• 19 Jun 2018 12:19 PM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    From spelt in the Bronze Age to baked goods in modern grocery stores, wheat - and its protein component, gluten - has been an important part of our meals throughout the ages. Yet the gluten-free diet - a diet that excludes the gluten found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye -  has become increasingly popular due to fears of gluten sensitivity and digestive problems. However, it is overlooked that gluten is a natural component of most whole grains, and we’ve been consuming it since we first started cultivating these grains over 8000 years ago.

    Gluten is a Latin word that means “glue,” due to its ability to hold grains like wheat, barley, and rye together. It’s the protein that gives pasta, bread, and other wheat products their chewy, flexible texture. It’s also critical in making dough rise in the oven, resulting in leavened bread. 

    So what is causing the rise in gluten intolerance and the need for a gluten-free diet?

    -        In the last 50 years, the wheat grain has been altered to provide crops that are more resistant to drought, to resist fungal diseases and pest attacks, to improve ease of mechanical harvesting and meet the increased demands of baking goods. We are eating more wheat products now than ever before.

    -        The use of harmful chemical additives and dough “improvers” necessary to produce consistent products in industrialised food production. The cheapest ingredients are also used and time spent in actual production itself is cut to maximise profits. Therefore the wheat grain is not able to develop fully and ferment naturally which may aid in the reduction of the harmful gluten.

    -        Damaged gut flora or dysbiosis is also on the rise due to the high usage of antibiotics or consuming food that they can’t digest. The immune system may see the undigested gluten as a microbial invader and attack them.

    -        Genetics may also play a part, somewhat smaller than others. Diseases are a combination of genetics and environmental factors. So, people react differently in their reactions to these changes.

    -        Other factors are also mentioned such as a disturbed microflora in our gut, use of microwaves and plasticware, being born via caesarean section and contracting intestinal infections.

    Researchers have recently learned that the primary culprit in coeliac disease and gluten-intolerance is a particular peptide strand in the gluten molecule, not the gluten itself. This peptide strand was theoretically not present in ancient grains. Thus, coeliac disease is a disease of chronic inflammation of the small intestine due to this peptide strand, known as gliadin (found in modern wheat, rye and barley). Antibodies in the sufferer’s small intestine react to these ingested peptides by attacking them. This, in turn, irritates the gut and damages the finger-like structures along the intestinal wall known as microvilli. Without those microvilli, the absorption of nutrients from food is considerable less. This leads sufferers to experience symptoms of malabsorption, including chronic fatigue, neurological disorders, nutrient deficiencies, anaemia, nausea, skin rashes, depression, and more. 

    Gluten-Free Benefits 

    Going gluten-free means excluding wheat, rye and barley from your diet if you appear to have a gluten sensitivity or have been diagnosed with coeliac disease. 

    For some, cutting gluten out of the diet can come with big benefits when it comes to health. A gluten-free diet could increase fat burning, provide a burst of extra energy, reduce inflammation, and ease digestive symptoms like gas, bloating or diarrhoea. For others, going gluten-free could even be the key to reducing behavioural issues and improving symptoms of autism and irritable bowel syndrome.

    May Ease Digestive Symptoms

    ·       Going gluten-free could improve digestive issues such as bloating, gas and diarrhoea. 

    ·       A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology looked at the effects of gluten on adults with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. After eating gluten daily for six weeks, participants reported a worsening of symptoms like poor stool consistency, pain, bloating and fatigue.

    Could Benefit Several Brain-Related Disorders

    ·       Many cases of neurological illness may be caused and/or exacerbated by gluten consumption. This is called gluten-sensitive idiopathic neuropathy.

    ·       The main neurological disorder believed to be at least partly caused by gluten is cerebellar ataxia, a serious disease of the brain that involves an inability to coordinate balance, movements, problems talking, etc. It is now known that many cases of ataxia are directly linked to gluten consumption. This is called gluten ataxia and involves irreversible damage to the cerebellum, a part of the brain that is important in motor control.

    ·       Many studies show strong statistical associations between gluten consumption, gluten sensitivity and cerebellar ataxia. There is also a controlled trial showing that ataxia patients improve significantly on a gluten-free diet.

    ·       There are several other brain disorders that respond well to a gluten-free diet:

    • Schizophrenia: A subset of schizophrenia patients sees massive improvements by removing gluten.
    • Epilepsy: There are several reports of patients with epilepsy improving significantly when removing gluten.
    • Autism: Several studies suggest that people with autism see improvements in symptoms on a gluten-free diet.

    ·       A study in Nutritional Neuroscience found that strict adherence to a gluten-free, casein-free diet led to improvements in autism behaviours, physiological symptoms and social behaviours, according to parents.

    ·       Another study in Iran reported that a gluten-free diet decreased gastrointestinal symptoms and significantly decreased behavioural disorders in children with autism. 

    Anti-Inflammatory Properties

    ·       There are studies showing that gluten can cause inflammation in the intestine and a degenerated intestinal lining.

    ·       For those with coeliac disease, a gluten-free diet could help you avoid inflammation and prevent harmful health consequences that could occur as a result.

    ·       One animal study noted that gluten intake shifted the balance of inflammatory immune cells in mice, causing an increase in markers of inflammation. Conversely, another animal study found that following a gluten-free diet improved levels of inflammatory markers in mice. 

    ·       However, more studies on humans are needed to determine whether a gluten-free diet can help reduce inflammation in humans, including those with and without coeliac disease.

    Promotes Weight Loss

    ·       A 2013 animal study reported that mice given a gluten-free diet showed reductions in body weight and fat, even without any changes in food intake. They also had increases in specific receptors and enzymes that enhance the breakdown of fat. 

    ·       Another animal study in the International Journal of Obesity found that eating wheat gluten increased weight gain by decreasing the energy expenditure of fat tissue. 

    ·       More studies are needed focusing on the effects of gluten on body weight and body fat on humans specifically.

    Improves Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    ·       Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is an intestinal disorder that causes digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhoea.

    ·       A study in the journal Gastroenterology compared the effects of a gluten-free and gluten-containing diet on participants with diarrhoea-predominant IBS. Interestingly, researchers found that those eating gluten had increased bowel frequency and intestinal permeability (or leaky gut) compared to those on a gluten-free diet. 

    Gluten Free for Health

    Gluten Free Grains:

    Some grains are naturally gluten free. See list below for gluten free substitutes:

    ·        amaranth

    ·        arrowroot

    ·        buckwheat

    ·        corn and cornmeal

    ·        flax

    ·        gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)

    ·        hominy (corn)

    ·        millet

    ·        quinoa

    ·        rice

    ·        sorghum

    ·        soy

    ·        tapioca

    ·        teff

    Oats are naturally gluten free, but are often contaminated with wheat in the field or at the mill. So buying certified gluten-free oats is necessary for someone requiring a gluten free diet.

    Foods Naturally Gluten Free:

    ·        beans, seeds and nuts in their natural, 

    unprocessed form

    ·        fresh eggs

    ·        fresh meat, poultry and fish (not 

    marinated, breaded or batter-coated)

    ·        fruits and vegetables

    ·        most dairy products

    What Not To Eat:

    Avoid all food and drink that contains barley, rye, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye) and wheat. 

    Wheat flour goes by many names, so it is a challenge to avoid them as well, such as durum flour, einkorn, emmer, malt, farina, graham flour, kamut, semolina and spelt.

    The following foods should be avoided unless they are labelled as gluten-free or made with gluten-free grain, such as corn, rice or soy:

    ·        beer and malt beverages

    ·        breads

    ·        cakes and pies/ puddings

    ·        sweets

    ·        cereals

    ·        Liquorice

    ·        cookies and crackers

    ·        croutons

    ·        French fries

    ·        gravies

    ·        imitation meat or seafood

    ·        matzo

    ·        pastas

    ·        processed luncheon meats

    ·        salad dressings

    ·        sauces, including soy sauce

    ·        seasoned rice mixes

    ·        seasoned snack foods, such as 

    potato and tortilla chips

    ·        self-basting poultry

    ·        soups and soup bases

    ·        vegetables in sauce

    Watch for cross-contamination. Cross-contamination can happen during production, so labels should be read carefully for "may contain" statements.

    Be careful about eating out at restaurants. Ask the staff about gluten-free choices on the menu, and try to find out how it is prepared to avoid cross-contamination.

    Medications and supplements: Prescription and over-the-counter medications may use wheat gluten as a binding agent. Talk to your doctor or pharmacists about the drugs you're taking. Dietary supplements that contain wheat gluten must have "wheat" stated on the label.


    People assume that all supermarket free-from products that are gluten-free is healthy but that’s not always the case. Some products that are gluten-free contain high amounts of sugar in order to make it more palatable. Food includes bread and bread products like waffles, pancakes, crackers, snack chips and pretzels made with white rice flour, tapioca flour and/or potato starch, cakes and cookies. Gluten-free foods, especially refined foods processed to make them gluten-free also cheat the consumer out of the many health benefits of whole grains and can be lacking critical nutrients such as fibre, iron, zinc, folate, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, vitamin B12 and phosphorus.

    People who only eat foods that are inherently gluten-free, like fruits, vegetables, gluten-free whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, then gluten-free can be a healthy diet. However, if gluten-containing products are replaced with highly processed gluten free foods like pastries, energy bars, etc., weight loss will not be achieved and, in fact, weight may be gained as many gluten free foods are higher in calories than their gluten-containing replacements.

    If you do follow a gluten-free diet, make sure that the rest of your diet is well-rounded and nutritious. Gluten-containing grains pack in plenty of essential nutrients, so it’s important to make sure you’re meeting your nutritional needs and filling any gaps with other nutrient-rich foods.

    A gluten-free diet for kids is not advisable unless medically necessary or done under the supervision of a doctor or dietitian, as it can be lacking in important nutrients if not properly planned.

    To Sum Up…

    This blog only touches upon the world of gluten-free which is a vast subject. The rise in gluten intolerance and associated disease has been subject to much discussion. Modern food processing and modern living may have a part to play in causing a sensitivity to gluten. 

    Research into the benefits of a gluten-free diet is fast moving as well as the market for gluten-free products. Those with more serious conditions such as coeliac disease need to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet to prevent further damage to the small intestine and optimising digestive health. Moreover, being on a gluten-free diet has helped other conditions unrelated to the obvious gluten intolerance such as autism and epilepsy.

    If you are sensible in how you approach your gluten-free diet you will be able to reap the optimum benefit from it. Eating more raw, fresh, organic and naturally gluten-free foods and grains is the way to go rather than relying on the food industry to provide you with processed gluten-free alternatives. Always consult a health professional before you embark on a strict gluten free diet.











  • 18 May 2018 3:08 PM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    Intermittent fasting is the practice of occasionally going for extended periods without eating. We all do some form of intermittent fasting every single day, except we don’t call it that. We call it sleeping. 

    Fasting is one of the most ancient and widespread healing traditions in the world. Humans have fasted for most of their history, whether it’s during the typical overnight period, during more extended periods of food scarcity, or for religious reasons. 

    Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC) prescribed the practice of fasting. He wrote, “To eat when you are sick, is to feed your illness”. The ancient Greek writer and historian Plutarch (46 – 120 AD) also echoed these sentiments. He wrote, “Instead of using medicine, better fast today . ” Ancient Greek thinkers Plato and his student Aristotle were also staunch supporters of fasting. Humans, like most animals, do not eat when they become sick. For this reason, fasting has been called the ‘physician within’. 

    Fasting for spiritual purposes is widely practiced, and remains part of virtually every major religion in the world. Jesus Christ, Buddha and Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم )all shared a common belief in the healing power of fasting. In spiritual terms, it is often called cleansing or purification, but practically, it amounts to the same thing. The practice of fasting developed independently among different religions and cultures, not as something that was harmful, but something that was deeply, intrinsically beneficial to the human body and spirit. 

    In Buddhism, food is often consumed only in the morning, and followers fast from noon until the next morning daily. In addition to this, there may be various water-only fasts for days or weeks on end. Greek Orthodox Christians may follow various fasts over 180-200 days of the year. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during the Islamic month of Ramadan. The Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) also encouraged fasting on Mondays and Thursdays of every week. Ramadan is the best studied of the fasting periods. It differs from many fasting protocols in that fluids are also forbidden. In addition to fasting, they also undergo a period of mild dehydration. 

    Physiological Changes to the Body during Fasting

    The transition from the fed state to the fasted state occurs in several stages:

    1.      Feeding– During meals, insulin levels are raised. This allows uptake of glucose into tissues such as the muscle or brain to be used directly for energy. Excess glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver.

    2.      The Post-Absorptive Phase– 6-24 hours after beginning fasting- Insulin levels start to fall. Breakdown of glycogen releases glucose for energy. Glycogen stores last for roughly 24 hours.

    3.      Gluconeogenesis– 24 hours to 2 days after fasting– The liver manufactures new glucose from amino acids in a process called “gluconeogenesis”. Literally, this is translated as “making new glucose”. In non-diabetic persons, glucose levels fall but stay within the normal range.

