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After reading one of our many articles about the healing marvels of turmeric, you may have headed to your local health food store or coop to pick up some raw root. If so, you probably noticed that it’s very often displayed alongside ginger.

These botanically related roots are similar in many ways—they share the same strange gnarled appearance, and they both boast vibrant colors. Most importantly, though, they’re both veritable panaceas. Turmeric has really stolen the show in this arena, but researchers and natural health experts alike are finally recognizing that the medicinal potential of ginger is just as profound.

Like turmeric, ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Nevertheless, mainstream medicine is only just beginning to “prove” its effectiveness for aiding and treating a huge variety of ailments and conditions, as well as its efficacy as a general longevity tonic.

Ginger is one talented little root

Ginger is one spice that we recommend keeping on hand in your kitchen at all times. Not only is it a wonderful addition to your cooking (especially paired with garlic) but it also has enough medicinal properties to fill several books.

If you find yourself nauseous or with an upset stomach, mince up a small amount (about the size of your fingernail) and swallow it. You’ll be amazed at the relief it provides. Yet this is only the beginning…

The most commonly used medicinal part of the plant is the rhizome, the root-like stem that grows underground. It’s a rich source of antioxidants including gingerols, shogaols, zingerones, and more.

Here’s a small sampling of ginger’s healing and life-enhancing applications, as revealed by both modern research and ancient practice.

It’s a “universal” microbial agent. Ginger is wildly effective at combatting all four major categories of microbial pathogens: bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic. It’s more effective than pharmaceutical antibiotics at treating staph infections and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and it can even wipe out parasitic worms with 90% effectiveness in less than a day.[1]

These are feats which no prescription drug can boast—and ginger accomplishes them all without harming your body’s cells, beneficial bacteria, or immune system (all of which are significantly compromised by conventional antimicrobial protocols).

It’s more effective than chemotherapy at treating cancer. As we discussed in more detail in a previous article, ginger is also an incredibly potent cancer treatment. Studies have revealed that it’s able to target both cancer cells and cancer stem cells (CSC’s), without harming healthy cells. And the efficacy with which it targets CSC’s has been demonstrated to be up to 10,000 times that of chemotherapy.[2]

It’s a powerful weight loss aid. Despite marketers’ attempts to brand any herb possible as a cutting-edge weight loss supplement, ginger somehow still managed to slip through the cracks. The irony is that ginger is a legitimate metabolism booster and appetite suppressant, and thus it’s a powerful and healthy ally for anyone struggling with weight management.

It’s a superior detox enhancer. Unlike conventional antibiotics, cancer treatments, and weight loss aids, ginger supports the body rather than taxing it. It does so by boosting immune function and supercharging your body’s natural detoxification mechanisms.

It’s even a natural source of melatonin, one of the most potent endogenous antioxidants and detox agents of all (it even has the added benefit of providing deeper, better sleep). Ginger is even able to detox radioactive materials from your body.

It’s a perfect natural anti-inflammatory. As we’ve written about in the past, inflammation is the root of nearly every disease. NSAID’s, steroids, and other conventional anti-inflammatories suppress the immune system and cause all sorts of nasty side effects, including severe gastrointestinal issues.

But ginger has been shown to be effective at relieving the aches and pains of acute inflammation and controlling the chronic inflammation that leads to degenerative diseases and conditions.[3]

And that’s just the beginning. The deeper researchers dig into ginger’s medical applications, the more they become convinced that there’s nothing it can’t treat. Studies demonstrate its ability to treat (and prevent) ulcers, diabetes (and its complications), gastrointestinal conditions, liver disease, menstrual pain, gout, nausea, heart disease, and more.[4]

If this powerful root isn’t already a part of your ongoing dietary or supplement regimen, you’d be wise to include it.

How to use ginger

Many of the studies being conducted on ginger employ isolated extracts of specific beneficial compounds. While the results of such applications have been impressive in their own right, the benefits of ginger are dramatically amplified when you consume either the raw root or a full-spectrum extract.

An increasing amount of evidence suggests that the full spectrum of a medicinal plant’s compounds nearly always works better than an isolated compound—in short, it suggests that Nature got it right the first time.

Nevertheless, it seems like conventional medicine will need to tinker with their “precise” and “scientific” chemical isolates for a while longer before they accept that the original, natural version of a plant’s composition is optimal just the way it is.

To that effect, try to include lots of raw ginger root in your diet if you want to take advantage of its many benefits. I even enjoy juicing ginger root or throwing a 1-2 inch piece of peeled root into my morning smoothie. If you want to try using ginger as a supplement, be sure to find a full-spectrum extract.

Here is an easy, basic recipe for ginger tea, a great way to get fresh ginger!

Easy Ginger Tea Recipe

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon of grated or finely chopped ginger root
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • honey (optional)

How to Prepare It:

Place the ginger in a teapot. Add the boiling water and allow it to steep for 5-10 minutes.

Regardless of which route of you choose, this under appreciated super-healing root is bound to facilitate big changes for your overall health and vitality.

 


 

References

[1] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/ginger-herb-everything

[2] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0137614

[3] http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2005.8.125

[4] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/node/83545

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Antibiotic resistance is one of most serious health crises of our time. The World Health Organization reports that “a post-antibiotic era—in which common infections and minor injuries can kill—far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century.”[1]

Even mainstream health agencies like the Center for Disease Control and leading researchers are using words like “nightmare” and “apocalypse” to describe the impending uselessness of conventional antibiotics. Meanwhile, business presses on as usual, with astoundingly little being done to prevent or slow the onset of complete antibiotic resistance.

We’ve written before about some of the biggest culprits.

Overprescription of antibiotics by doctors is an obvious problem (though, on the bright side, Blue Cross Blue Shield reports that the prescription rate has dropped 9% in the United States this year).[2]

Antibacterial soaps are a less conspicuous (and possibly even more worrisome) source of antibiotic resistance. We’re exposed to them nearly every day—unless we take precautions to avoid them. Even conventional dairy products and meat are often contaminated with antibiotics (and all sorts of other toxins too).

But did you know that dentistry is also to blame for the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs?

