From the outside, you might confuse turmeric with ginger. The two roots look very similar until you peel back the skin and see the vibrant deep yellow color (so deep you could call it orange) that distinguishes turmeric from its rhizome cousin. Aside from its medicinal and culinary uses, turmeric makes a great natural dye for anything from fabric to Easter eggs. The color is due to the curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric. That is where the magic lies within this fabulous plant, also known by the scientific name Curcuma longa L.
The use of turmeric dates back at least 4,500 years. Turmeric’s many benefits have been praised by and shared from India, where it was first used, to Asia, Europe and the rest of the world. Pliny the Elder described it as “an Indian plant with the appearance of ginger but taste of saffron” (1). Ayurvedic medicine has used turmeric for centuries to alleviate pain, inflammation and even cancer symptoms. The curcumin in the root itself is only about a 5 percent concentration, and even that small amount is enough to show a positive effect.
Let’s take a closer look at potential turmeric benefits and how to use this popular spice.
5 Turmeric Benefits You Should Know About
Arthritis is not only common—it’s painful and even crippling. Curcumin from turmeric performed as well or better than Western medicine in a study to see whether its anti-inflammatory properties could soothe painful rheumatoid arthritis (2). In addition, randomized clinical trials provide scientific evidence that supports the efficacy of turmeric extract (about 1,000 milligrams per day of curcumin) in the treatment of arthritis (3). However, more research still needs to be done.
“Turmeric is also great for sports recovery,” says registered dietician Kerri Schwartz of Los Angeles-based Creative Nutrition by Kerri. “If you are feeling super sore, you may want to add some turmeric to your juice or smoothie.”
With Alzheimer’s disease on the rise, turmeric’s ability to slow it down or prevent it has become an increasingly studied topic. You don’t need to have the fear of failing health to gain benefits from this potent plant stem. One study found that participants who ate curry often or even just occasionally had better cognitive performance that those who never or rarely ate it (4). Turmeric is a key ingredient in curry pastes, and the curcumin is thought to be responsible for its memory-enhancing effects.
Many studies have found that an age-related increase in oxidized proteins in the brain might contribute to the aging process (5). In addition to its antioxidant properties, turmeric has been shown to enhance the body’s natural antioxidant production, which may help combat oxidative damage associated with aging.
There is some evidence that both topical and oral formulations of turmeric may promote overall skin health, says Dr. Jeremy Wolf, a naturopathic doctor and lead health advisor at LuckyVitamin. Be cautious when using turmeric topically, however, as its yellow-orange color could stain the skin, he advises.
Many skin conditions are linked to imbalances of the inflammatory response, and curcumin has been shown to reduce or suppress inflammatory targets (6). Studies suggest that turmeric may help improve conditions like acne and psoriasis (7). In addition, turmeric has been shown to speed wound healing and help promote skin repair (8). Turmeric extract may also prevent the signs of aging from UVB exposure, an animal study found (9).
Several studies have shown that the curcumin in turmeric has anticancer effects and could potentially be useful for cancer prevention and treatment (10). Turmeric is also believed to enhance detoxification in the body, which could mitigate the effects of several dietary carcinogens, an animal study suggests (11). Other evidence indicates that curcumin may be effective in helping the body accept chemotherapy treatments when resistance occurs (12).
In addition to being a powerful anti-inflammatory, curcumin from turmeric may aid in weight control. It may also help with the adverse effects of obesity that make some people hold onto weight and create more stress on their system (13). One animal study found that curcumin could not only reduce weight gain, it could also stop fat cells from expanding (14).
How to Use Turmeric
If you buy the fresh root or the powder, turmeric might seem like a mysterious, staining mess. The key is not to go overboard or turmeric’s bitter notes can take over. You will get the benefits from smaller amounts, so go ahead and throw a 1/4 teaspoon in a stir fry, juice a little in with your smoothie, turn your pancake batter yellow by sprinkling it in, or add it to a sauce. You might like it in a pudding. Chocolate can hide the flavor, or you might enjoy it with enough sweetener and other spices such as cinnamon in your hot cereal.
Another great way to get turmeric into your diet is to enjoy an Indian-derived beverage called golden milk. You can make it yourself, or enjoy prepared mixes.
When using the fresh herb or convenient powder in your recipes, it’s best to incorporate black pepper along with it. That’s because studies have shown that curcumin alone is not easily absorbed by the body. Piperine, the major active component of black pepper, has been shown to increase bioavailability of curcumin by a whopping 2,000 percent (15).
Here’s one recipe for a creamy dressing that balances turmeric’s pungent flavor with the sweetness of carrots:
Turmeric Carrot Dressing Recipe
Makes: 4 Servings
Prep time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
This versatile dressing is great on a wide variety of salads. Try it poured on grilled vegetables, on raw lettuce, or any combination that appeals to you.
3 large carrots, washed and chopped
1/4 cup onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4-1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon honey (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ginger juice (optional)
Place oil in the bottom of a saucepan over medium high heat.
Add turmeric, thyme, onions and carrots. Stir to coat with oil.
Sauté for a minute and then add water.
Simmer for 8-10 minutes until carrots are fork tender.
Blend all ingredients, adding in vinegar, salt and pepper.
Store in refrigerator for up to three days.
Should I Take a Turmeric Supplement?
If you are not a fan of turmeric’s identifiable flavor, you might want to take supplements to get the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and other studied benefits. There are many reputable brands that have created easy-to-swallow formulas filled with turmeric extracts that can be absorbed easier than a traditional powder-filled capsule.
At minimum, your supplements should contain an extract of black pepper called Bioperene to aid in absorption, LuckyVitamin’s Dr. Wolf recommends. “Forms of turmeric that I recommend looking for are called Meriva and BCM-95, which have even better absorption capabilities,” he says.
