St Johns Wort

August 10, 2018

St John’s wort, scientifically known as Hypericum perforatum, is a flowering plant in the Hypercaceae family which has been used medicinally to treat depression and a wide variety of ailments for thousands of years. Other common names for this herb include: Johnswort, Amber, Touch-and-heal, Goat weed, Hardhay, Klamath weed, Rosin rose, Hypericum, and Tipton weed. St John’s wort gets its name from its traditional flowering and harvesting on St John’s day on the 24th of June. The name of the genus Hypericum is derived from the Greek terminology hyper (above) and eikon (picture) in reference to the traditional hanging of plants over religious pictures in the home on St John’s day in a bid to ward off evil. The plant has straight stalks and can grow up to 1m tall, with opposing, stalkless, narrow leaves approximately 1 – 2cm long. The leaves are green-yellow in colour and have scattered translucent dots which are highly conspicuous when held up to light. The flowers are yellow in colour, with 5 petals covered with black dots. It thrives in areas with either a winter or summer dominant rainfall pattern and will usually flower between late spring and early summer. While this herb is grown commercially in certain regions of south east Europe, it is considered a no

July 30, 2018

      Obsessive compulsive disorder is one of the most common psychiatric conditions affecting children and adolescents. OCD commonly has peaks of onset at two different life phases: pre-adolescence, and early adulthood. The first peak of OCD usually occurs around the age of 10 – 12 years and directly corresponds to the increased load in school, increased performance pressures, and the biologic changes of the brain and body due to puberty. The second peak usually occurs in early adulthood, which is generally also a time of stress and developmental transition and when educational and occupational stresses tend to be high. Children and adolescents have similar OCD symptoms as those of adults with the symptoms distinguishable from other healthy childhood development stages by the definition of “symptoms which impair function and distract the child from learning and developmental tasks”.   OCD can be effectively treated with psychological treatments and medications. The most common medication prescribed for this condition are typically selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s). An examp

July 25, 2018

Kale is a leafy vegetable from the cabbage (Brassica oleracea) family, that is related to other vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. It can come in many different colours and varieties, with one of the most common being curly kale, or Scots kale, which is distinguished by green, curly leaves, and a hard, fibrous stem. Kale grows best in cooler climates, especially Mediterranean regions, but is also found in many other areas of the world. Kale leaves can be flat or curly, and grow up to 6 feet in height, with colours including green, purple, white, and lavender. It is an extremely nutrient dense food, full of important vitamins and minerals that the body requires to function on a cellular level. It also contains very low amounts of calories and fats, with a large portion of the fat amount being the healthy omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha linoleic acid.   When it comes to buying

June 3, 2018

Health Benefits of Wine

Wine is an alcoholic drink many people enjoy dinner or to relax. It is an alcoholic beverage made from grapes which have been fermented without the addition of acids, sugars, enzymes, or other nutrients. In this process, yeast consumes the sugar in the fruit and converts it to ethanol and carbon dioxide. Different strains of yeast and different varieties of grapes produce different styles of wine. There are some varieties of wine that are not made from grapes and these include rice wines, and fruit wines such as plum, cherry, pomegranate, and elderberry. Red wines are made from the dark coloured grape varieties and involve the extraction of colour and flavour components from the grape skins. White wines, on the other hand, are made from the fermentation of non-coloured grape pulps, with the process not allowing any colouration from the skins. Because the skin of the grapes contains most of the antioxidants, red wines generally contain higher amounts of these antioxidant compounds. 

April 3, 2017

SAGE

Common sage (Salvia officinalis) is a perennial, evergreen dwarf shrub, which can grow up to 2 feet, and is characterized by woody stems, purple/blue flowers, and grey/green leaves. It is part of the mint family, Lamiaceae and is native to the Mediterranean and the Balkan region (a peninsula and cultural area in South-eastern Europe). The botanical name, Salvia, is derived from the Latin word salvere which means ‘to be saved’. Sage was a sacred ceremonial herb of the Romans, being associated with immortality, and was used by the Greeks as a ‘coronary herb’ because it flushed disease from the body and relieved strain on the heart. In the Middle Ages sage was ingested as a tea to treat colds, fevers, memory and concentration loss, inflammations, ulcers, and many other ailments. There are approximately 8 different types of sage, each differing in appearance and use. These are:

