Category: Remedies

herbal tea, healthy beverage

Top 5 Classic & Exotic Herbal Teas

Need a pick-me-up? Turn the kettle on and reach for your favourite teacup. Tea is much better for you than sodas, juices and cream or sugar-loaded coffee. A hot cup of herbal tea can wake you in the morning and relax you in the evening.

Herbal tea comes with a wide range health benefits. They are a great source of vitamins and minerals, can soothe an upset stomach and insomnia and can put a troubled mind at ease. A steaming cup of herbal tea can help to relieve nausea, bloating and an array of common ailments.

Herbal tea doesn’t come from a specific plant but is rather an infusion of leaves, seeds, roots or bark that are extracted in hot water. Consuming herbal teas means were are receiving the benefits of plants in digestible form.

To ensure that you are reaping the full benefits of your tea of choice, be sure to follow the steeping directions. Sometimes steeping for 10 to 15 minutes is required to bring out all the healthful properties. Also note the temperature indicated on the tea box – with some green teas, the water should be cooler than boiling temperature.

While there are many different types of herbal tea, these are some of our favourites.

yerba mate herbal tea | healthy

1.Yerba Maté 

This traditional South American tea is brewed from the leaves of a flowering tree and is known as nature’s original energy tonic. Nutritious and energizing, it contains nearly twice the amount of antioxidants compared to green tea. It’s also rich in B vitamins and minerals that help to combat stress.

This tea is traditionally consumed in a mate gourd with a bombilla straw. Look for organic yerba mate for a smooth, clean flavour.

herbal tea, healthy beverage

2.Ginger and Lemon

Known for strengthening your immunity, ginger and lemon tea is one of the best teas you can have. It’s been used for thousands of years to help treat colds, nausea, arthritis, migraines and hypertension. Ginger is now is one of the most popular dietary condiments in the world (Surh et al. 1999).

Organic Green Tea | Healthy Living | Zebra Organics


3.Green Tea

If you aren’t drinking green tea yet, it’s time to start now. Packed with antioxidants that help protect against cell damage, research has established that green tea features cancer-fighting, happiness-boosting and brain-saving properties. Having a cup first thing in the morning will enhance mental alertness. Green tea can be enjoyed in many ways, from matcha green tea lattes, to tea bags, or class loose-leaf versions. Green tea is most beneficial if it is steeped at a warm, not boiling, temperature.

Douglas Fir Spring Tip Tea by Juniper Ridge | Zebra Organics


4.Douglas Fir Spring Tip

Delight your senses with flavours of bright citrus, herbal mid-tones and earthly base accents. Harvested from the Douglas Fir tree native to the mountains of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, this tree is second in size to the two California Sequoia species and grows to enormous proportions. It’s important to ensure that you are purchasing a sustainable product when it comes to Douglas Fir Spring Tip tea. Try this tea by Juniper Ridge. It is a dedicated steward of the wild lands where they ethically and sustainably source the raw ingredients that go into this tea and all their products.

We supports companies that seek to build a harmonious relationship with the land, as well as creating economically viable environmentally friendly organizations.

White Sage and Wild Mint Tea, Juniper Ridge | Zebra Organics


5.White Sage and Wild mint

Suffering from stress? This tea will help put you back into the right frame of mind. This is a cozy, complex tea that tastes as good as it smells – its scent is calming and reminiscent of winter. Its top notes are refreshing mint, herbal mid-tones and resinous base accents. Harvested from the Mojave dessert in California and Nevada, the longer you steep this tea, the more earthy tones will be uncovered.

Juniper Ridge has gone above and beyond to create tea that captures the heart and spirit of nature. Juniper Ridge products are truly unique, sourced from remote areas of the west coast of the United States. These are relatively untouched environments where plants thrive and are places we may never get to visit but we can at least experience their exquisite scents.

Shilajit Mountain Mineral Resin for Longevity & Stress Reduction

Shilajit, meaning “Rock of life” in Sanskrit, is a dietary supplement derived from ancient, purified organic plant material in the Himalayas. It is known for restoring energetic balance in the body. Medical research indicates Shilajit may positively impact cognitive disorders linked with aging such as Alzheimer’s disease (International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2012).

Shilajit is a blackish-brown powder secreted from high mountain rocks when they are warmed by the sun, particularly in the Himalayan mountains between India and Nepal. It has also been found in Russia, Tibet, Afghanistan and in northern Chile. The thick paste is dried and ground into a fine powder. Considered the root of Ayurvedic medicine, Shilajit has been prominent in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It has been used as a rejuvenator and antiaging compound.