Careless dentistry has spawned a potentially deadly infection

We tend to think that antibiotics are only used and prescribed by hospital physicians and medical doctors, but dentists make a significant contribution to the total too—it’s estimated that they write over 24.5 million prescriptions every year. And unlike the prescription rate among medical doctors, the use of antibiotics in dentistry is increasing.[3]

Now a number of health agencies are investigating the connection between dental antibiotic usage and a new, potentially deadly infection called Clostridium difficile. Over the last six years, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has discovered that at least 15% of those infected with C. diff were prescribed antibiotics by dentists (57% had received an antibiotic prescription from either a dentist or a doctor).[4]

The investigation has revealed some worrying facts about antibiotic usage by dentists. For starters, a full one third of C. diff patients who were given antibiotics by dentists had medical records that did not mention the prescriptions. This is not only careless recordkeeping, but is also in clear violation of American Dental Association (ADA) guidelines.

The MDH noticed that even when antibiotic prescriptions were notated on medical records, there were often other ADA violations taking place—in fact, 36% of all prescriptions were non-compliant. Some had been given to patients with contraindicated conditions, and others had been given when there was really no need.

This is a key point. If it seems like dentists are being scolded unfairly (after all, doctors still prescribe vastly more antibiotics than dentists), remember that dental procedures very rarely require antibiotics. A tooth abscess often requires antibiotic treatment, but the practice is otherwise gratuitous. The takeaway, then, is that dentistry is one field in need of drastic improvement when it comes to preventing antibiotic resistance.

While there are certainly many factors contributing to antibiotic resistance, experts believe that this unscrupulous use of antibiotics by dentists is at least partially to blame for the spread of the C. diff infection, which affected a half million people just in a single year, and is now the most common microbial cause of healthcare-associated infections in U.S. hospitals.[5]

What you can do

Here’s the good news about antibiotic resistance: there are still many natural remedies that serve as effective antibiotics, and they work far more harmoniously with your body anyway.

Even the CDC and other mainstream health organizations warn that conventional antibiotics severely imbalance gut flora, increase the risk of gastrointestinal issues, hamper the immune system, and increase the risk of infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

While natural antibiotic alternatives are still very powerful and should be used with care, the chance of them causing any of these issues is drastically lower (especially if only taken for the same amount of time during which you’d take a traditional antibiotic—problems only arise when people take naturally antibiotic herbs and supplements for weeks or even months at a time).

We’ve covered some of our favorite antibiotic alternatives in past articles, including lavender essential oil (which kills even MRSA and other antibiotic-resistance bacteria), garlic (which targets both bacteria and viruses with stunning effectiveness, without damaging the gut in any way), vitamin C (which is so powerful that it’s being used to treat septic infections in hospitals), olive leaf (which fights not only superbugs but also viruses and fungi), colloidal silver, turmeric (which just might be one of the world’s most healing and versatile plants), oregano, black cumin seed, and ginger.

By using these “natural antibiotics” in lieu of prescriptions whenever possible, you’ll be protecting both yourself and the rest of our society from encroaching antibiotic resistance.

 


References

[1] Natural Alerts, The Antibiotic Epidemic: How To Fight Back Superbugs And Emerging Bacteria With Miracles From Mother Earth, p. 4.

[2] https://www.bcbs.com/the-health-of-america/reports/antibiotic-prescription-rates-declining-in-the-US

[3] http://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2016-archive/april/may-jada-looks-at-why-dental-prescribing-of-antibiotics-is-increasing

[4] http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/cdiff/index.html

[5] https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2015/p0225-clostridium-difficile.html

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Overconsumption of sugar is one of the fatal flaws of the Standard American Diet.

Natural sugar sources—such as fruits, juices, and high-sugar vegetables like carrots and beets—are an essential and healthful part of a balanced diet. After all, glucose (the type of sugar naturally found in the foods you eat) is a primary energy source for your body and brain’s cells.

But sugar can also pose serious risks to your health, especially when consumed in the form of refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and other modern monstrosities. As we’ve covered in a past article, refined sugar hides behind many names, so always check the ingredient labels of packaged foods carefully.

The most well-known effect of sugar overconsumption is weight gain—as evidenced by the fact that a whopping 37.9% of American adults are obese.[1] And sadly, obesity is just the beginning of sugar’s ill effects. Research shows that sugar worsens high blood pressure, leaches nutrients from the body, and suppresses the immune system. And because sugar is highly inflammatory, it has been linked with the development of nearly every major disease, including cancer,[2] heart disease,[3] diabetes,[4] liver disease,[5] high cholesterol,[6] and more.

The good news is that there’s a perfectly sweet alternative to sugar that’s far more healthful: honey. While moderation is still always a good idea, the simple act of replacing sugar with honey will work wonders for your health.

Let’s take a look at what makes honey so different from sugar.

Whole foods are always best

It’s easy to lump all sweeteners in the same category, but remember: honey is a whole food made by bees, while sugar is an extract of the sugarcane plant (the isolated component is technically called sucrose).

We’ve written a lot in the past about the folly of trying to isolate variables in complex systems—it’s what makes allopathic medicine so short-sighted and side-effect-riddled, and it’s why whole foods are superior to individual compounds. Things are nearly always best when left in their natural form.

Sweeteners are no exception. Honey is a remarkably complex substance made up of hundreds of different compounds—macronutrients and micronutrients, prebiotics and probiotics, enzymes, and various components of which we barely have an understanding. It even has twenty-five different kinds of “sugar,” including sucrose, glucose, and fructose, as well as more complex sugars like melezitose and erlose.

For reasons that researchers haven’t yet fully deciphered, the “sugars” in honey don’t have the same negative health effects as isolated sucrose, as long as they remain an integrated part of honey’s complex chemistry. In fact, honey has actually been shown to improve some of the very health conditions that consuming sugar can cause.

For example, one double-blind, randomized clinical study demonstrated that, contrary to sugar, honey had a positive effect on appetite hormones (ghrelin and peptide YY), as well as glucose response.[7] Another study published in The Journal of Medical Food compared honey to both dextrose and sucrose, and found that honey consumption can lower C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and plasma glucose, even in diabetic and hyperlipidemic individuals.[8] There’s even reason to believe that honey can reduce triglyceride levels, weight gain, and fat accumulation.[9]

How to get the most out of honey

As miraculous and healthful as honey can be, it’s important to remember that not all store-bought honey is equal. Here are a couple principles that will help you get the most out of honey.

Always choose raw honey. As we’ve already mentioned, whole foods are always best when left in their natural, unprocessed form. When honey is heated, processed, or filtered, a large percentage of its beneficial nutrients and components are destroyed or altered.

