All About Herbs Wellness Blog
Here’s to Your Hibiscus Health
©By Dori Cranmore RN
Did you know that hibiscus herbal tea is not only delicious, but also a very healthy beverage? Pretty much any herb can be used to make tea, but one of the prettiest is that of Hibiscus. It is served hot or cold and contains no caffeine.
This healthful hibiscus tea has several characteristics that make it much more valuable than conventional teas. All over the world people drink hibiscus tea for health; (hibiscus tea can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar) for cooling; (hibiscus tea is a refrigerant and helps cool the body when needed). Other benefits include preventing bladder infections and constipation if taken regularly.
Unquestionably, brewed hibiscus is a stunning refresher, bold, tart and beautiful. Unlike tea, however, it is not made from leaves, or the flowers. The tall, slender hibiscus plant produces tiny pink flowers, which wither quickly and fall off, leaving seedpods behind. Big, fleshy red calyxes grow around the pods, and it is these juicy calyxes that are harvested and dried in the sun to become the blackish-red bits used in teas.
The species Hibiscus Sabdariffa, is also known as Red Tea, China Rose, Red Sorrell, Roselle, Jamaica Tea, and Sudanese Tea. It was used by the Chinese to treat dandruff, hair breakage and help stimulate hair growth. Making a tea and using it as a rinse for the hair works well.
Drinking a cup of hibiscus tea after meals can reduce the absorption of dietary carbohydrates and assist in weight loss. Newer studies are indicating drinking 3 cups of hibiscus tea may help keep blood sugar in a normal range.
Hibiscus is rich in Vitamin C so it is a great immune booster to aid in fighting off viruses. Hibiscus juice, with salt, pepper, and molasses, can be taken as a remedy for nausea.
Because of its muscle relaxing abilities it is not recommended for pregnant women. Children can benefit by drinking hibiscus tea and they love it for the bright red color and tangy flavor.
Here is a fun recipe:
4-6 cups water
4 TBSP organic dried Hibiscus
1 cinnamon stick and grated lemon or lime peeling
Add ¼ cup Agave syrup or honey to taste.
Bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Place ingredients in the water and cover to steep for 10 minutes (longer is not better). Strain and serve over ice. This will surely be a hit at any gathering.
Dori Cranmore is a registered nurse and owner of All About Herbs, inc in Wasilla. 376-8327
Ginger Spices Up Health
Ginger does more than just add a snap of flavor to foods and beverages. For centuries, the root of the plant has been used as a remedy for a variety of illnesses ranging from the common cold to cancer.
The spice has long been prized for its potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties can work wonders in the gastrointestinal tract. Long before commercially produced ginger ale became a popular remedy for stomach upset, ancient healers prescribed ginger tea to soothe a variety of digestive symptoms, especially nausea and vomiting.
Research suggests that taking up to one gram of ginger daily is a safe and effective remedy for nausea associated with morning sickness during pregnancy. Most experts recommend using ginger only as needed to alleviate nausea during pregnancy, rather than taking it on a regular basis.
Ginger is so effective at alleviating nausea that it is often used by individuals undergoing chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer. For cancer patients, supplemental ginger may do more than just ease nausea. Recent research at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center suggests that the spice may have potent anti-cancer properties, as well.
Ginger has an excellent safety profile and is associated with few unwelcome side effects. Still, it’s wise to consult your physician before using it on a regular basis, especially if you’re taking other medications or if you have any problems with your health.
For most healthy folks, ginger is a safe and effective remedy for nausea, stomachaches and muscle pain. The medicinal plant is available in most health food stores in a variety of forms, including capsules, teas and powders.
If you buy commercially prepared ginger ale, ginger tea or ginger snap cookies, be sure to read the label. Many products contain only artificial flavors rather than real ginger. There are ginger candies that are quite effective for nausea as well.
For motion sickness use ginger in the same way you would for chemotherapy. Taking true ginger, whether in a tea or supplement, up to three days before the activity that causes you motion sickness, can be extremely helpful and make your road trip or boat outing much more enjoyable. Many will make a ginger tea and sip on it slowly during their activity.
