Showing posts with label cold and flu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cold and flu. Show all posts

Jun 30, 2014

Indian Bay Leaf Health Benefits

Indian Bay Leaf also called Tej Patta (तेजपत्ता)) in Hindi, Malabar leaf, Indian cassia, Indian cassia bark or Tamala cassia. It is a tough, three-veined leaf that is popular in India and used in Indian cooking and for preparing perfumes. It is a small to moderately sized ever green tree. The three veined leaf is elliptical, pointed, smooth and tough. The flavor and fragrance is similar to the cinnamon bark but slightly milder. The leaves are used either fresh, dried (both whole leaves or powdered form. Oil is also extracted (Bay leaf oil) to treat such ailments.

Tej Patta or bay leaf has antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, carmiative, diaphoretic, diuretic and astringent properties. The various benefits of bay leaf can be attributed to its rich nutritional value. These leaves are exceptionally rich in vitamins as well as copper, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, selenium and manganese. They also contain essential phytochemicals and volatile oils.

Health Benefits of Bay Leaf:
Bay leaf helps in the treatment of diabetes, migraine, gastric ulcers, abdominal pain, colic pain, bacterial and fungal infection and high blood pressure. It maintains the sugar level of blood, pulse rate and blood pressure. It improves the immune system of the body. It works as an antidote to poison. Tej patta is used to treat infections of the respiratory and urinary tracts and bay leaf juice promote menstruation.

Natural Treatment of Diabetes
Bay leaves have been found to be effective in treating type 2 diabetes as they cause reduction in blood glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. To get maximum results, these leaves can be powdered and consumed for 30 days. This will cause a drop in sugar levels in the body as well as regulate the functioning of your heart. This is because the antioxidants in bay leaf enable the body to process insulin more efficiently, thus making it a good choice for diabetics and people with insulin resistance.

Good for Digestion:
Bay leaves are good for promoting digestion and can treat digestive disorders such as heartburn and flatulence. Drinking a concoction of bay leaf tea with hot water can alleviate common digestive disorders like constipation, acid reflux and irregular bowel movements. It contains enzymes that enable the breakdown of proteins, thus making it an excellent spice for non-vegetarian diets. In case of indigestion and bloating, you can take 5 grams of bay leaves, add a piece of ginger and boil this in 200 mil of water till ¼ water remains. Add some honey and consume this twice a day for relief. It also acts as an appetite stimulant if you are recovering from illness.

Treatment of Cold and Infection:
Bay leaves are effective in fighting the symptoms of cold, flu and infections. In case of respiratory problems, boil water and add 2 to 3 bay leaves. Allow it to steam for 10 minutes. Soak a cloth in this water and place it on your chest to alleviate flu, cold and cough. Bay leaf tea is effective in reducing fever. In case of repeated sneezing, boil some bay leaves in 200 ml water till ¼ remains. Strain and drink this concoction.

Relieves Pain:
The oil extracted from bay leaf has anti-inflammatory properties which can ease the pain resulting from sprains, strains, arthritis, rheumatism as well as general pains and aches. Massaging your temples with bay leaf oil helps to relieve migraines and headaches. It also boosts circulation and promotes a feeling of well-being. In case of joint pain, you can make a poultice of ground bay leaves and castor leaves, and tie it around the inflamed joints to reduce pain and swelling. In case of headache, you can boil a few bay leaves in water for a few minutes. Strain and drink this concoction while it is still hot. You can apply a paste of bay leaves on your forehead to get relief from severe headache.

Treatment of Menstrual Problems:
Bay leaves, when taken orally, can induce regular and normal menstruation. They also have the property of curing vaginal discharge.

Blood Circulation
The oil extracted from the leaves can be applied over the body. This promotes blood circulation in the body.

Induces Sleep:

Consuming bay leaves at bedtime helps to induce proper sleep. For this purpose, mix a few drops of the bay leaf extract with water and consume it.

Treatment of Nosebleed:
In case of nosebleed, crush 2 to 3 fresh or dry bay leaves. Boil them in 200 ml water till 100 ml remains. Strain and drink this concoction for relief.

Clean Teeth:
To get sparkling white teeth, brush them with powdered bay leaves once in 3 days.

Treatment of Kidney Problems:
Bay leaves help in treating kidney infections and even kidney stones. For this purpose, boil 5 grams bay leaves in 200 ml water till 50 ml water remains. Strain and drink this twice daily. This will stop the formation of kidney stones.

Treatment of Dandruff and Hair Loss:
A rinse made from infused bay leaves is effective in treating dandruff. Bay leaf tea is considered a great remedy for hair loss. Bay leaf oil is a tonic for hair that effectively combats dandruff and hair loss.

Where to buy Indian Bay Leaves? You will find them in the spices and herb isle of Indian grocery stores and most Asian grocery stores. Indian bay leaves are often confused with Bay laurel leaves. Bay laurel leaves have a single vein running down the center while Indian bay leaves have three veins.

You can also buy them online.



How to Store Bay Leaves
Bay leaves can be plucked from the plants and dried in the shade. The leaves should not be exposed to direct sunlight. The dried leaves can be stored in closed jars or containers. They should not be exposed to strong light. The leaves can be stored and used up to one year. Beyond that, they lose the essential components.

