Relax and meditation
Tryptophan is an amino acid discovered by two British biochemists, Hopkins and Cole, in the early 1900s and is one of the eight amino acids defined essential, that is that they are not produced by the body but have to be introduced with diet (Richard et al, Int J Tryptophan Res, 2009). Tryptophan, what is it? - Tryptophan is used by the brain to produce serotonin. Serotonin, in turn, is a neurotransmitter involved in various processes such as sleep induction, pain threshold control, thermoregu...
Natural cosmetics, like kings and queens Part 16, the fragrance of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar, the renowned Roman leader and politician, in his work the de Bello Gallico speaks of a habit he had, perfuming his body with a particular fragrance called the telinum. Also Pliny the Elder speaks of telinum in his work Naturalis Historia, by explaining that it is an ointment prepared with olive oil in which herbs are macerated, such as fenugreek, marjoram and melilot. A few years ago CNR, the Italian national research council, recreated this ointment with a sweet and slightly pung...
Red lettuce is a type of lettuce, scientific name Lactuca sativa from the Asteraceae family, with dark red leaves. It is this characteristic that makes red lettuce a food particularly rich in antioxidants, substances able to counteract aging processes and oxidative stress, the cause of various conditions and diseases, such as, for example, neurodegenerative, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, tumors or arthritis (Pham-Huy et al, Int J Biomed Sci, 2008 - Lobo et al, Pharmacogn Rev, 2010). In...
Chamomile floral water, gold for your beauty
During the steam distillation process of the chamomile flowers to extract the essential oil, a truly beneficial cosmetic product is also obtained, the chamomile floral water. The plant that undergoes this process can be either the common chamomile, or Matricaria chamomilla, or the Roman chamomile, Anthemis nobilis, both from the Asteraceae family. Now let's understand the properties and applications of chamomile floral water, which you can easily buy in herbalist's shops or in specialized natura...
Food combination and cooking method, potatoes Part 2
Potatoes are edible tubers produced by the plant solanum tuberosum, belonging to the Solanaceae family. Potatoes aren’t a fatty food and, from the nutritional point of view, they are characterized by a high content in vitamins, such as group B and C, mineral salts, such as calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium, that makes the potatoes a food able to relax, proteins and anti inflammatory and antioxidant substances (Camire et al, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2009). In the previous post we have seen s...
Food combinations and cooking methods, potatoes Part 1
Potato, solanum tuberosum, is a plant of the Solanaceae family. The edible part of the plant is formed by tubers, the potatoes, that are the enlarged underground stems. Potatoes can be purchased either when they have reached full maturity or when their development has been interrupted, in this case we speak of new potatoes. Be careful in case of germinated potatoes because solanine, a toxic alkaloid, is produced at this stage. Therefore, the germinated potato should not be eaten. Potatoes are a ...
Food combinations and cooking methods, the pumpkin Part 2
Pumpkin is a powerful source of vitamins, especially A, important for the health of the immune system, skin and eyesight, E, which fights aging processes, K, which is essential to allow blood to clot properly, and group B, mineral salts, such as magnesium, potassium and calcium, which, together, show a calming and sedative action, and zinc, useful for the skin, especially in case of acne, wounds and infections. Finally, the pumpkin brings precious antioxidants such as beta-carotene (USDA Databas...
Food combinations and cooking methods, pumpkin Part 1
Pumpkin is the fruit of several plants of the Cucurbitaceae family. The pumpkin, depending on the type, may have a round or elongated shape, a smooth or lumpy skin and a more or less sweet pulp with inside flat and white seeds. In general, the pulp of the pumpkin is a powerful source of beneficial substances while it is considered poor in calories, around 26kcal per 100 grams. The pumpkin brings mineral salts, such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and zinc, vitamins, such as A, important for the...
Melissa, beauty water
Lemon balm, melissa officinalis, is a plant of the Lamiaceae family that includes also lavender, mint and rosemary. Obtained through steam distillation, the lemon balm water has a very pleasant scent, that reminds that of lemon. Lemon balm water, properties and uses - This beauty water has a relaxing, calming and anxiolytic action, thanks to the properties of lemon balm on the nervous system (Scholey et al, Nutrients, Nov 2014). It therefore can be sprayed on the face before going to sleep to ...
It is a small perennial plant with a beautiful bright purple flower and red stigmas, we are talking about the crocus sativus, family of the Iridaceae, from which the famous saffron spice is obtained. Saffron, however, does not only give to the recipes a unique and exotic taste, but also has important healthy properties studied and demonstrated by scientific researches. Saffron, properties - Saffron contains carotenoids, which are antioxidant substances, such as crocin, responsible for the yell...
