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Five-leaved Chaste Tree (Lagundi)

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accept the bitter to get better


Five-leaved Chaste Tree (Lagundi) - Vitex negundo

Lagundi is a small erect tree that can reach 3meter at maturity. The plant has evergreen leaves, blue flowers about 6-7 mm that develop into fruits about 4mm in diameter. Leaves, seeds, bark and roots are used for the treatment of various illnesses.

Medicinal Uses:

  • Decoction of leaves is effective for cough, colds, fever, headache, toothache, asthma, menstrual difficulties and amenorrhea.
  • As washing agent, boiled leaves are used for sponge bathing, treating wounds and ulcer.
  • Placing ash of fresh leaves in affected areas can ease rheumatic joints.
  • Decoction of leaves taken as a diuretic.
Chasteberry bush.jpg
Chasteberry Bush
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How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm
Chasteberry.jpg
Chasteberry Flower
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Herbal Alternative Health

Chasteberry- Chasteberry is the fruit of the chaste tree, a small shrub-like tree native to Central Asia and the Mediterranean region, which is a deciduous and fairly hardy tree or shrub that thrives in well-drained, acidic soil in full sun. The chasteberry tree may reach a height of twenty feet. Chasteberry is a free-spreading tree with fragrant flowers and berries (somewhat like peppercorns) that are dark purple and yellowish within, with an aromatic odor (somewhat like peppermint). The name is thought to come from a belief that the plant promoted chastity--it is reported that monks in the Middle Ages used chasteberry to decrease sexual desire. Mostly used by women as an herbal remedy for menopause and to ease menstrual problems.

The seeds were once thought to safeguard chastity as an "anaphrodisiac," and wives of traveling Roman soldiers spread the herb around them to decrease their interest in sex, thus giving rise to the name Chaste Tree. In the Middle Ages, monks relied on the herb for the very same purpose of suppressing the libido, and thus Chasteberry also acquired the name of Monk's Pepper and Cloister Pepper.

Common Names--chasteberry, chaste-tree berry, vitex, monk's pepper

Latin Name--Vitex agnus-castus,

What Chasteberry Is Used For

  • Chasteberry has been used for thousands of years, mostly by women to ease menstrual problems and to stimulate the production of breast milk. Also as an herbal remedy for menopause.
  • Chasteberry is still used for menstrual problems, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), as well as for symptoms of menopause, some types of infertility, and acne. Herbal remedy for sex drive and as an herbal remedy for menopause.

How Chasteberry Is Used

  • The dried ripe chasteberry is used to prepare liquid extracts or solid extracts that are put into capsules and tablets.

What the Science Says about Chasteberry

  • A few studies of chasteberry for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) have found a benefit. However, most of these studies were not well designed, so firm conclusions about chasteberry for PMS cannot be drawn.
  • Small studies suggest that chasteberry may help with breast pain and some types of infertility, but there is not enough reliable scientific evidence to determine whether chasteberry has any effect on these conditions.
  • NCCAM is funding studies on chasteberry. Recent projects have explored how chasteberry works in the body and how it might affect symptoms of PMS.

Side Effects and Cautions about Chasteberry

  • Chasteberry has not been associated with serious side effects. However, it can cause gastrointestinal problems, acne-like rashes, and dizziness.
  • Chasteberry may affect certain hormone levels. Women who are pregnant or taking birth control pills or who have a hormone-sensitive condition (such as breast cancer) should not use chasteberry.
  • Because chasteberry may affect the dopamine system in the brain, people taking dopamine-related medications, such as selegiline, amantadine, and levodopa, should avoid chasteberry.
  • Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

An herb is a plant or part of a plant used for its flavor, scent, or potential therapeutic properties. Includes flowers, leaves, bark, fruit, seeds, stems, and roots. Herbal medicine products are dietary supplements that people take to improve their health. Many herbs have been used for a long time for claimed health benefits. They are sold as tablets, capsules, powders, teas, extracts and fresh or dried plants. However, some can cause health problems, some are not effective and some may interact with other drugs you are taking.

Dietary supplement is a product that contains vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and/or other ingredients intended to supplement the diet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has special labeling requirements for dietary supplements and treats them as foods, not drugs.

Herbal remedies in zamboanga.PNG

News About Chasteberry

Cup of Tea a Day Can Keep the Pain Away

By Rebecca Dimyan

I’ve always had an affinity for tea. In my teens and early 20s, it was a cup of Earl Grey with some milk and honey after school. Eventually, I came to prefer green tea with its antioxidants and various health benefits. Matcha and other herbal blends offered a caffeine boost as well as the soothing warmth that stimulates creativity and focus. And, most recently, that hot cup of tea brings me more than contentment: It brings relief.

In my pursuit of holistic ways of healing endometriosis, I have learned about the benefits of certain flowers, roots, and herbs. Certain plants are particularly effective in balancing female hormones, and, I discovered, in alleviating my chronic pain. I have found several effective and tasty herbal tea blends that contain combinations of these herbs, and I consume them regularly.

Chasteberry, also known as vitex, is a small, brown berry that has been used by naturopaths and holistic practitioners to ease PMS symptoms and boost fertility. One of my favorite herbal tea blends is a red tea from Republic of Tea that proclaims to boost skin health. It is a rooibos and chamomile tea that contains an amalgamation of chasteberry and various other berries, flowers, and roots such as hibiscus, red clover, burdock root, and orange peel. The beverage has a pomegranate essence and is as delicious as it is powerful. I drink at least two cups of this tea daily and have found that it reduces pain frequency. I have tested this theory by skipping it for several days only to find that some pain returns.

Raspberry leaf is known to be beneficial to women in pregnancy. Its nutrients purportedly strengthen the uterus and pelvic muscles. The leaf tannins contain astringent properties that reduce endo pain and are internally soothing. It is easy to find pure organic raspberry leaf tea in most grocery stores. I try to drink at least one to two cups of raspberry leaf tea a few times a week, if not daily.

In addition to regularly consuming these herbal teas, I sometimes simply drink a steaming cup of hot water. A combination of research, conversations with various naturopaths, and my personal experience has taught me that hot beverages, in general, are better for women who suffer from endometriosis. According to Chinese medicine, warm or hot liquids stimulate the “qi,” or innate energy and life force, which moves the blood. Drinking too many cold beverages can cause stagnant qi. Accumulation of cold-causing blood stasis can contribute to endometriosis symptoms.

As a self-proclaimed tea connoisseur, I enjoy trying new flavors and savoring the nuances of different blends. However, my appreciation of tea transcends the palate. The healing virtues of the beverage have mitigated the chronic pain in my life and that makes it invaluable. Relief is not instantaneous, but consuming regular cups of herbal tea seems to work pre-emptively and in conjunction with other healthy living choices in keeping my endometriosis pain away.




The importance of herbal medicine

By Henrylito D. Tacio

THE Philippines loses billions of pesos from the importation of drugs, some of which are not only nonessential but also even extremely dangerous. But unknown to most Filipinos, the country has various plants and herbs, which can cure a number of ailments.

For asthma and other ailments

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For kidney trouble

Corn grows everywhere, but few Filipinos ever take advantage of cornsilk as medicine for kidney trouble. Suppose farmer Monching wakes up one morning with his sides and back aching all over. When he bends, he can’t straighten up. His bladder is full because he has urinary problems, like burning upon urination. Of course, it is best to see a doctor immediately to get rid of the pains.

What if there’s no doctor around town? Physicians, after all, don’t live in barangays and small towns. Their families must eat, too, so physicians always establish themselves in prospering towns.

Without medical help, Monching can prepare his own homemade remedy. But how? By just gathering dried cornsilk from his ripening corn and boiling a fistful of it in four cups of water for 15 minutes. “Let it cool and when just warm, drink the water at mealtimes and between meals,”’ an expert tells us. “The pain will steadily clear up in two to three days.”

Our herbs doctor (herbolarios) know this, only they make a big hocus-pocus of it, leading you to believe that they have added other ingredients for effectiveness. Nothing there at all; it is just plain boiled cornsilk, the water to be drank.

In a related development, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) has been promoting the medicinal powers of lagundi, yerba buena and tsaang-gubat. The efficacy and safety of these three plants have been proven through scientific research and clinical tests.

For cough and fever

Among the medicinal uses of lagundi are to stop coughing, relieve asthma, facilitate the discharge of phlegm and to lower fever due to colds or flu. It is also a pain reliever for headache and toothache.

For cough, asthma and fever, lagundi leaves—either dried or fresh—are boiled in two glasses of water for at least 15 minutes. This boiled mixture is called among experts as “decoction.”

To stop coughing, take ½ glass of decoction three times a day. In addition, drink at least eight glasses of water a day to further help loosen phlegm.

If you’re suffering from asthma, take 1/3 glass of decoction three times a day. However, if your asthma does not improve after one dose of the decoction or when the attack is severe, consult your physician right away.

For fever, take ½ glass of decoction every three hours, or as needed. To relieve headache, heat enough fresh lagundi leaves over a fire until slightly wilted. Then crush the leaves and apply on forehead and temples. Bandage the leaves in place. Change the dressing every four hours when needed.

For toothache

If your brother or sister complains of toothache, give him/her ½ glass of lagundi decoction every three hours.

On the other hand, yerba Buena—known in the science world as Mentha cordifolia or peppermint among English-speaking countries—can be used in relieving pain. As analgesic, it is effective for headache, toothache and pains caused by arthritis.

For arthritis

Yerba buena for arthritis? You must be kidding! But you read it right, folks. There is yet no cure for arthritis, but it can be made less painful by resting, and placing hot compress on the affected joints. Or, you can use yerba buena leaves to relieve the pain.

But how? Simply heat enough fresh leaves (including the stems and petioles) over a fire, then pound and apply on the affected joints while still warm. Apply bandage to keep the leaves in place. Change the dressing every four hours, as needed.

To relieve toothache using yerba buena, wet a small piece of cotton ball with juice extracted from pounded fresh leaves and then place on the aching tooth.

Also a mouthwash

Aside from being medicinal, yerba buena is also a mouthwash. Now, here’s a more natural way to keep your breath fresh and your mouth clean. To prepare a yerba buena mouthwash, soak two tablespoonful of chopped fresh leaves in a glass of water for 30 minutes. Strain and use as mouthwash.

A friend of ours once told us that she used tsaang-gubat—also called kalabonog, maramara, semente and buyo-buyo—to treat diarrhea or LBM (loose bowel movement, that is). You will know a person has diarrhea when his stool is soft to watery and when he has to move his bowels more often than two times in one day.

To treat LBM using tsaang-gubat, boil dried or fresh leaves in two glasses of water for 15 minutes. Let cool, then strain and divide into four parts. Drink one part every two hours (until stool becomes solid).

In addition to taking tsaang-gubat, remember also that a person with diarrhea should take in nutritious solid and liquid foods to replace those that he discharges. Fatty foods and dairy products must, however, be avoided as they will worsen the diarrhea. Instead, the patient must eat foods that promote the hardening of stools, like banana (particularly the latundan variety), guava, star apple, etc.

On the other hand, parsley is considered a miracle herb. It is reportedly an effective medicine for several illnesses, among them, inflammation of the kidneys and bladder trouble. Eat parsley with your vegetables.

There are hundreds of home remedies, thousands maybe from our grasses, plants, bushes, shrubs and trees. Sometime ago, we read that a Chinese scientist compiled herbal plants in China and his list ran close to 6,000 to 7,700. Our very own, the late Filipino scientist Eduardo Quisumbing, had a book on medicinal plants and trees. It has been reprinted and is now sold in bookstores.

By the way, in treating ailments with herbs and medicinal plants, use only one herb or medicinal plant at a time. It is best to use one already recognized and prescribed by the Department of Health or experts.

Here’s another caution: herbal medicines have specific uses. Do not use them for other than what is called for.

And that’s a health thought for the day!


Chasteberry

By Annette McDermott (Natural Healing Specialist, Reviewed by Terri Forehand RN)

Chasteberry, also called Vitex agnus-castus, is the fruit of chaste trees, a shrub-like tree found in the Mediterranean and parts of Asia. Folklore says the berry got its name because it decreased sexual desire and promoted chastity. But the peppercorn-sized berries are used today to help treat common women's health issues.

Benefits

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (NCCAM) states that chasteberry has been used for thousands of years to treat menstrual issues and to stimulate breast milk production. The herb is still used to treat pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), acne, menopause symptoms and fertility issues. Chasteberry is believed to affect progesterone and prolactin hormones. When female baldness is caused by declining estrogen, herbalists may prescribe chasteberry. What the Research Says

Scientific research on chasteberry is lacking but some studies support the herb's benefits:

• PubMed reports that a Japanese study on women ages 19-44 who suffered from PMS concluded that Vitex agus-castus (VAC) extract improved PMS symptoms with no negative side effects. Each woman took Prefemin, which contains 20mg of VAC extract, once daily for three menstrual cycles. By the third cycle, almost all patients reported none or mild symptoms.
• A review of pharmaceutical studies and clinical research took place to determine whether chasteberry is effective in treating menopause symptoms. The review's abstract concluded that while evidence is lacking, "emerging pharmacological evidence supports a role for V. agnus-castus in the alleviation of menopausal symptoms." More research is recommended.
• An American Family Physician's (AFP) article states that the use of chasteberry is supported for PMS and cyclical breast discomfort. However, the article also states that "data on its use for menstrual irregularities and fertility disorders are weak." The article suggests chasteberry be discouraged for use to stimulate milk production. Despite the AFP's determination, the University of Michigan Health System gives chasteberry two out of three stars for treating female fertility. They indicate that Vitex may benefit infertile women, especially those with luteal phase defect and high prolactin levels.

It is important to note that chasteberry does not have FDA approval for treating any of the above ailments.

Side Effects

Chasteberry does not have serious side effects, according to NCCAM. However, it may cause dizziness, acne rashes or gastrointestinal issues. Chasteberry can also affect menstrual flow. NCCAM lists the following additional cautions on its website:

• Because chasteberry affects hormones, it should not be used by women who are pregnant, take birth control or have a hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer.
• People who use dopamine drugs, including drugs taken for Parkinson's disease or some anti-psychotic drugs should avoid chasteberry.
Forms and Dosage

Chasteberry is available in tea, extract, capsules and tincture forms. Many forms are available at natural health stores and pharmacies or on the Internet.

According to AFP, dosages of chasteberry vary, but a dose of "4 mg per day of an extract standardized to 6 percent of the constituent agnuside" has been used in clinical trials, which is available as Femaprin from Nature's Way. Dosage for chasteberry fruit extract is typically 20 to 40 mg per day, fluid extract 40 drops daily, and tincture 35 to 45 drops three times a day.

If you prefer to drink your chasteberries, make chasteberry tea. Add one teaspoon fresh or dried chasteberries to eight ounces boiling water; steep up to ten minutes and sweeten as desired. Dosage Considerations

Drugs.com mentions on its website that the hormone effects of chasteberry on women may be dependent on dosage. Lower dosages result in increased prolactin, progesterone and estrogen levels and decreased progesterone while higher dosages decrease prolactin. A Safe Herb to Try

WomensHealth.gov states that 85 percent of menstruating women suffer from at least one PMS symptom monthly with up to eight percent of those women experiencing severe, often-debilitating symptoms. Ten percent of women in the United States struggle with infertility.

Chasteberry is considered a safe alternative to prescription or over-the-counter drugs to combat PMS and shows promise for infertility and other women's conditions. Consult your physician, an herbalist or natural health practitioner to determine the proper form and dosage of chasteberry for you.


Lagundi Tree Benefits

(Herbal Remedy Treatments)
LAGUNDI TREE

Lagundi (scientific name: Vitex negundo) as mentioned earlier is native to the Philippine Islands and has been used for centuries because of its therapeutic properties. It is a large shrub which can grow up to five meters tall; with a single thick woody stem like a trunk. Its leaves are pointed and having five leaflets set like a hand. Most of the parts of the lagundi plant have medicinal values which is why it is actively promoted by the Philippine Department of Health.

It is one of the ten herbal medicines endorsed by the Philippine Department of Health as an effective herbal medicine with proven therapeutic value. Commonly known in the Ilocos region as dangla, lagundi has been clinically tested to be effective in the treatment of colds, flu, bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, and pharyngitis. Studies have shown that Lagundi can prevent the body's production of leukotrienes, which are released during an asthma attack. Lagundi contains Chrysoplenol D, a substance with anti-histamine and muscle relaxant properties. Even in Japan, lagundi is becoming recognized as an effective herbal medicine, especially since researches have shown that it contains properties that make it an expectorant and it has been reported to function as a tonic as well. More than that, most of the parts of the lagundi plant have medicinal value.

The roots of this shrub are also used as treatment for rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils, and leprosy. The leaves, flowers, seeds, and root of Lagundi can all be used as herbal medicine. A decoction is made by boiling the parts of the plant and taken orally. Today, Lagundi is available in capsule form and syrup for cough. For its part, the flowers are recommended as a cardiac tonic, as cure for liver diseases, and other internal disorders such as diarrhea and cholera. The lagundi plant also has anti-inflammatory functions, and its cooling effects are ideal as treatment for skin diseases such as leprosy.

Herbal Benefits of Lagundi:
• Relief of asthma & pharyngitis
• Recommended relief of rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils, diarrhea
• Treatment of cough, colds, fever and flu and other bronchopulmonary disorders
• Alleviate symptoms of Chicken Pox
• Removal of worms, and boils

Herbs and Supplements for Menopause

By Dale Kiefer (Medically Reviewed by Alan Carter, PharmD)
Overview

Menopause, or the “change of life,” is a transitional phase that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. The change is usually gradual and generally occurs around age 50. Menopause is often accompanied by a handful of symptoms, which vary in intensity and duration from woman to woman. These symptoms ordinarily include:

• hot flashes
• irritability
• insomnia
• vaginal dryness
• depression, in some cases

These symptoms are related to the dramatic decline and unpredictable oscillations in your body’s production of natural estrogens.

Most natural remedies for menopause prominently feature plant-based compounds called phytoestrogens. These estrogen-like chemicals bind with estrogen receptors on tissues located throughout your body to relieve menopause symptoms.

For centuries, various medicinal systems have employed herbs and supplements to help relieve these symptoms. These botanicals have been handed down to us from Native American herbal lore, traditional Asian medicine, and Indian Ayurveda. Today, scientists investigate their actual benefits.

Herbs and Supplements

Here are some herbs and supplements that have been proven to be both safe and effective:

Soy: Genistein and Daidzein

Soy contains phytoestrogen compounds called isoflavones. The two major soy isoflavones are genistein and daidzein. In a study by the Linus Pauling Institute, these and other soy components have been credited with helping reduce the following medical conditions, although some responses in the study were mixed and not totally proven:

• the risk of certain cancers
• blood lipid levels, which may lead to a reduced risk of heart disease
• post-menopausal osteoporosis,
• the frequency and severity of hot flashes during menopause
• weight gain after menopause
Black Cohosh

Although some studies suggest that black cohosh helps alleviate menopausal symptoms, other studies don’t. The National Institutes of Health state that this Native American botanical remedy may be helpful in the short term of six months or less, for controlling hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. Although preliminary evidence is encouraging, this has not been fully proven.

Red Clover

As with black soy and cohosh, study results are mixed, but a study in the Gynecologic Endocrinology journal does report that red clover helps alleviate menopause symptoms with few side effects and no serious health risks.

HMR Lignans

Lignans are a class of compounds obtained through fiber-rich foods, such as flaxseed and sesame. Like soy compounds, lignans are phytoestrogens. They activate in your body after they are converted in your digestive tract to a compound called enterolactone. Higher levels of enterolactone have been associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer in women.

The HMR lignan, also called 7-hydroxymatairesinol, is extracted from Norway spruce trees for sale as a nutritional supplement. In addition to significant breast cancer protection, HMR lignans may help improve blood lipid profiles in menopausal and post-menopausal women.

Chasteberry

Some premenopausal women experience symptoms commonly associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). For centuries, folk medicine practitioners have used the berry of the chaste tree to treat such symptoms. However, an article published in the American Family Physician suggests that chasteberry or its extract does indeed help relieve this symptom of perimenopause.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

When depression occurs during menopause, increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids may help. In a study published in Menopause, the Journal of the North American Menopause Society, omega-3s were shown to be useful in treating depression, especially depression associated with a transition to menopause. Increasing your intake of omega-3s, commonly in the form of fish oil, may also alleviate mood-related symptoms, such as irritability and anxiety.

Outlook

These herbs and supplements offer a healthy, natural way to alleviate menopause symptoms. Although research on some of them is inconclusive, they have been effective for some women and have been used for hundreds of years. As always, check with your doctor before taking any.


Foods that helps you ease your dry cough

(Ringo, Food Citations)

In the past two weeks I suffered the worst dry cough of my life. This is the first time that I got a dry cough that keeps me awake all night with fever and uneasiness for almost a week. This is also the first time that my cough will trigger to the simple things like speaking. It affects my work as I can’t speak for my students and can’t think well for my blogs.

I consulted a doctor and he just prescribed me over the counter drugs that never helped. This forced me to look for home remedies for dry cough, use the tips and now my cough is easing.

Please be noted that all the herbs and foods that I will enumerate are all based on my personal experience.

Here are some of the home remedies for dry cough:

Lagundi

With scientific name Vitex negundo, lagundi is an aromatic shrub that is widely distributed in the Philippines. Here, it was dubbed as the best remedy all types of cough. The leaves are boiled and used as tea to alleviate chest pain and discomfort.

According to Medical Health Guide, boil a cup of Lagundi parts (leaves, roots, trunks) in four cups of water to make a tea. Let the person with dry cough to sip it to ease the chest pain.

There is also Lagundi available in tea bags in supermarkets for easier ways to make a tea.

I also once asked a pharmacist of a known company about my dry cough and he said that lagundi capsules are highly recommended.

Honey

This is the only sweet thing that will help you with dry cough. When swallowed, this acts as a suppressant. This is also best to be added with other foods in this list.

Be careful in buying honey. Most of the honey is local markets and supermarkets are not pure. Most of them contains sugar, which is, according to my doctor is prohibited when you have cough. It recommend you buy honey from sellers of organic products, they usually have the raw honey from the mountains.

One characteristic of a raw honey is that it is wine like.

Milk

It’s not true that milk triggers mucus. In fact, milk helps in relieving dry cough. How? Milk is slow in going down through your throat and it is because of its thickness. So, when it passes your throat it brings mucus down and will leave a coating to the throat the eases the pain.

Before going to sleep drink a warm ready to drink milk and you’ll feel relief. You can also add honey for a better experience.

Dalandan or other citrus

Due to its vitamin C, dalandan is best for dry cough. During the time I suffered from colds with dry cough, I bought a kilo of dalandan and used to chow one all through out the day and hualla!! my dry cough eases and my colds is gone.

I also use to make a dalandan or calamansi juice juice with honey that I use to drink after each meal.

Oregano

This is one of the oldest way to cure cough. When I was a kid, this is used by my mother and father to cure our cough. Just juice the stem and leaves of the plant and drink.

This is one of the most painful herb for your cough. But, very worthy.

Other practical treatments
• Drink plenty of water.
• Change your diet into high vitamin c like Malunggay, citrus, and many more.
• Steam helps in clearing and softening the sticky phlegm. You can use a humidifier or just boil water and sniff the steam. If you have a steam shower, take a bath and stay there for a couple of minutes.
• Sucking on no-sugar lozenges gives immediate help in easing chest discomfort. Buy the no-sugar or the extra strong strepsils.
• Taking sodium ascorbate will also help you increase your immune system.
• Avoid sweet products as sugar is very well loved by bacteria causing the hard and sticky phlegm.
• Avoid cold products.
• Sleep for more than 8 hours to regain your immune system.
My warning

Please be noted that my enumerated treatment is not suited for all ages and situation. Take for example lagundi, it is not for infants, pregnant women, elderly and people with adverse reaction to the plant. Honey may cause death to infants and people allergic to honey composition.

If your dry cough last for more than three weeks it’s time to consult a doctor.


Benefits Of Chasteberry (Vitex Agnus-catus) For Health

(Tips Curing Disease)
Chasteberry (Vitex Agnus-catus)

Chasteberry (Vitex Agnus-catus) is known as other names: Agneau du Moine, Agneau-chaste, Agni Casti, Agnocasto, Agnolyt, Agnus-Castus, Arbre au Poivre, Agnus Castus, Chaste Berry, Chaste Tree, Chaste Tree Berry, Chasteberry, Chastetree, Chinese Vitex, Gattilier, Hemp Tree, Herbe au Poivre, Mang Jing Zi, Monk's Pepper...

Chaste tree berry is large shrub with beautiful blue–violet flowers that bloom during the summer months can grow up to twenty-two feet in height, and is considered to be native to the Southern Europe and to the Mediterranean. This tree grows mostly on riverbanks, although today it can be grown in a simple garden, which is what most Americans do.

Chasteberry is a small brown berry fruit of the chaste tree which is about the size of peppercorns and smells like peppermint. Chasteberry has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries for its health benefits. In its ripe form, the fruit is used in the preparation of herbal liquids and powdered extracts. The fruit is also known as vitex, monk's pepper, or monk's berry as it was used by ancient Romans to curb the sexual urges in monks.

Chasteberry has been used for thousands of years, mostly by women to ease menstrual problems and to stimulate the production of breast milk. Currently, chasteberry is still used as a folk or traditional remedy for menstrual problems, such as premenstrual syndrome, as well as for symptoms of menopause, some types of infertility, and acne.

Benefits Of Chasteberry (Vitex Agnus-catus) For Health

For over 2500 years chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) has been used for gynecological conditions since the days of Hippocrates. With a rich traditional of use, modern research supports historical wisdom, and has made chaste tree fruit preparations a phytomedicine of choice by European gynecologists for treatment of various menstrual disorders, PMS, and other conditions.

It is believed that chasteberry extract may help stop the release of a hormone prolactin from the pituitary gland. High levels of Prolactin hormone may stimulate milk production in pregnant and lactating women causing breast tenderness and may also cause irregular menstrual cycles and missed periods. Therefore, taking chasteberry extract capsule daily can be beneficial to reduce breast tenderness.

Chasteberry has been used as a natural herbal remedy to help balance the body's hormones. Men have been using chasteberry for years as a natural anti-androgen to lower testosterone hormone levels to suppress the onset of prostate cancer.

Chasteberry may be a little strange to know that although the chaste tree is generally used for treating disorders and conditions of the female reproductive system, like for pre-menstrual syndrome or PMS and for peri - or postmenopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, they are associated with completely different hormonal imbalances. In fact, the results of a survey by medical herbalists concluded that the chaste tree may be considered an ‘adaptogen' which affects the pituitary gland in a human being. The parts of the chaste tree most often used in medical treatments are the dried berries, although in some Mediterranean countries, leaves of flowering chaste tree tops are also harvested and dried for medicinal use.

Chasteberry can help bring relief from fevers and headaches if it is taken in the form of a drink made from the seeds of vitex, and it can also help stimulate perspiration, promote menstruation, and prove effective in "purging the uterus.” Vitex is also known to promote the flow of breast milk in new mothers. Vitex seeds can also be taken to dispel "wind" or flatulence from the bowels, perhaps because of their hot nature, and this would be useful in promoting urination, checking and arresting diarrhea, and improving dropsy and spleen diseases. However, there are conflicting opinions about the use of Chasteberry during pregnancy, therefore, during pregnancy the consumption of Chasteberry in any form should be avoided unless advised by your health care provider otherwise.

Both the chasteberry seeds and the leaves were also considered effective against the bites of snakes and spiders. In case of snake bites, vitex can be taken in the form of two tender leaves of vitex mixed in wine or in a mixture of water and vinegar.

Very often, the chasteberry is used to treat acne in both men and women, and it is believed that it is the antiandrogenic effect of the herb, although there is a lack of research on the subject, that is responsible for the fact. Chasteberry is also recommended to decrease an unusually active libido.

Chasteberry (Vitex Agnus-catus) Side Effects and Cautions

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Using chasteberry during pregnancy or breast-feeding is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. The concern is that vitex agnus-castus can interfere with hormones. Don’t use chasteberry if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Chasteberry may affect certain hormone levels. Women who are pregnant or taking birth control pills or who have a hormone-sensitive condition (such as breast cancer) should not use chasteberry.

Because chasteberry may affect the dopamine system in the brain, people taking dopamine-related medications, such as certain antipsychotic drugs and Parkinson's disease medications, should avoid using chasteberry.

Schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. Chasteberry seems to affect a chemical in the brain called dopamine. Some medications for mental disorders help to decrease dopamine. Therefore, taking chasteberry might affect therapy for certain mental disorders.


5 home remedies for cough, colds

By Sol Aragones, (ABS-CBN News,abs-cbnNEWS.com)

MANILA, Philippines - As the temperature continues to plunge here and in other parts of the country, more and more people are starting to get sick.

At East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City, for one, some 60 patients are visiting the hospital daily due to cough and colds.

If left untreated for days, cough and colds can lead to pneumonia, which can cause death, warned Dr. Lyndon Leesuy, program manager of infectious diseases of the Department of Health (DOH).

To prevent this from happening, one should drink a lot of water, eat healthy food, have enough rest, and stay away from stress to build enough resistance to diseases, he said.

Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan, herbalist and professor at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, shared 5 tips to get rid of cough, colds and flu for those who are already sick.

Ingredients for these quick remedies make use of plants that can be easily grown in your backyard. The DOH stressed, however, that these should be accompanied by proper medical consultation to get the full effects.

Lagundi. This shrub, endorsed by the Department of Health, is known for its cooling, antihistamine and muscle relaxant properties. Place 7 clusters of lagundi in a pot with 2 glasses of water and bring it to a boil, then drink it every 4 hours.

Alagaw. This plant, which can only be found in the Philippines, is known for its aromatic smell. Place a handful of alagaw leaves in a pot with water and bring it to a boil, then drink it every 4 hours.

Oregano. Place 3 to 5 leaves of this common herb in a pot of hot water for 15 minutes. Drink the resulting mixture to relieve cough and colds.

Ginger. Cut ginger into long thin strips (julienne). One strip of ginger placed in the mouth can act as a throat lozenge.

Calamansi. This fruit can be mixed with honey (or sugar) and water to make hot tea. Ginger may also be used to make salabat (ginger tea).Both can help prevent colds and soothe a sore throat.


Why Should You Drink Chaste Berry Tea

By Dr.Gopi Krishna Maddikera

Did you know that this tea has been used to curb the sexual desire of people?In medieval ages, this herb was used by monks to suppress their libido.

You will be amazed know the health benefits of chaste berry tea provides for those who drinks eat.

However, in modern days, the use chaste berry tea, now is not restricted to suppressing the libido. The consumption of this herb has expanded its horizon– ranging from treating female hormonal problems to a male pattern of baldness.

What Is Chaste Berry?

Chaste berries trees (Vitex agnus-castus), produce small brown berry fruits. When the fruit ripens, you use this fruit to make herbal liquid and powdered extracts.

These extracts are further processed into pills, tea, etc. and used as medicinal supplements.

How Chaste BerryTea Works?

From the time of Hippocrates, this herb was given to women to curb the menstrual syndrome. Thus, we can say the importance of the plant has been long realized.

You should know that this tea does not contain hormones, but it stimulates the hormone releasing activity in the body. This tea affects your pituitary gland which produces more Luteinizing hormone (LH) which further goes on affecting the production of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin in your body.

So, if you have any symptoms caused due to hormonal misbalance, chaste berry tea is for you.

Now let’s look how chaste berry tea is beneficial for people. We have divided the advantages of the tea into two different sections:

Health Benefits Of Chaste Berry Tea
A.Benefits Chaste Berry Tea for Women

1.Acts against Infertility and Miscarriages

If you are suffering from infertility or miscarriages, then this tea is a good supplement for you. It is seen that chaste berry tea helps to regulate the progesterone levels in the body.

Progesterone plays a vital role in reducing luteal phase defects which are the reason for complication during pregnancy. Luteal phase defects are usually the reasons for complication during pregnancy.

Also, progesterone is associated with thinning of uterine walls. Thinning of uterine walls is another reason for increasing dangers in miscarriage. Thus, for a person suffering from infertility or have problems of miscarriage, a cup of chaste berry tea every day is a better option.

2.Helps to reduce Premenstrual Syndrome

For every woman in the world, the premenstrual syndrome can be debilitating. Menstrual cramps, pain on the back and what not!

As the saying goes, for every problem there is a solution. Chaste berry tea can be a solution for a woman to get over the premenstrual syndromes. Research has shown that, if you consume Chaste berry extracts, it helps to reduce the physical symptoms like cramps, fatigues, back pain which are the common problems faced by a woman.

The problems like mood swings, breast tenderness which gets severe during PMS can be reduced by using chaste berry tea.

3.Reduced Menopausal Syndrome

During Menopause, a lot of hormonal changes happens in the body. Some women show severe symptoms like sweating at night, fatigue and pain.

However, the good news is, this tea has hormonal balancing properties and works against these symptoms of menopause. Also, chaste berry helps in boosting the libido which decreases during menopause.

So, consuming a cup of chaste berry tea every day will help to do away with menopausal syndromes, if you are suffering from one.

4.Increase Breast milk production

Chaste berry has been used since long to increase breast milk in women.

If you are a lactating mother and if your breast milk is not enough for the baby, using chaste berry tea will help to increase your milk production. Chaste berry tea helps to increase the prolactin levels in the body, which further helps to stimulate the increase in milk supply.

However, research has shown that large dosage of chaste berry decreases the level of prolactin in your body. Hence, it is necessary that you take chaste berry in a reduced dose.

5.Helps to prevent acne

If you have acne flares recently, and you are worried about this, chaste berry tea is a good solution for you.

Usually, pimples in our body are the result of the fluctuation in the level of hormones. When hormonal level fluctuates, these hormones influence sebaceous glands to secrete excess sebum which causes pimple outbreak.

Chaste berry tea helps to balance this hormonal fluctuation in the body. It acts upon your hypothalamus and pituitary glands in the body, balance the hormonal fluctuations and hence stops acne by keeping your skin clear.

6.Chaste berry tea for Fibroids

Uterine Fibroids is a common problem for women of a childbearing age. If you have fibroids, the symptoms like heavy bleeding and prolonged periods with pain can be observed. Further, in serious cases, uterine fibroids also causes tumors on the uterus.

Estrogen usually causes fibroids. When the level of estrogen increases in the body, fibroids also increase in the uterus wall. Since chaste berry acts on the hormones and helps to regulate their levels in the body, it controls the estrogen level and prevents the incidents of fibroids in your body.

7.Irregular periods

Have you been missing your periods quite often? If that is the case, taking a cup of Chaste berry tea a day can do you miracles. Irregular periods especially caused by hormone prolactin can be improved by taking this tea.

Also, this tea helps to balance the level of progesterone and estrogen in your body, decreasing the tendency of irregular period. However, you need to take this tea for 12-18 months for it to make an effect.

8.Helps to treat Histurism

Do you have excessive hair growth on the body or face and you are worried about it?

If yes, then you should consider taking chaste berry tea. Histurism is usually caused if you have free testosterone in the body. This miracle tea, however, has an anti-androgenic effect which helps to decrease the testosterone level in the body. The decrease in free testosterone prevents excessive hair growth in women.

So ladies, no need for laser treatments! A cup of chaste berry tea can be a natural solution for excessive hair in the body.

B.Uses of Chaste berry tea for men

1.Curbs Hyper-sexuality

Chaste berry tea has been used since ages to curb hyper-sexuality. Even during medieval ages, this herb was used in monasteries to curb the sexual desire of the monks and to ensure chastity.