Turmeric Side Effects
Registered dietitian Schwartz noted that some studies have found diarrhea to be a potential side effect of taking large doses of turmeric. If you feel that your dosage is too high for your digestive system, you’ll still get great benefits by cutting down how much you are taking. Additionally, people with gallstones should ask their doctor before taking turmeric.
Maca is a cruciferous root vegetable that looks a lot like a common turnip, if turnips came in yellow, red and black. It grows high up in the Andes Mountain region of Peru in rocky soil. It thrives in heat, wind or cold conditions that would make other plants curl up and quit living. Maybe that is partly why maca gives us so much energy and vitality when we eat it? It’s a strong plant with a pleasing flavor.
Maca is known as an adaptogen because it helps us to handle stress better, ward off disease and increase our stamina, among other positive effects. Mark Amet, owner of the Maca Team, says he got started with maca over 20 years ago when he tried a sample. He found it gave him energy and elevated his mood so much that he sought out a Peruvian source and started giving it to family and friends. Registered dietitian Kerri Schwartz says her clients use maca in the morning instead of coffee. They get that much energy from taking it.
Maca is full of minerals, even zinc, calcium and magnesium. More surprising is maca root has 19 essential amino acids, making this plant a nice source of protein. Let’s take a closer look at maca root benefits—and different ways to use it!
5 Maca Root Benefits
1). Alleviate Depression
One study began looking into maca root as an aphrodisiac, and found something else instead— it elevated people’s moods more than it gave them an instant boost in attraction (1). Other studies have also concluded that, along with other benefits, maca may reduce symptoms of depression (2).
2). Enhance Libido
Even though it’s technically not an aphrodisiac, some studies have shown that maca may enhance sexual function (3). Maca might not put you in the mood, but it can give you the energy and stamina to enjoy being with a partner. Studies also have shown that maca can even enhance sexual desire in those who are taking anti-depressant medications (4, 5).
Maca’s benefits are life enhancing. Studies have revealed that maca can help increase sperm count and sperm motility in men (6) and may enhance fertility (7). It makes sense that it could be easier to conceive, the more one has vitality and energy.
4). Improve Memory
In two animal studies, maca was shown to improve memory impairment in mice (8, 9). Much of this seems to be due to its high antioxidant content. While black maca has shown the most significant results, evidence suggests that all the colors—black, red and yellow—can benefit memory.
5). Alleviate Menopause and PMS
Research has revealed maca’s ability to balance female hormones. That’s great news for PMS sufferers and those who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (10, 11). Maca may also be effective in relieving menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and mood swings (12). One animal study even suggested that maca extract could be effective in preventing postmenopausal osteoporosis (13).
Types of Maca Root
Red maca is the sweetest, yellow is the most common, and black just might have an edge when it comes to studied benefits. Men might find black maca to give them a bigger boost, while women might find similar results with red maca. Yellow is the easiest to find and isn’t lacking in benefits, but the other varieties can be a little more powerful.
You’ll find maca in both powder and pill forms. The powders are the most versatile and easiest to adjust the dosage and enjoy the flavor. Most health practitioners will tell you it’s always best to get as close to eating your supplements as you can, because the body is designed to start the digestive process in the mouth. You absorb certain aspects of foods better from mixing them with saliva.
There are two types of powders available. Gelatinized maca has had the starch removed for better digestion. The other type is raw maca. Both work equally well when it comes to maca root benefits.
Maca extracts are another option to consider. You might go with an extract if you want to take your maca on the go, since powders are simply too messy. Extracts often get into the system quickly as well.
For now, these are the main ways you’ll be able to consume maca easily without taking a trip to Peru.
How to Use Maca Powder
You can mix maca powder into a smoothie or milk for a malted milk effect, or try it in your golden milk, coffee drink, or cocoa. There is nothing saying you can’t eat maca off the spoon, or pour it over ice cream. You can also cook with maca—it is a root after all. With as little as one teaspoon, you can get all of the positive effects of maca. The recommended serving of maca is between one and three teaspoons per day. For those who want to determine whether a higher quantity yields greater benefits, there do not seem to be any reported overdoses or adverse reactions from consuming larger amounts of maca powder.
Here, we tried using maca in pancakes. It may seem like a mysterious powder, but maca is a vegetable. Some people claim the effects of maca appear to be more pronounced when used in cooking, even though that hasn’t been studied yet.
Maca Oat Milk Pancakes Recipe
Yield: 12 medium pancakes
Prep time: 6 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
All-purpose flour doesn’t get in the way of the malty maca flavor. Oat milk adds to the fluffiness of these traditional pancakes with a superfood twist. The recipe is easy to double or triple, depending on how many pancakes you want to make!
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons maca powder
1 pinch sea salt
1 large egg
1 cup oat milk
1 tablespoon expeller-pressed coconut oil (plus a little more for frying the pancakes).
Mix the flour, baking powder, maca and sea salt in one bowl.
Mix the egg, milk and oil in another bowl.
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir just until mixed in. There will be lumps.
Place a frying pan over medium high heat or use a griddle.
Pour 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake and cook until browned on each side.
Serve with your favorite fruit and some pure maple syrup.
Maca Root Side Effects
For the most part, taking maca can be extremely beneficial. If you have a history of thyroid problems, however, you might want to check with your doctor first. Some patients have claimed that it increased their hyperthyroidism symptoms (14). Registered dietitian Schwartz says that in her practice, a couple of clients felt it sped up their metabolism and prompted weight loss.
You should also speak with your medical provider if you have a history of heart problems, are pregnant, or take medications that directly affect your hormones. Keep in mind that the adaptogen and hormone-balancing abilities of maca are different for each individual.
You may already be familiar with castor oil, hemp seed oil, coconut oil, red palm oil and many other oils currently on the market. However, one of the most widely-used oils with great medicinal properties is Nigella Sativa, more commonly known as black cumin. The shrub of this plant produces a fruit with tiny black seeds that can be pressed to extract the oil. Black cumin has become one of the top-ranked, evidence-based herbal medicines to date, and there have been over 600 scientific, peer-reviewed articles published about black seed oil benefits.