Music, sounds and noise
A walk in the woods, in silence, surrounded just by nature sounds, a low chirping, the murmuring of the wind and the babbling brook. Or a cozy room in which a calming and relaxing music is rising. The sounds that surround us aren’t just a background of our actions and life but have a pivotal role on the mood, the concentration and stress. Nature sounds and music for meditation have indeed an anxiolytic effect demonstrated by scientific researches, as we’ll see in the following. Nature sounds –...
Lavender, scientific name Lavandula officinalis, is a plant belonging to the Labiate family. It is characterized by a blue-violet inflorescence organized in spikes and by an intense aroma that makes lavender a nice ornamental plant for gardens and balconies. But lavender also has an interesting healthy action. In fact, lavender shows a diuretic, antiseptic, fluidifying, digestive but also calming action recognized by tradition but also proven by scientific studies. Lavender can be used to prepar...
Lemon balm, mother tincture
Lemon balm, also known as balm, common balm or balm mint, scientific name Melissa officinalis, is a plant of the Lamiaceae family. From the leaves of lemon balm a mother tincture is obtained characterized by a sedative, anxiolytic and antispasmodic action (Scholey et al, Nutrients, Nov 2014), therefore useful in case of anxiety, nervousness, insomnia and before exams at school or university or important tests at work. This remedy may be able, indeed, to mitigate the performance anxiety that thes...
Natural cosmetics, like kings and queens Part 8, lemon balm honey for the Nefertari’s bath
Nefertari was a queen of Ancient Egypt, the wife of Ramses the Great, who dedicated her a temple that still fascinates all the people who have the opportunity to admire it, majestic and timeless, able to defy the centuries and the works of humans, Abu Simbel, set in the southernmost part of Egypt, in Aswan. Nefertari was much loved by Ramses and, as they say, also very beautiful and she took care of her beauty with ointments, creams and baths. Between history and legend, today we take inspiratio...
Food combinations Part 5, the best ways to eat artichokes
The artichoke is the flower bud of the plant Cynara scolymus. The artichoke is rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, cynarine, an alkaloid able to protect the liver and to lower the cholesterol, inulin, a prebiotic that protects and stimulates the bacterial flora of the gut, antioxidants such as tannins (Rondanelli et al, Monladi Arch Chest Dis, Mar 2013 – Lopez-Molina et al, Phytochemistry, Jun 2005). However, the properties of the artichoke depend on the ways of cooking and on the foods served t...
Rauwolfia serpentina, or Indian serpentine, is a medicinal plant of the Apiaceae family known and appreciated for centuries thanks to its health benefits. From the roots of the plants of at least 18 months a remedy with hypotensive, antiarrhythmic and vasodilatory properties is obtained. Indian Serpentine is therefore used to treat anxiety, hypertension and insomnia. Its mechanism of action is well known and is based on an alkaloid present in the remedy, the reserpine, which acts on the nervous ...
Catnip, also known as catmint or catswort, scientific name Nepeta cataria, is a perennial plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family. Catswort has benefits on cats, for these pets in fact it acts as a neuro-active agent, but has also benefits for humans. First at all, it acts as an anti-mosquito repellent. According to a study perfomed by the University of Iowa and presented a few years ago at the meeting of the American Chermical Society, nepetalactone, the essential oil of catswort also responsib...
Bird's foot trefoil
Bird's foot trefoil, scientific name Lotus corniculatus, is a plant of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family characterized by small, intense yellow-colored flowers. From the whole plant the mother tincture is obtained, the remedy is characterized by a general sedative, antispasmodic and antidepressive action and results also able to regulate and normalize sleep and wakefulness. Therefore the plant can be used in case of anxiety, nervousness, depression, palpitations and tachycardia, insomnia and, m...
Common hornbeam, plant
The common hornbeam, scientific name Carpinus betulus, is a tree belonging to the Betulaceae family, characterized by oblong leaves and able to reach 15-20 meters in height. Thanks to its leaves, rich in gallic acid, an antioxidant substance, and to its buds, rich in biostimulants that are substances that regulate the development of embryonic tissue and therefore with all the strength of the plant, the common hornbeam is widely used in herbal medicine. In addition to the glycerin macerate, usefu...
