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Gymnema

Gymnema

Native to central and western India, tropical Africa and Australia, Gymnema sylvestre is a slow-growing, climbing plant that has been used to treat diabetes for 2,000 years.  Although scientific research and large trials are lagging, the area of study is picking up as diabetes grows as a world health concern. With more than 150 million people currently living with diabetes, and not all able to afford (or desiring to use) pharmaceuticals, research is going back to the body of medicine long practiced in India.

Considered an astringent in Ayurveda, Gymnema pacifies Kapha and Pitta and reduces blood sugar levels.  Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, is basically a disease caused by they accumulation of a lifetime of bad eating habits and over-consumption of refined starches and unhealthy carbohydrates, such as sugar. This type of diabetes accounts for about 90 percent of all diabetes cases in the world.

Gymnema leaves have been demonstrated to have an “anti-sweet” effect, although the exact mechanism is unknown. The leaves are also noted for lowering serum cholesterol and triglycerides.  In addition to its use in diabetes and metabolic disorders, Gymnema is used in Ayurveda to treat the following conditions:

  • asthma
  • constipation
  •  cough
  • dental cavities
  • eye complaints
  • inflammations
  • malaria
  • snakebites
  • dental cavities

Check out the following link if you would like to read more about Ayurvedic treatment of diabetes: http://www.chopra.com/files/docs/teacherdownloads/actpapers/Diabetes%20-%20Madhumeha,%20Angela%20McGinnis.pdf

Additionally, Gymnema has antimicrobial properties and acts as a natural  caterpillar-deterrent in fields and farms. It’s also used in cosmetics.  If, like me, you happen to be the kind of person for whom too much information is never enough, you can read more about Gymnema sylvestre in The Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2170951/


Spiced Pear Smoothie

Spiced Pear Smoothie 

  • 1 medium pear, cored, quartered
  • 1 cup almond milk
  •  1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled, minced
  •  1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  2-3 ice cubes

Directions: Place ingredients into a good powerful blender until smooth and creamy.  Thin with water or thicken with ice if desired. Enjoy!

Yield:  makes 1 serving.

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Cloves

 Cloves 

These tiny, fragrant, dried flower buds deliver a wallop when it comes to taste – and health.  While familiar to some of us as the teeny, tiny pin in a piece of baklava, cloves are flower buds harvested from an evergreen tree that ranges throughout Asia. Since ancient times its ability to numb, especially toothaches and mouth sores, has been noted.  A natural antiviral, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and anti-fungal agent, clove also holds aphrodisiac and circulation-stimulating capacities, according to Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

Oil of clove has been used for a variety of health conditions including stress, indigestion, parasitic infestations, coughs, toothaches, headaches, and blood impurities. It is also great for skin problems such as acne. Cloves can naturally and effectively cure many digestive problems such as indigestion, nausea, loose stools and flatulence.  If you happen to be one of those people interested in clove oil pulling, an Ayurvedic tradition of rinsing the mouth with antioxidant oils to help, among other things, clear gum issues such as pain and infection, and generally remove toxins and mucous, an excellent page to check out is from the Institute of Complimentary Therapy’s page: http://www.ict-energyschool.com/ICT/GrassrootsBlog/Entries/2011/3/15_The_Benefits_of_Oil_Pulling_with_Essential_Oils.html

And according to the website Ayurveda Healing, clove is also an  effective acne treatment.  “Cloves help clear acne, thank to eugenol, a natural antiseptic that balances the skin, stopping future breakouts. Try combining 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1 teaspoon of honey and 3 drops of fresh lemon juice in a small bowl. Apply to your entire face and leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse with cold water for clear skin.”  You can read more here: http://ayurvedahealing.org/2012/08/28/cloves-not-just-for-cooking/

Speaking of cloves and deliciousness, here’s an incredible autumn smoothie recipe featuring the antioxidant power of pumpkin and clove from our friends over at Gourmandelle.

clove smoothie

 Super Antioxidant Pumpkin Smoothie  

  • 1 cup cubed pumpkin, frozen or fresh (I like it frozen)
  • 1 1/2 glass cold green tea, unsweetened (It’s best if you make this ahead and put it in the fridge to cool down)
  •  1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2g ginger powder
  •  1/2 tsp of turmeric (it doesn’t change its taste, just adds more antioxidant goodness)
  • 2g Ganoderma powder (optional – if you don’t have it you can skip it)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey or ginger cold pressed syrup (I love ginger syrup!)

Directions: Place the frozen or fresh pumpkin in the blender, add green tea and blend until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend a little more. Serve!

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