What Is Black Seed Oil?
The black cumin plant is native to southern Europe, northern Africa and southwest Asia, and its use can be traced back to King Tut. There is some evidence that the oil and seeds of the plant have been used internally for centuries, in addition to evidence that it was used topically by Egyptians to enhance their skin (the herb was even found in Cleopatra’s tomb!).
The seeds of the plant have also been used as a spice and condiment in both Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. Black cumin seeds can be dry-roasted to flavor curries and can also be used to flavor bread products or mixed into many other recipes.
Black seed oil’s most active ingredients include the antioxidants thymoquinone, nigellone and beta-sitosterol. The oil also contains iron, selenium, arginine, carotene, calcium, potassium and several other amino acids. In addition, black seed oil contains fatty acids, including omega-9 and omega-6 acids.
Black Seed Oil Benefits
Black seed oil’s medicinal properties stem from the presence of thymoquinone—one of the major active chemical components of the essential oil. Thymoquinone is believed to have a wide range of medical applications and benefits.
Black seed oil can be applied topically to promote skin, nail and hair health, acting as a moisturizer and helping to protect the skin from free radical damage. The antioxidants and omega fatty acids in black seed oil also promote healthy aging of the skin and cell regeneration. Black seed oil can also be applied on the chest to inhale as a vapor or mixed into hot water and inhaled.
As an internal treatment, studies suggest that black seed oil may help promote healthy blood pressure (1) and blood sugar (that is already within normal range) and promote cardiovascular health (2).
Additional black seed oil benefits include:
Supports liver health and helps protect the liver
May have anti-cancer properties
May help treat a variety of common health conditions including diabetes, bronchitis and asthma
May be helpful in treating against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)
May help increase milk production in nursing mothers
May act as an appetite stimulant
May help to boost the immune system
It’s important to speak with your doctor before taking any new supplements like black seed oil, particularly if you have a medical condition.
Black Seed Oil Side Effects and Precautions
If you have allergies to black cumin or black caraway seeds, black seed oil may cause a rash if applied topically and cause upset stomach, vomiting or constipation if ingested. Black seed oil may thin the blood, so those on blood thinning medications or who have a bleeding disorder should speak with a doctor before taking it. In addition, women who are on birth control, pregnant or nursing should also speak with a doctor before incorporating black seed oil into their routines, as should people with a history of seizures or epilepsy. Additional side effects of black seed oil include hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and low blood pressure.
How to Choose a Black Seed Oil
Black seed oil can come in a liquid, capsule or softgel and the raw seeds can also be purchased. Supplements made from black seeds are usually made up of the basic seed extract in either a crushed powder or oil form.
The best way to consume black seed is via the liquid oil because it contains the most thymoquinone and fatty acids. Check the label of the oil for the amount of thymoquinone per serving. Here are some additional purchasing tips:
Extraction: The method by which the oil is expressed or extracted from the seeds matters! Slow, cold-pressed means that no heat is used during the extraction process. High temperatures may cause rancidity or cause some of the more volatile oils to evaporate. Avoid any oils that use chemical extraction.
Purity: The product should be 100 percent pure Nigella Sativa oil and not filled with additives.
Storage: Look for oil that is stored in a dark, glass bottle that will protect it from both air and light.
Quality: Look for unrefined vs. refined oil and make sure it’s organic.
In general, adults can take one teaspoon of black seed oil twice daily. If using it for the first time, consider taking a half-teaspoon serving with a small amount of food and gradually increase the dose over a few days or as directed by your medical care professional. You should also check the dosing instructions on the label of whatever black seed oil you purchase. In pill form, the suggested dose is generally two pills twice daily for adults, but it may vary based on brand and your doctor’s recommendations.
Black Seed Oil Storage and Cooking Tips
Black cumin seeds can be eaten raw, boiled, heated, ground as a seasoning or sprinkled on bread and pastries. As an oil, it can be mixed with yogurt, put in salads and added to soups or curries. It can also be used as both a spice or preservative. Be sure to store your black seed oil in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, and don’t confuse it with other spices like black cohosh, cumin, curcumin or nutmeg.
Black Cumin Seed Salad Dressing
Ready to try cooking with black seed oil? Here’s an easy salad dressing recipe.
½ cup black seed oil
½ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp raw honey
2 fresh chopped garlic cloves
½ tsp. Ginger root
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and mix/shake until blended together.
In theory, sleep is simple. All you have to do is lie down, close your eyes and enjoy sweet dreams as your body runs on autopilot.
But in practice, of course, things are a little more complicated. In a 2016 survey by Consumer Reports, 27 percent of respondents reported having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep most nights, while 68 percent struggled with sleep at least once a week (1). This goes a long way in explaining the $41 billion Americans spent on sleep aids in 2015—a number that’s expected to be around $52 billion by 2020.
While everybody is different and some pharmaceuticals work wonders for those with insomnia, many sleeping pills have harsh side effects, including dizziness, gastrointestinal issues, drowsiness, memory problems and a particularly troubling phenomenon known as “sleep driving” (2).
Prefer a more natural way to catch some zzzs? Essential oils—potent, concentrated oils extracted from the leaves, flowers and stems of plants—have been used for thousands of years to treat conditions ranging from epilepsy to migraines to sleeplessness. When used safely and in combination with other sound sleep practices, they can be an invaluable addition to your bedtime routine.
Why Is Sleep Important to Your Health?
Sleep is a crucial, non-negotiable component of your health and well-being, both physical and mental. As you sleep, your brain devotes its energy to preparing for the day ahead and forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information. Meanwhile, your body is busy repairing and healing itself—and, in the case of children and teens, growing.
Potential side effects of not getting enough sleep range from the pesky—think crankiness, forgetfulness and trouble concentrating—to the dangerous and potentially deadly. Chronic sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk in heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke, as well as car accidents (3).
