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Gokshuradi Guggulu

Gokshuradi Guggulu 

According to Banyan Botanicals, “Gokshuradi Guggulu is a traditional Ayurvedic compound used to support the proper function of the genitourinary tract. It strengthens and tones the kidneys, bladder and urethra as well as the reproductive organs.”  They go on to say that:  The main ingredient, gokshura, is renowned for its rejuvenating action on the kidneys and prostate. Combined with guggulu, triphala and trikatu, it detoxifies the urinary system and supports healthy urinary composition. Balancing to all doshas, Gokshuradi Guggulu revitalizes the genitourinary system by calming vata, soothing pitta and eliminating excess kapha. *” You can read more about it here: http://www.banyanbotanicals.com/prodinfo.asp?number=7141

Guggul is made from the sap (gum resin) of the Commiphora mukul tree, which is native to India. This tree has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and Ayurvedic texts dating back to 600 BC recommend it for treating atherosclerosis.  While it has a long history, it still has modern uses.  “Today guggul gum resin is used for arthritis, lowering high cholesterol, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), acne and other skin diseases, and weight loss,” according to the website WebMD.  Triphala is a three-herb mixture known for detoxification and one of the most commonly recommended Ayurvedic preparations for basic, internal health and cleansing. Trikatu is a digestive tonic and detoxifier.  Together this combination provides powerful support for vital systems.  Of course we all know one other thing that can help support all your vital systems – and that’s a delicious and nutritious smoothie.

perfect breakfast smoothie

The Perfect Breakfast Smoothie  

 

  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 – 1 banana [always depended on how many I had left]
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave or honey
  • 1 teaspoon matcha [for your caffeine-kick]
  • 1/2 scoop whey protein [if you have any]

Directions:  If you have whey and/or matcha, what you want to do first is pour in the almond milk and then add the whey and/or matcha and blend.  Not only does this make the smoothie deliciously frothy, but it also mixes up the powders so they aren’t gross, ruining your smoothie one clump at a time later.  Once blended add blueberries, banana, agave and yogurt. I like to keep the blueberries by the top so they don’t stunt the movement and yogurt closest to the blades to help with blending. I also like to hide the agave in between the fruit and yogurt so it doesn’t get stuck to the sides.  With the bullet I blend it for about 2 minutes, 3 tops and then that’s it. You are good to go! If it’s too thick, add extra almond milk until you have it to your liking. If you’re full time fancy, feel free to put it in a glass… but be warned, that will take longer and create extra dishes.

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Guggul

Guggul

Guggul, the sap of a tree native to India, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for millennia – with texts going back to the year 600 B.C.  recommending it for treating hardening of the arteries.  Harvested by collecting the hardened sap that flows out of small cuts made in the tree’s papery bark, guggul is something of wonder drug from the ancient world. In Latin, Hebrew and ancient Greek it was known as bdellium.

Guggul is one of Ayurveda’s most powerful purifiers. The long list of conditions it has been used to treat includes:  Weight loss, arthritis, acne, atherosclerosis, gingivitis, high cholesterol, inflammation, and thyroid problems.

Guggul is sometimes recommended as a way to remove long-accumulated toxins naturally from the body. The Chopra Center recommends guggul for those who have spent a lot of time on antibiotics or for those quitting the use of drugs or alcohol.  You can read more about Ayurveda and guggul from the Chopra Center website here: http://www.chopra.com/community/online-library/ayurvedic-herbs-foods/guggulu

Be sure to consult with a health professional before taking guggul as it can have a number of interactions with medications.  If you want to know more about the pharmacological aspects of guggul – and don’t mind a bit of a technical read – check out this excellent page: http://www.toddcaldecott.com/index.php/herbs/learning-herbs/363-guggulu

With a fragrance similar to myrrh, guggul is also used for incense and perfume. Many people are worried about sustainable and ethical management of the Commiphora mukul tree. While the tree is native to India, it can be found growing in arid regions from northern Africa to central Asia.  Loss of habitat due to human encroachment and over harvesting has focused attention on the plight of this fragile gift of nature.