    4.      Ketosis– 2-3 days after beginning fasting– The low levels of insulin reached during fasting stimulate lipolysis, the breakdown of fat for energy. The storage form of fat, known as triglycerides, is broken into glycerol and fatty acids. Glycerol is used for gluconeogenesis. Fatty acids may be used directly for energy by many tissues in the body, but not the brain. Ketone bodies, capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, are produced from fatty acids for use by the brain. After four days of fasting, approximately 75% of the energy used by the brain is provided by ketones. 

    5.      Protein Conservation Phase– 5 days after fasting– High levels of growth hormone maintain muscle mass and lean tissues. The energy for maintenance of basal metabolism is almost entirely met by the use of free fatty acids and ketones. Increased adrenalin levels prevent the decrease in metabolic rate.

    The human body has well developed mechanisms for dealing with periods of low food availability. In essence, what we are describing here is the process of switching from burning glucose (short term) to burning fat (long term). Fat is simply the body’s stored food energy. In times of low food availability, stored food is naturally released to fill the void. The body does not ‘burn muscle’ in an effort to feed itself until all the fat stores are used.

    Intermittent Fasting Benefits 

    Below are only some of the amazing benefits of intermittent fasting:

    Helps You Lose Weight and Belly Fat

    ·       Improves appetite control - Intermittent fasting will generally make you eat fewer meals and eat less calories.

    ·       Intermittent fasting enhances hormone function to facilitate weight loss.

    ·       Lower insulin levels, higher growth hormone levels and increased amounts of noradrenaline all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy.

    ·       Increased growth hormone release - helps to preserve muscle mass and bone density as well as aid fast recovery after exercise.

    ·       Increases Metabolic Rate – after only 48 hours of fasting a 3.6% increase in metabolic rate was seen which was stimulated by the release of adrenalin. The increase in adrenalin boosts energy even while in resting state.

    ·       Fasting transitions the body from burning sugar to burning fat and increases in fat burning.

    Lowers Insulin Resistance - Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

    ·       Improves blood sugar control - by lowering blood glucose and increasing insulin sensitivity.

    ·       Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning. This effect is seen with fasting periods as short as 24-36 hours. 

    ·       Longer duration fasts reduce insulin even more dramatically. 

    ·       Regular fasting, in addition to lowering insulin levels, has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity significantly.

    Beneficial For Heart Health

    ·       Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve numerous different risk factors, including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers and blood sugar levels.

    ·       Improves cardiovascular function by offering protection against ischemic injury to the heart.

    ·       It lowers blood lipids including decreasing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.

    ·       It lowers blood pressure through changes in sympathetic/parasympathetic activity

    Reduces Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in the Body

    ·       A study from Obesityshows that fasting produces an anti-inflammatory effect on the neuroimmune system that a high-fat diet would otherwise prevent.

    ·       Lowers markers of inflammation (including CRP<, IL-6, TNF, BDNF, and more)

    ·       Intermittent fasting may enhance the body's resistance to oxidative stress.

    Good for Your Brain

    ·       Several studies in rats have shown that intermittent fasting may increase the growth of new nerve cells, which should have benefits for brain function.

    ·       It also increases levels of a brain hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a deficiency of which has been implicated in depression and various other brain problems.

    ·       It can also improve neuronal plasticity by offering protection against neurotoxins.

    ·       Animal studies have also shown that intermittent fasting protects against brain damage due to strokes.

    ·       Intermittent fasting may delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease or reduce its severity.

    ·       Fasting may protect against other neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's and Huntington's disease but more studies are needed to confirm this.

    Repairs Damaged Cells

    ·       When we fast, the cells in the body initiate a cellular "waste removal" process called autophagy.

    ·       This involves the cells breaking down and metabolising broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time.

    ·       Autophagy helps cells overcome stresses brought on from external causes like the deprivation of important nutrients, as well as internal issues like pathogens or invading infections organisms.

    ·       Increased autophagy may provide protection against several diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

    Helps You Live Longer

    ·       There are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against disease.

    ·       Studies in rats have shown that intermittent fasting extends lifespan in a similar way as continuous calorie restriction.

    ·       In some of these studies, the effects were quite dramatic. In one of them, rats that fasted every other day lived 83% longer than rats who didn’t fast.

    Fasting for Health

    Fasting is defined as the voluntary act of withholding food for a specific period of time. In some fasting schedules non-caloric drinks such as water and tea are permitted. An absolute fast refers to the withholding of both food and drink. This may be done for religious purposes, such as during Ramadan in Islam. 

    Here are some popular methods used today for improving health:

    ·       The 16/8 Method- It involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, for example from 1 pm to 9 pm. Then you "fast" for 16 hours in between.

    ·       Eat-Stop-Eat- This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.

    ·       The 5:2 Diet- On two non-consecutive days of the week, only eat 500-600 calories. Eat normally the other 5 days.

    ·       The ‘Warrior’ diet– The core of the diet consists of eating all meals in the evening during a 4 hour window. The fasting period of 20 hours consisted of most of the day. There was also an emphasis on natural unprocessed foods and high intensity training.

    ·       Alternate-day fasting- Fasting every other day, either by not eating anything or only eating a few hundred calories. 


    If you are an all-around healthy person, there is no risk in trying intermittent fasting. But anyone with an eating disorder, a history of eating disorders, or body dysmorphia should not try intermittent fasting. People with diabetes, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and those taking prescription medication that has to be taken at a specific time with food are also not candidates for intermittent fasting.

    Careful monitoring by a health professional should be done if you are planning to fast longer than 24 hours. If you feel unwell at any point during the fasting, you must stop. You may feel hungry, but you should not feel faint, or unwell or nauseated. This is not normal and you should not attempt to ‘push through’. Be wary of a condition known as hypoglycaemia which often manifests as shaking, sweating and sometimes seizures.

    The natural rhythm of life is Feast and Fast. There are times that you should feast (weddings, celebrations), and there are times that you should fast. Intermittent. To go on a ‘diet’ or restrict calories for years could be harmful and ultimately may prevent you from shifting the excess fat. Always consult your physician for advice.

    To Sum Up…

    Fasting is truly an idea that has withstood the test of time. It has been used for weight loss, to improve heart health, extend life, prevent Alzheimer’s, prevent insulin resistance and even slow down the entire aging process. Rather than something we’re forced to endure – a result of poor food availability or cultural expectations – intermittent fasting is becoming something that health and physique-oriented people are seeking out in order to keep their bodies in top shape. What’s new is that clinical research on intermittent fasting benefits for health and longevity is now beginning to catch up. 





  • 23 Apr 2018 10:56 AM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    The Moringa plant is native to India, where it was first described around 2000 BC as a medicinal herb. This herb, also known as “The Miracle Tree” or the “Ben Oil Tree”, is mostly cultivated as the Moringa Oleifera species, a multipurpose tree grown on the foothills of the Himalayas in Northwest India, with roots in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Moringa Stenopetala, an African species, is also widely grown. This plant spread eastward from India to the lower parts of China, Southeast Asia and the Philippines. It also spread westward to Egypt, the Horn of Africa, around the Mediterranean, and finally to West Indies in America.

    Ancient civilisations quickly discovered that the tree provided many medicinal benefits, most notably an energy boost. Those who used Moringa found themselves experiencing high amounts of energy when compared to others, and it was believed to have many medicinal properties as well. The Romans, Greeks and Egyptians extracted edible oil from the seeds and used it as perfume and skin lotion. Ancient Egyptians treasured Moringa oil, using it as protection for their skin from the ravages of desert weather. 

    In 326 BC Alexander the Great was defeated by an unsuspecting group of men — the Maurian warriors. The Ancient Maurian warriors of India drank the leaf extract of Moringa as their daily staple and on the war-front. These men were known to be “men of stamina and valour”. Not only did Moringa give them the needed strength as warriors, it was a stress reliever and numbed pain.

    Roman historians recorded that these warriors needed less sleep and hardly got sick. They repeatedly pounced on Alexander’s armies in over 60 battles in a span of two years. At age 29, Alexander had conquered most of the known world, creating the greatest empire it had ever seen. His unstoppable conquests ended with the Moringa tea drinking warriors of India.

    In the 19th century, plantations of Moringa in the West Indies exported the oil to Europe for perfumes and lubricants for machinery. The seeds themselves have been found to be useful in water purification, thus today moringa is cultivated around the world, primarily in poorer regions with harsh climates to purify water and combat malnutrition. Countries such as Ethiopia, Haiti, Ghana, Honduras, Indonesia and Uganda take advantage of the nourishing properties of this amazing plant.

    Moringa Benefits 

    Moringa Oleifera is a tropical plant with an extremely high nutritional content.  Because of its near perfect combination of vitamins and protein, it has been labelled a super food, and a miracle tree. Each different part of the Moringa tree, be it the fruits, seeds, leaves, flowers, bark and roots, all contain beneficial nutrients. 

    In Ayurvedic Medicine, moringa has been mentioned as a cure for over 300 diseases ranging in severity from minor skin blemishes to more serious illnesses like asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, kidney stones, as well as respiratory illnesses like tuberculosis. Research from several different countries prove that Moringa powder has some of these health benefits that were well-known many years ago.

    Highly Nutritious

    ·       While all parts of the tree are edible, the highest nutritional value comes from consuming the leaves. 

    ·       Moringa leaves contain high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins A, B, C, E, protein, including all the basic amino acids, phytonutrients, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and omega 3, 6, 9:

    o    At least twice the protein than in milk

    o    Half the protein than in egg

    o    More iron than in beef

    o    Seven times more vitamin C than in oranges

    o    Four times more vitamin A than in carrots

    o    Four times more calcium than in milk

    o    Three times more potassium than in bananas

    o    Two times more protein than in yoghurt

    ·       When the leaves are boiled it has three times more bioavailable iron than the raw leaves.

    ·       The leaves are a great advantage for people who do not get protein from animal source such as milk and egg. It also contains arginine and histidine, the two amino acids especially important for infants. 

    ·       Used as a food supplement and successfully used to help treat malnutrition.  

    Water Purifier

    ·       Powdered moringa seeds are best known for its use in attracting contaminants to purify drinking water. 

    ·       Once the oil is extracted from the seeds by cold pressing, the leftover pressed cake contains a very high level of protein. 

    ·       Some of these proteins are active cationic proteins, which cause impurities in the water to clump together. This is achieved by grinding the seeds to a powder which is mixed with the dirty water, and then filtered through a piece of woven fabric to obtain pure water. 

    ·       Alternatively, a cloth containing the seed powder is suspended in water, generally overnight, to coagulate impurities. The cloth containing the seeds is then removed, and the purified water is decanted leaving behind the coagulated particles on the bottom. 

    ·       The cationic proteins neutralise the colloids in muddy or dirty water and up to 99% of colloids can be removed. 

    ·       Only one seed is required per litre for slightly contaminated water and two seeds for very dirty water.

    ·       This protein can also be used for cleaning vegetable oil, or for sedimenting fibres in juice. 

    ·       Both Egypt and Sudan have effectively used moringa seeds for cleaning water from the Nile specifically for human consumption.

    Improves Skin Health

    ·       Moringa contains natural antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral compounds that protect the skin from various forms of infections. 

    ·       Some of the common ways moringa is used on the skin include: reducing athlete’s foot, eliminating odours, reducing inflammation associated with acne breakouts, treating pockets of infection or abscesses, getting rid of dandruff, fighting gum disease (gingivitis), and helping heal bites, burns, viral warts and wounds.

    ·       Moringa oil is applied directly to the skin as a drying, astringent agent used to kill bacteria, but at the same time when used regularly it’s known to act like a lubricant and hydrate the skin by restoring its natural moisture barrier. 

    ·       It’s a common ingredient used in food manufacturing and perfumes because it prevents spoilage by killing bacteria, plus it has a pleasant smell and reduces odours.


    ·       Moringa leaves are high in several anti-aging compounds that lower the effects of oxidative stress and inflammation, including polyphenols, vitamin C, beta-carotene, quercetin, and chlorogenic acid. 

    ·       These are also associated with a reduced risk for chronic diseases, such as stomach, lung or colon cancer; diabetes; hypertension; and age-related eye disorders.

    Balances Blood Sugar Levels

    ·       Moringa contains a type of acid called chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to help control blood sugar levels and allow cells to take up or release glucose (sugar) as needed. This gives moringa natural anti-diabetic and hormone-balancing properties. 

    ·       Moringa contains compounds called isothiocyanates that have also been connected to natural protection against diabetes.

    Other Uses

    ·       Anti- Inflammatory- According to a report published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, moringa contains a mix of compounds that work in the same way as many anti-inflammatory drugs.

    ·       Cholesterol lowering- Moringa oleifera has been found to lower cholesterol levels in the blood, which would lead to reduced risk of heart disease. 

    ·       Protecting the liver- Moringa appears to protect the liver against damage caused by anti-tubercular drugs and can quicken its repair process.