Regular intake has shown that it suppresses the libido in an individual.

2.Acts on Male pattern of baldness

One of the main problem faced by men during their middle age is thinning of hair. This is called male pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia.

Chaste berry tea has been found to work against this condition. It has anti-androgenic properties which inhibit the function of androgens and other sex hormones. Drinking a cup of chaste berry tea will help you curb this problem and delay hair loss.

3.Prevents Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

During Prostatic Hyperplasia, your prostate grows bigger and presses on urethra causing difficulty in urinating.

If you are suffering from this problem, then chaste berry can be a good option for you. Antiandrogenic properties of chaste berry act on testosterone hormone which is responsible for prostate enlargement.

Thus, it helps in relieving the pain related to prostatic hyperplasia and makes urination easier for a person.

4.Works against Prostate cancer

Good news is Chaste berry tea has been shown to work against prostate cancer in the body.

A study conducted in Switzerland showed that the extracts of the chaste berry slow the growth of cancer cells in the body. It also promotes apoptosis of cancer cells, and thus prevents the incidence of prostate cancer in Males.

Chaste Tree Berry Herbal Tea Recipe
Ingredients
• A cup of boiled water
• One teaspoon of chaste berry tea
• One teaspoon of honey
• ½ Teaspoon of minced mint
Procedure

You should take one teaspoon of chaste berry tea in a cup and put it aside. Boil a Cup of water and pour, the boiling water in the cup containing chaste berry tea.

Allow the tea leaves to soak in hot water for 10 and add a tablespoon of honey and half tablespoon of chopped mint in the mixture.

Your cup of chaste berry tea is now ready.We have now seen the benefits underlying this miracle herb tea. Despite that, there are some shortcomings in this tea. Let’s discuss those shortcomings now.

Side effects of Chaste berry tea

Though this herb does not have side effects after use, there are cases of nausea, headaches, rashes and difficulty in sleeping is seen. If you experience any of these changes, it is better to stop using it.

Also, one should avoid this tea if they are consuming dopamine-related drugs. Chaste berry affects the brain patterns of dopamine release, causing an imbalance in the level of dopamine in the body.

This tea is seen to affect brain patterns on dopamine release. Hence, it is better to avoid this tea, if you are taking any such drugs.

Precautions for Using Chaste Berry

After looking at the side effects of the chaste berry tea, now let’s look if there are any precautions to be undertaken while consuming this tea.

The first and foremost precaution is, that tea to children because much evidence has not been extracted about its effects on children.

If you are taking any oral contraceptives, it is better to avoid chaste berry products. This tea will act as a precursor for a hormone that promotes ovulation. This will inhibit the effect of oral contraceptives you are using and increase the chances of unplanned pregnancy in you.

In males, since it contains anti-androgenic properties, it will decrease the level of testosterone in the body. So, as a couple, if you are undergoing any treatment for infertility, or any hormonal therapy, consumption of chaste berry tea is not advised.

From this article, we now know about different advantages of chaste berry tea. I hope after reading this article, you will use this tea and derive maximum benefit from it.


10 Highly Endorsed Herbal Plants in the Philippines

(Papaleng)

The Philippines, a country of more than 7,000 islands, is blessed with rare, exotic flowering plants and more than 500 medicinal plants. With alternative medicine gaining some popularity, the Philippine government through proper government agencies and private organizations have done extensive researches and studies in search for traditional plants doubling as medicinal plants. Following is a compilation of 10 medicinal or herbal plants duly approved by the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) as productive sources for alternative medicine.

1.Bitter Gourd (Ampalaya) – Momordica charantia

Well-known for its bitter edible fruit, Ampalaya is a herbaceous, climbing vine growing up to five meters. The plant have heart-shaped leaves and bear green oblong-shaped fruits. Leaves, fruits and roots are used in treating several health disorders.

Medicinal Uses:
• Juice extracted from leaves is effective in easing cough, pneumonia, heal wounds, and combating intestinal parasites.
• Juice from fruits aids in treating dysentery and chronic colitis.
• Decoction of roots and seeds is effective in treating hemorrhoids, rheumatism, abdominal pain, psoriasis.

and urethral discharges.

• Pounded leaves used for eczema, jaundice, and scalds.
• Decoction of leaves is effective for fevers.

Recent studies have suggested that the bitter fruit contains plant insulin, helpful for its blood sugar lowering effect. Ampalaya is recommended for diabetic individuals to take.

2. Ringworm Bush (Akapulko) – Cassia alata

An erect, shrubby legume reaching 6 ft tall, Akapulko grows throughout the Philippines. It has dark green leaves and yellow-orange flowers, producing as much as 50 to 60 small, triangular seeds. For medicinal purposes, leaves, flowers and seeds are used.

Medicinal Uses:
• Decoction of leaves and flowers is very effective in easing asthma, cough and bronchitis.
• The seeds are effective in expelling intestinal parasites.
• Juice from leaves aids in controlling fungal infections like; eczema, athlete’s foot, ringworm, scabies, and herpes.
• Pounded leaves reduce injury-related swellings, treat insect bites, and ease rheumatism.
• Leaves and flowers concoction used as mouthwash in treating stomatitis.
• Juice from leaves ease fetid discharges.
• The leaves stain is an effective purgative.

3. Garlic (Bawang) - Allium sativum

Garlic is a low herb with flat and linear leaves growing to about 30 to 60 cm tall. Garlic is commercially grown in the Philippine provinces of Batangas, Cotabato, Ilocos Norte, Mindoro and Nueva Ecija. Leaves, bulbs, lobes are used for medical purposes.

Medicinal Uses:
• Massaging crushed lobe to both temples can ease headache.
• Rubbing crushed lobe to affected areas is a good remedy for insect bites and athlete’s foot.
• Decoction of leaves and bulbs is effective for fever, tonsillitis, and digestive problems.
• Juice from crushed garlic is used to treat colds, cough, sore throat, bronchitis, and asthma.

4. Guava (Bayabas) - Psidium guajava

The guava is a perennial shrub growing to about 25 ft. tall at maturity. It has oval to oblong leaves and bears white flowers, developing into green fruits that turns yellow in color when ripe. A common backyard plant, Bayabas is grown throughout the Philippines. The edible fruit is a good source of Vitamin C. The leaves are used for treating certain health problems.

Medicinal Uses:
• As cleaning agent, decoction of fresh leaves prevents infection in wounds.
• Also, decoction of leaves is effective for diarrhea and skin ulcers.
• Boiled fresh leaves are good ingredients for aromatic baths.
• Chewing fresh leaves help control gum swelling.
• Placing tightly roll leaves into the nasal tract can stop nosebleeds.

5. Five-leaved chaste tree (Lagundi) - Vitex negundo

Lagundi is a small erect tree that can reach 3meter at maturity. The plant has evergreen leaves, blue flowers about 6-7 mm that develop into fruits about 4mm in diameter. Leaves, seeds, bark and roots are used for the treatment of various illnesses.

Medicinal Uses:
• Decoction of leaves is effective for cough, colds, fever, headache, toothache, asthma, menstrual difficulties and amenorrhea.
• As washing agent, boiled leaves are used for sponge bathing, treating wounds and ulcer.
• Placing ash of fresh leaves in affected areas can ease rheumatic joints.
• Decoction of leaves taken as a diuretic.

6. Chinese honeysuckle (Niyog-niyogan) - Quisqualis indica

Niog-niogan is a perennial climbing shrub growing to about 2.5-8 meters at maturity. It has egg-shaped leaves, aromatic flowers that may come in white to purple orange in color. The oval-shaped fruit can reach 30-35 mm long when ripe. For medicinal purposes leaves, seeds and roots are used.

Medicinal Uses:
• Dried seeds, when eaten, act as deworming agents.
• Roasted seeds help control diarrhea and fever.
• Boiled leaves used to check difficulty in urinating
• Fruit decoction of fruit, taken as mouthwash, is effective against nephritis.
• Juice made from leaves are used in the treatment of ulcers, boils, and fever-induced headache.
• Decoctions of roots aids in reducing pain due to rheumatism.
• Pounded leaves are used externally for skin diseases.

7. Shiny Bush (Pansit-pansitan) - Peperomia pellucida

Pansit-pansitan is a small, fleshy herb (about 40 cm tall), which grows in yards, nooks and other damp areas. The plant have green, heart-shaped leaves, fleshy stems that produce tiny flowers on a spike. The small, oblong-shaped fruits turn to black when ripe. Parts uses are leaves and stems.

Medical Uses:
• Fresh juice made from stem and leaves controls eye inflammation.
• Crushed whole plant as warm poultice, is effective for pimples, boils, and wound.
• Concoction of leaves used in treating fevers, headaches, sore throats, coughs, common colds, and diarrheas.
• Boiled leaves and stems is used for gout, arthritis, rheumatic pains, and conjunctivitis. The mixture is also effective in controlling high blood pressure.
• Juice made from leaves and stem, taken externally, is a good facial wash for skin problems.

8. Blumea camphora (Sambong) – Blumea balsamifera

Sambong is a tall, erect, shrub that grows in grasslands, open fields, waste areas. This strongly aromatic herb with elongated leaves, and yellow flowers can reach 4 meters tall at maturity. Leaves are used to treat certain medical conditions.

Medicinal uses:
• Decoction of leaves is effective against fever, kidney problems and cystitis.
• Leaves is used as poultice for abscesses.
• Concoction of leaves is used for sore throat, rheumatic pains, stomach pains, and dysentery.
• Fresh juice made from leaves is applied to wounds and cuts.
• As expectorant, Sambong tea is used for colds.

9. Fukien tea tree (Tsaang Gubat): - Ehretia microphylla Lam

Grown throughout the Philippines, Tsaang Gubat is a shrub growing to about 5 m tall. Leaves grow in clusters with rough jagged edge towards the tip. The plant bears white flowers that developed into a fleshy, yellow-orange fruits when ripe. Leaves are used for medicinal purposes.

Medicinal Uses:
• Tea extracted from leaves is taken to ease stomach aches, diarrheas, and dysentery.
• Decoction of leaves is effective as dental mouthwash.
• Leaves concoction is used to stop bleeding cause by snakebites, and a cure for plant-based poisoning;
• Decoction of leaves is also used as body cleanser after childbirth.

10. Mint (Yerba Buena) - Clinopodium douglasii

Yerba Buena is a perennial plant of the mint family that grows up to 1 meter long. Leaves are elliptic in shape, and produces small, hairy whitish, or purplish flowers. In the Philippines, Yerba Buena is grown in high elevated areas. As medicinal plant, the parts used are leaves and stem.

Medical Uses:
• Promotes good health, if taken as tea.
• Sniffing crushed fresh leaves is effective for dizziness.
• Leaves soak in a glass of water is used as mouthwash.
• Decoction of leaves is used for migraine, headaches, fevers, toothaches, stomach aches, muscles and joint pains, and dysmenorrhea.
• Pounded or crushed leaves is used to treat insect bites.

Chasteberry Health Benefits

By Jawairia Zafar (OCT)
What is Chasteberry?

Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-catus) is a small brown berry fruit of the chaste tree which is about the size of peppercorns and smells like peppermint. Chasteberry has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries for its health benefits. In its ripe form, the fruit is used in the preparation of herbal liquids and powdered extracts. The fruit is also known as vitex, monk's pepper, or monk's berry as it was used by ancient Romans to curb the sexual urges in monks.

What are the Benefits of Chasteberry?

Chasteberry is often used by herbalists to regulate hormone imbalances in women and lower the testosterone levels in men. It is known for its effectiveness in the treatment of menstrual disorders, PMS, menopausal symptoms such as breast tenderness, hot flashes and mood swings, infertility and decreased milk production in lactating women. Due to its anti-androgen activity, Chasteberry has been used as a natural supplement to lower testosterone levels in transgenders (in male to female), and to suppress the onset of prostate cancer which is also associated with high testosterone levels. Its anti-androgen activity may also help clear up acne, reduce Hirsutism (excessive hair growth) in women.

Uses of Chasteberry
Breast Tenderness

A German company has used Chasteberry extract in the manufacturing of a medication for Mastalgia - sore breasts or breast tenderness associated with PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) and menopause. It is believed that Chasteberry extract may help stop the release of a hormone prolactin from the pituitary gland. High levels of Prolactin hormone may stimulate milk production in pregnant and lactating women causing breast tenderness and may also cause irregular menstrual cycles and missed periods. Therefore, taking one 300mg Chasteberry extract capsule daily can be beneficial to reduce breast tenderness.

Miscarriage and Infertility

Studies have found that the Progesterone hormone plays a crucial role in conception and sustaining pregnancy. Researchers have concluded that low progesterone levels may be associated with the thinning of the uterine lining during pregnancy, corpus luteum insufficiency, and luteal phase defects (which are the main causes of infertility and miscarriages). A luteal phase is a period between ovulation and menstruation during a woman's menstrual cycle which is typically 10-17 days long. However, when this period is too short, too long or irregular, it is described as Luteal Phase Defect (LPD) which leads to infertility and or unsustainable pregnancy. Corpus Luteum Insufficiency is a condition where pregnant women have an abnormally low progesterone levels around 3 weeks after the first day of menstruation. There are a number of other causes of Luteal Phase Defect, Corpus Luteum Insufficiency, infertility and miscarriage but many studies show that low progesterone levels may be a major cause of these conditions. Therefore, taking a Chasteberry capsule once daily may help with infertility and minimize the risks of miscarriage by naturally increasing the progesterone levels in the body. However, there are conflicting opinions about the use of Chasteberry during pregnancy, therefore, during pregnancy the consumption of Chasteberry in any form should be avoided unless advised by your health care provider otherwise.

PMS, Menstrual Cramps, and Menopause

It is believed that Chasteberry is a natural source of the progesterone hormone. Research shows that insufficient progesterone levels may cause all sorts of menstrual problems such as short, early, heavy, too frequent or no periods (amenorrhea), luteal phase defects, and raised levels of the prolactin-pituitary hormone (which is responsible for breast tenderness in PMS and early menopause). A few studies show that the use of Chasteberry extract may help with perimenopause (the early stages of menopause), PMS, menstrual cramps and bloating and other menstrual disorders. Simply taking one capsule of Chasteberry daily during the day for 2 months may be helpful.

Prostate Cancer

Chasteberry has been used as a natural herbal remedy to help balance the body's hormones. Men have been using chasteberry for years as a natural anti-androgen to lower testosterone hormone levels to suppress the onset of prostate cancer.

What are the Side Effects of Chasteberry?

There are not any known adverse side effects of Chasteberry when taken in moderation. Chasteberry should not be taken more than 6-8 months on a regular basis. However, overdose of Chasteberry may cause headache, dizziness, nausea, upset stomach, rash, and itchiness. Since Chasteberry is considered a hormone regulator, it should be avoided when you are being treated for any kind of hormone related condition, are pregnant or lactating or are taking oral contraceptives or medications with dopamine and bromocriptine. Also anti-androgen activity of Chasteberry might affect the fertility in men. Therefore it should be taken into consideration when trying to conceive. It is recommended to consult your health care provider before taking chasteberry or its supplements therapeutically to rule any potential clash with any other medications that you may be taking.

Where and How to Buy Chasteberry

Chasteberry can be found at natural and herbal food stores in the form of powdered extract, standardized liquid extract, tinctures, capsules and supplement sold as vitex agnus castus. When buying Chasteberry and its supplements, make sure its standardized amount is stated on the package and it is from a well reputed company. The highest quality vitex/Chasteberry products can be purchased from licensed naturopathic doctors.


Common solutions for pimples

By Sade Oguntola

About 85 per cent of people get acne or pimples at some point in their lives, and scientists have long blamed it on the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes. Left untreated, acne can lead to diminished self-esteem and scarring.

From mild to severe, cases of acne cause painful and unsightly outbreaks on the face, back, chest and even arms.

Genetics, changing hormone levels and stress are all contributing factors. However, friction from sports equipment and backpacks can further irritate skin, leading to acne breakouts on the chin, forehead, jaw line and back.

Unfortunately, many people choose potentially dangerous prescription drugs and topical medications over natural home remedies for acne.

Now, new research puts forth many natural home remedies for acne. A review of medicinal plants used in the treatment of acne listed Aloe vera, neem, turmeric, Hemidesmus indicus, Terminalia chebula (Almond tree or tropical almond), Withania somnifera(Winter cherry), Butyrospermum paradoxum(shea butter tree), Camellia sinensis (green tea), Ocimum basilicum(basil or Efirin in Yoruba) and Vitex negundo (chasteberry or Ata Iyere in Yoruba).

In the 2015 review, the researchers said the plants potential kill off the bacteria and fungi which cause or worsen acne symptoms as well as prevent the irritation that comes with acne.

Despite few clinical evidences about the effectiveness and safety of these plants in the treatment of acne, they stated “they might possibly be used alone or as adjuvant with other therapeutic measures or mild to moderate situations.”

There are two key ways by which Aloe vera can benefit acne sufferers. First, it is a great moisturiser and cleanser. It can penetrate the layers of the skin to nourish the follicles and soothe skin irritation. It can also speed up the healing of acne scars.

Moreover, holy basil and sweet basil essential oils have been found to fight acne caused by bacteria, according to a report published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Sciences.

In this study, sweet basil oil slightly outperformed holy basil oil in topical applications. Holy basil oil tea, or Tulsi tea, supports healthy blood sugar and hormone levels.

Since these two conditions are linked with acne, consuming herbal tea daily will balance hormones naturally, fighting acne from the inside out, making this one of the best cross-over home remedies for acne.

Additionally, garlic could also be used for this purpose. It is an anti-viral and anti-fungal agent and contains sulphur which helps in the fast treatment of acne.

Cut fresh garlic into half and rub against the pimple like it is done with the lemon. Leave for 10 minutes and wash with lukewarm water. This should be repeated several times a day.

Cucumbers also aid in the clearing of acne. Cucumbers are said to be rich in potassium and vitamins A, C and E. Slice cucumber and soak in water for an hour, the nutrients such as potassium and vitamins transfer to the water. Drink water or use water to wash face.

A face mask made from ground cucumber with little or no water also aids to clear acne. Apply all over the face and leave it for 20 minutes, then wash with warm water. This act helps remove oil and dirt from the face which aid in clearing acne.

Papaya (pawpaw) is also an effective treatment of acne. Papaya is said to be rich in vitamin A and also reduces inflammation. Make a paste by blending and apply all over the face. Wash face with lukewarm water. The exfoliating effect in papaya also helps remove dead cells from skin but this is advised to use after the pimple is gone.

Potatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids and a variety of phytochemicals such as carotenoids and polyphenols. With all its Vitamin-C, B-complex, as well as minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and zinc, potatoes are able to stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis. This gives you an evenly toned complexion.

In fact, potato juice is one of the best remedies for dark spots due to its skin lightening properties. Many natural enzymes, sugars and starches of potatoes along with its vitamin C, exfoliate the skin to slough off the dead cells and thus diminishing the black spots.

Watermelon is known as one of the best dark spot remedies due to its rich sources of moisture, fiber, vitamins A, B and C. The cool and soothing pulp of watermelon helps reduce sun damaged skin spots.

Aloe vera has anti-septic, analgesic and skin soothing properties along with excellent moisturising capabilities. It is a herb that can reduce skin pigmentation, sun tan, skin rash, premature aging, acne and pimples, dry flaky skin, dark black spots, pimple marks, acne scars and any other blemishes on the skin.


Natural Ways to Reduce Menstrual Bleeding

By Zoe Blarowski

Excessive menstrual bleeding, also called menorrhagia, isn’t something you have to tolerate. There are many things you can do to reduce heavy menstruation naturally.

If you’ve ever had this problem, you’re likely aware that menorrhagia can cause issues such as increased fatigue, cramping, anemia and difficulty carrying out daily tasks.

It can be caused by medical conditions like fibroids or uterine polyps, but more commonly, women are prone to menorrhagia during the time leading up to menopause. It affects approximately 10 million American women per year and the majority of those women are in their 40s and 50s.

Speak to your doctor before starting any new routine to rule out more serious conditions first.

Herbal Options

Certain herbs have the potential to reduce menstrual flow. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association has a comprehensive list of herbs that have been shown to help control menorrhagia.

The list below gives some of the most commonly used herbs. Most of these can be found in dry form or as a liquid extract in your local natural foods store.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a professional herbalist before taking any of these herbs. Some have the potential to change your hormonal balance and may not be appropriate to take.

1. Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris)

This plant is an astringent, which means it’s able to contract tissues in the body. It has been used for centuries to treat excessive menstruation as well as wounds, bruises or other forms of bleeding.

To make a lady’s mantle tea, it’s recommended to steep 1 ounce (28 grams) of the dried herb in 1 pint (568 milliliters) of boiling water. Lady’s mantle tinctures are also available.

2. Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

Shepherd’s purse is a common weed you likely already have growing near your home. It’s considered able to stop many different kinds of bleeding and traditionally used to treat hemorrhages of the stomach, lungs, uterus and kidneys as well as hemorrhoids, nose bleeds and hematuria (blood in urine).

If you harvest some of the fresh herb, steep 1 ounce (28 grams) of the plant in 12 ounces (336 milliliters) of boiling water, then strain and cool the infusion before drinking. If you buy it dried, only steep half an ounce for the same amount of water. A liquid extract can also be taken.

3. Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus)

Native to Central Asia and the Mediterranean, the berries of the chasteberry shrub have been used for thousands of years, primarily to ease menstruation and stimulate the production of breast milk. Modern research shows that they may stimulate progesterone production and help balance hormones, which can reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and other conditions like fibroids and menorrhagia.

Liquid or solid extracts are made from the dried berries and put into capsules and tablets. Follow the recommendations on the package for use.

4. Cinnamon

This common spice has many medical uses, including acting as an astringent to help control bleeding. It’s also suggested that cinnamon has a calming effect on the muscles of the uterus.

The best way to use cinnamon is to simply add the powdered spice to more of your foods. Cinnamon oil is not recommended to eat as it can cause health problems when taken internally.

5. Raspberry Leaf

Raspberry leaves contain fragarine, which can help tone and tighten pelvic muscles and relax the uterus. When taken by pregnant women, raspberry leaves are known for their ability to shorten and reduce complications during labor. But they can also help with menstrual issues, such as cramping, nausea and excessive bleeding.

The easiest way to consume this herb is in a tea. Most natural foods stores have commercial brands of raspberry leaf tea in bags. If you buy loose leaves or pick your own, steep about 1 to 2 teaspoons of leaves per cup for 15 minutes. Drink up to three times a day.

6. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow can promote blood coagulation and help to relax uterine muscles.

Try taking about thirty drops of a yarrow tincture up to three times a day, two weeks before your period starts. You can also make an infusion with 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried yarrow in a cup of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes and strain. Drink up to 3 cups per day.

7. Ginger

The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger have been shown to help reduce menstrual flow. You can use ginger as a fresh root in your cooking or as a powder.

Diet

A balanced diet composed of mainly whole foods will help keep your entire body functioning at its peak, including your hormonal system and menstruation.

It’s been found a diet low in animal fat and high in fish and vegetable oils will help regulate menstruation. In particular, soy and flax seeds have been found to be beneficial. This is potentially due to their high phytoestrogen content.

Iron is an important mineral relating to menstruation. Not only can you lose iron from heavy bleeding, having a chronic iron deficiency can make menorrhagia worse. Include lots of iron-rich foods in your diet and take measures to maximize your absorption of this vital mineral.

Deficiencies in magnesium, vitamin A and B vitamins have also been shown to increase menstrual bleeding, so make sure to get enough of these vitamins either through your diet or supplements.

Vitamin C and bioflavonoids can reduce heavy bleeding as well due to their ability to strengthen blood capillaries and promote clotting.

Alternative Therapies

Acupuncture and chiropractic treatment have both been shown to help reduce menstrual bleeding. You can also speak to a professional certified in homeopathy to discuss potential homeopathic remedies.

Putting an ice pack or cold compress on your abdomen during times of heavy bleeding will help to constrict the blood vessels in that region and may help reduce the flow.

It’s also recommended to avoid any intense exercise or heavy lifting around the time of menstruation. This may sound questionable, but I’ve tried to keep my feet up and reduce my activity level as much as possible around the beginning of my period and it noticeably helps.


Lagundi: The green relief of coughs, asthma and skin disorders

By Jovir Amatong

Lagundi – Vitex Negundo

English name: 5- leaved chaste tree Local name: Dangla, Lagundi

Is a shrub that is perennially growing in the Philippines. Since ancient times Lagundi, has been used as an effective remedy for colds, flu, asthma, chronic bronchitis and even pharyngitis. Studies found that this shrub contains extracts which can prevent the body’s production of leukotrienes- a chemical reaction that’s released from the body during an asthma attack. It also has Chrysoplenol D which has anti-histamine and muscle relaxant properties.

The roots of the Lagundi on the other hand are used to treat rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils and even leprosy. The upper parts as leaves, flowers, seeds can be boiled and taken orally.

Commercially today, Lagundi is now available in capsule and syrup form while its flowers are recommended as tonic for the heart, liver and for other internal disorders as diarrhea and cholera.

This perineal plant has anti- inflammatory properties which make it an ideal treatment for leprosy and other skin diseases.

Preparation:

Boiling a cup of fresh or dried leaves and drinking the concoction. Rub on / apply directly the decoction to relieve skin disorders.


How can Vitex (Chaste berry) help me get pregnant?

(Baby Hopes)
How Does Vitex Work?

Vitex has been used for centuries to help women deal with “woman issues” but science still doesn’t really know how exactly vitex works. Vitex doesn’t have hormonal properties by itself, but it does help balance your hormones. It appears to help the pituitary gland function more optimally. The pituitary gland controls when and how much hormone is released in your body. Too much of one hormone can stop other hormones from doing their intended job. Vitex helps to create a hormonal balance that helps your reproductive system work as it should.

Vitex and Your Fertility

Also known as Chaste Berry, Vitex Agnus-Castus, is an herb that has used to correct hormonal imbalances in women for centuries.

The berries from the Vitex agnus-castus tree are used to create herbal supplements that can help improve your hormone balance and increase your fertility.

If you have any of these hormonal issues and want to get pregnant, vitex may be beneficial to you.

• PMS or PMDD
• Missing or Irregular Periods
• Anovulation
• Estrogen Dominance
• Low Progesterone Levels
• PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
• Short Luteal Phase

Vitex can help relieve these issues and increase your chances of getting pregnant.

How Much Vitex Should I Take?

The amount of vitex you should take really depends on how your system reacts to the herb. Most women start at 500 mg a day and increase up to 1000 mg if the lower dosage doesn’t appear to be helping. Keep in mind, vitex isn’t a magic herb that fixes your imbalances immediately. Vitex works very well for alleviating symptoms of hormone imbalance, but it is slow acting. It can take three months, or more, of daily usage to see the full benefits of the herb.

If you can’t seem to find the right level of vitex for you, you might want to find a licensed naturopathic physician who can help you find the correct dosage that works for you.

Hopefully you will be able to get pregnant within a couple of months, but you have to keep taking vitex, you can safely continue to take it for up to 18 months.

Is It Safe For Me To Take Vitex?

You shouldn’t take vitex if you are still taking any form of hormonal birth control. Vitex can render the birth control ineffective.

You shouldn’t take vitex if you are currently under the care of a doctor and taking medications meant to increase your chances of getting pregnant.

While vitex should be safe in the first trimester, you should stop taking it once you have confirmed your pregnancy.


Lagundi (Vitex negundo) — scientifically and clinically proven cough remedy

(Be Healthy and Well)

I have personally proven lagundi as an effective cough remedy in my family. I’ve seen its powers too many times to doubt it. Whenever I notice any of the members in my family coughing or sneezing, I just pick a cupful of lagundi leaves from my garden and make lagundi juice, the recipe of which you can see here. But is lagundi backed up by science? Or is it just a folkloric treatment whose powers can be nothing more than a case of placebo effect?

I’m here to tell you that yes, Lagundi or Vitex negundo is legit. No less than the Philippine Department of Health has formally recognized and promoted lagundi as one of the 10 herbal medicines that have proven therapeutic value. Two decades of extensive and intensive medical research went into the study of lagundi. The clinical trials that have been undertaken have shown lagundi as more effective and six times safer than carbocisteine in treating cough. This was the finding based on studies done by the Irish Medical Board on Carbocisteine.

A March 26, 2012 issue of science.ph (the information arm of the Department of Science and Technology) reported that Ascof Lagundi — the first lagundi syrup that has been bottled and marketed in the Philippines — as the most successful phytomedicine or plant-based therapeutic medicine at that time (2012).

The manufacturer of the first commercial lagundi syrup is Pascual Laboratories, a homegrown pharmaceutical company which has over 65 years of experience in the industry. The company developed the organic and natural product after an intensive collaboration with 4 agencies — the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Health, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development and the National Integrated Research Program of Medicinal Plants. Today, lagundi medicine now comes in the form of syrups, tablets and capsules and are prescribed for cough and asthma.

Lagundi treats cough and asthma by way of three mechanisms:

1. Bronchodilation — dilation or widening of the airway tubes to facilitate breathing

2. Mucolysis and expectoration — dissolution of mucus and expulsion of phlegm to clear the airways

3. Antihistaminic — calming down allergy that is often the underlying reason behind most respiratory ailments Lagundi has Chrysoplenol D which has antihistaminic as well as muscle relaxant properties. Lagundi has been shown to effectively prevent the release of leukotrienes during asthma attacks.

Lagundi is now officially recommended by the above government agencies to be prescribed for the following:

• relief of cough due to common colds and flu
• treatment of bronchospasm in bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
• prophylactic or preventive maintenance medications for the relief of reversible, mild to moderate bronchospasm in those with airway disease

That’s not all there is to lagundi however, as its other plant parts are purported to have other applications.

• The roots are said to be good treatment for rheumatism, boils and even leprosy.
• The flowers are said to be a cardiac tonic (strengthens the heart) and cures liver disease.
• Decoction of lagundi leaves can be used as baths to treat various skin diseases. Lagundi leaf tea is also said to be a galactagogue (can increase milk supply).
• Boiled seeds when eaten are reported to prevent the spread of venom in case of snake or other animal bites.

Is your doctor prescribing lagundi for your cough? Looking back, I can say mine has not — at least as far back as my pre-lagundi juice making years — and I don’t know why. Perhaps the DOH has not done enough to promote this indigenous, safe and effective cough treatment among our physicians?

As for me, I would go for lagundi for as long as I still have lagundi in my garden. Lagundi formulations in the market would be a close second option.


Chasteberry/Agnus-Castus

By Genobia Simpson

Chasteberry is a small brown berry about the size of a peppercorn, that comes from a tree by the name of Vitex agnus-castus and smells like peppermint. In its ripe form, the fruit is used in the preparation of herbal liquids and powdered extracts. It is known to promote hormone balance and fertility in women. It is known for its effectiveness in the treatment of menstrual disorders, PMS, menopausal symptoms such as breast tenderness, hot flashes and mood swings, infertility and decreased milk production in lactating women.

Chasteberry is also know to treat mastalgia – sore breasts or breast tenderness associated with PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) and menopause. Studies have found that the progesterone hormone plays a crucial role in conception and sustaining pregnancy. Research shows that low progesterone levels may be associated with the thinning of the uterine lining during pregnancy, corpus luteum insufficiency, and luteal phase defects.

The use of Chasteberry daily can help to balance the hormones and progesterone, allowing the body to maintain regularity on hormones and sustain a healthy pregnancy. It has also been found to be useful in men with prostate cancer or to avoid prostate cancer. Men have been using chasteberry for years as a natural anti-androgen to lower testosterone hormone levels to suppress the onset of prostate cancer. Chasteberry can be found at natural and herbal food stores in the form of powdered extract, standardized liquid extract, tinctures, capsules and supplement sold as vitex agnus castus. When purchasing, please refer to the package for proper dosage.

“Our Savior is the restorer of the moral image of God in man. He has Supplied in the natural world remedies for the ills of man, that His followers may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. We can with safety discard the concoctions which man has used in the past. The Lord has provided antidotes for disease in simple plants, and these can be used by faith, with no denial of faith; for by using the blessings provided by God for our benefit we are cooperating with Him. We can use water and sunshine and the herbs which He has caused to grow for healing maladies brought by indiscretion or accident.” -MS 65, 1899


LAGUNDI IS TARGET OF BIG PHARMA COMPANIES

By Larry Locara

Big pharma companies are training their guns on the herbal cough preparations that had been authorized by the Department of Health for mass production. On the forefront is SOLMUX which had hired movie and TV personality VIC SOTTO to literally destroy the market for various brands based on LAGUNDI. It seems that these herbal preparations have eaten a major slice of their market and threatened their revenue bases.

Lagundi has stood the test of time. For centuries now, Filipinos nationwide have used the plant for many purposes, mostly as remedy ranging from cough and other respiratory ailments to birth control. Preparations vary from teas to poultices to powder and capsules. By just typing LAGUNDI on google or yahoo search, one will be provided with a wide array of information that will probably take weeks to digest. And if one were resourceful enough, he would even find technologies on how to process Lagundi into commercial preparations which can become a source of income.

The DOH had spent years and millions to document its efficacy and had finally approved its widespread use. It also approved several Filipino companies to commercially produce and sell these preparations. There are three major forms in the market produced by leading Filipino drug makers, namely tablets, cap-lets and liquid for children. The local market seems to have accepted Lagundi as a cough medicine judging from the brisk over the counter sales.

The popularity of Lagundi must have hurt the manufacturers and distributors of carbocisteine, the leading cough preparation. They are now on aggressive promotions campaign with the tag line of “THE ONE VERSUS DAHON” as if carboceisteine is really effective.

The high financed ad campaign of SOLMUX can hurt the gains of Lagundi and the manufacturers authorized by DOH. Ad campaigns work on the principle of oft repeated statements become accepted as truths and with the frequency by which Solmux appear on TV, lagundi may be in danger of being forgotten.

I started taking lagundi about six years ago when I had a severe cough that was not abated despite more than three weeks on Solmux. I was later given a dose of third generation antibiotics but the couch only subsided to return again after two weeks.

In my frustration, I turned to the tea prepared by the bucketful by my friend Atty Pet Melliza. Hew was freely giving out his tea to anybody interested. The tea preparation contained several herbs and barks, one of which is lagundi. In just three days the severe cough disappeared like magic.

It took almost a year before I was struck by cough again and this time, I took a 5 days dose of lagundi 600mg caplets. Again like the first experience, the cough was cured on the fourth day but I still went on for another day of lagundi dosing. The best thing during this time, I did not feel the side effect of drowsiness when taking lagundi as against Solmux.

Now here comes this Vic Sotto whose tag line is to destroy lagundi and dismiss it as JUST DAHON! This poor idiotic tv personality must be so dumb and just hungry for endorsement money that he does not know the meaning of truth in advertising. The least that he could have done was to order his assistants to do some simple research on the efficacy of lagundi before signing an endorsement contract. Had he done so, he could have refused the offer and instead turned to endorsing lagundi preparations.

I can only hope that this idiot of tv personality named Vic Sotto should wake up and stop his brand of advertising where he puts one product down to improve the image of his product. What he should have done was to only extol to high heavens the merit of Solmux without putting lagundi down.

Of course many will believe him, after all he has a track record of successful TV and movie career. But this track record should have been honorably upheld. He has no call to put down a poor man's couch remedy.

For the readers, I would like to personally encourage you to take lagundi for cough relief. I had been doing this since eary 2005 and from that time on, I have no use for Solmux and generic carbocisteine anymore!


