The Truth About the PCR Test: What They Don’t Want You to Know

PCR Test

There’s no denying that in recent times, there’s been a huge push for anyone with the slightest sniffle or cough to get tested, just in case they might have that dreaded virus…you know, the one with the recovery rate of over 99.9%? We are told that getting tested is the responsible thing to do. Yet, how much do we actually know about the testing process? It’s slightly uncomfortable but harmless, we’re told. We line up to get a really long cotton bud stuck up our nose, almost into our brains. It’s just a swab, we’re told. Right? Have you stopped to think about what those swabs are made of? Rayon, …

Black Cohosh: The Benefits and Uses of This Powerful Herb

black cohosh

Black cohosh (not to be confused with blue cohosh or white cohosh, which are from a totally different herb family) is a forest herb whose root is commonly used for its medicinal properties. The native Americans greatly valued this herb, using it to treat menopause, PMS, depression, high blood pressure, tinnitus, asthma, oesteoporosis, rheumatism, respiratory tract infections, and other conditions. Black cohosh extract has been the subject of various scientific studies over the years which have demonstrated its benefit to women’s health issues. What is black cohosh? Black cohosh is a common forest herb that grows along rivers, streams and in wet areas. In the wild, the plant is known …

How We Healed Our Baby’s Oral Thrush

healing oral thrush

A few weeks ago, I noticed a white coating on our little one’s mouth. I thought it was food (he had been fed some slippery elm which I assumed was still in his mouth). However, when it was still there the next day, I took a closer look. It was then that I realised that, not only was it on his top gum, but also on his tongue and the insides of his cheeks. I knew instantly what it was—thrush. It seemed to come out of nowhere—he hadn’t had any antibiotics, his mother had no signs of it, and he has a seemingly strong immune system. None of our other …

Making a Meal from Weeds: Nettle Pesto Recipe

stinging nettle pesto

In my family, we are always trying to find ways of preparing the most nutrient-dense food. Foods that are high in the vitamins and minerals my family needs, yet foods that can also be used to make tasty meals. One nutrient that is particularly important for us is iron…and one of the best sources of iron is stinging nettle. That’s right—that weed that most people hate the sight of and can’t wait to spray with weed killer! I’ve written before about the benefits of this herb, so I won’t go into it here, but it is packed full of vitamin A, antioxidants, vitamin C, calcium and iron. So, when we …

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Top 5 Foods to Avoid for your Cardiovascular Health, and Just How Much Our Choices Influence Our Health (Part Two):

unhealthy food

Top 5 Foods to Avoid for your Cardiovascular Health, and Just How Much Our Choices Influence Our Health (Part Two): Last week, we looked at the idea that what we eat can have a huge impact upon our risk of contracting coronary heart disease. In particular, we discussed foods high in sugar, salt and fat (the ‘SOS’ foods), along with meat. Today, We will look at 3 more foods that have been scientifically proven to raise the risk of heart disease. Additionally, we will look at exactly how much of a role genetics has to play when it comes to heart disease risk, and how much our lifestyle choices influence …

Top 5 Foods to Avoid for your Cardiovascular Health, and Just How Much Our Choices Influence Our Health (Part One):

unhealthy food

Top 5 Foods to Avoid for your Cardiovascular Health, and Just How Much Our Choices Influence Our Health (Part One):   We’ve looked at the best foods for our cardiovascular health, based on what the science shows us. Just as important as including these foods that help our heart, however, is avoiding those that do it major damage. So, just what foods should we stay away from? Let’s take a look.   1.     Sugar, salt and fat: High levels of salt, sugar, saturated fats and refined carbohydrates can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. While it’s not necessary to avoid these foods 100% in order to see an improvement in …

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Top 8 Foods That Protect Your Heart and Promote Cardiovascular Health (Part Two):

heart healthy foods

Top 8 Foods That Protect Your Heart and Promote Cardiovascular Health (Part Two): Last week, we began looking at various foods that have been scientifically shown to improve cardiovascular health. Leafy greens, whole grains, berries and avocados have been shown to lower bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. Today, I am going to discuss 4 more foods that will keep your blood pumping and your veins youthful and clear.   5.     Walnuts and almonds: If you are a lover of nuts, the great news is that they are great for heart health—particularly walnuts and almonds, and regularly eating nuts is associated with a decreased risk of heart …