    ·       Cancer- Moringa extracts contain properties that might help prevent cancer developing. It also contains niazimicin, which is a compound that suppresses the development of cancer cells. Moringa was found to have a group of unique compounds containing sugar and rhamnose, which are uncommon sugar-modified glucosinolates. These compounds were reported to demonstrate certain chemopreventive activity, by inducing apoptosis.

    ·       Digestive Aid- Moringa extracts might help treat some stomach disorders, such as constipation, gastritis, and ulcerative colitis. The antibiotic and antibacterial properties of moringa may help inhibit the growth of various pathogens, and its high vitamin B content helps with digestion.

    ·       Anti-bacterial- Due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties, moringa extracts might combat infections caused by Salmonella, Rhizopus, and E. coli.

    ·       Strengthens bones- Moringa also contains calcium and phosphorous, which help keep bones healthy and strong. Along with its anti-inflammatory properties moringa extract might help to treat conditions such as arthritis and may also heal damaged bones.

    ·       Mood Enhancer- As a high protein food and a rich source of the amino acid tryptophan, moringa benefits neurotransmitter functions, including those that produce the “feel good” hormone serotonin. Moringa is thought to be helpful in treating depression, anxiety, and fatigue.

    ·       Thyroid Health- Moringa is rich in antioxidants and compounds that improve thyroid health, which makes it beneficial for maintaining high energy levels plus fighting fatigue, depression, low libido, moods swings and insomnia. 

    Recipes for Health

    The most common forms of moringa are dried moringa leaves or powder, moringa tea, moringa seeds, and moringa oil.

    Moringa leavesare commonly used to brew tea by steeping the dried, preserved leaves in hot water, which releases their special chemical compounds — very similarly to how green tea is made. Young moringa leaves are edible and are commonly cooked and eaten like spinach or used to make soups and salads. The leaves can be consumed either in raw, cooked or dried over a screen for several days and ground into a fine powder that can be added to almost any food as a nutrient supplement such as cereals and drinks to improve their nutritive value. 

    Moringa seedsare rather unique in appearance; with grey-ish white ‘wings’ surrounding them. However, just like other seeds, they can be eaten like nuts and added to cereals and trail mixes. They can be roasted, powdered and used in curries. Seeds should be eaten green before they change colour to yellow. They must first be boiled for a few minutes to remove the fine transparent hull and the water drained before they are eaten. The hull is not desirable as food because it tastes bitter. It is generally recommended that you eat the seeds in small doses, as they have a “cleansing” effect on your digestive system. 

    The young green podsare very tasty and can be boiled and eaten like green beans. The pods are best for human consumption at the stage when they can be broken easily without leaving any visible strings of fibre. These are rich in free leucine. 

    Consuming moringa oilis generally considered safe in small to moderate amounts, but excessive use could cause inflammation of the gut or stomach upset, including nausea, flatulence, bloating, cramping, or diarrhoea. Only a small amount is needed as a salad dressing or in a stir fry to reap its health benefits.

    Moringa Tea:

    1.      1 teaspoon of dried leaves per cup of boiled water or 2 tablespoons of dried leaves in a teapot with 800ml of boiled water.

    2.      Steep the leaves in hot water for 10-15 minutes, or until water turns golden brown.

    3.      Drink hot or cold. Tastes great along with “double medicinal benefit” when organic sweeteners such as raw honey and coconut sap sugar are added.

    Moringa Guacamole

    ·       3 avocados, peeled, pitted, pits set aside

    ·       1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

    ·       2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

    ·       2 tbsp finely chopped massaged kale

    ·       Juice of 1 lime

    ·       3/4 tsp salt (recommend ground Himalayan rock salt)

    ·       1/2 tsp moringa leaf powder

    ·       Generous grinding of black pepper


    1.      Using a mortar and pestle or mixing dish, add in avocados. Mash with pestle or fork until desired consistency.

    2.      Add in salt and moringa powder. Mix well. 

    3.      Add the remaining ingredients and combine well. 

    4.      Garnish with a few cilantro leaves. Enjoy.

    Moringa Energy Smoothie

    ·       1 teaspoon moringa leaf powder

    ·       1 banana

    ·       1 cup fresh pineapple chunks

    ·       1 /2 cup blueberries

    ·       1 orange-peeled

    ·       1 cup filtered water or coconut water


    ·       2 tablespoons coconut oil

    ·       1/4 avocado – peeled


    1.      Add all of the ingredients to your blender.

    2.      Blend until smooth. Enjoy!


    Moringa taken by mouth or used on the skin seems to be very well-tolerated and unlikely to cause side effects. However, during pregnancy or breast-feeding, it’s best to avoid moringa extract, oil, root or high doses of supplements since not enough research has been done to show it’s definitely safe. It’s possible that chemicals within the plant’s root, bark and flowers can lead to contractions of the uterus, which can cause complications during pregnancy. It’s advisable to use moringa under the care of a health professional if pregnant or breast-feeding.

    Ayurvedic texts note that moringa shouldn’t be taken by women during the menstrual period. Also those with a sensitive stomach should use sparingly as moringa adds heat to the stomach.

    To Sum Up…

    Moringa Oleifera has drawn a lot of attention in the scientific world for its reported medical and nutritional benefits. Already the moringa tree is making its way internationally to help resolve issues with starvation around the world, standing up as one of the few true “superfoods” in the world. The fast-growing and drought-resistant tree thrives in the exact locations that have high malnutrition and poverty rates in parts of western Africa, southern Asia, and South America.

    Touted as the “plant of the year” in 2008 by the National Institute of Health, moringa has been acknowledged as the plant that “has the potential to help reverse multiple major environmental problems and provide for many unmet human needs.”

    At present many scientists and facilities are engaging in researching all parts of this phenomenal tree. This plant attracts more and more attention due to its diversity, properties and effects. While the benefits of moringa are still being studied, advocates say it has potential as an anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-ageing, anti-bacterial and many more “anti” properties. As well as aiding the developing countries, it could also have a part to play in many chronic diseases that are plaguing the developed world today. If you haven’t heard of this nutritious plant yet you soon will…













  • 22 Mar 2018 10:57 AM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    Maca root or lepidium Meyenii is the root of a vegetable native to the Peruvian Andes and Bolivia. Known as "Peruvian ginseng" (even though it doesn't belong to the same botanical family as ginseng), maca is consumed as a food and is said to boost energy and libido. Typically added to smoothies, juice, and shakes, the ground root powder can also be used as an ingredient in such foods as coffee, chocolate, or oils. In Peru, whole maca root is often added to soup and oatmeal, roasted and consumed as a vegetable, or made into a fermented beverage known as "maca chica."

    It is a root vegetable with a leafy herbaceous top, similar to the radish or turnip family, except that it grows at high altitudes of 8,000 to 14,500 feet. The plant thrives only at higher levels with poor soils and needs to be rotated because it tends to exhaust the soil nutrients. Most maca is grown organically due to few pests thriving in the same conditions maca prefers. In fact, it is often used as a companion plant to repel pests from other plants as maca is rarely attacked. Maca is categorised based on the colour of its roots and is most commonly yellow, black or red. All colours of maca have similar benefits, although specific maca types and colours are thought to be more beneficial for certain medical conditions.

    Maca was used by the ancient Peruvians as currency for trade and played an important role in their traditional foods, with medicinal uses for 3,000 or more years.  During the Incan Empire, maca was considered such a potent and valuable herb, its use was restricted to the royal court and the imperial family. Peruvian herbal medicine have used maca for the treatment of menstrual problems, menopause, memory, anaemia, stomach cancers, tuberculosis and stress reduction as well as increasing energy. Inca warriors ate large quantities of the root before going into battle and their stamina, ferocity and strength in battle has been attributed to this herb. Legend has it that after a city was conquered, the women had to be protected due to the increased libido and 'ambitious virility' imparted by the maca.

    When the Spaniards arrived and learned about it, they exported maca roots to Spain. It was used by Spanish royalty for nutrition and energy until knowledge of it died out. It was the 1960s before maca started to become known by the rest of the world, as botanists that were researching botanicals in Peru came across it, analysed it for nutrition, and designated it as one of the 'lost crops of the Andes.'

    Peruvians use maca today as much as they always have - to increase strength and stamina, and to improve sexual function and fertility. Maca root is also used in the treatment of enlarged prostate glands, for mental clarity, an immune stimulant. It is used by professional athletes as an energy supplement, and the elderly, as well as those recovering from addictions, depression, disease, or traumas. It has been used to improve sperm production, motility and volume of semen for men and in women improvements have been seen in menstrual dysfunction and sexual functions. It has anti-aging properties and has been used as a tonic. It’s also considered an “adaptogen,” a name given to certain herbs, plants and natural substances that help the body naturally adapt to stressors like a busy schedule, demanding job or illness. As a cruciferous vegetable (like cabbage, broccoli, arugula, Brussels sprouts, and kale), maca contains glucosinolates, plant compounds that are being studied for their role in cancer prevention.

    Traditionally, maca is cooked; as the freshly harvested root is available only in close proximity to growers and raw maca can cause gastric upset, due to its thick fibers and goitrogen content. It can be cooked in a variety of ways, sometimes it is roasted as a delicacy, but usually it is boiled or mashed to produce a sweet, thick liquid. It is also dried and mixed with milk, porridge, other vegetables, or grains to produce a flour used for baking. It is even fermented and made into a weak beer. The leaves are cooked, or eaten raw in salads. Gelatinized maca is available for therapeutic and supplementation uses. A freeze dried maca juice is available also. Maca root is generally dried and consumed in powder form, but it's also available in capsules and as a liquid extract.

    Maca Benefits

    Highly Nutritious

    ·       Maca root powder is an excellent source of protein, fibre and several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, copper and iron.

    ·       It also contains over 20 amino acids, including all eight essential amino acids, and plenty of health-promoting phytonutrients and various plant compounds, including glucosinolates and polyphenols.

    ·       Maca root acts as a natural antioxidant, boosting levels of antioxidants like glutathione and superoxide dismutase in the body.

    ·       Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals, fighting off chronic disease and preventing damage to cells.

    Enhances Energy

    ·       Those who regularly use maca powder report that it makes them feel more awake, energised and driven, often relatively quickly after beginning to use it. Plus, maca can help increase energy without giving you the “jitters” or a sense of shakiness like high level of caffeine can.

    ·       Supplementing with maca may improve exercise performance, particularly during endurance events. However, its effects on muscle mass and strength have yet to be studied.

    ·       One small study in eight male cyclists found that they improved the time it took them to complete a nearly 25-mile (40-km) bike ride after 14 days of supplementing with maca extract.

    Improves Mood

    ·       Maca may improve your mental well-being and mood by reducing depression and anxiety, especially in menopausal women.

    ·       Maca contains plant compounds called flavonoids, which have been suggested to be at least partly responsible for these psychological benefits.

    Boosts Memory

    ·       Some evidence indicates that maca, in particular the black variety, can improve learning and memory.

    ·       Maca may improve brain function.

    ·       It has traditionally been used by natives in Peru to improve children's performance in school.

    ·       In animal studies, maca has improved learning and memory in rodents that have memory impairment.

    Improves Female Sexual Health

    ·       Maca is able to balance female sex hormones and has even been shown to alleviate symptoms of menopause. Balancing hormone levels is crucial to many aspects of reproductive health and can help reduce symptoms like infertility, weight gain and bloating.

    ·       Maca root may be able to improve sexual dysfunction and boost sex drive in women.

    ·       One study looked at the effects of maca root on post-menopausal women with sexual dysfunction caused by the use of antidepressants. Compared to a placebo, maca root was able to significantly improve sexual function.

    ·       A study in 2008 also found that maca root benefits both psychological symptoms and sexual function in post-menopausal women. Maca was able to reduce menopause-associated depression and anxiety after six weeks of treatment.

    Balances Oestrogen Levels

    ·       Maca root can help balance hormone levels and control the amount of oestrogen in the body. Regulating oestrogen levels may also help with improving reproductive health and fertility and decreasing symptoms related to conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), such as excess hair growth, weight gain and acne.

    ·       One study published in the International Journal of Biomedical Science gave 34 early post-menopausal women a tablet containing either maca or a placebo twice daily for four months. Not only did maca help balance hormone levels, but it also relieved symptoms of menopause, such as night sweats and hot flashes, and even increased bone density.

    ·       One review of four studies in menopausal women found that maca helped alleviate menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and interrupted sleep.

    Boosts Male Fertility

    ·       One study from Peru found that supplementing with maca for eight weeks increased sexual desire in men.

    ·       A study in 2001 found that maca helped improve sperm quality and motility, two important factors when it comes to male infertility.

    ·       A 2010 review summarised the results of four clinical trials evaluating the effects of maca on libido and reported that two of the studies showed an improvement in sexual dysfunction and sexual desire in both men and women. However, the other two trials did not find a positive result, so further research is still needed.

    ·       Maca can increase sperm production and improve sperm quality, thereby enhancing fertility in men.

    ·       A study conducted with nine healthy men found that after consuming maca for four months, researchers detected an increase in the volume, count and motility of sperm.