5-Minute Health Tip: Balance Hormones with Chasteberry

(Underground Health Reporter)

Chasteberry, from the Vitex agnus-castus tree, got its namesake (chaste) because it was once thought to tame sexual longing. Once upon a time, monks used it to suppress sexual desire (ironically, chasteberry flowers actually stimulate libido). These days, herbalists use the berry to treat hormone imbalances and subsequent menstrual and reproductive problems.

Pump Up Progesterone

Progesterone is a hormone that helps the body prep for pregnancy. Low progesterone levels can result in:

• Irregular menstrual cycles
• Infertility
• Miscarriage

When progesterone declines, prolactin levels rise. Prolactin is a hormone that stimulates mother’s milk after pregnancy, but too much prolactin can also lead to erratic menstrual cycles, sometimes completely stopping your monthly period. Progesterone helps regulate the release of prolactin from the pituitary gland so that levels remain steady.

A healthy pregnancy is also dependent on sufficient progesterone levels. Progesterone helps thicken the lining of the uterus and prevent luteal phase defects. The luteal phase occurs between ovulation and menstruation, and if it isn’t allowed to fully express, problems such as infertility or miscarriage may occur.

Naturopathic doctors believe the chasteberry helps balance the progesterone:estrogen ratio, thereby helping to alleviate symptoms such as bloating, cramps, acne, tender breasts, and mood swings. Chasteberry is also good to take during the earliest stage of menopause (perimenopause), because it helps counteract symptoms like hot flashes and headaches, especially when taken with black cohash and dong quai.

Men can benefit from chasteberry as well. It helps lower testosterone and may even inhibit the development of prostate cancer.

Chasteberry is also prized for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to help cure digestive issues and lower overall cholesterol.

Chasteberry Guidance

Experts say that when taken in moderation chasteberry is safe; however, it shouldn’t be taken for more than 6 to 8 months at a time. If taken too much for too long, chasteberry can cause headaches, dizziness, stomach rash, itchiness, and nausea.

A word of caution: If you are currently being treated for a hormone-related condition, or are taking birth control pills, dopamine medications, certain anti-psychotic prescriptions, or medications for Parkinson’s disease, you should not take chasteberry.

You can purchase chasteberry in liquid extract, tincture, capsule, or powdered form.


Lagundi juice — the tried and tested cough remedy in my family

(Be Healthy and Well)

Lagundi — scientific name Vitex Negundo — is one of the herbal plants that my husband bought for my garden. It has been growing for more than a year before I finally got around to using it in treating those nasty bouts of cough and sniffles that seem to afflict my family whenever typhoon season or cold weather is around.

Lagundi is one of the herbal folk remedies that the Philippine Department of Health has documented to be effective in treating respiratory ailments. I will be writing on the evidence for Lagundi soon (Update: here’s the clinical evidence for lagundi) but for now, I will just be showing you how I transformed bitter lagundi into a quite-delicious juice that my 3-year-old enjoyed drinking to the point of ridding his cough.

Disclaimer: I am not, in any way, dispensing medical advice as I am not a medical doctor (though I almost got to be one). I have seen how this lagundi juice of mine has stopped the first signs of coughing right on its track but I have not experienced its effectiveness for late or serious stages of cough. Based on my family’s experience, lagundi is effective when used to treat the very early states of cough.

The sites I have seen recommend drinking the bitter lagundi decoction straight up. I could not imagine how in the world my kids would do that without gagging or throwing up. And so I decided to take matters into my hands and brew something more kid-friendly.

Put the lagundi leaves in a non-reactive pot (I used stainless steel). For every cup of lagundi leaves, add in 4 cups of water. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. This is your lagundi decoction or tea. Let it cool down a bit, about 10 minutes. Cooling it down makes handling so much easier during the next steps of the process.

Run the decoction through a metal strainer (not plastic, please), catching the liquid at the bottom with a glass jar (again, not plastic).

The proportions I gave you will yield about 3 ½ cups of lagundi tea which can then be turned into juice.

Sweeten the tea using a ratio of 1 tablespoon sugar for every cup. In this case, I measured 4 tablespoonsof muscovado sugar. You can use other healthier sweeteners such as coco sugar, molasses (this strangely gives a bitter aftertaste in lemonades though) or honey.

The key to making bitter lagundi delicious is lemons. Use the ratio of 3 lemons for every cup. In this case, since we have 4 cups, I used the juice of 12 lemons. Take note that by lemons I mean the small, dark green ones that are common in the Philippines. Western lemons may need a different ratio per cup.

Pour in the lemon juice to the lagundi tea and then add in the muscovado sugar. Stir the juice well with a non-reactive stirrer. I used a wooden stirrer made of bamboo.

Chill the juice in the ref for at least an hour. You will be amazed at how refreshing and so non-medicine this tastes. I then let my coughing, barking child drink it. The DOH advisory is to drink half a cup of this juice 3 times a day but I asssure you, my 3-year-old Jacob drank way more than that without any untoward effects.

Here’s the punchline: Lagundi juice really cures cough. I’ve seen it with my 3-year-old’s cough, with my 7-year-old’s colds, with my 13-year-old’s sniffles, with my own cough, and with my husband’s cough.

Do try this the next time you have a bout with respiratory maladies. Just don’t wait for it to worsen, though. Drink lagundi juice at the first signs of respiratory ailments.



Chasteberry — Vitex agnus-castus

(Nature's Pathways)

Chasteberry (also known as chaste-tree berry, vitex or monk’s pepper) is the fruit of the chaste tree, a small shrub-like tree native to central Asia and the Mediterranean region. The name is thought to come from a belief that the plant promoted chastity — it is reported that monks in the Middle Ages used chasteberry to decrease sexual desire.

Chasteberry has been used for thousands of years, mostly by women to ease menstrual problems and to stimulate the production of breast milk. Currently, chasteberry is still used as a folk or traditional remedy for menstrual problems, such as premenstrual syndrome, as well as for symptoms of menopause, some types of infertility and acne.

The dried ripe chasteberry is used to prepare liquid extracts or solid extracts that are put into capsules and tablets.

What the science says

A few studies of chasteberry for premenstrual syndrome have found a benefit. However, most of these studies were not well designed, so firm conclusions cannot be drawn.

Small studies suggest that chasteberry may help with breast pain and some types of infertility, but there is not enough reliable scientific evidence to determine whether chasteberry has any effect on these conditions.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has funded studies on chasteberry. Projects have explored how chasteberry works in the body and how it might affect symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

Side effects and cautions

Chasteberry has not been associated with serious side effects; however, it can cause gastrointestinal problems, acne-like rashes and dizziness.

Chasteberry might affect certain hormone levels. Women who are pregnant or taking birth control pills or who have a hormone-sensitive condition (such as breast cancer) should not use chasteberry.

Because chasteberry may affect the dopamine system in the brain, people taking dopamine-related medications, such as certain antipsychotic drugs and Parkinson’s disease medications, should avoid using chasteberry.

Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care. For tips about talking with your health care providers about complementary and alternative medicine, see NCCAM’s Time to Talk campaign.


Vitex Agnus-Castus: A Natural Solution for PCOS

By Michael A. Dirr

Vitex agnus-castus, chaste tree, and the 249 species relatives have endured indignities from gardeners for eons. Although common in herbal and medicinal lore, seldom does it appear in gardening literature or retail garden centers. Typically, V. agnus-castus is simply too large, oafy, cumbersome and intrusive in the average garden. If, and that is a huge assumption, size and habit could be reduced, hardiness increased, foliage more refined and disease-free, compact inflorescences of rich saturated blue-purple, and perhaps color in the developing fruits, then landscape momentum might accelerate.

Vitex could do with a makeover as suggested above and breeding/selection has occurred at Chicago Botanical Garden, The University of Georgia, Stephen F. Austin University, Louisiana State University, and our company, Plant Introductions Inc.

Where do the genes reside to provide the attributes listed above? If Vitex improvement was easy, a plethora of cultivars would already exist. Those that do are chance seedling selections. To date, I know of none via controlled breeding, but that is about to change.

The most common species is V. agnus-castus L., Chaste-tree, which reaches 15 to 20 feet high and wide. The National Champion, 28 feet by 40 feet, resides in Lancaster, Texas. Variety latifolia Mill. is considered more vigorous and cold-hardy. I am not sure I could separate the two taxa, in fact, GRIN, the USDA Taxonomy Resource (www.ars-grin.gov), does not list var. latifolia. Does any arboretum or garden have the genuine article?

The dark gray-green, aromatic, compound palmate leaves are composed of five to seven leaflets that grow 2 to 4 inches long, tapering at the apex and base. The lower leaf surface is gray with a fine pubescence. Leaves impart a refined, graceful texture and are free of serious insects and diseases. Leaf spots can be troublesome, especially with overhead watering in production nurseries.

With the pretty foliage as a backdrop, the blue to pale violet flowers appear in 12- to 18-inch long panicles in June or July and continue into September. Spent flowers can be removed with subsequent rebloom in approximately six weeks. The flowering on new growth and the measure of remontancy (rebloom) without spent flower removal guarantees shades of blue from USDA Hardiness Zones 6-9.

The species succeeds from Long Island and Chicago, to Oregon and Washington, into the Deep South, Southwest and California. There’s a terrific breadth of landscape potential if Vitex can be developed along the concepts of Knock Out roses and Endless Summer hydrangeas. Flowers open in early June in Athens and mid-August in the Portland, Ore., area. Obviously, the greater the heat, the earlier the flower. It’s important to note that flowering is still potent in September on plants where old inflorescences were removed. In production, pruning could be manipulated to schedule flowers for late summer and fall markets. Flowers open from base to apex on the elongating panicle and this provides color during a two- to four-week period. Few people realize that the flowers are fragrant, provide great bee pasture (Vitex honey, especially from V. negundo and varieties, is highly prized) and attract hummingbirds and butterflies. The bullet points for marketing this species could fill a billboard.

Vitex negundo L. and the cutleaf types (var. cannabifolia and var. incise) are more cold-hardy (Zone 5 or 6) than V. agnus-castus, but simply do not possess the flower stature. The lavender flowers occur in wispy 5- to 8-inch long panicles on new growth of the season. Fruits are similar to V. agnus-castus, but smaller.

Habit is loosely branched, vase-shaped, airy and open with a cloud-like foliage canopy. The two cutleaf varieties offer unique incised leaflets and refined texture. It’s truly amazing that no cultivars have arisen from the species or varieties. At Plant Introductions, seeds of var. incisa yielded 100 percent cutleaf seedlings in a range of sizes with consistent lavender flowers. If compact habits could be bred to include showier flowers, I believe cultivar proliferation would result.

On a recent trip to China, Donglin Zhang, Dirr Professor of Woody Plants at the University of Georgia, noted entire mountainsides covered with V. negundo. I asked Donglin to be on the hunt for brilliant blue-flowered, compact selections.

Vitex rotundifolia L.f. probably has more detractors than supporters because of its invasive tendency, especially in beach habitats. It was observed at Wrightsville Beach, N.C., where it was out-maneuvering all other vegetation. This species is on the hit list of the Global Invasive Species Database.

All is not lost, as the hybrids with V. agnus-castus are intermediate in foliage, with small blue-flowered inflorescences on a more refined shrub habit. When first witnessing the plants at the North Carolina Arboretum, I was impressed. Kris Bachtell, Vice President of Collections and Facilities at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ill., mentioned the hybrid was successful without any dieback in recent years. Flowering initiated in late September. It’s usually listed as Zone 7, but I suspect it may be more cold-adaptable.

Last but not least from a breeding perspective is V. trifolia L., the specific epithet reflecting the three-leaflets/leaf. Leaves actually vary from simple (one) to the three leaflets, at least on ‘Purpurea.’ Foliage is gray-green, flowers lavender to light blue in up to 10-inch long panicles. The plant is essentially evergreen in Orlando, Fla., and a dieback shrub in Athens, Ga. My thinking was to hybridize the purple leaf type (lavender-purple on underside) with V. agnus-castus to flip the purple and develop a purple upper surface. In 2013, hybrids were consummated with purple, but only on the underside. The leaves were composed of five leaflets, intermediate between the parents. Flowers were deeper blue and inflorescences larger than V. trifolia. The individual fruits were large like V. trifolia.

Culture notes

Culture is clear-cut – well-drained soil, acid or alkaline (species is salt tolerant), and full sun then watch it thrive. Typical Zone ratings are 7-9 (10), but the species is successfully grown in Zone 6. Expect some dieback at -5°F to -10°F, but flowers will develop on the new growth. In fact, the species is extremely fast growing with a 3-gallon container ‘Shoal Creek’ planted in fall, reaching 7 feet 2 inches high and 5 feet 5 inches wide in October in Athens, Ga. Delta Blues, planted next to ‘Shoal Creek’ and at the same time, was 4 feet 9 inches high and 5 feet wide.

Leafy cuttings root well in May to August. A rooted cutting, spring transplanted to a 3-gallon container, will be ready for sale in late summer. Seeds require no pretreatment to germinate. One study reported a 24-hour hot water (180°F) soak proved best. I have used nothing, cold water soak, hot water soak, and 30 days cold-moist stratification. Germination occurred with all treatments, but I can’t state a clear-cut winner. Invasiveness is mentioned, particularly in Texas, and I have yet to find a stray V. agnus-castus.

Cultivars for different flower colors and compactness have been introduced.

Copious choices

The following list was cobbled from the literature and my observations.

‘Abbeville Blue’ – Produces deep blue flowers; selected in early 1990 by Louisiana Nursery.

‘Alba’ [f. alba (Weston) Rehder] – White flowers.

‘Arnold’s Cutleaf’ – Leaflets like a dissected Japanese maple, blue-purple-lavender flowers, grows 10 feet by 10 feet.

Blue Diddley – Lavender-blue flowers on a small, 3-6 feet by 3-6 feet shrub; Proven Winners 2015 introduction.

Blue Puffball – Unique to the world of Vitex, this compact, 3 foot by 3 foot, densely branched shrub, produces copious blue flowers in summer. Foliage is a rich glistening blue-green with resistance to leaf spot. Flowers develop on new growth, so prune spent flowers to induce another flush of bloom. Quantum leap forward in Vitex breeding and will be available in 2016. Bred by Plant Introductions Inc. and introduced by Bailey Nurseries in the First Editions brand.

‘Blue Spire’ – Mentioned without description in RHS Plant Finder 2013.

‘Blushing Bride’ – Also mentioned without description in RHS Plant Finder.

‘Blushing Spires’ – Soft pink flowers, growth more restrained; from Niche Gardens, N.C.

‘Carolina Blue’ – LSU, no description.

Cooke’s Blue – Blue-lavender flowers, 15-25 feet by 15-25 feet from L.E. Cooke.

Cooke’s Pink – Pink flowers, 15-25 feet by 15-25 feet from L.E. Cooke.

Cooke’s Purple – Purple flowers, 15-25 feet by 15-25 feet from L.E. Cooke.

Cooke’s White – White flowers, 15-25 feet by 15-25 feet from L.E. Cooke.

Delta Blues – Rich purple-blue flowers in compact panicles on a more refined plant, 8 to 10 feet high and wide, discovered by Matthew A. Dirr. Grew two-thirds the size of ‘Shoal Creek’ in one year. Introduced by Plant Introductions Inc., and available through Bailey’s First Editions brand. This is a great garden plant, especially for the richness of the flower color and abundance of panicles on a smaller statured plant than the old oafy cultivars. Would make a pretty container standard tree for summer color.

‘Fletcher Pink’ – A pale pink to lavender-pink flowered selection.

‘Flora Ann’ – Pinker great-grandchild of ‘Salinas Pink,’ named for Flora Ann Bynum of Old Salem, N. C., introduced by Greg Grant of Arcadia, Texas. Grant continues to evaluate open-pollinated seedlings for richer, deeper pink colors.

‘Le Compte’ – Discovered and described by Greg Grant as the “most beautiful Vitex I ever saw.” Sapphire-blue flowers in long inflorescences. Found in “a little old yard in Le Compte, La.”

‘Lilac Queen’ – Lavender flowers, broad-spreading, multi-stemmed shrub, 20 feet by 18 feet, introduced by Plantation Tree Co., Selma, Ala.

‘Mississippi Blues’ – More compact selection yet still will grow to 12 feet; robust grower with deeper blue flowers similar to ‘Abbeville Blue;’ there are essentially no differences in flower color among ‘Mississippi Blues,’ ‘Abbeville Blue’ and ‘Shoal Creek’ based on comparisons of the three cultivars in Georgia trials.

‘Montrose Purple’ – Produces rich violet flowers in large inflorescences; strong-growing form, 8 to 10 feet by 8 to 10 feet, rated just after ‘Shoal Creek’ in Longwood trials; an introduction by Nancy Goodwin of Hillsborough, N.C.

‘Patton’s Pink’ and ‘Pink Sensation’ – LSU, no description.

‘Rosea’ – Pink flowers.

‘Salinas Pink’ – Light pink flowers; from a yard north of downtown San Antonio; Greg Grant introduction.

‘Sapphire’ – Not sure of veracity of the name, might equate with ‘Le Compte.’

‘Sensation’ (‘Sensational’) – Mid-blue, offered by Gossler Farms Nursery, Springfield, Ore.

‘Shoal Creek’ – Large, blue-violet flowers in 12- to 18-inch long inflorescences and leaf spot resistance, although have observed leaf spots on plants under overhead water.

‘Silver Spire’ – Cleaner white flowers than ‘Alba’ and good vigor.

‘Snow Spire’ – White flowers in panicles as large as the species.

‘Woodlander’s White’ – Another white-flowered selection.

Ask yourself, how many of the cultivars are being offered in everyday commerce?

Four new cultivars will be released through The University of Georgia Research Foundation and EuroAmerican Propagators -- Daytona Heat Petty Blue, Daytona Heat Danica Pink, Daytona Heat Dale White (all the previous listed as 4-6 feet high) and ‘Little Madame’ (delicate purple flowers, tight compact habit, 3-4 feet high).

All are Zone 6-9 adaptable. EuroAmerican has them under license/test, and I suspect they’ll be introduced, but I haven’t heard a release date. The Danica Pink at the University of Georgia’s Horticulture Farm was 10 feet by 10 feet when observed on June 24, 2013. At a January 2015 seminar, the breeder, Carol Robacker, mentioned a 2015 availability release.

Robacker also mentioned Pink Pinnacle, a compact, rounded, bushy selection, that grows 3-4 feet tall and wide with bright-pink flowers. This would be a worthy addition to the world of Vitex. It’s listed as a 2016 release.

What’s next?

Vitex offers a new frontier for controlled breeding. The four species discussed provide the best opportunity for reasonable cold hardiness. Based on the number of universities and private companies breeding or contemplating the same, I believe Vitex has an exciting future. I envision a 2 foot by 2 foot compact cultivar, smothered with vivid blue flowers.

Maybe not the next Endless Summer, but then again …


Vitex Agnus-Castus: A Natural Solution for PCOS

(Health Status)

When we are dealing with the devastating symptoms of PCOS, we might spend a lot of time researching the latest and greatest products that claim to alleviate symptoms and make our lives easier. Some of these end up being false claims, but there are others that show true promise. Vitex agnus-castus, also known as Vitex, Chaste Tree, or Chasteberry, is one such plant that has significant benefits and has been used for centuries. In fact, it dates back to ancient times. Its benefits are vast and include the ability to regulate and control the reproductive system in women.

In this article, we will take a look at:

• What Vitex is.
• What its benefits are.
• If it helps to manage symptoms of PCOS.
What is Vitex Agnus-Castus?

Vitex agnus-castus is a beautiful tree/plant that bears fruit along with lavender foliage. The fruit, including its’ seeds, are collected and used to create an herbal medicine. The berries and leaves are believed to prevent miscarriage for women who have low levels of progesterone, alleviate symptoms of menopause, regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle, treat fibrocystic breasts, increase breast milk supply, and help with female infertility.

Taking Vitex is thought to affect the pituitary gland and decrease the secretion of prolactin. If decreased, prolactin will influence levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen in women. This results in the promotion of normal luteal phases, regulation of ovulation cycles, and positively impacts hyperprolactinemia (elevated prolactin levels).

Vitex has been successful in helping women of all ages and stages, with little to no side-effects.

Why Is Progesterone so Important?

No matter what our age, progesterone levels play an important role in women’s health. It is a precursor to the hormones estrogen and testosterone. If progesterone levels decrease, so can our other hormones, which have their own important roles in our health. Estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can’t act independently of one another. The balance and interaction between these hormones determines the presence or absence of negative symptoms. This is why finding the right ratio/balance of estrogen to progesterone is vital.

Benefits of Progesterone:

• Restricts estrogen synthesis and suppresses the enzymes that promote estrogen production.

• Promotes proper cellular oxygen levels.

• May help maintain sex drive.

• Promotes bone building and protects against osteoporosis.

• Improves premenstrual symptoms (PMS).

• Promotes survival of the embryo and fetus during pregnancy.

• Is a natural diuretic.

• Has a calming effect on the brain, which suggests that a deficiency leads to varying levels of anxiety, depending on the level of the imbalance.

• Helps keep blood sugar levels normal.

• Normalizes zinc and copper levels.

• Keeps the body from producing uterine overgrowth, slowing this activity and boosting growth elsewhere.

Progesterone is produced by the ovaries after ovulation occurs. And along with many other benefits, balanced progesterone levels are mandatory to maintain a healthy pregnancy – essential for preventing miscarriage.

As a woman ages, beginning in the early 30s, she produces lower amounts of progesterone. Following menopause, a women’s body produces significantly less progesterone than a pre-menopausal woman. However, the production of estrogen doesn’t diminish. Vitex agnus-castus can promote healthy progesterone levels at any age.

Vitex and Brain Fog

“Brain Fog” is a common symptom of women with hormonal imbalances. Typically women who have PCOS can have “brain fog” occur, especially right before menstruation (as a symptom of PMS) or during peri-menopause, beginning around age 40. This means we forget details and have problems focusing and concentrating. It can make it hard to focus and go about everyday life.

Vitex agnus-castus has been shown to have a very positive impact on brain fog in all age groups. It is also considered a natural anti-depressant and it can assist in managing depression and mood swings. The overall effect results in a more positive attitude allowing us to focus and concentrate better.

How much do I take and how?

There are different ways to take Vitex. It can be bought as berries or in capsule form. Some capsules contain only Vitex agnus-castus. Others may have a combination of botanicals in them. When it comes to botanical supplements, quality is very important and will impact the effectiveness of the product.


The product is quite readily available at most natural supplement and herbal medicine stores. It is also rather inexpensive. The dosage amount and schedule should be discussed with your doctor based on your needs.

As stated, most people do not have problems taking Vitex and side effects are uncommon. However there are some mild side effects that can occur. Sides effects may include: a mild, itchy rash on the skin and/or mild gastrointestinal issues. If a woman becomes pregnant, she should discontinue taking the herb.

All Signs Point to Yes with Symptoms of PCOS

With so many positive benefits and its low occurrence of side effects, Vitex agnus-castus is worth trying. It’s important to stick with it for at least a few months to see results. A good idea is to keep a journal of how you feel, both physically and mentally while taking the supplement to track the benefits or any side effects.



Organically speaking...

By Ronald Anil Fernandes
Herb Garden

Mangalore’s Yenepoya University campus is home to a unique medicinal plant garden. Organ systems are depicted with bricks, and herbs specific to an organ are grown in the constructed area, discovers Ronald Anil Fernandes

At a time when many allopathic medical practitioners do not believe in the effects of other types of medicines such as Ayurveda and homeopathy, Yenepoya University on the outskirts of Mangalore stands apart.

In an attempt to be close to nature, the University has established a medicinal plant garden, a venture to recognise and appreciate that plants are the original source of most medicines.

What attracts the garden is its unique construction to popularise the use of local medicinal plants, that is, to create an awareness on the importance of medicinal plants in healthcare and drug development. Human organ systems are depicted with the help of bricks and plastering.

Medicinal plants specific to those organs are grown inside the constructed area. To help those who are interested, name plates for all the medicinal plants containing the description of each plant and its uses are displayed in the garden.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Dr Bhagya B Sharma of the Division of Genetics, Department of Anatomy at Yenepoya Medical College (YMC), Yenepoya University, who was instrumental in setting up the garden, says that importance is given to sustainable gardening, which seeks to promote environment-friendly gardening practices and which involves such practices as sustainable water use.

Landscaping is given important consideration in the development of this garden. Meandering walkways and aesthetically designed herbal beds are an added attraction.

Healing herbs

Just behind the administration block of the Yenepoya University, the herbs garden has been set up. If you have a close look at the garden, you will find all human organs in the garden — there is a heart, an ear, nose, kidney, lungs, uterus, testes, liver, intestine and so on. “The plants grown in the shape of the human organs is helpful in curing diseases pertaining to that particular organ,” explains Dr Bhagya B Sharma.

For instance, the garden which is in the shape of the kidney is home to medicinal plants such as boerhavia diffusa, (punernava), michelia champaka, aerva lanata (pashana bedha) and asparagus racemosus (shatavadri) have been planted. Plants in the particular space (for example, the kidney) help in treating the disease related to that particular organ.

Similarly, the heart-shaped area of the garden houses plants such as punica granatum (pomegranate), catharanthus roseus (periwinkle) , citrus aurantifolia (lemon), terminalia arjuna and carissa carandus. All these plants help in treating diseases related to heart.

Popularising herbs

Stressing the importance of herbal and medicinal plants in our lives, Dr Sharma stresses the need to propagate and popularise them more.

“There is a need to make everyone, especially the younger generation aware of various kinds of medicinal herbs and their significance in our lives,” she says and adds, “The present generation no longer has an intimate knowledge of plants and their uses that our ancestors had acquired through centuries of trial and error.”

When we want a cure for our headache or fever, we go not to the meadow and woodland but to the drugstore. On the contrary, some drugs made from poisonous plants (such as foxglove, the source of digitalis) are safer than using the plants themselves, she adds. Just because a product is natural, it does not mean that it is safe.

As with modern drugs, herbal medicines have undesired side-effects as well as beneficial effects. A growing number of research studies are under way, testing the safety and effectiveness of popular herbal products. Hence, there is a need for scientifically validated and technologically standardised herbal medicines to convert resources into wealth, Dr Sharma opines.

Herbs with the healing touch

The following are only a few plants in the herbal garden with shapes of organs.

• Ear: Achyranthes aspera, Vitex negundo (nirgundi)

• Eyes: Leucas indica (thumbe), Rosa sp., Cassia absus, Cassia fistula, Phyllanthus Emblica (Amla)

• Throat: Coleus aromaticus (Doddapatre or sambarballi)

• Nose: Curcuma amada (Kukku Shunti or Mango Ginger), Cyperus rotundus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

• Brain: Centella asiatica (Timare or Ondelaga), Bacopa monnieri, Clitoria ternatea (Shanka Pushpa), Acorus calamus

• Lungs: Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi), Coleus aromaticus, Piper longum, Adathoda zeylanica (Aadu soge)

• Uterus: Aloe vera, Woodfordia fruticosa (Dataki), Saraca asoca (Ashoka), Symplocos racemosa

• Testes: Ionidium suffruticosum, Mucuna pruriens (Naayi Sonagu), Moringa oleifera (Drumstick), Achras sapota (Guava)

• Skin: Wrightia tomentosa, Azadiracta indica (Neem), Pongamia pinnata, Ricinis communis (Castor), Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi), Curcuma longa (Turmeric), Coleus aromaticus (Doddapatre)

• Head: Eclipta alba (Bhringa Raja), Lawsonia inermis (Henna, mehendi)

• Mouth: Spilanthes paniculata (Anaesthesia plant), Mimusops elengi, Acorus calamus (Baje)

• Stomach: Plumbago zeylanica (chitrika), Plumbago indica

• Liver: Phyllanthus amarus (Nela nelli), Andrographis paniculata (Kiratha kaddi) Pancreas: Costus igneus (Insulin plant), Salacia chinensis

• Intestine: Embelia tsjeriam-cottam

• Rectum: Calotropis gigantea


The Differences Between Chaste Trees & Butterfly Bushes

By Cathryn Chaney

Chaste trees (Vitex agnus-castus) and butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) both have terminal clusters of fragrant, small tubular flowers that attract butterflies. Suitable for butterfly gardens, the plants are deciduous and have similar cold hardiness, growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9. The plants are not closely related. Chaste tree is in the mint family and butterfly bush belongs in the snapdragon family. Plants differ in a number of respects.

Growth Habit

Chaste tree grows as a broadly spreading large shrub to small tree, reaching 15 to 25 feet tall and wide. Trees have multiple or single trunks. Use it as a specimen plant or in borders. Butterfly bush is a large shrub that varies in size depending on the cultivar, but the usual size is 6 to 8 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide. Plants grow and flower better if the branches are cut back to the ground every year in late winter. It is best grown massed in borders, butterfly gardens or cottage gardens rather than as a single specimen.

Leaves

Chaste tree has compound leaves of five to seven lance-shaped leaflets, each leaflet about 6 inches long, giving a rather lacy effect. Aromatic leaves are dark-green above, with the undersides a lighter color and hairy. When grown as a tree, it furnishes moderate shade. Butterfly bush has single leaves 10 to 12 inches long, green above and white or gray underneath, densely covering the shrub in summer.

Flowers

Usually with purple flowers, varieties of chaste tree have pink or white flowers, with one variety (Vitex agnus-castus var. latifolia) having bright blue flowers. Flower clusters are about 7 inches long, drooping from the ends of branches in early summer. Flower clusters of butterfly bush are from 4 to 10 inches long, displayed to advantage at the ends of the long, arching branches. Bloom is from summer into fall. Butterfly bush flowers are suitable for cut flowers, while chaste tree does not lend itself to this use.

Fruits

Also called monk's pepper from the appearance and aroma of the seeds, chaste tree produces a fleshy fruit with four black seeds that are sometimes used for seasoning. Butterfly bush fruits are small, elongate capsules less than 1/2 inch long, green at first but then turning brown. The capsule's two compartments hold numerous small winged seeds.


Lagundi (Vitex negundo) as an effective remedy for urticaria (hives)

(Casa Veneracion)

Early in October last year, wheals started to appear on my face. The wheals were light red, slightly raised, irregularly shaped and what started as small wheals would expand and spread outward. They were itchy. They would disappear after a day or two, reappear in other parts of my face and, after several days, they had spread to my scalp, neck, arms and legs.

Extreme heat made them worse. Extreme cold brought on the same reaction. At first, I wondered if I had become allergic to certain brands of bath soaps and shampoos. I switched brands. Still no relief. I wondered if it was a food allergy since every time I ate eggs, chicken, nuts or anything with cream, more wheals appeared. So, I avoided them. Imagine… I baked cookies and cakes, and cooked chicken dishes for my family but I could eat none of them.

I went to the dermatologist and the diagnosis was chronic urticaria, more commonly known as hives, which lasts for about six weeks. There is no cure; in most cases, the cause cannot even be isolated. I was given medication to relieve the itchiness but, other than that, I was resigned to the fact that I would just have to wait for six weeks to pass. I rarely went out of the house. I declined all party invitations.

Before the end of November, I got hit by a flu-like virus. I was down with fever for two days. I had a bad cold and persistent cough. I was taking Lagundi tablets for my cough. At around the same time, the urticaria episode was over. But I did not connect it with Lagundi. I slowly went back to my usual diet but consciously spaced the days when I’d consume anything that could trigger allergic reactions. The week before Christmas, I could eat small amounts of pastries with eggs. I was so confident that I was fully recovered that Speedy and I decided to serve roast turkey for a post Christmas party, preceded by a dry run with roast duck.

Just before New Year’s Eve, wheals started appearing on my face again. And I started avoiding all the known culprits again. By the second week of January, despite a very strict diet, things were getting really bad. I wondered if I’d have to patiently bear another six weeks of discomfort (and ugly skin) again. I wondered if I should go back to the dermatologist and ask if chronic urticaria could recur over and over again. I wondered if I’d have to suffer for the rest of my life.

Then, a few days ago, I got hit by the flu-like virus again. I got it from Speedy who had it worse because he went down with a fever. We cancelled a post New Year party that we were supposed to host at home. My cough was really bad. Two days ago, when Speedy felt well enough to go out, he went to the drug store to buy Lagundi. This time, he bought Lagundi Forte capsules which I started taking three times a day. By yesterday morning, a day and a half and some four capsules later, the coughing started to subside and the hives were gone. Just like that. And I wondered if there was a connection. I’m a Doubting Thomas by nature and I had to make sure. So, I did an experiment. On myself.

Lunch yesterday was corned beef style adobo. Leftovers from the previous evening’s dinner. I wondered if there would be enough and I decided to fry some eggs to go with the adobo. Five extra large eggs. One for myself. I downed a capsule of Lagundi Forte while cooking the eggs and I declared to Speedy, “Now, for the great experiment.” Speedy looked so shocked and disbelieving and said, “What are you, the mad scientist?” Well, I had to find out, didn’t I?

And just what did I find out? That, yes, there is a connection between Lagundi Forte and the disappearance of the wheals. One huge egg and no wheals. It couldn’t have been a coincidence. Speedy asked if I planned on continuing to take Lagundi Forte after the cough was gone, I said “maybe” and he told me to do a research first. And so, I did. And, yes, lagundi is a known treatment for skin ailments.

From Philippine Herbal Medicine:

"The lagundi plant also has anti-inflammatory functions, and its cooling effects are ideal as treatment for skin diseases such as leprosy.

There is another site that says boiled lagundi roots are used as aromatic baths for skin diseases. More interesting information here.

Apparently, for treating skin ailments, lagundi is not taken internally but, rather, applied on the skin. For some reason, in my case, ingesting Lagundi anti-cough capsules also relieved the chronic urticaria. So far. I am still taking Lagundi Forte three times a day, I ate a small piece of chicken and bacon omelet for dinner last night and still no hives. I’m really tempted to find a lagundi tree that I can plant in the garden. Or, to find a source for fresh leaves and roots.



Pruning a Vitex Agnus Castus Chaste Tree

By Amelia Allonsy

The incredibly tough chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) works well for rock gardens and other low-maintenance gardens, because it endures severe growing conditions and requires little care once established. In addition to being heat and drought tolerant, it is also fairly cold hardy, thriving in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9. Featuring fragrant purple flowers that attract butterflies, this rapid growing shrub can reach 15 to 25 feet tall and wide, requiring annual pruning to maintain a smaller size. Chaste tree naturally grows in a multi-trunk tree form, but severe pruning produces a bush form.

1. Prepare a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach and 9 parts water. Clean the blades of all pruning tools with this disinfectant solution. Add the leftover solution to a spray bottle so you can disinfect the tools again after cutting through diseased branches.

2. Cut the entire plant back to the ground if it is severely overgrown, misshapen or appears unhealthy; the plant will return with new growth in spring and bloom in summer. Repeat this every year if you prefer a more compact, bushy growth habit, or only once every several years to rejuvenate the chaste tree.

3. Remove all dead, diseased and broken branches back to the nearest healthy branch union, cutting at least 10 inches outside the diseased area. Disinfect your pruners before making cuts elsewhere on the chaste tree.

4. Cut all lateral branches from the center of the tree back to the points of origin on the main trunk. Remove branches from the lower one-third to one-half of the plant to accentuate the natural tree form. Leave more of the lateral branches in place if you prefer a large shrub form.

5. Remove tangled, rubbing and crossing branches from the branch tips, cutting just above an outward-facing bud to encourage outward growth.