If you would like to read more about one herb company’s effort to rally around sustainable harvesting and protection of the plant’s habitat, you can read more at Pukka’s blog: http://www.pukkaherbs.com/blog/the-organic-guggul-cultivation-project/

soymilk carrot cake smoothieSoymilk Carrot Cake Smoothie

Makes four servings

Ingredients:

  • 20 to 30 ice cubes (depending on how thick you want your smoothie to be)
  • 2 cups plain, unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 cup carrot juice
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:  Place the ice cubes in the blender first, then add the rest of the  ingredients.  Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.

http://www.lafujimama.com/2011/10/soymilk-carrot-cake-smoothies/

Chandraprabha

Chandraprabha

Chandraprabha Vati is a common and popular Ayurvedic medicine particularly helpful for problems of the genitourinary tract in both men and women.

Chandra means moon, and like the moon, this preparation is meant to take away the darkness of the night – by purifying and rejuvenating naturally with the body’s own healing powers.

Chandraprabha Vati is a tablet made up of small amounts of many different herbs and minerals. It contains natural ingredients which help clear up urinary tract infections.

It is also taken to reduce inflammation and aggravation of the genitals and reproductive organs and it is often prescribed to ease symptoms of certain sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea.

According to the website ayurmedinfo.com, Chandaprabha Vati balances all three doshas.

In addition to being used for a number of genitourinary problems, it is also recommended for diabetics because it affects glucose metabolism, insulin resistance and relieves diabetic neuropathy.

You can read further about the individual ingredients and what they each do here: http://ayurmedinfo.com/2012/06/29/chandraprabha-vati-benefits-dosage-ingredients-and-side-effects/

It’s a long list, but worth the read.

In men, chandaprabha can help relieve premature ejaculation and urinary flow problems caused by benign enlargement of the prostate.

In women, chandaprabha can treat a number of irritating and sometimes serious maladies, including menstrual disorders, ovarian cysts and fibroids, according to planetayurveda.com. So if your monthlies have been giving you the blues it might be just the thing to try.

Very Berry Smoothie

Gorgeous Very Berry Smoothie

Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 16oz bag of frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups almond milk (might need more, depending upon consistency desired)
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • A dash or two of fresh ground Himalayan sea salt

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients into a blender; mix well.

Add more almond milk as needed to reach desired consistency (some like it thicker than others)

http://crazyadventuresinparenting.com/2013/07/gorgeous-very-berry-smoothie-recipe.html

Bibhitaki

Bibhitaki

Bibhitaki is the Indian name for the a tree – and its fruit – which is known in English as Terminalia bellirica.

This large, deciduous tree is common in India and Southeast Asia where it is planted as a shade tree and often lines busy boulevards. However, its real gift isn’t shade, but rather its fruit and bark, which have been used for thousands of years as medicine.

According to Deepak Chopra, M.D., an Ayurvedic doctor and founder of the Chopra Center:

“Bibhitaki is an excellent rejuvenative with both laxative and astringent properties. It eliminates excess mucous in the body, balancing the Kapha dosha. In addition, bibhitaki is a powerful treatment for a variety of lung conditions, including bronchitis and asthma.”

You can read more about bibhitaki and its uses, including as part of Triphala, a three-fruit preparation used for health and cleansing in Ayurvedic panchakarma treatments for thousands of years, here: http://www.chopra.com/community/online-library/ayurvedic-herbs-foods/triphala

WebMD.com notes that bibhitaki is used for the following problems:

  • Respiratory ailments including infections, coughs and sore throats
  • High cholesterol
  • Digestive disorders including indigestion, constipation and diarrhea
  • Sore eyes
  • Chest pain and angina

In addition, it seems to have an inhibitory effect on the HIV virus though much more research is needed on the subject. Likewise some studies have shown it to be anti-malarial.

It also seems to have antioxidant and anti-aging applications and is used to protect the liver. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17049775

An excellent web article if you want to learn more about bibhitaki can be found here: http://www.toddcaldecott.com/index.php/herbs/learning-herbs/389-bibhitaki

It’s a pretty weighty read with a lot of scientific information but does a great job of rounding up the current research on the benefits of bibhitaki.

Strawberry Spinach Sunbutter Smoothie

Strawberry Spinach Sunbutter Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 large handful spinach leaves
  • 2 Tbsp sunbutter
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I use Fage 0%)
  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to blender or food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down sides and breaking apart chunks of fruit as necessary. Pour into a glass or bowl and enjoy!

http://www.coffeeandquinoa.com/2013/03/strawberry-spinach-sunbutter-smoothie/

 

Chitrak

Chitrak

Chitrak is a pungent herb used in Ayurveda to improve digestion and circulation, and to detoxify the GI tract.