Top 8 Foods That Protect Your Heart and Promote Cardiovascular Health (Part One):

heart health

Top 8 Foods That Protect Your Heart and Promote Cardiovascular Health (Part One): With cardiovascular disease being the number one killer in Australia, it is important to minimise our risks and maximise our heart health any way we can. Many doctors lack a real understanding of nutrition and the many ways in which diet can help our health. However, the fact remains that nutrition is one of the best and easiest ways we can improve our health and avoid becoming yet another statistic of cardiovascular disease. Let’s look at eight foods that can improve our cardiovascular health, while also boosting our immune system. 1.     Leafy Greens: Leafy green vegetables such …

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The Top 5 Herbs To Prevent Heart Attacks And Stave Off Illness

herbs for heart health

The Top 5 Herbs To Prevent Heart Attacks And Stave Off Illness Keeping your cardiovascular system healthy is one of the best ways of keeping your whole body healthy. After all, your blood pumps through every part of your body. Let’s take a look at the top 5 herbs for promoting optimum cardiovascular health. Many of these herbs have been used for centuries to keep the blood clean, the arteries clear and elastic, and have the heart pumping efficiently. It just so happens that these very herbs are also unbeatable when it comes to keeping your immune system healthy, and fending off illnesses. Cayenne Cayenne has traditionally been used as …

The Dangers of Heart Surgery: What You Should Know

heart disease

The Dangers of Heart Surgery: What You Should Know It is no coincidence that coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia. A sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and high levels of stress are just some of the reasons for this. Many people see heart surgery as an easy fix and a solution to their heart problems. Yet, they don’t realise exactly what is involved in such surgery or the dangers involved in it. The fact is, heart surgery is major and carries with it big risks, yet, it is merely a band-aid solution to a deeper problem.   Why is heart surgery so dangerous? Heart surgery is …

7 Reasons We Need Sunshine this Winter

sunshine

As we, in the southern hemisphere, head into winter, the days get shorter and colder. It becomes increasingly more difficult and increasingly less desirable to spend time outdoors.  Yet, the sun plays an important role in our health. It is recommended that we get 10-30 minutes of direct sunlight (i.e., outside and not through a window) a day to receive the full benefit of the sun.  So, let’s look at 7 benefits that the sun gives us to our health.    Giving us our Vitamin D: When we spend enough time in the sun, we are provided with up to 90% of our Vitamin D needs. Vitamin D is extremely …

5 Ways to Recover from Food Poisoning Naturally

We’ve all been there: we eat something that disagrees with us, and spend the next day or two paying the price. Caused primarily by improper food handling by which bacteria is bred and spread, the symptoms of food poisoning can be most unpleasant. Feelings of nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and diarrhoea are just some of the most common issues that arise as a result of a bout of food poisoning.  The bacteria responsible for food poisoning are primarily found in meats, seafood and dairy products, which means that those who eat a plant-based diet significantly lower their chances of it occurring (our children, who have grown up on such …

The decoction method of herbal extraction

decoction

Last week, we discussed the three main methods of herbal infusions.  In addition to the three methods of infusion, there is the decoction method of extraction. Decoctions are the main method used to extract the active ingredients from herbs for use in fomentations, syrups and enemas.    The decoction method of extraction:  The term decoction comes from the Latin decoquere, meaning to boil down, or away. This method is similar to the digestion method of extraction. However, it is used when the plant material is woody, dense or hard in texture, such as seeds, bark, roots or rhizomes. It also differs from the digestion method in that the preparation is …

Infusion methods of herbal extraction

herbal extractions

In last week’s blog post, we discussed the evolution of herbal extraction, along with the effect of heating herbs. This week, we will be taking a look at the various methods of herbal extraction, as well as the positives and negatives of each method.  From the beginning times of herbal medicine, infusions and decoctions of medicinal plants has been the primary form of herbal extraction. It has only been during the last century or so that there has been a focus on making concentrated alcohol and/or glycerin tinctures. This may have been the influence of Western medicine that aimed to isolate active constituents of plant material, leaving the inert constituents.  …