If you want to prepare your own, you can buy fresh or dried ginger root at many supermarkets. After washing, chopping or grinding the root, you can add it to foods or use it to make a tasty tea.
Even if you don’t need to use ginger for its medicinal properties, you can still enjoy its distinctive, delicious flavor.
Dori Cranmore is a Registered Nurse, Herb Specialist and owner of All About Herbs in Wasilla (376-8327) Article and research used with permission from Rallie McAllister.
The oil comes from the nigella sativa plant which is native to Asia. The plant has small, black, crescent-shaped seeds and is a part of the buttercup family. Its recorded use dates back to ancient Egyptian times, with Cleopatra using it to achieve her beautiful complexion and shiny hair. The oil was even found in a pharaoh’s tomb, dating back 3,300 years. Hippocrates was said to use it to treat digestive troubles. It is often incorrectly labeled as black cumin seed. Neither “cumin” nor “black cumin” is true black seed. Always look for the botanical name Nigella Sativa for pure Black seed oil.
Some of the recorded uses include high blood pressure, asthma and Candida albicans or yeast overgrowth in the body. Black seed oil may help to reduce inflammatory arthritis symptoms and may extend to improving asthma and bronchitis symptoms. Eating black seeds or taking black seed oil is also associated with relieving stomach pain, cramps, reducing gas, bloating, and the incidence of ulcers as well. The oil may help fight against skin cancers when applied topically. Black seed oil or seeds has been shown to reduce high cholesterol because it’s high in fatty acids that can help maintain healthier cholesterol levels.
When people with type 2 diabetes consumed 2000mg of black cumin per day for three months, it led to reductions in fasting blood sugar and HgbA1c.
Black Seed can help fight off many different strains of bacteria, including salmonella, E. coli, listeria, staph and MRSA. For internal bacterial infections, black seed oil can be added to herbal teas, and for a skin infection, you can apply it directly to the skin.
It’s particularly beneficial for those with autoimmune disease, because it can balance the immune system. It can increase immune function without encouraging an immune reaction against healthy tissue in the body.
Black Seed oil, honey and garlic make a powerful tonic for soothing coughs and boosting immunity, especially during cold and flu season or if you feel like you’re coming down with an infection. Black Seed oil can even be used topically to treat psoriasis and eczema or mixed with facial cream to moisturize and soothe your skin.
Black seed oil is available capsules, oil and seeds. You can add the seeds to casseroles, stir fries, salad dressings and baked goods, sprinkle them on salads, or even add them to your coffee, tea or smoothies. You can make black seed tea by pouring hot water over the seeds (about one tablespoon) and letting it steep for 10 minutes.
Dori Cranmore is a registered nurse, holistic health Practitioner and owner of All About Herbs in Wasilla, 376-8327 or 745-8387. This information is for educational purposes and is not medical advice or meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a poly pore mushroom that starts its life as a spore and finds its way to a weakness in a living tree, (birch trees in colder northern climates) where it grows and stores betulinic acid, beta glucans, beta carotines and a large number of vitamins and phyto-nutients, converting them to a usable form for humans and animals. Betulin is the white shiny powdery material that is easily identified in and on the bark of a Birch tree. The stored betulin and betulinic acid can help to build the strength of the liver and reduce inflammation. It also contains B vitamins, phenols, enzymes, polysaccharides and minerals such as copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, and iron.
It’s also one of the world’s densest sources of pantothenic acid. We need pantothenic acid to synthesize and metabolize proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Chaga works to prevent cellular damage before it happens, leaving the immune system free to deal with more serious health issues. In Russia they believe that the higher the chaga specimen on the tree, the higher betulitic acid content it has.
Chaga tea is used in the Russian folk medicine for a wide treatment of ailments including skin, lung and stomach cancer, gastritis, ulcers, TB and pain. Chaga extract has been an approved cancer drug in Russia since 1955.
The best time to harvest chaga is mid-July to mid-November in Alaska. If a hatchet is used always stay straight with the line of the tree. The tree will grow another specimen ready for harvest in 3 to 5 years. Break the chaga into small pieces to dry or it will mold.