    UV Rays Protection for Skin

    ·       There is some evidence that applying maca extract, a concentrated form of the plant, to your skin may help protect it from UV radiation. Over time, UV radiation could cause sunburn, wrinkles and increase your risk to skin cancer.

    ·       One study found that maca extract applied to the skin of five rats over a three-week period prevented skin damage from UV exposure.

    ·       The protective effect was attributed to the polyphenol antioxidants and glucosinolates found in maca.

    ·       Keep in mind that maca extract cannot replace a conventional sunscreen. Also, it only protects the skin when applied to the skin, not when eaten.

    Recipes for Health

    Maca has an earthy, slightly nutty taste with a hint of butterscotch that works especially well when added to porridge or cereal. The flavour can also vary based on the type of maca, with black maca being a bit more bitter and the cream-coloured roots having a sweeter taste. Maca powder can be easily added to smoothies and drinks or mixed into recipes.

    Although there is no official recommended maca powder dosage, it’s best to start out with about one teaspoon (in powder form) daily and work your way up to two tablespoons spread throughout the day. Because maca is known for increasing energy and stamina, many people like to take it before exercising to get a burst of extra energy. Most people supplement with somewhere between one gram to 20 grams daily in powder form.

    Coconut and Maca Snack Balls


    ·       1 heaping cup of dried dates

    ·       1 cup of desiccated coconut

    ·       2 tbsp of coconut oil

    ·       1/4 cup of maca powder

    ·       pinch of salt


    1.     Process the dates and coconut in a food processor until they start to clump together

    2.     Add the maca powder and salt, then melt the coconut oil until it becomes liquid

    3.     Turn the food processor on and drizzle in the coconut oil until well combined

    4.     Remove the mixture from the food processor and roll into balls

    5.     Kept in the fridge, these should last at least a week if not longer. They could also be frozen.

    6.     Instead of balls, you could press the mixture into a pan and cut into bars or squares.

    Mocha Maca Matcha

    This mocha maca matcha is the perfect healthy pick me up drink to start your morning. It's full of healthy and energising ingredients and you can make it in minutes.



    ·       1/2 teaspoon matcha powder

    ·       1/2 teaspoon maca powder

    ·       1 tablespoon raw cacao powder

    ·       1 cup water or almond milk or a combination of the two

    ·       1 tablespoon coconut oil

    ·       1/2 teaspoon turmeric

    ·       sprinkle of cinnamon and cayenne to taste

    ·       sweetener to taste such as stevia or maple syrup


    1.     Boil your water.

    2.     In a blender add your boiling water and all the ingredients.

    3.     Blend on high until frothy.

    4.     Pour and enjoy!


    Maca is safe for most people and can be consumed with minimal risk of side effects. That being said, there are some people who may want to moderate their intake.

    If you have any thyroid problems, you should keep maca intake in moderation and avoid consuming it raw. This is because it contains goitrogens, which are substances that can impair thyroid function, especially in those with thyroid issues. It also contains glucosinolates that can increase chance of goiters, if a lot is eaten in combination with a diet low in iodine. The darker coloured roots (red, purple, black) contain iodine, making it a better choice for those planning on using a lot of maca. Check with your doctor before taking maca if you have hypothyroidism or a history of thyroid problems.

    Because of maca’s effects on hormone levels, physicians believe that maca should not be consumed by people who rely on hormone-altering medications for the treatment of illnesses like breast cancer or prostate cancer, for example, or for other serious conditions. People who have high blood pressure are also advised to not consume maca to avoid adverse side effects.

    Finally, there is limited research on the safety of maca for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Until it is confirmed to be safe, it’s best for these women to avoid maca.

    To Sum Up…

    This is the root from which warriors are made of. The Incan Empire in Peru was built by these warriors winning battles eating huge amounts of this root vegetable. It was so highly prized in that era that it had become a form of currency and was only available to the royal family.

    Maca only grows when its 14000 feet off the ground and will always be organic as even pests can’t thrive in these harsh conditions. This highly nutritious food was used often in Peruvian herbal medicine to treat many conditions such as infertility, sexual function, anaemia, memory and much more, and it is still used today for the same reasons. So if you’re looking to add more stamina, strength and endurance into your exercise routine this is the herb for you.

    Maca is more readily available in powder form and with its earthy nutty taste it goes well in smoothies, juices and yoghurts. If you have thyroid problems, are pregnant or breast-feeding, or taking hormone-altering medications, its best to avoid this herb. Nonetheless, more research is still needed to fully understand maca’s effects and risks. As with all medicinal herbs, it is best to consult a trained health professional for advice.










  • 19 Feb 2018 10:50 AM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    Jackfruit is a fruit to be reckoned with. Did you know that the jackfruit is considered the largest tree fruit in the world! It can grow to enormous sizes, measuring between 10 and 60 cm in length, 25 to 75 cm in diameter, with an average weight of 3.5 to 10 kg and sometimes a fruit may reach up to 25 kg. But it’s not the fruit’s size that makes it so amazing, it’s the nutrition. Jackfruit is high in magnesium, vitamin B6 and antioxidants all while offering a low-carb snack or even the perfect vegan “pulled-pork” sandwich.

    Jackfruit is an ancient fruit that is widely consumed as a fresh fruit. The use of jackfruit bulbs and its parts has also been reported since ancient times for their therapeutic qualities. Jackfruit originated from the rainforests of India’s Western Ghats and spread to other parts of the country, the East Indies and Southeast Asia. The jackfruit has played a significant role in Indian agriculture for centuries. Archeological findings in India have revealed that jackfruit was cultivated in India 3000 to 6000 years ago. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh and the state fruit of the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The seeds and pulp of the jackfruit are considered as a cooling food as well as a nutritious tonic.

    Most jackfruit trees can bear as many as 250 large fruits every season. The tree is used as timber as well. There are two main varieties of jackfruits: one is small, fibrous, soft, and mushy, and the carpels are sweet, with a texture like that of a raw oyster; the other variety is crisp and crunchy, but not very sweet.

    The jackfruit is green when unripe, and then turns light brown and emits a strong aroma once it is ripe. It is round or oblong-shaped, and has an outer surface that is covered with blunt thorn-like projections that soften as the fruit ripens. Inside each fruit are hundreds of small, succulent yellow lobes which encompass a large seed. These seeds are also edible. The flesh of the jackfruit is starchy and fibrous and is a source of dietary fibre. The flavour is comparable to a combination of apple, pineapple, mango, and banana. After roasting, the seeds may be used as a commercial alternative to chocolate aroma.

    The cuisines of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam use cooked young jackfruit. However, both the ripe and unripe fruit is used in cooking, as are the seeds. In many cultures, jackfruit is boiled and used in curries as a staple food. For making the traditional breakfast dish in southern India, idlis, the fruit is used with rice as an ingredient and jackfruit leaves are used as a wrapping for steaming. In southern India, unripe jackfruit slices are deep fried to make chips.; it is also used to make achar (pickled vegetables). Jackfruit dosas can be prepared by grinding jackfruit flesh along with the batter. In Indonesia and the Philippines, young jackfruit is cooked with coconut milk. In northern Thailand, the boiled young jackfruit is used in the Thai salad called tam kanun. In West Bengal, where the Bengal word for the fruit translates as "tree mutton" or "the meat which grows on a tree" use the unripe green jackfruit as a vegetable or meat substitute to make various spicy curries and side dishes and as fillings for cutlets and chops. It is especially sought-after by vegans and vegetarians who substitute this for meat. After about one hour of cooking, the fresh unripened jackfruit starts to resemble the flavour and mouth-feel of pulled pork.

    Health Benefit

    Jackfruit is an excellent source of proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins. The health benefits of jackfruit have been attributed to its wide range of physicochemical applications. Jackfruit contains 38% carbohydrates, 6.6% proteins and 0.4g fat, plus vitamins A, C and B, calcium, zinc, and phosphorous. The jackfruit also contains sucrose, fatty acids, and amino acids like arginine, cystine, histidine, leucine, lysine, metheonine, theonine, tryptophan, and others.

    With its nutritious content, jackfruit offers health benefits for a whole array of conditions:

    Cardiovascular Health

    w  Jackfruit is abundant with potassium and it is said to be useful in decreasing blood pressure and reversing the effects of sodium that causes a rise in blood pressure that affects the heart and blood vessels. This helps in preventing heart disease and strokes.

    w  It also contains vitamin B6 which helps reduce homocysteine levels in the blood thus lowering the risk of heart disease.

    w  Jackfruit also contains iron (0.5 mg/100 g), which helps to prevent anaemia and also helps in proper blood circulation.

    Bone Health

    w  Potassium also helps in preventing bone loss and improves muscle and nerve function. It contains 303 mg potassium per 100 g of jackfruit.

    w  Jackfruit is rich in magnesium (27 mg/100 g in young fruit and 54 mg/100 g in seed). It is a nutrient important in the absorption of calcium and works with calcium to help strengthen the bone and prevents bone-related disorders such as osteoporosis plus it reduces the risk of magnesium deficiency which many women are facing nowadays.

    Hormone Health

    w  Jackfruit also contains niacin or vitamin B3 and necessary for energy metabolism, nerve function, and the synthesis of certain hormones. A portion of 100 g of jackfruit pulp provides 4 mg niacin. The recommended daily amount for niacin is 16 mg for males and 14 mg for females.

    w  Jackfruit contains copper (10.45 mg/kg) which plays an important role in thyroid gland metabolism, especially in hormone production and absorption.

    w  Roasted jackfruit seeds are regarded as an aphrodisiac.

    Immune Health

    w  Jackfruit turns out to be an excellent way to obtain vitamin C that is recognized for its substantial antioxidant properties. Vitamin C content (12 to 14 mg per 100 g) protects the body against free radicals, strengthens the immune system, and keeps our gums healthy.

    w  Their seeds contain two lectins, namely jacalin and artocarpin. Jacalin has been proved to be good antibacterial agent thus the seeds may therefore be developed into therapeutic agents capable of treating infectious diseases and preventing food contamination by food-borne pathogens such as E. Coli.

    Degenerative Diseases and Cancer

    w  The jackfruit contains many carotenoids which are important for the prevention of several chronic degenerative diseases, such as cancer, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cataract, age-related macular degeneration.

    w  Jackfruit has phyto-nutrients such as lignans, isoflavones and saponins which have anti-cancer, anti-hypertensive and anti-ulcer properties. These nutrients can prevent forming of cancer cells in the body, can lower blood pressure and can fight against stomach ulcers.

    Digestive Disorders

    w  Jackfruit is said to be good for individuals experiencing indigestion. It is a known laxative with a high fibre content (3.6 g/100 g), thus useful in preventing constipation and producing smooth bowel movements. It also offers protection to the colon mucous membrane by removing carcinogenic chemicals from the large intestine.

    w  The seeds starch is believed to be useful in relieving indigestion and excessive flatulence.

    w  The seeds stimulate the growth and activity of ‘good’ bacteria in the digestive system that improves its intestinal microbial balance.

    Skin Health

    w  Jackfruit is gluten-free and casein-free, thus offering systemic anti-inflammatory benefits to skin. It contains antioxidants such as vitamin C and flavonoids which are vital to the production of collagen, a protein that provides skin with structure and gives it its firmness and strength.

    w  With anti-aging benefits, the jackfruit may slow down the degeneration of cells that make the skin look young.

    Other parts of the jackfruit, including the root, leaves, fruit, and latex, have shown to exhibit a broad spectrum of health benefits:


    w  The jackfruit root has been discovered to be good for those being affected by asthma by boiling the root of the jackfruit and extracting and consuming it.

    w  The root of the jackfruit tree or jackfruit root extract forms the remedy for skin diseases, fever, and diarrhoea.


    w  The leaves of the jackfruit tree are useful for curing fever, boils, and skin diseases. When heated, they prove useful in wound healing.

    w  To heal ulcers, the ash of jackfruit leaves is used when burnt with corn and coconut shells and used either alone or mixed with coconut oil.

    w  Jackfruit leaves may improve glucose tolerance in normal and type 2 diabetes patients.


    w  The latex of the fruit is helpful in treating dysopia, ophthalmic problems, and pharyngitis.

    w  The latex can also be mixed with vinegar to heal abscesses, snakebites, and glandular swellings.