6. Cut back as much as one-third of the total plant height if you need to reduce the size of the chaste tree. Wait until the following year to cut more of the tree height, if desired.

7. Remove expired blossoms as soon as flowers fade in summer to encourage a second flowering period.

Things You Will Need
• Chlorine bleach
• Bypass pruners
• Lopping shears
• Pruning saw
• Spray bottle (optional)

◘ Tip

Use bypass pruners for branches less than one-half inch in diameter, cut branches up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter with lopping shears, and cut larger branches with a pruning saw.

While a chaste tree will return if cut to the ground in winter, it will bloom later in summer than if you only moderately pruned the branches.

Chaste tree is cold hardy in USDA zones 6 through 9, but you can also grow this plant in zone 5, where the plant will die back to the ground after a hard freeze, but return in spring, just as if you had cut the plant back to the ground.



Vitex Plant Care

By Joanne Marie

The genus Vitex contains several plants that grow as deciduous shrubby plants or small trees and are called chaste trees or just vitex (Vitex spp.), depending on the species. All vitex plants have fragrant, showy, lilac-to-lavender flowers that attract butterflies. They all love a sunny spot and make attractive, versatile accents in a home landscape, whether used as specimens or as part of a mixed planting.

Climate and Site Selection

Three types of Vitex plants are generally available to gardeners, each with slightly different climate and cultural requirements. One plant, usually called beach vitex or round-leaf vitex (V. rotundifolia), is a 1-to-2-foot tall, spreading plant that is not frost-hardy and suitable for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 10. The other two species include an 8-to-10-foot tall chaste tree (V. agnus-castus) and a 3-to-10-foot tall shrub (V. negundo), usually also called chaste tree. These two types are cold-hardy and can be grown in USDA plant zones 6 through 9, although they may need some winter protection in colder parts of zone 6.

Soil and Moisture

All vitex plants do best in well-drained soil that is rich in organic content, although beach vitex can tolerate sandy soils typical of coastal areas. Beach vitex is also salt-tolerant and can handle wind quite well. Vitex plants prefer average moisture and grow best when watered regularly. However, since they are native to relatively dry parts of Africa and southern Europe, they are also tolerant of dry spells and can come through a drought undamaged.

Mulch and Fertilizer

An annual applications of a 2-to-3-inch layer of organic mulch such as wood chips or grass clippings can help a vitex plant grow well, helping keep moisture in the soil and block the growth of weeds. Mulch should be renewed each spring or whenever it begins to break down. Although they are relatively carefree plants, you can help your vitex grow faster by giving it a light application of balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 formula, each spring and again in early summer.

Pruning and Problems

All vitex plants produce attractive elongated clusters of lavender or purple flowers on the current year's growth. As a result, they can be pruned at any time, either to control their size or remove old stems, and generally respond well to hard pruning at the end of the season, producing vigorous new growth the following spring. Each vitex species is a vigorous grower, and beach vitex may grow out of control in its native coastal environment, where it can spread aggressively and needs cutting back on a regular basis. Vitex plants have no serious insect or disease problems, but fungal diseases such as leaf spot or root rot can develop if plants are grown in wet, poorly drained locations.



How to Start Vitex From Seed

By Anastasia Leon

Commonly called chaste tree, Vitex agnus-castus is a deciduous shrub species favored for its graceful, upright growth habit and airy lavender flower spikes. It thrives within U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 to 10, where it is widely grown as a drought-tolerant landscape ornamental. Chaste trees grow effortlessly from seed, which performs best if sown while still fresh. The seeds exhibit no dormancy and require no pretreatment or stratification to successfully sprout; however, they must be exposed to consistently warm, moist conditions to ensure a successful outcome.

1. Start chaste tree seeds in spring approximately four weeks before the last frost. Soak the seeds in a bowl of water for 24 hours to determine which are viable. Start the seeds that sink to the bottom and discard those that float to the surface.
2. Prepare a container for each chaste tree you wish to grow. Fill 4-inch greenhouse pots with a mixture of 4 parts seed-starting compost and 1 part perlite. Saturate the mixture with water and let the excess drain off for 10 to 15 minutes before sowing.
3. Sow two chaste tree seeds in each pot. Press the seeds onto the surface of the moistened compost mixture. Cover them with a 1/4-inch-thick layer of compost. Mist the compost liberally to settle it.
4. Place the potted chaste tree seeds outdoors in a warm, sheltered area with full sun exposure. Provide light shade at midday to keep the compost from drying out too quickly.
5. Monitor the moisture level in the compost mixture every day. Water whenever it feels barely moist in the top 1/2 inch. Add water until the mixture feels moderately moist in the top inch.
6. Warm the pots to 75 F using a germination mat if daytime temperatures stay reliably below 65 F. Turn off the germination mat at night. Cover the pots with a sheet of clear plastic if you are using a germination mat.
7. Watch for germination in approximately two weeks. Thin the chaste tree seedlings to one per pot if both seeds successfully sprout. Keep the stouter, more vigorous of the two seedlings and remove the weaker.
8. Transplant the chaste tree seedlings into 6-inch pots filled with a mix of half potting soil and half coarse sand. Grow them under light shade with 1 inch of water weekly during their first summer.
9. Acclimate the chaste trees to direct sun in late summer. Transplant them into a permanent garden bed in early autumn. Choose a sunny planting site with fast-draining soil. Space multiple chaste trees at least 10 feet apart.
Things You Will Need
• Bowl
• 4-inch greenhouse pots
• Seed-starting compost
• Perlite
• Spray bottle
• Germination mat
• Clear plastic sheeting
• 6-inch pots
• Potting soil
• Coarse sand



The Health Benefits of Lagundi Herb

(Healthy Benefits)

Lagundi is a large shrub native to the Philippines and has been traditionally used as herbal medicine by Philippine folks. Its leaves, root, flowers, and seeds are believed to have medicinal value and can be purchased in the form of syrup or capsules to make it easier to handle. It is also blended with cough medicines and other herbal remedies. It is generally used for the treatment of coughs and other respiratory problems, an alternative herbal capsule is Ricola Cough Drops, a naturally extracted cough and sore throat tablet with high and favourable review.

All parts of the lagundi plant is used, the root treats rheumatism, worms, boils, leprosy and dyspepsia. The flowers are used to treat diarrhoea, fever, cholera, diseases of the liver and recommended as a cardiac tonic. “The seeds make a cooling medicine for skin diseases and leprosy and for inflammation of the mouth.”

Some doctors also prescribe lagundi to assist in the treatment of asthma, as regular doses appear to reduce the strength of asthma attacks.
As an analgesic, lagundi also appears to have some efficacy. It has been compared to drugs like aspirin in trials, which show that lagundi may be useful in the treatment of things like pain after dental extractions. Many people like to take lagundi before going in for extractions, in an attempt to pre-empt the associated pain and discomfort. It is also used to alleviate symptoms of chicken pox.

Just like other herbal medications lagundi should not be taken without consulting a doctor, as it may seriously interact with other medications or it may be contraindicated for a specific condition. Even though lagundi use is widely acceptable as safe for use for children and adults and no adverse reaction has been reported. Lagundi is prepared by boiling it, steeping it, and then straining it. At home, people make teas from the leaves, often producing a large amount and bottling the excess to use later.


Chasteberry and It’s Wonders to Female Hormone Balance

By Sanford Harvey

Plants have been used by our ancestors to treat different illnesses and health conditions. At present, many plant species are still used for medical purposes. One of those is chasteberry. Sometimes referred to as ‘women’s herb,’ this plant is found originally in the Mediterranean area and Central Asia.

Vitex agnus-castus commonly known as chasteberry, vitex, chaste tree berry, and monk’s pepper has been found to be beneficial to treating hormone imbalance in women. For centuries, the fruit of the small shrub-like chaste tree has been used as a treatment for various hormone-related problems. At present, the extracts of chasteberries are made into tablet, capsule, and powder forms.

If you have been suffering from different symptoms related to menopause, menstrual problems, infertility, and other gynecological disorders, chasteberries may be the natural cure you have been searching for. Below are the different positive effects and wonders chasteberries bring to women’s health:

Menstruation and menstrual cycle

Chasteberry is believed to be a natural progesterone source apart from the progesterone produced naturally by the body. It also helps maintain a healthy ratio between the two major female hormones progesterone and estrogen.

Because of these properties, chasteberry can provide relief to the different unpleasant symptoms a woman experiences during menstruation. These premenstrual symptoms include acne, bloating, cramps, tenderness of breast, and mood swings. Chasteberry can also be a key to achieve regular menstrual cycle.

Menopause and its symptoms

For most women, menopause is a stage in their lives associated with different unpleasant and unwanted symptoms, including hot flashes and decreased libido. The extracts from the flowers and fruits of the chasteberry plant has been found to be a potent cure.

Chasteberry has hormone-balancing properties that makes menopausal symptoms much bearable. Along with other herbs such as dong quai and black cohosh, it can be used to provide relief for hot flashes. Likewise, its flowers are thought to increase libido, which usually drops during menopause.

Infertility and early pregnancy loss

During conception and pregnancy, a healthy dose of the hormone progesterone is important as it helps in the preparation of the woman’s body for these significant life stages. Progesterone also aids in promoting sufficient growth of milk-producing glands in a woman’s breasts during pregnancy.

Progesterone plays a key role in thickening the uterine lining and aids in the luteal phase defects. An incomplete luteal phase may lead to miscarriage. Chasteberry can be a natural cure for your infertility problems by maintaining a healthy supply of progesterone.

Safety concerns and cautions

Chasteberry is found to be safe for a majority of people, with only a few side effects. Side effects may include nausea, itching, sleeping troubles, acne, weight gain, and an upset stomach.

Taking in chasteberry for medication should be avoided by pregnant, lactating, or breastfeeding women; those with hormone-sensitive conditions; and those who are planning to undergo in vitro fertilization.

Ask for your doctor’s advice on how to reap the positive benefits of chasteberry to your health and your hormones!

Nueva Ecija organic farm promotes medicinal plants

(Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - Green as far as the eye can see. This is what greets farmers every day at the Leonie Agri Corp. (LAC) farm, a 42-hectare verdant tract in the northern Nueva Ecija town of Sta. Rosa.

Look closely and you will see among the plants are sambong and lagundi. This is where parent company Pascual Laboratories has been sourcing the medicinal plants for its Releaf and Ascof brands, respectively — herbal products which won Silver Awards at the 25th International Exhibition for Inventions, New Techniques and Products in Geneva, Switzerland in 1997.

Sambong and lagundi leaves are harvested and pre-processed into herbal raw materials right on the farm — in a facility which conforms to pharmaceutical manufacturing standards.

The leaves undergo washing and spin-drying, oven-drying, milling, sterilization and then packaging. The stringent quality control methods meet the regulations of the Bureau of Food and Drugs. Pascual Laboratories handles the validation of the results.

In line with the LAC’s mission to promote healthcare by producing organically grown medicinal herbal raw materials and agricultural products, crops on the farm are cultivated sans pesticides and synthetic chemicals. Other organic practices include composting and vermiculture.

The LAC is certified by the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines as the first organic farm in the country and is a member of the Organic Producers Trade Association of the Philippines.

LAC president Guillermo Saret recalls that the land was not always this fertile. The townsfolk used to call it lupang sinumpa (cursed land) because it was barren, save for weeds such as talahib and cogon — indicators of the soil’s acidity.

But when the farmers discovered a swamp beside the farm and transformed it into an irrigation system, a remarkable increase in organic matter and soil nutrients turned the land into lupang pangako (blessed land).

Today, aside from medicinal plants, the LAC farm also produces a slew of internationally recognized products and has also expanded its operations to organic vegetables and livestock.


Fuel Up With These PMS-Busting Foods and Supplements

By Alle Weil

Ah, the joys of being a woman. Nearly every other woman experiences at least one of the following symptoms every month related to hormone-related and brain chemical fluctuations. In fact, most of us have come to expect unwelcome premenstrual symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, bloating, digestive upsets, cravings, breast swelling, sleep disturbances, cramping, and headaches as just part of the typical cycle. Shame, shame. No woman should have to experience these often debilitating symptoms month after month, and what's more, many of these common woes of womanhood can be relieved with ingredients and supplements we already have in our fridges and pantries.

Let's explore these PMS-busting superfoods and supplements women should be fueling up on monthly.

Avocados

Avocados are not only creamy, delicious on toast, and filled with omega fatty acids, they contain plant sterols that may actually help to reduce excess estrogen from the body — a main issue linked to PMS symptoms like monthly weight gain, lethargy, and reduced sex drive.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil and chia and hemp seeds have long been used to help reduce widespread inflammation in the body. These essential oils may also help to reduce depression, anxiety, and menstrual pain and cramping. Fuel up on high-quality omega-3 oils and reduce your intake of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, that although healthy, may contribute to inflammation.

Raw Dark Chocolate

Most women have a special bond, I should say obsession, with this decadent superfood, and there is actually a rational reason. Not only does chocolate or cacao contain mood and energy-boosting chemicals, it contains high levels of magnesium and calcium as well as iron, zinc, a broad spectrum of B vitamins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber — all essential to a healthy, happy cycle. Choose an organic and fair-trade raw chocolate or cacao nibs for the most benefit.

Magnesium

Most of us are actually quite low in this essential mineral. In addition to being vital for literally hundreds of functions in the body, magnesium also plays an important role in preventing PMS-related mood swings and irritability, breast tenderness, poor sleep, cramping, bloating and fluid retention, and headaches. Add magnesium-rich foods such as pumpkin seeds, dark leafy greens, yogurt, figs, and bananas to your diet regularly or choose to add a supplement like Natural Calm or Magnesium oil, which can be applied directly to the skin.

Bananas

Bananas are rich in vitamin B6 and potassium, which aids to reduce bloat and water retention as well as muscle cramping. In addition the B6 may help to improve mood, irritability, as well as breast tenderness, so eat up.

Chasteberry

Chasteberry, also known as vitex, is an herb that has long been used to treat premenstrual syndrome, especially breast pain and tenderness. In addition, chasteberry has been effective in relieving edema, depression, irritability, and headaches. Source chasteberry as a supplement in the form of a liquid extract or capsule.

Vitamin E

Tocotrienol powder, commonly sourced from rice bran solubles, is a potent source of vitamin E. Vitamin E not only helps to soothe the skin when those pesky PMS-related acne flare-ups happen, but may relieve mood-related symptoms, cravings, and cramps as well. Supplement with vitamin E or add tocos powder to smoothies or oatmeal, or eat by the spoonful. It's delicious! Yogurt

Low levels of calcium as well as vitamin D have been linked to many PMS symptoms. In conjunction with vitamin D, studies have shown calcium to help reduce PMS-associated pain, swelling, bloating, and mood-related effects of PMS. In addition, the probiotics in yogurt help to regulate digestion and strengthen immunity, helping to improve PMS tummy troubles. If you are sensitive to dairy or find it contributes to those monthly breakouts, skip the yogurt and increase your levels with a supplement. 1,000 mg of calcium is recommended daily for women and 1,000 to 4,000 IU of vitamin D. Check with your doctor to get a baseline of your levels to see how much you should be taking.


Powerhouse remedies for cough, cold, flu

By Rhea Claire E Madarang (Rappler.com)

Fight rainy season illnesses the spicy way

MANILA, Philippines - It’s the season of rains and typhoons, and the season of cough, cold and flu, too.

To protect you from these common rainy season afflictions or to help speed up healing — if you already have them — here are some of the most powerful natural remedies:

Garlic

This ubiquitous spice in Filipino kitchens actually has a host of benefits. Thanks to allicin — the compound mainly responsible for its pungent odor — garlic is one of the most powerful natural antibiotics.

It is also antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral, ideal for respiratory ailments. And if you have stubborn phlegm stuck in your throat, garlic will help you cough it off.

Garlic is among the plants found by the Department of Health (DOH) to have medicinal value.

So when you feel the sniffles or a sore throat coming, take garlic to prevent your condition from worsening.

If you want the fastest and most potent effect, take raw garlic. While deodorized garlic supplements also have benefits, raw garlic is best when fighting bacteria in your respiratory tract.

How to take raw garlic? Mince it and mix it with honey, another antibacterial and antimicrobial remedy. You can also mix in cinnamon powder both for fragrance and taste, and also for its antibacterial properties.

Take at least 4 garlic cloves a day. On occasions when the taste of garlic seems too strong for you, you can also take onion as an alternative, garlic’s less potent sister and also a relative of the allicin family.

Lagundi

Also among the medicinal plants which got the nod from DOH, lagundi’s 5-fingered leaves are a particularly popular cough remedy.

It is also good for cold, fever and flu. It relieves cough symptoms, loosens and helps release phlegm.

Remi Santiago-Bautista: Soul food

Boil half a cup of lagundi leaves in two cups of water and drink half a cup of the decoction 3 times a day. To preserve more of the leaves’ potency, simply pour boiling water over them and let the leaves steep in the water.

Lagundi in tablet, capsule or syrup form is also available in drugstores.

Turmeric

Turmeric — or luyang dilaw — is a member of the ginger family but far more potent. With its substance curcumin effective in reducing pain and inflammation, turmeric is good for the sore throat and body pain you may suffer when down with the flu.

Its flavor is particularly strong and not pleasant for all. If you are preparing turmeric tea, you can mix it with pandan and lemongrass to make it more palatable. You can also take it in capsule form.

You can also buy turmeric powder and mix it with soups and other dishes, especially curry.

Watch this video to know more about the benefits of taking turmeric and ginger:

https://youtu.be/4QKzD9zVdYM

Guava

While calamansi and other citrus fruits are the usual and effective remedies for coughs and colds (mostly because of their Vitamin C), guava is actually the fruit richest in Vitamin C, with 4 to 10 times more than orange.

The juice of raw, immature — not ripe — guavas is effective against cough and colds. A decoction of guava leaves also helps thin mucus and disinfects the respiratory tract and lungs.

Chili pepper

Good news for spice lovers: you can keep your food hot with spices like siling labuyo and cayenne pepper.

In fact, it is recommended that you make your food spicier when you are down with the cough. Capsaicin, the substance which makes chili hot, helps breaks down mucus and clears the nose and throat.

Grind chili up and mix it with soups, or sprinkle it fresh or dried over your food. For faster results, include as much chili as you can in each meal.

Below are easy to prepare, flu-fighting recipes which use some of the ingredients above:

https://youtu.be/LTL8BGUz23U


15 Health Benefits Of Chasteberry Tea

(Home Remedies Authority)

Chasteberry, likewise understood as vitex agnus castus has remained in usage for women’ health given that ages. The belongings of estrogen commercial property by chasteberry offers superb treatment with estrogen associated conditions. Valuable for treatment of not one or two however numerous conditions, chasteberry has actually successfully established its throne in the field of medicines from a very long time back. Today, individuals have actually advanced its usage in an additional type as tea for the exact same objectives. It is simple to prepare compared to paste and fulfills the goal efficiently. Chasteberry tea is likewise suggested for guys in the therapy of hyperplasia and several various other disorders however it is more essential for a female to be bound by its understanding as it holds much more benefits in its kitty for females. Therefore, down below are stated 15 such health advantages that will certainly convince females to have this tea much more as well as more.

Here Are The 15 Health Conveniences of Chasteberry Tea:

Reduces Epileptic Seizures

It is shown in US that Chasteberry tea owns superb ability to minimize epileptic seizures. All you need to do is take the right dosage of the tea at normal interval.

Acne

Acnes are much more visible as a result of hormonal modification. As acne is one of the usual penalty of premenstrual disorder (PMS), as a result chasteberry tea is suggested for women usually. It has the possible to reduce acne blazes triggered by varying hormones.

Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea is an additional menstruation condition in ladies which places an abrupt period in the menstruation. To obtain begin with the menstrual pattern again, chasteberry tea is substantially recommended as it stabilizes the hormonal agents particularly estrogen and progesterone hormones.

Food Cravings

Many a times, our hunger keep on ringing after a short period. In this case, if you go on sufficing your cravings after that it could become a calamity for your body as well as weight both. Therefore, when types of food desires strikes every so often, have chasteberry tea regularly for its hunger lowering pangs.

Prevents Hot Flashes

Although there are abundance of teas that have the tendency to end the regularity and strength of hot flashes but chasteberry is recommended advantageous for its pituitary glandular targeting action which therefore maintains the hormone degree in check.

Mild Endometriosis

Endometriosis, a problem in which uterine tissues dislodges from the uterus causes utter discomfort. Because the diseases is possible with women just, chasteberry tea is prescribed as soothing and also suppressing remedy for ladies. In the classification of vaginal infections, women locate it handy for dealing with menstruation pains also.

Increases Breast Milk

Chasteberry is taken as galactagogue which is a medication to increases milk supply. To meet the purpose, typically reduced doses are recommended as it functions efficiently in promoting prolactin level in the breast.

Menopausal Symptoms

Menopause is one more stage in a lady’s life that reminds her of her aging but this suggestion causes with it certain fluctuation in the level of hormonal agents such as estrogen. However, according to professionals, chaseberry tea is located with the superb property of minimizing such menopausal symptoms.

Anti-Cancer Benefits

It is found that chasteberry having big possession of anti-cancer residential properties is very efficient in killing a great deal of lump cells of various kinds such as colon, ovarian or bust cancer cells. Cancer comes to be fatal when tumor cells go on multiplying continually however if you start normal intake of chasteberry tea, after that you could create fatality of these cells.

Reduces PMS Symptoms

This has actually been shown by the newest journal that females who appreciate chasteberry tea regularly have seen reduction in PMS signs and symptoms such as state of mind swings, frustration, irritation and also bust tenderness. Consume chasteberry tea to experience the same.

Menstrual Abnormality And also Infertility

Infertility could take place due to high prolactin level resulting in suppression of ovulation. In this problem, if a woman takes in chasteberry tea consistently, she can in fact prosper in decreasing this prolactin level. Plus, chasteberry tea likewise regulates menstruation pattern by encouraging normal ovulation.

Boots Female Libido

Women on the verge of menopause as well as kid bearing age could have chasteberry tea to calm their need of appreciating sexual relations. Chasteberry tea is located to have phytoestrogen which enhances sex drive in female hence satisfying their desire.

Premenstrual Symptoms

Premenstrual symptoms such as bloating, irritation, frustration, depression as well as breast inflammation could be alleviated by the consumption of chasteberry tea. For this purpose, you could take chasteberry in crushed, tincture, liquid, or powdered type also.

Treats Male Osteoporosis

It is stated that chasteberry is one of the perfect treatment for male weakening of bones. It is confirmed that men taking in higher consumption of chasteberry tea were located to have higher bone thickness as compared to others.

Antioxidant Properties

Chasteberry contains several antioxidant properties that ruins cost-free radicals wandering in the body. These complimentary radicals otherwise eliminated can come to be responsible for oxidative stress at mobile degree hence exposing body to particular diseases consisting of untimely ageing as well as cancer. If such happens then delight in chasteberry tea to subdue it.


Quezon province plants seeds of medicinal agro-industries

By Delfin T. Mallari Jr.

‘We are now shifting to a healthier lifestyle. We are more conscious of what we eat and drink’

LUCENA CITY—For Romulo Ayag, an organic farming advocate in Barangay Pili in Sariaya town of Quezon province, herbal plant agriculture offers farmers a bright promise.

“Farming nowadays can reap millions of pesos if one hits the jackpot,” Ayag says.

A son of a farmer couple from Lobo, Batangas, the 58-year-old Ayag has four children—three of them working abroad while the youngest had just returned from an overseas job to join him in the farming business.

Half of the family’s two-hectare farm is planted with “pinakbet” (an IIocano dish) vegetables while the remaining half is devoted to turmeric (yellow ginger) and siling labuyo (chili pepper), which are not only popular as a food additives but known for their healing properties.

Ayag is one of several partners or “cooperators” of the Quezon Herbal Industry Program (QHIP), which the provincial government launched in 2014. The program aims to explore the business potential of growing herbal plants, possibly an emergent industry in the country.

Walter Dapla, QHIP coordinator, says the provincial agriculture office introduced the program as an alternative livelihood program to residents during a rehabilitation caravan, which the provincial government led in areas devastated by Typhoon “Glenda” (international name: Rammasun) in 2014.

“The response was very positive. Many were interested, especially local government officials,” Dapla says.

The provincial agriculture office chose six towns—Sariaya, Tayabas, Pagbilao, Padre Burgos, Agdangan and General Luna—as pilot areas for the program where planting materials like lemongrass (tanglad), turmeric, chili pepper, moringa (malunggay) and lagundi (Vitex negundo) were distributed.

A farmer who wants to be a cooperator should own an easily accessible farm land with an adequate water source. “But most importantly, the farmer is willing to learn,” Dapla says.

The program will provide cooperators with training, seminar and technical support from agricultural technicians and experts.

After harvest, the cooperators are not obliged to pay back the provincial government from their earnings. Instead, QHIP will help farmers sell their harvest.

“All earnings will remain with the cooperator so they can shoulder the cost of the next planting season,” he says.

Further, the provincial government aims to establish a processing facility in Pagbilao to serve as drying and grounding area for medicinal plants.

Quezon Gov. David Suarez, in an executive order, created the QHIP committee composed of different government agencies, academic institutions and representatives from the private sector that drew up an Herbal Industry Development Program.

The program has five major components—research and development, enhancement of herbal production, information and education, promotion and marketing, and agro-enterprise development.

Provincial agriculturist Roberto Gajo, remembers Celso Diaz, former director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Ecosystem Research and Development Bureau, as saying that herbal plants are sleeping treasures due to their [still to be] fully realized potential.

“QHIP, in some way, provides a response to Dr. Diaz’s challenge of using herbal plants not only [to] address health-related issues, but also contribute to poverty alleviation and the promotion of a healthy environment,” says Gajo.

He adds that hundreds of hectares of farm lands in the province have been planted with medicinal plants.

QHIP has also partnered with the Department of Education’s vegetable garden program in encouraging the cultivation of medicinal plants.

“Through this, students become aware of the uses and importance of medicinal plants,” Gajo says.

Jaime Galvez-Tan, former secretary of the Department of Health and proponent of traditional and natural medicine, says Quezon has the potential to be the Philippines’ center for medicinal plants and to be the first province with agro-industries in medicinal herbs.

Galvez-Tan, a QHIP consultant, noted that with over 1,500 indigenous herbs and plants across the country, herbal medicine could be a multibillion-peso industry, just like in Thailand and Singapore.

The World Health Organization estimates that eight of 10 people across the globe use herbal medicine because it is cheaper and more available than pharmaceutical drugs.

The Philippines’ natural and organic products have an estimated total export value of about $153 million in 2011, government data show.

The major contributors to the sector’s growth are the medicinal plants, and food and personal care segments.

Also, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the therapeutic use of 10 Philippine medicinal plant species. These include lagundi for cough and asthma; sambong, kidney stones; ampalaya, lowering of blood sugar and anti-diabetes; garlic, against cholesterol; guava, oral/skin antiseptic; tsaang-gubat, mouthwash; yerba buena, for pain and fever; niyog-niyogan, parasitic worms; acapulco, antifungal; and ulasimang bato, for uric acid in the blood.

Last year, the provincial government started the construction of the Quezon Adventure Park-Quezon Protected Landscape Herbal Pavilion at the Quezon Protected Landscape (formerly Quezon National Park), along the popular zigzag road in Atimonan town.

The facility will have a QHIP showcase, where various herbal plants will be found. It will also serve as a display center for products produced by different organizations, cooperatives and individuals involved in the herbal medicines program.

“We are now shifting to a healthier lifestyle. We are more conscious of what we eat and drink,” says Suarez, the governor. “I want Quezon province to spearhead and to capitalize on that movement.”

He called on local officials to develop and propagate herbal and medicinal plants and turn this activity into a vibrant industry.

“We will not only earn from it; it will also make our community a lot healthier,” Suarez says.


10 Ways to Treat PMS Naturally

By Becky Striepe

When it comes to lady business, it feels like PMS falls somewhere between a cliche attempt at misogynist humor and a totally taboo topic. PMS is the butt of many a joke, but for women who do struggle with serious PMS symptoms, there’s not much about it that’s funny.

Not all women suffer from severe PMS, but about 75 percent of women deal with at least some form of PMS symptoms. They can range from a few cramps before your cycle to symptoms that are so severe that they disrupt your day to day routine. Here are the common symptoms of PMS:

• Mood changes like anxiety, depression, and difficulty concentrating.
• Food cravings. Chocolate, anyone?
• Pain. Headaches, muscle pain, and stomach aches are common among PMS sufferers
• Physical discomfort such as bloating, breast tenderness, and insomnia.

You don’t have to suffer from all of these to have PMS. Even one or two of these symptoms can throw you off of your game, and if they’re severe they can even cause you to miss work or duck out of social obligations. No fun! Luckily, there are some habits, vitamins, and herbs that can help take the edge off of your PMS.

Change your Habits to Fight PMS

Taking good care of your body can go a long way in fighting PMS. Some of these habits are lifestyle changes that you should try to incorporate all the time, and others are just for the few days or week before your period.

1. Exercise. Getting moderate exercise a few times a week can go a long way towards alleviating your PMS woes.

2. Get plenty of sleep. Listen to your body. That period-related fatigue means you need your rest. If you can, work your schedule so that you can get those extra Z’s when PMS hits. That could mean going to bed early, if you work a regular 9-5 job or sneaking in a nap, if your schedule is more flexible.

3. Tailor your diet. When you start experiencing PMS symptoms, try cutting back on caffeine, alcohol, and salty foods. If you get stomach pain, try eating smaller meals more frequently, rather than three large meals each day. It will reduce pressure on your abdomen.

Vitamins for PMS

There are quite a few studies suggesting that some PMS symptoms are your body’s way of telling you it needs more of certain vitamins and minerals. Add these vitamins to your daily routine to help curb your PMS symptoms.

4. Calcium. PMS symptoms and calcium deficiency symptoms have a lot in common. Make sure you’re getting 1200 milligrams of calcium a day from food sources of from supplements.

5. Vitamin E. You want to take 400 IUs of vitamin E per day to alleviate PMS symptoms.

6. Magnesium. Do you retain water during your period? 200 milligrams of magnesium daily can make a difference!

7. B-6. That magnesium will pack an extra punch if you pair it with vitamin B-6. Take 100 milligrams per day to not only give your magnesium supplement a boost but to help fight PMS-related depression.

Herbal Remedies for PMS

On top of vitamins, there are some herbal remedies that can help with your PMS symptoms.

8. Black Cohosh. It can help with insomnia and depression. 40mg of black cohosh extract is a common dosage. If you’re new to this herb, keep an eye out for stomach upset, since some women experience this as a side effect.

9. Chasteberry. Women have been using chasteberry to fight PMS for thousands of years. Try to find a 6 percent chasteberry extract that’s 4 milligrams per pill.

10. Evening Primrose Oil. This herb can help with breast tenderness if you take 3-4 grams daily during your period.


Lagundi (Vitex negundo) — scientifically and clinically proven cough remedy Lagundi leaves

(Be Healthy and Well)

I have personally proven lagundi as an effective cough remedy in my family. I’ve seen its powers too many times to doubt it. Whenever I notice any of the members in my family coughing or sneezing, I just pick a cupful of lagundi leaves from my garden and make lagundi juice, the recipe of which you can see here. But is lagundi backed up by science? Or is it just a folkloric treatment whose powers can be nothing more than a case of placebo effect?

I’m here to tell you that yes, Lagundi or Vitex negundo is legit. No less than the Philippine Department of Health has formally recognized and promoted lagundi as one of the 10 herbal medicines that have proven therapeutic value. Two decades of extensive and intensive medical research went into the study of lagundi. The clinical trials that have been undertaken have shown lagundi as more effective and six times safer than carbocisteine in treating cough. This was the finding based on studies done by the Irish Medical Board on Carbocisteine.

A March 26, 2012 issue of science.ph (the information arm of the Department of Science and Technology) reported that Ascof Lagundi — the first lagundi syrup that has been bottled and marketed in the Philippines — as the most successful phytomedicine or plant-based therapeutic medicine at that time (2012).

The manufacturer of the first commercial lagundi syrup is Pascual Laboratories, a homegrown pharmaceutical company which has over 65 years of experience in the industry. The company developed the organic and natural product after an intensive collaboration with 4 agencies — the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Health, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development and the National Integrated Research Program of Medicinal Plants. Today, lagundi medicine now comes in the form of syrups, tablets and capsules and are prescribed for cough and asthma.

Lagundi treats cough and asthma by way of three mechanisms: 1. Bronchodilation — dilation or widening of the airway tubes to facilitate breathing 2. Mucolysis and expectoration — dissolution of mucus and expulsion of phlegm to clear the airways 3. Antihistaminic — calming down allergy that is often the underlying reason behind most respiratory ailments Lagundi has Chrysoplenol D which has antihistaminic as well as muscle relaxant properties. Lagundi has been shown to effectively prevent the release of leukotrienes during asthma attacks.

Lagundi is now officially recommended by the above government agencies to be prescribed for the following:

• relief of cough due to common colds and flu
• treatment of bronchospasm in bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
• prophylactic or preventive maintenance medications for the relief of reversible, mild to moderate bronchospasm in those with airway disease

That’s not all there is to lagundi however, as its other plant parts are purported to have other applications.

• The roots are said to be good treatment for rheumatism, boils and even leprosy.
• The flowers are said to be a cardiac tonic (strengthens the heart) and cures liver disease.
• Decoction of lagundi leaves can be used as baths to treat various skin diseases. Lagundi leaf tea is also said to be a galactagogue (can increase milk supply).
• Boiled seeds when eaten are reported to prevent the spread of venom in case of snake or other animal bites.

Is your doctor prescribing lagundi for your cough? Looking back, I can say mine has not — at least as far back as my pre-lagundi juice making years — and I don’t know why. Perhaps the DOH has not done enough to promote this indigenous, safe and effective cough treatment among our physicians?


As for me, I would go for lagundi for as long as I still have lagundi in my garden. Lagundi formulations in the market would be a close second option.


7 Signs You Might Have A Hormonal Imbalance

(Nigeria Today)

Hormones are in the news a lot nowadays as people begin to realize just how important they are to the health and wellness of the body. As a matter of fact, hormones — chemicals which are released from glands all over our body — are responsible for everything from our sexual development to our metabolisms to the strength and health of our bones.

While the body has dozens of hormones, some of the most important include:

• Insulin: Produced by the pancreas, insulin helps to regulate how glucose (sugar) from the food we eat enters our cells, where it is used for energy.
• Testosterone: Produced in the ovaries and testes, testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and is responsible for male sexual development; it also helps with energy levels and to build muscle mass.
• Estrogen and progesterone: Also produced in the ovaries and testes, these are the primary female sex hormones which are responsible for the menstrual cycle, ovulation and the maintenance of a pregnancy after conception.
• Cortisol. Produced by the adrenal glands, which lie atop the kidneys, this hormone is produced in response to stress and is part of the “fight or flight” response.

The problem is that, because the hormones are in such delicate balance, if you have too much or too little of a hormone, a whole variety of symptoms can result. Below are some of the most common symptoms of a hormonal imbalance:

1. Fatigue

Feeling tired all the time, in spite of getting enough sleep, is one of the most common warning signs of a hormonal imbalance. There are several culprits that could be responsible for this, but insulin is the most likely explanation, particularly when insulin levels remain high due to the development of insulin resistance. The good news is that making dietary changes (such as reducing the amount of simple carbohydrates like sugar and white flour in the diet), losing weight and exercising regularly can help lower insulin levels naturally and keep the blood sugar steady throughout the day.