Making Chaga tea is simple. Place chaga in a pot and steep it. Chaga tea should be the color of dark coffee. Many keep it on low in a crock pot or on a wood stove and add more chaga as the tea loses its color. Drinking 3-4 cups a day gives the most medicinal value, but any amount is beneficial.
Research has shown many benefits including:
Supports Healthy Immune function
Energy and stamina
Skin and body cell regeneration
Apoptosis (cancer cell death)
Supports healthy digestive system
Vitamins and phyto-nutrients
Helps regulate blood sugar
Safe to use with no known side effects
Alaskan Chaga chunks, powder, tea bags, chaga lotion, white chaga java, chaga chocolate bars and chaga extract is available at All About Herbs, Inc.
Recommended reading: “Chaga – King of the Medicinal Mushrooms” by David Wolfe (available at All About Herbs,Inc.)
Dori Cranmore is a Registered Nurse, Herb Specialist and owner of All About Herbs in Wasilla, 376-8327. This information is intended for educational purposes. Please refer to your health care professional for diagnosis, treatment or cures for dis-ease.
©By Dori Cranmore R.N.
At the beginning of each year it seems many people come to the store asking about ways to clean out their body and get a handle on their health. We have many different full body cleanse combinations and most all have Burdock root included in the formulas.
Burdock has been used as a primary detoxifying agent in both Chinese and Western herbalism as it stimulates elimination of wastes via the colon, kidneys and skin.
Burdock is the common name of any plant of the genus Arctium in the family Asteraceae. It is a common weed native to Europe and Northern Asia but is now widespread through out the USA. The root has a very crisp, sweet, mild and pungent flavor and is the primary source of many herbal preparations. The leaves are less potent.
This is a fun bit of trivia. In the 1940’s, George de Mestral, a Swiss inventor became curious about the burdock seeds when they attached themselves to his clothes and his dogs fur as they were out walking. Under a microscope he noted the hook-and-loop system that the seeds use to hitchhike on passing animals and aiding in seed dispersal. He realized that the same approach could be used to join other things together resulting in the creation of Velcro.
The root has often been used to purify the blood by removing toxins that can build up in the blood. It is one of the 4 components of the famous Essiac Tea (Burdock Root, Slippery Elm, Sheep Sorrel, Turkey Rhubarb Root) used by the Ojibwa Indians and Renee Caisse, R.N. of Canada, to halt tumor growth. In modern times, burdock is used in oncology and to treat many other serious health problems by integrative doctors and herbalists.
Burdock has been used to soothe inflammation in both internal and external tissues, including topical applications for joint swelling. Research suggests that it is helpful for treating conditions from chronic toxicity including arthritis, gout, heavy metal poisoning, and infection, rheumatism, sore throat and cancer prevention. It is highly recommended for chronic skin conditions such as abscesses, acne, boils, burns, boils, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, rashes, skin infections and benign tumors.
This herb is a good source of viscous fiber, helping absorb toxins from both the digestive and intestinal tracts and also used to lower bowel transit time and balance intestinal flora. It has been shown to provide antifungal, diuretic and hypoglycemic properties.
According to a study published in Diabetes Research, burdock root helps lower blood sugar levels. People taking insulin should not take burdock. Burdock is, however, compatible with all other hypoglycemic (diabetic) medications. It contains high amounts of inulin and mucilage which is most likely responsible for the effect of lowering blood sugar.
Because Burdock has a high concentration of minerals it actually helps replace those minerals that are purged during cleansing. It provides high amounts of chromium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, zinc, copper, manganese, B1, B6, B12, and E.
Burdock root can be taken in a capsule form, liquid extract or as a tea. It can also be made into a poultice and placed over sore or swollen joints. It is not recommended to be used during pregnancy. There are no reported contraindications with any medications except insulin.
It is so exciting doing research on each of the herbs because there is always something fun unturned and shared. Happy cleansing!