    NOTE: Caution is advised in patients taking antibiotics due to possible additive effects. Also, jackfruit seeds may increase the risk of bleeding when taking with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anti-coagulants or “blood thinners” such as warfarin or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

    Recipes for Health


    w  Ripe jackfruit is naturally sweet, thus, it can be used to make a variety of dishes, including custards, cakes.

    w  Ripe jackfruit bulb are sometimes seeded, fried, or freeze-dried and sold as jackfruit chips.

    w  Ripe fruits can be eaten raw, or cooked in creamy coconut milk as dessert, made into candied jackfruit or edible jackfruit leather. In India, the seeds are boiled in sugar and eaten as dessert.

    w  Pureed jackfruit is also manufactured into baby food, juice, jam, jelly, and base for cordials.

    w  Jackfruits are made into candies, fruit-rolls, marmalades, and ice cream.


    w  Because unripe jackfruit has a meat-like taste, it is used in curry dishes with spices in many eastern cuisines.

    w  The skin of unripe jackfruit must be peeled first; then the remaining whole jackfruit can be chopped into edible portions and cooked before serving.

    w  Young jackfruit has a mild flavour and distinctive meat-like texture and is compared to poultry.


    w  The seeds from ripe fruits are said to have a milky, sweet taste often compared to Brazil nuts. They may be boiled, baked, or roasted.

    w  When roasted, the flavour of the seeds is comparable to chestnuts.

    w  Seeds are used as snacks (either by boiling or fire roasting) or to make desserts.

    w  They are quite commonly used in curry in Indian traditional lentil and vegetable mix curry.

    w  Roasted, dried seeds are ground to make flour that is blended with wheat flour for baking.

    Jackfruit Curry


    w  500 grams fresh jackfruit

    w  2 medium tomatoes pureed

    w  1 tsp. virgin coconut oil

    w  ½ tsp. cumin seeds

    w  ½ tsp. mustard seeds

    w  ½ tsp. nigella seeds

    w  2 bay leaves

    w  2 dried red chili peppers

    w  1 small onion (chopped)

    w  1 inch ginger (chopped)

    w  1 tsp. coriander powder

    w  ½ tsp. turmeric

    w  ¼ tsp. black pepper

    w  ½ to ¾ tsp. Himalayan salt

    w  1 to 1.5 cups of water


    1.     Heat extra virgin coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin, nigella and mustard seeds and let them sizzle for about a minute. Add the bay leaves and red chilli peppers, and then cook for several seconds. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and just a pinch of Himalayan salt. Cook until translucent (5-6 minutes) and remember to mix occasionally.

    2.     Add the turmeric, coriander and black pepper, mixing well. Stir while adding the pureed tomato, jackfruit and the rest of the salt. Cover and cook for approximately 15 minutes.

    3.     Uncover and cook for another few minutes to make the tomato puree thicker. The jackfruit can also be shredded.

    4.     Add the water and then cover and cook for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the flavour accordingly, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for an extra 10 minutes or longer, until your desired consistency is achieved. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

    Follow this link for some amazing vegan jackfruit recipes: http://www.veganfoodandliving.com/16-mouth-watering-vegan-jackfruit-recipes/

    To Sum Up…

    Jackfruit has been steadily gaining international attention as a tree that is easily grown and is drought-resistant, with very nutritious fruit that happens to bear a striking resemblance to meat when cooked. The large yield of fruit that this tree produces could open the opportunity of providing a potential solution to countries facing problems with food security. Every part of this native Southeast Asian tree can be used, from its root to its leaves.

    In recent times, the consumption of jackfruit has also grown in the developed countries, mainly due to its reported health benefits. Jackfruit and its pulp and seeds are rich sources of several beneficial compounds which have proven to protect against and alleviate many conditions, such as stomach ulcers and cardiovascular disease. Recent studies in its role at preventing the development of certain cancers has been promising and there are many areas that are still untapped by this amazing fruit. This fruit has aroused the interest of the vegan and vegetarian community who are always looking for ways of incorporating more protein into their diet, plus the added benefit of passing for chicken or pulled pork when cooked.

    Vegan Jackfruit Pulled Pork Sandwiches - Vegan Heaven

    If you haven’t already tried this fruit be sure to try it. With its versatility in dishes, from sweet to savoury to meaty - it’s very hard not to. You’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. A very good way to incorporate more fibre into your diet, without compromising on the meat-like taste, which so many of us are now accustomed to. Many Asian stores sell either the tinned varieties or the fresh fruit itself. This unusually large fruit has earned itself a very unique position in the fruit family. The “meat that grows on trees” has only just begun to reveal its awesomeness.






  • 22 Jan 2018 10:12 AM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    Castor oil has been used medicinally for about 4,000 years and until recently, it was given regularly to children to "keep their systems clear". Because of its unpleasant taste, castor oil is a remembered bane of many a childhood.

    Castor oil is obtained from castor seeds or beans either by pressing or by solvent extraction. The castor seed has a long history of use. Castor seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 4000 BC, being used mostly to fuel lamps because of the slow burning oil. Herodotus and other Greek travellers have noted the use of castor seed oil for lighting, body ointments, and improving hair growth and texture. Cleopatra is reputed to have used it to brighten the whites of her eyes.

    Today, castor oil is used both internally and externally for medicinal use and for such industrial purposes, as in the production of nylon and other synthetic fibres and resins. The oil has a very consistent viscosity and won't freeze, which makes it ideal for lubricating equipment in severely cold climates such as a component in motor oil, sealants, plastics, rubber, insecticidal oils, protective coatings, paint and varnish, insulation and so forth. In addition, castor oil and its derivatives are used in cosmetics such as lipstick, soap, shampoo, hair oils, embalming fluid, synthetic flower scents, food containers, food additives and flavouring agents, mould inhibitor, ink and dyeing aids.

    It consists almost entirely of the triglycerides ricinoleic acid. This unique fatty acid is found in lower concentrations in a few other seeds and oils (0.27 percent in cottonseed oil and 0.03 percent in soybean oil) and is thought to be responsible for castor oil's unique healing properties. It is well known for its strongly laxative action, taking effect within three to five hours after ingestion. In higher doses, it is a purgative. The oil is so effective that it is regularly used to clear the digestive tract in cases of poisoning. Although castor oil has been taken internally as a cathartic, its use can be harmful (see ‘Err on the Side of Caution’ for more info).

    All parts of the castor oil plant can be used for medicinal purposes. In India, the oil is massaged into the breasts after childbirth to stimulate milk flow. In Ayurvedic medicine, a poultice of castor oil seeds is applied for the relief of swollen and tender joints. In China, the crushed seeds are used to treat facial palsy. In Mexico, the leaves are used in poultices placed on the chest for congestion, cough, or fever, or on the abdomen to treat an acute intestinal distress known as "empacho". The leaves are used on anything that "hurts", that is, swollen joints, bruises, boils, neuralgia, abscesses, as well as for colds and fever.

    Err on the Side of Caution

    Castor seed is the source of castor oil and ricin. The seeds contain between 40 and 60 percent oil that is rich in triglycerides, mainly ricinolein. Ricin is a deadly poison, which is obtained after the oil is extracted, with the oil not containing any of this poison. It is produced from the "mash" that is left over after processing castor seeds into oil. In the past it has been used as a biochemical weapon because it is highly toxic to humans and other animals, including insects. This potent toxin comes from a protein in the castor seeds that, if ingested (orally, nasally, or injected), gets into the ribosomes of your cells where it prevents protein synthesis, which eventually kills the cells.

    Castor oil's main side effects fall into the categories of skin reactions and gastrointestinal upset. It is broken down by your small intestine into ricinoleic acid, which can act as an irritant to your intestinal lining. This effect is what gives castor oil the ability to reverse constipation but can also cause digestive discomfort, diarrhoea, and other gastrointestinal side effects. If you suffer from cramps, irritable bowel, ulcers, diverticulitis, haemorrhoids, colitis, prolapses, or have recently undergone surgery, you should probably avoid ingesting castor oil due to these possible adverse reactions.

    Although castor oil has been traditionally used to help stimulate labour in healthy pregnant women, there are widespread reports of nausea when consumed. It’s probably best to rub some of the oil on the belly instead, if it is tolerated.

    Health Benefits

    Immune System and Lymphatic Stimulant

    w  William McGarey, author of The Oil That Heals, reported that when used properly, castor oil packs improve the function of your thymus gland and other components of your immune system. He found that patients using abdominal castor oil packs had significant increases in lymphocyte* production compared to placebo packs.

    w  A 1999 study was carried out to determine whether or not topical castor oil would stimulate the lymphatic system. The findings were positive. After a two-hour treatment with castor oil packs, there was a significant increase in the number of T-11 cells, which increased over a seven-hour period following treatment.

    w  Castor oil could support your immune system by only apply it externally using a castor oil pack.

    *Lymphocytes are your immune system's disease-fighting cells and are produced and stored mainly in your lymphatic tissue (thymus gland, spleen, and lymph nodes). Hundreds of miles of lymphatic tubules allow waste to be collected from your tissues and transported to your blood for elimination, a process referred to as lymphatic drainage. When your lymphatic system is not working properly, waste and toxins can build up and make you sick. Lymphatic congestion is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease. When castor oil is absorbed through your skin (according to McGarey), your lymphocyte count increases. Increased lymphocytes speed up the removal of toxins from your tissues, which promotes healing.

    Skin Treatment

    The oil's benefits can be derived by topical application:

    w  It is useful for a variety of skin conditions like keratosis, dermatosis, wound healing, acne, ringworm, warts and other skin infections, sebaceous cysts, itching, and even hair loss.

    w  Castor oil and ricinoleic acid also enhance the absorption of other agents across your skin.

    w  Patients with occupational dermatitis may have a positive reaction to castor oil or ricinoleic acid.

    Gastro-Intestinal Remedy

    w  A 2010 study found that castor oil packs were an effective means of decreasing constipation in the elderly.

    Antimicrobial (antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal)

    w  An Indian study in 2011 found that castor leaf extract showed better antibacterial activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria than Gentamycin (their standard for comparison).

    Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic

    w  A 2009 study found that castor oil effectively relieves arthritis symptoms.

    w  A 2000 study of the effects of ricinoleic acid on inflammation, researchers found it exerted "capsaicin-like" anti-inflammatory properties.


    w  Castor oil has been found to have a strong suppressive effect on some tumours.

    w  Early clinical trials suggest that ricin, when combined with an antibody to confine this poison to malignant cells, shrinks tumours in lymphoma patients.

    Castor oil has been reportedly used to treat many other conditions, however, its effectiveness is yet to be researched.

    Recipes for Health

    Advocates claim castor oil is most effective for strengthening your lymphatic system when it is applied topically in a ‘castor oil pack’. Castor oil "packs" can be an economical and efficient method of infusing the ricinoleic acid and other healing components of castor oil directly into your tissues. Some say it can even help to slowly break down unwanted mass on your organs such as cysts, bonespurs and tumours. Do a "patch test" prior to applying a castor oil pack to make sure you aren't allergic to the oil.


    w  High quality cold-pressed castor oil

    w  A hot water bottle or heating pad

    w  Clingfilm or a waterproof material

    w  Two or three pieces of half metre squares of wool or cotton flannel, or one piece large enough to cover the entire treatment area when folded in thirds

    w  One large old bath towel


    1.     Fold flannel three layers thick so it is still large enough to fit over your entire upper abdomen and liver, or stack the three squares.

    2.     Soak flannel with the oil so that it is completely saturated but not dripping. The oil should be at room temperature.

    3.     Lie on your back with your feet elevated (using a pillow under your knees and feet works well), placing flannel pack directly onto your abdomen; cover oiled flannel with the waterproof material/clingfilm, and place the hot water bottle on top of the plastic.

    4.     Cover everything with the old towel to insulate the heat. Take caution not to get the oil on whatever you are laying on, as it can stain. If necessary, cover that surface with something to protect it.

    5.     Leave pack on for 45 to 60 minutes.

    6.     When finished, remove the oil from your skin by washing with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda to one litre water, or just soap and water. (Be sure to wash the towel by itself, as the castor oil can make other clothes stink if washed together.)

    7.     You can reuse the pack several times, each time adding more oil as needed to keep the pack saturated. Store the pack in a large glass jar. Replace the pack after it begins to change colour.

    8.     For maximum effectiveness, apply at least four consecutive days per week for one month. Patients who use the pack daily report the most benefits.

    Apart from the castor oil pack, there are several other ways to use castor oil topically:

    w  Simply rub it onto an affected area of your skin.

    w  For only a very small area - affix a plaster / Band-Aid soaked in it.

    w  For larger or more systemic applications - use as massage oil, especially effective when massaged along your spinal column or lymphatic drainage pathways.

    To Sum Up…

    Castor oil has shown some very promising results when put to the test, however, much needs to be learned about this powerful oil which is still untapped. So far the best way to gain its benefits is in the form of a castor oil pack. The thick oil is powerful enough to penetrate deep into the body’s tissues which many oils are unable to do.

    If you come across some castor seeds avoid eating them. One bean can be lethal for a child, while two or more can be lethal for an adult. The good thing is that its toxins do not pass into the expressed oil.

    Where you buy your castor oil is equally important, as much of the oil currently sold in stores is derived from castor seeds that have been heavily sprayed with pesticides, solvent-extracted, deodorised, or otherwise chemically processed, which damages beneficial phytonutrients and may even contaminate the oil with toxic agents. Go for the cold pressed variety which is organically sourced to reap the full effects of this amazing oil.






  • 20 Dec 2017 10:29 PM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    Avocado, also known as an alligator pear or butter fruit, is a large pear shaped fruit with a hard, leather-like skin. It has a large stone which is surrounded by a creamy pulp. In recent times, its popularity has grown exponentially and some health experts rank it as one of the top five healthiest foods on the planet.

