Tag Archives: vitamin c

rosa canina

Roses: The Medicinal Properties Of This Highly Popular and Romantic Flower

rosa caninaThe rose – it’s the most commonly purchased flower, typically given during special times – anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, etc. Not sure what it looks like?

How To Identify The Rose

The family of roses has flowers with open petals shaped like cups and thorns along the branches/stems. On some rose species, thorns are found on underneath the leaves. The key action of them is astringent, which means the tissues contract. This aspect can be found in both the rose’s leaves and petals.

During the warmer seasons of the year, the rose is dotted with red oval-shaped fruit. This “fruit” can be both eaten and used for medicinal purposes.

Now, most commonly seen rose is the dog rose (wild rose); it’s the one most people see when they walk around the neighborhood.

As a child, you may have seen rosehips. In fact, you might have used the seeds as itching powder. This reason is that the seeds are a powerful irritant. Thus, when the hips are being processed, the skin should not be constantly exposed to them. The hips can easily be cut in half, seeds removed and keep the flesh for either them to be dried or processed further. Now, you can eat the outer red, fleshy section of the rose as well as the petals.

How To Create Syrup From Rosehips For Medicinal Purposes

rosehipsIf you plan on using the rosehips for medicinal purposes, put them into a syrup concoction. Of course, the key issue in creating syrup is to have sterilized containers that are well-sealed. Rosehips have less sugar than what’s in jams and, if it’s not properly prepared, it will ferment.

What are the steps to create syrup from the rosehips?

  1. Crush them so that water can touch the flesh while ensuring the seeds are kept away.
  2. Use water to cover them and simmer until the hips become soft.
  3. Using a cloth, strain the juice. Whatever you do, do not squeeze the cloth. If you do, the syrup will turn cloudy.
  4. Throw in sugar, just half a kilo per one liter of juice.
  5. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved.
  6. Allow to cool

If it’s overcooked, it will change into jelly. Now, there are some recipes where the water will re-cover the hips, allowing more juice to be extracted. This is then put into sterilized bottles. Be sure you boil the containers for 15 minutes and allow them to drain. Be sure you leave a two and half centimeter gap when you fill it up.

Now, screw the lids on, undo it by half a turn and place it in a pan of water. Slowly bring it to a boil and boil for up to 30 minutes. When cool, tighten. If it’s not sealed properly, use wax to cover it.

How Are Rosehips Used For Medicinal Purposes

For hundreds of years, the syrup has been used to prevent colds and flus. It wasn’t until recently that scientists learned that Vitamin C was the rosehip’s active ingredient.

Rosehips also have the astringent action, which can be used in treating gums that are bleeding. You can use the petals a survival plaster – lick and apply on a cut and it’ll stop bleeding. Oil can also be made from the petals. Many worthwhile uses for it include antidepressants and aphrodisiacs. Thus, if you feel blue during the winter season, it’s time to use rose oil. However, it’s costly so keep that in mind.

Other worthwhile uses include using the rose stem’s outside fiber to make a cordage material. But, don’t forget to remove the thorns.

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chickweed - Stellaria media

Chickweed: The Best All Around Weed

Nature provides us with a lot of the medicines we need to not only survive, but thrive. When you learn to identify some of the vegetation around you, you can use many of them to your advantage in emergencies, or even as daily remedies for common ailments.

English: Chickenwort, Craches, Maruns, Winterw...
Common Chickweed -Stellaria media (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most beneficial, natural herbs is chickweed (Stellaria media). This plant grows uncultivated readily throughout the world, and can provide relief to ailments from coughs to water retention to inflammed and irritated skin. Not only is chickweed a wonderful natural remedy for a variety of ailments, it is also high in vitamins and minerals, and tastes great in salads or a summer veggie side dish.

Chickweed is fairly easy to identify. It thrives during the summer months, and will grow easily in sunny, moist soil. It grows on a stem which can grow to 15-20 cm in height with leaves growing opposite each other on the stems. White flowers will bloom on the ends of the plant, which will reseed easily for more chickweed to grow. The stems are slender and may have what appear to be tiny hairs growing on them.

Chickweed provides a lot of health benefits to users. The U.S. Navy used chickweed in the prevention of scurvy in the early years because it is high in Vitamin C. While sailors didn’t know the cause of scurvy was low Vitamin C, this edible plant naturally kept levels of Vitamin C higher in sailors onboard ships to lower the numbers of sailors suffering from the potentially deadly disease. It is also a natural diuretic, making it excellent for people suffering from certain types of edema, as well as weight loss due to water retention. Because of it’s anti-inflammatory properties, chickweed is a wonderful soother for people suffering from cough due to inflammation of the lungs or mucous membranes. It can also be used to treat minor skin irritations and rashes due to insect bites or other mild skin discomforts.