So, how much sleep do you need? According to research by the National Sleep Foundation—a national nonprofit promoting healthy sleep and safety—adults ages 18-64 should be logging 7-9 hours nightly (4). (Recommendations are slightly less for seniors and more for children.)
Common Causes of Insomnia
Chronic insomnia can be caused by a number of factors. It may be the primary condition or a symptom of an underlying problem. Common causes include:
A change to your schedule
Using computers, TVs, video games, smartphones and other screens near bedtime
Eating close to bedtime
Mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder
Medications, both prescription and over-the-counter
Medical conditions including chronic pain, cancer, diabetes, overactive thyroid, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling asleep, waking up throughout the night, waking up too early, daytime sleepiness, difficulty focusing, irritability, depression and anxiety (5).
5 Best Essential Oils for Sleep
As a certified clinical aromatherapist, Robin B. Kessler frequently recommends essential oils for sleep and relaxation. “Essential oils are very effective in treating insomnia and sleep disorders, as long as they are used correctly and safely,” says Kessler, who serves as the New Jersey regional director of the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy.
Before introducing essential oils into your routine, Kessler recommends consulting a professional, as some oils can inhibit blood clotting, interfere with medications and cause severe allergic reactions. In her own practice, Kessler frequently uses the below oils to treat sleeplessness.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Prized for its healing properties since the Middle Ages, lavender has a long history of therapeutic uses. More recently, lavender oil—with its sweet, floral, slightly woodsy scent—has been shown to help with sleep disorders. A 2015 study concluded that, when combined with healthy sleep habits, lavender improved sleep quality in college students (6); another 2015 study showed that lavender was successful in treating both insomnia and anxiety in ICU patients (7).
Because lavender oil can also be a stimulant, Kessler uses it cautiously.
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Derived from the outer peel of the orange fruit, sweet orange oil can be both energizing and relaxing. Numerous studies have found that the fresh, citrusy scent is effective in lowering the pulses and anxiety levels of patients undergoing dental procedures (8), and aromatherapists frequently use it for stress-related sleep disorders.
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)
Derived from the roots of vetiver grass, vetiver essential oil has a strong, earthy, grounding scent. Although a lesser-known oil in the West, it’s extremely popular in its native India, and has recently attracted attention for its calming properties. A small study suggested that vetiver was helpful for children with ADHD (9), while another showed the oil to be as effective as commercial anti-anxiety medications (10).
Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica)
Warm and woodsy, cedarwood oil is extracted from the wood of cedar trees. When inhaled, studies have shown that cedar has significant sedative effects (11), and it has been effective in improving the sleep quality of people with dementia (12).
Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
A popular tea choice, chamomile has been used for therapeutic purposes since ancient times. And while a cuppa is certainly calming, chamomile essential oil is even more effective. A 2006 study showed that inhaling chamomile induced feelings of drowsiness and calmness while reducing stress hormone levels (13). Have trouble falling asleep? Another study found that chamomile may significantly reduce the time it takes to drift off (14).
How to Use Essential Oils for Sleep
There are a number of ways to incorporate essential oils and calming scents into your sleep routine. Using a diffuser is a popular method, and there are plenty of models on the market. “Diffusing is an excellent way,” says Kessler. “If you’re using it at bedtime, I suggest closing the windows and doors, running the diffuser for an hour, then shutting it off and going to sleep—it will still be in the room and air as you drift off.” Each diffuser is different, so be sure to read the manufacturer’s dosing instructions.
You can also make a spray by mixing your oil with a high-proof alcohol (oil and water don’t mix!) and a few drops of liquid Castile soap. Kessler recommends spritzing it on your linens and pillow a half hour before turning in for the night.
Because essential oils are highly concentrated, they should be diluted before being applied directly to the skin. Kessler recommends making a dilution using a “carrier oil”—essentially a complementary, milder oil—such as coconut or jojoba, then applying to your wrists. If you have especially sensitive skin, consider a hydrosol. Also known as “flower waters,” hydrosols are by-products of the essential oil distillation process and are more gentle in nature, says Kessler.
Essential Oil Recipe for Sleep
Ready to try essential oils for sleep? Be sure to carefully research a safe oil recipe, or consult a certified aromatherapist. This recipe from Kessler is designed to be used with an essential oil inhaler.
5 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops sweet orange essential oil
5 drops Roman chamomile essential oil
Put the wick into the inhaler and add each oil. Close the inhaler and shake to mix the oils. Inhale in each nostril deeply before going to bed.
Anyone trying to stick to healthy eating habits knows how tempting treats and snacks can be. While there are many purported methods for keeping these cravings at bay, one in particular has garnered a lot of attention lately: appetite suppressant teas.
But what exactly are these teas? What’s in them? And how do they work?
Why We Have Food Cravings
Before getting into the ins and outs of tea, it’s important to understand where the urge to snack comes from. “Cravings can come from many different places. It all depends on what we’ve conditioned ourselves for and what our environments looks like,” says Emily Pierce, a registered dietitian at OnPoint Nutrition, a Philadelphia-based company that offers weight loss and nutrition counseling.
Factors that could entice someone to grab a treat could be anything from genuine hunger to a dip in blood sugar to boredom, Pierce explains. “In the case of boredom, that’s a learned habit that needs to be broken,” she says.
That’s where tea comes in. If an urge to snack isn’t related to hunger, replacing the snacking ritual with tea—namely, a tea that has no sugar or calories—can help a person stick to their healthy food goals. “The act of consuming something can be very satisfying to a person,” Pierce says. “So even if it’s not a sweet or salty treat, tea can certainly help curb that craving.”
Theresa Shank, a registered dietitian and owner of Philly Dietitian in Philadelphia, adds that drinking tea in lieu of giving into a food craving is a step in the right direction, but it might not be enough to squash a craving entirely. “Depending on the strength of the craving, tea may not be the sole solution,” she says. “But it can act as a ‘Plan B,’ or at least a helpful step toward deconditioning a craving.”
