cardamom. Temperatures at which you boil the herbs also play an important role in extracting the medicinal properties of the herb.

Herbs like bearberry, should not be boiled as it loses its efficacy. Hence the bearberry tea is prepared by soaking the leaves in water. Some teas like parsley may not be good for pregnant women as it may increase the risk of miscarriage. Elderly people with liver, kidney and cardiovascular problems should not liquorice for a long time. As a rule , raw, cold, greasy and hard to digest foods should be avoided while taking herbal teas. It is always advisable to follow the instructions carefully while having herbal teas.

Home Remedies to Reduce Cholesterol

 

Natural Home Remedies to Treat High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a wax like substance. It is fat made by the liver. Some cholesterol is needed for good health (it is essential for formation of cell membranes, hormones and vitamin D). Too much cholesterol in the blood leads to problems. The extra cholesterol in the blood may be stored in the arteries and cause them to narrow. Large deposits block an artery. When an artery that supplies blood to the heart is blocked it causes a heart attack and when an artery that supplies blood to the brain is blocked it causes a stroke.

Cholesterol travels in blood through carrier proteins called the lippoproteins, that help it dissolve in blood and be transported to all parts of the body. Low-density lippoprotein or LDL deliver cholesterol to the body and hence is called the bad cholesterol and high-density lippoprotein HDL, removes cholesterol from the blood stream and hence is called the good cholesterol. Fortunately, the build up of cholesterol and triglycerides can be slowed, stopped and sometimes even reversed.

Natural Food to Treat Build up of Cholesterol

Increase your Omega-3sOmega3

Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are actually said to lower cholesterol. Salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines are great sources of Omega-3s. Fish oil supplements also contain two types of omega-3s. Flaxseed is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating 2 tbsp of flaxseed daily can cut LDL cholesterol by as much as 18%.

Increase the fibreFibre helps reduce cholesterol

Oats are rich in soluble fibre. Fibre works in the intestines by binding of cholesterol so that it cannot be absorbed and helps the ingested food to move through the tract more quickly, so that there is simply less time for the cholesterol to be absorbed. Eating around one cup of oats daily could lower the LDL cholesterol quite substantially. The most valuable sources of fibre for reducing high levels of blood fat seems to be oats bran, beans, barley, apples, soya bean and alfalfa. Fruits and vegetables are rich in dietary fibre, which can help lower cholesterol.

Herbs and Spices

Several herbs and spices like fenugreek seeds and leaves, holy basil, ginger, turmeric and garlic help lower cholesterol. Nuts like almonds and walnuts, that are high in fibre should replace foods high in saturated fat. To control and maintain cholesterol levels, minimize consumption of animal products including dairy products as animal foods (other than fish) are high in saturated fatty acids and dietary cholesterol. Eat a lot of anti-oxidant foods such as strawberries, apples, nuts, carrots, broccoli and spinach.

Home Remedies to fight Cholesterol

Boil water with 2 tsp coriander seed. Strain and drink this water twice daily. It helps reduce cholesterol, flushes out toxins, and improves digestion.

Guggulu (Commiphora mukul) is effective in lowering cholesterol. Studies investigating the hypolipidemic benefits of gum guggul show that it can reduce cholesterol levels by 14-27% and lower triglycerides by 22-30%. It is also said to increase the good cholesterol (HDL). There is a difference in the outcomes of Indian and Western studies. While Indian studies have found strong evidence to support this fact, western studies have not found it to be so. This difference is being attributed to the difference in diet followed.

Green tea is said to have hypocholesterolemic properties. Researchers have found that consumption of green tea reduces both LDL and total cholesterol. Polyphenols in green tea are said to block the intestinal absorption of cholesterol and promote its excretion from the body. It also inhibits the abnormal formation of blood clots.

Garlic also lowers cholesterol in the blood by singling out the especially harmful LDL fraction. Crush a couple of garlic and let it stand for a few minutes, then have it early in the morning on an empty stomach. It helps to breaks up cholesterol in the blood vessels and helps prevent the hardening of arteries.

Arjuna is said to have the ability to contain the blood’s absorption of lipids and thus regulates cholesterol. It possesses hypolipidemic properties. Arjuna is rich in co-enzyme Q-10 (CoQ10) that helps lower LDL cholesterol and enhances HDL recovery. Take 1 to 2 capsules per day of Arjun (Terminalia arjuna) extract available in a capsule form.

