Tag Archives: holistic wellbeing

Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

In our house Apple Cider Vinegar is a staple.   We drink it, use it for cooking, cleaning and even to balance the pH of my hair.  Check out some of the wonderful benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar in this blog.

Apple cider vinegar lowers glucose levels, and may be helpful for diabetics. It has also been touted as a weight-loss aid, as it is said to help you feel fuller and eat less. The enzymes in apple cider vinegar also promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, and can help regulate candida issues.

Apple cider vinegar can also be very helpful in reducing gas and bloating. Just take a tablespoon of ACV diluted in water or tea before a meal. It can also help aleviate symptoms of heartburn. Take a dose as soon as you feel heartburn symptoms coming on.

Apple Cider Vinegar, despite its acidic taste actually promotes alkalinity in the body. Since  cancer cannot live in an alkaline body, the primary way to heal many ailments is by bringing the body into an alkaline state which makes it an inhospitable environment for cancer.

How to take apple cider vinegar orally: Mix 1 tablespoon with a cup of water or herbal tea. (Apple cider vinegar is quite strong, and when taken straight can be harsh on the esophagus, so you’ll want to dilute it).   We also add some Himalayan Salt and Tumeric for an added mineral and nutrient boost.

And, of course, apple cider vinegar is a classic salad dressing ingredient, which you can definitely get a little creative with! While olive oil, the most commonly used oil for salad dressing, it is not recommended, you can mix your ACV with flax oil, avocado oil, lemon or orange juice, and perhaps even whirl it all together in a blender with a clove of garlic and fresh ground pepper and Himalayan Salt to taste.

Here is one of my favorite ACV dressing recipes:

Honey Chia Seed Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. himalayan salt

Finding Quality Apple Cider Vinegar

The quality of the Apple Cider Vinegar that you use is important.  First you have to get ACV with the “Mother”.  The Mother of Vinegar which occurs naturally as strand-like enzymes of connected protein molecules.    In ACV particularly, “the mother” is a complex structure of beneficial acids that seem to have health benefits. Unrefined vinegars have a murky appearance and typically still contain the mother culture. Clear and pasteurized vinegars typically do not contain the mother culture and don’t carry the same benefits.  Second you need to make sure that the ACV that you get comes from Organic Sources.  Refined and clear vinegars are great for cleaning as they don’t leave residue. Raw, unfiltered and unrefined versions contain many more beneficial properties for culinary uses.

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar is the brand we use almost exclusively for eating and cooking.  I totally love the whole Bragg Brand and what they stand for.  This information is an excerpt from Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Miracle Health System.  I highly recommend this and other books written by the Bragg family.  Here is a link if you would like to purchase the book.  http://bragg.com/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=22

Research worldwide supports and commends what Hippocrates (the father of medicine) found and treated his patients with in 400 B.C. He discovered that natural, undistilled Apple Cider Vinegar (or ACV)* is a powerful cleansing and healing elixir, “a naturally occurring antibiotic and antiseptic that fights germs and bacteria” for a healthier, stronger, longer life!

The versatility of ACV as a powerful body cleansing agent is legendary. It’s been traced to Egyptian urns as far back as 3000 B.C. The Babylonians used it as a condiment and preservative, while Julius Caesar’s army used ACV tonic to stay healthy and fight off disease. The Greeks and Romans kept vinegar vessels for healing and flavoring. It was used in Biblical times as an antiseptic and a healing agent and is mentioned in the Bible. In Paris during the Middle Ages, it was sold from barrels by street vendors as a body deodorant, healing tonic and a health vinegar drink.

Even Christopher Columbus and his crew on his voyage to discover America in 1492 had their vinegar barrels for prevention of scurvy as did the soldiers in the American Civil War. For centuries in Japan, the feared Samurai warriors drank it for strength and power. ACV has been used for thousands of years not only for health reasons, but also as a cleansing agent to remove bacteria, germs, odors, and even stains and spots.”

ACV – Mother Nature’s Perfect Food

Natural (undistilled) organic, raw ACV can really be called one of Mother Nature’s most perfect foods. It is made from fresh, crushed apples which are then allowed to mature naturally in wooden barrels, as wood seems to “boost” the natural fermentation. Natural ACV should be rich, brownish color and if held to the light you might see a tiny formation of “cobweb-like” substances that we call the “mother.” Usually some “mother” will show in the bottom of the ACV bottle the more it ages. It never needs refrigeration. You can also save some “mother” and transfer it to work in other natural vinegars. When you smell natural ACV, there’s a pungent odor and sometimes it’s so ripened it puckers your mouth and smarts your eyes. These are natural, good signs.