The Herbal Extraction Process

herbal extracts

A while ago, I wrote a blog post about why we chose to use alcohol as the solvent of choice in the production of our herbal tinctures. Today, I am going to discuss the concept of herbal extraction processes for herbal tinctures. If you’ve ever made a pot of tea or cup of coffee, then you’ve performed an extraction. The process of extraction involves isolating one or more compounds from a mixture.  The concept of extracting the medicinal properties of a herb has been around for thousands of years, though has varied over time. It is thought that our ancestors discovered that certain plants were beneficial to their health. After …

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Some Healthy Meal Inspiration for Your Family

healthy meals

In last week’s blog, I talked about the importance of avoiding a food rut, and trying to vary the meals we serve our families each week.  This week, I wanted to share with you just a few of the recipes that feature regularly on our family’s meal rotation.  With some of these recipes, we tweak them to include more whole grains (for example, brown rice instead of white, or wholemeal pasta instead of white) or exclude the oils (it’s just as easy and almost as tasty to saute in water rather than oil, or to dry roast spices rather than cooking them in oil).  This recipe for Mexican fried rice …

How to Keep Your Meals Healthy and Interesting

When you’re running a household, it’s really easy to get into a rut when it comes to meals. How often do you end up serving the same foods again and again? You find a few meal that the kids like, and end up rotating between them.  There are probably a few reasons we end up stuck in this rut. Often, it’s a simple matter of convenience. We are pressed for time, and it’s easier to make meals we are familiar with, rather than reading carefully through a new recipe to learn how to make a new creation.  When we make the same old meals, at least we know the children …

Weeds for Wellness

Weeds for wellness

For anyone who keeps a garden, weed control seems to be a constant struggle–especially if you try to tackle the problem without resorting to using harmful chemicals such as Glyphosate. Yet, many of the weeds which we try so hard to eliminate can actually be used for medicinal purposes. In this post, we will look at some of the most common weeds that you most likely have growing in your garden, which you could start using to promote good health.  Most of us have Dandelion growing in our yard; in our garden beds or on our lawns. Both the leaf and the root of the Dandelion plant have medicinal properties. …

A Natural Approach to Healing Sickness

a natural approach to healing sickness

Just a few weeks back, my wife remarked that it had been a year since any member of our family had suffered from a cold. She remembered clearly, because she had just got over her last cold as she was preparing to travel to Perth to celebrate her niece’s birthday. That particular cold had done the rounds of the family, and since then, we hadn’t had any more.  No doubt this is largely due to Covid and all the related events that transpired as a result. If you so much as sniffed in public, you were met with glares. To enter many buildings such as hospitals, dentists or oesteopaths, you …

Plantain for your Herbal First Aid Kit:

plantain

The backyard lawn of our current house is full of weeds. Red Clover, Dandelion, Plantain and many others I don’t even know the name of. It looks pretty in its own way in the summer, with all the flowers blooming. Yet, the downside is that it gets covered with bees looking for sweet nectar.  And yes, bees are wonderful, fabulous creatures that help to pollinate our plants and make delicious, healing honey for us, but when you have children who have forgotten to put on their shoes running around, it would be preferable for those bees to get their food from elsewhere.  I knew that, at some point in the …

Top Herbs for Mental Health

herbs for mental health

Last week, we discussed the toll that the Covid lockdowns took on the mental health of many Australians. Rates of anxiety and depression skyrocketed, along with prescriptions that doctors were handing out, to help people to deal with these very conditions.  Yet, pharmaceutical drugs are not your only option, should you need some support to deal with the situations you face.  Many of our friends and family were struggling mentally during last year’s lockdown. However, the doctor’s office was the last place they wanted to be, and anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs were the last thing they wanted to be taking!  Keep reading to the end to find out what I …