6 Best Natural Appetite Suppressant Teas
Before going any further, let’s clarify one thing—the teas discussed below are regular, natural teas without any additives, not the “weight loss” teas often advertised on Instagram. Each type has inherent qualities that are good for curbing the urge to snack and suppressing hunger.
Most people are at least vaguely aware that green tea is “good” for you, but many don’t realize that there is also a lot of science behind this common knowledge. Green tea has been recognized for helping reduce the risk of diseases such as arthritis and diabetes, as well as having some attributes that could reduce a person’s risk of cancer (1). It’s also an ideal choice for people looking to curb their appetite and replace snacks with a healthy beverage.
“Green tea has tons of antioxidants that help fight hunger hormones, which can lead to appetite suppression and weight loss,” notes Georgia Grey, a holistic health coach at Whole Body Healing, based in Denver, Colorado.
Pierce adds that green tea is also rich in phytonutrients.
Mint tea doesn’t necessarily pack in the same health benefits as green tea, but it does help curb your appetite. Studies have shown that mint flavors and aromas suppress hunger (2), sometimes for hours at a time. According to Grey, mint also has the ability to settle your stomach after eating. “It really helps you feel satisfied after a meal,” she says, “which can help prevent you from reaching for a sweet dessert or extra helpings.”
Hibiscus tea is a flavorful, tart brew that is very satisfying to some tea drinkers. Thanks in large part to polyphenols, hibiscus consumption may help promote weight loss and reduce abdominal fat, one study revealed (3). In addition, hibiscus tea can help quench thirst, making it particularly beneficial when consumed in place of sugary drinks!
For people with a sweet tooth, Pierce suggests unsweetened chocolate tea. “If you crave sweets, I recommend drinking a cup of chocolate tea because you get that chocolatey flavor without the sugar and calories,” she says.
Dandelion tea may not necessarily curb hunger, but it is a diuretic (4), which can help ease bloating. It’s also high in potassium, making it ideal for replenishing lost electrolytes.
Pierce says that ginger tea—so long as it’s made with real ginger and not ginger flavoring—may soothe the GI tract and help with digestive issues like mild stomach aches and nausea. “The nice thing about trying teas for stomach issues is that there aren’t any side effects, so if you find that your stomach bothers you from time to time, there’s no reason not to try a stomach-calming tea.”
Pierce adds that fennel tea can have a similar effect as ginger tea.
Appetite Suppressant Tea Recipe
People looking to start a tea habit can certainly find great brews in grocery stores or online, but there’s a certain sense of accomplishment that comes with curating your own special “anti-snacking” brew. Here’s a simple recipe you can try at home. Play around with the ratios to find your tea sweet spot!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
Whole-leaf green tea
Dried mint leaves
Dried orange peels
Start with a whole-leaf green tea base, due to its many potential health benefits.
Mix in some dried mint leaves for their appetite-suppressing qualities and some dried orange peels for brightness. Orange peels also have anti-inflammatory properties and are just plain tasty!
Combine your ingredients in a tea-infuser and steep in boiling water to desired strength.
Drink hot or iced. Enjoy!
Herbal Tea Precautions
Generally speaking, tea is pretty good for you, but there are some health issues you should keep in mind, especially if you’re drinking several cups per day. Pierce cautions that drinking too much tea can interfere with a person’s ability to absorb nutrients. “If you’re drinking a lot of tea, you might want to keep it separate from meals so that it doesn’t affect iron and other nutrient absorption,” she says.
Pierce also says that anyone taking medications should check with their doctor about possible interactions before starting to drink any sort of herbal tea. “Sometimes, those nice, friendly-seeming herbs can cause major issues interacting with medications, especially if you’re drinking them on a regular basis.”
Beyond interactions and side effects, Shank adds that if you are really, physically hungry (not bored, or snacking out of habit), don’t try to overcome those feelings with a cup of tea. “If you are actually hungry, tea can definitely be used as a supplement, especially given that many teas are rich in antioxidants, polyphenols and flavonoids—but not as a replacement.”
Golden milk doesn’t just have to be a cold-weather staple. As the temperature heats up, why not trade in your turmeric tea or latte for a frozen treat that packs the same punch? Enter golden milk popsicles.
If you need a refresher on the health benefits of turmeric—golden milk’s star ingredient—it has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The brightly colored spice is also known to fight infection and soothe digestive issues.
You’ll have to be patient while these freeze, but they’re worth the wait! Here’s how to make a batch of golden milk popsicles at home.
Golden Milk Popsicles
Yield: Approximately 4 ice pops (depending on mold size)
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
A couple dashes of vanilla extract
Pinch of ground pepper
Pinch of salt
Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Pour mixture into ice pop mold and freeze for five hours or until solid. When ready to eat, take ice pop mold out of freezer and briefly run under warm water to loosen pops. Remove and enjoy!
Filed Under: Herbs,Teas at 11:16 am | By: Guest Blogger
After a long and draining day, many people find comfort in relaxing with a cup of herbal tea. Though great during any season, herbal teas have a way of making one feel even cozier when the chilling grip of winter tightens. If you enjoy a hot elixir to unwind each night, you might be getting sick and tired of the same blends of chamomile that you sip on the regular. To try something new, see what tulsi tea has to offer.
Made from the tulsi plant, this adaptogenic tea boasts a handful of relaxing benefits that might be appealing to your sensibilities. Explore a new way of kicking back this season with some of these healthy perks.
1.) Get Rest
To perform as a functional human being during the daytime, a good night’s sleep is essential. Most people struggle with this, tossing and turning in bed and feeling sluggish the next day. Often, high levels of stress are to blame for interrupting your rest. A cup of tulsi tea before bed might provide you with the herbal mixture you need to relax and fall asleep.