Feb 6, 2012

Natural ways to fight “cold n flu”

With no cure in sight for the cold or the flu, current treatments can at best to bring symptomatic relief or shorten the duration of those symptoms. You can take one of variety of medications that may help relieve your symptoms. Or you can take the natural approach. Following are some home remedies that may help you feel better.


Blow your nose often: it is important to blow your nose regularly when you have a cold rather than sucking mucus back into your head.


Stay rested: Resting when you first come down with a cold or the flu helps your body direct its energy towards the immune battle.


Gargle: Gargling can moisten a sore throat and bring temporary relief. Try a teaspoon of salt dissolved in warm water.


Drink hot liquids: Hot liquids relieve nasal congestion, help prevent dehydration.

Take a steamy shower: Steamy showers moisturize your nasal passages & relaxes you.


Use a salve under your nose: A small dab of mentholated salve under your nose can open breathing passages & help soothe the irritated skin at the base of the nose.


Apply hot or cold packs around your congested sinuses: You can soak cloth in hot or cold water for few minutes & apply on the affected areas, this helps you further relieve.

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Herbs for Winter Health

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Dec 13, 2011

Herbs for Winter Health

To some winter means coughs and colds and other stressful winter bugs. There are ways to decrease your risk of becoming ill as well as to feel better if you do get sick. Even though antibiotics are often prescribed for winter illnesses, they are rarely the answer and they do not treat viral infections. With colds and flu we are often seeking relief from congestion and pain, as well as something to sooth the throat. Let's look at some herbs with those properties and how to use them.

Try natural home remedies to relieve the stress of winter infections - they do work!


1. Calendula
Use calendula as a salve to heal wind-chapped winter skin, calm inflammation, speed up healing and fight eczema.

It has wonderful antiseptic properties. You can use freshly picked, open calendula flowers to make an effective infusion for the immune system.


2. Rosemary
Use rosemary, mint thyme and calendula to steam colds and flu away.
Combine with lemon peel, lemon balm, calendula, lavender and thyme and use as an antiseptic .

Add rosemary to bath to stimulate circulation to skin.

Try a few drops of rosemary in a diffuser to keep the flu bugs out of your bedroom.


3. Sage
Of all the best winter herbs for health, I recommend sage for treating coughs and colds.
Use as a gargle for sore throats - infuse three teaspoons of sage leaves in 250 ml boiling water. Leave to steep for 15 minutes, strain and cool. Gargle three times a day.


4. Heart's Ease
Are you surprised to see this as one of the best health herbs for winter? Try chewing Viola tricolour to relieve headaches, you will be surprised at the effect of this lovely herb. You can also make an infusion as a tea for lowering fevers, cleansing toxins, or as an anti-inflammatory expectorant for coughs.
You can use both the leaves and the flowers of this gorgeous plant.


5. Parsley
Parsley is a wonderful source of vitamins A, C and E which build the immune system. Make sure you have some growing in your garden (or in a pot) to give your body the winter edge against infections.
Nibble some every day, sprinkle on salads or blend with apple or tomato for a delicious fresh juice.

* Always pick the outer leaves as new growth comes from the center. You can also extend the plant's life by snipping off the flowering heads.


6. Thyme
If you have a cough or a cold , treat it with thyme.
It is also a great anti-oxidant and tonic to build up the immune system. So don't wait for winter ailments to strike, make yourself some thyme tea and enjoy regularly. Make an infusion and sip.

You can also use thyme in salads and dressings and in your winter casseroles and stews.

Other Decongestant Herbs
One way to loosen and expel mucus is by inhaling vapors.

thyme has a long history of treating bronchitis and other upper respiratory tract infections (see Thyma-flu below). Inhale the steam frequently throughout the day to relieve congestion. Eucalyptus essential oil is also a strong decongestant. Put a few drops of this essential oil on the surface of the simmering water to release the vapors.

You can also use a balm on your chest both for pain and congestion that contains essential oils of eucalyptus, camphor, menthol, sage and peppermint.

Pain Relieving Herbs
For pain such as muscle aches associated with a cold try soaking in a hot bath with a muslin bag filled with herbs. Useful herbs here would include oregano, marjoram, lavender, mint or sage. After soaking in the herbal bath, drink a tea from ginger and lemon. Pain can also prevent one from getting a good night sleep. A few drops of lavender essential oil sprinkled on your pillow or an herbal dream pillow tucked into your pillow case can help you relax to get more sleep.

A typical cold lasts 7 days to two weeks and adults get about 2-4 colds per year (more in children). We don't develop immunity to the cold because there are more than 100 different viruses that cause this. You can limit your risk of catching a cold by improving your immune system. Stress weakens the immune system and can lead to illnesses. Daily exercise such as walking can help control stress. Also try teas made from herbs such as catnip, chamomile, hops, lavender and lemon balm.

Immune building herbs you can use include garlic and whole foods including fruits and vegetables. Phytochemicals such as flavonoids and sterols act as antioxidants that can modulate the immune system as well as provide a host of other benefits including decreasing inflammation. Garlic not only stimulates the immune system but acts as an antibacterial and antiviral.

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