2. Trouble Sleeping

Along with fatigue, insomnia is also a common side effect of a hormonal imbalance. In men, this can often be a sign that testosterone levels are low, while in women, low progesterone levels are the culprit. Again, hormone replacement therapy is a possibility, but there are also other more natural options to choose from. Low progesterone levels can be helped by herbs like chasteberry, while herbs are also available to help increase testosterone as well.

3. Decreased Sex Drive

A loss of interest in sex can be a sign of low estrogen in women and low testosterone in men. Estrogen levels drop in women around the time they hit menopause. What many men may not be aware of, however, is that their testosterone levels also drop off after 50, a phenomenon many doctors are now calling “male menopause“. The good news is, however, that testosterone and estrogen replacement therapies are available by prescription, and across the country, more clinics are offering bioidentical hormone therapy as a more natural alternative.

4. Night Sweats and Hot Flashes

One of the earliest signs of menopause for many women is the phenomenon of night sweats and hot flashes which can make life pretty miserable when you’re trying to sleep and cause a lot of discomfort even during the day. This is a sign that estrogen levels are beginning to drop as menopause approaches. Fortunately, hormone replacement therapy can help correct this imbalance. Some women also choose to use herbal therapies such as black cohosh to help.

5. Poor Memory and Concentration

If you find yourself forgetting your purse or wallet on the regular basis or have problems concentrating or focusing at work, these lapses also might be a sign that your hormones — specifically cortisol — is out of balance. When you are stressed for a long period of time, your adrenal glands become fatigued and can no longer produce adequate amounts of cortisol. And when your cortisol levels are low, this can affect your cognitive functions like memory and focus.

6. Emotional Issues

Anxiety, irritability, depression and mood swings are also common symptoms with a hormonal imbalance, particularly with levels of progesterone and estrogen levels that are too low or too high. Hormone replacement therapy can help to correct a deficiency, while weight loss can help correct estrogen levels that are too high. Again, many women will also use herbs like black cohosh to help correct this problem.

7. Weight Gain

Weight gain — especially weight gain in the abdominal area — is a common problem as well as a very frustrating one. While several hormones can play a role in weight problems, the most common culprits are insulin and cortisol. When levels of these hormones are high, they signal to the body that it needs to take glucose and store it as fat — usually on the tummy. However, stress management (such as meditation, yoga and deep breathing exercises) can help to reduce cortisol levels while weight loss and dietary changes can reduce insulin levels and make it easier to lose weight.

If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, be sure to report them to your doctor. The good news is that hormone deficiencies are fairly easy to diagnose (it is possible to do this either through a saliva test or through bloodwork).


Unleashing the full potential of social enterprises in PH

By Mark Anthony D. Toldo

Kita. Kapwa. Kalikasan.

The so-called triple bottom line (3BL), which measures profit, people and planet, has been guiding the Foundation for a Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI) as it strives to create a “space for the poor” in the market and help them develop sustainable communities through social enterprises.

“One out of four Filipinos is poor. And we believe that there are a lot of ways to reduce poverty,” FSSI executive director Jay Lacsamana said in a recent briefing.

Among these is social entrepreneurship.

Since its establishment in 1995, following a debt-for-development agreement between the Philippines and the Swiss Confederation, FSSI has helped some 200 social enterprises involved in organic agriculture, crafts, aquatic and coastal resources, microfinance and cooperative development across the Philippines.

FSSI aims to achieve equality, environmental sustainability and inclusive economic growth not only by providing financial services such as loans and grants to the marginalized sector such as farmers, fishermen, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities (PWDs), but also by engaging the poor in economic activity as participants and owners.

“Development must come from the poor and this [is what] we do by maximizing their capacities to participate in economic activities, resulting in jobs, income, and protection of natural resources from which poor communities get their livelihood,” Lacsamana said.

Social enterprises are defined as businesses that exist primarily to benefit the poor and generate social impact by solving the most pressing social problems, particularly poverty and environmental degradation.

There are an estimated 30,000 social enterprises in the country and FSSI wants the number to grow so that more poor Filipinos will earn from becoming part of the mainstream economic cycle.

The prospect of becoming social entrepreneurs can be daunting, however, which is why FSSI decided to work together with the Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta) and mount a creative and theatrical presentation of FSSI’s history and triumphs.

The aim is to use theater to encourage the poor and other stakeholders such as non-government and people’s organizations to join the cause.

To mark the foundation’s 20th anniversary this August, we look at how FSSI’s formula of “earning while doing good” has improved the plight of some rural communities.

‘Star trek’

Just like the characters in the American science fiction film “Star Trek,” a community in Palawan has dared to go “where no man has gone before” in terms of alleviating poverty.

“The main problem in Palawan is poverty. The people do kaingin just to sustain their daily needs,” Palawan Center for Appropriate Rural Technology, Inc. (PCART) executive director Laurence Padilla said during a recent conference.

The people were also concerned about mining activities and land acquisition of foreign settlers in Northern Palawan.

To help ease these concerns, the Star trek project was established in May 2010 by PCART in partnership with FSSI, Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF), and Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE).

PCART is a non-government organization established in 1984 and focused on developing livelihood and enterprises for poor communities in the countryside.

Its Star trek project initially covered seven contiguous barangays of the municipality of Roxas to preserve the biodiversity of the Barbacan river system from exploration activities.

It later expanded to include nine barangays in Roxas and San Vicente. It is now on its second phase, themed “expanding the habitat and scaling up the social enterprise.”

Through the project, residents are now involved in ecosocial enterprises, including carabao raising, production of herbs and coco products and development of renewable energy.

PCART’s data show that under the “carabao, plow and harrow” module alone, the annual income of close to 400 beneficiaries increased in five years by 48.6 percent, from P49,000 each in 2010 to P73,000 in April 2015.

Those who were not willing to borrow capital had the option to engage in herbal production.

Here, a farmer only needed to have land, seeds and an herb dryer. But those who did not have resources nor equipment had the option to borrow from PCART.

“We usually lend them seeds, which they [are supposed to] give back after the harvest so that other farmers will have seeds to plant, too,” Padilla explained.

The versatile ‘vitex negundo,’ or lagundi, is the main herb planted by the farmers in the Palawan project sites.

According to Padilla, farmers can harvest up to 300 kilograms of lagundi per hectare. The herb, which is mainly used in medicine, is harvested every four months.

Lagundi

Dried lagundi is sold to pharmaceutical companies at P150 a kilo. And because of constant demand, the farmers are assured of a ready market for their produce.

“The best thing about lagundi is that it’s sturdy and grows in any season. It doesn’t even need pesticide or fertilizer. A farmer could harvest plants worth P120,000 per hectare every year,” Padilla said.

Pharmaceutical companies process the dried leaves and convert them into tablets and capsules.

Lagundi has been endorsed by the Department of Health as an effective herbal medicine with proven therapeutic value as treatment and relief for colds, flu, asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems.

Meanwhile, the farmers more familiar with coconuts were taught to add value to their products.

Today, four barangays with 80 farmer-entrepreneurs have ventured into the tuba, coco sugar, and coco syrup business.

Tuba makers produce an average of 20 liters a day, which is worth P200.

Eight liters of tuba, in turn, can produce a kilo of sugar/syrup.

So far, PCART is the sole purchaser of these products as the entrepreneurs have yet to find their own market.

A kilo of raw coco sugar and coco syrup is sold at P250 and P220, respectively.

After packaging, PCART brings the products to high-end stores in Bonifacio Global City, Baguio and Vigan.

PCART is also engaged in renewable energy projects, particularly biomass, solar, and wind in Sitio Green Island. The P8.55-million project is funded primarily by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Roxas LGU and Solutions Using Renewable Energy, Inc. (SURE).

The Green Island project, through a 25.5-kilowatt hybrid renewable energy power system, has illuminated over 50 households. The aim is to reach at least 400 more households this year.

PCART says that because the residents are generating income from these projects, there has been less pressure to engage in illegal activities that hurt the environment, such as logging and slash-and-burn agriculture.

Its data show that as of April 2015, the number of charcoal makers—who cut down trees to make charcoal—has gone down from 126 in 2010 to just 49.

And because of the active participation of the local government units, all 16-member barangays have passed ordinances against mining activities and have declared watershed areas, too.

It has also delineated forest and agricultural land through its 128-kilometer “biofence,” which was installed by the residents themselves.

“(Through the project), our forests were preserved and even our shoreline. The destroyed mangroves are now big and abundant,” said San Isidro resident Luzviminda Hugo.

The success of the project has prompted individuals to form groups.

Currently, over a thousand households have been formed into 35 people’s organizations and cooperatives, and 20 income groups pushing for the development of their respective social ventures.

So far, the Star trek project has generated a total income of over P400,000 and contributed a cash fund of P1.6 million to its “Community Managed Savings and Credit Project” (CMSCP)—an insurance, loan, and shared capital system for its members.

Malaya dairy enterprise

There was a time when the Malaya Development Cooperative found itself on the brink of bankruptcy due to the adverse impact of natural calamities.

Fortunately, because of financial assistance worth P975,000 from FSSI, the Isabela-based group has been steadily regaining its strength, thanks to social entrepreneurship.

“For us to get out of the cycle of poverty, we needed to look for an alternative income source and we saw the potential of dairy,” general manager Ernesto Lactao told the Inquirer.

Through the assistance of FSSI, MDC’s dairy enterprise has engaged over 1,000 member-entrepreneurs in Mallig, Isabela into the business that produces three main products: livestock, milk and organic fertilizer.

Based on an agreement with the National Dairy Authority, which has provided the cooperative with 50 cows to date, MDC and its members follow a multiplier model wherein the cooperative will distribute at least three cows to every member-household.

Members are then responsible for multiplying them.

Five years after procurement, a member will pay back the NDA with the same number of cows, which will in turn be distributed to other households.

“Venturing into the business is cheap. You just have to plant napier grass (as food for cows) in idle land, and in three months’ time, it’s all grown. Since it’s a perennial grass, there’s no need to plant again,” Lactao said.

Each cow produces 10 liters of milk every day that is sold to MDC at P23 per liter, resulting in an estimated daily income of P690 per household.

The cooperative then processes the fresh milk and produces bottled pasteurized milk and yogurt that are sold primarily to schools in Isabela.

“We plan to eventually purchase all of the milk produced by the farmers after we receive the P16 million worth of dairy processing facilities/grant from the World Bank. We also plan to build retail outlets in several areas in Isabela soon,” Lactao said.

As for the animal waste, it does not really “go to waste” because it is sold and used as organic fertilizer in farms.

Lactao added that the dairy enterprise had not only produced businessmen but has also created employment, particularly for farmers who were once displaced due to the modernization of farming.

49-year-old farm owner Romeo Bugarin has renewed his faith in the land, after venturing into the dairy enterprise.

“Although I procured my cows just last year, I’m very optimistic that this business would yield a daily income that is much higher than what I got from rice farming,” he told the Inquirer.

It is FSSI’s hope that through social entrepreneurship, the positive experience of these project beneficiaries will be shared by the other marginalized groups across the Philippines.


Which Foods Can Prevent PMS?

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

New research published on Tuesday in the American Journal of Epidemiology from the Nurses Health Study II at the University of Massachusetts Amherst found a correlation between diet and PMS. The Nurses Health Study II is a lengthy, wide-scale study which examines diet and lifestyle on health.

The researchers examined the mineral intake of 3025 women ages 25 to 42. Those women found to be eating a diet with the highest levels of iron from vegetarian sources (called nonheme iron) had the lowest levels of PMS at the end of the study term. The researchers also found that higher levels of zinc may also play a role in PMS prevention.

Researchers estimate that PMS affects 8-15 percent of women during their reproductive years, causing breast tenderness, depression, anxiety, abdominal bloating, appetite changes and other symptoms that can interfere with daily life.

Traditional thought among most dietitians and nutritionists has been that heme iron (from hemoglobin sources) from meat and poultry is a superior source of iron, yet this study found no reduction in PMS with red meat or poultry intake.

Some nonheme sources of iron include: legumes (lentils, kidney beans, black beans, etc.), grains, most nuts and seeds, and green vegetables like green beans, peas, and spinach.

The researchers speculate that iron may help reduce PMS symptoms because it is involved in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood.

The study found that the risk of developing PMS was lowest among women who consume more than 20 milligrams of iron daily, an amount that may require concerted effort to obtain from diet alone.

Because iron and zinc can be toxic in high doses, it is important to have your levels tested periodically if you’re supplementing with these minerals.

While low dietary iron and zinc are factors in the development of PMS, they are not the only ones. Vitamin B6 and essential fatty acids are often beneficial to reduce symptoms of PMS; however it may take a month or two of increasing the amounts of these nutrients to observe changes in PMS symptoms. Chasteberry (also known as Vitex) and the Chinese herb Dong Quai have also been found to be helpful for PMS.


Health Benefits from Lagundi

(jzsimplyme, health4happiness)

Vitex negundo or simply called as Lagundi in the Philippines is a native shrub found in swamps and grows up to 8 meters high with a thick and woody stem-like trunk with palmately-like leaves of 3 to 5 pointed leaves. Lagundi flowers are blue to lavender. They are also found in eastern Africa, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, India, Burma, China, Japan, Indo-China, Thailand and in the entire Malesian region, and are also cultivated in Europe, Asia, and North America and West Indies.

Lagundi has been used as herbal medicine by Filipinos which was backed up by the Department of Health and some Philippine-based scientists who made studies about its effectivity as treatment for respiratory ailments. Generally, lagundi is taken to cure coughs, asthma, and other respiratory concerns.

Lagundi has analgesic effects that help to ease the discomfort due to respiratory problems. This herb can:

• Relieve asthma and eases pharyngitis
• Reduces discomfort from rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils, and diarrhea
• Cures cough, colds, fever, flue and other brocho-pulmonary ailments
• Lessens signs of chicken pox
• Eliminates worms and boils

Presently, lagundi has been commercially manufactured and bought in syrup or in capsule form, mixed with other cough components and herbs. Lagundi syrup serves as cough treatment and are available in drugstores and even in some supermarkets. If you are outside the Philippines, there is an alternative herbal capsule called Ricola Cough Drops for cough and sore throat tablets and are available through Amazon online stores.

Lagundi is proven to be safe for the use of adults and children and there are no reported adverse reactions. Although, it is recommended to use it moderately especially for pregnant women and the cure must not exceed in one week.

-Other Traditional Uses of Lagundi:

• Leaves and roots have expectorant and diuretic properties and used to relieve pain
• The sap from its crushed leaves are used for sore throat and coughs
• Its leaf decoction is used for the wounds, and ulcers; heals gastric colic and flatulence; used for aromatic baths; can stimulate menstruation
• Its seeds are boiled and eaten for prevention of toxins and against the bites of animals
• Its flowers are used to heal diarrhea, cholera and some liver problems

When preparing these herbs, make sure that you have the 5-leaf type because there are other types of lagundi.


Natural Ways to Reduce Menstrual Bleeding

By Zoe Blarowski

Excessive menstrual bleeding, also called menorrhagia, isn’t something you have to tolerate. There are many things you can do to reduce heavy menstruation naturally.

If you’ve ever had this problem, you’re likely aware that menorrhagia can cause issues such as increased fatigue, cramping, anemia and difficulty carrying out daily tasks.

It can be caused by medical conditions like fibroids or uterine polyps, but more commonly, women are prone to menorrhagia during the time leading up to menopause. It affects approximately 10 million American women per year and the majority of those women are in their 40s and 50s.

Speak to your doctor before starting any new routine to rule out more serious conditions first.

Herbal Options

Certain herbs have the potential to reduce menstrual flow. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association has a comprehensive list of herbs that have been shown to help control menorrhagia.

The list below gives some of the most commonly used herbs. Most of these can be found in dry form or as a liquid extract in your local natural foods store.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a professional herbalist before taking any of these herbs. Some have the potential to change your hormonal balance and may not be appropriate to take.

1. Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris)

This plant is an astringent, which means it’s able to contract tissues in the body. It has been used for centuries to treat excessive menstruation as well as wounds, bruises or other forms of bleeding.

To make a lady’s mantle tea, it’s recommended to steep 1 ounce (28 grams) of the dried herb in 1 pint (568 milliliters) of boiling water. Lady’s mantle tinctures are also available.

2. Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

Shepherd’s purse is a common weed you likely already have growing near your home. It’s considered able to stop many different kinds of bleeding and traditionally used to treat hemorrhages of the stomach, lungs, uterus and kidneys as well as hemorrhoids, nose bleeds and hematuria (blood in urine).

If you harvest some of the fresh herb, steep 1 ounce (28 grams) of the plant in 12 ounces (336 milliliters) of boiling water, then strain and cool the infusion before drinking. If you buy it dried, only steep half an ounce for the same amount of water. A liquid extract can also be taken.

3. Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus)

Native to Central Asia and the Mediterranean, the berries of the chasteberry shrub have been used for thousands of years, primarily to ease menstruation and stimulate the production of breast milk. Modern research shows that they may stimulate progesterone production and help balance hormones, which can reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and other conditions like fibroids and menorrhagia.

Liquid or solid extracts are made from the dried berries and put into capsules and tablets. Follow the recommendations on the package for use.

4. Cinnamon

This common spice has many medical uses, including acting as an astringent to help control bleeding. It’s also suggested that cinnamon has a calming effect on the muscles of the uterus.

The best way to use cinnamon is to simply add the powdered spice to more of your foods. Cinnamon oil is not recommended to eat as it can cause health problems when taken internally.

5. Raspberry Leaf

Raspberry leaves contain fragarine, which can help tone and tighten pelvic muscles and relax the uterus. When taken by pregnant women, raspberry leaves are known for their ability to shorten and reduce complications during labor. But they can also help with menstrual issues, such as cramping, nausea and excessive bleeding.

The easiest way to consume this herb is in a tea. Most natural foods stores have commercial brands of raspberry leaf tea in bags. If you buy loose leaves or pick your own, steep about 1 to 2 teaspoons of leaves per cup for 15 minutes. Drink up to three times a day.

6. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow can promote blood coagulation and help to relax uterine muscles.

Try taking about thirty drops of a yarrow tincture up to three times a day, two weeks before your period starts. You can also make an infusion with 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried yarrow in a cup of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes and strain. Drink up to 3 cups per day.

7. Ginger

The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger have been shown to help reduce menstrual flow. You can use ginger as a fresh root in your cooking or as a powder.

Diet

A balanced diet composed of mainly whole foods will help keep your entire body functioning at its peak, including your hormonal system and menstruation.

It’s been found a diet low in animal fat and high in fish and vegetable oils will help regulate menstruation. In particular, soy and flax seeds have been found to be beneficial. This is potentially due to their high phytoestrogen content.

Iron is an important mineral relating to menstruation. Not only can you lose iron from heavy bleeding, having a chronic iron deficiency can make menorrhagia worse. Include lots of iron-rich foods in your diet and take measures to maximize your absorption of this vital mineral.

Deficiencies in magnesium, vitamin A and B vitamins have also been shown to increase menstrual bleeding, so make sure to get enough of these vitamins either through your diet or supplements.

Vitamin C and bioflavonoids can reduce heavy bleeding as well due to their ability to strengthen blood capillaries and promote clotting.

Alternative Therapies

Acupuncture and chiropractic treatment have both been shown to help reduce menstrual bleeding. You can also speak to a professional certified in homeopathy to discuss potential homeopathic remedies.

Putting an ice pack or cold compress on your abdomen during times of heavy bleeding will help to constrict the blood vessels in that region and may help reduce the flow.

It’s also recommended to avoid any intense exercise or heavy lifting around the time of menstruation. This may sound questionable, but I’ve tried to keep my feet up and reduce my activity level as much as possible around the beginning of my period and it noticeably helps.


Two XU chemistry profs win CHED National Republica Awards

(XU Comm)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, August 22 -- Two faculty members of Xavier University were among the recipients of the 2016 Commission on Higher Education Research and Publication (Republica) Awards for their researches in the field of chemistry.

XU College of Arts and Sciences dean and chemistry faculty member Dr. Juliet Q. Dalagan was hailed as the National Winner in the Natural Sciences and Agriculture category, with her research titled “Simultaneous functionalization and reduction graphene oxide with diatom silica.”

Dalagan’s fellow awardee, Dr. Heide R. Rabanes was a National Qualifier in the same category with her three studies: (1) Sweeping an alpherol enentiomers with an organic solvent and sulfated β-cyclodextrin in capillary electrophoresis; (2) Micellar electrokinetic chromatography of the constituents in Philippine lagundi (vitex negundo) herbal products; and (3) Capillary electrophoresis of natural products: 2011-2012.

Sponsored by Ched, the Republica Awards are bestowed biennially to outstanding higher education faculty and researchers whose Ched-funded research outputs are published in ISI/Scopus-indexed journals and are contributing to national development.

All qualifiers of the National Republica Awards were judged by the National Awards Board based on the quality of research (50%), quality of publication (30%), and socio-economic relevance and potential impact to regional or national development (20%).

One Republica National Winner was selected in each of the three major categories: (1) Natural Sciences and Agriculture; (2) Mathematics, Engineering, and Information Technology; and (3) Humanities, Social Sciences, Business, and Teacher Education. Substantial cash prizes were given to the winners.

XU president Fr. Roberto C. Yap SJ lauded these achievements of two faculty members.

“Congratulations, Dr. Juliet Dalagan and Dr. Heide Rabanes! May your passion for research inspire your fellow faculty to engage in the discovery of new knowledge for the continuing growth and development of our country,” Yap said in his message to the academic community.

The award-giving body is in accordance with the pertinent provisions of Republic Act 7722 or the Higher Education Act of 1994.

This year’s Ched Republica Awards ceremony was held on July 26 at the Century Park Hotel, Manila.


Chasteberry Tea And Its Benefits

(drinkherbaltea)

Chasteberry tea is a delicious way to ease PMS discomfort. If you suffer from monthly, mentruation-related headaches, mood swings or tender breasts, chasteberry tea may be your solution. Used for many millennia, chasteberry tea has a proven reputation for easing women’s discomforts and reducing men’s libidos.

What is Chasteberry?

The chasteberry tree, also known as Vitex agnus castus, produces the chasteberry fruit, a red and black berry, which is what chasteberry tea is made from. The fruit has many names including monk’s pepper and vitex. Many people use these interchangeably. The chasteberry tree may grow as tall as 22 feet in Europe and the Mediterranean and has bluish-violet colored flowers. The chasteberry tree has made its way into the Southeastern United States, and originally may have been brought there for ornamental decorations. What is Chasteberry Tea Good For?

In ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, chasteberries were used to help balance hormones. Women used the tea to treat the discomforts that arrive prior to menses. Men, such as priests and monks, often used the chasteberry to help suppress libido. In today’s society, chasteberry tea is still used for those reasons and is also good for:

• equalizing hormones
• reducing breast discomfort
• suppressing libido
• treating amenorrhea- the absence of a period
• improving fertility
• stabilizing the menstrual cycle
• reducing acne
• stimulating milk production
• relieving bloating
• suppressing food cravings
• reducing miscarriage risk

The hormone-regulating benefits of chasteberry tea present natural, ayurvedic way of quieting the body’s chaos. Especially for women, since symptoms resulting from PMS such as bloating, fatigue, irritability and headaches can be debilitating at times, chasteberry offers a simple solution. Chasteberry tea is a natural way to reduce your discomfort and improve your health.

What Does Chasteberry Tea Taste Like?

Chasteberry tea has a peppery flavor, which is where the nickname Monk’s pepper originated. You can lessen the pungent taste by combining it with honey or mint. Other ways to change the flavor include adding sugar or lemon or mixing it with another of your favorite flavorful teas.

Tea Pairings

Chasteberry tea works best when combined with a healthy diet that includes consuming a lot of water. Your body needs time to adjust to hormonal changes, which can take up to six months, and keeping it on track with diet, hydration and exercise goes a long way to boost the effectiveness of chasteberry tea. Pair chasteberry tea with peppermint tea to calm the peppery flavor and boost your energy. You can also try combining chasteberry tea with other berry teas such as raspberry or strawberry if you enjoy the fruity flavors. Since chasteberry is also used to help increase urine production, you can combine the herb with a diuretic tea such as dandelion to boost the urine-producing benefits. It pairs well with many teas including green tea, so do not let the strong flavor detour you from enjoying the benefits.

Healing Benefits of Chasteberry Tea

Chasteberry tea contains flavonoids and essential oils. The leaves contain more flavonoids than the fruit, but the fruit is typically used to make the tea. The tea itself does not contain hormones, but it causes hormonal reactions within the body. Some of these benefits include:

• stimulating the pituitary gland
• increasing progesterone levels
• stopping production of the follicle-stimulating hormone
• alleviating bloating
• reducing breast tenderness
• decreasing PMS-related skin conditions such as acne
• lessening irritability
• stimulating or decreasing lactation
• reducing sex drive
• decreasing weight gain from a menstrual cycle
• treating a fibrous ovarian cyst
• slowing down hot flashes associated with menopause
• preventing numerous miscarriages
• optimizing the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle
• reducing mood swings
• decreasing prolactin levels
• stimulating conception
Biochemical Profile of Chasteberry Tea

The main active properties of the chasteberry fruit are flavonoids which include casticin, kaempferol, orientin, quercetagetin, and isovitexin. Flavonoids are powerful anti-oxidants which can boost your immunity and your overall health. Chasteberry also contains iridoid glycosides, such as aucubin and agnuside, which have anti-diabetic effects. In other words, the tea can help to regulate your blood sugar. It combines well when taken with Vitamin B6 to help reduce the effects of PMS.

Are There Any Side Effects from Chasteberry Tea?

The side effects from chasteberry tea are few but can include headaches, dizziness, tiredness, dry mouth, extended menstrual cycles, stomach discomforts, or an allergic rash. If you experience any of these, discontinue using the tea and seek the guidance of your physician. Chasteberry should not be combined with synthetic hormones such as those that are contained in birth control pills or other hormone replacement therapy medications. If you are currently under medical care for menstruation, menopause, or fertility, check with your physician priori to drinking chasteberry tea. It may also interfere with medications used to treat Parkinson’s and depression. Usage during pregnancy is also not recommended, so please check with your physician before beginning this or any other herb supplementation.

Dosage and How to Make Chasteberry Tea

A typical chasteberry dose is 20 to 40 mg per day. To prepare the tea, combine 1 teaspoon of ripe berries with 8 ounces of boiled water. Let the tea steep for 10 to 15 minutes; let it cool; drink it three times a day.

Who Can Benefit from Chasteberry Tea?

Men and women both benefit from the healing properties in chaseberry. Women, however, receive more of the hormone-balancing benefits by noticing a reduction in PMS symptoms. Men who are in professions such as working in the monestary or serving as priests, may also benefit from the libido-suppressing benefits of chasteberry tea. What We Like About Chasteberry Tea

PMS can be a crippling condition or at least an upsetting one. When you do not feel like yourself for one week out of every month, it can change your entire life. By incorporating a chasteberry tea routine into your daily regimen, you help to even out your moods and improve the way you feel. For men, a strong libido can interfere with a religious profession. Chasteberry tea offers a natural solution to help men who have chosen celibacy.

Did You Know?
• Monks used to chew on parts of the chasteberry tree to help keep their vow of celibacy.
• Low doses of chasteberry have the opposite effect of higher doses. For instance, a low dose stimulates breast milk production and a higher dose helps to cease milk production.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF VITEX NEGUNDO (NOCHCHI PLANT)

By Dr S. Revathi

Vitex Negundo is a ,large aromatic ,medicinal shrub found in India ,China and Philippines .It belongs to the family of Lamiaceae .It is a large aromatic shrub or small tree from a single trunk commonly found in road sides of Tamil Nadu .It is also known as the five leafed chaste tree in common .,nochchi in Tamil ,vavil in Telugu ,nirgundi in Hindi ,karinochi in Malayalam and nila nirgundi in Sanskrit . It is a common herbal remedy and has been used for hundreds of years .More than 200 spices of this plant exist with 14 found in India . Chemical constituents of this plants are monoterpenes ,agnusides ,eurostoside ,aucubin ,flavonoids casticin , isoorientin ,chrysosphenol etc .It has an anti histamine ,antioxidant ,anti cancerous ,anti bacterial ,anti viral ,anti fungal and anti inflammatory properties . The whole plant is used for preparing medicines .Extract of this plant has been used in Ayurvedic system of medicines for curing many diseases , seeds are used in Unani system of medicines and leaves ,roots ,flowers are used in herbal and home remedies to treat various diseases .

Many research studies reveals that:

- It is also produce pain relief similar to aspirin and morphine .
- It is not a toxic and did not cause any stomach damage .
- This extract of this plant is used to treat sprains ,swelling of joints ,arthritis pain and injuries .
- promotes fertility and might regulate menstrual cycle in woman .
- The flowers of this plant are acts as an astringent and digestive aid .- It enhances the male libido .
- Burning of this leaves are to repeal mosquitoes and house flies.
- Oil from this plant is also used to prevents the pests in grain storage .
- The leaves of this plant is used to cure cold and headaches as a home remedy .
- In ayurvedic medicines as rejuvenative tonic for promoting virility .
- Useful to treat premature ejaculation ,excessive vaginal discharge ,edema ,skin diseases ,malarial fever ,dizziness ,gonorrhea ,sinus head aches ,cold ,cough ,sores ,skin infections , arthritis ,bronchitis and asthma .
- In ayurveda it is used in the preparation of medicines like himcolin ,pilex ,pimple cream , tooth pastes ,diaper ,rash cream ,muscle and joint rub etc .

Tricks To Ease Period Pain Naturally

(Bold Sky)

As the days for the arrival of periods reach near, many women experience signs of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. Premenstrual syndrome symptoms can vary from a woman to woman, but they might include emotional symptoms like nervousness and frustration and physical symptoms such as fatigue, sleep problems, pain and bloating.

There are a lot of treatment options that can be found to help manage the premenstrual syndrome symptoms like medications, changes in lifestyle, even cognitive therapy, etc.

Now, there's mounting evidence that certain nutritional supplements can be helpful to women who've PMS. Herbs, Minerals and Vitamins for PMS are the essential nutrients that are required to mellow down the symptoms. Throughout your menstrual period, the degrees of certain vitamins are believed to fluctuate.

These nutrient fluctuations can cause some women to become deficient in a few minerals and vitamins at different points in their menstrual period, which is the reason some experts believe that certain minerals and vitamins might help ease premenstrual syndrome symptoms. Another study showed that intake of 1200 mg of calcium each day helped reduce women's physical and emotional premenstrual syndrome symptoms. Among all the products used to treat premenstrual syndrome, calcium has the strongest proof to back its advantages.

Some research has suggested that the herb chasteberry might help to relieve certain premenstrual syndrome symptoms, including a negative mood, frustration, chest fullness and water retention. Chasteberry extract comes from the fruits of a tree. This was utilised since ancient times by women to relieve menstrual problems. Proof is limited supporting chasteberry for premenstrual syndrome symptom management however. Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that's important to many of the body's capabilities, including your metabolic process, immune response and nerve-system functioning.

Some proof exists that supplementation with vitamin B6 might help relieve premenstrual syndrome symptoms, but more clinical studies are needed to determine if it surely works. Since vitamin B6 deficiency is rare, very high degrees of vitamin B6 may cause serious health effects. It is important to talk with your physician, prior to taking large doses of vitamin B6. Since some evidence exists that the magnesium deficiency might lead to premenstrual syndrome symptoms, some scientists believe that magnesium supplementation might benefit women with PMS.

A latest research study found that women with PMS who took magnesium supplements found that their PMS symptoms improved. Certain individuals are at a higher risk of magnesium deficiency, including those with diabetes mellitus, those taking specific medicines, and people with alcoholism. Therefore, speak with your physician to see if magnesium deficiency may be an issue for you.


Lagundi Herbal Medicine

(Health Talk Buzz)

Lagundi are herbal plants that grows in the Philippines particularly in the region of Ilocos. It grows as tall as 5 meters and has pointed leaves with five leaflets as its distinctive features. It was discovered to be beneficial in health and was highly endorsed by the Philippine's Department of Health (DOH).

Lagundi with its scientific name Vitex Negundo, has been clinically proven effective in treatment of various viral infections such as colds, flu, asthma, bronchitis, pharyngitis, coughs, respiratory illnesses and many other known viral diseases.

This herbal plant is known for its analgesic effect that helps cure pain and discomfort. Other known benefits includes chicken pox treatment, removal of boils and worms, treatment for liver disorders, relief in rheumatism, dyspepsia and diarrhea.

Numerous studies sulagundiggests that Lagundi leaves prevent the production of leukotrienes, a substance that triggers asthma attack. An anti-histamine agent known as Chrysoplenol D is one of the main component of a Lagundi leaves. Furthermore, other properties of Lagundi shows that its an expectorant which helps tonic functions. Today, Lagundi has become one of the most marketed herbal plant in the Philippines and are slowly becoming popular in Asia.

This herbal plant can be taken like a usual tea, mixing a sliced raw leaves of Lagundi to a hot water. Wait for 15 minutes then its ready to drink. You may also use the leaves for skin diseases. Just grind the leaves and apply to the affected area of the skin.

Today, herbal products from this amazing plant can be acquired in tablet and capsule forms as a dietary supplement. Many pharmaceutical companies are now promoting Lagundi as one of their herbal supplement products and in tea forms.


Eliminate Suffering From PMS In 5 Simple Steps

By Mark Hyman, MD

“Seventy-five percent of women suffer from headaches, mood swings, bloating, and other problems that threaten their relationships, work life, and well-being.” It’s a statement that most of us unconsciously accept without a second thought. But it doesn’t have to be this way ...

It’s true that the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), like mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety, fluid retention, bloating, breast tenderness, sugar cravings, headaches, and sleep disturbances, affect 75 percent of women. And in 20 percent of those women, the symptoms are so severe that they need medical treatment. About eight percent have such extreme symptoms that the problem has been given a new name: premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

But just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you have to live with these symptoms. The real fact is that suffering related to menstrual cycles is unnecessary — and not caused by bad luck, but by bad habits, environmental toxins, and stress.

Of course, the drug companies don’t want you to know that! So the conventional treatments for PMS range from anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil or Aleve to birth control pills. And then there are the big guns ...

These include prescription medications such as danazol, a drug that suppresses ovulation and causes increased facial hair, acne, and a deep voice. Newer, very expensive drugs called gonadatropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs actually change brain chemistry to turn off the ovaries’ production of estrogen and progesterone — but they also lead to osteoporosis.

Sometimes, diuretics like spironolactone are used to treat fluid retention. A drug called bromocriptine can be used to stop prolactin production and is used to treat breast tenderness. No wonder the drug companies want you to believe that PMS is inevitable. Recently, they even helped create a new disease — PMDD — and a new indication for a drug whose patent was running out: Prozac (now called Sarafem). What’s wrong with this picture?

It’s based on the assumption that the symptoms of PMS are an inevitable part of being a woman and require “medical intervention” with serious medication to correct them. Nothing could be further from the truth!

To think that 75 percent of women have a design flaw that requires medical treatment to live a normal life is just absurd.

If you are one of the many women that suffer from PMS, you can end your suffering using five simple dietary and lifestyle interventions. In today’s blog I will explain how to do that. But first, I want to tell you a story.

Curing PMDD Without Medications

This is the story of a patient of mine with PMDD who was barely able to work or function in her family — suffering three weeks out of the month. She was thirty-seven years old (many women feel worsening PMS symptoms as they get into their later reproductive years). She was severely depressed, fatigued, and anxious, and suffered severe food and sugar cravings, which led to overeating and weight gain.