When left in its raw form, honey is packed with enzymes that can heal the immune system and boost disease resistance, as well as beneficial bacteria that can help balance your digestion and microbiome health. Researchers have demonstrated that the replication of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus plantarum bacteria (both of which are centrally important for healthy microbiome composition) is increased up to 100 times by honey (compared to sucrose).[10]  

Eat local honey. If you’re interested in honey’s famed allergy-healing benefits, be sure to eat local honey, which will contain traces of the pollen from local allergenic plants. In addition to providing homeopathic exposure to allergens (thus fortifying the immune system and decreasing allergic reactions in the future), honey also contains an enzyme called diastase, which some researchers and experts believe will help fix the immune dysfunctions associated with allergies.

Try Manuka honey for extra healing benefits. As we covered in a past article, some varietals of honey have particularly powerful antimicrobial properties—and Manuka honey is the king of them all. It’s been shown to destroy over 250 different strains of bacteria (including MRSA),[11] as well as a wide range of viruses and harmful fungi.

 


References 

 [1] https://stateofobesity.org/obesity-rates-trends-overview/

[2] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0306987783900956

[3] http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/4/899.short

[4] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/199317

[5] http://www.journal-of-hepatology.eu/article/S0168-8278(07)00427-8/abstract

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2673878/

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21504975

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15117561

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21310307

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10849275

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21903658

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clove-essential-oil

We’ve written before about the therapeutic potential of essential oils. Like most “folk remedies,” essential oils are often regarded as ineffectual at best, and quackery at worst.

Maybe aromatherapy can offer a sense of enjoyment that improves quality of life for patients, says mainstream medicine, but surely essential oils shouldn’t be considered on par with “real” medicines.

An increasing body of research is revealing that essential oils are powerful and sophisticated medicines capable of healing feats that outshine even those of allopathic medicine.

But the tide is turning, and an increasing body of research is revealing that essential oils are powerful and sophisticated medicines capable of healing feats that outshine even those of allopathic medicine.

For example, lavender essential oil kills MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant bacteria, lemon essential oil perfectly balances digestion and metabolism, and citronella and mint essential oils (as well as many other) act as powerful and toxin-free insect repellants.

That’s just a small taste of the full-spectrum healing that all of these oils have to offer. After all, essential oils are the distilled essence of Nature’s most medicinal plants, so the sophistication of their healing qualities should come as no surprise.

The art of essential oil distillation also dates back to over 5,000 years ago, so it’s fair to say that the practice has been refined to perfection (imagine the potential of some modern medical practices if they were given thousands of years to evolve).

Another essential oil that’s picking up steam in the medical community is clove essential oil.

In another article, we wrote about the many health benefits of cloves—the primary among which being their potent cancer-fighting ability. So if raw cloves are that powerful on their own, just imagine how this potency is amplified when they’re made into an essential oil.

Amplifying the power of cloves

Researchers have discovered that cloves contain a plethora of highly medicinal compounds (eugenol being the one that is of greatest interest to scientists)—and all of these healing chemicals are present in high concentrations in the essential oil of cloves. Here’s a sampling of this oil’s healing wonders, as revealed by recent studies.

The high levels of eugenol and oleanolic acid in cloves fight cancer on every level

Revolutionary cancer treatment. The high levels of eugenol and oleanolic acid in cloves fight cancer on every level. They exert a direct causative effect upon cancer cells (by increasing apoptosis and even by directly attacking the cells), inhibit tumor growth, and support the body in the process (by boosting the immune system rather than suppressing it, like chemotherapy and radiation).

Clove extracts appear to be near universal anti-cancer agents, meaning that they’ve been successfully used to treat a wide variety of cancers[1]—and clove essential oil was found to be the most successful of all, when compared against clove extracts using water or ethanol (there’s that ancient distillation technique hard at work).

Fight pathogens naturally. Clove essential oil also exhibits remarkable efficacy as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal agent. Big Pharma has a hard time formulating products that adequately address even one of these mechanisms, let alone all three at once. And unlike antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, clove oil works without disrupting beneficial bacteria or compromising immune function.

It even works against antibiotic-resistant bacteria,[2] as well as supposedly incurable and hard-to-treat viruses and fungi, such as Herpes simplex[3] (applying it as a diluted solution to cold cores will instantly inhibit the replication of the virus) and Candida[4] (take a few drops of the oil in a gel capsule).

You can also apply it to teeth and gums for fast healing of abscesses and relief from the pain of toothaches (this is why clove oil is often used in mouthwashes, and why it’s been a staple of the dental industry for decades).

Full-spectrum microbiome and digestion support. Clove oil has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for disorders of the stomach, spleen, and kidneys. By soothing these organs and balancing the microbiome and overall gastrointestinal system, it provides powerful relief from indigestion, gas, diarrhea, and other stomach ailments.[5]

You can mix clove oil with warm coconut oil and rub it on the abdomen, or take it in a gel capsule for even stronger relief. And this soothing quality isn’t limited to the stomach either—applying it to areas affected by arthritic pain can also work wonders.

How to use clove essential oil

While clove essential oil is free of the many worrying side effects that accompany traditional cancer treatments, antibiotics, and other pharmaceuticals, it should still be considered a strong medicine and used with care.

Dosage is key—because of its incredible potency, too much can be harmful. A little goes a long way; in most cases, a few drops is plenty. When using internally, drop the undiluted oil into a gel capsule (just be sure to obtain medicine-grade oil).

It can also be irritating to the skin, so don’t apply it directly to the face or other sensitive areas (and always dilute it with a carrier oil like almond, jojoba, or coconut). Lastly, it acts as a natural anti-coagulant, so be very careful if you’re taking blood thinners.

As long as you follow these simple precautions, you’ll find clove essential oil to be a safe but powerful addition to your medicine cabinet.

 


References  

[1] http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/or/2013/00000021/00000005/art00003

[2] http://www.ijppsjournal.com/Vol5Issue1/4863.pdf

[3] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279710777_Effect_of_essential_oils_on_the_enveloped_viruses_Antiviral_activity_of_oregano_and_clove_oils_on_herpes_simplex_virus_type_1_and_Newcastle_disease_virus

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19589904

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21140134

Image source

manuka_honey

We’re in the midst of a very interesting time—a return to folk medicine, to self-healing, and to the application of treatments sourced directly from the natural world.