Artichoke is an old traditional home remedy. It has been established that artichokes have cholesterol-lowering ability. A German study on a group of volunteers, in which they were given artichoke extract for 6 weeks showed that it lowered total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol by 18.5% and 22.9% respectively. The effect on HDL and triglycerides however were minimal.

Apart from having the right kind of food, some other measures one can take is to maintain a healthy weight, quit smoking, eat a low-fat, low-salt diet that includes many fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Exercise or walk everyday at least 30 minutes and avoid alcohol if you can.

Know more about natural ways to prevent and treat high cholesterol

Acidity Home Remedies

The stomach contains millions of glands that secrete gastric juices, mostly hydrochloric acid. The acid activates the secretion of the enzyme pepsin, which starts protein digestion. The stomach also secretes various other enzymes that are necessary for digestion and to help break down food. Sometimes there is excess production of acid in the stomach. These gastric juices move from the stomach into the esophagus. Lying down can result in acid regurgitation, (where the acid sensation is felt in the mouth). This condition is called acidity. Acidity can lead to dyspepsia, heartburn and even formation of ulcers.

Home Remedies for Acidity

Hyperacidity caused by wrong diet can easily be treated and prevented. Acidity is mostly caused by dietary and bad lifestyle choices. A proper diet and physical activity go a long way in controlling acidity. Diet for acidity

Keep a small lump of jaggery in your mouth and keep sucking it slowly. The sweet juice of jaggery will help reduce acidity. Jaggery breaks down and becomes alkaline in the digestive system.

Boil one cup of water and add a tsp of Aniseed to it. Cover and leave overnight. Strain the water in the morning, add 1 tsp of honey and take it 3 times a day. Saunf  or aniseed helps in digestion, thus preventing acidity.

Banana, Water Melon, grapefruit and cucumber are some of the fruits which prove helpful in acidity. It is always good to eat fruits every day as it helps to increase alkaline in the body, thus neutralizing the effects of acidity.

A tsp of lime juice mixed with water and a pinch of sodabicarb is an excellent home remedy for reducing acidity in the stomach.

Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is said to be a effective home remedy for acidity. Take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and then follow it up with a glass of water.

Virgin coconut oil is very helpful in acidity. Coconut oil is an excellent antibiotic. Studies have also confirmed its high antimicrobial and anit-bacterial activity.

Almonds help to quickly control the heart burn. A few pieces of almonds taken daily helps relieve acidity.

Add a tsp of Caraway seeds (shah jeera) to one and a half liters of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Drink it while still warm, 2-3 times a day.

Powder equal quantities of clove and cardamom and use the powder as a mouth freshener after a meal. It helps to cure acidity and also bad breath.

Slice an inch of ginger and simmer in 2 cups of water, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain and drink it about 20 minutes before a meal.

Sipping on holy basil (tulsi) tea helps alleviate acidity. Mint leaf tea is also a good home remedy for acidity.

Probiotics like yogurt, buttermilk, and other fermented products can help prevent acid reflux problems.

Cynodon dactylon is another natural remedy to treat acidity. Make a juice of  the herb and mix about 3-4 tsps. of the juice in 1 cup of water. Drink this on an empty stomach in the morning.

Toothache home remedies

Tooth decay is usually the cause of tooth aches. A tooth ache is a sign of decay, abscess or inflammation inside the tooth or of the gum. The main cause of tooth decay is plaque. Plaque is a film of mucus and bacteria deposited on the teeth that encourages the development of dental caries. Dental caries is also known as tooth decay or a cavity. It is an infection which is bacterial in origin, that causes demineralization of the tooth surface.

What causes tooth decay?

Tooth decay is usually caused by a sticky film of food residue, saliva and bacteria that accumulate on teeth. The bacteria feeds on the sugars and starches from food we eat. These bacteria produce an acid that can destroy the enamel, which is the protective surface of the tooth.  When the decay advances. it leads to deep cavities that allow bacteria to enter the pulp deep within the tooth, and eventually leads to a painful dental abscess. It is called a tooth abscess, when pus has accumulated in a cavity on the interior of the tooth.

