Archived Articles - July 2015

Six wonderful ways of using lemongrass essential oil

Essential oils have been very popular all over the United States as well as abroad and now their popularity is increasing with each passing day. The reason for such recognition is that essential oils really work wonders. Irrespective of whether you are using essential oils for therapeutic purposes or for household care, the ways you can use them is practically infinite. For instance, their usage varies - from employing eucalyptus oil to alleviate sinus problems to using rosemary oil to disinfect your room.

It has been seen that majority of us usually have a tendency to discover only a few common essential oils that we prefer and continue with them. Hence, a lot remains to be said regarding giving new essential oils a try, particularly those that can be used for multipurpose, such as lemongrass oil. Most aficionados of Thai cuisine would identify lemongrass as an essential ingredient for several preparations from that part of the globe. Besides being amazingly sweet, lemongrass oil has some incredible uses both therapeutically and for domestic purposes.

A few excellent uses of lemongrass essential oil are discussed briefly below.

Muscle relaxant
Lemongrass oil is an excellent muscle relaxer. You can rub this essential oil onto the sore and weary muscles to help them unwind. This oil can also be rubbed on sore muscles, such as in the case of Charlie horse with a view to help them relax and also alleviate the accompanying pain and discomfort.

Alleviates headaches
Application of just a few drops of lemongrass oil to the forehead or temples causes a soothing effect, in addition to providing quick relief from the problem. This essential oil is especially effective if the headache is attributed to allergies, sinusitis or hay fever.

Acne treatment
Although acne is a nuisance for teenagers across the world, they should not worry. Lemongrass oil possesses anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties and hence, blending some drops of lemongrass oil with any suitable carrier oil such as almond oil and applying it directly to acnes can prove to be effective in providing relief from this niggling problem.

Anti-bacterial cleanser
You can eliminate bacteria to disinfect your home by adding some lemongrass essential oil to the domestic cleansing products you are already using. Using this essential oil will leave a fresh lemony fragrance in your home. As lemongrass oil possesses potent anti-microbial properties, it will help to make your home cleaner and safer too.

Insect repellent
If you are bothered by ticks, mosquitoes or any other pest at home or in your garden, you may think about preparing a natural insect repellent yourself by adding olive or almond oil to lemongrass essential oil with a view to dilute the latter. Apply the blended oils directly to the skin areas that are exposed and no pest will bother you any more.

Flea repellent for dogs
Lemongrass essential oil is an excellent flea repellent for dogs. If you add some of this essential oil to the collar or bandana of your dog, it will help to repel fleas naturally. This way it will prevent you as well as your dog from going crazy. Here is a word of caution: never apply this essential oil to cats without consulting a vet, since cats are known to be very sensitive to essential oils.

If you are convinced with the versatility of lemongrass essential oil, you should consider including it in your domestic care kit right away. Although people in the West are not as familiar with this essential oil as those living in the East, lemongrass is wonderful oil having incredible therapeutic as well as domestic care uses. Once you try it, you will admit that it is worth the money you have spent on it.

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Consuming organic nuts may increase life span: studies reveal

Not long ago many people in America as well as other regions of the West were virtually crazy about low-fat diet. This was one reason why several people avoided including nuts in their diet. However, now this trend is gradually eroding since people have begun to realize that even fat can be healthy. There is no doubt that nuts are not only rich in calorie count, but also contain high levels of fat and protein, but this does not denote that consumption of nuts in reasonable amounts will be detrimental for your health. On the other hand, findings of newer researches are increasingly showing that nuts are among the healthiest foods available. Precisely speaking, nuts form a part of any good balanced diet and are beneficial for people enduring various health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and many chronic ailments that may lead to much harm.

Below is a brief discussion on the past as well as recent studies on the benefits of consuming nuts in moderation in your diet.

Past and recent studies

Findings of a study undertaken by researchers at the Germany based Maastricht University have given rise to much talk in the world of health and nutrition. The study showed that people who consumed no less than 0.3 ounce of nuts every day faced diminished chances of developing several severe chronic ailments. Precisely speaking, consumption of organic nuts also decreased the risks of developing diabetes by about 30 percent, and the chances of cancer by 39 percent. At the same time, nut also reduces the risks of developing degenerative neurological conditions such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases by a massive 45 percent.

It is important to consider the findings of this study vis-à-vis other studies that are not so recent, but also emphasized on the benefits of consuming nuts on a regular basis. A long-term study undertaken by scientists at Harvard University followed patients for as many as 30 years and discovered that subjects who ate nuts every day were at least 20 percent less prone to death due to any health condition compared to people who did not include such elevated amounts of nuts in their diets. Findings of another study carried in The Annals of Internal Medicine showed that when women consumed a diet rich in organic nuts, they not only lived longer, but were also less prone to chronic ailments.

Nuts are very healthy

Today, it is believed that nuts are a very important constituent of any healthy diet. This is primarily owing to the chemical (nutrient) composition of these nuts. Apart from enclosing high levels of healthy fats and proteins, nuts also contain some amount of carbohydrates that are non-starchy. All these elements make nuts a wonderful choice for those who are obese or are suffering from diabetes, because consumption of nuts actually aids in loosing those extra pounds.

Nuts are considered to be healthy because they also contain high amounts of L-arginie, an amino acid that promotes the health of the blood vessels in the region of the heart. In this way, nuts are also good for the health of the heart. In addition, nuts contain rich amounts of various vitamins, essential minerals and dietary fiber, which are necessary for the overall health of our entire body.

Therefore, it is advisable that you try some pecans as a snack or include almonds in your daily morning oatmeal. Several studies have shown again and again that far from being detrimental for our health, nuts essentially offer us an entire array of health benefits, which have been related to diminished risks of chronic ailments, in addition to augmenting our overall health and well-being.