After a brief dream of all-powerful pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, and fancy medical technology, we’re reawakening to the subtle and integrative principles of nutrition, proper lifestyle, and natural medicine.

These two paradigms shouldn’t be pitted against one another. Instead, we should view them as complementary systems that can help us achieve optimal health effectively and sustainably.

For example, medical science provides us with the tools to prove the worthiness of “at home remedies” and “alternative treatments.” Healing tools and practices that once needed to be accepted on faith may now be tried by tested with scientific rigor.

One perfect example is honey, which was touted since ancient times as a healing, tonifying agent. It was routinely used as a healing dressing for wounds until the early 20th century, when antibiotics stepped into the limelight.

At that point, it was demoted to the rank of alternative remedy and replaced in common practice by manufactured antimicrobial agents.

But honey is making a comeback

With the rising tide of antibiotic-resistance infections, ailing healthcare systems, and the (well-founded) distrust of Big Pharma comes the hopeful search for simpler, more sustainable, and more effective methods of treatment.

Honey has gained a large and faithful following, and for good reason.

It’s packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and antimicrobial agents that combat harmful bacteria, enhance the immune system, and work wonders as a topical agent for wounds.[1]

It’s anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, and even works to heal the stomach and balance gut flora.[2]

Not all honey is created equal, though

While lots of health claims have been made for all sorts of honey, the one that really walks the walk is Manuka honey.

Manuka honey is made from the Manuka bush in New Zealand (more commonly known as the tea tree). It boasts an impressive array of healing and antiseptic components—including some with which we’re not even familiar yet.

Its potential as a natural antibiotic is profound: this magical, exotic honey varietal destroys over 250 different strains of bacteria, including MRSA and other highly resistant pathogens.[3]

Best of all, it was found to work just as well as conventional antiseptics at combatting the whole gamut of infectious organisms.

>>  Sugar vs Coconut Sugar vs Honey <<

Its effectiveness as a topical agent is particularly pronounced, and can be used for healing wounds, acne, rashes, burns, and ulcers. Some research has even found it to be as effective as chemical mouthwash for reducing dental plaque.[4]

Many people have even reported miraculous healing experiences when using Manuka honey to treat warts and MRSA sores…

“This honey was suggested for my young son’s warts. He had eczema as a baby and rapidly spreading warts is a common link to people with eczema. At our last count he had over 25 warts on his two hands. We tried everything to get rid of them from over-the-counter products to several doctor visits to ‘freeze’ the warts. Nothing was successful. Finally a plastic surgeon recommended this honey because of its success in patients with eczema and psoriasis. Within a week of using the honey the warts were visibly much smaller. Now that the honey is gone so are the warts! It is a miracle!”

“My mother contracted MRSA through a pressure sore at a hospital. No antibiotic can ever get rid of MRSA, it kept coming back and the bedsores getting worse. We bought the MGO 400 Manuka honey, started putting in the wound and in all MRSA sores, the next day there was a significant improvement over all. Now, it’s been 5 days, the pressure sore is almost completely healed and the MRSA has not come back like it did on a daily basis, there is nothing but beautiful skin, no sores, no redness. IT’S A MIRACLE!”

The FDA even officially approved Manuka-honey-based wound dressings, thus lending it credibility and preventing it from going the way of most other folk treatments.

Before you rush out to try this sweet panacea, though, be warned: the buzz surrounding Manuka honey has led to a bit of feeding frenzy for marketers and health product slingers.

The result is that not all Manuka honey products are as high-quality as they should be. Finding the kind that works the best requires a little extra homework.

>> Sugar vs Coconut Sugar vs Honey <<

“Uniqueness” is the key to finding the best manuka honey  

We still don’t quite understand exactly how Manuka honey works so well at killing bacteria—and unfortunately, this knowledge gap leaves open the possibility for unsubstantiated claims.

There’s a name for its bacteria-battling superpower, though: the unique manuka factor, or UMF. Clever, right?

Here’s what you need to know: Manuka honey only lives up to its hype when it has a UMF rating of 10 or higher.

Products with this ideal UMF rating contain higher levels of antibacterial components that aren’t broken down by the body’s catalase enzyme system, which makes them much more powerfully medicinal than all other types of honey.

The best Manuka honeys should be thick in consistency and light in color, and they should be marked with the UMF quality trademark—a cute little logo that can only be used by licensed manufacturers who meet strict criteria set by the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMFHA).

If a product doesn’t have all of these defining characteristics, steer clear of it. Remember that you can always ask for a company’s official testing and certification results before purchasing honey from them.

Low-quality products have created controversy around Manuka honey, since some of them can’t withstand the scrutiny of clinical trials. As long as you work with a high-UMF product, though, it will meet or exceed your expectations.

Combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, Manuka honey is a wonderful alternative to chemical antiseptics and mouth washes, and an excellent natural remedy for all-around well being.

 


References

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609166/

[2] http://www.naturalnews.com/035959_manuka_honey_healing_medicine.html

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21903658

[4] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/12/28/manuka-honey-better-than-xylitol-in-mouthwash.aspx

Image source

It’s becoming increasingly obvious just how healing food can be.

Nutrition still plays a woefully tiny role in mainstream medicine, but doctors can no longer ignore its primary importance. All the evidence points to one simple conclusion: poor diet and lifestyle choices lead to sickness, and the solution is to make better choices, not to carry on as usual and suppress the symptoms of disease with risky drugs and interventions.

Practitioners of ancient and traditional systems of medicine have known for millennia that food is medicine—now modern medical research is finally catching up with folk wisdom. The result is a veritable renaissance of comprehensive research on “functional foods,” namely foods that can be used therapeutically to treat an acute disease or condition.

Such work is revealing that many simple spices and everyday foods are actually tremendously powerful medicines, especially when used in conjunction with a clean, balanced, nutrient-dense diet.

One such food is horseradish, a root vegetable in the Brassicaceae family of cruciferous vegetables. This plant family is well-known for its profound health benefits—it contains popular health foods like broccoli and kale, as well as cabbage and mustard.

Horseradish hasn’t been as much of a hit in the superfood community, though—possibly because of its intensely spicy flavor, which makes it a much less versatile cooking ingredient.