Dori Cranmore is a Registered Nurse, Herb Specialist and owner of All About Herbs in Wasilla, 376-8327. This information is intended for educational purposes. Please refer to your health care professional for diagnosis, treatment or cures for dis-ease.
Rhodiola rosea is not a common herb but it’s getting more popular every year. It typically grows at high altitudes in the Arctic and mountainous regions throughout Europe and Asia and has over 200 different species. Rhodiola rosea is now being grown and harvested in Alaska under the Alaska Grown label and is available at All About Herbs, Inc. in Wasilla.
One of Rhodiola’a attributes is that it is an adaptogenic herb. This means that it acts in non-specific ways to increase our body’s resistance to stress, without disturbing normal biological functions. There are many recognized herbs that are considered adaptogens. Ginsengs, Licorice Root, Maca, Holy Basil, Schisandra, Cordyceps, Ashwagandha, Reishi mushrooms, and my all time favorite, Rhodiola.
Russia and Scandinavia have been studying Rhodiola intensely for 35 years. They use it as a tonic, tea or supplement for fatigue, poor attention span, decreased memory, to help make workers more productive and to increase the capacity for mental work.
The Journal of the American Botanical Council, reports that numerous studies of rhodiola in both humans and animals have indicated that it helps prevent fatigue, stress and the damaging effects of oxygen deprivation. Evidence also suggests that it acts as an antioxidant, enhances immune system function, and can increase sexual energy.
Rhodiola appears to be able to significantly reduce the effects of prolonged and minor physical exhaustion that results in fatigue. Some research has shown Rhodiola’s ability to inhibit estrogen binding to a receptor and instead increased the metabolism of estradiol, thus labeling it as anti-estrogenic.
Because of the mild stimulant effect some may note when taking Rhodiola it has been used successfully to cycle off caffeine. Trying to quit smoking? Rhodiola has shown to greatly suppress physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Dosage ranges from 50mg up to 600mg a day. It is recommended to not exceed 600mg, as higher doses may be ineffective. Rhodiola acts as a stimulant when taken in small doses and a relaxant when taken in larger doses. The tea is made with the ground root and is steeped (brewed) for 4 hours. Rhodiola is not advised for pregnant women or those with Bipolar disorder.
Rhodiola rosea is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to cure, treat, or prevent disease. In fact, the FDA has forcibly removed some products containing R. rosea from the market due to disputed claims that it treats cancer, anxiety, influenza, the common cold, bacterial infections and migraines. Lucky us in Alaska, to have it grown and harvested in our fine state!
Dori Cranmore is a Registered Nurse and owner of All About Herbs Inc. Call 376-8327 for questions or a personalized consult.
This information is for educational purposes and not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or replace the advice of your health care provider.
By Dori Cranmore R.N
Yarrow or achillea mille folium can grow to about 3 feet tall and is found worldwide, yet is native to California and found in abundance in Alaska. The flowers are quite colorful in whites, yellows and pinks.
The Latin name achillea comes from the Greek legend of Achelles, as he used it as a poultice to stop the bleeding of his fellow soldiers during the Trojan War. Chinese physicians used yarrow to treat snake bites, bleeding and inflammation. In India, it was used to treat fevers. Early American settlers used yarrow for diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhaging, bloody urine and menstrual cramps.
There are many medicinal uses documented over the centuries. It has been studied and used as a diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and useful in slowing heavy menstrual flow. Dr Christopher once wrote, “Yarrow, when administered hot and copiously, will raise the heat of the body, equalize the circulation and produce perspiration.” Thus is known as one of the best herbal teas to sweat out a fever. It can tone and dilate the blood vessels, which can help lower blood pressure.
Yarrow has been called the “woman’s herb” because of the many female uses. It can help relax the smooth muscles of the uterus and digestive tract. It is great for stomach and menstrual cramps, but it is not recommended during pregnancy. Used as a poultice it has been found to give almost instant relief from mastitis and sore cracked nipples. (See Sitz bath use below)
The bitter, pungent character is particular useful to stimulate the digestion and get the bile and pancreatic juices moving. It’s known to be used for anxiety, insomnia and a mild sedative due to its thujone properties that have been compared to marijuana and valium, but without the euphoria. The anti inflammatory effects relax blood vessels and improve breathing. Externally it can aid in blood coagulation, stop bleeding and can heal wounds. (People on blood thinners should avoid yarrow).