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Monk fruit: A wonderful remedy for diabetes

Over the years, diabetes has turned out to be a severe public health problem worldwide, including the United States. It is shocking to learn that the number of people suffering from diabetes in America also is estimated to be in the region of 30 million. Going by the current trends, this number is likely to increase rapidly in the near future. Apart from being extremely difficult to deal within our day-to-day life, diabetes also increases the sufferers' risk of developing various serious health problems, including strokes, heart attacks, blindness, infertility and amputations among several others. Luckily, today people suffering from diabetes have more options than they ever did, especially if they are keen to deal with their condition using natural remedies.

One such effective natural remedy for diabetes, the monk fruit or lou han guo has its origin in Asia. A brief discussion on the health benefits offered by this humble gourd is presented below.

What is monk fruit?

The monk fruit belongs to the gourd family. The common name of this fruit has been derived from 13th century China, wherein monks primarily survived by consuming it. Since long, the Chinese have regarded monk fruit as a food that helped to increase one's life-span. While monk fruit is consumed all over several Asian regions, it is somewhat difficult to find fresh monk fruit or lou han guo in the United States. This is mainly because this fruit has a very brief shelf life and usually cannot survive through its journey from the farm to the markets. As a result, not many people in the West are familiar with this fruit, at least until recently.

Nevertheless, it is possible to transport dried monk fruit even to markets overseas. The taste of dried monk fruit is sweet, somewhat like the flavour of toffee. Currently, extracts from fresh monk fruits are being sold in the form of a natural substitute for sugar. This has made it possible for people in the West to avail monk fruit more easily than before. However, people are actually not excited over the availability of this health food, but the incredible health benefits offered by the monk fruit.

Health benefits of monk fruit

Nearly all the health benefits of monk fruit are mainly attributed to its incredibly high nutritional value. This fruit is a wonderful source of several nutrients, including vitamin C, amino acids and protein. As a result, this fruit has been employed in traditional healing practices in various parts of Asia for centuries. This fruit has been used to treat a wide range of health conditions including allergies, heart diseases and various forms of cancer. This is mainly because of the ability of monk fruit to sustain healthy digestive, immune and respiratory systems.

Apart from the above mentioned health benefits of consuming monk fruit, what has actually drawn the attention of researchers and common people alike towards this fruit is its ability to deal with diabetes effectively. Despite having an extremely sweet flavour, it has been found that monk fruit or lou han guo possesses the aptitude to reduce the levels of blood sugar in people suffering from diabetes. At the same time, this fruit is also useful in lowering levels of cholesterol as well as triglyceride. Moreover, consumption of monk fruit also helps to support the healthy functioning of the liver - something that is extremely vital for diabetics to keep up.

Some basic clinical evidence shows that consumption of monk fruit is beneficial for the health of diabetes patients. Findings of a recent research carried in The British Journal of Nutrition show that diabetic animals whose diets were enriched by including extract of monk fruit lowered the protein level in their urine. This suggests that monk fruit possesses the ability to protect the kidneys, which are extremely vital for people with diabetes. It has been found that majority of people on dialysis owing to kidney failure also have a medical history of diabetes.

Precisely speaking, consumption of monk fruit in any form - fresh, dried or extract, is beneficial for diabetics. Hence, it is worth undertaking further studies on monk fruit with a view to help diabetes patients regulate the levels of the blood sugar naturally and, at the same time, keep off more severe complications, which are associated with diabetes.

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Essential oils effective for treating insomnia

Insomnia or sleeplessness is a bane for many. In fact, those suffering from this condition can best understand that tossing and turning on the bed without any sleep can be extremely annoying. Worse still, spending few restless nights may even ruin your mental and physical health.

Many people often pop a pill with a view to get relief from the pangs of occasional insomnia. However, nature has bestowed us with several natural means to alleviate our problems instead of resorting to prescription drugs or non-prescription sleeping aids. In fact, using synthetic drugs could harm you more and even result in further disturbing sleep patterns.

Daytime events may affect quality of sleep at night

If you are mentally disturbed and your mind replays the events that occurred during the day, it can prevent you from getting a sound and restful sleep at night. In fact, even if you don't have a racing mind, the events that occur while you are awake may affect the quality of sleep you get at night.

Taking a heavy meal and consuming alcoholic beverages or those that contain caffeine can also hamper sleep. Such things actually prevent the body's transition from an active mode to recuperative sleeping mode. Even undertaking physical exercises just before bedtime may hinder your ability to get sound sleep. It may sound incredible, but the items on your nightstand or those that are in your vision line while you are lying in bed can also influence the quality of sleep.

In any case, you should never keep cell phones or alarm clocks with bright lights near your bed, because these electronic items can also prove to be hindrances in falling asleep. Sometimes, they may be responsible for spending restless nights. In addition, elevated stress levels during the day may contribute to a racing mind, thereby preventing you from getting quality, relaxing and restorative sleep.

Use essential oils to soothe your mind and sleep soundly

It has been long established that essential oils possess healing properties and the history of their use dates back to several thousand years.

In addition to their aesthetic beauty and copious products, plants offer us numerous compounds that are beneficial for our health. These plant compounds yield various types of essential oils. There are various essential oils that are excellent for treating insomnia and other sleep related disorders. Some such essential oils include lavender, marjoram, Roman chamomile, vetiver and valerian.

Essential oils can be used in various ways, but aromatherapy is certainly the most effective means to use them. While most people practicing aromatherapy use diffusers, some studies suggest that aromatherapy via massages is also effective for relaxation.