But make no mistake: this little root may be even more beneficial than its popular cousins. For example, it contains ten times more glucosinolates than broccoli (these compounds are potent antioxidants). For this reason, researchers believe that horseradish holds great promise as an anti-cancer functional food.[1]

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s some of the health benefits that horseradish has to offer.

Immune support. Horseradish contains a wealth of beneficial phytonutrients, including isothiocyanates and sinigrin (powerful antioxidants that keep your system clear of toxins, scavenge free radicals, and even fight cancer),[2] as well as vitamin C (a well-known immune booster).

These antioxidants have even been shown to protect against mutagens, which can permanently damage the body and lead to many degenerative conditions.[3] Lastly, horseradish enhances the disease-fighting capacity of phagocytes, which are one of your immune system’s major lines of defense.[4]

Antibiotic activity. Allyl isothiocyanate, the oil largely responsible for horseradish’s intense flavor, is also a potent antimicrobial agent. It’s been shown to restrict the growth of bacteria when added to meat,[5] and it’s an effective treatment for urinary tract infections,[6] bronchitis, sinusitis, and other respiratory infections, and the common cold.[7] It’s even been proven effective against virulent microbes like Listeria, E. Coli, and Staphylococcus.

Horseradish is so potent that just smelling it can help clear the sinuses and bronchial passages of mucus, which helps prevent infection.

Digestion support. Horseradish is also packed with beneficial enzymes that keep digestion and elimination working optimally. These enzymes regulate bowel movements and stimulate digestion by facilitating the creation of bile in the gallbladder (and by stimulating various other salivary, gastric, and intestinal glands).[8]

Further, the naturally antibiotic compounds mentioned above offer microbiome support by keeping harmful bacteria in check and allowing beneficial bacteria to flourish.

Pain relief. The glucosinolates in horseradish are powerfully anti-inflammatory (predominantly because of their antioxidant activity, which cools inflammation by neutralizing free radicals).[9] For this reason, it’s been used for thousands of years to address aches and pains, and can be used to treat arthritis and chronic pain.

Researchers also believe that the hormetic stress response induced by the “heat” of horseradish may also explain why it’s able to quell inflammation (topical application of capsaicin works by a similar mechanism).

Cancer prevention. As mentioned above, horseradish is making big waves in the oncology research world. Studies have shown that many of the beneficial components in horseradish (especially its glucosinolates) help make the body more resistant to the development of cancer,[10] induce apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells,[11] and mitigate the negative effects of chemotherapy.

How to use horseradish safely and effectively

Horseradish is commonly consumed as a raw food or condiment (the fresher the better). It’s definitely an acquired taste, but just think of all the benefits you’ll enjoy! Most wasabi in the United States is actually made with horseradish (as opposed to real wasabi plant, Wasabia Japonica, which is difficult to find outside of Japan)—so if you enjoy wasabi on your sushi, you’re probably already acquainted with the taste of horseradish.

As always, find the ways of integrating it into your diet that work best for you. Grate it into smoothies and soups, add it to fresh juices, use it as a garnish or sauce ingredient, or blend it with beet juice to make an exceptionally energizing and detoxifying elixir.

Horseradish is generally very safe, but it’s best avoided if you’re pregnant, have kidney problems, or have hypothyroidism.

 


References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25684599

[2] Ibid.

[3] http://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=rjmp.2011.116.126&org=10

[4] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1021136331466#page-1

[5] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1999.tb15075.x/abstract

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16618018

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17515295

[8] https://books.google.com/books?id=1f-lAwAAQBAJ&pg=PT1009&lpg=PT1009&dq=cholagogue+horseradish&source=bl&ots=gmH9qQsmTY&sig=tqOxMsQ4ZgMNdXDxlwJrDFfD074&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiFt8a8wq_LAhXJqh4KHaWBDckQ6AEIKDAC#v=onepage&q=cholagogue%20horseradish&f=false

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26411988

[10] http://news.aces.illinois.edu/news/little-dab-horseradish-could-help-resist-cancer

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25257586

Image source

Coconut oil for alternative therapy

We’ve written in the past about the wonders of coconut oil. It’s powerfully antimicrobial, heals the brain (and even alleviates the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease), promotes weight loss, serves as an incredible replacement for toxic, store-bought cosmetics, and even optimizes oral health.

But there’s a not-so-new kid on the block that’s really starting to pick up momentum as a “competitor” of coconut oil: MCT oil. The acronym stands for medium chain triglyceride, which refers to the fats that make up a portion of coconut oil.

Medium-chain fats are digested more easily and sent directly to your liver, where they have a thermogenic effect and the ability to positively alter your metabolism. This is one reason why many people claim that MCTs, including coconut oil, are burned by the body for energy, or “fuel,” instead of being stored as fat.

The understanding of some health experts is that MCT’s are the most desirable and functional component of coconut oil.

Their logic is therefore that, by removing everything that isn’t an MCT, you’ll be left with a superior product. This process is sometimes referred to as fractionation (and thus MCT oil is also known as fractionated coconut oil).

The benefits of MCT oil

The intention behind MCT oil is to create a product that delivers all the benefits of coconut oil even more efficiently. MCT enthusiasts argue that the MCT’s in coconut oil can only deliver their bevy of benefits once they’re properly digested—a process that can be inhibited by the presence of harder-to-digest long chain fatty acids.

Because fats are broken down by the bile and enzymes that are secreted by the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas, these organs need to be functioning optimally in order for the process to work smoothly.

If instead, they’re overloaded with toxins due to improper diet, stress, and environmental pollution, your body can have a hard time breaking down whole coconut oil. This means that you can suffer from fat malabsorptionrather than delivering all its healthy MCT’s and nutrients, the coconut oil is simply stored as excess fat or excreted.

Pure MCT oil is able to bypass this whole digestive process, so it can much more easily confer its benefits. MCT’s have been shown to combat viral infections and Candida,[1] sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea, Herpes simplex 1, and HIV,[2] chronic inflammation and oxidative stress,[3] memory loss and cognitive dysfunction,[4] chronic fatigue, and many other conditions.

But should coconut oil remain as Nature intended?

As Western medicine has had to learn many times before, laboratory-created products are not necessarily better than natural ones. In fact, it usually turns out that the natural version is the superior one.

Many of the studies that have established medium chain fatty acids (MCFA’s) as some of the most healing and versatile compounds on the planet specifically used coconut oil, not MCT oil or other isolates. This is not to say that MCT oil isn’t healing, but only that the claims made about coconut oil’s ineffectiveness don’t always stand up to scrutiny.