    Though discovered by the Spanish only in the 15th century, avocados were used by the Mesoamericans since 5000 BC. This aphrodisiac fruit from South Central Mexico was used by the Incas in Peru and sold in Mexican markets.

    Three types of avocado were created separately in three different locations in Central America:

    1.     Mexican avocados - originated in Central Mexico and are small fruits that are covered by a thin, purple-black skin. The modern variety includes the Fuerte (Spanish for “strong”) which used to be the most popular variety before the Hass variety conquered the world.

    2.     Guatemalan avocados - are from Southern Mexico or Guatemala, are similar in shape and size to the Mexican but have a more ovoid and lighter-coloured seed and have a thick, tough skin. Their modern varieties include the Anaheim and Bacon. Hass and Zutano are hybrids of the Mexican and Guatemalan types. Hass being the most common cultivar of avocado in this century. Named after a Californian postman Rudolph Hass, who started growing it in his backyard back in 1926.

    3.     West Indian avocados - are not from the West Indies at all, but rather were developed in the Maya lowlands of Central America. They are the largest of the avocado varieties and have a smooth easy-to-peel light green skin and abundant flesh with a slightly sweet taste.

    Health Benefits

    Below are some of the benefits Avocados can have on your health if eaten regularly:

    Boosts Heart Health

    w  Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated oleic acid which helps to reduce artery blocking LDL cholesterol in the blood while increasing the more beneficial HDL cholesterol.

    w  Eating avocados can decrease blood triglyceride levels, a common predictor of cardiovascular problems.

    w  Avocados are high in vitamin E which aid in the prevention of cholesterol oxidation, while their potassium can regulate blood pressure.

    w  Avocados are an excellent source of folate, known to reduce dangerous homocysteine levels in the blood, another predictor of cardiovascular disease.

    w  Avocados contain phytosterols for reducing cholesterol absorption.

    w  Avocado oil is a much healthier than polyunsaturated vegetable oil, particularly for high-temperature frying.

    Promotes Brain Health

    w  Avocados are one of the top brain-healthy foods due to its high content of omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E:

    o   Omega 3 fatty acids -  keep your brain healthy by improving the blood supply to the pre-frontal cortex, the front part of the brain responsible for critical thinking, behaviour, decision making, and planning.

    o   Vitamin E - has been clinically proven to prevent Alzheimer’s from progressing and even reversing symptoms in the early stages of the disease.

    Nourishes the Skin

    w  The monounsaturated fats in avocados help to improve your skin tone and appearance. They are vital for maintaining good moisture levels in the epidermal layer of your skin which gives you that soft and healthy look.

    w  The omega 9 fats in avocado are known to assist in reducing skin redness, irritation and are involved in repairing damaged skin cells. These fats can also moderate sebum production which helps to control acne, blackheads and excessively oily skin.

    w  Avocados also protect your skin from wrinkles and other visible signs of aging. This is due to:

    o   antioxidant carotenoids;

    o   vitamin E - which helps guard against photo-aging from sun exposure;

    o   vitamin C - which is involved in the creation of elastin and collagen for maintaining your skin’s elasticity and firmness.

    w  Avocado oil works great as a natural skin moisturiser. It can help treat several skin conditions such as dry skin, psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, wounds, age spots, scars and sun damage.

    Prevents Birth Defects

    w  The high folate/folic acid content in avocados can protect your unborn baby.

    o    Just one cup of avocado provides almost one-third of the recommended dose of folic acid for pregnant women.

    o   Folic acid, a B vitamin, is a key prenatal nutrient that helps the brain and other vital organs develop in the fetus. It is also essential in preventing birth defects, such as neural tube defect and spina bifida.

    w  Vitamin K is another valuable nutrient found in high concentrations in avocados that benefit women during pregnancy and their future babies.

    Prevents Arthritis

    w  Avocados contain high levels of monounsaturated fats, phytosterols and antioxidants like vitamin E, vitamin C and a variety of carotenoids that can help reduce the inflammation that leads to arthritis.

    w  The phytosterols are found in the fat content. The highest content of the carotenoids is found in the darker part of the fruit that sits closest to the skin, so be sure to eat that part too.

    w  In a more concentrated form, avocado oil is said to be particularly good as an arthritis treatment when consumed regularly. You can substitute olive oil for avocado oil in many recipes such as in pesto and vinaigrettes.

    Protects Against Cancer

    w  Avocados can help prevent the occurrence of cancers in the mouth, skin, and prostate gland. The anti-cancer properties in avocados are related to its unusual mix of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients.

    o   In cancer cells, these nutrients increase oxidative stress and shift the cancer cells into a programmed cell death cycle (apoptosis) lowering their numbers.

    w  The antioxidant carotenoids (like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin) which are found in avocados, protect your body’s cells against cancerous changes. This is done by reducing free radical damage. They are considered your front line of defence against numerous diseases.

    o   Alpha-carotene appears to be especially important for cancer prevention.

    w  The monounsaturated fats in avocado help with carotenoid absorption and studies suggest that it has a protective effect against breast cancer in particular.

    w  Avocados also contain high levels of vitamin C and vitamin E, which are potent anti-cancer antioxidants.

    Helps with Digestion

    w  Avocados are high in vitamin B complexes which help release digestive enzymes needed in the digestive process. It also improves the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

    w  As avocados are considered an alkaline food, it balances the pH levels of the body and helps with conditions such as acid reflux and ulcers.

    w  Avocados are a high fibre food, with 8 grams of both soluble and insoluble fibre per cup of the fresh fruit. This helps improve digestion, encourage regular bowel movements thus preventing constipation. In fact, avocados are often recommended as a mild laxative for people suffering from constipation.

    Helps with Weight Loss

    w  The monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados are more likely to be used as slow burning energy than stored as body fat. This steady energy and the feeling of satiety or satisfied fullness that you get from eating an avocado is one of the reasons they are so good at reducing hunger and appetite.

    w  The high soluble and insoluble fibre content is effective for weight loss. This is because it also provides the feeling of fullness quickly which prevents over eating.

    w  Avocados are high in L-carnitine, an amino acid used in metabolising fat.

    Recipes for Health

    Here are ways to increase your avocado consumption:

    w  Use it as a fat replacement in baking.

    w  Dice it as a nice topping for your soups or bone broth.

    w  Put it in the food processor to make dessert whips, puddings, smoothies and countless other recipes.

    w  Mash or whip it until completely smooth for a baby’s first food instead of processed food in a jar.

    w  Slice them onto a plate, drizzle some fresh lime juice on top and add a scattering of dried chilli flakes.

    w  Use it in making homemade guacamole.

    w  Put it on your skin as a natural moisturiser.

    Avocado Face Mask for Acne

    1.     Mix avocado, honey and water to form a paste.

    2.     Apply to your face and leave for 30 minutes.

    3.     After 30 minutes remove the mask and wash your face.

    To Sum Up…

    This versatile fruit bursting with nutritional benefits has taken the world by storm. Its creamy texture means that it can stand in for mayonnaise, replace butter in baked goods and even become the creamy base for ice creams or smoothies. You can grill them, stuff them, batter and fry them or turn them into cake frosting.

    Those wanting to lose weight will enjoy the fact that, not only do these fruits taste great as a chocolate pudding alternative, they also promote weight loss and protect against heart disease.

    To make sure an avocado is perfectly green and creamy on the inside, and free from ugly brown spots, the key is checking under the stem. This part of the avocado holds a sneak peak for what's going on under the skin. Peel back the small stem or cap at the top of the avocado. If it comes away easily and you find green underneath, you've got a good avocado that's ripe and ready to eat.

    The flesh of the avocado is just beginning of understanding the benefits of this delicious nutritious fruit. Studies of the benefits of its big seed is only just emerging, but that’s for another blog!








  • 16 Nov 2017 11:19 AM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    Turmeric is a plant that has a very long history of medicinal use, dating back nearly 4000 years. In Southeast Asia, turmeric is used not only as a principal spice but also as a component in religious ceremonies. Because of its brilliant yellow colour, turmeric is also known as “Indian saffron.”

    Today, turmeric is widely cultivated in the tropics. It is a product of Curcuma longa, a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the ginger family Zingiberaceae, which is native to tropical South Asia. As many as 133 species of Curcuma have been identified worldwide. However, Indian turmeric is considered to be the best in the world. India produces nearly all of the world’s turmeric crop and consumes 80% of it.

    The rhizome, from which the turmeric is derived, is tuberous, with a rough and segmented skin. The rhizomes mature beneath the foliage in the ground. Before turmeric can be used, the turmeric rhizomes must be processed. Rhizomes are boiled or steamed to remove the raw odour, gelatinize the starch, and produce a more uniformly coloured product. The rhizomes are then boiled in alkaline water for between 40–45 minutes and then dried in the sun immediately to prevent overcooking. The dried rhizomes are polished to remove the rough surface and ground to a yellow powder with a bitter, slightly acrid, yet sweet, taste.

    Turmeric has been put to use as a foodstuff, cosmetic, and medicine. It is widely used as a spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. It lends curry its distinctive yellow colour and flavour. It is used as a colouring agent in cheese, butter, and other foods. Turmeric paste is also applied to the skin of the bride and groom before marriage in some parts of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, where it is believed to make the skin glow and keep harmful bacteria away from the body.

    In Ayurvedic Medicine, turmeric is thought to have many medicinal properties including strengthening the overall energy of the body, relieving gas, dispelling worms, improving digestion, regulating menstruation, dissolving gallstones, and relieving arthritis. Many South Asian countries use it as an antiseptic for cuts, burns, and bruises, and as an antibacterial agent. In Pakistan, it is used as a remedy for gastrointestinal discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders. It is also mixed with milk or water and taken to treat intestinal disorders as well as colds and sore throats.

    It is well-documented to treat various respiratory conditions (e.g., asthma, bronchial hyperactivity, and allergy), as well as for liver disorders, anorexia, rheumatism, diabetic wounds, runny nose, cough, and sinusitis. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is used to treat diseases associated with abdominal pain.

    Health Benefits

    Turmeric is arguably the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. More than 100 components have been isolated from turmeric. The main components of this root is a volatile oil containing turmerone, and colouring agents called curcuminoids. Curcuminoids consist of various forms of the important bioactive compound curcumin. It is the curcumin that produces so many healing properties that currently there are over 10,000 peer-reviewed articles published proving turmeric benefits. Of the 10,000+ studies, the most interesting finding is that when it’s compared to conventional medicine, turmeric benefits equal that of many pharmaceutical medications. In fact, a number of studies have even reported that using curcumin is more advantageous than certain prescription drugs.

    Turmeric has an enormous list of conditions that it helps. However, in this blog only a few of them will be mentioned below:

    Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

    The most powerful aspect of curcumin is its ability to control inflammation. It is so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs. The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that aspirin and ibuprofen are least effective, while curcumin is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compound in the world. Several other studies have shown the same potency against pharmaceutical drugs, except without the side effects.

    Curcumin targets multiple steps in the inflammatory pathway, at a molecular level. It blocks a molecule that travels into the nuclei of cells and turns on genes related to inflammation. This molecule (known as NF-kB) is believed to play a major role in many chronic diseases.

    Arthritis is a common disorder characterized by joint inflammation. Many studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and, again, is in some cases more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.

    An in-depth analysis of all the studies evaluating curcumin’s ability to manage inflammatory bowel disease (IBS, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis) found that many patients were able to stop taking their prescribed corticosteroids because their condition improved so dramatically by taking curcumin. For many patients with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) corticosteroids reduced their pain symptoms, but damaged their intestinal lining over time making the condition worse. However, supplementing with curcumin did not have these side effects and actually helped heal the gut and supported the growth of good bacteria (probiotics).

    Strong Antioxidant

    Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that can neutralise free radicals due to its chemical structure. It can also boost the activity of the body's own antioxidant enzymes. Curcumin may help delay aging and fight age-related chronic diseases which is why it has become very popular as an anti-aging supplement.

    Turmeric is effective at treating various skin conditions which include speeding up wound healing; calming the pores to decrease acne and acne scarring; and controlling psoriasis flares. It can benefit your skin as a home remedy for acne, eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, wrinkles and dark circles under the eyes. It also reduces skin inflammation and slows down cell damage. It can also help reduce pigmentation that evens out skin tone.

    Brain Booster

    Neurons are capable of forming new connections, but in certain areas of the brain, they can also multiply and increase in number. One of the main drivers of this process is Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which is a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain. Many common brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of this hormone. Depression is also linked to reduced levels of BDNF and a shrinking hippocampus, a brain area with a role in learning and memory. Curcumin boosts BNDF levels, potentially reversing some of these changes.  It may be effective at delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related diseases in brain function. There is also some evidence that curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine and the possibility that it could help improve memory and make you smarter.

    Curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to lead to various improvements in the pathological process of Alzheimer’s disease. One key feature of Alzheimer's disease is a build-up of protein tangles called Amyloid plaques. Studies show that curcumin can help clear these plaques. Whether curcumin can really slow down or even reverse the progression of Alzheimer's disease needs to be studied properly.

    Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

    Endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and involves an inability of the endothelium to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and various other factors. Curcumin can improve the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels. Several studies suggest that curcumin leads to improvements in endothelial function. One study shows that it is as effective as exercise, another shows that it works as well as the drug Atorvastatin. Curcumin also reduces inflammation and oxidation, which are also important in heart disease.

    Cancer Intervention

    Researchers have been studying curcumin as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment. A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells where a high dose of curcumin is prescribed. Curcumin in turmeric is not enough to provide a high dose and so a supplemental form of curcumin is used to bring about the desired effect.

    Whether high-dose curcumin can help treat cancer in humans has yet to be tested properly. However, there is some evidence that it may help prevent cancer from occurring in the first place, especially cancers of the digestive system (like colorectal cancer).

    Also, according to a study published in Planta Medica, taking turmeric in combination with black pepper, which contains piperine, improves turmeric absorbability throughout the entire body. They added 20mg of piperine to 2,000mg turmeric, and it increased the bioavailability of turmeric by 154 percent. You could try swallowing a few whole peppercorns along with your curcumin supplement. Curcumin is also fat soluble, so it may be a good idea to take it with a fatty meal.


    A study discovered that curcumin is 400 times more potent than Metformin (a common diabetes drug which improves insulin sensitivity and can help reverse Type 2 Diabetes). In addition to correcting the causes of diabetes, curcumin has also been proven to help reverse many of the issues related to insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. These include diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy, which causes blindness.

    Natural Painkiller

    One of the more widely accepted properties of curcumin in scientific communities is its ability to manage pain. Recently research has discovered that curcumin naturally activates the opioid system in diabetic rats. Typically manipulated by drugs, this natural process serves as the body’s inherent pain-relieving response. However, not limited to diabetic pain conditions, curcumin can have similar pain-relieving effects on other conditions also, such as severe burns. Typically, burn victims are treated with dangerous opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory’s. However, curcumin has shown to treat burns in the same way that conventional medicine does.

    Alternative to Corticosteroids

    Research found that curcumin has the ability to cure chronic inflammation of the eye which would typically be treated with steroids. The researchers stated that although turmeric showed comparable effects, the lack of side effects with curcumin was its greatest advantage compared with corticosteroids. So, if you’re suffering from conditions where steroids are prescribed it might be a good idea to try curcumin as an alternative method of treatment.

    Recipes for Health

    Turmeric Face Mask

    A turmeric face mask is an excellent exfoliating agent and very easy to make right at home with just a few ingredients. However, it is important to note that some people have reported allergic reactions to turmeric after skin exposure. Do a patch test by applying a small amount to your forearm before applying to the face. Be careful not to get it on your clothing as well, since it may stain.


    w  ½ teaspoon turmeric powder

    w  ½ teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar

    w  1 tablespoon of organic raw honey

    w  ½ teaspoon milk or yogurt

    w  1 drop lemon essential oil or fresh lemon juice for additional skin brightening [optional]


    1.     Wash face and hands first to remove impurities and any make-up.

    2.     In a small bowl or jar, mix the turmeric powder with the honey, apple cider vinegar, milk or yogurt and optional lemon oil. Try to get a consistency that will stick to your face. Be careful not to make it too thin as it may drip. 

    3.     Apply the mask carefully avoiding your eyes.

    4.     Allow the mask to sit on your face for 15–20 minutes then rinse with warm water.

    5.     If you have any leftover, you can cover and leave in the fridge for your next application.

    6.     Apply twice a week for best results.

    Turmeric Tea

    Turmeric tea is a popular beverage throughout Asia and is known by some as “liquid gold.” This golden turmeric tea recipe will help heal your body from a number of inflammatory health conditions.


    w  1 cup coconut milk

    w  1 cup water

    w  1 tablespoon ghee

    w  1 tablespoon honey

    w  1 teaspoon turmeric (powder or grated root)


    1.     Pour coconut milk and water into the saucepan and warm for 2 minutes.

    2.     Add in butter, raw honey and turmeric powder for another 2 minutes.

    3.     Stir and pour into glasses.

    To Sum Up…

    It’s hard to deny the powerful effects turmeric has on our bodies. The strong therapeutic effects, which surpass those of conventional medication demonstrates the extent of its potency. From aiding in inflammatory diseases to numbing intense pain, it should be at the forefront of everyone’s medicine cabinet. More human studies is definitely warranted to confirm all these benefits which our ancestors knew and practiced many years ago.

    Turmeric as a spice and as a household remedy has been known to be safe for centuries. However, in high dose supplemental form, turmeric may cause nausea, diarrhoea, increased risk of bleeding, increased liver function tests, hyperactive gallbladder contractions, hypotension (lowered blood pressure), uterine contractions in pregnant women and increased menstrual flow. Always consult your doctor if you decide to take high doses of curcumin.







  • 19 Oct 2017 10:25 AM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    For thousands of years silver has been used as a healing and anti-bacterial agent by civilisations throughout the world. Its medical, preservative and restorative powers can be traced as far back as the ancient Greek and Roman Empires. Long before the development of modern pharmaceuticals, silver was employed as a natural antimicrobial and antibiotic.

    Before the advent of modern germicides and antibiotics, it was known that disease-causing pathogens could not survive in the presence of silver. History will show that the Greeks used silver vessels to keep water and other liquids fresh. The Roman Empire stored wine in silver urns to prevent spoilage. The Chinese emperors and their courts ate with silver chopsticks. During the Middle Ages, the Royal families ate and drank from silver utensils and were rarely sick. Using the silver utensils and goblets, however, contributed to a bluish hue to their skin tone. For this reason they were called “blue bloods” because their blood had greater levels of silver in it (this condition was known as Argyria).  Bluebloods were also protected from the rampant plagues common to Europe in those centuries. Prior to the invention of refrigeration, it was common practice to drop a silver coin into a container of milk to delay spoilage.

    Between 1900 and 1940 silver was the primary antibiotic used in medical practice. Silver leaf was used to combat infection in wounds sustained by troops during World War I. By 1910, Henry Crookes had documented that certain metals, when in a colloidal state (i.e. suspended in a solution), had strong germicidal action but were relatively harmless to human beings.

    However, by the 1940s modern antibiotics were introduced. The shelf life of colloidal silver was poor, as they had no way to keep the silver particles in suspension for longer than fifteen minutes. Physicians would have to mix silver preparations in their offices and then give to patients either orally or by injection. The impractical use of silver antibiotics gave way to the ‘ready to hand’ sulfa drugs and eventually penicillin. At the time these compounds were deemed more effective and easier to use. Now we know that they cause antibiotic-resistant strains to develop from overuse of these drugs. This is fast becoming a big problem in the medical world today. To date, there have been no substantial findings to indicate that bacteria develop resistance to silver.

    Silver in today's medicine is undergoing a renaissance, with innovative new products that are able to sustain the release of silver ions enabling better surgical and wound-related uses. In Ayurvedic medicine, silver is used in small amounts as a tonic, elixir or rejuvenative agent for patients debilitated by age or disease. Silver nanoparticles are even being incorporated into clothes, like socks and stockings. You can even buy a washing machine that uses silver ions to kill germs in clothes.

    Colloidal Silver Products

    With conventional antibiotics creating resistance and having nasty side-effects, people are looking at natural alternatives to combat their seasonal colds and flu. The ‘alternative medicine’ industry has jumped on the band wagon and taken advantage of this opportunity. However, this has created many different forms of colloidal silver on the market which are relatively less effective and could be considered toxic with long term use (if you class turning blue toxic). Generally, there are three types of products that are marketed as “colloidal silver” today and these can be briefly categorised as follows:

    w  Ionic Silver Solutions - Ionic silver solutions are products whose silver content primarily consists of silver ions. Silver solutions are typically clear like water or have a slight yellow tint. It’s made by a process called electrolysis or some call it the 'electro-colloidal process'. This is where a small electrical current is applied to silver strips placed in distilled water. Although ionic silver is often marketed as colloidal silver, it’s not true colloidal silver. Ionic silver products contain low percentage of silver particles, which render it less effective than true colloidal silver. Ionic silver is still a strong anti-microbial, and can be effectively used in situations where chloride is not present. When chloride is present – such as inside your body – then what little silver particle is present in the solution will survive to produce some benefit. Be aware that most "colloidal silver" generators sold for home use produce ionic silver solutions, and not true colloidal silver. If you take ionic silver products according to the manufacturer's recommended dosage, ionic silver will not cause argyria.

    w  Silver Protein - Silver protein products are the second most prevalent type of so-called colloidal silver products on the market. These products are a combination of metallic silver particles and a protein binder to keep the particles in suspension. One tip-off that it's a silver protein product is if it claims to have high concentrations of colloidal silver (typically in the range of 30 to 20,000 PPM*). These products have the lowest particle surface area for a given silver concentration, making the silver inaccessible for safe and effective absorption by your body. Due to the high concentration of large silver particles, silver protein products are known to cause argyria.

    w  True Colloidal Silver – True colloidal silver is the suspension of sub-microscopic silver nanoparticles in water. These silver nanoparticles can be anywhere from 10 – 100 nm in diameter (around 1/10,000 to 1/1,000 of a human hair!). These silver products are the least prevalent type of colloidal silver on the market due to the high cost of production. In true colloidal silver, the majority of the silver content is silver nanoparticles. This means it has a much greater particle surface area relative to the total silver content so its effects are more powerful. True colloids will typically contain between 50 and 80 percent nanoparticles, while the remaining percentage will be in the form of silver ions. Because of the high concentration of silver particles, true silver colloids are never clear like water. True colloids are brownish in colour as the silver particles block light. Due to the very low concentration of ionic silver and small particle size, true silver colloids do not cause argyria.

    (*PPM is a ratio of the mass of silver relative to the water. For example, 10 PPM means in one litre of water there is 10 milligrams of total silver content.)

    Silver nanoparticles are typically made in two different ways:

    1.     Physically– by grinding silver into very small particles before suspending in water as colloids.

    2.     Chemically– Silver salt is reduced into very small particles using a chemical reducer.

    Many well-studied nanoparticles are generated with a method called “green synthesis,” which is by using a biologically-generated substance to reduce the silver salt into silver nanoparticles.

    Health Benefits

    Using true colloidal silver will harness silvers’ amazing abilities without the side effects. What follows are only a few of those health benefits:

    Antibacterial- Colloidal silver can kill and prevent bacterial growth, including bacteria that are antibiotic-resistant, such as MRSA. It can kill some strains of pathogenic yeasts, including Candida and Cryptococcus. It can effectively fight against cholera and a dangerous strain of E. coli, both of which could cause deadly diarrhoea if left untreated.

    Wound Care/Skin Health - Certain colloidal silver preparations applied topically can treat and repair tissue damage from burns, thrush, periodontitis and other conditions such as ringworm. Applying silver products on cuts, sores, and boils also promotes healing. Applying silver to rashes and insect bites can aid in soothing itches. Silver’s antibacterial properties can provide relief from acne breakouts and treat eczema when applied to the affected area.

    Pink Eye/Ear Infections - When applied on the infected eye, the tiny silver colloids pick up the infected cells by attracting them electromagnetically and sending them into the bloodstream to be eliminated. It soothes and wipes out eye infections such as conjunctivitis and stys. Ten drops of silver in the ear can aid in wiping out ear infections.

    Antiviral- Colloidal silver benefits can be experienced as an anti-viral for HIV/AIDS, herpes, shingles and warts. Colloidal silver suffocates the virus and reduces the activity of the HIV virus in AIDS patients. Silver also has the ability to inhibit both Hepatitis B & C viruses.

    Anti-Inflammatory - Silver nano-particles have shown success in promoting anti-inflammatory properties. Research is showing that colloidal silver can reduce swelling, speed healing, and boosts cell recovery.

    Sinusitis - Widely used to control sinus infections, colloidal silver can benefit people as a nasal spray. Specifically shown to kill Staph aureus, you can add a few drops of silver in a “neti pot” or by applying directly into your nasal cavity and letting it drain down your throat by tilting your head back. Silver’s anti-microbial properties have shown promise in stopping asthma attacks. When ingested, silver has the ability to combat Whooping cough.

    Cold/Flu - Over time, antibiotics lose their ability to combat infection. Silver has been shown to boost the immune system to fight infection. Silver’s antiviral properties help combat the common cold and have shown promise in inactivating influenza. Some claim that colloidal silver helps prevent all types of flu, including swine flu.

    Pneumonia - Colloidal silver can help fight against bronchitis and pneumonia when ingested internally and breathing it into your lungs. The silver directly contacts the germs residing in the lungs, which are causing bronchitis or pneumonia. The most effective method to get the colloidal silver into the lungs is to use a nebulizer. Generally, use one teaspoon approximately three times a day for 10 to 15 minutes.