Described in Ayurvedic medicine as being heating and bitter or pungent, chitrak balances Kapha and Vata doshas but may aggravate Pitta. If you would like to read more about doshas and digestion check out the California College of Ayurveda’s page here: http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/articles/drhalpern/clinical/digestive

Often known as Ceylon leadwort and, tellingly, doctorbush, chitrak has been shown to fight H. pylori, the bacteria that most commonly causes stomach ulcers: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15708315

According to the Herbal Encyclopedia, Western research is once again playing catching up with “traditional” Chinese and Indian medicine where chitrak has been used for 2,500 years.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Human Oncology are studying the anti-cancer properties of this woody, herbaceous tropical plant. Plumbagin, a compound found in the root of this member of the plumbago species, has shown results against certain prostate and breast cancers in the lab, though much more research is needed.

The Herbal Encyclopedia has an amazing amount of information on Ayurvedic herbs and good articles on the uses and benefits of chitrak if you would like to read more: http://www.herbcyclopedia.com/index.php?option=com_zoo&task=tag&tag=GUJARATI:%20ચિત્રક%20CHITRAK&app_id=5&Itemid=193

Chitrak’s scientific name, Plumbago zeylanica, reflects how the plant’s pale flower resembles the color of lead. It is spread throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world, notably India, Hawaii, Southeast Asia, the southeastern United States and Central America.

In English folk medicine, the root of a closely related plant, chitrak’s European cousin, was used to make a special brew to relieve toothaches and other swellings and touted for its natural antibiotic properties, according to the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s website: http://ntbg.org/plants/plant_details.php?plantid=11896

Because of this herb’s potency, pregnant women should avoid it, and everyone should check with their doctor for any potential medication interactions.

Touted by Ayurvedic medicine for increasing Agni, or digestive fire, and its effect on spreading up metabolism, it is commonly used for weight loss.

The Indian city website for Chandigarh, http://chandigarh.gov.in/green_herb_gudu.htm, recommends chitrak for fever, gout, anemia, jaundice/ hepatitis, diabetes, itching, dyslipidemia, obesity, piles and geriatric problems. The wording is a little off to American English readers, but the information is pretty interesting.

Containing even further information about for chitrak’s use as medicine for thousands of years, consult a health care practitioner in case you might be thinking chitrak might be the herb you need to light a little fire in your belly.

Of course, here’s something else that could light a little fire in your belly, a beautiful smoothie recipe from reciperunner.com.

Sunrise Smoothie

Sunrise  Smoothie

Serves 2

Ingredients:

Mango Pineapple Layer

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 t. honey

Strawberry Banana Layer

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 t. honey

Instructions:

Place all of the ingredients for the pineapple mango layer of the smoothie in the blender and blend until smooth.

Pour the pineapple mango layer into 2 glasses and place in the freezer.

Rinse out the blender and place all of the ingredients for the strawberry banana layer in it and blend until smooth.

Pour the strawberry banana mixture on top of the pineapple mango mixture.

Top with shredded coconut if desired.

Serve immediately.

http://reciperunner.com/sunrise-smoothie/

Cayenne

Cayenne

Some of us are already hooked on the pep from this pepper, but did you know that cayenne – the chili that gives zing so many of our favorite dishes – is also a potent natural medicine that’s been used for thousands of years?

The chemical that gives this pepper its bite – and its amazing healthy qualities – is called capsaicin.

A common ingredient in both natural preparations and drug-store variety creams, ointments and transdermal patches for muscle aches and pains, capsaicin is a natural analgesic. Its anti-inflammatory qualities make it good for relieving the itching redness of psoriasis.

Rich in vitamins A and C, cayenne has long been known as an internal disinfectant and detoxifier known for knocking out a range of ailments including symptoms associated with cold and flu and can be an excellent throat calmer when gargled.

Cayenne may also be your heart’s best friend. According to New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) website on medicinal plants of the south west United States, capsaicin can:

  • thin blood and reduce the risk of stroke
  • stop heart attacks
  • increase heart action without increasing blood pressure

Further, they say, diabetics can use it to lower blood sugar levels. If you’d like to read more about the cultivation, history and medical uses of cayenne, take a look at this link from NMSU: http://medplant.nmsu.edu/capsicum.shtm

According to physician and Ayurvedic doctor Deepak Chopra’s Chopra Center, cayenne helps balance Kapha doshas. “Use pungent spices like pepper, cayenne, mustard seed, and ginger freely in your diet,” they write on their page.