Why Has Natural Apple Cider Vinegar Disappeared from Grocers’ Shelves?

The blame for the disappearance of natural raw Apple Cider Vinegar from supermarkets lies on the shoulders of the general public, as well as the producers of vinegar.

Most people buy food with their eyes, not thinking of good nutrition. The vinegar producers failed to enlighten the public on what powerful health qualities were locked within natural ACV. Why? Because most of them had not the slightest knowledge of the health values of natural, organic, unfiltered, cloudy (and to some, less attractive-looking) Apple Cider Vinegar with the “mother.” They produced pasteurized, refined and distilled vinegars because the public demanded the clear look. It was simply filling current supply and demand.

Powerful Health Qualities Removed

You cannot completely blame the producers of vinegar. They are not nutritionists, nor are they biochemists. Their business is to give the customers what they want. Most people purchase vinegar for flavoring, also for pickling and marinating their foods. Some women use it to rinse their hair after shampooing, as it leaves it squeaky clean, softer and much easier to manage.

ACV is also a germ fighter in the home, lab, etc.. Some mix it with water to wash windows, as it removes sludge and keeps them sparkling clean. ACV has hundreds of uses and its versatility is legendary as a powerful household cleansing and deodorizing agent free of dangerous chemicals.

ACV Has Powerful Health Qualities

Both the general public and the producers of vinegar have been informed as to the powerful health qualities of organic, raw, unfiltered, fully ripened ACV. Ignorance isn’t always bliss! When most people see natural apple cider vinegar with the brownish color and the tiny, cobweb “mother” floating in it, they think it looks unappetizing. The general public has been educated and brainwashed to want everything they purchase to have perfect eye appeal!

To meet this demand of clear, light-colored vinegar sans the brownish, cobweb “mother” is the reason producers distill their vinegar. In distilling, the vinegar is turned to steam by heating, thus destroying the powerful enzymes and evaporating the life-giving minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, natural organic fluorine, silicon, trace minerals and pectin as well as many other powerful nutrients! Distilling also destroys the natural malic and tartaric acids which are important in fighting body toxins and inhibiting unfriendly bacteria.

You can see how the public, with their obsession for eye appeal foods, reacts. The producers of Apple Cider Vinegar, who agree to sell their product for a profit, put a death warrant against healthy, organic, raw, fully ripened ACV. The public got what they wanted—a clear, appealing, but dead ACV. When natural ACV was hard to find, other strange vinegars began to appear on grocery shelves. The first was malt vinegar, a refined vinegar. It’s clear and acceptable to the public. It tastes like vinegar, but has none of the healing qualities of natural, raw ACV.

The universally accepted #1 fruit, the apple, is popular across America and around the world. Early American settlers, the Pilgrims, brought apples to America in the early 1600’s and became Johnny Appleseeders, starting apple orchards that eventually spread throughout America.

Commercial Vinegars are Real Tragedies

Then came the real tragedy: a food chemist produced an imitation vinegar from coal tar! It looked clean, white and tasted like vinegar. Today it’s the most popular vinegar in supermarkets. It’s cheaper than distilled vinegar or malt vinegar. Most people buy these worthless vinegars. There is nothing redeeming about commercial vinegars, besides their clean look and vinegar-like taste. They have no health value! They don’t contain the health values of organic, raw ACV with the mother. Millions worldwide never get the health benefits of this natural ACV as Hippocrates used in 400 B.C.

ACV Helps Stiffness Vanish from Body

You will find, after several months of ACV and honey cocktail taken 3 times daily that the stiffness and misery will be gone from your joints and body. You will discover you can walk or run up several flights of stairs without any effort and pain! You will notice that you look and feel younger!

Make The Bragg Healthy Lifestyle a life-long daily habit! Over the years we have seen many stiff-jointed, prematurely old people transform themselves into new, youthful, healthy people! We can’t do it for you. You must make the effort to give this ACV and honey program a chance to prove what it can do for you!

Question About Apple Cider Vinegar

Many people have some preconceived idea that Apple Cider Vinegar is harmful to the body. However, it is actually the distilled, pasteurized, filtered, malt and synthetic dead vinegars that must be avoided for human consumption!

