By Natural Advocate | November 30, 2007 - 3:15 pm - Posted in Natural and Herbal Treatments

I read an interesting email I got from a website I had purchased some pure African herbs from a while ago, called AfricanBotanicals.com.  The herb in the article was one I had never heard of called Sutherlandia.  It seemed like a long name, and it sounded intriguing because of its slightly exotic and complicated name, so I decided to read about this new (to me) herb and what its indications are. 

While I don’t think it has any use for me personally, since it mentioned that it stimulates appetite, it could have some very wonderful implications for cancer patients and others who are in danger of succumbing to wasting away due to a degenerative disease. 

Here’s some of the other benefits that AfricanBotanicals mentions about their Sutherlandia herb :

  • Mood
    Sutherlandia decreases anxiety and irritability and it elevates mood.
  • Appetite and weight
    It is an established fact that up to a third of cancer patients succumb to the wasting syndrome, rather than the actual tumor mass. Appropriate doses of Sutherlandia dramatically improves appetite, and weight-gain can be expected in wasted patients. The first 5 kg gain is common after six weeks of treatment. In patients who are not wasted, weight-gain is not usual.
  • Energy levels and exercise tolerance
    Sutherlandia typically improves the energy levels and exercise tolerance of patients, and gives an enhanced sense of well-being.
  • Respiratory
    Sutherlandia is traditionally believed to shorten the duration and severity of ‘flu’ and it can also be taken as a convalescent tonic for post-‘flu debility’. Sutherlandia has traditionally been used in both the prevention and treatment of the symptoms of asthma and TB, including wasting, and bronchitis.
  • Gastrointestinal
    Sutherlandia has been used to treat symptoms of ‘heartburn’, reflux oesophagitis, gastritis and peptic ulceration. Herbalists say that Sutherlandia is for ‘nerves and stomach ulcers’. Sutherlandia was historically used to treat diarrhoea and dysentary, and it was used as a supportive remedy for people with unspecified liver conditions. It is slightly purgative at higher doses and has therefore been used as a gentle remedy for constipation.
  • Urogenital Tract
    Sutherlandia was used to treat urinary tract infections, including gonorrhoea, and cystitis, particularly what would nowadays be termed ‘interstitial cystitis’.
  • Diabetes
    Sutherlandia is widely used to this day by rural herbalists to treat diabetes.
  • Musculo-Skeletal
    Sutherlandia has traditionally been used to treat gout, rheumatoid arthritis (known to Zulu healers as “the disease of the lady teachers” ) and osteoarthritis.
  • Cancer
    To this day Sutherlandia is used as a traditional treatment to improve the quality of life in patients with malignant tumours.

 

By Natural Advocate | November 27, 2007 - 11:05 pm - Posted in Natural Depression & Anxiety Relief

The holidays should be a joyous time filled with fun and laughter.  Too often, the holiday season becomes stressful and an overly emotional time filled with the blues.  To avoid becoming overly stressed during this season, there are a few tips.  Instead of just resulting to medicines or even herbal remedies for depression and anxiety (although you know that’s my personal resort if I’ve tried other things). 

Be realistic about how much you can do and how much you can spend.  Avoid overextending yourself on credit for Christmas.  If you’ve been faced with a layoff or job loss or have a present money crunch, suggest hand crafting items for presents.  This can be simple baking or compiling a cookbook or arts and crafts depending on what your individual talents may be.
Get enough rest.  Don’t stay up too late at night for shopping, wrapping or decorating.  Fatigue will only wear down your resistance and you’re likely to wind up with a cold or flu for the holiday.  Striving for too much perfection in the holiday celebrations will only stress you out and take the joy out of the festive time.
Avoid excessive alcohol consumption as this will leave you fatigued and tired the next day.  Eat a healthy, well balanced diet.  Lots of sweets and rich foods abound at holiday time and it’s okay to have a few, but avoid overindulging or replacing your nutritious food with desserts and unhealthy snacks.
If you work out daily, try to keep it up as much as possible.  Exercise is a wonderful stress reducer and actually energizes you as well as works as an excellent natural remedy for depression and anxiety on its own.  I should know, I always get a huge mood boost after a good workout!

If you have recently lost a loved one or are recently divorced, the holidays can compound the sense of loss.   To ward off feelings of loneliness or isolation, make a point of helping others who may be alone or disadvantaged. 
Volunteering opportunities are plentiful at Christmas time.  You can volunteer for helping at community dinners or sign up to donate time or food items.  This will take your mind off of your recent losses and help you to beat holiday depression.  Try these tips and see if they help you have a truly joyous holiday and a very merry Christmas.