Shilajit contains up to 85 minerals and trace elements. High in fulvic acid, Shilajit has been found to have health benefits that include prolonging longevity. Traditionally, it has been consumed by Nepali and Northern Indians and children have typically taken it with milk at breakfast. It has been used for centuries to help treat urinary infections, jaundice, digestive disorders, enlarged spleen, epilepsy, nervous disorders, chronic bronchitis, and anemia. It has also been used to treat kidney stones and to reduce anorexia, among other conditions (International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2012).

Shilajit is an excellent source of fulvic acids – and is perhaps the most superior natural source of fulvic acids available to us. These minerals help the body transport electrical signals and help to enhance hydration. Fulvic acids also have the ability to neutralise free radicals throughout the body and to detoxify simple toxins (Global Journal for Research Analysis).

Shilajit has received many praises over the years. Some reasons people include it in their diet:

  • Re-mineralize the body
  • Modulate Inflammation
  • Enhance Libido
  • Build Hormones
  • Restore and Repair Aging Cells
  • Oxygenate the blood
  • Scavenge Free Radicals
  • Increase Metabolism and Energy
  • Support the Endocrine System
  • Chelate Toxic Substances
  • Assist the Breakdown/Absorption of Nutrients

Purified, ready-for-use forms of Shilajit exist for human consumption. Dissolve a quarter of a teaspoon of Shilajit powder in hot water, tea, or warm milk. We recommend this dosage once a day. Monitor your energy levels and increase dosage to up to three times per day for greater energy and effect. Shilajit enhances the action of other herbs making it a great addition to super-food smoothies and tonics.

Shilajit is potentially able to prevent several diseases. Further research is required on a biological and clinical level.

Lacking Energy? Try Herbal Tonics

Herbal Tonics are a form of preventative medicine. Tonics are a class of herbs that strengthen the body by supporting its natural defences and promoting stamina. Nourishing and health building, Herbal Tonics build wellness over time and promote your most vibrant state of being.

Based on the idea of building health and not just curing illness and disease, Herbal Tonics support overall well-being and vitality, while encouraging healthy aging. According to Medicinal Herbalists, the bitter taste of Tonics stimulate enzyme production by the liver. Enzymes assist us with absorbing food and offer us more nutrients to help us fight infection.

There are many different types of herbal tonics on the market today. Tonics promoting energy, immunity, and joy are among those you may come across.

Energy Tonics often consist of a blend of the most commonly used adaptogenic herbs to protect your body from the draining effects of stress. Benefits include:

  • Boost energy
  • Support athletic performance
  • Push back fatigue
  • Promotes mental alertness
  • Help maintain emotional balance while under stress

Immunity Tonics are a blend of immune-toning herbs and medicinal mushrooms.  They help to restore your immune system to a healthy, balanced state. Daily use will help build and maintain radiant health. Benefits include:

  • Promote overall wellness
  • Prime immune function
  • Support a healthy, balanced allergic response
  • Tone & build Chi
  • Support body’s natural defences
Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Source:
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Joy Tonics are a combination of aromatic herbs and flowers that help you through life with fluency and ease. Joy Tonics minimise tension in our nervous system, internal organs, and blood vessels. Benefits include:

  • Promote joyful spirit
  • Enliven the heart
  • Lessen occasional sleeplessness
  • Relieve occasional stress
  • Ease tension in the body
  • Calm during times of grief, transition, loss

Adding a drop of Joy Tonic into sparkling water will help to volatilize the aromatics in the blend, and dilute the taste of the alcohol.

Visit our store to view our range of Certified Organic Herbal Tonics by Urban Moonshine. Zebra Organics supports Urban Moonshine’s mission to reignite interest in and restore the use of Herbal Tonics in modern times. Take Herbal Tonics daily on a regular basis for best results. We encourage you to embrace tonics as a part of a regular regime to build radiant health. To learn more about the Energy Tonics, watch this video by Urban Moonshine:

7 Scents that Foster your Wellbeing

As one of the five ways in which we connect with the world around us, smell is a powerful trigger of memories, moreso than any of our other senses. We’ve all smelt something that has transported us back in time, experiencing vivid emotions as they were back then. When you get a whiff of pine trees, you’re reminded of summer camp. When you smell freshly baked muffins, you may think of baking in your mom’s kitchen. It is no coincidence smell is intimately linked with memory; there is science backing why we treasure these aromas.