Let us assure you that there is nothing in this wonderful, organic, raw ACV that can in any way harm your body! People ask us about the merits and benefits of ACV. See the inside front cover for a list of some of the miracles it can perform.

Animal proteins and fats have a tendency to thicken the blood, while natural acids and enzymes in ACV help to keep the blood healthier and thinner. Also, that’s why people naturally crave and serve cranberry sauce (which contains four different natural acids) with turkey and fowl. They serve applesauce with roast pork dishes, a slice of lemon with fish, or mushrooms with steak —all rich in natural acids.

Herbs for the Maiden, Mother & Matriarch

By this point you are aware of how important hormone balance is in our bodies, if you are not, check out these blogs before continuing.

  1. What are “Female” Hormones?
  2. How to Know When Your Hormones are Outta Whack

Now that we have a basic idea of what hormones are and how they get out of balance, let’s look at how to get them back in order.  You know me, I’m all about the solution and not dwelling on the problem.

As you probably know there are three phases of a female’s life cycle:  The Maiden, The Mother and The Matriarch (or Crone, but I hate that term so I use Matriarch).  The first step to balancing hormones is by honoring the cycle that you are in.  Here is a brief description of these cycles:

  • The Maiden represents enchantment, inception, expansion, the promise of new beginnings, birth, youth and youthful enthusiasm, represented by the waxing moon;
  • The Mother represents ripeness, fertility, sexuality, fulfillment, stability, power and life represented by the full moon;
  • The Matriarch represents wisdom, repose, death, and endings represented by the waning moon.

There are many herbal remedies that nourish and support the female reproductive system in all the cycles of life: Maiden, Mother, and Matriarch. Since the beginning of time women have always reached instinctively for natural remedies to support their overall health and hormone balance.  It is only within the past few hundred years that we have gotten away from our natural roots and began to rely on modern “medicine”.  I use that term lightly because I don’t even see it as medicine, but rather a system that focuses on band aiding the symptoms and not treating the whole person.  This leads to a myriad of other symptoms, check out a commercial for prescriptions, have you seen even 1 without side effects?  I haven’t and generally the side effect symptoms are worse than the initial symptoms.  That being said, click here to read The Full Medical Disclaimer.

I do believe highly in Nature’s Medicine.  Our bodies are made of the same elements as nature and it is through Nature’s Medicine that we will heal ourselves.  There are many wonderful herbs, foods and elements that can help us maintain homeostasis and specifically hormone balance in each life cycle phase.  This blog will focus mainly on herbs to help balance the female hormones.  I will first go over which are good for females of all ages, then I will break down the ones that are best for the Maiden, Mother and Matriarch.

All Life Cycle Phases:

Alfalfa sprouts are a staple of salads and contain nutrients, but the leaves hold the best healing potential and contain phytoestrogens that are beneficial in menopausal and breast feeding women.  Sprouts in general are a great way to maintain balance without putting undue stress on your digestive system.

Note: It is always best to purchase Organic Alfalfa since it is one of the more highly GMO crops.

Asparagus racemosus known in India as Shatavari, has been a treatment for infertility and lack of libido in women for thousands of years, and is regarded as one of the most important herbal tonics for women.  In India, it is often boiled with milk and consumed.

Note:  They cherish their cows in India, we don’t here.  I don’t recommend use of milk unless it is raw and even then, in limited amounts.

Clary sage oil has a special affinity with the female system in general and is recommended for women who are experiencing hot flashes, pain and tension associated with menopause, menstrual problems and PMS.  It is also relaxing, soothing and tends to be earthy and grounding.

Note: Do not use during early pregnancy as it can cause miscarriage.

Red Raspberry Leaf is rich in iron, potassium, magnesium and B, C & E vitamins which are helpful for immune properties & energy.  It also provides ample blood flow to the pelvic area.  (I will get more into this herb in the Mother Phase however it is great for all cycles.)

CLICK HERE TO ORDER RED RASPBERRY LEAF TEA

 

THE MAIDEN PHASE:

Burdock (root) and Dandelion (root) are a great pair as liver cleansers and the burdock helps greatly with teenage acne.  Teas of these two roots are excellent with a little bit of honey to sweeten.

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Milk Thistle will help with adolescent surges and the emotional roller-coaster.

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Pau d’arco from South America is rich in calcium and has positive effects on a growing endocrine system.

Siberian ginsing is a major endocrine gland tonics and have properties similar to the adrenal cortical hormone, this is great for exhausted teenagers.  It also supports the liver and bloodstream.