By Natural Advocate | November 26, 2007 - 8:25 am - Posted in Vitamins & Minerals

Most Americans eat twice as much salt as they should to maintain good health.  When you think of curbing your salt intake, most people think of cutting down or cutting out table salt.  Other food items that come to mind to eliminate are obviously salty snacks such as chips or pretzels.
The fact is that most of our excess sodium intake comes from processed, canned or prepackaged convenience foods.  Too much salt or sodium in the diet can lead to hypertension or high blood pressure.  High blood pressure (see our Hypercet review for high blood pressure remedy) is a leading cause of strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure.
The recommended upper limit for average people for sodium consumption is 2,300 milligrams per day.  For an individual with hypertension, the recommended daily sodium intake is 1,500 milligrams a day.  Unfortunately, due to high sodium concentrations in prepared foods, the average American consumes between 3,300  to 4,000 milligrams per day of sodium.
There are measures you can take to curb your salt intake.  Start by reading labels on prepared foods and compare sodium levels before purchasing.  Look for low sodium versions of your favorite foods.
Cook your foods from scratch and substitute herbs or garlic and low salt marinades for flavor. 
Limit your prepared convenience foods on your daily menus. 
Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.  Frozen vegetables generally have less salt compared with canned.  If you must get canned vegetables,  get the type with no salt added.
When dining out, ask for salad dressings and sauces on the side and use minimally.  Smoked meats such as bacon, ham and hot dogs have a very high sodium content, so limit your consumption of these foods. Eliminate adding table salt to your food.
It’s worth taking measures to cut down on a high salt diet.  In the U.S., one in every three adults have high blood pressure which leads to serious health conditions.  Cutting down on your sodium can lower your risk of developing high blood pressure. 

By Natural Advocate | November 25, 2007 - 9:42 pm - Posted in Herbal Weight Loss

I’ve been interested in doing the “Master Cleanse” diet for some time now, but I’ve also been reading a lot of debate and controversy on the subject of the modified fasting and detoxifying diet online as well.  I have to admit, a lot of what the medical professionals say about how the diet couldn’t possibly detoxify the body using maple syrup, cayenne pepper and lemon juice with water, and eating no food as well as taking herbal laxatives as a colon cleansing agent and detoxifier every night, makes a little sense, but I also have read so much anecdotal evidence that the fast really works that I can’t help but test it out myself.

I also happen to have two people that are close to me that have tried the Master Cleanse diet and say that it made them feel great, with more energy, and a little bit of weight loss, as well as great skin and a host of other side benefits that they definitely recommend the master cleanser diet as a way to sort of realign your eating habits, and, well, to just take the focus off food for a while and channel your energy elsewhere.  Many of us don’t realize how much time and energy we waste on preparing, thinking about, and consuming food. 

Heck, I thought about it just the other day.  If I had all that time back that I use to prepare lunches, breakfasts and dinners, AND the time that it just takes me to do the dishes for all those meals, I’d have so much more time in my schedule, and I’d be able to focus my energies on more important things! 

My two friends who tried it didn’t just experience weight loss and physical benefits, but they also said that it really made them appreciate their life, and other things that they didn’t even think about or have time to focus on before.  One even said that she got almost a spiritual high on the last few days of the fast, and that was truly one of the reasons I decided I’m going to try it – and soon – before Christmas time gets in full swing.  So, I’ll be letting you know how my herbal colon cleansing, detoxifying diet goes when I start it!  Hopefully I’ll be full of glowing reviews! 

By Natural Advocate | November 21, 2007 - 7:18 am - Posted in Natural Depression & Anxiety Relief

I bought an herbal tea that I love that’s called “Soothing” or something along those lines by the folks at Traditional Medicinals (the same people who make the infamous Smooth Move laxative tea that’s used in the Master Cleanse diet), and I gotta say, the stuff works pretty well.  I always double up on the tea bags with any of my teas, and I’m not sure if you might do that too, but it seems to really intensify the effects, as well as the flavor of any herbal teas I purchase.

The main soothing ingredient in the soothing tea is chamomile, which is supposed to help soothe the nervous system and is often used as a night time relaxation herb, like kava kava, but only it’s more mellow and not as strong as kava, and tastes better in my opinion.  It might help stress and anxiety as well, and work as a bit of an herbal remedy for depression and anxiety as a light fix for the night time as well. 

I definitely wouldn’t say that it made me feel drugged or anything, it just helped to take a bit of the edge off, albeit temporarily, especially if I find I’m tired but I just can’t seem to fall asleep.  The combination of the herb with hot water, which I always find soothing and as something that makes me pleasantly sleepy, definitely might help relax the nervous system as a combination. 


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