The part of our brain that processes smell, the olfactory bulb, is directly linked to the emotional centre of our brain, creating a sense of nostalgia with a simple sniff. Scents, unlike taste or touch, are directly correlated with past experiences.

Memory-inducing powers aside, aromas have a significant impact on our mind and body. We’ve highlighted 7 scents that boost wellbeing through aromatherapy.

1. Lavender can help you sleep

Well-known for its calming and soothing effects upon inhaling, lavender has been used as a remedy for an array of ailments, including anxiety, depression, and fatigue. It has been added to baths historically to help purify the body and spirit. Perhaps its most powerful feature is that it’s able to help treat insomnia. In folklore, restless sleepers stuffed their pillows with lavender flowers. This would slow down nervous system activity, enhance sleep quality, promote relaxation, and improve mood in those suffering from sleep disorders – and this is backed by science. Try adding a couple of drops to your pillow before you go sleep.

Further reading: 9 Natural Remedies for Anxiety

lavender

2. Cinnamon boosts brain function

As one of the world’s most popular spices, cinnamon has some fantastic health benefits when consumed and inhaled. When consumed, it’s been found to help lower blood sugar and ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Aside from consuming cinnamon, the aroma of cinnamon fosters brain function.

One study found that chewing cinnamon flavoured gum improved cognitive processing in participants. Compared to peppermint and jasmine, cinnamon significantly produced positive effects on brain function specifically related to attention processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory and visual-motor speed. Try keeping a bottle of cinnamon oil on your desk to help boost concentration at work or home.

Zebra-Organics-Cinnamon

3. Pine can reduce stress

Known for its strong, woody, fresh, coniferous scent, pine refreshes the mind and soothes emotions. Pine as a stress management tool helps reduce anxiety. See our blog post 9 Natural Remedies for Anxiety to learn what participants in a Japanese study experienced as they walked through a pine forest.

pine-forest

4. Citrus boosts energy levels and alertness

Instead of a cup of coffee, opt for citrus as a pick-you-up. The invigorating smell of lemon and orange scents help boost energy and alertness. According to a study conducted at a University in Holland, citrus aroma was found to increase physical activity, reduce response times in young participants and diminish negative emotions.

lemon

5. Vanilla can lift your mood

Medical studies have revealed that the scent of vanilla decreases stress and anxiety. Cancer patients that underwent Magnetic Resonance Imaging, a diagnostic procedure known to be stressful, described a huge 63 per cent less anxiety when heliotropin (a vanilla fragrance) was administered during the procedure.

Another study published in Chemical Senses Journal revealed that taking a whiff of vanilla bean amplified participants’ feelings of joy and relaxation. The results were presented on a mood map, which measures emotions ranging from happy and relaxed to depressed and apathetic.

Source: Ted Major
Source: Ted Major. This image has not been modified.

6. Peppermint may enhance concentration

Peppermint is commonly known for its cooling and relaxing effects, and because it’s an effective relaxant it is often used to treat sufferers of stress, anxiety, and restlessness. 

A study at the University of Cincinnati showed that test subjects who were exposed to the aroma of peppermint demonstrated increased performance on tasks requiring ongoing focus. Further research may be required to confirm this as “hard science”. Skeptics argue that peppermint is more likely to enhance performance in common tasks.

7. Jasmine helps with restful sleep

Considered to be one of the most exotic scents, jasmine has been described as smelling heavenly, sensuously rich, intense, sweet and warm with fruity undertones. Like lavender, drops of jasmine oil can also be applied to your pillow before going to bed if you have trouble sleeping. In fact, one study revealed that compared to the scent of lavender, inhaling jasmine resulted in greater sleep efficiency and reduced sleep movement. Another 2010 study found that not only does the scent of jasmine enhance alertness, it can also be a way to help aid the relief depression by uplifting mood.

jasmine

For quick reference here’s a list of essential oils and their suggests uses:

Calming: Lavender, vanilla, sandalwood
Waking up: Peppermint, rosemary, lemon or orange peels
Soothing: Ginger, pine needles

We encourage you to introduce these aromas into your life and to monitor how you feel to determine positive change.