Many different preparations are useful:
Infused oil: For healing ointments or soothing creams.
Flower extract: Can help with hay fever.
Poultice or Compress: Placed over wounds, helps stop bleeding or used for first aid.
Tincture: For congestion in the reproductive system, asthma and high blood pressure.
Tea: For colds, flu’s and cystitis. Use as a wash for rashes.
Sitz Baths: For cystitis, vaginal infections, hemorrhoids, post partum healing.
Fresh Leaves: Used in salads or chewed to relieve a toothache.
Fresh flowers: used to flavor liquors and beer.
This information is intended for educational purposes only. It does not replace the advice of your health care provider.
Dori is owner of All About Herbs, Inc in Wasilla, AK. 907-376-8327
By Dori Cranmore RN
All salt is not created equal! About 250 million years ago, at the base of the Himalayan mountain range, there were crystallized sea salt beds covered with lava. Because this salt was covered in snow and ice it was protected from modern day pollution and preserved in an untouched, pristine environment. Many people believe that this pink salt is the purest salt that can be found on the planet.
What is so impressive about Himalayan salt is that it contains the same 84 trace minerals and elements that are found in the human body. The minerals are in colloidal form, which means that they are small enough for our cells to easily absorb them. The fact that it is less refined gives much less sodium per serving than regular table salt.
When Himalayan salt dissolves in water, it results in a concentrated, electrically charged matrix of the 84 trace minerals in the salt. The ionic salt and trace minerals nourish each cell in your body. This is called Salt Sole.
How to make Salt Sole:
- Fill a glass jar about 1/4 of the way with Himalayan salt, either ground or in chunks. Fill up with filtered water. Add a plastic lid (not metal!), shake and let sit overnight. You should always have some undissolved salt in the jar, this means the water is fully saturated.Add more salt if needed.
- In the morning, take 1 tsp. of sole, mixed into some room temperature water, upon waking. Never use metal utensils with your sole!
- Keep refilling your jar with salt and water when it runs low. It lasts indefinitely.
Common table salt is stripped of the majority of its minerals with the exception of sodium and chloride. It is then bleached and synthetic iodine added with anti-caking agents. The result of consuming common table salt is excess fluid in the body tissue, holding on to toxins which contributes to cellulite, excess uric acid (gout), arthritis, high blood pressure and kidney or gallbladder stones.
Some of the benefits that you can expect to enjoy by consuming Himalayan salt in place of regular table salt include:
- Supports healthy lungs and respiratory function
- Promotes a stable pH balance within the cells
- Reduces the signs of aging
- Promotes healthy sleep patterns
- Increases libido, balancing hormones
- Prevents muscle cramps
- Increases hydration
- Strengthen bones
- Detoxifies the body of heavy metals
- Aids in vascular health
- In a neti pot it can help with seasonal allergies and sinus infections
Himalayan salt lamps have to be the most amazing of all. They are made from salt crystal rock formed by nature and mined about 300 ft underground in mines in Asia and Europe. Each lamp is unique and many are hand carved. When heated they produce negative ions into the air helping remove toxic electromagnetic frequencies (EMF’s). They are perfect to have next to computers and TV’s and can make a great night light for infants and children. Since they come in so many shapes and sizes, many keep a Himalayan Salt Lamp in every room.
Information is for educational use only and not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Find Himalayan salt and lamps at All About Herbs,Inc in Wasilla. 376-8327.
Benefits of Sprouting
By Dori Cranmore RN
Sprouts are the ultimate locally grown food. Growing them yourself assures no unwanted chemicals are added.
The list is quite impressive of the health and nutrition benefits of sprouts. They have been known to help alkalize the body, improve the digestive process, be a metabolism booster, promote energy, increase enzyme activity throughout the body, help prevent anemia, assist with weight loss, help lower cholesterol, reduce stress on the heart and vessels, help prevent neural defects in infants, be a protector against cancer, work to boost skin health and vision while supporting the immune system and helping increase energy.