The State of Mental Health in the Covid Era:

mental health

The State of Mental Health in the Covid Era:   The past year has been a tumultuous one, and has affected many people in ways they never thought possible. Worries over such things as job security, the economy, the future of the country, our health and that of our loved ones, meant that stress levels were at an all-time high.    In 2007, the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing was conducted, which provided information regarding the prevalence of mental disorders in Australians aged between 16-85 years both during their lifetime and the previous 12 months. The results of the survey indicated that almost half the population (45%) within …

The Long-Term Benefits of Exercise

long-term benefits of exercise

The Long Term Benefits of Physical Activity:    In last week’s blog post, we looked at the short term benefits that increasing our physical activity can have upon our health. This week, I would like to explore the various ways that it can help us in the long term.    Weight loss: One of the most well-known benefits of exercise is weight maintenance or loss. For those at a healthy weight, exercise can help with maintaining that weight. For those who are overweight, exercise can help to burn fat and lower BMI. The latest statistics show that two thirds (67%) of Australian adults are obese. Obesity is one of the …

The Short-Term Benefits of Exercise

The Short-Term Benefits of Physical Activity:   We live in a world that is becoming increasingly sedentary. We use cars instead of walking or cycling; we use lifts and escalators instead of climbing the stairs; we spend more and more hours in front of the TV and computer, watching Netflix or playing computer games. Yet, physical activity is one of the best things you can do each day for your health.  I would like to explore the many varied benefits of physical activity, both in the short term and, next week, in the long term.    Incorporating Physical Activity Into Day-to-Day Life   To start with, at least, physical activity …

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Why do we Use Alcohol in Our Tinctures?

alcohol tinctures

Why do we Use Alcohol in our Tinctures?    Since the inception of herbal medicine, herbalists have been using alcohol in one form or another to extract the medicinal properties (phytonutrients) from plants. This extract is what is known as a herbal tincture.  To many, using alcohol in a health-promoting product, seems rather contradictory.  Especially when we are normally being told to limit our alcohol consumption. We often get asked how safe it is for us, and how it can affect our health.  To shed some light on this issue, I am going to explain why alcohol is such a powerful ingredient in herbal tinctures, and why it is still …

How to Take Care of your Skin

The body’s largest organ   When one thinks of the organs of the body, the heart, lungs, kidney and liver are usually what spring to mind. Yet, in fact, the skin is the body’s largest organ, and its largest elimination channel.  The great herbalist, the late Dr. John Christopher, called the skin an extra kidney, and an extra set of lungs for breathing. The skin’s health affects the health of the whole body. Factors such as hydration, exercise, proper nutrition and effective elimination all play a role in skin health.    What goes on the outside goes for the inside:  What you put on your skin is also important to …

Could you be experiencing leaky gut?

Gut Health

Leaky gut, sometimes known as intestinal permeability, is a condition which results in perforations (holes) and damage to the lining of the intestines. This allows toxins and partially-digested fats and proteins to directly enter the bloodstream.  This often results in inflammation and allergic reactions. Just some symptoms of leaky gut include bloating, gas, lethargy, brain fog, skin issues, emotional problems, joint pain, and more.  In those who have leaky gut, there is usually an imbalance of gut flora, whereby the bad bacteria, which is toxic, greatly outnumbers the friendly flora, or good bacteria. Initially, this could have been caused by a course of antibiotics that killed all the gut’s good …

The Health Benefits You Didn’t Know About Milk Thistle

Hawthorn Berry was briefly discussed in the previous blog about its effectiveness to treat heart problems and many more. Its healing power is truly fascinating and can’t be denied. Many studies really spare their time discovering this kind of plant and it’s really worth it.  Let’s move on now in discussing Milk Thistle. Aside from being common in treating liver problems, let’s find out the other things it can help. But before that, let’s gather information on its history first. The History: Milk Thistle is an aromatic annual or a plant in shrubs with a dense-prickly flower head and reddish-purple tubular flowers. The thistle’s grayish-green stem is cobwebby and slender–about …