According to a 2014 research paper on tulsi, there is enough evidence to suggest that the tulsi plant is responsible for lowering psychological stress levels in several animal species, including humans. The studies conducted with humans pointed out that the presence of tulsi in a person’s system aided in dealing with several psychological pressures including stress, anxiety, and depression. If you have trouble feeling calm before you go to bed, a cup of this tea could help to get you into the right mindset.
2.) Diabetes Treatment
The adaptogenic effects of tulsi tea are only some of the benefits this herb is said to bring. During a 1996 study on the impact of tulsi in laboratory rats, researchers discovered the plant had an impact on glucose levels in the blood. When the tests were repeated with human participants, the studies yielded similar results. The research here has led to tulsi being used as a way of preventing, and even treating, various diabetic conditions. Though the results are impressive, it is best to speak with your doctor before altering your levels of prescribed insulin.
3.) Coughing and Sneezing
Most people tend to get sick during the winter. Fluctuating temperatures lead people to hide away indoors, allowing bacteria and viruses to be easily spread between hosts. When you come down with a cold, common symptoms include coughing, sneezing, and other respiratory problems. Treating a cold can be tough, and professionals at the Mayo Clinic suggest attacking the symptoms themselves.
If you’re looking to fight against the irritation of a scratchy throat or constant cough, a warm mug of tulsi tea should be considered. Active ingredients in tulsi leaves, like eugenol, contain anti-asthmatic properties that make it easier for the lungs to take in oxygen while fighting an infection. Since the common cold cannot be cured the way other diseases can, a bit of tea might help to get you back on your feet after some rest.
4.) Rich in Antioxidants
In recent years, there has been a lot of talk in the media about the importance of antioxidants. Though dietary crazes come and go, keeping foods rich in antioxidants in your daily rotation can produce several key benefits. For one, antioxidants are shown to have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. According to recent CDC statistics, over 610,000 people die in America each year from heart disease. With numbers that high, taking precautionary measures with your heart is a must.
Tulsi leaves contain many antioxidants and several studies have pointed out that this can be useful when it comes to improving the health of your heart. In addition to helping your cardiovascular system, the antioxidant levels in tulsi tea have been shown to improve several skin conditions. Those suffering from varying levels of acne have noticed a change in their complexions after using tulsi tea for a short time.
5.) Complete Your Resolutions
With the end of the year right around the corner, many people are thinking about their resolutions. Sticking with your goals for the new year can be tough, especially if you are attempting to take on a challenge like quitting smoking. The highly-addictive nature of nicotine can make cutting cigarettes out of your routine a painful experience. To make life easier, some people suggest drinking tulsi tea. Replacing the act of smoking with a cup of relaxing herbal tea can help to calm your mind and decrease your urges.
Sitting down with a nice mug of your favorite herbal tea is a lovely way to unwind after a stressful day. To get a bit more from your time, try out some tulsi tea and see what calming benefits you experience.
Article written by Joe Palinsky.
Joe Palinsky is a full-time writer and theater professional in Philadelphia. He predominantly works with ensemble-based Found Theater Company, where his writing has been featured in numerous productions. Though primarily a ghostwriter, his work has been published in the now-defunct Spirit News and as a guest on Found Theater’s blog.
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For most people, the medicine cabinet is a storage space that acts as a window to the past. Expired pill bottles and loose adhesive strips mingle on the shelves, reminding you of all the maladies you’ve encountered in your years. With 2017 winding down, now is an excellent time to begin cleaning out all the old junk in your life. The medicine cabinet is a fantastic place to begin your endeavor!
While tossing out old vitamins and creams can be cathartic, you might also want to focus on what you will replace once everything has been tossed. Finding the right items for your medicine cabinet can help you to feel prepared for whatever health-related situations await. Ashwagandha, for example, is an herb with a number of uses that might have a future home in your medicine cabinet. To see if it works for your life, let’s examine some of the benefits.
1.) Ancient And Relevant
Whenever a new herb or plant appears on the shelves, consumers and advertisers alike tend to get out of control. Reports on the benefits of these products can be conflicting and overwhelming, making it impossible to know whether or not the supplement or remedy even works. Ashwagandha is different because it has been used for thousands of years in a number of places around the world with impressive results.
In North Africa, the herb has long been used as a way of dealing with inflammation and increasing energy levels. Often referred to as ubab or “winter cherry,” ashwagandha can also be found across parts of Asia. In India, the herb is mashed into a paste and used as a salve for treating burns and other wounds.
2.) Calming Effects
Stress and anxiety are very real problems for a large number of people. The world is more connected than it has ever been before. While this fact yields some wonderful results, it also can make one feel tense to constantly be bombarded with news and information about the world. Ashwagandha might also prove useful when dealing with these high levels of stress.
According to a number of studies conducted at several academic institutions, ashwagandha helped patients feel less stressed within a short amount of time. Anxiety can put a lot of strain on the brain and make memory recall somewhat impossible. When ashwagandha was present in the system, researchers noticed an improvement in how subjects suffering from anxiety could recall vital information.
3.) Better Spirits
Feeling grumpy or frustrated can often seem like a part of life. While it is true that you can’t do much to change a foul mood when you’re stuck in one, it also doesn’t hurt to try new tactics. With an herb like ashwagandha, you could be looking at a solid way to get yourself into better spirits. While conducting studies on the anti-anxiety effects of ashwagandha, researchers observed patients exhibited signs of improved emotional states.
Though studies are still being done to uncover exactly how ashwagandha improves an individual’s mood, many scientists believe it has to do with how the herb impacts the adrenal gland. Responsible for producing and regulating a large number of hormones, this endocrine gland is stimulated and rejuvenated by the constant presence of ashwagandha. This renewal helps to better regulate hormones like adrenaline, which tends to help with stress levels as well as overall mood.
