By Natural Advocate | August 30, 2010 - 9:35 pm - Posted in Detoxify

I keep around an herbal colon cleanser that I use only when I’m a little constipated.  It’s not something that I think anyone should be using all the time, as any colon cleansing or laxative type of product can have a habit forming effect on the bowels, and create a need for them in order to have regular bowel movements if they are abused for too long.

Even when laxatives are herbal or natural, they can be habit forming, because your whole elimination system becomes “lazy” and relies on these types of supplements to help move things along. It can result in lazy movement of the bowels – that slow, “swishing forward” movement that pushes solid waste through the digestive tract and ends in a satisfying bowel movement.

Some people take herbal colon cleansers and herbal laxatives, and they don’t have much luck with them. It may be that they are taking them at the wrong time of day, or on too full a stomach to get the right results. You usually need to make sure that your stomach is pretty much empty before taking these types of supplements, and you also need to make sure you drink a TON of purified water with them.

Drinking a ton of water will help to bulk up the stool, and this will help to move things along quicker and produce a faster bowel movement. Sometimes if you take it with food, it totally bypasses your whole system, and ends up not even working to make you go to the bathroom.

It might be best to either wait several hours after you eat in the evening to take them, or you can even just do it in the morning, and wait a while before you eat breakfast, say maybe an hour at least.  Or in the middle of the day, between meals could work too.

By Natural Advocate | August 27, 2010 - 1:02 pm - Posted in Environment

I’ve always wondered, personally, if an air cleaner would really help us clean up the air we’re breathing at our home. Not only that, but I suspected that an air cleaner might also help clean up the obviously stale and allergen-ridden air where I work, where people sneeze constantly all day and then say they are fine once they get out of the building. This includes me!

Air purifiers claims to help rid the air around you, in a certain radius around the device of common air irritants that are inhaled on a daily basis like allergens such as pet dander, dust, and of course the ultimate lung irritant and allergen, pollen.

People with breathing problems where their lungs are easily irritated by extra pollutants in the air, such as asthma or COPD, which sadly is on a meteoric rise these days, may actually benefit from having an air purifier on hand in the rooms they find themselves in most in their homes. Especially in the summer time and in the fall, when household and outside irritants tend to be at their worst.

Hey, let’s face it, having an air purifier may also give people the good old placebo effect. If they believe they are breathing more pure, unadulterated air, then hey, they may just breathe easier from the simple fact of thinking that way!

It is recommended that you purchase air purifier units that are supposed to clear the air for a larger amount of square footage than what you actually need for the room you intend to put it in. That way, you know that it well-covers the whole area, and won’t get clogged up or whatever they call it with these things, from having too much space to cover.

Also, if your main goal is to filter out irritants due to allergies, then make absolute sure you buy one with a HEPA filter, which filters out common allergens and may help reduce your allergic symptoms.

By Natural Advocate | August 25, 2010 - 11:20 pm - Posted in Environment

I’ve learned the hard way on how you can’t plant a lot of different types of perennials  in too much abundance. They just multiply more and more each year, until they totally overrun everything else you have planted in the space. Some are a lot worse than others. I’m speaking of two of my favorite natural plants to have around, because of their wonderful taste in natural teas made with a tea ball, crushing up the leaves and letting them steep for a while. Lemon balm and wild mint.

Both lemon balm and wild mint are excellent for helping to relax that body. Lemon balm in particular is actually supposed to be a stress reliever and a great natural remedy against anxiety and nervousness.  If you add it to your favorite bagged tea for relaxation, like a chamomile or lavendar tea, you’ve got one great recipe for relaxation.

However, both mint and lemon balm will take over a huge area in relatively little time if you’re not careful.  Especially mint, which rapidly reseeds and roots itself, spreading a vast network of roots all throughout a space within one year of being planted. We had a space of about 20 square feet where I planted three mature mint plants last year, in one small area.

