Herbs for Detoxification: Cleanse Your Body from Within


When was the last time you detoxed? If you have been planning to go on a detox diet or cleanse your system by eating light, now is the right time. With the change in season, the body is usually more susceptible to infections and diseases as our immunity is low. Following a controlled diet and including lighter foods can help a great deal in detoxification of the system from impurities. Did you know that herbs are among one of the most effective home remedies for detoxification or boosting digestion? They are loaded with essential oils that can benefit the body in numerous ways. Moreover, they are powerful sources of antioxidants, and come with anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Here are some herbs that are best known to aid detoxification –

1. Cilantro: This common herb contains detoxifying, antibacterial and immune enhancing essential oils, and can help remove heavy metals from the body. Cilantro also aids digestion, fights nausea and stomach cramps, balances blood sugar levels, and is mildly laxative. Sprinkle it over your food, or add it to your juices for a detox drink.

2. Triphala: Along with its many healing and nourishing properties, triphala is a mild but effective laxative. It is great for detoxification. Triphala is an Ayurvedic herbal formula consisting of equal parts of Amalaki, Bibhitaki and Haritaki. Every night at least one hour after supper, take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of triphala. Add about 1/2 cup of boiling water to the triphala powder, and let it steep for 10 minutes or until it has cooled down, then drink it.

Triphala is a mild but effective laxative. It is great for detoxification; Image credit: Instagram

3. Milk Thistle: Milk thistle acts like an antioxidant, and helps in nourishing and rejuvenating dead cells. Milk thistle, or more commonly known as “silymarin”, is a herb native to the Mediterranean countries, but is also found in other parts of the world today. The seeds and leaves of this natural herb can be consumed on an empty stomach before meals for best results. It is known to draw out toxins from the body, thus aiding detoxification.

milk thistle

Milk thistle acts like an antioxidant; Image credit: Istock

4. Neem: Neem leaves maybe extremely bitter in taste, but they are excellent for your liver and also boost digestion. Consuming neem leaves on a daily basis is known to destroy bacteria and other harmful microorganisms in the intestinal tract and cleanse the colon, further facilitating smoother digestion. It is replete with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, and anti-viral properties.

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Neem is replete with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic properties; Image credit: Istock

5. Mint: Mint has high levels of antioxidants and helps in digestion. Drinking mint tea cleanses the stomach and helps with irritated bowel syndrome. It acts as a cooling ingredient for the skin and helps deal with skin irritation. It helps with teeth whitening, fights bad breath and is an excellent blood cleanser, detoxifying the body from within.

peppermint tea 650

Image credit: IStock

These herbs are easily available in the market, and can be used regularly to cleanse the body of toxins. Add them to your food or make detox drinks for maximum benefits. In our hectic day-to-day lives, it is tough to keep a strict watch on one’s diet and so, undergoing detoxification once in a while can prove to be highly beneficial.



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Nigerian Cancer researcher pitch on the use of local herbs for therapy


In a bid to reduce the surge of majority of Nigerians struck with the scourge of Cancer and eventually die miserably in pain and agony.

A world renowned cancer researcher and professor of pharmacology Isa Marte Hussaini will present a work hallmarking it’s focus on the use of local herbs in cancer therapy.

It is estimated that over 100, 000 New cases are discovered every year in Nigeria and the country lacks adequate cancer research,screening and treatment centers.

However, the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy will on September 28, induct six professionals into its esteemed ranks.

Fola Tayo, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Caleb University, who also doubles as General Secretary of the Academy, said the event will also be headlined by a keynote presentation by Isa Marte Hussaini.

“Cancer is a chronic disease condition for which the scientific community is still grappling with the need to better understand in order to proffer more effective preventive, management and curative approaches”

“Professor Hussaini’s work is a tribute to academic excellence and apart from informing society about the progress he has made so far, we also want to inspire the rest of the scientific community and keep the quest for research into problems that afflict mankind, on the front-burner,” he added.