9 Natural Remedies for Anxiety

Anxiety has the potential to interfere with our daily lives. We are all prone to experiencing feelings of worry, nervousness or uneasiness at times. Consider these simple lifestyle changes that are natural remedies for these symptoms.

1. Drink Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea has been used for thousands of years as a herbal medicine to calm anxiety and help people sleep. Its medicinal properties come from the terpenoids and flavonoids in the dried flowers. According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine, chamomile extracts reduced anxiety symptoms significantly compared to placebo.

Image_Chamomile

2. Inhale lavender

Studies have proved the calming, soothing and sedative effects of breathing in lavender oil. It has been found to reduce blood pressure, heart rate and skin temperature significantly. Test subjects in studies were found to be more energised and felt fresher after inhaling lavender oil. Try rubbing 2-3 drops of lavender oil in your cupped palms and inhaling deeply. It can also be rubbed onto your temples and wrists and at night, and you can also put a few drops onto your pillow to help you sleep.

lavender

3. Consume 1-3 grams of omega-3s per day

A new study has revealed that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils may help reduce anxiety (and inflammation) in young healthy adults. Ohio State University conducted the 12-week study and found that symptoms of anxiety in the bloodstream of test subjects was 20 per cent lower during higher stress periods after consuming omega-3s.

Eating omega-3 fatty acids at least twice per week may provide the body with these healthy oils and lift your mood. Omega-3 is found in fish, including salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafoods including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. You may also consider a fish oil supplement.

The National Institutes of Health recommends that at least two per cent of your total daily calories are consumed as omega-3 fats. Thus a person consuming 2,000 calories daily would need to eat at least two grams of omega-3 fats.

salmon-salad

4. Spend 15 minutes a day in the sun

Soaking up 15 minutes of sun each day is the best way for the body to naturally absorb vitamin D and can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Take a 15 minute break to de-stress and enjoy some outdoor activity.

In a 2007 study, researchers at Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Medicine discovered the calming, psychological affects associated with taking a walk through a forest: “Forest environments are advantageous with respect to acute emotions, especially among those experiencing chronic stress. Forest environments can be viewed as therapeutic landscapes.” If you’re in an urban area, lower your stress hormone by taking a walk through a nearby park or tree-lined street.

Further reading: Top 3 Sources of Vitamin D

hands-hand-book-reading

5. Yoga/Meditation/Deep breathing exercises

Many studies support the improvement of anxiety through breathing exercises in yoga and meditation, by lowering heart rate. One study conducted in India involved test subjects participating in an integrated lifestyle program over ten days. Subjects had an array of conditions, from diabetes and hypertension to depression and anxiety. Subjects had significantly alleviated their anxiety within ten days as a result of practising relaxation techniques such as shavasana and meditation.

Dr Andrew Weil recommends three breathing exercises, from stimulating breath, to relaxing breath and breath counting. You can read more about them here. You don’t have to be in a yoga class to breathe deeply; try it from your couch or office.

Photo_Maui

6. Reduce caffeine consumption

A stimulant that raises your heart rate and your muscle’s ability to relax, caffeine boosts energy levels and can make you anxious and jittery. Try cutting down your caffeine intake and you may notice small improvements in your mood and more frequent moments of calm. Remember that caffeine is found in an array of foods, including chocolate, tea and soda. If your caffeine intake comes from coffee, try switching to a drink with less caffeine such as green tea, which has more health benefits.

Further reading about green tea: Health Lessons From International Cuisines – China

water-flowers-drink-pot

7. Exercise for 10 minutes daily

Exercise has been found to improve mental health by assisting the brain in coping with stress. Some studies have revealed that exercise has the power to immediately lift mood in depressed people. Though the effects are temporary, a brisk walk or other simple activity has been shown to provide several hours of relief. Exercize floods your body with endorphins to make you feel good. Evidence also exists to support that those who exercise regularly and vigorously are 25 per cent less likely to develop depression or anxiety disorders. People who are fit an active also generally have lower rates of anxiety and depression, compared to sedentary people (Anxiety and Depression Association of America).

girl-forest

9. Assess your diet for anxiety-aggravators 

 The link between stress/anxiety and nutrition is not new. For many people, making food changes is enough to eliminate anxiety. Certain foods that have been found to trigger and aggravate stress/anxiety include;

  • Tea, coffee, cocoa, energy drinks
  • Butter, cheese
  • Fried foods and foods high in saturated fat
  • Processed meat and shellfish
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol, soda and chocolate drinks
  • Almonds, macadamias and other nuts

Make yourself aware of these and note that you don’t have to avoid them completely, but consume them in moderation to relieve anxiety (Stress Management Society).

