Medicinal Plants – good to know!

Self-treatment with herbs and medicinal plants, especially in the flu and cold season, is becoming increasingly common. If you like using herbs and alternative remedies without the guidance of a specialist, please be aware of the following:

  • Medicinal plants may be suitable for the prevention of minor complaints such as coughs and colds and for the early treatment of an illness. 
  • In the case of chronic illnesses, you should always discuss alternative treatment with your health care provider. 
  • If the cause of the complaints or your symptoms are unclear, you should always consult a health care provider. 
  • If there is little or no improvement of symptoms after three days of self-treatment or if your condition worsens, you should definitely consult a health care provider. 
  • Be extremely careful where you purchase or collect medicinal plants and herbs. When collecting your own herbs or plants, always carry appropriate literature with you to check the location, color, shape and flowers of a plant. This will reduce the risk of mistakes or confusion with poisonous plants.

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Daikon

Have you ever tasted Daikon Radish? Daikon (大根) literally means ‘big root’. If it is on your plan – how often did you eat it? We highly recommend that you have some whenever you can. Daikon originally comes from China but has a long history with many cultures. Together with garlic and onions, daikon was highly prized by the ancient Egyptians. They believed it was an essential food that protected their workers from infections and parasites. The Romans also kept themselves healthy by eating it regularly. Ironically, they considered the root to be “impure” as they believed it caused bad breath and flatulence! Daikon radish is extremely rich in vitamin C and has an antibiotic effect due to a sulphurous oil (raphanol), various mustard oils and the bitter substances it contains.

Daikon really is the perfect food for the cold and flu season!

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Fit For The Cold?

It’s not only your immune system that needs support in the colder months, we also need to look after our skin. Cold weather plus indoor heating is the perfect combination to dry your skin. The skin vessels narrow, the production of our natural oils in the skin, sebum, is reduced and the formation of the central skin barrier is lowered. This all adds up to uncomfortable, dry, brittle and cracked skin.

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What can you do to radiate healthy skin and vitality even in winter? We recommend a combination of internal and external tender, loving care for your skin. First, make sure you keep your omega 3 fatty acids in your daily essentials. Look for great sources from either oily fish and cold-pressed oils such as flax seed oil and rapeseed oil. It is also important that you stay properly hydrated. Even if you’re not as thirsty in the winter, you still need to make sure that you drink enough water. We recommend herbal teas, ginger water and mineral water or even a simple cup of hot water!

Zinc – an Essential Nutrient for a Strong Immune System

Zinc is a chemical element which is one of the body’s vital trace elements. Since zinc cannot be stored by our body, a regular supply is particularly important. In healthy people, the daily requirement of zinc can be normally met from a good balanced diet. Good sources of zinc are most meats, eggs, oysters, oat meal, cashew and Brazil nuts as well as lentils and peas.

One vital role of zinc is for eye health: a chronic zinc deficiency may lead to night blindness. In addition, zinc is vital for many other processes in our body including cell division and cell repair processes. As a free radical scavenger, zinc prevents aggressive chemical compounds from damaging body cells. We need zinc to keep our skin and mucous membranes healthy and it’s essential for our immune system. So our No.1 tip … make sure you eat plenty of sources of zinc on your weekly meal plan, especially during the flu season.

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What to know about Red Cabbage

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So what do you know about red cabbage? Let us fill you in on this excellent versatile vegetable! Firstly it’s available all year round now! However, it’s most popular in autumn and winter as a classic side dish to game, duck and roast goose or turkey.  It’s red coloring is not cultured, but a variation of nature. In traditional medicine it was believed that red cabbage had a positive effect on blood. Compresses made from red cabbage leaves are said to have alleviated varicose veins, phlebitis and leg ulcers. Red cabbage contains the pigment anthocyanin – also found in red berries and red wine – which has an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. It has been shown in numerous studies that this flavonoid has cancer-inhibiting and cholesterol-lowering effects and is also linked to reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes. Red cabbage is rich in many vitamins and fiber and is an important immune booster during the cold season. It contains above all the vitamins C, B6 and E. 

Tip: to preserve the beautiful rich color of red cabbage, add some vinegar or citric acid when cooking.

Flu Season is Approaching Fast!

Welcome to the flu season! Ginger water can be a great remedy for colds – or even better their prevention. Cut about 2 cm (1″) of fresh, peeled ginger into slices, boil in 1 l of water. Cook as long till you have about half of the liquid. Pour into a thermos and drink throughout the day. As long as you are in Strict Conversion Phase of your Metabolic Balance Plan, drink it only during meals. In later phases you may also drink it occasionally, as long as this does not trigger increased food cravings or hunger. 