Fola further said, that the six eminent professionals who are billed to be inducted into the Academy,  have been painstakingly selected from a diverse pool of practice areas.

“Beyond the fact that they are distinguished in their various practice areas,”

“each inductee possesses a mindset and disposition that align with the Academy’s mission and reason for being.”, said Fola.

The Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy is a specialized academy that among others, seeks to promote scientific research and professional development especially in the health, pharmaceutical and related sectors in order to help overcome challenges posed by pain and disease as well as fast-track social and economic development in Nigeria and beyond.

Last July, it brought together, professionals drawn from the health sciences – medicine, pharmacy, nursing, medical laboratory sciences, physiotherapy and others – to brainstorm and proffer solutions on the subject of inter-professional collaboration, against the backdrop of the animosity and inter-professional rivalry that exists in Nigeria’s healthcare sector.

The Academy has also been active at jointly reviewing the training curriculum for pharmacists in order to enable the profession keep pace with global developments such that the professionals remain relevant to the needs and aspirations of patients and the larger society.

The Academy is the fifth such specialized academies in Nigeria, with others being the Academies of Science, Letters, Arts and Engineering respectively.

 

Anthonia Obokoh



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A potted guide to healthy herbs | Home


Herbs such as rosemary, lavender and sage can fall foul of late frost or rot due to damp. I used to replace them with new herbs, as cuttings seemed like a bit of a faff. Forgive me: I’m now wiser and I take them every year. Do it this weekend, before stems get too hard.

First, prepare some cuttings compost. I use equal amounts of peat-free multipurpose compost, grit and perlite. Scrub a 4in plastic pot with hot water and washing-up liquid, rinse, then fill with the potting mix and water it.

Next, choose a healthy, upright, non-flowering shoot and snip it 4in-6in from the tip, just above a leaf node. Now remove the bottom leaves and the ones at the tip, which should give…



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Medicinal Herbs Could Be Just The Tonic For Rural Enterprise


By Sanjiv Phansalkar*

The refrain has been fairly constant in my extensive travels across the country. People tell me that in earlier generations — in some places, they refer to their grandparents and in others, to their parents — much of the local health services need was met by use of locally available medicinal herbs. They would invariably say that people who knew herbs and their uses provided this service and that such people are no longer around. And so, the people go to modern medicine men and women. Considering the near ubiquitous reluctance of modern doctors to serve rural masses, what actually happens is that most rural residents go to quacks. In this post, though, the delivery of health services in rural India is not my point, but the neglect of medicinal herbs is.

Unfortunately, whenever one broaches the subject of medicinal herbs, everyone immediately equates it to the delivery of health services by local practitioners who use these herbs. This to me is a partial construction of the subject.

There is a potentially large livelihood and business potential in the medicinal herbs sector, which is sadly neglected by grassroots development professionals and ignored by the government…

In the first place, it tries to push a solution on the hapless rural people on which we the urban elite seldom rely. It implies—”We know that modern medicine men and women are more effective, but since your folk are poor, let them live (or die) with medicinal herbs.” I for one am least likely to recommend such a course of action. The point that is missed is about a potentially large livelihoods and enterprise potential in the medicinal herbs sector which is largely, if not completely, neglected.

Popularity of herbs

The popularity of herb-based preparations made by successful marketers (whose brand equity is huge) has grown perhaps almost as fast as the depletion in the resource base. This depletion in turn is caused by almost complete reliance on naturally occurring herbs obtained through harvesting practices that are unsustainable. The medicinal herbs resource base in India has been rich and diverse but is a vanishing resource.

The naturally occurring herbs are said to grow on difficult terrains in remote forested regions — the Himalayas, the Western Ghats, the remote hills in Satpura, etc. While this may be true of a certain class of herbs, it is not a general case. While the resource base is rich and diverse, the only herbs one really hears of in a commercial sense are very few in number, and these are quite depleted. Yet, the entire situation is potentially retrievable.

Can farmers take to cultivation of these herbs as a way of deploying their unproductive uplands on which very little grows anyway?