This year, the mint’s root network spread over the whole 20 square foot area and took it allover. And it’s not easy to rip all that out either, although I must say it’s been easier than ripping out ivy thus far because the roots are a little easier to tear out of the ground. Mint is an excellent stomach settler and digestive aid, and it’s also a great tea to drink when you want to relax and unwind.

Herbal remedies for anxiety include lemon balm as a common recommendation, and I can see why. Just smelling the sweet, citrusy scent in a tea is enough to calm my nerves and settle the senses.

By Natural Advocate | August 22, 2010 - 9:13 pm - Posted in Energy Enhancement

So, I’ve prided myself on only drinking coffee on the weekends for quite a while now. Sure, I’d have the occasional cup on a week day before work when I just couldn’t do it without the extra zing in my step I get from the specific caffeine you get from a good cup of joe.

But overall, I pretty much just relegated coffee drinking to Saturday and Sunday. And I LOVED drinking my coffee on the weekends. Truth is, if it were up to me and I didn’t believe that caffeine was ultimately not good for you and that drinking decaffeinated, organic green tea with lemon juice was a thousand times better for you, I’d be slugging down the coffee every morning.

There’s just something about the aroma, the feel of the coffee in your hands, the taste of a freshly ground, nice wholesome bean coffee that’s invigorating, inviting and feels like “home”.  And it really does give me the pick me up that no other drink can in the morning, so I supposed it’s a flavor/habit and feel thing for me.

There’s been debate over whether caffeine is truly physiologically addictive, and I am definitely of the camp that it is. Some of the telltale signs I see in myself after sometimes just drinking it two to three days in a row and then going cold turkey is a massive headache and irritability.

And God forbid that I drink it for five days straight for some reason and then decide to go cold turkey.  Then you’re really talking trouble. It’s funny because the headache starts to rage right around the same time every day at work when I experience the caffeine withdrawal, about ten a.m or so, so I’m not sure why it happens then.

Maybe my body’s clock knows that by then if I haven’t had my “fix” then it’s not going to get it and it rebels. Who knows!  While there are some good properties of coffee like antioxidants, it’s the stuff I put in it to make it more palatable that worries me, like the cream and sugar.

Also, coffee beans are typically heavily sprayed with insecticides, so it’s heavily recommended that you buy organic when buying coffee, that way you’re not brewing up a toxic brew!

By Natural Advocate | August 19, 2010 - 6:59 pm - Posted in Natural and Herbal Treatments

I am one of those people who’s stomach gets upset at the mere thought of consuming certain foods.  Before I was in on the whole “secret” that you can treat most minor ailments with herbs and natural remedies, I used to pop Tums and antacids all the time. I’m really sorry that I did that, especially knowing that those types of products are actually bad for your digestion.

There are a number of herbs that you can use to help soothe an upset stomach, and the first one I’m going to talk about is actually one that I just had to rip a bunch out of my garden because it had literally taken over the whole thing.

This herb is peppermint. Peppermint plants are a wonderful plant to have around, or of course you can also buy fresh mint at the store, but you can grow it much cheaper, just be sure to block the area it grows in so it doesn’t take over everything.

Peppermint contains a substance called menthol, which gives it the minty/cool feeling in your mouth.  Peppermint is very soothing to the digestive tract when upset, and it is most likely due to the menthol contained within it.  Peppermint oil also may be used, and this can be found in most natural foods stores. Peppermint oil has actually been found in studies to relieve the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease as well.

Another common herb to soothe upset stomachs is one we all know well because we grew up with the advice to drink ginger ale when we had an upset stomach. What we did not know is that most commercial ginger ale hardly contains any actual ginger at all, which is the ingredient in ginger ale that gives it the stomach soothing quality.

Ground ginger root is easily purchased at natural foods stores and lots of grocery stores though, and you can add this to your water for a crisp, spicy refreshing drink, as well as a soothing tonic for your belly.

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