If you’re in a pinch for time, simply place one or two slices of peeled ginger in a cup, add hot water and leave to steep for five to ten minutes. It tastes good and is good for you!

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Our Health and Immune System in Winter Times

IMG_6114The human immune system is a central component of the body’s defenses, protecting the body from invading bacteria and viruses. But not only the immune system must be supported, also the skin has an increased need for care. Cold and dry heating air remove moisture from the skin. It narrows the skin vessels, the production of sebum is reduced and the formation of the central skin barrier is shut down. As a result of this combination, the skin becomes uncomfortably dry, brittle and cracked. In order that the skin does not suffer and it radiates vitality even in the cold season, a combination of external and internal care is a “must”. Dry skin can be prevented with the help of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are abundant in sea fish and cold pressed vegetable oils such as flax seed oil and rapeseed oil (oil colza). It is also important that the fluid reservoirs are filled up and we are hydrated. Even if in winter the feeling of thirst is something sparse, we must drink enough. It is recommended to drink plenty of herbal teas, ginger water and mineral water.

In addition to the above mentioned cold-season-care, we should also ensure that the body is sufficiently supplied with vitamins. The vitamins A, C and E fight together against the cell-damaging free radicals, strengthen and support the connective tissue, prevent the skin from becoming chapped and dry. Vitamin B5 (panthothenic acid) is the vitamin that can bind moisture and give the skin a radiant complexion. Vitamin B3 enhances skin protection and relieves redness.

An ideal vitamin supplier for the cold season is cabbage, which is available harvest-fresh even in cold regions in the winter. Looking at the typical vitamin-rich winter vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and kale the first frost on the fields even enhances its taste. But beetroot, Teltower turnip, turnip, salsify and parsnip are also rich in vitamins and minerals.

A vitamin-rich diet, regular exercise, plenty of drinking, sufficient sleep and sauna visits ensure that you can enjoy the cold season with all its most beautiful sides and your skin survives the winter unscathed.

source: metabolic balance® Gesundheitsbrief February 2018

Cold and Flu Season in Full Swing

As always at this time of year, many are effected by cold viruses and the flu. Most of us rely on the power of nature to combat the unpopular symptoms of infection. For example, thyme is an effective mucus remover, plants-2682058_1920 has the ability to strengthen the body’s defenses and sea buckthorn is a true vitamin power packs: they are rich in vitamin C, but also in B12, E and beta-carotene. To choose natural preference instead of chemical agents is good, especially for colds, but you should consider some details when self-medicating:

  • Medicinal plants are suitable for the prevention of mild ailments and for the early treatment of a recent illness.
  • In case of unclear cause of discomfort or unclear symptoms you should always consult a doctor.
  • If the symptoms do not improve after three days of self-treatment or your condition worsens, you should definitely consult a doctor.
  • For chronic conditions, you should always discuss self-treatment with your physician.

In any case eating healthy and drinking lots of water will help you improve and recover the fastest.

Take care of yourself and be well!

Can an Onion Prevent a Cold or Flu?

I really like this list from WebMD for Natural Treatment tips for Colds and the Flu and I decided to share some of their suggestions with you today.  If you feel like you are coming down with a cold or flu, follow the advice below:

  • Sleep with more pillows. (Relieves congestion.)
  • Don’t fly in an airplane.
  • Eat foods that fight infection. (A short list is below.)
  • Don’t overtreat your symptoms. In Europe, if you have a runny nose, the doctor wants it to run!  If you don’t need to be in a business meeting, let your body help you heal itself.
  • Blow your nose in the right way.
  • Use a warm salt water treatment for a stuffy nose.
  • Remember to stay warm and rested.
  • Gargle.  Here is the right way to gargle:
  • Drink hot liquids.
  • Take a steamy shower.
  • Use warm packs on your sinuses.

The article suggests you eat the following foods while fighting a cold or flu:

  • Blueberries – has a natural aspirin in it.
  • Carrots
  • Chili peppers
  • Cranberries
  • Mustard
  • Onions – This vegetable contains phytochemicals which may help the body to clear infections so to answer the question in the header, yes, onions may be able to get you back on your feet if you eat them. (Don’t put them in your socks or next to your bed.)
  • Black/Green tea – These two types of teas have catechin which may have a natural antibiotic.