Wild Yams beneficially effect the adrenals, digestive system, liver and endocrine system.

 

THE MOTHER PHASE:

Avena Sativa better known as oats are an alleviator of menstrual cramps.  It increases blood flow and stimulates the central nervous system.  Avena Sativa is also thought to free bound testosterone, an essential hormone for both females & males.

Dong quai and wild yams (not to be mistaken for sweet potatoes), along with other estrogenic herbs can be used in combination to treat menstrual difficulties and other conditions where a woman’s hormones need to be brought back into balance.

Note:  Dong quai is not to be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Galactagogues are those herbs that establish and promote the flow of mother’s milk. They often have high calcium contents and vary in taste. Below are a few examples of Galactagogues:

  • Alfalfa
  • Anise Seed
  • Basil
  • Black Seed Oil
  • Blessed Thistle
  • Borage Seed Oil
  • Caraway Seed
  • Castor Oil
  • Chaste Tree
  • Dandelion Root
  • Dill
  • Fennel Seed
  • Fenugreek
  • Garlic
  • Goat’s Rue
  • Hops
  • Jasmine Oil (not to be used during pregnancy)
  • Lemongrass
  • Milk Thistle Seed
  • Sesame
  • Tribulus terrestris

Red Raspberry Leaf is a must for anyone trying to conceive as it clears toxins that can prevent pregnancy.  It also strengthens uterine walls making implantation easier reducing the risk of early miscarriage.  While pregnant Red Raspberry Leaf will continue to strengthen, and tone the uterus.  Trick is finding the right balance for your body, if you drink too much you can throw yourself into early labor.  I drank 1-2 cups daily until about Week 36 when I increased to 4-5 cups daily.  This worked well for my body however all bodies while similar are different.  I was lucky enough to have a healthy baby boy in under 1.5 hours.  I believe this was because the Red Raspberry Leaf had allowed me to dilate over time instead of all at once.  Just listen to your body and if you feel anything more than slight creamping, be sure to cut back on consumption.

Note:  Always consult with a licensed herbalist before taking any herbs during pregnancy.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER RED RASPBERRY LEAF TEA

 

THE MATRIARCH PHASE:

Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, which disrupts endocrine function and prompts premature aging.  It stimulates blood flow to a woman’s reproductive organs and also helps to produce positive effects on hot flashes, anxiety and depression.

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Avena Sativa better known as oats are known as a libido enhancer and alleviator of menstrual cramps.  It increases blood flow and stimulates the central nervous system.  Avena Sativa is also thought to free bound testosterone, an essential hormone for sexual desire in both genders.

Black cohosh contains numerous chemical constituents, among them isoflavones which mimic hormonal activity. This makes this herb useful for hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and even the depression sometimes associated with menopause.

Note:  This is never to be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding

Catuaba bark has been used by the Tupi Indians of Brazil for thousands of years.  It stimulates the central nervous system, thereby providing energy and a more positive mood.  It is also known to be an aphrodisiac.

Epimedium better known as Horny Goat Weed, it not only encourages blood flow to the reproductive organs but also has menopause symptom relieving effects.

Maca (root) also known as Peruvian Ginseng, has been used for centuries by the indigenous people of the Andes, to treat infertility, sexual dysfunction, hot flashes, sleep disruption and night sweats associated with menopause.

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Muria Puama this little known herbal gem calms the nerves, relieves anxiety and also increases blood flow to the pelvic area.

Red Clover greatly benefits the body’s arterial strength and flexibility while helping to relive menopausal symptoms.  It also helps to maintain bone strength.

Shilajit revered in both traditional Indian and Chinese medicine is used as a tonic, which aids in physical energy, mood enhancement and sexual drive.

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Suma known as South American Ginsing, is commonly used to improve the mood, stimulate sexual desire and encourage overall reproductive health.

Tongkat Ali used in Malaysia by women to stimulate libido, increase sensitivity to erogenous zones, supports energy levels, cognitive function and creates positive responses to stress.

Tribulus terrestis stimulates androgen receptors in the brain and encourages the body to use hormones more efficiently.

Now that you have this information you can start honoring the stage you are in by doing research on the herbs in the correct category.  Some herbs may have contraindications with certain medicines, so be sure to check with your physician before beginning any new herbs or adding to your current.

 

In this section, we covered the different phases of a woman’s life cycle as well as herbs to help with each of those cycles.  Next we will focus on how to balance your hormones through diet adjustments and lifestyle changes.