The Healing Power of Hawthorne Berry You Wish You Knew Before

Recently, our topic is all about the usefulness of Aloe Vera. Its effectiveness was proven and tested by many research and studies. It is known for the capability of treating skin conditions and digestive problems.  Now, let’s see what Hawthorn Berry offers as a healing herb. Its benefits are undeniably important too. Let’s start with its history. The History: Hawthorne can also be called Crataegus which is a genus of several hundred species of shrubs and trees in the family Rosaceae, native to temperate areas in Europe, North Africa, Asia, and North America. It is a flowering shrub or tree of the rose family.  Its generic nickname, Crataegus, originated from …

The Proven Health Benefits of Ginseng

In the previous article, we discussed the most powerful and versatile herb called Lobelia. This herb gives promising effects if you are suffering from respiratory disorders, depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD), and even drug addiction. Now, let’s talk about the health benefits of Ginseng. But before that, we should tackle its history first to know how it was introduced. History: Shen-Nung Pharmacopoeia is a Chinese text written in 196 AD, that introduced the use of ginseng as a medicinal herb. Li Shizhen described ginseng as a “superior tonic”. Ginseng has been proving its health benefits for centuries, especially in traditional Chinese medicine.  It has three variations: fresh, white or red. …

Lobelia: The Most Powerful And Versatile Herb

In our previous article, we learned about the impressive health benefits of Echinacea on immunity, anxiety, inflammation, skin health and blood sugar. Just as beneficial as Echinacea, we explained why you should try using Lobelia. But before we explore this further, let’s tackle first its history, and how it was introduced to people as herbal medicine. The History: Lobelia is one of the many flowering plants used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. It derives its name from a botanist Matthias de Lobel from Lille, Belgium. Lobel died in 1616.  The health benefits of Lobelia were already known and extensively used by Penobscot Indians. However, it was Samuel Thompson who …

The Healing Power of Echinacea

We learned that cayenne pepper has beneficial effects on our health due to its active component and this helpful plant can easily be grown either indoors or outdoors. Just like cayenne pepper, Echinacea has a lot of awesome health benefits too. Echinacea belongs to the daisy family that is natively growing in eastern and central North America. Echinacea is a perennial plant that can grow up to 4 feet in height. This drought-tolerant plant grows in moist to dry or open wooded areas. Let’s talk more about what you should know about echinacea.  History of Echinacea  One of its varieties, Echinacea Angustifolia was used as a folk medicine to North …

Reasons Why You Should Start Growing Cayenne Pepper

From the noteworthy words of the father of Western Medicine, Hippocrates, ” Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”, garlic is one of the helpful plants that has proven this quote. It’s not only used for culinary but also  medicinal purposes. We learn the uses of garlic in our previous article and how we can easily grow it in our own home or garden. For this article, we are going to talk about another helpful plant that has the ability to prove what Hippocrates was telling us: Cayenne Pepper. How People Started Using Cayenne Pepper Cayenne pepper  (Capsicum annuum) originated in Central and South American. It was brought …

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The Awesome Power of Garlic

Bulbs of garlic

Herbs have been helpful since ancient times. They have been admired for their pleasant smell and how they add flavor to what we eat and drink. Above that, they are best used as medicines for common health conditions. One of these helpful herbal plants that we tackled was Elderberry (Sambucus nigra). It was concluded that elderberry has proven its benefits in fighting flu, colds and other respiratory issues. In this article, let’s talk about the equally beneficial herbal plant like Elderberry, the Garlic. What is Garlic? Garlic (Allium sativum) is a close relative of onions, shallot, and chive.  It is a bulbous herb that was natively growing in Central Asia …

Do Elderberry, Here’s Why

Elder (Sambucus nigra),  is an indigenous bushy shrub that can grow up to 12 feet high.  It is widely grown across all parts of the United States and Canada. It has star-shaped white fragrant flowers and purple-black berries with three or four round seeds. Elders are known for their satisfying effect of curing colds, fevers, flu and etc. Every part of this plant has its uses on health issues. Elder’s flowers are used as flu remedies and often blended with peppermint and sometimes used for skin products and as cosmetics. The inner bark of elders has a lot of uses too. It is specifically used for cardiac and renal dropsy, …