She also had joint pain, breast tenderness, heavy bleeding, hot flashes, dry skin, acne, hair loss, memory problems, poor sleep, and no sex drive. She also complained of gas and bloating.

What about her diet?

Well, she didn’t drink alcohol, but was a big coffee drinker. And she started the day with a bagel and cheese, ate a cafeteria lunch, snacked on chocolates in the afternoon, and had a healthy dinner but binged later on ice cream, chips, and Cheerios. She also ate a lot of dairy.

Hers is a story that I hear all too often. But the good news is that I was able to give her a simple solution that didn’t involve taking medication.

We know that sugar, caffeine, alcohol, stress, and lack of exercise all contribute to worsening PMS. It is also true that dairy consumption can worsen hormonal imbalances because of all the hormones in milk.

So I had her change her diet, take a few supplements and herbs, and start exercising — and within just one cycle, her life changed. The results were dramatic. All of her symptoms resolved, she lost weight, and dramatically increased her energy. Her mood stabilized and her acne and dry skin cleared up.

The approach I used to treat this patient is part of an approach called systems, or functional, medicine. That means that I define the imbalance (in this case, severe hormonal imbalances), address the causes (diet and lifestyle), and then help the body repair and regain balance. Once this is done, the body’s natural intelligence takes care of the rest.

So what is the REAL underlying cause of PMS?

The Real Causes of PMS

Th real cause for PMS is simply this: Your hormones become unbalanced, your estrogen levels increase and progesterone levels decrease, either relatively or absolutely.

There are many things that promote these hormone imbalances, such as a high-sugar, refined carbohydrate diet, caffeine, stress, dairy, hormones in dairy products and meat, and estrogen-like toxins from pesticides and pollution. Alcohol also contributes to problems because it damages the liver and prevents it from excreting excess estrogen.

Constipation and imbalances in the gut bacteria can worsen the situation, because they lead to the reabsorption of estrogen from the gut back into your blood, even after your liver has tried to get rid of it.

Your body also needs exercise to help balance hormones. So if you aren’t moving your body enough, it’s likely this is part of the problem as well.

Fortunately, good research shows that there many ways to get hormones back in balance — without drugs. Here’s my plan for preventing PMS and PMDD. Even though some of my suggestions may seem severe, science shows that they work. Give them a try and you will see in just one or two cycles how much better you feel.

Five Simple Steps to Eliminate PMS

1. Clean Up Your Diet

This means:

• Stop eating refined flour, sugar, and processed foods.

• Cut out caffeine.

• Stop drinking alcohol.

• Balance your blood sugar by eating protein, such as a protein shake, eggs and nut butters, for breakfast.

• Eat evenly throughout the day and don’t skip meals.

• Don’t eat within three hours of bedtime.

• Cut out all dairy and consider eliminating other common allergens for a few months, especially gluten.

• Increase fiber in your diet from vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains. Two tablespoons of ground flax seeds a day are especially helpful in correcting constipation and balancing hormones. Put them in a shake or sprinkle them on salads or food.

• Increase omega-3 fats by eating more wild fish like sardines, herring, and wild salmon, as well as omega-3 eggs and walnuts.

• Eat organic food, especially animal products, to avoid environmental estrogens from pesticides.

2. Take Supplements

A number of supplements have been shown to help ease PMS symptoms by improving metabolic function and hormone metabolism. Here are the superstars:

• Magnesium citrate or glycinate — Take 400 to 600 mg a day.

• Calcium citrate — Take 600 mg a day.

• Vitamin B6 — Take 50 to 100 mg a day along with 800 mcg of folate and 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12.

• Evening primrose oil — Take two 500mg capsules twice a day.

• EPA/DHA (omega 3 fats) — Take 1,000 mg once or twice a day.

• Taurine — Take 500 mg a day to help liver detoxification.

• A good daily multivitamin (all the nutrients work together)

Herbs and phytonutrients can also be very helpful. Here are the best studied and most effective:

• Chasteberry fruit extract (Vitex Agnus-astus) can help balance the hormones released by the pituitary gland that control your overall hormone function. Studies of over 5,000 women have found it effective. Take 100 mg twice a day of a 10:1 extract.

• Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) and cramp bark (Viburum opulus) can help regulate cycles and relieve menstrual cramps.

• Dandelion root can help with liver detoxification and works as a diuretic.

• Isoflavones from soy, red clover, or kudzu root improve estrogen detoxification by boosting the activity of specific detox enzymes. They can be taken as supplements or consumed in the diet.

• Flax seeds contain lignans that help balance hormone metabolism and block the negative effects of excess estrogens.

• Chinese herbal formulas may also help. One of the most effective is Xiao Yao San, or Rambling Powder. It contains: Bupleurum Root (Bupleurum chinense), Chinese Peony Root (Paeonia lactiflora), Dong Quai Root (Angelica sinensis), Bai-Zhu Atractylodes Root (Atractylodes macrocephala), Poria Sclerotium (Poria cocos), Ginger Rhizome (Zingiber officinale), Chinese Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza uralensis),and Chinese Mint Leaf (Mentha haplocalyx)

• Replacing healthy bacteria in the gut also helps normalize estrogen and hormone metabolism. Take 5 to 10 billion live organisms in a daily probiotic supplement.

• For intractable cases, I will occasionally use topical, natural bioidentical progesterone in the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle. The usual dose is 1/2 tsp (20 to 40 mg) applied at night to thin skin areas for the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle.

3. Get Moving

Exercise is very important for balancing hormones. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, four to five times a week.

4. Address Stress

Dealing with stress is also critical. Take a hot bath at night, get a massage, try yoga, learn deep breathing or meditation. These techniques and others can help balance hormones.

5. Try Alternative Therapies

Therapies such as acupuncture and homeopathy may help. One clinical trial showed that individualized homeopathy is effective in treating PMS. Five homeopathic medicines were used: Lachesis, Natrum muriaticum, Nux vomica, Pulsatilla, and Sepia.

If my patients are any indication, a plan such as this can have impressive effects on premenstrual symptoms.

Remember, women are not defective. You can thrive and be healthy by paying attention to a few natural laws of biology. You don’t need drugs to survive!

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Do you suffer from PMS or have been told that you have PMDD?

If so, how you do treat these conditions?

How do your diet and lifestyle affect your premenstrual symptoms?

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below.

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, M.D.


Legundi Benefits To Health

By Haji Ranga

Good night all. This time I will discuss about Lagundi plants. I will explain the benefits of plants Lagundi for our health.

Plants Legundi pretty much used for traditional medicine which has barbagai benefits. Its root is useful for the prevention of pregnancy and post-pesalinan useful treatment. The seeds are used as a refreshing body and hair care. The fruit for anthelmintic, laxative menstruation, increase milk production, and increasing the fertility of women. The leaves are used to reduce pain, dizziness, colds, lower the heat, relieve spasms, cough, tonsillitis, tuberculosis, typhoid, laxative urine, abdominal wind emetic, laxative sweat, launch period, cleanse the uterus, puerperal fever, busting water, heal wounds, scabies and to kill insects.

Name Legundi crop area is Legundi (Indonesia), gendasari (Malay), langgundi (Minang), Lagundi (Sunda), Galumi (Sumbawa), Sangari (bima), lilogundi (Palembang), danuko (Borneo), lanra (Napier), Lawasani, Pala (Bugis), Ai Tuban (Ambon), Lengghundi (Madura), lagondi, Legundi, langghundi (Java), dunuko, lanra, lawarani, Rala, ai tuban (Sulawesi), galumi, Sangari (Nusa Tenggara).

General Characteristics Legundi

Legundi including family Verbenaceae. Legundi an herbaceous plant that grows upright with a high 1-4meter. Legundi has compound leaves with 1-3helai child leaves. Petiole length of about 5mm. kegundi leaves egg circular, elliptical, circular egg upside down, or oval. The lower part of the meeting hairy leaves with white or gray. Legundi flowers, fluffy, white or gray, compact, gray. The outside of fluffy gray except for the base. Most of the lower lip blue flowers purple.

Chemical content of Legundi

Legundi contains sineol and alkaloids

Efficacy and Benefits Legundi

Legundi useful for diuretic, carminative, beriberi, coughing, irregular menstruation, dizziness. Legundi fruit beneficial to drug roundworms, pinworms, or Trichinella. Legundi rod efficacious for treating swelling and eczema. On the farm Legundi used to repel insects

Some herbs Legundi which is believed to help cure the disease are: 1. Caging drug, 15 grams of fresh Legundi leaves boiled with 1 cup of water for 15 minutes, after a cold, squeezed and filtered. Distillate drink as well.

2. Pulmonary tuberculosis, young leaves ½ Legundi handheld, hibiscus leaves young lengis 5 pieces, grated 1 tablespoon bidara upas, gotu kola leaves ¼ handheld, 1 tablespoon grated kencur, all materials are boiled with 6 cups of water until the remaining 3 cups, then lift , cool and strain, drink a day 4 times respectively ½ cup, do the treatment for 3 consecutive months, try not no time lag single day.

3. Cough, leaves Legundi 5 grams, the rhizome kencur 6 grams, 5 grams of turmeric, 115 ml of water, all the ingredients boiled, keudian drink 1 a day 100 ml, repeated for 14 days.

4. Enlarged uterus, rhizomes Legundi leaves 1 handheld, black meeting 6 grams, 110 ml of water, all the ingredients boiled, drink 1 a day, repeated for 7 days. Worms, fruit Legundi 7 grams, 110 ml of water, boiled, drink 1 a day 100 ml, repeated for 4 days

5. Spleen pain, Legundi leaves 1 handful fresh, a little vinegar, crushed, placed on the left abdomen.

6. Throat pain, leaves Legundi 7 grams, 110 ml of water, boiled, used to rinse 1 a day while warm, repeated for 7 days.

Health is very expensive, let us maintain our health. This article may be useful.

thanks


Vitex for Hormonal Balance?

By Cathy Wong, ND (Reviewed by a board-certified physician)

Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects & More

Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus) is a plant used in herbal medicine. Also known as chaste tree, it's often taken as a remedy for women's health problems. Vitex supplements typically contain extracts of the fruit and/or seed of the plant.

Vitex may influence hormone levels in a number of ways. For example, it's said to promote the release of luteinizing hormone and, in turn, increase levels of progesterone (a hormone known to play a key role in regulating the menstrual cycle).

Vitex is also thought to affect levels of prolactin, which is involved in stimulating breast development and milk production in women.

Uses for Vitex

Vitex was used as a traditional folk remedy for a range of female conditions, such as post-partum hemorrhage and to help with the "passing of afterbirth". The name "chaste tree" comes from the belief in folk medicine that it could suppress libido.

In alternative medicine, vitex is frequently used in treatment of the following issues:

• Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
• Acne
• Fibrocystic breast disease
• Infertility in women
• Heavy menstrual periods
• Menopausal symptoms
• Benign prostatic hyperplasia
• Migraines
• Joint conditions

In addition, vitex is said to increase production of breast milk. The Health Benefits of Vitex

Although there's a lack of large-scale clinical trials testing the effects of vitex, some research suggests that the herb may protect against certain health conditions.

Here's a look at several potential health benefits of vitex:

1) Premenstrual Syndrome

For a report published in the journal Planta Medica in 2013, researchers reviewed 12 previously published clinical trials investigating the effects of vitex on women's health. Despite some limitations within the reviewed trials, the results indicated that vitex may be beneficial in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome.

In a more recent study (published in Advances in Therapy in 2014), taking vitex once daily for three menstrual cycles appeared to reduce the intensity of premenstrual symptoms such as bloating, irritability, headache, and skin problems. The study involved 60 women, ages 18 to 44.

2) Menopausal Symptoms

In a research review published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2009, scientists found some evidence that vitex may alleviate menopausal symptoms. However, the review's authors note that there is currently a lack of rigorous clinical trials testing vitex's effects in menopausal women.

3) Infertility

A nutritional supplement containing a blend of vitex, green tea, L-arginine, vitamins (including folate), and minerals may help improve fertility in women, suggests a study published in Clinical and Experimental Obstetrics & Gynecology in 2006.

The study involved 93 women (ages 24 to 42) who had tried unsuccessfully to conceive for six to 36 months. Three months into the study, 26 percent of the study members treated with the vitex-containing supplement had become pregnant (compared to just 10 percent of those given a placebo).

This finding indicates that nutritional supplements could provide an alternative or adjunct to conventional fertility therapies, according to the study's authors.

Side Effects & Safety Concerns

Vitex may trigger a number of side effects including; bleeding between menstrual periods, dry mouth, hair loss, headache, itching, mild digestive upset, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and skin rash.

Use of vitex should be avoided by pregnant or nursing women. In addition, people with hormone-sensitive conditions (such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and cancers of the breast, ovaries, or prostate) shouldn't take vitex.

Because vitex may influence levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, individuals with Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, or any other condition in which dopamine levels are affected should avoid vitex (unless under the supervision of a qualified health professional).

In addition, there's some concern that vitex may decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy.


Drying process for guava, lagundi leaves developed

By Rudy A. Fernandez

A drying process and technique in producing high-quality guava and lagundi leaves for export have been developed.

The headway was achieved by researchers of the Leyte State University (LSU) in Baybay, Leyte, situated 120 kilometers south of Tacloban City.

The scientific study was undertaken by LSU researchers headed by Dr. Roberto D. Guarte in answer to the problem of entrepreneurs concerning the lack of standard drying process and techniques in producing high-quality leaves of the two medicinal plants.

Guava (Psidium guajava L.) and lagundi (Vitex negundo L.) are two of the most important medicinal plantsk in the country.

Guava leaves are boiled in water and this decoction is used to clean wounds and as a mouthwash against infection, swollen gums, and tooth decay.

Lagundi leaves are prepared into a decoction against asthma and cough.

Both fresh and dried leaves of the two plants can be used.

"It is important to dry and store their leaves so that the efficacy of the active ingredients in the leaves is maintained. It is also necessary to ensure that dried products have high quality so that they are acceptable even in foreign markets where demand for dried medicinal plants exists," stressed the Los Baños-based Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), which monitored and LSU study.

The research noted that temperature had a high significant effect on the drying behavior and rate of guava leaves.

Based on their study, the LSU researchers recommended a drying temperature of 50 degrees Celsius for guava where the volatile content of the leaves was observed to be high. Also, at this temperature the physical characteristics of the leaves are not destroyed and drying time is not long.

An air velocity of 0.35 meter per secoond (m/s) is also recommended because it has the least power consumption.

For lagundi leaves, a drying temperature of 50oC and air velocity of 0.50 m/s are recommended. These conditions ensure that the physical characteristics of the leaves are retained and that drying time is not too long.


10 Amazing Health Benefits Of Chasteberry Tea

By Renold Rajan

Ever wondered if there is any particular type of tea that can be highly beneficial to you? Well, then you have the answer – in the form of Chasteberry tea.

The tea comes with a host of health benefits, especially for women. Would you like to know more? Read on!

Chasteberry – A Brief:

The scientific name of Chasteberry is Vitex agnus-castus. The tree gets its name from the ancient times when it was believed to have the ability to curb sexual desire. The tree also is referred to as monk’s tree and monk’s pepper, because according to the U.S. based National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, monks in ancient times used the tree to refrain from temptation.

Chasteberry tea can prove to be quite a potent treatment or cure for certain health issues. Following are its benefits.

1. Enhances Fertility:

A study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine states that when women who suffered from fertility problems were given Chasteberry tea along with green tea and some vitamins, they experienced an increase in progesterone levels. This female hormone is required for a healthy womb. These women also experienced an increase in the number of days when the body temperature was more conducive for ovulation. Because of these improvements, 33 percent of the test subjects became pregnant after consuming the tea for 5 months.

2. Anti-Carcinogenic:

A study done in Switzerland found that Chasteberry tea had anti-cancer properties. It could effectively destroy cancerous tumors. The extracts of the tree stopped malignant cells from multiplying and also caused these cells to die. Chasteberry tea can be effective in treating certain types of cancer, like that of the colon, breasts, and ovaries.

3. Treats Menopausal Symptoms:

Menopause can be a tough time for women. They experience hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings and many other symptoms. Typically, the treatment is hormone replacement therapy, which is quite controversial. However, menopausal women can now turn to Chasteberry tea, as it can balance female hormones, thereby alleviating menopause symptoms. Practitioners of holistic medicine recommend combining Chasteberry tea with black cohosh for best results.

4. Boosts Female Libido:

Chasteberry tea made from the blossoms of the tree has been found to boost female libido. Menopausal women and those in child-bearing age can consume this tea to increase their desire, so that they can still enjoy sexual intercourse. This increase in libido is attributed to the presence of phytoestrogens present in Chasteberry.

5. Increases The Supply Of Breast Milk:

There is anecdotal evidence that shows nursing mothers who consumed small amounts of Chasteberry tea experienced an increased supply of breast milk. This may be possible, as the tea helps enhance prolactin levels in the body. Prolactin is a female hormone that regulates the production of milk. If you are a nursing mother, it is best to first consult your doctor/gynecologist before you start taking Chasteberry tea to increase milk production, as there are no confirmed studies to support this claim.

6. Reduces PMS Symptoms:

In a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), it was found that women who were given Chasteberry noticed a reduction in PMS symptoms, such as irritability, breast tenderness, headaches and mood swings, compared to the other group of women who weren’t. The study states there was a 50 percent reduction in PMS symptoms in the group that had consumed Chasteberry tea. Hence, it can be definitively said that consuming Chasteberry tea can help reduce premenstrual syndrome symptoms.

7. Antioxidant Properties:

Chasteberry tea has antioxidative properties, according to a study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. The extracts of the tree contain several antioxidants that help destroy free radicals. If you don’t know, free radicals are responsible for causing oxidative stress at cellular levels, and this stress is said to be the primary cause of several diseases, including cancer and premature aging.

8. Reduces Epileptic Seizures:

A study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health shows that Chasteberry tea has the ability to reduce epileptic seizures. When the extract of the tree was used in laboratory setting on male rats, the rodents experienced a reduction in seizures as well as in the length of the convulsion, based on the dosage given. This shows conclusively that the right dose of Chasteberry has the ability to control and/or reduce epileptic seizures.

9. Treating Male Osteoporosis:

There is hardly any research done on male osteoporosis, and there are very few treatment options available to men diagnosed with the disease. However, this may be a thing of the past, as a study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine shows that Chasteberry could be just the perfect treatment for male osteoporosis. In lab settings, rats that were given Chasteberry extracts showed higher bone density compared to those that were given a blend of estradiol and testosterone.

10. Reduces Risk Of Prostate Cancer:

While Chasteberry is used mainly for female disorders, it also can be used by men to reduce chances of developing prostate cancer. The anti-carcinogenic properties, coupled with Chasteberry’s ability to reduce testosterone levels seem to suppress the development of prostate cancer. Chasterberry tea is a natural and organic approach to balancing hormones in the body, and hence, has the ability to reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

While researchers are still discovering the numerous health benefits of Chasteberry tea, it definitely has a positive effect on the health of both men and women. So, if you want to consume this tea, you could be doing yourself a favor.


What Are the Medical Uses of Vitex Negundo?

(wiseGeek)

Properties of Vitex negundo as a medicinal plant include antihistamine, antioxidant, and anticonvulsant uses. It also produces pain relief similar to aspirin and morphine in animal tests. This plant has been used for hundred of years in India and in the Philippines, where the health department endorsed its use as an herbal medicine.

Scientific studies examined the leaves, roots, fruits, and flowers of the plant, and found possible medicinal uses in animal studies. The leaves, root, and fruit showed antihistamine benefits that might relax bronchial muscles and reduce asthma symptoms. The studies also found anti-inflammatory properties that may treat arthritis and rheumatism. Researchers discovered extracts of this plant did not cause stomach damage in rats even when toxic doses were administered.

Another study tested the anticonvulsant benefits of Vitex negundo in laboratory animals. Rats were dosed with leaf extract before chemicals to induce seizures were administered. These experiments found Vitex negundo provided protection against seizures similar to anticonvulsant drugs approved for human use. The scientists concluded the medicinal uses of the plant for seizures might produce fewer side effects than typical medications.

The leaves produce a cooling effect that eases pain and swelling. The juice of Vitex negundo leaves commonly serves as a treatment for sprained ankles, arthritis pain, and injuries. At high doses in animal studies, pain relief similar to morphine was attained by researchers. At low doses, the plant provides relief equal to aspirin, but without upsetting the stomach.

Fruit from Vitex negundo serves as an aphrodisiac in some regions. It also promotes fertility and might regulate menstrual cycles. The flowers act as an astringent and digestive aid, and are promoted to treat heart disease in some areas.

Filipinos burn leaves of the plant to repel mosquitoes and house flies. Oil from the leaves is also used to deter pests in grain storage facilities. Tests show the oil might also be an effective pesticide on insects that damage tobacco leaves.

More than 200 species of the plant exist, with 14 found in India, where it is considered a common herbal remedy. Vitex negundo is also known as the five-leafed chaste tree or monk’s pepper. Its most striking feature centers on a cluster of five pointed leaves resembling a hand. This plant grows as a shrub or small tree from a single trunk.


3 Natural PMS Remedies For Women

(UHN Staff)

Some women experience debilitating premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms that interfere with daily functioning every month. Common symptoms include headache, bloating, anxiety, mood swings, and depression. With such a wide range of effects, PMS can be hard to treat. No single treatment is universally effective and every woman is different.

Many women seek alternative options to drugs or hormone therapy. Fortunately, there are many natural PMS remedies that can be very effective. Research has shown that Gingko biloba, Vitex agnus castus (chasteberry), and Crocus sativus (saffron) provide relief from PMS better than placebo.

Gingko biloba

Gingko biloba has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 1,000 years. The seeds and leaves of the plant are usually used, and it has been found to be safe and well tolerated in human studies. It is often used to treat PMS symptoms, and many studies have confirmed its effectiveness. A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine on university-aged women found that 40 mg three times daily for two menstrual cycles was more effective than placebo in reducing overall severity of symptoms, as well as physical and psychological symptoms alone.

Researchers think that gingko biloba increases the release and decreases the reuptake of certain neurotransmitters, which improve mood and symptoms of depression, both characteristic of PMS.Further, it contains bioflavanoids, which modulate stress and help relieve anxiety. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect and improves blood circulation, both mechanisms to help PMS symptoms.

Try supplementing with 40 mg three times per day to treat your PMS symptoms.

Chasteberry

Chasteberry is the dried, ripe fruit from the plant Vitex agnus castus. One study found that chasteberry was as effective as fluoxetine, one of the most effective pharmaceuticals used to treat PMS, for reducing both physical and psychological symptoms of PMS. A systematic review concluded that in all studies, chasteberry was superior to placebo in alleviating symptoms.

Some symptoms of PMS may be associated with elevated levels of the hormone prolactin, which occurs before menstruation. Chasteberry effects the activity of dopamine, an important neurotransmitter, and in doing so can inhibit prolactin activity. Chasteberry may also effect the opiate system, which regulates pain perception, mood, and appetite. A reduction in opiate activity is often seen in PMS. A recent study found that chasteberry can interact with certain opiate receptors in the brain, helping to increase opiate activity.

Take 20 and 40 mg daily for best results.

Crocus sativas

Crocus sativas is a flower from which the spice saffron is derived. In a study in 2008, researchers gave 50 women with PMS either 15 mg of C. sativus extract twice daily or placebo. A significant reduction in symptoms was seen in the treated group over the two menstrual cycles that followed.[6] Although more research is needed to understand the effects of this plant extract, researchers do know that it has an antidepressant capability, due to its ability to effect serotonin activity.

A dose of 30 mg of C. sativus, also called saffron extract, can be used to treat PMS symptoms.


Lagundi Herbal Medicine, Health Benefits, Side Effects

(Pinoy Juicing)

Lagundi is a common medicine shrub in the Philippines. The use of Lagundi for medicinal purposes has a long history in the Philippines. Today, pharmaceutical companies sell it in capsule form at drug stores. The root is reported to be tonic, febrifuge, and expectorant.

Lagundi Herbal Medicine, Health Benefits, Side Effects
What is Lagundi

Also knows as: Scientific Name : Vitex Negundo, Dabtan (If.) Dangla (Ilk.) Kamalan (Tag.) Lagundi (Ibn., Tag., Bik., P. Bis.) Li?gei (Bon.) Limo-limo (Ilk.) Sagarai (Bag.) Turagay (Bis.) Five-leaved chaste tree (Engl.) Huang Ching (Chin.) Agno-casto (Spanish)

Lagundi (scientific name: Vitex negundo) is a large native shrub that grows in the Philippines and has been traditionally used as herbal medicine. The Philippine Department of Health has conducted research and study for Lagundi and has suggested that the lagundi plant has a number verifiable therapeutic value

Lagundi is an erect, branched tree or shrub, that grows to as much as 5 m high. Lagundi has a single thick, woody stem like a trunk and is usually seen in swamps of the Philippines. Lagundi leaves appear palmately, in the form of five pointed leaves which splay out like the fingers of a hand. Lagundi leaves are 5-foliate, rarely with 3 leaflets only. Lagundi leaves are 4-10 cm long, slightly hairy beneath. The lagundi flowers are blue to lavender, 6-7 mm long bearing fruit globose of about 4mm in diameter that turns black when ripe,

Lagundi, herbal medicine - Health Benefits

Lagundi has been traditionally used as herbal medicine by Philippine folks. The efficacy of Lagundi has also been verified by the Philippine Department of Health and other Philippine based scientists which concentrated on its use to ease respiratory complaints. Lagundi is generally used for the treatment of coughs, asthma symptoms, and other respiratory problems,

Lagundi is also known for its analgesic effect that helps alleviate pain and discomfort. Other traditional benefits that are derived from the use of Lagundi are as follows:

•Relief of asthma & pharyngitis
•Recommended relief of rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils, diarrhea
•Treatment of cough, colds, fever and flu and other bronchopulmonary disorders
•Alleviate symptoms of Chicken Pox
•Removal of worms, and boils
Lagundi Herbal Medicine Preparation

Lagundi leaves, root, flowers, and seeds are believed to have medicinal value. Lagundi concoction is prepared by boiling, steeping, and then straining various parts such as lagundi leaves, roots, flowers and seeds.

wash fresh or dried Lagundi leaves chop then add in 4 cups of water for every 1 cup of lagundi parts let it boil for 10 to 15 minutes Let it steep then strain the various parts. Drink half cup of Lagundi three times a day. Lagundi concoction can be stored in suitable glass container for later consumption.

Lagundi Availability

Commercially, lagundi can be purchased in the form of syrup or capsules to make it easier to handle. It is also blended in with cough medicines and other herbal remedies.

Lagundi syrup is now commonly formulated as cough medicine which can also be bought in leading drugstores and supermarkets. For outside of the Philippines, an alternative herbal capsule is Ricola Cough Drops, a naturally extracted cough and sore throat tablet with high and favorable review.

Warning and Side Effects of lagundi

Lagundi use is widely acceptable as safe for use for children and adults and no adverse reaction has been reported. However, moderate use is recommended for pregnant women, and treatment should not exceed one week. If symptoms persist and irritation occurs, stop the use and consult your doctor.


What is Chasteberry?

By Tracee Cornforth (Updated by Andrea Chisholm MD)

Question: What is Chasteberry?

Answer: Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-catus) is the fruit of the chaste tree and is an herb used for the treatment of menstrual problems.

Chasteberry is thought to contain hormone precursors and these substances can act on certain hormone receptors in your body especially those hormones involved in ovulation and menstruation.

Women have used chasteberry for thousands of years to help reduce the symptoms of menstrual problems and to increase the production of breast milk in lactating women.

It is thought that the name of this fruit comes from the middle ages when monks reportedly used chasteberry to decrease sexual desire and preserve their chastity.

Other names for chasteberry include chaste-tree berry, vitex, and monk’s pepper.

Today, chasteberry is used to reduce the symptoms of PMS and menopause, to ease breast pain, for some types of infertility, and acne.

While chasteberry is not associated with any serious side effects, it can cause dizziness, abdominal cramping, nausea and skin reactions. It is possible to see some changes in your period when you start taking chasteberry.

Certain women with hormone-related conditions such as breast cancer should not use chasteberry. Pregnant women, and people taking dopamine medications such as selegiline, amantadine, and levodopa should not use this herb.

It is also very important to understand that chasteberry may decrease the effectiveness of the oral contraceptive pill.

In other words, taking chasteberry while you are using the oral contraceptive pill for birth control increases the chance that you could get pregnant.

Although chasteberry has shown an improvement of the symptoms of PMS in a few small studies, more research is necessary to determine the safety and effectiveness of this herb.

Most studies looking at the use of chasteberry in the treatment of PMS have used doses of 20-40 mg/day.

Always tell your doctor about any herbs, OTC medications, and vitamin or mineral supplements you take.



Powerhouse remedies for cough, cold, flu

By Rhea Claire E. Madarang (Rappler.com)

Fight rainy season illnesses the spicy way

MANILA, Philippines - It’s the season of rains and typhoons, and the season of cough, cold and flu, too.

To protect you from these common rainy season afflictions or to help speed up healing — if you already have them — here are some of the most powerful natural remedies:

Garlic

This ubiquitous spice in Filipino kitchens actually has a host of benefits. Thanks to allicin — the compound mainly responsible for its pungent odor — garlic is one of the most powerful natural antibiotics.

It is also antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral, ideal for respiratory ailments. And if you have stubborn phlegm stuck in your throat, garlic will help you cough it off.

Garlic is among the plants found by the Department of Health (DOH) to have medicinal value.

So when you feel the sniffles or a sore throat coming, take garlic to prevent your condition from worsening.

If you want the fastest and most potent effect, take raw garlic. While deodorized garlic supplements also have benefits, raw garlic is best when fighting bacteria in your respiratory tract.

How to take raw garlic? Mince it and mix it with honey, another antibacterial and antimicrobial remedy. You can also mix in cinnamon powder both for fragrance and taste, and also for its antibacterial properties.

Take at least 4 garlic cloves a day. On occasions when the taste of garlic seems too strong for you, you can also take onion as an alternative, garlic’s less potent sister and also a relative of the allicin family.

Lagundi

Also among the medicinal plants which got the nod from DOH, lagundi’s 5-fingered leaves are a particularly popular cough remedy.

It is also good for cold, fever and flu. It relieves cough symptoms, loosens and helps release phlegm.

Boil half a cup of lagundi leaves in two cups of water and drink half a cup of the decoction 3 times a day. To preserve more of the leaves’ potency, simply pour boiling water over them and let the leaves steep in the water.

Lagundi in tablet, capsule or syrup form is also available in drugstores.

Turmeric

Turmeric — or luyang dilaw — is a member of the ginger family but far more potent. With its substance curcumin effective in reducing pain and inflammation, turmeric is good for the sore throat and body pain you may suffer when down with the flu.

Its flavor is particularly strong and not pleasant for all. If you are preparing turmeric tea, you can mix it with pandan and lemongrass to make it more palatable. You can also take it in capsule form.

You can also buy turmeric powder and mix it with soups and other dishes, especially curry.

Guava

While calamansi and other citrus fruits are the usual and effective remedies for coughs and colds (mostly because of their Vitamin C), guava is actually the fruit richest in Vitamin C, with 4 to 10 times more than orange.

The juice of raw, immature — not ripe — guavas is effective against cough and colds. A decoction of guava leaves also helps thin mucus and disinfects the respiratory tract and lungs.

Chili pepper

Good news for spice lovers: you can keep your food hot with spices like siling labuyo and cayenne pepper.

In fact, it is recommended that you make your food spicier when you are down with the cough. Capsaicin, the substance which makes chili hot, helps breaks down mucus and clears the nose and throat.

Grind chili up and mix it with soups, or sprinkle it fresh or dried over your food. For faster results, include as much chili as you can in each meal.


You Don’t Have to Live with PMS!

By Hyla Cass (M.D.)

Confused about hormones? Beset by PMS or menopausal symptoms? Wondering about HRT versus herbal remedies? Dr. Cass explains what’s going on in your body, and gives you healthy solutions that work.

—Uzzi Reiss MD, author of Natural Hormone Balance for Women

Our mothers once called them “women’s problems.” Now we know that these mood swings and physical changes, from PMS to menopause, are all part of a delicate balance among our various hormones. In my years of practicing integrative medicine, I have helped hundreds of women overcome PMS and menopausal symptoms naturally, and here’s how.

Let’s start by defining hormones. They are chemical messengers secreted by any one of the body’s endocrine (ductless) glands. They travel through the bloodstream, telling various systems what to do. Besides reproductive functions, hormones affect virtually every body system from digestion to metabolism to hair growth.

All women have the same hormones but in varying quantities, making your own hormonal profile as unique as your fingerprint. When your hormones are in harmony, you will have predictable menstrual cycles —and moods. When out of balance, you will have irregular cycles and a host of symptoms, from bloating, cramps, weight gain and acne to food cravings, irritability and depression. Perimenopause, the transition to menopause, which can start as early as your late 30’s, often causes an increase in PMS. In fact, many women report experiencing PMS for the first time at that point. Also common in peri-menopausal women, is a loss of libido, due to a dip in testosterone which governs sexual desire, and of course, those hot flashes and night sweats, which make sex the last thing on your mind!

Medical Management

For a full picture of your hormonal status, we need to check levels of estrogen, progesterone, DHEA-S and testosterone in blood, saliva, or urine, taken on day 19-21 of the cycle. For perimenopausal women, I also order FSH (follicule stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) blood tests to assess ovarian function. I will check cortisol levels (saliva test) and thyroid hormones (blood test), too, since they are a part of the overall hormone symphony.

You can find home testing kits online. Take these tests on days 19-21 of your cycle, with day one being the first day of your period. If you are post-menopausal, it won’t matter when you take the tests. If you’re irregular, do your best to estimate the appropriate date.

Hormone Therapy

If testing reveals that your hormone levels to be below the normal range, it may be due to perimenopause or other physiological factors. Faced with fluctuating hormones, doctors have traditionally prescribed synthetic hormone replacement therapy (HRT), such as Premarin (from pregnant mares’ urine) and Prempro (Premarin plus synthetic progesterone), to correct imbalances. The recent Women’s Health Initiative study showed that women taking this form of HRT had 27 percent more heart attacks, a higher rate of breast cancer, 38 percent more strokes and double the number of blood clots. There are safer ways to balance hormones successfully, ranging from supplements and herbs to bio-identical hormone therapy.

Natural Ways to Balance Sex Hormones

The first step to balancing your hormones is a clean diet:

• Eat fewer animal products, with lots of vegetables, including raw broccoli and other

cruciferous veggies

• Reduce or eliminate caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and sugar.
• Reduce or eliminate high-fat dairy products.
• Eliminate as much processed food as possible
• Reduce salt intake.
• Eat small, regular meals.

Yoga and meditation are helpful for PMS sufferers because they work on the nervous system to help balance hormones.

Supplements for PMS:

I give my patients magnesium (100 mg two to three times daily) and vitamin B6 (25-100 mg) to relieve irritability and tight muscles as well as premenstrual water retention.

Another important nutrient is GLA, an omega-6 fatty acid which also helps reduce the water retention, breast tenderness and moodiness associated with PMS, likely by it’s action on the hormone prolactin. GLA is found in borage oil (1500 mg of borage twice daily), black currant seed or evening primrose oils.

The herb, Chasteberry (Vitus Agnus Castus), helps to balance the hormone, progesterone, relieving symptoms of PMS and heavy or irregular periods as well. Dose is 50-200 mg daily depending on symptoms. Do not take if you’re pregnant.