Furthermore, MCT oil traditionally doesn’t include lauric acid, which MCT oil advocates argue is processed like a long chain fatty acid in the body. Other studies dispute this claim, maintaining that it should indeed be considered a medium chain fatty acid (MCFA).[5]

However it’s defined, though, the fact remains that lauric acid is widely acknowledged as one of the most important components in coconut oil. It’s arguably the most antimicrobial MCFA of the whole bunch, and it makes up a whopping 50% of coconut oil’s composition.

Does it really make sense to remove such a central component of coconut oil? Does lauric acid really hamper the healing potential of MCT’s, or is coconut oil perfect the way Nature made it, without processing or alteration?      

Making a choice

While the coconut oil vs. MCT oil debate will likely rage on for some time, here’s some good rules of thumb for choosing which one to integrate into your own life.

Over 1,500 studies show that raw, virgin coconut oil is almost never a bad choice.[6] If you’re hoping to glean all of the benefits we’ve discussed in this article and others, start with good old coconut oil—it’s cheaper than MCT oil, time-tested, and proven safe for ongoing use.

If, after consuming coconut oil or other saturated fats, you experience diarrhea, bloating, or gas, it could mean that your body has a hard time absorbing fat. In this case, MCT oil could be a very helpful alternative—just be advised that some people experience these same side effects from taking too much MCT oil.

Because it is absorbed much more quickly, MCT oil can also have a faster, more marked effect on cognition and energy levels. As such, it works slightly better than virgin coconut oil as a performance enhancement tool.

Remember, though: regular consumption of coconut oil, coupled with an overall healthy diet and lifestyle, will work wonders for your brain and body, as well—its effects just aren’t felt as acutely as those of MCT oil.

In short: if you have reason to believe that you suffer from fat malabsorption, or if you want to use MCT’s as a targeted, therapeutic aid for losing weight, enhancing cognition, or increasing energy levels, MCT oil could be a great choice for you. See how raw, virgin coconut oil works for you first, though—you might just find that the extra cost of MCT oil is unnecessary for you.

Better yet, find ideal uses for both of them: try MCT oil as a tool for acute performance enhancement, and use coconut oil for all your dietary needs. You’ll be amazed by how quickly your overall vitality and well-being improves when you take the time to build exactly the regimen that works for you.

 


References

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17651080

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10448397

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24613207?dopt=Abstract

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3437664/

[5] http://philjournalsci.dost.gov.ph/vol143no2/pdf/Lauric%20acid%20is%20a%20mediuam%20chain%20fatty%20acid.pdf

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=coconut+oil

Image source

LavendarEssentialOilssmall

If you have any experience with aromatherapy or other medicinal methods for using essential oils, you’ve probably come across lavender essential oil.

Lavender is the paragon of relaxation—and for good reason. Its rich, soothing scent cuts right through anxiety, sleepnessness, headaches, and many other symptoms of everyday stress.

But don’t let its gentle persona fool you: lavender essential oil is a powerful panacea. Praise for it never usually extends beyond its calming aroma, but in fact, it’s a whole first aid kit wrapped into one potent oil. Many essential oil specialists claim that, if you only use one essential oil, you should make it this one!

Essential oils have been used medicinally for thousands of years, and those who have carried these traditions into the modern age have long extolled lavender oil for its incredible variety of health benefits. And much more recently, medical science began to back up these claims with hard evidence.

Here’s a handful of research-supported reasons why you should always keep some lavender essential oil handy.

All things calming

Lavender lives up to its reputation as a relaxation agent, even under the scrutiny of scientific research. Study after study confirms that the compounds in lavender essential oil function as an effective nerve relaxant.

This property translates to all sorts of benefits, including decreased anxiety, better sleep, increased cerebral blood flow (and thus improved cognitive function), and overall improved mood.[1] Studies have also revealed that using lavender oil relieved depression in college women and ameliorated the agitation often associated with geriatric dementia.[2]

Many people have even reported experiencing pain relief from lavender essential oil. While the mechanism by which this benefit is conferred isn’t fully understood, researchers suspect that quelled inflammation is a byproduct of lavender’s nerve-relaxing effects. Rubbing the oil directly into affected areas, or mixing it with lotion beforehand, offers a quick and lasting reprieve from aches and pains.

A worthy weapon against illness and infection

What is less well-known about lavender essential oil is its incredible ability to prevent and fight disease. For starters, it offers excellent immune support, especially when taken internally using an inhaler or vaporizer. Putting four drops of essential oil in 20 milliliters of hot water does the trick too (hold your face over the hot water and inhale the steam).

This remedy also shines after you’ve already contracted an illness. Studies have shown that lavender is a surprisingly powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. It successfully treats even MRSA and staph infections (against which most conventional antibiotics are powerless) [3]

MRSA, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, is becoming commonplace. It originated in hospitals as a result of overuse and misuse of antibiotics and has become symbolic of out-of-control mainstream medicine. The disease created by antibiotics used for treatment of staph infections is often far worse than the original.

Most exciting, though, is that lavender oil has been found 100% effective in lab testing to treat some infections, including MRSA. That means it could be used to treat staph infections that drugs can’t touch. This fact alone should make it clear how dramatically underestimated lavender essential is as a legitimate medicine.

You can even apply it topically to clear athlete’s foot and other fungal skin conditions, or use a douche made with lavender flower tea to treat vaginal yeast infections (drinking lavender tea during times of greater susceptibility will also help prevent yeast infections in the first place).

Lastly, by balancing the immune system, lavender oil can even reverse hair loss caused by alopecia areata (an autoimmune condition that causes the body’s immune system to attack hair follicles as though they were foreign agents). Simply apply essential oil to balding spots every day for at least a couple weeks, and you’re bound to see positive results.

All systems go: support for the whole body

The more studies are conducted on lavender, the more benefits are uncovered. Researchers have already linked its use to benefits across many bodily systems.

Respiratory system. When inhaled through steam, lavender essential oil relaxes breathing passages, calms asthma attacks, clears the sinuses, and improves overall respiratory health.

Digestive system. Lavender works as a perfect digestion aid, and improves nearly every aspect of digestive health—studies have shown that it increases nutrient absorption, alleviates nausea, vomiting, and flatulence, and even inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria without hurting your microbiome’s beneficial bacteria.