    Precautionary Measures

    Unlike antibiotics, which are specific only to bacteria, colloidal silver eliminates anaerobic pathogens (bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and fungus) by binding to their cell walls and destroying the enzymes that fend off oxygen molecules, thus oxidizing them to death. Conversely, the silver nanoparticles neutralise the minority of aerobic pathogens by disrupting their ability to use oxygen. This begs the question: will colloidal silver destroy friendly gut bacteria the way pharmaceutical antibiotics do?

    Some colloidal silver advocates claim it is so readily assimilated into the blood through the stomach and gut linings before it can linger in the lower intestines where our friendly bacteria mostly reside. Therefore, it isn’t an issue. However, some colloidal advocates don’t think that the intestinal flora issue has been clearly established. They recommend the following as precautionary measure:

    w  Have probiotics on hand and use them an hour or more after ingesting colloidal silver.

    w  Swish and hold a dose of colloidal silver in your mouth to absorb most of the particles sublingually into the bloodstream through the capillaries under and around your tongue as long as possible before swallowing.

    w  Nebulize the colloidal silver solution, making it go directly into your bloodstream via the lungs blood vessels.

    Because colloidal silver does have some side effects, research suggests using it carefully rather than liberally. In addition, it could interfere with or enhance the effects or side effects of some medications, therefore it is best to consult your physician before using it in conjunction with any medications.

    Recipes for Health

    The best time to use colloidal silver is at the onset of any infection. Keep in mind to never use it for more than 14 days in a row. It needs to be applied differently for each condition. Here are a few suggestions for how to use colloidal silver:

    w  2-5 drops applied directly to the skin.

    w  1 drop taken orally for immune support.

    w  1-2 drops into eyes for pink eye (use a fresh colloidal silver bottle for eye drops).

    w  1-2 drops can help disinfect any wound or sore by applying onto a bandage.

    w  If prepared properly, it can be injected into a muscle, a cancerous tumour, or into the bloodstream.

    w  5 drops added into a neti pot or directly sprayed into the nose.

    w  5-10 drops can be applied vaginally or anally.

    To Sum Up…

    The potential of colloidal silver is just beginning to be discovered. Some environmentalists fear that the widespread use of silver nanoparticles in washing machines, clothes, bedsheets etc, could affect the health of bacteria, yeasts, and other microorganisms in the environment. More research is definitely warranted to look into the long term effects of consistent silver exposure.

    The effectiveness in the use of silver to kill bacteria and fungus is unquestionable. However, this does not mean it kills every type of bacteria, yeast, virus or fungus. The issue is complicated by the fact that not all colloidal silver products are of the same quality. Products made at home or by the use of electrical charges to ionise and suspend the silver may not give you the desired effect. Therefore, use a good quality product from a reputable company. The product is non-toxic when used as directed (and not longer than two weeks). It is always best to consult a health professional before taking colloidal silver regularly for any length of time. If you do find that you want to take it daily for a while then be sure to take some probiotics during or after its use to maintain a proper balance of microflora.











  • 18 Sep 2017 10:33 AM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

    The term ‘herb’ refers to a plant used for medicinal purposes. The medicinal benefits of herbs have been known for centuries, and humans have always been dependent on plants for medicine, food and healing. The healing properties of herbs have not changed through the centuries - what was a healing herb a few hundred years ago is still a healing herb today. The history of herbalism is closely tied to the history of medicine from prehistoric times up until the development of the Germ Theory of Disease in the 19th century. It also overlaps with food history, as many of the herbs and spices historically used by humans to season food yield useful medicinal compounds, and the use of spices with antimicrobial activity in cooking is part of an ancient response to the threat of food-borne pathogens.

    The ancient Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and Native Americans were all herbalists. Dioscorides (c40-c90) and Galen (131-200 AD), both Greek surgeons in the Roman army, compiled ‘herbals’ (a book containing the names, descriptions and medicinal uses of plants) that remained the definitive ‘materia medica’ texts for 1500 years. Through the Middle Ages, herbalism was preserved in the monasteries of Britain and mainland Europe. Before the establishment of universities in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, monasteries served as medical schools. Monks copied and translated many of the works of Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and Galen.

    Meanwhile, as a result of the Islamic conquest of North Africa in the seventh and eighth centuries, Arabic scholars acquired many Greek and Roman medical texts. Iranian physician Ibn Sina, also known as Avicenna (980-1037 AD), combined the herbal traditions of Dioscorides and Galen with the ancient practices of his own people in ‘The Canon of Medicine’ (al-Qanun fi at-tibb). One of the most influential medical texts ever written, Avicenna’s Canon spread through Europe during the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

    Modern medicine from the 19th century to today has been based on evidence gathered using the scientific method. Evidence-based use of pharmaceutical drugs, often derived from medicinal plants, has largely replaced herbal treatments in modern health care. However, many people continue to employ various forms of traditional or alternative medicine. These systems often have a significant herbal component.

    Different cultures have developed different herbal cures. In some countries, such as India and China, herbs have continued to be an important part of medicine over the centuries being widely used in Traditional Ayurveda or Chinese Medicine.  However, we are now seeing an increased acceptance of herbal use in Western countries. Knowledge about the power of herbs has only recently started to re-emerge in the West and it is now becoming a popular alternative form of treatment for many conditions.

    Health Benefits

    The natural chemical properties of certain herbs have been shown to have medicinal value and are used in some modern drugs. However, unlike conventional medicine, herbalists use the whole herb or plant rather than isolating and breaking down chemical compounds and then synthesising them. This is because the plant, being a part of nature, is said to represent perfect balance. Healing requires the natural combination of elements in the plant or herb, not just a single chemical within it.

    Every herb has a distinctive flavour, energetic quality, and healing property with a corresponding healing effect on the body. For instance, marshmallow root with its cooling properties is used to treat high fever, rapid pulse, and excess heat in the body; cinnamon bark and dried ginger are known for their warming and stimulating properties.  The energetic quality of these herbs are present in all their active ingredients and are assimilated more easily to help the body to:

    w  Activate cells

    w  Build tissues

    w  Cleanse the system

    w  Give direct aid to sick body parts and organs

    Herbs contain unique antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins, phytosterols and many other plant derived nutrient substances, which help equip our body to fight against germs, toxins and to boost immunity level.

    The essential oils in herbs have been found to have an anti-inflammatory function by inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase, which mediates inflammatory cascade reaction inside the human body. The enzyme-inhibiting effect of essential oils in herbs makes it a valuable remedy for symptomatic relief in individuals with inflammatory health problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and inflammatory bowel conditions like ulcerative colitis.

    The volatile oils, vitamins, and antioxidants in the herbs have cytotoxicity action against prostate, pancreatic, colon, endometrial cancer cells.

    The chemical compounds in the herbs have also been found to be anti-spasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, analgesic, aphrodisiac, deodorant, digestive, antiseptic, lipolytic (fat burning and weight loss action), stimulant and stomachic effects when taken in a proper dosage.

    Additional health benefits of specific herbs include:


    Basil leaves compose of many essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene, and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. It contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin-A, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These compounds play an important role in protecting against aging and various disease processes. It also helps with digestive disorders and prevention of osteoarthritis, and is currently being studied for its anti-cancer properties.


    It contains certain diuretic principles, which help expel toxic products from the blood through urine. The herb is used in the treatment of skin problems such as eczema (dermatitis), psoriasis, skin dryness, etc. The plant parts have been used as an herbal remedy for liver and gallbladder problems. Effusion of burdock seeds has been used for throat and chest ailments. Burdock leaves and stems, in addition to their use as a vegetable, have appetite stimulants and are a good remedy for gas and indigestion (dyspeptic) complaints.


    Certain principle compounds in the herb have laxative and diuretic functions. The plant parts have been used as herbal remedy for liver and gallbladder complaints. Dandelion herb is also a good tonic, appetite stimulant and is a good remedy for dyspeptic complaints. Traditionally, flower stems used as a soothing agent for burns and stings (for example in stinging nettle allergy).


    Dill leaves (sprigs) and seeds carry many essential volatile oils such as d-carvone, dillapiole, DHC, eugenol, limonene, terpinene, and myristicin. Eugenol in dill is used as local anaesthetic and antiseptic, as well as reducing blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Dill oil, extracted from dill seeds, has antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, disinfectant properties. It can help increase breast milk secretion in nursing mothers and relieve neurological symptoms like headaches and nervous irritability.


    It has been used for fevers, headaches, stomach aches, toothaches, insect bites, infertility, and problems with menstruation and labour during childbirth. Feverfew’s pain-easing effect is said to come from a biochemical called parthenolides, which combats the widening of blood vessels that occurs in migraines, thus proving its effectiveness in the prevention and treatment of migraine headaches. The herb is also used to prevent dizziness, relieve allergies, reduce arthritis pain and prevent blood clots.

    Ginkgo Biloba

    Also known as maidenhair, has the ability to improve cognitive function including concentration and memory. It can reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, fight anxiety and depression and help maintain vision and eye health. It also relieves ADHD symptoms, improve libido, and fights against fibromyalgia.


    Native Americans used the root as a stimulant and headache remedy, as well as a treatment for infertility, fever and indigestion. It is used to reduce stress, help with weight loss, treat sexual dysfunction, improve lung function, lower blood sugar levels, boost the immune system and reduce inflammation as well as improve mood and mental function.

    Milk Thistle

    It contains high levels of lipophilic extracts from the seeds of the plant, which act as bioflavonoids that increase immunity and slow down oxidative stress. The herb is also used for its anti-inflammatory properties. It can aid digestive function, increase bile production, boost skin health, fight the appearance of aging and help detoxify the body. It has protective effects in certain types of cancer, and data shows it can also be used for patients with liver diseases, hepatitis C, HIV, diabetes and hypercholesterolemia.


    Rosmarinic acid, a natural polyphenolic antioxidant found in rosemary, has been found to have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant functions. Rosemary oil contains camphene, cineol, borneol, bornyl acetate and other esters. These compounds are known to have tonic, astringent, diaphoretic, and stimulant properties. Its oil is also used externally as a rubefacient to soothe painful ailments in gout, rheumatism, and neuralgic conditions. Rosemary herb extractions, when applied over the scalp, is known to stimulate the hair-bulbs and help prevent premature baldness. It forms an effective remedy for the prevention of scurf and dandruff. Rosemary tea is a natural remedy for the nervous headache, colds, and depression.

    St. John’s Wort

    This has been used as a medicinal herb for its antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties for over 2,000 years. It produces dozens of biologically active substances, but hypericin and hyperforin have the greatest medical activity. It has the ability to relieve PMS symptoms, improve mood during menopause, relieve skin irritations and improve symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder.

    Herbs can be dispensed in numerous ways, including:

    w  Pills

    w  Powders

    w  Lotions

    w  Oils

    w  Teas

    w  Salves/Ointments

    w  Syrups

    w  Infusions

    w  Aromatics

    w  Juices

    w  Tinctures or extracts

    w  Whole (dried or fresh)

    Recipes for Health

    Comfrey Healing Oil

    Comfrey has quite the reputation as a healing herb. When infused in oil, comfrey speeds the healing of sores, abrasions and bruises. It’s also very soothing to irritated skin, thanks to its mucilaginous properties.


    2 cups carrier oil (such as coconut oil)

    1 cup comfrey leaf (or the herb)


    1.     Warm your oven to 200º, then turn it off.

    2.     Put the herbs and oil in an oven-safe dish and let them steep for 3-4 hours.

    3.     Strain the infused oil into a jar, cover and label.

    Calendula Mouthwash

    Calendula has long been used to relieve inflammation of the mouth, throat, and stomach. It is also popular as a topical cream or ointment to relieve rashes and irritation and to help heal wounds.

    Preparation and doses:

    1.     Pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 tsp petals.

    2.     Steep for 10 minutes.

    3.     Strain.  Use as needed as a mouthwash, gargle, or tea.

    Catnip Tea

    This tea soothes an upset stomach and reduces anxiety and tension.

    Preparation and doses:

    1.     Pour 1 cup boiling water over 4 or 5 fresh or 1 tsp dried leaves.

    2.     Steep for 5 minutes.

    3.     Strain and sweeten, if desired.

    4.     Drink 1 or 2 times per day.

    To Sum Up…

    Herbs, when properly used, are safe, gentle and effective. Many mild herbs can be self-prescribed for minor conditions, for instance chamomile tea to help you relax, or peppermint tea to help with digestion. However, herbs can be very powerful and care should be taken. The safest course of action is to consult a qualified herbalist.

    Herbs are a great addition to food too. They add distinctive flavour to food, plus provide anti-microbial substances that help keep our food protected from pathogens. They can be used to marinate raw foods, fish, and meat. Fresh herb leaves can be used in the preparation of salads, soups and green sauces. Some herbs and plant parts like mint, and ginger are increasingly being used to flavour juices and refreshing drinks.

    Nature has provided us with many resources, and the versatility in herbs is another means for us to incorporate more nature into our daily living, to secure our health for many more years to come.











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