The herb, Dong Quai, helps to balance the hormone estrogen. Like Vitex, the dose is 50-200 mg daily depending on symptoms and also do not take if you’re pregnant.

Another useful nutrient is the amino acid, 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) 500-200 mg daily, depending on your individual needs. It helps to raise levels of the feel-good and calming brain chemical, serotonin, which is often low in PMS sufferers.

These nutrients plus wild yam a source of natural hormone production, can all be found in the formulation, PMS Balance. I have had many women report almost immediate relief upon taking this or a similar formula. Others may take a month or two to feel the full effects.

With menopausal symptoms, I may also add black cohosh and red clover extract. While there was a recent study that claimed that black cohosh didn’t work, it was in fact, flawed, and contradicted numerous well-done studies that found it to be very effective. I have also discovered a remarkable new product called FemmePhase. Even the majority of my hard-core hot flashers have found relief with it.

Bio-identical Hormones

When the nutrients aren’t quite doing the job, you can add over-the-counter natural progesterone cream (up to 30 mg daily) for one week prior to your period. This is a maximum of 3 percent progesterone, or 30 mg per 1 gram dose.

I may also prescribe higher dose bio-identical hormones for my patients. The progesterone is often 10 percent, which is three times as strong as the over-the counter dose. Made from highly purified derivatives of soy and wild yams, these formulas are carbon copies of your own natural hormones. Prescription strength bio-identical hormones are available only from compounding pharmacies, and are prescribed by your doctor. Doses are based on your individual hormonal needs as determined by your lab tests.

As I say repeatedly - “you don’t have to live with PMS/peri-menopausal symptoms.” This applies to both the woman herself and her long-suffering loved ones. This information should help you take care of most cases of PMS and peri-menopausal symptoms. I have many grateful women, and their partners, for whom PMS has truly become a thing of the past.


How to prepare Lagundi Syrup

(DODT-PCAARRD)

Sweetened preparation from the leaves of Vitex negundo L.

Materials:

cooking pot,
ladle,
cup strainer,
medicine bottles,
labels,
lagundi leaves,
sugar/honey,
water

Proportion: 1 cup chopped lagundi leaves to 1 cup water

Procedure:

1. In an uncovered pot, prepare a decoction of the lagundi leaves.

2. Cool and strain.

3. Measure the amount of decoction that you produced. One-third of this volume will be the amount of sugar/honey that you are going to use.

4. Add your sweetener, stirring gently. You may put the mixture back on the stove, with low heat, until all he sweetener is dissolved/blended with the mixture. This is your syrup.

5. Transfer the syrup into the sterilized medicine bottles. Seal and label properly.

6. Store your bottled lagundi syrup in a clean, cool, dry place away from light.


Having trouble getting pregnant? Try these fertility boosters

(FoxNews.com)

Getting pregnant isn’t always easy, but there are ways to give yourself a boost when trying to conceive.

Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor of FoxNews.com, recently spoke with Dr. Pina LoGuidice from InnerSource Health on Long Island, N.Y.

LoGuidice said it’s important to become healthy the year before you start trying to conceive, and not to worry if it doesn’t happen right away – she said six to eight months is typical.

“If that hasn’t happened then, that’s usually when I start recommending you try some of the botanicals,” she said.

Couples trying to conceive need to get their bodies in tip-top shape – eating right, detoxing and quitting smoking, all of which is crucial when thinking about a baby.

LoGuidice said it's a good idea to “get on a good prenatal, take some essential fatty acids, like omega oils, and take a very good, high-quality probiatic.

Essential fatty acids help decrease any inflammation in the body, and research shows that taking them after conception can help enhance your baby’s brain development.

LoGuidice also recommended adding a chasteberry supplement to your diet.

“It’s actually an adaptogen, meaning if you don’t have enough of a hormone, it will raise it up, or if you have too much, it will lower it,” she said. “It actually boosts just enough of the woman’s progesterone so that when she does try to start conceiving, it will help hold the pregnancy more significantly,” LoGuidice said. “You can find this herb in capsule form at any health food store. Taking 400 milligrams twice a day should do the trick.”

Red raspberry leaf is another option, because it helps to strengthen the uterus, and it’s also found in a pill form or as a tea or liquid tincture. Also helpful is evening primrose, LoGuidice said.

“Why I like it regarding fertility is, it actually enhances ovulation, and it helps enhance the egg quality,” she said. “Capsule form is the best way to take this herb, twice a day.”

Acupuncture can be helpful too, she added.

“Once that stress management is down, your body doesn’t release the hormone cortozal, which is our stress hormone. And for us to make that hormone, our body takes away progesterone, which is obviously the most crucial hormone for pregnancy,” LoGuidice said.


How to Prepare Lagundi Extract for Cough Treatment, Vitex Negundo

By Marvin (Food Recap)

Lagundi, a herbal medicine is becoming popular as treatment for cough. In fact, the Philippine Department of Health is actively promoting it as an alternative medicine. The herb is included in 10 herbal medicine approved by DOH.

Some pharmaceutical companies are producing lagundi preparations. The Ascof Lagundi Syrup and the Flemex Lagundi Capsules.

If you are not lazy to prepare the tea or lagundi extact, make it as follows: Gather one-half cup of chopped fresh leaves and boil it in two cups of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Administer one-half cup three times a day. I hope a 15 minutes preparation would not hurt your busy schedule.

This herb has other medicinal uses by BPI:

• Efficacious in reducing inflammatory, rheumatic swellings of the joints and swellings of the testes due to suppressed gonorrhea or gonorrheal epidymitis and orchitis. Also effective for sprained limbs, contusions, leech bites, etc.
• The fresh leaves are put into an earthen pot, heated over a fire, and applied as hot as can be borne without pain; or the leaves are bruised and applied as a poultice to the affected part

A pillow stuffed with the leaves is placed under the head for relief of catarrh and headache.

• The dried leaves, when smoked, are also said to remove foetid discharges and worms from ulcers.
• The leaves are applied as a plaster to an enlarged spleen.
• A decoction of the leaves as a warm bath in the puerperal state of women who suffer much from after-pains.
• Leaves, heated over fire, are applied with oil externally on wounds.
• The flowers are used in diarrhea, cholera, fever, and diseases of the liver, and are also recommended as a cardiac tonic. Powder form is administered in cases of discharge of blood from the stomach and bowels.
• The fruit is cure for headache, catarrh, and watery eyes, and when dried, is considered vermifuge.
• The seeds make a cooling medicine fro skin diseases and leprosy, and for inflammation of the mouth.
• An oil prepared with the juice is applied to the sinuses and to scrofulous sores. As a bath for rubbing on the head in glandular (tubercular) swellings of the neck. Also found to effect marvelous cures of sloughing wounds and ulcers.

Last few words: lagundi leaves have insecticidal properties too.


Chasteberry Health Benefits

By Jawairia Zafar (OCT)

•What is Chasteberry?

Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-catus) is a small brown berry fruit of the chaste tree which is about the size of peppercorns and smells like peppermint. Chasteberry has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries for its health benefits. In its ripe form, the fruit is used in the preparation of herbal liquids and powdered extracts. The fruit is also known as vitex, monk's pepper, or monk's berry as it was used by ancient Romans to curb the sexual urges in monks.

•What are the Benefits of Chasteberry?

Chasteberry is often used by herbalists to regulate hormone imbalances in women and lower the testosterone levels in men. It is known for its effectiveness in the treatment of menstrual disorders, PMS, menopausal symptoms such as breast tenderness, hot flashes and mood swings, infertility and decreased milk production in lactating women. Due to its anti-androgen activity, Chasteberry has been used as a natural supplement to lower testosterone levels in transgenders (in male to female), and to suppress the onset of prostate cancer which is also associated with high testosterone levels. Its anti-androgen activity may also help clear up acne, reduce Hirsutism (excessive hair growth) in women.

•Uses of Chasteberry

Breast Tenderness

A German company has used Chasteberry extract in the manufacturing of a medication for Mastalgia - sore breasts or breast tenderness associated with PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) and menopause. It is believed that Chasteberry extract may help stop the release of a hormone prolactin from the pituitary gland. High levels of Prolactin hormone may stimulate milk production in pregnant and lactating women causing breast tenderness and may also cause irregular menstrual cycles and missed periods. Therefore, taking one 300mg Chasteberry extract capsule daily can be beneficial to reduce breast tenderness. Miscarriage and Infertility

Studies have found that the Progesterone hormone plays a crucial role in conception and sustaining pregnancy. Researchers have concluded that low progesterone levels may be associated with the thinning of the uterine lining during pregnancy, corpus luteum insufficiency, and luteal phase defects (which are the main causes of infertility and miscarriages). A luteal phase is a period between ovulation and menstruation during a woman's menstrual cycle which is typically 10-17 days long. However, when this period is too short, too long or irregular, it is described as Luteal Phase Defect (LPD) which leads to infertility and or unsustainable pregnancy. Corpus Luteum Insufficiency is a condition where pregnant women have an abnormally low progesterone levels around 3 weeks after the first day of menstruation. There are a number of other causes of Luteal Phase Defect, Corpus Luteum Insufficiency, infertility and miscarriage but many studies show that low progesterone levels may be a major cause of these conditions. Therefore, taking a Chasteberry capsule once daily may help with infertility and minimize the risks of miscarriage by naturally increasing the progesterone levels in the body. However, there are conflicting opinions about the use of Chasteberry during pregnancy, therefore, during pregnancy the consumption of Chasteberry in any form should be avoided unless advised by your health care provider otherwise.

PMS, Menstrual Cramps, and Menopause

It is believed that Chasteberry is a natural source of the progesterone hormone. Research shows that insufficient progesterone levels may cause all sorts of menstrual problems such as short, early, heavy, too frequent or no periods (amenorrhea), luteal phase defects, and raised levels of the prolactin-pituitary hormone (which is responsible for breast tenderness in PMS and early menopause). A few studies show that the use of Chasteberry extract may help with perimenopause (the early stages of menopause), PMS, menstrual cramps and bloating and other menstrual disorders. Simply taking one capsule of Chasteberry daily during the day for 2 months may be helpful. Prostate Cancer

Chasteberry has been used as a natural herbal remedy to help balance the body's hormones. Men have been using chasteberry for years as a natural anti-androgen to lower testosterone hormone levels to suppress the onset of prostate cancer.

•What are the Side Effects of Chasteberry?

There are not any known adverse side effects of Chasteberry when taken in moderation. Chasteberry should not be taken more than 6-8 months on a regular basis. However, overdose of Chasteberry may cause headache, dizziness, nausea, upset stomach, rash, and itchiness. Since Chasteberry is considered a hormone regulator, it should be avoided when you are being treated for any kind of hormone related condition, are pregnant or lactating or are taking oral contraceptives or medications with dopamine and bromocriptine. Also anti-androgen activity of Chasteberry might affect the fertility in men. Therefore it should be taken into consideration when trying to conceive. It is recommended to consult your health care provider before taking chasteberry or its supplements therapeutically to rule any potential clash with any other medications that you may be taking.

•Where and How to Buy Chasteberry

Chasteberry can be found at natural and herbal food stores in the form of powdered extract, standardized liquid extract, tinctures, capsules and supplement sold as vitex agnus castus. When buying Chasteberry and its supplements, make sure its standardized amount is stated on the package and it is from a well reputed company. The highest quality vitex/Chasteberry products can be purchased from licensed naturopathic doctors.


The Medicinal Benefits of Lagundi

By Marie A. (Knoji)

In my previous article on Aloe Vera, I mentioned my Grandmother as the herbalist in the family. I remember her having a book on various herbs available in the Philippines and their corresponding medicinal values. One of these medicinal plants found in the book and which my grandmother also advocates is the lagundi plant. When someone in the family has a cough, she will immediately recommend taking in lagundi leaves in the form of tea to cure the ailment. I remember however the sour face we make every time we are forced to drink the said tea derived from lagundi because of its bitter taste. As such the family, especially the younger ones would prefer taking in cough syrups which tasted a little better than the lagundi tea.

The lagundi plant is native to the Philippines and is commonly used as an alternative treatment for respiratory ailments such as cough, flu, colds, bronchial asthma, pharyngitis, and chronic bronchitis. Due to these medicinal values that can be derived from the lagundi plant, extensive research has been backed by the Philippine government’s Department of Health which resulted to the approval of the Bureau of Food and Drugs of the cough syrup and capsule with lagundi as its active ingredient. This is definitely good news for those who prefer alternative cures to their respiratory ailments but are not that keen on the bitter taste.

A Little Background on Lagundi

Lagundi (scientific name: Vitex negundo) as mentioned earlier is native to the Philippine Islands and has been used for centuries because of its therapeutic properties. It is a large shrub which can grow up to five meters tall; with a single thick woody stem like a trunk. Its leaves are pointed and having five leaflets set like a hand. Most of the parts of the lagundi plant have medicinal values which is why it is actively promoted by the Philippine Department of Health.

The Many uses of Lagundi

Although the scientific research has concentrated on the plant's use for respiratory problems, the lagundi has many other uses. The roots for example can be used as treatment for rheumatism, dyspesia, boils and even leprosy. The flowers on the other hand can also be used as a cure for liver diseases and internal disorders such as diarrhea and cholera. The plant has properties which prevent the body's production of leukotrienes, the substance which are produced during an asthma attack.

Another active agent found in lagundi is Chrysoplenol D, which has anti-histamine and muscle relaxant properties. Aside from these properties, lagundi is also a great expectorant and can also be drank my nursing mothers as it helps increase milk production.

The Traditional preparation of Lagundi

The usual process in the preparation of lagundi concoction is through boiling the parts of the plant, letting it steep and then straining the parts. The concoction is then drank three times a day to relieve various ailments such as asthma, pharyngitis, rheumatism, cough, colds, fever and flu and other bronchopulmonary disorders. For skin disorders, the decoction (process of boiling in water) of leaves and roots can be applied directly to skin.

Even though the lagundi plant has lots of various benefits, let us still exercise caution in its use and consult our doctor especially if there are other medicines that we are taking.



Roman women were advised to plant Monk's Pepper in undies to ward off lust

(ANI)

An expert has compiled some of the most hilarious uses of certain plants in the medieval era.

The most bizarre is the usage of the leaves of the Mediterranean plant Monk's Pepper, which was recommended by a roman philosopher, Pliny the Elder, to be placed in women's undies to reduce their lustful feelings.

It was later identified the plant as an aphrodisiac, since the birthrate remained high.

The intriguing fact has been revealed in the '100 Plants That Almost Changed The World' that was penned by Gardeners' World expert Chris Beardshaw, the Sun reported.

In another fact, the ladies were told to avoid Grapefruit in the 1700s, as it was believed to be the "forbidden fruit" of The Garden of Eden mentioned in 'The Bible'.


Lowly Lagundi leaf has come a long way

LAGUNDI started out as a simple folk remedy for cough and other illnesses. Filipino mothers would boil freshly-picked green leaves and strain them to produce an herbal tea, which is then given to an ailing member of the family. Through the years, its effectiveness was proven through intensive studies in modern medicine led by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Recognizing the efficacy of lagundi as a natural remedy for cough and asthma, Pascual Laboratories (PascualLab), in collaboration with the National Integrated Research Program of Medicinal Plants (NIRPROMP) introduced ASCOF Lagundi as the first herbal medicine in the country in 1996. Licensed by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) and DOST, ASCOF is currently the most successful phytomedicine (or plant-based therapeutic product) in the Philippines.

The initial production of ASCOF that began over a decade ago was done through a technology transfer from the DOST and NIRPROMP. This made it possible for PascualLab to manufacture quality medicine from organic lagundi leaves.

Today, PascualLab takes quality care to the next level by developing more advanced production technologies for ASCOF. Its Herbal R&D and Product & Process Development team collaborates with independent medical and research institutions and consultants both here and abroad, to continuously improve its products. PascualLab is committed to intensify its researches on lagundi, and is set to launch new product innovations within the year.

PascualLab is the only local pharmaceutical company in the country today with an advanced herbal research facility that is tasked to study and develop technology for phytomedicines, thereby opening up a world of possibilities in the future of healthcare. "With our second-generation technology, our production process is more efficient and more standardized, ensuring that ASCOF’s phytoactive contents are consistent in every batch that is produced.


Chaste Tree Benefits

By Jane Cronin

This beautiful looking tree is a favourite herb to use with women having menstrual challenges. Its earliest use with menstrual difficulties was documented over 2500 years ago, with use in early Roman and Greek times.

Your Menstrual Cycle

Most women have hormonal imbalances at some time in their lives; others are constantly plagued by them. The main offending hormones that go out of balance are oestrogen and progesterone. Oestrogen is the hormone that increases predominantly in the first half of our cycle. Its job is to get things prepared for successful ovulation; then release of the egg ready for fertilization. In the second half of the cycle progesterone increases to grow and maintain the uterine lining where the fertilized egg may have been implanted. If there is no pregnancy the progesterone levels drop and we menstruate.

This is how it should work normally, but sometimes these hormone levels get out of balance. This can occur at different stages of a women’s life as a normal part of cycle changes (starting periods to menopause) or due to changes in our health due to environmental factors like stress, poor diet, bad habits etc. So how do we know our hormones are out of balance?

Looking for signs and symptoms is the first step, although if things get more serious you can get hormone levels tested by your doctor. However generally if something goes wrong and oestrogen is too high we start seeing sign like heavy bleeding and PMT (Premenstrual tension) signs like:

• weepiness
• headaches
• fluid retention
• breast pain
• period pain.

Similarly if we have low progesterone for example we can end up with short cycles (less than 26 days) and angry PMT moods.

How does Chaste Tree work?

If this all sounds too familiar then maybe you should be looking at Chaste Tree for support.

• Chaste works with the body to help balance your hormone levels. It helps to lower excess oestrogen and increase progesterone levels.
• Unlike the oral contraceptive it does not take over the normal functions of the body, but just balances.
• It is not 100% certain, but it is thought to work via the brain signaling pathways, which stimulate hormone production in the reproductive organs.
• This means that it can sometimes take up to 3 months to achieve balance, especially if things are really out of whack. However quite often women experience improvements within the first month.
• Since Chaste Tree supports the body balancing hormones it can help improve cycle regulation and good ovulation. This makes it helpful to women who are trying to improve fertility, but have irregular cycles.
• Peri-menopause – This is the period of transition from regular menstruation until menopause when your periods finally stop. You may find if you are over 40 that your periods are all over the place. This is very common in this phase of your life and Chaste Tree is our number 1 herb to help during this time.
Who should use Chaste Tree?

In general I would certainly use Chaste Tree for any PMT (Premenstrual tension) symptoms such as:

• Mood changes
• Pain
• Heavy periods
• Headaches
• Fluid retention.
Chaste Tree Preparations and usage

There is just one caution around use with the oral contraceptive as there are some thought that it may reduce protection from pregnancy. For most women taking the pill not getting pregnant is important, so I would not take the risk.

So if you fancy taking chaste tree you need to make sure you take a therapeutic amount. Liquid Herb 2.5ml daily Dried Herbs 500mg ( 1-2 x day)

When considering dried herbs those that have been standardized are good as they guarantee a certain amount of the actual chemical in the plant that have the hormone balancing effects.


6 Remarkable Health Benefits of Lagundi

(Speedy Remedies)

Lagundi, also known as Negundo Chaste Tree, Cut-Leaf Chaste Tree, Five-Leaved Chaste Tree, Indian Privet, Horseshoe Vitex, Lenggundi, Nirgundi, Sindvar, Negundo, Dabtan, Dangla, Khemao, etc. is a large shrub recognized for its wide variety of health benefits. The scientific name of this plant is Vitex negundo.

It has been used as a traditional herbal medicine since centuries. The Philippine Department of Health, too, has included lagundi in its list of 10 medicinal plants with clinically proven medicinal values.

Lagundi is native to the Philippines, in fact it is usually seen in swamps in the Philippines. It grows in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate regions of the world.

The palmately leaves, blue to lavender-colored flowers, root and seeds of this shrub, all have healing properties. The root, for instance has tonic, expectorant and febrifuge properties. In addition, the fruit has nervine, cephalic, aphrodisiac, and emmenagogu properties; when dried it is considered a vermifuge.

The best way to use this herb is to have it in the form of an herbal tea or concoction. For this, you need to boil one cup of lagundi leaves, whether fresh or dried, in four cups of water for 10 to 15 minutes, let it steep and then strain the liquid. You can also use other parts of the plant like the leaves, root or seeds to prepare the decoction.

It is generally recommended to drink one-half cup of this lagundi tea three times a day. Store the remaining solution in a glass container for future use. Continue the treatment for about one week. Though lagundi has not been found to cause any side effects still, make sure to consult a medical professional before starting this or any other herbal treatment. Let’s explore some remarkable health benefits of lagundi.

1)Relieves Digestive Troubles Lagundi flowers can be used to get rid of digestive troubles such as diarrhea, cholera, and the same. The root too is good for relieving colic, dyspepsia and intestinal worms. The powdered root works as a demulcent and hence, is often used for treating hemorrhoids.

To relieve digestive distress, you can prepare a decoction by boiling a handful of lagundi leaves and flowers in two cups of water till the amount of water reduces to half. Strain the solution and divide it in three parts to be taken three times a day.

2)Tonic for Liver Lagundi flowers help treat diseases of the liver. Mover, studies have found lagundi leaves to have hepatoprotective effects on liver toxicity because of an iridiod glycoside, Negundoside.

A decoction prepared from lagundi flowers also works as a cardiac tonic. Plus, research has found that the herb offers anticonvulsant benefits that protect against seizures.

3)Treats Respiratory Complaints The Philippine Department of Health has recognized the efficacy of this herb for the treatment of respiratory complaints like asthma, pharyngitis, cough, cold, and flu. In fact, the Philippine government is promoting this herb as a natural alternative to Western cough medicines.

To relieve cough you can either drink lagundi tea or combine it with other herbal remedies as well. It is generally suggested to take one cup of the three times a day for cough relief.

When down with fever, drink it every three hours. Those suffering from asthma can boil six tablespoons of fresh or four tablespoons of dried leaves from this plant in two cups of water for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid and drink one-third cup of this decoction three times a day. Continue the treatment for one week.

The herb has been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and analgesic properties. Plus, it contains a compound called Chrysoplenol D with anti-histamine and muscle relaxant properties that help relieve respiratory problems.

For instance, it prevents the production of a group of chemicals called leukotrienes that accompany inflammation occuuring during an asthma attack. In addition, lagundi offers antitussive and anti-asthma effects due to its anti-inflammatory activity. Thus, lagundi helps reduce the severity of symptoms of an asthma attack.

4)Combats Rheumatism Taking a tincture of lagundi root-bark is considered effective for treating rheumatism. Plus, a vapor bath prepared from the plant too helps treat rheumatic affections. The leaves of the plant also relieve inflammation and swelling in the joints.

Plus, lagundi leaves are used to relieve muscle sprains as well. For this, the leaves are crushed or heated over fire on an earthen pot and then used as a poultice.

5)Heals Skin Diseases Lagundi seeds are great for providing relief from skin issues such as boils, chicken pox rashes, and even leprosy due to their cooling as well as antiseptic properties. Plus, the anti-histamine properties of lagundi contribute to its anti-itching effects.

You can also use a decoction prepared from the seeds for curing mouth inflammation. Soaking in warm bath water to which lagundi leaves have been added helps prevent insect bites.

Furthermore, when dealing with burns and scalds, the leaves can be bruised and used as a poultice on the affected area. It helps disinfect wounds and clear ulcers.

Another remedy involves boiling a handful or two of lagundi leaves in a pot of water for five minutes, cool and strain the solution, and then wash the wound with this decoction once or twice a day to stop bleeding.

6)Analgesic for Pain Relief

Lagundi has been shown to be quite effective as a pain reliever due to its analgesic properties and has even been compared to drugs like aspirin in trials.

As a folk remedy, people in Philippines, China, Korea, Japan, Indonesia and other Asian countries often take lagundi as a herbal remedy for pain relief after dental extractions.

The herb can be taken for headache as well. Apart from taking it as a decoction, you can also apply crushed lagundi leaves on the forehead or stuff the leaves in a pillow and then sleep on it to relieve headache and catarrah.

For relief from toothache, boil six tablespoons of fresh or four tablespoons of dried lagundi leaves in two cups of water until half the amount of water evaporates. Divide the solution in three parts and drink it every three to four hours. When using this remedy for children, use fewer leaves to make the decoction.


If you cannot get fresh lagundi leaves, flowers or root then you can get this herb in the form of capsule and syrup at the drug stores. Furthermore, you may find similar preparations from this herb through naturopaths, or practitioners of herbal and alternative medicine.


Health Benefits of Chaste Tree Berry

By Loretta Lanphier (NP)

Chaste Tree Berry or Vitex agnus-castus, sometimes called “the woman’s herb”, is native to central Asia and the region bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It has been used for over 2000 years to help alleviate women’s health concerns such as infertility, menstrual irregularities and other gynecological concerns. Men also use vitex Chaste Tree Berry for increasing the flow of urine, for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and for reducing sexual desire. History indicates that monks chewed chaste tree parts to make it easier to maintain their celibacy.

Chaste Tree Berry works by stimulating and normalizing the pituitary gland, called the “master gland”, which regulates the balance of estrogen and progesterone in the body. The pituitary gland allows the sending of chemical signals to the ovaries and as such tells them how much hormones to make.

Chaste Tree Berry is able to restore inadequate progesterone levels by optimizing the luteal phase, or the second half of the menstrual cycle. Since Chaste Tree Berry does not contain any hormones it has a more supportive and non-direct action on the body. David Hoffman, a well-known herbalist, says “Vitex will always enable what is appropriate to occur.” It is very important to understand that Chaste Tree Berry works behind the scenes to gently restore balance and because of this it can take anywhere from one to seven months to be completely effective. Although, some symptoms may be relieved within a month of use, patience is the key. As with all herbs, Chaste Tree Berry works best when it is combined with a healthy lifestyle that incorporates pure water, healthy foods, adequate sunshine and gentle exercise

Chaste Tree Berry Use In Pregnancy

Many believe the ability of Chaste Tree Berry to increase progesterone levels explains the positive results witnessed by herbalists and midwives who use it to help prevent recurrent miscarriages in women. No human studies or clinical trials have been performed that would support this, only traditional usage.

German research indicates that Chaste Tree Berry can be taken safely through the end of the third month of pregnancy and may help prevent miscarriage. It is still considered safe to take after the third month, but may stimulate early lactation. By the end of the third month of pregnancy the placenta has taken over progesterone production on its own. If you are decide to use Chaste Tree Berry during pregnancy, please consult with a knowledgeable herbalist or midwife for guidance and supervision

Health Benefits of Chaste Tree Berry
• increases progesterone levels
• increases the secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH)
• helps with mild endometriosis may help prevent miscarriage
• relieves PMS symptoms helps with amenorrhea
• balances irregular menstruation
• may reduce uterine cysts
• stabilizes menstrual cycle after stopping birth control pills
• helps with mood swings
• slower acting – allow 3 cycles to begin to see benefits
• may help with acne
• helps with breast tenderness
• helps with food cravings
• helps with infertility
• relieves bloating
• stimulates milk production in new mothers can be taken safely through the end of the third month of pregnancy
• helps with lack of ovulation
• stimulates & normalizes the pituitary gland nourishes & supports endocrine system
• enhances chance of conception
• helps with hot flashes
Chaste Tree Berry Herbal Tea Recipe Instructions
• Measure 1 tsp. or ¾ oz. of fresh or dried Chaste Tree Berries in a cup & set aside. Boil 8 oz. of purified water.
• Fill the cup containing the Chaste Tree Berries with the boiled water.
• Allow the berries to steep in the hot water for 10 minutes.
• Add 1 tsp. of raw honey or a ½ tsp. of chopped fresh mint to the tea, stir & drink. Chaste Tree Berry tea has a peppery flavor. Mixing honey & mint reduces its pungency. Drink one cup daily.
CAUTION: Always check with your healthcare practitioner before using any herbs especially if you are taking any type of prescription medications or undergoing treatment for infertility.
Other Names for Chaste Tree Berry

Agneau du Moine, Agneau-chaste, Agni Casti, Agnocasto, Agnolyt, Agnus-Castus, Arbre au Poivre, Chaste Berry, Chaste Tree, Chaste Tree Berry, Chasteberry, Chastetree, Chinese Vitex, Gattilier, Hemp Tree, Herbe au Poivre, Mang Jing Zi, Monk’s Pepper, Petit Poivre, Pimiento del Monje, Poivre de Moine, Poivre Sauvage, Vitex, Vitex Agnus Castus, Vitex rotundifolia, Vitex trifolia, Viticis Fructus


16 Amazing Benefits Of Five-Leaved Chaste Tree For Skin, Hair And Health

(Nithya, Style Craze)

Fived leaved chaste tree, also known as chaste tree berry, is a native of Central Asia and the Mediterranean. Called nirgundi in Sanskrit, various part of this tree is widely used in Ayurveda as a natural cure for various health issues. With its countless benefits, right from easing menopausal and pre-menstrual issues to tackling endometriosis and preventing miscarriage, it has become a true friend of women across the world. Not only does this wonder herb help us stay healthy but also helps us look our absolute best! Want to know how? Read on! Skin Benefits Of Five Leaved Chaste Tree:

We women tend to invest a lot of emotions and money to look beautiful. But this simple herb can go a long way to give us a beautiful and healthy skin:

1. Natural Antidote For Acne:

Many women experience acne during their menstrual cycle. Studies conducted on nirgundi indicate that this plant could help in easing acne outbursts during the premenstrual period.

2. Heals Wounds And Various Skin Conditions:

A potent analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial agent, the leaf of this plant helps in hastening the wound healing process. It also prevents the wound from being attacked by infections. A poultice made with its leaves can be placed over the affected region for faster recovery. Nirgundi oil can be used to clean the wounds to keep away infections and foul smell.

Beautiful, shiny, and bouncy hair—the dream of all women! But can nirgundi help you realize this dream? It sure can!

3. Aids In Hair Growth:

The oil made from the leaves of this tree can be used as a hair tonic. Regular application is known to rejuvenate the hair, prevent hair fall, and promote hair growth. Certain Ayurvedic practitioners prescribe nirgundi oil as a remedy for baldness too.

4. Wards Off Scalp Infections And Dandruff:

Studies suggest that regular application of the oil made from the leaves of chaste tree is known to ease and ward off scalp infections, including lice and dandruff.

5. For Lush, Black Hair:

Women who use nirgundi oil as their hair tonic are less likely to develop premature graying. It improves the natural color of the hair, leaving behind lush, black tresses.

Health Benefits Of Five Leaved Chaste Tree:

What is beauty without good health? A fit body is a beautiful body and this amazing tree can help you stay healthy. How? Read on to know!

6. Cure For Inflammatory Health Conditions:

Packed with Vitamin C, nirgundi is one of the best natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory agents found in nature. It peps up the immunity power and thwarts frequent recurrences of fever, orchitis, tonsillitis, and pharyngitis. You can use a decoction prepared from the leaves of this plant, thrice a day, as a gargle to obtain relief from tonsillitis and pharyngitis.

7. Cure For Sinusitis And Headaches:

Do you suffer from intense headaches due to sinusitis, migraine, or common cold? Just smoke some dry leaves of this plant and inhale it for immediate relief.

8. Eases Menopausal Symptoms:

Studies suggest that the chaste tree berries could enhance the progesterone levels. This, in turn, helps in easing and alleviating menopausal symptoms, such as mood swings, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes. However, you will have to wait for at least 8 to 10 weeks to notice the difference.

9. Natural Treatment For Endometriosis:

Endometriosis is an agonizingly painful situation characterized by the abnormal growth of endometrial cells in sites other than the uterus lining. These deposits normally trigger the formation of scarred tissues. Studies suggest that this plant possesses the potential to ease the pain and other symptoms associated with this condition. 400 mg of this herb on an empty stomach in the morning at least for 6 weeks will help you combat the pain.

10. Helps You Tide Over PMS Smoothly:

A study showed that women who used nirgundi during their pre-menstrual phase were able to manage the irritating PMS symptoms such as anxiety, fluid retention, cravings, and depression, in a better way. While many of them experienced a drastic decrease in PMS symptoms after using this herb for 3 cycles, many even noticed that the symptoms ceased to exist. 11. Improves Fertility Levels In Women:

Studies suggest that 200 mg of this herb can be used by women suffering from various infertility issues to overcome this hurdle. A group of women with infertility issues were administered with a blend of green tea extract, chaste tree berry, and a specific set of minerals and vitamins for a period of six months. Out of the whole group, 15 women experienced positive impacts and conceived after 5 months of being on the medicinal blend.

12. Useful for Assorted Digestive System Disorders:

This herb is known to strengthen and enhance the functioning of the digestive system. It helps in improving digestion and stimulates appetite. It is equally effective in easing anorexia too. It also acts as an anthelmintic, and can be used as a digestive system cleansing agent. 13. Beneficial For Your Circulatory System:

The leaves of chaste tree berry can be used to ease any kind of edema in the circulatory system. It is also beneficial for treating inflammatory conditions affecting the spleen and liver. Ayurvedic practitioners also suggest a mixture of cow’s urine and nirgundi leaf juice as cure for ascitis.

14. Helps In Easing Painful Conditions Affecting Nervous System:

You can consume this herb internally to ease various nervous system conditions, right from mild headaches to rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica and synovitis. It also works as a wonderful brain tonic and helps in enhancing memory power. 15. Good For Your Respiratory System:

An herbal tea made from the leaves of chaste tree is known to ease the phlegm accumulated in the respiratory tract. Thus, it clears the clogged passages, enhances the ventilation, and steadies the breath. This is one of the key reasons why these leaves are advised in Ayurveda as a remedy for bronchitis, asthma, pleurisy, and pneumonia.

16. Beneficial For Dysmenorrhea:

The analgesic and anti-inflmmatory properties of these leaves can help in easing the pain and combating the cramps experienced in dysmenorrhoea.

Other Benefits Of Five Leaved Chaste Tree:

Vitex negundo can be used as a natural remedy for various other health conditions, including vitiligo, eye disorders, painful teething in children, biliousness, mouth ulcers, leprosy, swelling and inflammation of muscles and joints. It also can be used to treat obstruction in blood flow, hepatitis, typhoid, malaria, nausea, sinusitis, syphilis, stomach cramps. Apart from that it is said to improve male libido and helps in treating vaginal discharge.

Chaste tree berry offers many health benefits, but consult with your doctor before you start using it to prevent any kind of negative effect.

Have you ever used nirgundi? Have you experienced its goodness? Why don’t you share your views and experience with us in the comments section below?


Chasteberry : Is a Multi-Beneficial An-Aphrodisiac Herb for Women

(Women Fitness)

Chasteberry has been used as a natural sex boosters to revive up one's libido. Vitex, also known as Chasteberry or Monk's Pepper or woman's herb has an ancient reputation as an an-aphrodisiac for men. The leaves were strewn at the feet of novices as they entered the monastery. However neither modern science nor practical experience supports this particular use of the plant! Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-catus) is a small brown berry fruit of the chaste tree which is about the size of peppercorns and smells like peppermint.

Chasteberry has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries for its health benefits. In its ripe form, the fruit is used in the preparation of herbal liquids and powdered extracts. It has been recommended for menstrual complaints. Although it contains no hormones or hormone-like substances, the herb influences hormonal activity by stimulating the pituitary gland at the base of the brain to produce more luteinizing hormone (LH). This, in turn, signals the ovaries to produce more of the hormone progesterone. Chasteberry also acts to lower elevated levels of a second pituitary hormone, prolactin, which is involved in breast-milk production.