Circulatory system. Part of lavender’s calming effect is attributed to its ability to improve your blood circulation. This improvement leads to lots of other secondary benefits, including deeper sleep and greatly enhanced cardiovascular health.

Easy to find and use

Because of its popularity and long tradition of use, lavender is incredibly easy to find. Just make sure to buy it fresh if you choose to work with lavender blossoms (growing your own lavender is also very easy, and it can be found growing in the wild in most temperate zones across the United States).

If you work with lavender essential oil, always use brands that are therapeutic-grade (they’re a bit more expensive, but are safer, more effective, and well worth the cost). Before using the essential oil, always apply just a bit to a small area of skin, in order to test for an allergic reaction (they do occur in a very small percentage of people).

Luckily, this incredible natural medicine is widely available to anyone in the United States with the wherewithal to seek it out—unlike in the EU, where lavender is now unavailable without a prescription. Healing herbs and remedies like lavender afford us a special opportunity to take health into our own hands—don’t let it pass you by!

Special Report: Apple Cider Vinegar — 81 unique uses including Gout, belly fat, fleas, warts, etc


 

References 

[1] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/lavender-effective-against-drug-resistant-staph-infection?page=2

[2] https://www.mendeley.com/catalog/lavender-oil-treatment-agitated-behaviour-severe-dementia-placebo-controlled-study/

[3] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/lavender-effective-against-drug-resistant-staph-infection

Image source

decanter with coconut oil and coconuts on green background

If you’ve read our past articles, you know that we’re firm believers in the coconut craze. Coconuts and all their derivative products (such as coconut water, coconut milk, coconut oil) are some of the most powerful and versatile healing foods on the planet.

Mounting evidence demonstrates that coconut products provide the body with a healthy and efficient fuel source (healthy saturated fats called medium chain triglycerides, or MCT’s), supercharge the body’s natural detoxification system, serve as a powerful antibiotic and anti-viral agent (without harming your microbiome), combat Alzheimer’s and general cognitive degeneration, improve teeth and gum health, and much more. Coconut oil even acts as a fantastic base for natural skin moisturizers, deodorants, and other body care products.

Just when it seemed like there couldn’t possibly be any new coconut applications yet to discover, raw coconut vinegar entered the spotlight.

We’ve written before about the wonders of fermented foods. These probiotic-rich, nutrient-dense, living foods and beverages boost the immune system, increase energy levels, and target a huge array of diseases and conditions by strengthening and balancing your body’s beneficial bacteria. Much is still unknown about the vastly complex workings of this bacterial community, but almost all medical scientists now agree that it’s absolutely essential for maintaining optimal health.

Among all the choices of living, probiotic foods available to you—including yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi—vinegar is perhaps the simplest. Any sugar-containing liquid, when exposed to bacteria and yeast, will ferment and become alcoholic. If left unsealed, the bacteria from the surrounding air will then migrate into the liquid, transforming it into vinegar. You’ve probably experienced this process firsthand if you’ve ever left out an open bottle of wine for too long.

Vinegars have used as medicine for centuries, and throughout their long history, apple cider vinegar has almost always been the most popular. This is certainly the case today—many researchers have set out to demonstrate the functional benefits of apple cider vinegar, in order to prove its surrounding folklore correct.

Its popularity is well-founded. Researchers were not disappointed when they put this ancient elixir to the test—they found that it effectively lowers glucose levels, [1] lowers bad cholesterol and blood pressure, [2] acts as a natural antibiotic, [3] and alleviates joint pain and stiffness. [4]  It even balances the pH of the entire body, and boosts immune function.

These properties certainly qualify apple cider vinegar as a first-rate natural medicine—but it seems that coconut vinegar has even more to offer. Let’s take a look at some of its incredible benefits.

Raw Coconut Vinegar: Ultimate vinegar for radiant health?

Raw coconut vinegar, which is made from coconut blossom nectar, is considered the “champagne of vinegars,” due to its mild, sophisticated flavor. It turns out that this exotic creation provides all the benefits of apple cider vinegar…and it doesn’t stop there.

Many health enthusiasts attribute the benefits of apple cider vinegar to compounds like potassium, pectin, amino acids, and other nutrients. The fact of the matter, though, is that studies have failed to find any significant quantities of these compounds in apple cider vinegar (this doesn’t mean that it isn’t amazing for your health, but only that we aren’t yet sure why it’s so amazing). Coconut vinegar, on the hand, is packed to the gills with nutrients.

Vitamins. Coconut vinegar is high in vitamin C, an amazing and underrated compound that is implicated in over 300 different metabolic processes, ranging from disease resistance to tissue growth and repair. The full gamut of B vitamins can also be found in coconut vinegar—these essential vitamins are centrally important for nervous system function, and also play a huge role in metabolic processes. It’s especially important to find a good source a B vitamins if you’re a vegetarian.

Minerals. Mineral deficiency is a huge problem in the United States, and coconut vinegar is a wonderful solution. Because coconut trees are grown in mineral-rich volcanic soil, coconut vinegar contains high levels of magnesium (arguably the most pronounced of our deficiencies), iron, sulfur, boron, manganese, zinc, phosphorous, and potassium (of which it contains an impressive 192 milligrams per serving).

Amino acids. Protein sources get a lot of attention in the health world, but the huge importance of amino acids—the building blocks of protein—is often overlooked. They also help the body produce hemoglobin, repair tissue, and support detoxification. Coconut vinegar contains seventeen different amino acids—all nine essential amino acids, plus eight more.

Enzymes. Coconut vinegar also contains a healthy dose of beneficial enzymes, which aid digestion, alleviate stomach issues, balance immune function, and ensure the absorption of vital nutrients by the body. Because enzymes are intimately tied to the health of our microbiome, there’s still much that we don’t understand about them; what we do know is that they help keep every aspect of our physical and psychological health in balance.

Prebiotics. An increasing number of natural health advocates are touting the importance of prebiotics, which are essentially food for probiotics. Without them, the argument goes, probiotics can never take hold and thrive. Coconut vinegar contains fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), one of the most promising prebiotics. This makes coconut vinegar one of the rare healing foods that is both prebiotic and probiotic.

Tips for getting started

While coconut vinegar is a bit less mainstream than apple cider vinegar, it’s still relatively easy to find. Just make sure that you buy truly raw coconut vinegar without any additives. Knock-offs are made from coconut water instead of nectar—a process that significantly reduces the nutritional content of the resulting vinegar.