4.) Memories That Last
Having a strong memory can work to your advantage on a daily basis. Keeping yourself sharp helps you to stay on top of tasks at work, keep important dates in the forefront of your mind, and allow you the ability to remember where you put down your keys before walking out the door. Though a number of factors work against a person’s ability to remember information, studies suggest that ashwagandha might be a good fit for those looking to improve areas of the brain related to memory.
It is important to note that these studies primarily focused on memory problems that resulted from head injuries. According to the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, ashwagandha might be helpful for patients suffering from dementia but it is too soon to tell. As of this point, no official studies have been conducted on ashwagandha and how it works in patients living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
5.) Simple Warnings
Discussing the benefits of an herb like ashwagandha can be useful for your future. Still, it is good to note that there are a few individuals who should not be using the plant. For the most part, you can feel confident in stocking your medicine cabinet with ashwagandha. However, it is important to keep in mind that women who are pregnant or nursing should avoid the herb. Some studies suggest it might be fine for pregnant women but it is best to speak with a healthcare professional before making any decisions.
Joe Palinsky is a full-time writer and theater professional in Philadelphia. He predominantly works with ensemble-based Found Theater Company, where his writing has been featured in numerous productions. Though primarily a ghostwriter, his work has been published in the now-defunct Spirit News and as a guest on Found Theater’s blog.
If you’re keeping tabs on wellness trends, chances are you’ve come across cannabidiol (CBD) oil. It’s all over wellness blogs and even landing on the shelves of health stores—but what exactly does it do?
CBD oil is derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant and contains the potent health benefits of the plant minus the THC (the psychoactive part that makes you high). Researchers find CBD oil extremely useful as an anti-inflammatory and has even replaced over the counter pain relief drugs like NSAIDs for some users. It’s being used both clinically and by health conscious consumers as it proves extremely effective at promoting an overall healthy balance in our bodies.
Not sure if CBD is right for you? Here are a few of the many benefits of taking a cannabidiol supplement:
1. Relieves pain CBD oil often substitutes traditional over-the-counter pain relievers and has been said to reduce pain and discomfort from a number of health conditions. Scientists believe that when CBD interacts with receptors in your brain and immune system, it creates an anti-inflammatory effect. It has even been useful in alleviating pain from chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis and arthritis.
2. Helps ease nausea The cannabis plant has actually been used for centureis to manage nausea and vomiting. In large doses, nausea can be a side effect of CBD, but when taken in small, therapeutic amounts it can actually help curb nausea. Researchers found that CBD indirectly activates what’s called 5-hydroxytryptamiine-1A (5-HT1A)—a very complex name for a compound that plays a major role in reducing nausea sensations. Because of this, CBD is often used to reduce queasiness and vomiting from chemotherapy treatments.
3. Can help manage seizures While more research is needed to fully understand how it works, CBD oil has been said to have anti-seizure properties. One study found that CBD may have similar effects to current drug treatments for seizures and it may even be a safe and effective treatment for patients with schizophrenia.
4. Balances and supports mental health While CBD does lack the psychoactive component (THC) of cannabis, it does have several effects on the brain that can possibly help ease anxiety. Research has shown that CBD can boost signaling through serotonin receptors, which is often the goal of mental health treatments. Evidence found in animal studies are paving the way for more CBD testing on humans to provide more effective solutions for mental health disorders.
5. Excellent for hair, skin and nails In addition to its clinical uses, CBD is an excellent beautifying oil! it contains a number of essential nutrients that are helpful in maintaining youthful skin, hair and nails, such as vitamins E and C. It’s also been said that CBD oil is helpful in treating acne by controlling inflammation, and is also great at calming irritated scalps for soft, shiny, dandruff-free hair.
6. Can improve your sleep cycle You may already associate sleepiness with THC, but CBD can help you catch some needed Zs in a different, non-psychoactive way. While it won’t make you drowsy, a therapeutic dose can help those with sleep disorders maintain a regular REM cycle by staying asleep once they’re dozing. Considering CBD oil can help you maintain a more balanced state of mind, falling asleep may prove easier while taking it as well.
How Can You Take CBD Oil?
Tinctures If you’re concerned about taste and not a fan of taking capsules, CBD oil tinctures are an enjoyable way to take the supplement. Tinctures are dropper bottles of sweetened and flavored CBD oil designed to yield all of the health benefits and make you actually want to take it!
Capsules For a more convenient way to get your dose of cannabidiol, you can purchase the supplement in capsule form. These are great for taking with you on-the-go or for adding into your daily vitamin and supplement capsule regiment.
Liquids If pills are not your style, CBD also comes in liquid form. This is a great option if you were looking to add cannabidiol into your daily smoothie or if you wanted to use it topically. Many CBD liquids come blended with other fatty acids such as MCT oil for additional benefits.
Body Care Cannabidiol is also finding its way into personal care products! There are more and more products infusing CBD into their formulas to leverage its amazing topical benefits.
No matter how you decide to take CBD (internally or topically) always be sure to test a patch of skin for allergic reactions or start with small internal doses and consult with your doctor to ensure it is a right choice for you.
Has anyone had success while using CBD Oil? Share below!
NOW Foods remains committed to its original goal – to produce the highest quality nutritional, herbal and body care products available…at prices people can afford. The company does this by sourcing our raw materials directly from the manufacturer, thereby relying less on brokers and distributors, and avoiding costly television and radio advertising. NOW Foods does not employ an outside sales force, relying instead on practical, cost-effective marketing methods such as mail promotions and no-pressure telephone sales.
Trends come and go but when something that is getting trendy is able to provide health benefits and taste delicious in so many different ways, you got a potential long-term hot item in the making.
That’s the case of turmeric (curcumin). Nicknamed the “Spice of Life”, the health benefits turmeric offers can be attributed to curcumin, a well-studied bioactive compound. It seems like this bright yellow Indian spice is getting more popular every day. Known to help reduce pain, turmeric contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and inflammation. Turmeric supplements have been used to treat osteoarthritis as well as joint pain and can be a natural replacement to drugs such as ibuprofen.