Home remedies to prevent and treat tooth aches

Tooth decay invariably requires  treatment by a dentist, but you can use a variety of natural home remedies to relieve pain while dental treatment takes effect, and even prevent it by performing these simple actions, which will keep the teeth healthy.

Prevention:

Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss it to remove food particles from between your teeth.
Minimize the consumption of refined carbohydrates. Such foods promote plaque formation and raise acid levels in the mouth.
Reduce excess acidity in your mouth after eating by brushing or rinsing your mouth well so as to remove food residue and counter acidity.
Drink tea, which is a good source of fluoride and tannins. Fluorides is a decay fighting mineral and the tannins help fight bacteria. Green tea can prevent tooth decay by inhibiting oral bacteria.
Minimize snacking, (including sugary drinks, candy and mints) as this leads to a constant supply of acid in the mouth.

It is not how often we brush our teeth, but how well we brush our teeth that matters. It is recommended that we hold the brush at a 45 degree angle against the gum line. Point the brush upwards while brushing the upper teeth and downward while brushing the lower teeth. Use short back and forth motion to clean the surface of teeth. Tilt the brush vertically and use the front part of the brush in short up down strokes to clean the inner surfaces of the front teeth. Finally, brush your tongue too, as it has disease containing plaque.

Another important thing to do everyday is to floss your teeth. The teeth are usually touching each other, so there is no other way to get into the space between teeth. Flossing too has to be done the right way. You don’t want to slash your gums. Floss not only removes the food particles from between teeth, but also the plaque that builds between teeth. It is good to be methodical when flossing and brushing, so that no surfaces of any teeth are missed.

Treatment

To reduce the pain of an abscess, apply a hot compress for five minutes, every half an hour and wash out with warm salt water afterwards. This may help release the pus.
Apply a few drops of clove oil on the gum above or beneath the aching tooth. Cloves contain eugenol, a local anaesthetic. If you do not have clove oil at home, powder the cloves finely and make a very thick decoction out of it. Soak a cotton wool in this decoction and place it on the hurting tooth.
Apply a cotton wool ball soaked in echinacea tincture to the affected tooth.
Apply a paste of powdered slippery elm bark mixed with a little water.
Herbal tea made from mango flowers acts as an astringent, soothes inflammation and relieves pain.

For gums

After cleaning teeth, gently massage gums with fingertip, then rinse mouth with cold black tea. The tannin in the tea acts as an astringent and reduces bleeding.
To counter infection, make mouth washes out of meadowsweet tea. You can make this tea by pouring boiling water over the dried herb and steeping for 10 mins. Strain, cool and use.
Take a tbsp of mustard oil, and add a tsp of common salt to it. Massage this mixture on your gums with your forefinger, in circular strokes for about half a minute. Gargle with warm water and repeat three times a day.

Diet for teeth

It is important to keep teeth strong in addition to keeping it clean. Calcium helps make the teeth strong. With an increase in calcium intake, magnesium and zinc intake also has to go up, as the requirement of magnesium and zinc increases with an increase of calcium in the diet. Vitamin C is very important for gum health. Vitamin C is said to supply the gum tissues with oxygen and strengthens the texture of tissues. It also cures infections quickly. Eating raw hard vegetables on a regular basis, helps to clean and exercise the gum and teeth, thus making them stronger.

Keeping the Brain Agile in Old Age

 

Ageing as we all know, is simply a process of growing old, where every part of the body is affected. The systems slow down and the risk of disease increases. Numerous changes occur. The most important reason for pre-mature ageing is associated with oxidative damage due to free radicals. Our body constantly reacts with oxygen as we breathe and our cells produce energy. As a result, highly reactive molecules are produced within our cells known as free radicals, which create oxidative stress. The effects on the body as it ages include loss of elasticity in the skin, blood vessels and tendons, as well as a progressive decline in organ and joint function.

Even though we can’t be young for ever, we can avoid some of the negative effects of ageing with a healthy lifestyle and some well chosen supplements.

What we can do is

Avoid smoking cigarettes
Avoid excessive alcohol
Protect ourselves from the sun. Ultraviolet rays makes skin age faster.
Build and maintain bone and muscle mass with weight bearing exercises, and walking.
Enhance our body’s own anti-oxidant defences. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables everyday.