You can visit their page on tips for Kapha doshas if you’d like more information: http://www.chopra.com/community/online-library/tips/kapha-dosha

As if all that wasn’t already a lot for one’s plate, this webMD article looks at some of the latest research on cayenne and weight loss: http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20110427/cayenne-pepper-may-burn-calories-curb-appetite

To sum it up, it seems that research is showing cayenne pepper burns calories and curbs appetite.

So if you happen to be looking for a novel way to spice up your routine, try this great smoothie featuring – you guessed it – the peppery punch of cayenne.

cayenne smoothie

Strawberry Cayenne Breakfast Smoothie

Serves 1.

Gluten-free, dairy-free, healthy, and Paleo, even.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp raw alfalfa grass powder (or green powder)
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 cups (or approx.) kale leaves
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tbsp bee pollen granules
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut water, almond milk, or water
  • Handful of ice

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in your blender. Taste and adjust honey, water, or cinnamon as needed.

http://www.whatrunslori.com/2011/12/strawberry-cayenne-breakfast-smoothie/

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adult Americans and most adults deal with it at one time or another, and increasingly as we age.  While it is largely preventable with regular dental visits and good oral hygiene, certain factors – like genetics and hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy – make some people more susceptible to periodontal disease than others.

In its earliest stages gum disease is called gingivitis, characterized by puffy, bleeding gums. In its most advanced stages it’s called periodontitis and is characterized by the breakdown of the bone and tissues that support teeth.

Basically, what we’ve probably all heard since childhood is true. The mouth is a pretty dirty place, host to many, many different kinds of bacteria. That bacteria mixes with left over bits of food, saliva and mucous to form a sticky substance called plaque. If the plaque stays on your teeth long enough it hardens into tartar.

Tartar gives bacteria a place to shelter and flourish, and left long enough teeth become loose and begin to shift and the body begins reabsorbing the alveolar bone that supports teeth, creating a perfect storm that ends up with dentures.

Be sure to check out the following links for more information on periodontal disease:

WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/gingivitis-periodontal-disease

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/GumDiseases/PeriodontalGumDisease.htm

While the airways are clogged with ads for dental products, most of us are left wondering if there are more natural solutions for periodontal disease than the alcohol and chemical-laden drug store pastes and rinses we see on TV. Fortunately, alternatives do exist. A solution of hydrogen peroxide and water can be a simple and economical rinse to use twice daily to reduce bacteria in the mouth.

Neem, a natural antibacterial from the tree of the same name, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Before the invention of disposable plastic toothbrushes, people would chew the tiny branches of the neem tree to clean their teeth.

A fascinating study from India estimates that 80 percent of the nation’s rural poor still use neem sticks for oral care. Remarkably, the study concludes neem sticks to be just as effective as regular tooth brushing at reducing plaque and gum inflammation.

If you care to read the whole report, it can be found here: http://www.ispcd.org/~cmsdev/userfiles/rishabh/09%20ajay%20bhambal.pdf <http://www.ispcd.org/%7Ecmsdev/userfiles/rishabh/09%20ajay%20bhambal.pdf>

Neem sticks may be a little hard to find in the United States, but plenty of Ayurvedic toothpastes contain it. Try your local health food store.

Another common ingredient in natural dental pastes and rinses is extracts from Salvadora persica, or as it is commonly known, the toothbrush tree. Native to Africa, the World Health Organization recommends using branches of this tree for brushing as equal to or better than traditional Western methods. You can read more here: http://www.fao.org/docrep/x5327e/x5327e1j.htm

Of course, if you do end up having to get dental work done, it’s best to stock up on plenty of smoothie ideas and ingredients since most dentists recommend soft, nutritious foods during recovery.

So Healthy Smoothie

So-Healthy Smoothie

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 small banana, sliced and frozen
  • 2/3 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped peeled mango, frozen
  • 1-1/4 cups frozen unsweetened sliced peaches

Directions

In a blender, combine all ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses; serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/So-Healthy-Smoothies

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