  • Garden sage (Salvia officinalis): This is the most common type of sage, and is used for cooking, tea brewing, decoration, and medicinal use
  • Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans): This variety of sage has tubular red flowers and is used mainly for medicinal purposes
  • Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia): This type has silver/grey leaves, and produces small, blue/purple tubular fl

March 20, 2017

ARNICA

(Arnica montana)   Arnica is a genus of perennial, herbaceous plants in the sunflower family, which is native to the mountainous regions of Europe and Southern Russia. It has also been known to grow in parts of North America and Canada. This herb is also known by the names of Mountain Tobacco, and Leopard’s bane and Wolfsbane. Another herb, Aconite/Monkshood is also known as Wolfsbane. It was used by Swiss mountain guides to prevent fatigue when chewed and was also used as a substitute for tobacco. Arnica montana has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1500’s, and is still popular today. It grows to approximately 1 – 2 feet, has yellow flowers with an orange centre, and has an appearance similar to that of daisies. The stems and leaves of these plants are bright green and hairy, which is the reason for its original Greek name Arni, meaning ‘lamb’ (in reference to the plants soft leaves). The main part of this plant used for medicinal purposes are the flowers, but the roots and rhizomes (continuous horizontal underground stem) are often utilized as well.  

HEALTH BENEFITS OF ARNICA:

  • Reduces inflammation: This is due to the presence of helenalin, a sesquiterpene lactone that is highly effective as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is therefore effective for treating bruises, sprai

November 14, 2016

Depression is a serious condition that affects physical and mental health. It is more than just a bad mood, but rather a mixture of intense feelings of moodiness, sadness, and emptiness that lasts for long periods of time (often for months and years). Studies have found that women are twice as likely to develop clinical depression in their lifetime. These increased risks are mainly due to hormonal changes present during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. These statistics are imperfect though, due to the fact that the majority of men suffering from depression are less likely to seek help or discuss their situation.

TYPES OF DEPRESSION:

* Major depression: This is the most common form of depression, often being called clinical depression, or just simply, depression. The symptoms involve low moods, loss of interest in regular activities, inability to concentrate, fatigue, and mood swings amongst other symptoms (see below). This form of depression occurs most days and lasts for over 2 weeks   * Melancholia: This is a form of depression, where many, or most of the physical symptoms are present, along with the emotional symptoms. It is usually a biologic or genetic based condition and can have a unipolar or bipolar course   * Psychotic depression: This is the least common form of depression

November 4, 2016

CHAMOMILE

This herb has been used for centuries to calm the nerves and induce sleep. It is from a daisy-like family of plants called Asteraceae, and while there are many different types of chamomile, the most common are German Chamomile (Marticaria recutita), and Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Chamomile is known to be used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, and was also popular throughout the middle ages.

HEALTH BENEFITS:

  • Calms the nerves
  • Reduces internal inflammation
  • Reduces bloating and flatulence
  • Aids with teething pain
  • Reduces nasal congestion
  • Soothes skin irritations such as eczema, and psoriasis
  • Alleviates menstrual cramps
  • Aids with sleep
  • Reduces fever
  • Treats colds

October 31, 2016

  Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that is caused by the immune system attacking healthy cells and tissues. The immune system produces excessive amounts of antibodies compared to a normal person, and these antibodies can attach themselves to various bodily structures, causing inflammation and pain as a result.   This disease is quite rare and affects women more than men. Women of childbearing age are also more commonly affected. Statistically, Lupus affects over 20, 000 Australians, and 90% of those affected are women aged 15–45.   For the full article go to Lupus

July 11, 2016

    St John’s Wort (hypericum perforatum): This herb has been used since the renaissance as an antidepressant. It is effective in treating other mental and sleeping disorders. This herb treats depression by preventing nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing serotonin, or by reducing levels of protein in the immune system. In studies St John’s Wort is hardly ever less effective than any over the counter prescription medications. Some side effects include: dry mouth, dizziness, increased sensitivity to sunlight, gastrointestinal distress, and fatigue. Caution: do not use this herb with other drugs, alcohol, or other therapeutic drugs/herbs. Do not give to children or use when pregnant or breast feeding.