How can we help our brain stay agile in old age?

A major change associated with old age, is of memory declining, and loss of brain cells. As we grow older the dendrites of nerve cells begin to die, which leaves less potential for synaptic connections, thus affecting our logic and memory. Stress is very bad for the brain. High amounts of cortisol get released when we get stressed, and this can seriously damage the neurons. It impairs cognition. As we age, it becomes harder to calm ourselves, when under pressure, and thus more susceptible to such damage.

There are somethings we can do to keep our brain active.

Keeping ourselves occupied by reading, solving puzzles, learning a new skill or language, taking up a new hobby, can keep our synapses working well.
Avoiding stressful situations that can poison the brain.
Taking time to relax.

How can supplements help?

Vitamin C and vitamin E are antioxidants that fight free radicals. They improve immune function and reduce the risk of age-related conditions like heart disease, some forms of cancer and possibly Alzheimers. Green tea and grapeseed extracts are other antioxidants that are very potent. Folic acid, a B vitamin, promotes healthy functioning of nerves. Vitamin B12 fosters healthy brain functioning. Older people lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food, and low B12 levels can cause nerve damage and dementia.

Two supplements that seem to boost mental clarity, and are natural brain builders  are Phosphatidylserine and Acetyl-L-carnitine.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is an important chemical with many functions in the body. It plays an important part in the maintenance of cellular function, especially in the brain. The body makes phosphatidylserine, but gets most of what it needs from foods. PS is a building block of all brain cells. Without PS, our neurons could not send out neurotransmitters that relay messages throughout the brain. PS heals the brain and restores mental function. The sources of Phosphatidylserine are cow brains, organ meat (liver and kidneys) and plant sources like soy and white beans . The highest concentrations of phosphatidylserine occur in cow brains.

Phosphatidylserine supplements were once made from cow brains, but now are commonly manufactured from soy. This happened due to a concern that products made from animal sources might cause infections such as the mad cow disease. There is developing evidence that plant-derived phosphatidylserine improves memory in people with age-associated memory loss.

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is an  amino acid. Acetyl-L-carnitine works from within the brain. It ensures the efficient functioning of the mitochondria. It prevents the toxic accumulation of fatty acids in the mitochondria. Many studies document the use of ALC to repair the degeneration of neuronal tissue that can trigger age-related deterioration of mental function. Even though L-carnitine is available from supplements as well as food, it is the L-carnitine from food sources that is better used and absorbed by the body. Meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products are the richest sources of L-carnitine, in that order.

Dr. Richard N. Firshein, in his book, ‘The Vitamin Prescription (for life) says that, “A ground breaking 1991 study by Dr. Thomas Crook showed that in 57 subjects with age related memory decline, whose average age was 64, PS was able to turn back the mental clock by roughly 12 years.” He also says that, “over 50 human trials, demonstrate that, when used as a dietary supplement in a wide range of doses, PS is incredibly effective at conserving stores of brain power”.

When we lay the foundations of good health in youth and middle age,  we are much more likely to maintain it in old age. A good lifestyle and healthy food will help delay the onset of old age related brain conditions.

Herbal remedies

The herb ginko biloba is said to improve age related conditions as dizziness, impotence and memory loss.

Coenzyme q-10- increases oxygen transport through the mitochondria of the cells. It appears to slow age-related dementia. Coenzyme Q is available from three basic types of foods:  fish, organ meats (liver, kidney and heart), the germs of whole grains and from oils like soybean, sesame, and rapeseed.

A recent swiss study found a connection between high levels of antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamin C in the blood and better memory skills in older people. Beta-carotene can be found in sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale and mustard greens. Guavas, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, and broccoli are good sources of vitamin C.

Garlic is good herb for immunity and circulation. It has a number of health benefits. It helps reduce cholesterol and prevent cancer. Regular consumption of garlic is linked with increased cognitive health in old age

The herb Ginseng helps to protect against loss of sex drive or general debility.

The Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi) herb  has compounds that can repair damaged neurons, thus improving nerve impulse transmission.  It appears to work through proliferating dendrites in order to improve synaptic transmission, thus promoting neuron communication.