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Neem

Neem

Neem is a tall, tropical evergreen tree found primarily in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Also known as Indian lilac, the neem tree has long been used as a medicinal remedy and new uses and qualities continue to be discovered.  “Neem leaves have been used traditionally as a blood cleanser due to their antiviral, antifungal, anti-parasitic, and antiseptic qualities,” writes Kulreet Chaudhary, MD, in the Dr. Oz Blog. “Neem leaves are also used to treat many eye disorders such as conjunctivitis, skin conditions such as acne and rosacea, stomach ulcers, poor appetite, diabetes, gum disease, fever, liver disorders, and arthritis. It is also great for the heart and used to prevent blood clots.”  You can read the full article here:  http://blog.doctoroz.com/oz-experts/herb-of-the-month-neem

In addition, neem is currently being researched in India for the treatment of cancer. According to one review, more than 140 compounds have been isolated from different parts of neem. That’s a whole lot of complicated compounds for one simple evergreen. You can read more in this review: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15777222

One particular area of interest with neem – and one that is likely to become more important in the coming years – is that neem has antibacterial qualities but doesn’t cause bacterial resistance over time. Given the soaring rates of hospital infections and the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria – sometimes called superbugs – scientific    interest in neem is rising.  However, it’s very important to remember that neem leaves also contain spermicidal compounds.

If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, you should not consume products with neem because it may result in miscarriage and is dangerous for infants and very young children.  Despite precautions against taking it internally in those circumstances, neem can be an effective toothpaste ingredient, and is highly effective against many of the bacteria that cause periodontal disease (read more in my previous bog). It’s also a common ingredient in anti-acne products and intestinal parasite cures for the very same reason.

Hopefully all that talk of parasites hasn’t put you off your appetite.  In case it has, here’s a particularly pretty smoothie recipe to perk your digestive fire back up again, courtesy of the blog Girl Makes Food.

Healthy thin mint smoothie

Healthy Thin Mint Smoothie  

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients: 

  • ¾ cup plain, unsweetened Greek Yogurt (I used full fat)
  • ¼ cup Fresh Mint (tightly packed)
  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • ¼ cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup fresh Baby Spinach
  • Maple, to sweeten, to taste (I used 1 tablespoon)
  •  1-2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder (optional, it will bump up the chocolate flavor, but it will make the smoothie a muddier color)
  • 2 cups Ice

 

Instructions: Combine all but ice in the blender Blend until smooth Add the ice and blend Add more ice to thicken and/or chill as desired. Slurp time!!

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Cranial-Sacral Therapy

Cranial-sacral therapy

Using extremely gentle touch, cranial-sacral therapy (CST) subtly and lightly manipulates connections between the cranial bones and certain points on the spine to restore balance to the nervous system.

Once considered quackery, CST is gaining mainstream acceptance, especially as a relief for anxiety and side effects of cancer treatments. It can be performed by medical doctors and osteopaths but is most commonly done by specially trained body workers.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center recommends cranial-sacral therapy for a range of conditions including:

  • Migraine and tension headaches
  • Temporomandibular joint pain
  • Neck, shoulder girdle, and lower back pain
  • Whiplash and other post-traumatic injuries of the head and neck
  • Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Problems with alertness, concentration, or memory
  • Anxiety and stress-related problems

http://www.upmc.com/services/integrative-medicine/services/pages/craniosacral-therapy.aspx

According to the Upledger Institute, named for John E. Upledger, the osteopathic physician and professor who developed the technique, CST compliments the body’s natural healing processes and can also be “used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction..”

Read more here: http://www.upledger.com/content.asp?id=26

Layered Green Pudding

Layered Green Pudding

Serves 10

Put 10 clear glasses on tray.

For the bottom layer blend well:

  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 2 apples, chopped
  • 1 lemon sliced with skin
  • 4 sprigs mint
  • 2 cups water

The liquid in your blender will be thin. Turn your blender on lower speed and add 4 heaping teaspoons psyllium powder while blender is running. Stop the blender and quickly pour into glasses, filling each glass approximately one third.

For the middle layer blend well:

  • 4 cups spinach (or 1 bunch)
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3 oranges (peeled, seeded and sliced)
  • 2 cups water

The liquid in your blender will be thin. Turn your blender on lower speed and add 4 heaping teaspoons psyllium powder while blender is running. Stop the blender and quickly pour into glasses, filling each glass approximately one third, on top of the bottom layer.

For the top layer blend well:

  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 7 large pitted dates
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 cups water

The liquid in your blender will be thin. Turn your blender on lower speed and add 4 heaping teaspoons psyllium powder while blender is running. Stop the blender and quickly pour into glasses, over two previous layers. The pudding will solidify in a matter of minutes. Decorate with fresh fruit and greens.

http://www.rawfamily.com/news/2009/12_09_01.html

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