Foods for anxiety relief include fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and yogurt. Make sure these are abundant in your diet and drink plenty of water.

“Bring a spirit of exploration to how you eat, learning new recipes and food preparation techniques, trying new foods and finding enjoyment in shopping, cooking and eating. If you simply start eating real, whole, good quality foods, you’ll notice how much better you start to feel mood-wise, and you’ll probably start to sleep better and have fewer cravings.” – Trudy Scott, author, The anti-anxiety food solution

If you experience anxiety, be mindful of these ideas and pay close attention how you feel when you make these dietary and lifestyle changes. Some of these tips will provide temporary relief, while others are geared toward alleviating anxiety long term. It may take some time to learn what works for you in reducing anxiety.

The Medicinal Chaga mushroom

Chaga resembles a large body of growth and can look like burnt charcoal. Grown on white birch trees within cold climates, Chaga can be found in Russia, Korea, eastern and northern Europe, northern United States in the mountains of North Carolina and in Canada. Chaga absorbs and concentrates the immune compounds in the birch tree and over 15-20 years reaches maturity, and brings the important nutrients into a form we can consume. It can actually grow on other trees but then it’s not Chaga and it’s not medicinal.

It has been used as a health remedy by the people of Siberia, Japan and China for hundreds of years. After a long history of being ignored by western pharmacologists, Chaga is currently enjoying a resurgence as a possible treatment for a wide variety of diseases and health problems.

Photo by Charles de Mille-Isles via Flickr

Health benefits

The Chaga mushroom may constitute the greatest healing properties of a single mushroom. It’s primarily food for the immune system, much like reishi. The medicinal mushroom has a long history in folk medicine in Russia, Poland, and the majority of the Baltic countries, for cleansing and disinfecting uses. Chaga has many notable attributes and has been used to treat stomach diseases, intestinal worms, liver and heart problems and cancer. Many studies exist that reveal the health promoting functions of Chaga, including antibacterial, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and antioxidant activities (National Institute for Health).

Chaga is distinct from other medicinal mushrooms due to its high concentration of the antioxidant enzyme SOD (superoxide dismutase). While nearly all medicinal mushrooms contain SOD, Chaga is nearly 50 times higher than reishi in SOD (source). Chaga contains an abundance of B vitamins and is one the densest sources for Panothenic acid, that is vital to proper functioning of the adrenal glands.

Containing various anticancer and antitumor properties, Chaga is currently being used as a possible treatment for an array of diseases and health problems, including certain types of cancer.

​In Russia, Poland, Korea, China and Japan, Chaga teas and extracts are taken to boost the immune system, reduce hypertension, stop tumor growth and inhibit cancer, especially breast, liver, uterine and gastric cancers (source). Chaga is considered an adaptogen and its use by the peoples of Siberia point towards its ability to offer support to those under climatic stress.

“I got so into reishi and chaga that I actually bought a house way up in the woods in the middle of nowhere so I can hunt medicinal mushrooms and make that part of my lifestyle, part of my diet” – David Wolfe at The Longevity Now Conference, Costa Mesa, California (2011)

Chaga mushroom for tea by William Ismael
Chaga mushroom for tea by William Ismael

Preparation

Although chaga is hard, it is not dry. Like any fungus, it must be either dehydrated or refrigerated immediately after harvest.

Chaga tea is popular during the winter season and is safe for daily use. It is typically used to make tea by stripping the raw Chaga of tree bark and grating it into a fine powder (you can do this yourself or you can purchase the powder). According to Mushroom for Health, the tea must be steeped in nor warm, nor boiling water. As with miso soup, it can be steeped or simmered in a crock pot with hot water for 6-8 hours to maintain its healing properties. Chaga makes a dark colored beverage that resembles black coffee. It has a mild taste, with a hint of woody and earthy tones. After straining, enjoy it as a warming comforting beverage morning, noon or night. Those on-the-go can place a teaspoon of Chaga in a warm beverage of choice.

Learn why Chaga is a top superfood mushroom. Raw food authority and bestselling author David Wolfe presents “CHAGA: King of the Medicinal Mushrooms”, a webinar designed to teach you about the single most powerful healing herb in the world.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.