Vitex as a supreme hormonal tonic for women. Both extensive clinical studies, as well as over two thousand years of use in folk medicine, have proven the effectiveness of this remedy. It works by stimulating and normalizing the pituitary gland, which regulates the balance of estrogen and progesterone in the body.

In a normal menstrual cycle estrogen is higher before ovulation and progesterone is higher after. Many women don't realize that an imbalance of these hormones can lead to the entire range of symptoms associated with PMS and menopause! Vitex usually has the effect of enhancing progesterone and decreasing estrogen levels.

Vitex itself has none of the hormonal building blocks that many of the medicinal plants used for the reproductive system contain. Instead, this herb nourishes and supports the endocrine system to find its own balance. David Hoffman, a well-known herbalist, says "Vitex will always enable what is appropriate to occur." Almost all of symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle can be treated with this plant. It is the single best herb for treating the many possible symptoms of PMS: cramps, flooding, headaches, depression, water retention, constipation, acne, breast tenderness, and irritability. It can help normalize irregular or scanty periods.

It is especially helpful for women who are coming off the birth control pill. For many women, cycles remain irregular for up to two years after stopping the pill. Vitex can greatly shorten that time and helps ease the body into regaining its own natural rhythm. It is a wonderful tonic to enhance the chances of conception through its ability to regulate ovulation and if taken through the first trimester, vitex will reduce the chances of miscarriage. After the birth, it helps a new mother to produce plenty of milk.

Vitex also offers many benefits to women who are menopausal. It helps to relieve many of the uncomfortable symptoms of this transition time, including hot flashes, irregular cycles, depression, and flooding. Vitex is also an indispensable remedy for women with uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, or endometriosis. All of these conditions proliferate under the influence of estrogen and shrink under the influence of progesterone.

This plant may be taken in tea form, although it is prefered the tincture (alcohol extract). The dosage of is usually 30-50 drops, three times per day. Like all herbs, Vitex works best when combined with a lifestyle that includes pure water, whole food, gentle exercise, and plenty of self-love. Although you won't find it in the wild, Vitex is easy to grow in our bioregion. Just remember to leave it plenty of space, since it can get up to seventeen feet tall!

Vitex is a slow-acting herb and is recommend allowing three full cycles for the plant to really work its magic, and many women take it for up to several years. In the thousands of years that it has been in use, there are no reports of even the mildest side effects. Vitex is a safe, gentle, and effective remedy, with something to offer women in every cycle of life.

Chasteberry : Is a Multi-Beneficial An-Aphrodisiac Herb for Women Chasteberry (Vitex agnus castus) is considered by some as the herbal ally for menopausal women. It is especially important for the woman who comes to her menopause through induced means. Consistent use (ok to use for several years) increases the levels of progesterone and luteinizing hormone (LH) in the blood. In the early menopausal years, this can be helpful, but during the "melt-down" years, when too much LH dilates blood vessels, causing hot flashes, panic attacks, and palpitations, vitex can become too much of a good thing.

Chasteberry is often used by herbalists to regulate hormone imbalances in women and lower the testosterone levels in men. It is known for its effectiveness in the treatment of menstrual disorders, PMS, menopausal symptoms such as breast tenderness, hot flashes and mood swings, infertility and decreased milk production in lactating women. Due to its anti-androgen activity, Chasteberry has been used as a natural supplement to lower testosterone levels in transgenders (in male to female), and to suppress the onset of prostate cancer which is also associated with high testosterone levels. Its anti-androgen activity may also help clear up acne, reduce Hirsutism (excessive hair growth) in women.

Health Benefits of Chasteberry

• increases progesterone levels
• increases the secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH)
• helps with mild endometriosis
• may help prevent miscarriage
• relieves PMS symptoms helps with amenorrhea
• balances irregular menstruation may reduce uterine cysts
• stabilizes menstrual cycle after stopping birth control pills
• helps with mood swings
• slower acting – allow 3 cycles to begin to see benefits
• may help with acne
• helps with breast tenderness
• helps with food cravings
• helps with infertility
• relieves bloating
• stimulates milk production in new mothers
• can be taken safely through the end of the third month of pregnancy
• helps with lack of ovulation
• stimulates & normalizes the pituitary gland
• nourishes & supports endocrine system
• enhances chance of conception
• helps with hot flashes
Breast Tenderness

A German company has used Chasteberry extract in the manufacturing of a medication for Mastalgia - sore breasts or breast tenderness associated with PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) and menopause. It is believed that Chasteberry extract may help stop the release of a hormone prolactin from the pituitary gland. High levels of Prolactin hormone may stimulate milk production in pregnant and lactating women causing breast tenderness and may also cause irregular menstrual cycles and missed periods. Therefore, taking one 300mg Chasteberry extract capsule daily can be beneficial to reduce breast tenderness.

Miscarriage and Infertility

Chasteberry : Is a Multi-Beneficial An-Aphrodisiac Herb for Women Studies have found that the Progesterone hormone plays a crucial role in conception and sustaining pregnancy. Researchers have concluded that low progesterone levels may be associated with the thinning of the uterine lining during pregnancy, corpus luteum insufficiency, and luteal phase defects (which are the main causes of infertility and miscarriages). A luteal phase is a period between ovulation and menstruation during a woman's menstrual cycle which is typically 10-17 days long. However, when this period is too short, too long or irregular, it is described as Luteal Phase Defect (LPD) which leads to infertility and or unsustainable pregnancy.

Corpus Luteum Insufficiency is a condition where pregnant women have an abnormally low progesterone levels around 3 weeks after the first day of menstruation. There are a number of other causes of Luteal Phase Defect, Corpus Luteum Insufficiency, infertility and miscarriage but many studies show that low progesterone levels may be a major cause of these conditions. Therefore, taking a Chasteberry capsule once daily may help with infertility and minimize the risks of miscarriage by naturally increasing the progesterone levels in the body. However, there are conflicting opinions about the use of Chasteberry during pregnancy, therefore, during pregnancy the consumption of Chasteberry in any form should be avoided unless advised by your health care provider otherwise.

PMS, Menstrual Cramps and Menopause

It is believed that Chasteberry is a natural source of the progesterone hormone. Research shows that insufficient progesterone levels may cause all sorts of menstrual problems such as short, early, heavy, too frequent or no periods (amenorrhea), luteal phase defects, and raised levels of the prolactin-pituitary hormone (which is responsible for breast tenderness in PMS and early menopause). A few studies show that the use of Chasteberry extract may help with perimenopause (the early stages of menopause), PMS, menstrual cramps and bloating and other menstrual disorders. Simply taking one capsule of Chasteberry daily during the day for 2 months may be helpful.

Prostate Cancer

Chasteberry has been used as a natural herbal remedy to help balance the body's hormones. Men have been using chasteberry for years as a natural anti-androgen to lower testosterone hormone levels to suppress the onset of prostate cancer.

A woman with too much prolactin and too little progesterone in her body may not ovulate regularly. Obviously, it would be difficult to become pregnant under these conditions. Chasteberry can help to lower prolactin levels and aid in the normal functioning of the ovaries, thus providing opportunities for conception. The herb works best for women whose progesterone levels are mildly or moderately low. High prolactin levels can also cause amenorrhea (absent menstrual cycles). In such cases chasteberry may be useful in reestablishing a normal monthly cycle. Women suffering from infertility due to not only to an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone but also to high prolactin levels may benefit from chasteberry, too.

In a 1988 study, 48 women (ages 23 to 39) with infertility and this type of condition–called a luteal phase defect–were given chasteberry once a day for three months. Of the 45 women who completed the study, seven became pregnant during the study. And in 25 of the women, progesterone levels returned to normal, a situation that improved the chances for future conception.

Chasteberry : Is a Multi-Beneficial An-Aphrodisiac Herb for Women Declining hormone levels in the years up to and after menopause can cause hot flashes, sweating, vaginal dryness, and even mild depression. Chasteberry (alone or combined with herbs such as dong quai or black cohosh) works to stabilize these hormone levels and can be beneficial in controlling symptoms.

Relieve the pain of endometriosis. Chasteberry acts to restore hormonal imbalances responsible for endometriosis-related pain, which can be severe. It’s commonly taken in combination with the herb dong quai for this purpose. Both herbs help to relax the uterus.

Control menstrual-related acne. Monthly periods involve hormonal shifts that can lead to acne. By helping to stabilize hormone levels, chasteberry may help to keep skin clear. Chasteberry has also been found to be useful for a number of other disorders.

Chasteberry doesn't actually contain hormones or hormone like substances, but it does prompt the body to produce more of its own hormones. So while it’s a safe herb and few women develop side effects, respect its power and use it with care. Don’t take chasteberry with hormone replacement medications and oral contraceptives without discussing it with your physician. For obvious reasons, never take this hormone-altering herb during pregnancy. The long-term effects of using chasteberry are not known. You might want to ease off the chasteberry after a few months and see if your symptoms have improved on their own.

When chasteberry is taken in moderation, there aren’t any known side effects, though it should not be taken for more than 6 to 8 months at a time. An overdose may cause headache, dizziness, nausea, upset stomach, rash, and itchiness.

Taking chasteberry is not recommended if you are being treated for any kind of hormone related condition, including taking birth control pills. It is recommended to consult your health care provider before taking chasteberry therapeutically to rule any potential conflict with any other medications that you may be taking.

Because chasteberry may affect the dopamine system in the brain, people taking dopamine-related medications, such as certain antipsychotic drugs and Parkinson’s disease medications, should avoid using chasteberry.

The above resource establishes that chasteberry is indeed a multi-beneficial herb for woman and our viewers should reap its benefits.


Chaste Berry: Relief for PMS

By Chris Kilham (FoxNews.com)

Despite pharmaceutical research expenditures totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars, effective relief for symptoms of PMS has been confirmed not in an expensive patented drug, but in a traditional folk remedy, chaste berry (Vitex agnus castus). A study reported in the January 20 issue of the British Medical Journalfound a positive rate of response of 52 percent among women with PMS. These results confirm what traditional herbalists have known all along, that chaste berry works for women.

Chaste berry, also known as vitex, is a densely branched shrub indigenous to the Mediterranean and Asia. The berries are used as a traditional folk medicine for premenstrual discomfort, and as a lactagogue, a promoter of breast milk production. Chaste berry was well known to the early herbalists. Hippocrates commented, "If blood flows from the womb, let the woman drink dark wine in which the leaves of the Vitex have been steeped." Pliny the Elder said, "The trees furnish medicines that promote urine and menstruation." The herb was widely used throughout Europe, and appeared in Homer's 6th. century B.C. epic, The Iliad.

Investigation into chaste berry has shown the presence of various flavonoids, and Yugoslavian chemists have suggested that the ripe fruits contain certain steroids. Chaste berry increases the production of luteinizing hormone, and inhibits the release of follicle-stimulating hormone. By this sex-hormone modifying action, chaste berry modifies the secretion of both estrogen and progesterone. This activity leads us to the issue of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS.

PMS is a complex combination of physical and psychological symptoms, which occur prior to the start of a menstrual period. These symptoms include fluid retention, bloating, breast tenderness, headache, irritability, aggression, tension, anxiety, depression, confusion, difficulty concentrating, and forgetfulness. Because of its complex physical and emotional expression, and because of the many factors which may contribute to its cause, PMS is hard to understand and difficult to treat. Symptoms of PMS occur a week or two prior to menstruation, and last anywhere from a few hours to 14 days. The intensity and range of symptoms differs from one woman to another. Often PMS comes on suddenly, resulting in sharp mood changes. Some women report dark mood changes, and an inability to control sudden overwhelming emotions.

The study of chaste berry and its effects on PMS reported in the British Medical Journal was conducted at the Institute for Health Care and Science in Huttenberg, Germany. In the study, 170 women with a mean age of 36 participated. Of these, 86 were given a placebo, and 84 were given one tablet daily containing 20 milligrams of an extract of chaste berry (ZE 440) standardized to casticin. The women in the study participated for a period of three full menstrual cycles. The women in the study were assessed for six symptoms - irritability, mood alteration, anger, headache, bloating and breast fullness. The evaluation included a combination of self-rating tests, physical examinations and interviews. At the completion of the study, the group which had taken the chaste berry extract had a positive response rating of 52 percent, as compared with the placebo group at 24 percent. These results clearly show that chaste berry helps to relieve symptoms of PMS.

This is not the first study reporting positive results for PMS with chaste berry. Smaller studies reported last year in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, and in the Journal of Women's Health and Gender-Based Medicinereported similar findings. These studies showed that chaste berry offers relief for symptoms of PMS, with only a few reports of mild side effects.

Many questions remain about chaste berry for this purpose. What concentration of material will produce optimal results? What daily dosage will work best for the greatest number of women? Will other botanical or nutritional agents enhance the activity of chaste berry? Vitamin B6, for example, is well established in medical literature for providing some relief of some symptoms of PMS. Will these two agents together, and possibly others, result in a superior remedy for premenstrual syndrome?

We live in an interesting time in which traditional folk remedies with long histories of safe and effective use are being evaluated in a manner similar to that of drugs. In-depth chemical analysis of plant materials, along with various chemical and animal tests, set the stage for human clinical trials such as the ones I have described here. We have seen positive reports on human clinical trials with kava, ginkgo, St. John's wort, and other botanicals. As chemists and clinicians investigate traditional botanical remedies in their standardized, concentrated forms, the news is almost uniformly good news. Science does not "validate" chaste berry or any other herb. But it does explain how herbs work, and helps us to determine dosage levels that can offer reporducible results for a large number of people. In the case of chaste berry, standardized extracts of this common fruit, administered to women who experience the difficult symptoms of PMS, provide relief. Chaste berry is safe and effective. Ultimately, this is what matters most.



10 Amazing Health Benefits Of Chasteberry Tea

(Fashion Lifestyle)

Ever wondered if there is any sold form of tea that can be rarely profitable to you? Well, afterwards we have a answer – in a form of Chasteberry tea.

The tea comes with a horde of health benefits, generally for women. Would we like to know more? Read on!

Chasteberry – A Brief:

The systematic name of Chasteberry is Vitex agnus-castus. The tree gets a name from a ancient times when it was believed to have a ability to quell passionate enterprise (1). The tree also is referred to as monk’s tree and monk’s pepper, since according to a U.S. formed National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, monks in ancient times used a tree to refrain from temptation.

Chasteberry tea can infer to be utterly a manly diagnosis or heal for certain health issues. Following are a benefits.

1. Enhances Fertility:

A investigate published in a Journal of Reproductive Medicine states that when women who suffered from flood problems were given Chasteberry tea along with immature tea and some vitamins, they gifted an boost in progesterone levels (2). This womanlike hormone is compulsory for a healthy womb. These women also gifted an boost in a series of days when a physique heat was some-more gainful for ovulation. Because of these improvements, 33 percent of a exam subjects became profound after immoderate a tea for 5 months.

2. Anti-Carcinogenic:

A investigate finished in Switzerland found that Chasteberry tea had anti-cancer properties. It could effectively destroy carcenogenic tumors. The extracts of a tree stopped virulent cells from augmenting and also caused these cells to die. Chasteberry tea can be effective in treating certain forms of cancer, like that of a colon, breasts, and ovaries.

3. Treats Menopausal Symptoms:

Menopause can be a tough time for women. They knowledge prohibited flashes, fatigue, mood swings and many other symptoms (3). Typically, a diagnosis is hormone deputy therapy, that is utterly controversial. However, menopausal women can now spin to Chasteberry tea, as it can change womanlike hormones, thereby alleviating menopause symptoms. Practitioners of holistic medicine suggest mixing Chasteberry tea with black cohosh for best results.

4. Boosts Female Libido:

Chasteberry tea finished from a blossoms of a tree has been found to boost womanlike libido. Menopausal women and those in child-bearing age can devour this tea to boost their desire, so that they can still suffer passionate intercourse. This boost in libido is attributed to a participation of phytoestrogens benefaction in Chasteberry.

5. Increases The Supply Of Breast Milk:

There is anecdotal justification that shows nursing mothers who consumed tiny amounts of Chasteberry tea gifted an increasing supply of breast milk. This might be possible, as a tea helps raise prolactin levels in a body. Prolactin is a womanlike hormone that regulates a prolongation of milk. If we are a nursing mother, it is best to initial deliberate your doctor/gynecologist before we start holding Chasteberry tea to boost divert production, as there are no reliable studies to support this claim.

6. Reduces PMS Symptoms:

In a investigate published in a British Medical Journal (BMJ), it was found that women who were given Chasteberry beheld a rebate in PMS symptoms, such as irritability, breast tenderness, headaches and mood swings, compared to a other organisation of women who weren’t. The investigate states there was a 50 percent rebate in PMS symptoms in a organisation that had consumed Chasteberry tea. Hence, it can be definitively pronounced that immoderate Chasteberry tea can assistance revoke premenstrual syndrome symptoms (4).

7. Antioxidant Properties:

Chasteberry tea has antioxidative properties, according to a investigate published by a U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. The extracts of a tree enclose several antioxidants that assistance destroy giveaway radicals (5). If we don’t know, giveaway radicals are obliged for causing oxidative highlight during mobile levels, and this highlight is pronounced to be a primary means of several diseases, including cancer and beforehand aging.

8. Reduces Epileptic Seizures:

A investigate published by a U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health shows that Chasteberry tea has a ability to revoke epileptic seizures. When a remove of a tree was used in laboratory environment on masculine rats, a rodents gifted a rebate in seizures as good as in a length of a convulsion, formed on a sip given. This shows conclusively that a right sip of Chasteberry has a ability to control and/or revoke epileptic seizures.

9. Treating Male Osteoporosis:

There is frequency any investigate finished on masculine osteoporosis, and there are really few diagnosis options accessible to group diagnosed with a disease. However, this might be a thing of a past, as a investigate published in a U.S. National Library of Medicine shows that Chasteberry could be only a ideal diagnosis for masculine osteoporosis. In lab settings, rats that were given Chasteberry extracts showed aloft bone firmness compared to those that were given a mix of estradiol and testosterone.

10. Reduces Risk Of Prostate Cancer:

While Chasteberry is used especially for womanlike disorders, it also can be used by group to revoke chances of building prostate cancer. The anti-carcinogenic properties, joined with Chasteberry’s ability to revoke testosterone levels seem to conceal a growth of prostate cancer. Chasterberry tea is a healthy and organic proceed to balancing hormones in a body, and hence, has a ability to revoke your risk of prostate cancer.

While researchers are still finding a countless health advantages of Chasteberry, it really has a certain outcome on a health of both group and women. So, if we wish to devour this tea, we could be doing yourself a favor.


Revealing the Health Benefits of the Lagundi Plant (Vitex Negundo)

(News Health Today)

When I was a child, I always experience cough and runny nose because I am very active in playing all the time outside the house. Although my parents brought me to the doctor for medical checkup and ask for prescribed medications, my cough does not seem to vanish right away. Until one day when we visited my Lola (grandmother) in her place, she observed the trouble I have when coughing. Then she asked my mother of what kind of medicine I have to treat my cough.

My mother told my grandmother that she is giving me an expectorant to treat my cough. Right after hearing this, my Lola told my mother to try using natural home remedies such as Lagundi (Shrub or Vitex Negundo). Even though my mother is familiar with this kind of herbal plant, she is not aware that it is a beneficial remedy for cough treatment. Perhaps one reason is that she is busy working and she always rely on visiting the doctor whenever one of us is sick.

My Lola explained to us the remarkable health benefits of this particular herbal plant. Of course, her first explanation is about using Lagundi to treat minor to severe cough without taking expensive medicinal drugs. She told my mother about getting 2-3 pieces of Lagundi leaves and put them on top of the hot rice until they become tender with moisture. After that, she explained about squeezing the leaves and put the extract on the tablespoon. She said that the extract serves as the herbal medicine for my cough by taking it at least twice in a day for best result. She told us that this is a very effective home remedy without the need of costly medicines and doctor’s fee.

Another very important benefit that she explained to us besides taking the extract is to create an herballagundi- tea using Lagundi when treating fever. She instructed my mother to dry at least 8-10 leaves and then boil them in 1 cup of water for at least 15-20 minutes. Afterwards, it is important to strain the liquid and drink it while hot to eliminate the fever and cold effectively for at least one week repeated process. She also revealed that this kind of herbal tea is an effective remedy in treating respiratory problem, especially for people who are suffering from asthma.

During that time, we were lucky because my Lola has a lot of Lagundi plants in her backyard and so she gave us 3 plants on the pots already. We carried them back home and my mother did not waste much time and started to prepare the extract to treat my cough. At first, I hesitate to take it because the taste is a little bitter with the mint flavor. Well, I never had the chance to refuse because my mother forced me and explained to me about the possible negative effects if my cough is untreated. After 3 days of regular intake, I started to feel better because my chest is not aching and my cough starts to vanish. My mother continued my natural treatment for a week until I felt complete okay without runny nose and cough.

I actually remembered this memorable story because I treasured what my late grandmother told us. Today, I am also benefitting from this kind of home remedy whenever one of my kids is having trouble with cough, runny nose or fever. I do the same procedure like what my lola told my mother and luckily, me and my wife found great relief for our kids without spending more cash visiting a medical expert or doctor. We planted Lagundi on some pots to make sure that whenever we need to use this impressive herbal plant, we never run out of it. Of course, I always respect the recommendation of a doctor but if we have the chance to think about using natural home remedies, we can save money and will never experience undesirable effects because these are natural.

Because of the advancement of the Internet now, I increased my curiosity about Lagundi by doing some personal researches. I believe that the online world is offering a bunch of information about herbal plants and so I usually spend my free time to research and widen my knowledge about them, particular the Lagundi plant. Please allow me to share you some useful information that I learned about this remarkable medicinal plant.

I found out that the Department of Health of the Philippines already recognized this herbal plant as one of the best natural home remedies because of its proven safe therapeutic result. Besides treating cough, fever and runny nose, it is also possible to use Lagundi when treating chronic bronchitis, prevent symptoms of Chicken Fox, can fight Rheumatism, cleanse the liver, and improves digestion and more. Well, these are only few health benefits and you can likewise spend some of your free time researching online if ever you need too for your own benefits.

Always remember folks that there are many available effective herbal plants in the different parts of the world. In my personal opinion, these types of plants are very effective, inexpensive, truly present natural qualities, available in our own backyard and proven effective for many years, which include Lagundi. Because of this, we really have to spend time learning more about them because majority of the expensive medicinal drugs have negative side effects that can harm our body.


Chasteberry is a Top Remedy for PMS

By Byron J. Richards (Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist)

Chasteberry (vitex agnus castus) is used by women around the world to smooth out their menstrual cycles. It is the single best remedy for irregular menstrual cycles and is used traditionally for all symptoms of PMS. A new Chinese study1, as well as another recent Chinese study2, confirm the ability of chasteberry to alleviate all symptoms of PMS, especially mood issues and fluid retention. These studies are part of a larger body of literature proving that chasteberry is an excellent support herb for PMS3.

Research over the past decade has proven conclusively that chasteberry is an excellent remedy for breast pain associated with the menstrual cycle4. There is a significant link between menstrual-related breast pain/tenderness and stress. Stress chemicals stimulate breast cells to make significant and inappropriate higher levels of prolactin. In turn the prolactin causes breast tissue swelling, tenderness, and/or pain.

Chasteberry directly offsets this problem by lowering the inappropriate high level of prolactin5 while simultaneously smoothing out dopamine function in the brain (meaning mood support). Additionally, another recent study shows that some of the compounds in chasteberry have direct anti-inflammatory properties6, contributing to the reduction of physical stress associated with the menstrual cycle.

The collective body of research on chasteberry, along with its well-established traditional use, makes it a top choice nutrient for natural female hormonal balance for women of any age (starting at the age of the first menstrual cycle).


Chasteberry – an Herb to Help Hormones

By Denise DeWitt

Chasteberry is the fruit of a small shrub-like tree known as the chaste tree. The plant is native to Central Asia and the Mediterranean. It is also known as chaste-tree berry, monk’s pepper, and vitex.

Why Chasteberry is used

Chasteberry has been in use for thousands of years as a treatment for a variety of conditions. The name chasteberry comes from a tradition among monks in medieval Europe who believed the plant could reduce sexual desire.

While the belief of the monks has not been proven, chasteberry continues to be used by women to ease menstrual symptoms. The herb appears to have indirect effects on certain hormones. It is believed to be able to ease premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and may also help ease breast discomfort that is caused by hormone fluctuations during the monthly cycle. Studies have shown that chasteberry may help reduce breast pain, water-retention, constipation, irritability, depression, anger, and headaches associated with PMS.

Chasteberry was also believed to encourage production of breast milk, but there is little evidence to support this claim.

How Chasteberry is used

Chasteberry is consumed as a liquid or pill. The ripe berries are dried then used to produce an extract.

Cautions for Chasteberry

There are no serious side effects associated with the use of chasteberry, but it can cause gastrointestinal problems, dizziness, and rashes that resemble acne. Other considerations for using chasteberry include:

• Chasteberry may affect hormone levels. Women who are pregnant or who have hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer should not take chasteberry.
• Chasteberry may affect dopamine in the brain. People who are taking medications that are related to dopamine, such as some antipsychotic medications and drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease should not use chasteberry.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about any supplements you chose to take, including chasteberry. Your doctor needs to have full information about every medication you are taking in order to provide you with the best possible care.


Balance Your Hormones Naturally with Chasteberry

By Marni McNiff

If you suffer from symptoms related to pre-menstrual syndrome, menstrual irregularities, infertility, or menopause, chasteberry may be the natural answer you are looking for to help balance hormones. Also known as vitex, chasteberry is a small brown berry about the size of a peppercorn, that comes from a tree by the name of Vitex agnus-castus.

It has been referred to as the “chaste” tree for centuries because it was thought that chasteberry would help calm sexual desire. While at one time it was used to curb the sexual urges of monks, today it’s regularly used to treat menstrual irregularities and reproductive issues.

Chasteberry is believed to work by suppressing the release of prolactin from the pituitary gland. Elevated prolactin levels can also cause an irregular menstrual cycle or even the absence of periods.

The Menstrual Cycle

Herbalists believe chasteberry is a natural source of progesterone. It helps normalize the ratio of progesterone to estrogen, and subsequently provides relief from the monthly symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome including bloating, cramps, acne, breast tenderness, and mood swings.

Insufficient progesterone levels in women can cause many different types of menstrual problems, which include irregular menstrual cycles, luteal phase defects, and increased levels of the prolactin-pituitary hormone, and chasteberry has long been used to treat these issues. Chasteberry can be a great way to balance your hormones naturally, rather than turning to synthetic forms of hormones. It is especially helpful for women who are coming off the birth control pill, as this is a common cause of irregular periods. Chasteberry may be just what you need to jumpstart your regular menstrual cycle.

Miscarriage and Infertility

Since progesterone plays a crucial role in conception and sustaining pregnancy, chasteberry may also be a first step before trying infertility treatments. Progesterone is needed to thicken the uterine lining, and help with luteal phase defects—the period between ovulation and menstruation during a woman’s menstrual cycle which is typically 10-17 days long. When there is an insufficient luteal phase, it can lead to problems with conception and miscarriage.

As with any herb or pharmaceutical drug, it is best to check with your doctor prior to beginning a regimen of taking chasteberry.

Menopause

Some studies have shown that the use of chasteberry extract may also help with the symptoms of perimenopause, the earliest stage of menopause. The hormone balancing qualities of chasteberry make it ideal for counteracting hot flashes and other symptoms. It can also be combined with other herbs such as black cohosh or dong quai for maximum effect.

The flowers of the chasteberry plant are also thought to have a boosting effect on the libido, which can be reduced during menopause.

Other Health Benefits

Chasteberry is not just for women. It has also been used as a natural remedy to help balance hormones in men. It has a natural anti-androgen that lowers testosterone levels and may suppress the onset of prostate cancer.

Chasteberry also has antioxidant properties for removing free radicals as well as anti-inflammatory qualities. It can be effective for digestive problems, and can be useful in reducing overall cholesterol levels.

The Side Effects of Chasteberry

When chasteberry is taken in moderation, there aren’t any known side effects, though it should not be taken for more than 6 to 8 months at a time. An overdose may cause headache, dizziness, nausea, upset stomach, rash, and itchiness.

Taking chasteberry is not recommended if you are being treated for any kind of hormone related condition, including taking birth control pills. It is recommended to consult your health care provider before taking chasteberry therapeutically to rule any potential conflict with any other medications that you may be taking.

Because chasteberry may affect the dopamine system in the brain, people taking dopamine-related medications, such as certain antipsychotic drugs and Parkinson’s disease medications, should avoid using chasteberry.

How to Buy Chasteberry

Chasteberry can be used in the form of powdered extract, liquid extract, tinctures, and capsules. It can be found at any health food or supplement store, as well as at many local supermarkets, You can also purchase Chasteberry directly from a licensed naturopathic physician.

Please consult your personal physician before starting any health regimen to find out if it is right for you.



The 20 Best All-Natural Healing Foods for Women

(Eat This,Not That)

Managing the monthly cycle of hormonal ups and downs—mood swings, headaches, menstrual cramps, assorted energy drains—drives many of us to reach routinely for ibuprofen, antidepressants, sleeping pills and other drugs.

But for generations, herb-savvy women have been turning to the plant world for nontoxic, natural remedies for these common complaints. It’s time we revisited those simple cures, urges Rosemary Gladstar, founder of Sage Mountain Herb Center in Barre, Vt.. Given the high price of health care and the stresses of daily life, herbs are more relevant than ever, she says.

“Treating yourself with home remedies is the easiest, least invasive and oftentimes most effective treatment,” she says. You just need to know your cramp bark from your feverfew. Here’s how, compliments of an exclusive excerpt from the essential encyclopedia for all-natural cures, The Doctor’s Book of Natural Health Remedies, available now.

1 Chaste Tree Berry (Vitex agnus-castus) BEST FOR: PMS British Medical Journal

2 Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus) BEST FOR: Menstrual cramps

3 Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) BEST FOR: Prevention of UTIs

4 Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) BEST FOR: Hot flashes and night sweats. American Family Physician

5 Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis) BEST FOR: General female wellness

6 Feverfew(Tanacetum parthenium) BEST FOR: Migraines

7 Ginger(Zingiber officinale) BEST FOR: Nausea Obstetrics&Gynecology

8 Nettle (Urtica dioica) BEST FOR: Anemia and breast milk production

9 Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) BEST FOR: Weight loss and cancer prevention—watch the video to learn more! Sales of green tea have exploded by 60 percent in just the last 10 years, primarily because of millennials, according to a new report by the Tea Association of the U.S.A. In fact, tea sales totaled $1.8 billion in 1990; by 2020 they will reach $47 billion. And what’s good for Bigelow’s budget is good for your abs, as well. Because green tea may be the most potent fat-burning weapon known to man—all for just 11 cents a cup. Taiwanese researchers studied more than 1,100 people over an 10-year period and found that those who drank green tea had nearly 20 percent less body fat than those who drank none. Plus, a growing body of research suggests drinking this Asian staple may help ward off cancer. According to an American Cancer Society 2012 overview, many lab studies in cell cultures and animals have shown that green tea has chemopreventive properties. Two meta-analyses, one published in the journal Carcinogenesis and the other published in Integrated Cancer Therapies, found that green tea consumption may prevent the growth of lung cancer and breast cancer tumors, especially in the early stages. Do not replace any therapy that’s working, with green tea. Dosage: Drink 6 to 10 cups of organic green tea a day, suggests Christine Horner, M.D., author of Waking the Warrior Goddess. Also, choose caffeinated, unless you are pregnant or must otherwise limit your intake of caffeine. (A cup of green tea contains 20 milligrams, about a quarter of the amount in coffee.) “Some research has found that removing the caffeine reduces the chemoprotective potential,” says Horner.

To learn more about the wonders of tea, and get started on a 7-day plan that will melt up to 10 pounds, buy the 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse now—test panelists lost 10 pounds in one week! Available at Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Google Play, and Kobo.


10 Sage (Salvia officinalis) BEST FOR: Hot flashes


11 Cinnamon BEST FOR: Colds and digestive issues, and weight loss

12 Yarrow(Achillea millefolium) BEST FOR: Heavy periods

13 Licorice(Glycyrrhiza glabra) BEST FOR: Inflammation


14 Red Wine BEST FOR: Weight loss and sex drive Journal of Sexual Medicine

15 Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) BEST FOR: Digestive-tract infections

16 St. John’s Wort(Hypericum perforatum) BEST FOR: Depression and pain

17 Mustard Greens BEST FOR: A healthier heart, lungs and bones

18 Oatmeal BEST FOR: Weight loss, cholesterol and lowering the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes

19 Fatty Fish BEST FOR: Weight loss, arthritis and heart disease

20 Spinach or Grass-Fed Meat BEST FOR: Sex drive


What Are the Benefits of Chasteberry Tea?

By Sharon Perkins (Demand Media)

Chasteberry, also known as vitex Agnus castus, has a long history of use for women's health issues. The components in chasteberry may have estrogen-like properties that help with estrogen-related disorders in women. Chasteberry might also affect release of prolactin, a hormone that stimulates milk production and progesterone. While chasteberry might be helpful in some hormonal disorders, its effectiveness has not been clinically proven. The normal dose of chasteberry is 2 grams, whether powdered, crushed or in a tea infusion, according to the German regulatory agency of medicinal supplements, Commission E. Ask your doctor before using chasteberry tea to treat hormonal problems. Menopausal Symptoms

Several factors contribute to menopausal symptoms, including fluctuations in your levels of hormones such as estrogen. Chasteberry's benefits in alleviating symptoms is uncertain. Chasteberry doesn't have proven benefits in clinical trials, but might have some benefit for use in menopause, according to an Australian article published in the August 2009 issue of the "Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine." An Australian article published in the January-February 2009 issue of "Menopause," however, found no reduction in hot flushes in women who took a combination of St. John's Wort and chasteberry compared to those who took placebo. Clinical trials have used varying doses and forms of chasteberry, Dr. Beatrix Hamm of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School states; an effective dose has not yet been established in the United States through clinical trials. Premenstrual Symptoms

Chasteberry is approved for use by Commission E in crushed, powdered, tincture, tea or fluid extract form to treat premenstrual symptoms such as bloating, headache, irritability and depression in addition to breast tenderness, which often occurs in the latter half of the menstrual cycle, particularly in women who have fibrocystic breasts. Chasteberry is also an approved European therapy for cyclical breast tenderness. In a Czech study published in the August 1999 issue of "Breast," women with cyclical breast pain who took chasteberry had a significant decrease in discomfort compared to those who took placebo. Menstrual Irregularities and Infertility

High prolactin levels can cause infertility in women by suppressing ovulation. By lowering prolactin levels, chasteberry might regulate the menstrual cycle and encourage normal ovulation. Chasteberry might also help with infertility by preventing luteal phase defect, a condition where the time period between ovulation and the start of the next menstrual cycle is shorter than normal. High prolactin levels might also cause luteal phase defect. Do not take chasteberry in any form, including tea, without your doctor's approval if you're trying to get pregnant. Increasing Breast Milk

Chasteberry is used as a galactagogue, a medicine that increases breast milk supply. No benefit for this use has been proven, however. Chasteberry's effects might be dose-dependent, according to Dr.Hamm. Low doses might increase prolactin levels, which could stimulate milk supply, since prolactin helps regulate milk production. The use of chasteberry to increase milk supply remains controversial, Hamm cautions; take chasteberry in tea or other forms for this purpose only if your doctor approves it.

Pictures of the Chasteberry