Recently I travelled in Mahakaushal areas adjoining the Kanha reserve forest in Madhya Pradesh. An excellent organisation has motivated residents of a village to clear the lantana weed from a large patch of some 13 hectares of common lands. This patch is now free of the prolific weed and is covered with grasses and a wide range of shrubs and herbs. I was told with justified pride that they had enforced social fencing and allowed all stakeholders, including landless and marginal households, to cut and carry grass from the land.

Lost knowledge

While walking through this cleared plot and appreciating the hard work the people must have put in, I noted one well-known herb, plucked a small piece of the plant and asked the people accompanying me if they knew what it was. While most professed ignorance, one of them said that it was bhui awala (phyllanthus niruri Linn). This is a well-known herb that is said to be helpful in the treatment of jaundice. None of the people there knew the use.

Such anecdotes are plentiful. When looked at through serious lenses, they take two forms. The first is about the biodiversity angle talking about the rich floral diversity and within that how many of the herbs are useful and where and how to conserve and preserve them. For instance, there are some 128 known herbs with medicinal uses to be found in the Satpura plateau, of which Mahakaushal is a part. Botanists and foresters have paid some attention to this narrative.

The second form is related what is called ethno-medicinal knowledge of tribal communities and how to preserve it and how to use it alongside modern medicine.

Neglected narrative

I am interested in the third and hitherto neglected narrative of how one can look at these herbs as domains of enterprises. The fact that merely clearing a plot of lantana resulted in these herbs flourishing indicates that they, being indigenous to the region, will come back in all their richness in this very ecology. But common lands are contested and these herbs compete with the more pressing need of fodder for animals. Can they not be deliberately cultivated? Can they do some preliminary processing and reach them to users in forms they want? Can whole value chains be developed on them? Can farmers take to cultivation of these herbs as a way of deploying their unproductive uplands on which very little grows anyway?

It is time to look at the medicinal herbs available in the countryside as a base on which to build local enterprise.

Presumably, cultivation will happen if one understood the agronomy of these species and could lay one’s hands on their planting materials. I am aware that some very interesting work in this field is happening in South India through credible organisations. But the very fact that people living among the rich and diverse flora do not know it indicates that there is a neglect of this sector. Clearly there is a need to intensify work on these lines.

To sum up, it is time to look at the medicinal herbs available in the countryside as a base on which to build local enterprise. We need to go beyond the fascinating yet unproductive discourses about bio-diversity conservation and ethno-medical practices. People need to be given effective healthcare without constraining them to use perhaps glorified ethno-medical knowledge. But simultaneously, the economic potential of the resource needs to be assessed, and steps in harnessing them understood and deployed.

Sanjiv Phansalkar is associated closely with Transform Rural India Foundation. He was earlier a faculty member at the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA). Phansalkar is a fellow of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad.

This article was first published on VillageSquare.in, a public-interest communications platform focused on rural India.

The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of HuffPost India. Any omissions or errors are the author’s and HuffPost India does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.



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How to grow herbs you cannot find in the supermarket | News


EX-TOMORROW’S World presenter Judith Hann used to spend her time in a TV studio, but these days she’s out in her garden, growing more than 150 culinary herbs including borage, sweet cicely and others which taste great but aren’t widely available in supermarkets.

Judith, who runs Hann’s Herbs, courses on how to grow and cook with herbs, says: “My favourite herbs are those which are virtually impossible to buy in this country, but are totally simple to grow, and once you’ve got them, you’ve got them forever.”

In her latest book, Herbs, she offers advice on how to grow and cook with a huge range of herbs.

HYSSOP

“Hyssop’s very easy to grow. I grow it in a dry, sunny area along with thymes and different marjorams. Once the faded thyme flowers have been cut back, the hyssops will be coming into bloom. It’s known for the blue-flowered version, but I also grow pink and white-flowered versions. It’s traditionally served with rabbit.