Use it as a tonic for fighting illness by combining a tablespoon or two with warm water and honey (use Manuka honey for an extra antibiotic boost). For general wellness maintenance, use a bit of coconut vinegar in sauces, salad dressings, and other uncooked dishes (cooking vinegar destroys most of its nutrients and bacteria).

Taking advantage of this simple and powerful remedy will remind you that healing through natural foods and substances is the real path to balanced and optimized health.

Popular Health Resources:

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Apple Cider Vinegar — 81 unique uses including Gout, belly fat, fleas, warts, etc

 


 

References

[1] http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/1/281.full

[2] http://pt.wkhealth.com/pt/re/bjon/abstract.00002375-200605000-00008.htm

[3] http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-health-promoting-properties-of-mother-of-vinegar.htm

[4] http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/the-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar/

Image source

Apple-Cider-Vinegar

Over 2,000 years ago, the Greek scientist and doctor Hippocrates gave the advice to “let food be thy medicine.” Considering that he’s thought of as the father of modern medicine (all doctors still take the Hippocratic Oath), his counsel is probably worthy of our attention.

He was a huge fan of what’s now called “lifestyle medicine,” and thought of lifestyle modification (like proper diet and exercise) as the highest form of self-treatment.

He even said that  “walking is man’s best medicine”—another dictum that should be applied more liberally in today’s sedentary climate of excessive sitting.

For quite a while, it seemed like we forgot all about the ancient knowledge of lifestyle medicine, but the tide is finally turning.

Self-directed health is back in fashion.

We’re remembering that the answers to our health problems were right in front of us all along—because we’re surrounded by a bevy of miraculously healing foods.

The planet provides us with all that we require—all we need to do is learn which foods work best for us, so that we can welcome them into our lives.

Apple cider vinegar is a prime example of a simple, profoundly healthful, and readily available healing food. Let’s explore what makes it so amazing, and why you might want to keep it close at hand.

A simple and ancient health elixir

Vinegar is a true gift—a testament to the wonders nature can produce when left to her own devices.

When any sugar-containing juice is exposed to bacteria and yeast, it will ferment, thus turning the sugars into alcohol. Then, by simply leaving the alcoholic concoction unsealed, the ever-present bacteria in the air will turn the alcohol into acetic acid (the technical name for vinegar).

By this completely natural process, apple juice is transformed into a living, nutrient-dense powerhouse—apple cider vinegar.

Because of its rich profile of beneficial properties, apple cider vinegar can be used to address a wide array of health concerns.

Coincidentally, Hippocrates prescribed apple cider vinegar mixed with honey for coughs, colds, and even for treating diabetes—in the 4th century B.C.!

It’s safe to say that this is one natural remedy that’s withstood the test of time.

Proving Hippocrates right

Because of its multi-thousand year track record of promoting vibrant health, apple cider vinegar has attracted the attention of medical science.

While more research is certainly necessary, many studies have already clinically confirmed its healing qualities. Here’s what the research tells us…

It helps lower glucose levels. A study at Arizona State University demonstrated that apple cider vinegar, when taken before eating, helps improve insulin sensitivity and lower glucose levels. Diabetics improved their glucose levels by 25%, and pre-diabetics improved theirs by an impressive 50%. [1] Another study supported these findings by showing that participants who took apple cider vinegar before bed lowered their morning glucose levels by 4 to 6%. [2]

It lowers bad cholesterol and blood pressure, as suggested by a study in 2006. [3] While the mechanism behind this health benefit is still rather mysterious, researchers believe that credit should be given to the high content of acetic acid in apple cider vinegar.

It’s powerfully antibacterial and antifungal, especially when taken on a regular basis as a preventative immune system booster. [4]

It helps with joint pain and stiffness by acting as a potent anti-inflammatory agent and improving circulation. [5]  

It’s even good for your pets. Apple cider vinegar is a popular tonic for controlling fleas, treating skin conditions, and promoting a healthy, shiny coat. [6]

What makes this stuff so magical?

In order to explain its abundance of health benefits, many health experts point to the nutrients and minerals that apple cider vinegar contains. They cite things like potassium, pectin, and amino acids, and enumerate their corresponding effects.

Here’s the rub, though: most conclusive studies haven’t found high levels of any of these compounds in apple cider vinegar.

This fact doesn’t negate its immense healthfulness; it just means that its healing action is still a bit mysterious to us.

There are two properties, though, that researchers have their eyes on: its alkalinity-promoting components (like acetic acid, malic acid, and ash), and its beneficial living bacteria.

Our body’s pH level and microbiome are both vast networks of biological processes that we’re just beginning to understand. They defy simple, cause-and-effect explanations, and encourage looking at the body as a holistic, unified system.

Sounds rather like natural health in general, doesn’t it? This is another benefit of letting food be our medicine: food leads us to think about health from a broader, more complete perspective.  

Apple Cider Vinegar alkalizes the body to inhibit the growth of cancer because cancer can’t survive in an alkaline environment. 

>>Discover Mother-Nature’s Miracle Potion (81 reasons) and how to make sure you get the right kind!

How to take apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is affordable and easily obtained.

First and foremost, though, always keep in mind that clear vinegar isn’t the same as apple cider vinegar. Regular vinegar doesn’t have any of the healing properties discussed above, because processing has stripped it of all of its living and beneficial components. Always look for brands that are brownish, murky, and populated by a cobweb-like material (that’s the beneficial bacteria that make it so good for you).

Add it to salad dressings and smoothies, use it with hair and skin products, or take it as a tonic (diluted with purified water).

If you like your food-medicine a bit more delicious, try mixing apple cider vinegar with honey and purified water (Hippocrates-style). For extra anti-inflammatory and antibacterial power, use Manuka honey.

Adding Himalayan salt to this mix (to fortify it with even more essential minerals) takes this blend to the next level, and works great for gargling when you have a sore throat.

Get creative, and find out what works for you!

 


References

[1] http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/1/281.full

[2] http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/apple-cider-vinegar-and-health?page=2

[3] http://pt.wkhealth.com/pt/re/bjon/abstract.00002375-200605000-00008.htm

[4] http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-health-promoting-properties-of-mother-of-vinegar.htm

[5] http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/the-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar/

[6] http://www.apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com/pet-care.html

Image source