Chickweed can be prepared a variety of ways, and can be eaten raw, or can be cooked, steamed, boiled, brewed into a tea, or added to clay to make a poultice for the skin. Varieties of chickweed which have hairs on the stems and leaves are best cooked to soften the hairs and make the stems easier to consume.

The leaves are often added to fresh salads and eaten raw, and provide a mild, pleasant flavor similar to corn on the cob. It can also be sauteed with other veggetables as a side dish with some olive oil and seasoned to taste for a delicious and nutritious boost to a meal. The leaves and stems can also be steamed, which retains a lot of the nutritient value, and eaten alone, or they can be added to a cup of warm water to steep for a few minutes to drink as a tea.

If you are consuming chickweed for the added boost of vitamins and minerals, consuming it raw or lightly steamed will be the best preparation method. High in Vitamins C, A, D, and iron, you can get a large boost in these essential vitamins and minerals by consuming the leaves and stems of chickweed mixed in a salad several times per week. To consume as a diuretic or a soothing natural cough remedy, preparing a mildly brewed tea with some leaves and stems will help you achieve the greatest benefit from its use. For minor skin irritations, making a poultice out of clay with chickweed which has been pulverized will work wonders for red, itchy, irritated skin.

Chickweed also contains small amounts of saponins. These are natural thickeners, which can work well in soups and stews. It creates complex, deep flavors while aiding in the thickening of soups, sauces, and stews.

It is amazing what types of natural remedies we can find by looking around us in the great outdoors. One of the most versatile of nature’s remedies is chickweed. It is self-sustaining and uncultivated, and an extremely hardy edible plant which can be found in almost all areas of the world. It provides high levels of certain vitamins and minerals, and can provide soothing relief to certain types of edema, calm coughs, and is a natural anti-inflammatory which can help relieve many minor skin irritations.

5 Natural Ways To Help Your Immune System

5 Natural Ways To Help Your Immune System

Five natural, but uncommon ways to boost one’s immune system are consuming antioxidants, getting adequate sleep, consuming certain fats, adequate sunshine and moderate exercise. Boosting one’s immune system naturally can be easy with just a few modifications to diet and lifestyle.

Antioxidants

Everybody knows that vitamin C can boost immunity. Many vitamin C containing foods are also packed with antioxidants. Protecting one’s body from the damage of free radicals can help contribute to a healthy immune system. Not only do antioxidants boost the immune system, they can also help to lessen the effects of aging and arthritis. They have even been shown to mitigate the effects of certain cancers.

Antioxidant Rich Foods

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Pinto Beans
  • Prunes
  • Red Delicious Apples
  • Granny Smith Apples
  • Russet Potatoes Plums
  • Artichoke Hearts
  • Black Beans

Sleep

Getting adequate sleep seems remains one of the most important ways to naturally boost one’s immune system. Going without sleep can increase the likely hood of getting sick. Getting enough sleep helps one’s body to recharge. Instituting a ‘bedtime’ may help to get one in the habit of going to bed earlier. Forcing a habit is okay to begin with.

Fats

Omega-3 fatty acids are great at boosting the immune system. Adding fat to a diet to boost health may seem counterproductive. When it comes to fat, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for good immune system health. Omega-3 fatty acids have shown to lessen inflammation and aid in production of white blood cells. Not everybody eats fish three times a week, so adding omega-3 fatty acids to a diet has to be a conscious decision. Fish oils are a great way to supplement an omega-3 deficient diet.

Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Spinach
  • Winter Squash
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Beans
  • Nuts and Seeds

Sunshine

A little bit of sunshine goes a long way. Some foods are fortified with vitamin D. Absorption of vitamin D through foods may not be as effective as sun exposure. It is actually beneficial to the immune system to get a little bit of sunshine. It is recommended to get from 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure a few times each week. The sun exposure can be coupled with a brisk walk for an additional immune system boost.

Moderate Exercise

The tip to boosting immunity with exercise is to keep it moderate. Over straining or stressing one’s body with training can actually weaken the immune system. Taking a brisk 30 minute walk two or three times per week is a great way to get moderate exercise. The walk can be coupled with sun exposure to take advantage of two immune boosting strategies.

The five natural ways to help boost one’s immune system are eating foods rich in antioxidants, sleeping more, including omega-3 fatty acids into the diet, adequate sunshine and moderate exercise. Making these minor changes to one’s diet and lifestyle can make a positive impact on one’s immune system.

 

Sally writes on behalf of Trac Services, a regulatory affairs consultancy that help pharmaceutical companies with the clinical trial application process throughout Europe. Sally enjoys reading health and fitness blog and is particularly interested in the power of food as a medicine. Any opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily represent the business Sally writes for.