Black-Eyed Susan is an Australian bush flower remedy obtained from Tetratheca ericifolia, a flower characterized by mauve petals and tips of the stamens rich in black pollen, hence the name of the remedy. The Australian bush flower essence Black-Eyed Susan helps impatient and hasty people, those who accumulate too many activities and tend to have a hectic and stressful life, those who think that time is never enough. This Australian bush flower essence provides calm and relaxation, promotes intr...
Coffea cruda is a remedy prepared from the mother's tincture of unroasted seeds of the coffee plant, or Coffea Arabica, of the Rubiaceae family. This remedy is used to treat excessive nervousness, hyperactivity and insomnia caused by stress, especially when at night you are not able to fall asleep because there are too many thoughts in your mind or if you stay too long on your computer or watch television before you go to sleep. Coffea cruda is also useful in case of headaches and migraines, pal...
Indian ginseng or Withania somnifera
Withania somnifera, also known as Indian ginseng, Ashwaganda or winter cherry is a herb used in Ayurvedic medicine belonging to the Solanacee family, the same as tomato and eggplant. Native to India Withania somnifera is a small bush and its roots and leaves are used as a remedy with important benefits. In the Indian ginseng more than 80 active substances have been identified, among them the withanolides, that name the plant, that have anti-inflammatory properties and result able to inhibit the...
Mache or lamb’s lettuce
Valerianella locusta is called mache, lamb’s salad but other names include also corn salad or common corn salad. This plant should not be confused with valeriana officinalis, in fact, although both plants belong to the Valerianaceae family, valerianella locusta is used as a delicate and tasty salad, the other one, valeriana officinalis, is used as a powerful herbal remedy with calming and sedative properties. Mache salad has tender and rounded leaves, it gives fibers, vitamins, such as vitamin A...
From the flowers of the Citrus plants, such as orange, lemon, bergamot, citron and mandarin tree the citrus honey is produced. This honey is characterized by a very light color and a delicate flavor, the scent reminds that of the jasmine or of the flowers of the plants from which the honey is obtained. This type of honey is appreciated, besides for its taste, also for the antispasmodic and sedative properties, ideal against insomnia and agitation, nervousness and irritability. Citrus honey is ve...
Valerian, scientific name Valeriana officinalis, also known as garden valerian or setwall, is a plant belonging to the Valerianaceae family with relaxing and sedative properties that are useful against anxiety, agitation, insomnia or tachycardia, headache or menstrual cramps and even irritated bowel and colitis. Valerian actually has many varieties, almost 250, but Valeriana officinalis is the one used in phytotherapy since ancient Roman and Greek times. It is indeed particularly rich in calming...
Melatonin is a hormone mainly produced by epiphysis, or pineal gland, which is at the base of our brain. In the blood, melatonin levels increase with caloric restriction and darkness while drop down with daylight and aging. Melatonin is produced from serotonin, whose values are higher during the day and drop down by night. This melatonin-serotonin alternation determines vital rhythms, if this alternation functions well it provides a restful sleep, in fact, melatonin has a relaxing effect, energy...
Hop or common hop, humulus lupulus, is a medicinal plant of the Cannabaceae family. Hops, indicated by Saint Hildegard as a remedy against melancholy, are a basic ingredient of beer, they give it in fact the bitter taste, but in addition to this hops have also interesting draining, sedative, antibacterial and even anticancer properties, as reported in a 2016 study and published on the journal Science Research in Toxicology by a team of researchers of the University of Illinois. According to the ...
Velvet bean, scientific name mucuna pruriens, is one of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family tree. It is a legume native to tropical Africa and Asia. The seeds of mucuna pruriens contain the amino acid L-dopa, a precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is important in many physiological processes since it helps to regulate mood, movement and the sphere of sexuality. You can take velvet bean in the form of dry extract of seeds, 10-50% L-Dopa, 1 -2 capsules daily in the morning with a glass...
The primula, scientific name Primula veris or officinalis, belongs to the Primulaceae family, it is a plant characterized by golden and yellow flowers and it grows wild in fields and on the edge of the woods. Its name comes from the Latin primus, indicating that this plant blooms very early, immediately after the melting of the snow. The primula has anti-inflammatory, expectorant, diuretic, analgesic and anti-rheumatic properties as well as a calming effect for heart and nerves. The remedy can b...
The eschscholzia, or California poppy, is a medicinal plant with sedative, antispasmodic and relaxing properties, able to induce sleep without the numbness effect typical of sleeping pills. The plant is native to North America but it has also been introduced in Europe. Try to take the eschscholzia in case of insomnia, difficulty in falling asleep but also in order to give relief to the pain that affects the digestive tract and biliary tract, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and gastritis. Of th...
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