The highest concentration of available nutrients happens about a week after sprouting. Importantly, much of the nutritive value of sprouts is lost when they are heated. For the most nutritional impact, sprouts should be added to a meal in the raw form.
Sprouts contain significant amounts of protein, enzymes and fiber. In addition they have folate, vitamins A, C, K, lysine, essential fatty acids, pantothenic acid, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, iron and calcium. The vitamin content can actually increase by 20 times after sprouting.
Vegans and vegetarians typically don’t get enough protein in their diet and sprouts can help fill that space. Quality of the protein in beans, nuts, seed and grains improves substantially when it is soaked and sprouted. Protein is necessary for almost all bodily processes like creating and maintaining cells, organ repair, skin regeneration, bone growth and muscle development.
With up to 100 times more enzymes in sprouts than uncooked fruits and vegetables the body gets those nutritional building blocks it needs to work more efficiently. Enzymes are an important part of the digestive process and help to break down food and increase absorption of nutrients.
The high fiber content can help with weight loss by binding to fat and toxins and move them quickly out of our body. Fiber helps stimulate gastric juices and work with the enzymes in breaking down food efficiently. Sprouts are a great way to clear up constipation and diarrhea and a great prevention of colorectal cancer.
The great thing about sprouts is they are inexpensive, full of nutrition and very low in calories, so you too can eat healthy!
Dori Cranmore RN is the owner of All About Herb,Inc. 376-8327 in Wasilla, AK.
This information is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, cure or treat any disease.
By Dori Cranmore RN, Holistic Health Practitioner
Melatonin in the natural form, is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain, to help control your daily sleep-wake cycles.
Melatonin is used to reset the body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm. This rhythm influences how much melatonin the pineal gland makes, along with the amount of light you are exposed to each day. Typically, melatonin levels start to rise in the mid-to-late evening, after the sun has set. They can stay elevated for most of the night while you’re in the dark. Then, they can drop in the early morning as the sun rises, causing you to awaken.
For the millions of people who have trouble falling—and staying—asleep, synthetic melatonin can sometimes be the solution. It is best used by people suffering from jet lag, working odd hours, and for helping blind people establish a day and night cycle. Other uses include breast cancer, brain cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, head cancer, neck cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer. Melatonin is also used for some of the side effects of chemotherapy, including weight loss, nerve pain, weakness, and a lowered number of clot-forming cells (thrombocytopenia). Studies are ongoing.
The proper dosage, according to a 2001 study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is 0.3 milligrams. The research was conducted by Richard Wurtman, who pioneered the pharmaceutical use of melatonin as a sleep aid in 1994. Pills and supplements often sell 10 times the suggested amount in a single dose. This can lead to higher plasma melatonin levels the next day, which can cause a “hangover” effect that leaves users groggy.
People commonly make the mistake of assuming that taking higher doses of melatonin will lead to better sleep. But the opposite is true: Too much taken at once can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or irritability, all of which can disrupt your sleep. So talk to your doctor, who may suggest different dosage guidelines or another natural sleep aid.
The safety of Melatonin taken by children is still uncertain. David Kennaway, the director of the circadian physiology lab at the University of Adelaide in AustraliaHe state there is “extensive evidence from laboratory studies that melatonin causes changes in multiple physiological systems, including cardiovascular, immune and metabolic systems, as well as reproduction in animals,” and its effects on children’s developing bodies is yet unstudied.
Melatonin supplements come in pill, liquid, chewable, or lozenge forms, in doses ranging from one to 10 milligrams. For insomnia, it’s best to take a melatonin supplement 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. That way, it can put you in the mood to snooze by the time you want to turn out your lights for the night. Keep in mind, though, that melatonin supplements can negatively interact with many different medications, so be sure to check with your health care provider.
It is recommended to go to www.webmd.com if you are taking any prescription medication as Melatonin interacts with a very long list of them.
This information is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed health care provider.