Additionally, the compound curcumin in turmeric can efficiently help to reduce digestive issues such as bloating, IBS, and colitis. Plus, these same anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and digestive properties may enable turmeric to support the liver, the body’s natural detox system.
Since turmeric provide all these health benefits, people are getting creative to add this amazing spicy into their diets. Often used in culinary as ground spice, turmeric has been a very popular tea too. Now, turmeric is getting fancy and is being used in juices, smoothies, golden lattes, and many other creative ways. For example, adding a little bit of turmeric to scramble eggs has become a staple of a healthy breakfast. Turmeric soup is another great way to add it to your diet, particularly if you enjoy spicy soups. Lastly, turmeric is one of the best all-natural food colorings and can be used in a variety of ways.
Sometimes we find out that some foods offer benefits when you had not idea they were even considered healthy. It seems to be the case for licorice. Native to the Mediterranean but now grown throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, this herb is commonly used to flavor foods and beverages but what some people may not know is that it can provide a variety of health benefits.
Licorice is known to support various issues in the digestive system including stomach ulcers, heartburn, colic, and chronic gastritis. A formulation containing licorice root along with slippery elm bark, lactulose, and oat bran has been used for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Licorice contains chemicals that are thought to decrease swelling, thin mucus secretions, decrease cough, and increase the chemicals in our body that heal ulcers.
Additionally, licorice can also be taken to help sore throat, bronchitis, cough, and infections caused by bacteria or viruses. Along with the herbs Panax ginseng and Bupleurum falcatum, licorice can help improve the function of the adrenal glands, especially in people who have taken steroid drugs long-term. Steroids tend to suppress the activity of the adrenal glands, which produce important hormones that regulate the body’s response to stress. Licorice is used intravenously to treat hepatitis B and C, as well as mouth sores (lichen planus) in people with hepatitis C.
A good number of licorice products manufactured in the U.S. actually don’t contain any licorice. Instead, they contain anise oil, which has the characteristic smell and taste of “black licorice” and is often used as a substitute. Licorice tea is another popular product that can provide the health benefits mentioned above.
At the heart of Organic India is their commitment to be a living embodiment of consciousness in action. They work with thousands of family farmers in India who cultivate thousands of acres of organic farmland. Organic India actively promotes sustainable agriculture and pays a premium market rate to their farmers. All of their products promote wellness and are certified organic. Each product you hold in your hands is one link in a chain of love, respect and connectedness between their farmers and you. By choosing Organic India you are completing this chain, which gives training and a living wage to the Indian farmers, creates a sustainable environment and brings happiness and well being to you.
Every once in a while you may come across a supplement you’ve never even hear about. It could be a new one, just discovered, or another product which used to be popular and might be coming back to the market. However, there are a few supplements that some people may have never heard or noticed them before, and this could very well be the case of the powerful Berberine.
Berberine is a chemical found in several plants including European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread, and tree turmeric. It has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine, where it was used to treat various ailments. Today, Berberine products are making headlines for its ability to provide multiple health benefits.
Most commonly used to treat gastrointestinal issues, including traveler’s diarrhea and food poisoning, new studies are discovering that Berberine can help reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent heart failure. Some properties of this amazing supplement can help lower cholesterol and, when taken regularly, may help promote a major reduction in blood sugar levels. Additionally, Berberine supplements may help you lose weight as well as fight harmful microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.
Berberine, technically, belongs to a class of compounds called alkaloids. After you ingest Berberine, it gets taken in by the body and transported into the bloodstream, travelling into the body’s cells where it binds to several different molecular targets and changes their function. One of the main actions of Berberine is to activate an enzyme inside cells called AMP- activated protein kinase (AMPK). This enzyme is sometimes referred to as a “metabolic master switch” and is found in the cells of various organs, including the brain, muscle, kidney, heart, and liver. This enzyme plays a major role in regulating metabolism, which is always beneficial for weight loss.
Sugar and creamer is so passé. Health connoisseurs are adding everything from collagen to butter and beyond – hey, the more the merrier. The great part is that you can run wild with tons of mix-ins and or experiment until you hit on a combination that works for you . Either way, the health benefits can be amazing. Either way it’s time to add mo’ to ‘yo cup o’ joe.
TIP – We suggest blending all the ingredients below for a smoother, more homogenous drink.
Collagen – Collagen peptides are short chain amino acids naturally derived from pasture-raised collagen protein. Unlike gelatin, this brand of peptides easily dissolve in both hot and cold liquids. It’s a natural anti-aging supplement which makes your hair and nails grow as well as lubes up your joints and cartilage. It goes down easy in coffee but it also makes a great addition to smoothies, oatmeal and baked goods, too.
Ghee – Heal you gut naturally with ghee. Its high levels of butyric acid and vitamin k2 make it good for oral and digestive health. Those with dairy intolerances can handle ghee since it only contains small amounts of casein and lactose. Use one to two tablespoons in place of milk for a super creamy texture.
Mushrooms – Pump up your coffee with shrooms! Chaga mushroom is known as the “black gold” that grows on birch trees and is fantastic source of antioxidants and other immunity boosters. Try this blend of chaga, Siberian ginseng, and rose hips. The anise undertones make it a delicious addition to your next coffee break.
Coconut oil – This fatty brain food adds just a hint of exotic coconut flavor to your coffee. Unlike other oils, coconut oil is medium-chained instead of long-chained, which are absorbed faster and not stored as fat. All you need is 1-2 teaspoons per cup and you’re on your way to better nutrition absorption, pain relief, increased energy and a lot more.
Raw cacao powder – chocolate and coffee…heck yeah! Raw cacao has minerals — like magnesium and iron — flavonoids and antioxidants said to help prevent cancer and increase cardiovascular health. A little cacao powder goes a long way, though, so try not to overindulge, as hard as that may be (we’re talking raw chocolate here).