It has thin, spicy leaves with a hint of lemon, rosemary and mint. It can also be made into a syrup and served with fruits, such as peaches. It’s worth growing with other herbaceous flowers if you haven’t got space for a herb garden because it flowers in late summer when so many of the traditional plants have gone over. It’s a semi-evergreen hardy perennial, growing to 1m (39in) high and can be trimmed into a low hedge.

SORREL

This is the one I most often use in my cooking. I grow three perennials – I’ve a 12ft run of broad-leaf sorrel (Rumex acetosa). I put the plants in over 20 years ago when I made the herb garden and the same plants are there. You just cut them back when the seedheads form and you have them for almost 12 months a year. I pick sorrel most days for soups, sauces, salads, tarts and terrines.

Some leaves are very big so you can wrap fish in them, but we serve sorrel sauce with chicken or fish. It has a mild, lemony taste and the smaller leaves are great in a mixed salad.

I also grow buckler-leaf sorrel which has these really pretty shield-shaped leaves which you use whole. Red-veined sorrel makes a plate look pretty, but you need to use the leaves small to get that lemony taste.

Sorrel will grow really happily in the shade, but my two edging beds are in full sun. I grow my salad herbs right up to them. Make sure you cut off the flower/seed stems regularly to keep the leaves coming.

LOVAGE

This is my favourite herb, with its spicy, celery taste. I grow an 8ft-long run of it on the far side of my greenhouse and it grows up to 6ft tall and shades the greenhouse in summer. When the leaves are tiny, I use them chopped up in a salad but I also make lovage soup with onion, garlic, potatoes and some stock, which tastes exquisite.

It’s simple to grow. You can grow it from seed in spring in trays inside and covering with vermiculite, using a propagator to boost germination. It has quite long roots and likes a rich soil and sunshine or partial shade. Cut it back in summer when the leaves start to taste bitter and then go pale and lose their flavour.

SWEET CICELY

This is in my pudding bed, which has herbs suitable for desserts, including lavender, violets, angelica and bergamot. Sweet cicely is a natural sweetener. It produces delicate, fern-like leaves with an anise scent and reduces the acidity of sharp foods such as rhubarb and gooseberries. You put a handful of sweet cicely in and you’ll get sweetness from it without adding sugar.

You can also chop up the leaves to add to sauces and seafood risottos. It’s an easy-to-grow hardy perennial which grows to 1m (39in tall), producing white flowers which turn into green edible seeds, which are nice chopped up and cooked in biscuits or added to tarte tatin.

BORAGE

The blue flowers of young borage taste of sweet cucumber and are perfect in drinks such as Pimm’s, or scattered on salads and summer fruits. It’s an annual which pops up in an unruly fashion all over the place because the birds take the seeds. The flowers appear in early summer and last until autumn and it self-seeds easily.

If the ground is very wet, I like to dig out the small plants where I don’t want them and put them in the herb garden. It thrives in sunny spots in any soil. Pick the leaves young before they go stiff and hairy.

*Herbs by Judith Hann is published by Nourish, priced £20.

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Local Garden Column: Tips on drying herbs from the garden – News – Times Telegram


How should one go about drying herbs that are harvested from their garden?

The best time to harvest your herbs is when it is a sunny day, mid-morning after the dew has dried, but before the essential oils in the plant have dissipated.

Once the herbs are picked, rinse them with water and pat dry. Long stemmed herbs can be tied in small, loosed bundles. These bundles can be hung upside down in a well-ventilated location such as an enclosed porch or spare room where they will not be exposed to direct sunlight. To protect the herbs from collecting dust, take a large paper bag and place around the herbs and close the bag around the stems with string to hold the bag in place.

Herbs that have short stems can be dried on a rack. Make sure they are spread out and turn them each day so they do not mold. It will take about two weeks for herbs to dry completely.

For information, check out Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County’s Home and Garden Fact Sheets at http://cceoneida.com. Look up Harvesting and Preserving Herbs fact sheet.

Holly Wise is a resource extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County. Look for more gardening tips in the Observer-Dispatch or online at www.cceoneida.com.



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