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Keeping you up to date on nutrition and health news.

Licorice Root

When you think about licorice do you think about candy? Most likely! But did you know that licoriceNaturally Botanicals-Glycyrrhiza glabra-Licorice Root 1 was used centuries ago in Greece, China, and Egypt for stomach inflammation and upper respiratory problems. Early Egyptians loved licorice root. They used it in tea as a cure for everything! Licorice was later imported to China where it became an important herb in Chinese medicinal tradition. Today, people still use licorice root to help with digestive problems, menopausal symptoms, coughs, and bacterial and viral infections. 

The word “licorice” refers to the root of a plant called Glycyrrhiza glabra, from which a sweet flavor can be extracted. That’s why it’s been used in candies and as a sweetener. Licorice is harvested from the plants’ roots and underground stems. Most licorice root grows in Greece, Turkey, and Asia.

Naturally Botanicals-Glycyrrhiza glabra-Licorice Root 2Licorice, interestingly enough, is a member of the legume family. A legume is a plant in the family Fabaceae; these are mostly herbs but include also shrubs and trees. A legume is a simple, dry fruit contained within a shed or a pod. Legumes you know and love include peas, chickpeas, lentils, carob, soybeans, peanuts, black beans, and black-eyed peas. 

In its centuries-long use, licorice root has been known to provide support for heartburn, leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, PMS and pain relief. The active ingredients in licorice include glycyrrhizin and flavonoids. Glycyrrhizin is an anti-inflammatory and antiviral substance, while the flavonoids are potent antioxidants, which help protect liver cells.

The chemicals contained in licorice are thought to decrease swelling, thin mucus secretions, decrease cough, and increase the chemicals in our body that heal ulcers. Licorice is considered to have immune-boosting properties. It’s also a demulcent (soothing) herb. 

It has also been known to help the body more efficiently regulate cortisol. Licorice is considered to be an adaptogen herb. Adaptogens are natural substances that work with a person’s body and help them adapt; most notably, to stress.

Glabridin (Glab), an isoflavonoid of Glycyrrhiza glabra roots, has been associated with a wide range of biological properties such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic, regulation of energy metabolism, estrogenic, neuroprotective, anti-osteoporotic, and skin-whitening. (1)

 Isoflavonoids belong to a group of compounds called flavonoids, or bioflavonoids, that occur naturally in plants where they serve various functions, for example as the pigments that give flowers and fruits their color. The main plant source of isoflavonoids is legumes, such as various kinds of peas and beans.

Licorice root may be used as a treatment for following health benefits:

  • Heartburn and acid reflux including nausea, indigestion and stomach pain. 
  • Leaky Gut 
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Immune system support
  • Cough/sore throat
  • PMS/Menopause
  • Pain relief
  • Skin Problems 
  • Stress Relief
  • Arthritis
  • Tendinitis

Licorice is also used to flavor foods and beverages. That being said, Anise oil is often used instead of licorice root to flavor licorice candy because it has the characteristic smell and taste of "black licorice."


Note: The content of this article, and additional content on this website, are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking help because of something you read here on this website.


Turmeric. You might not know the name but you probably know the flavor if you like curry.Naturally Botanicals - Turmeric root and powder - Curcuma longa

What we call turmeric is actually the dried and ground rhizome (root) of a plant in the same family as ginger (zingiberaceae). It has been used extensively in natural and folk medicine for centuries. It’s also used for its color and flavor in international cuisine.

Turmeric root is where we get both turmeric powder and curcumin. It’s often called ‘The Golden Spice’ or ‘The Spice of Life’. Turmeric is cultivated in India (the largest producer, consumer and exporter of turmeric), followed by Bangladesh, China, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries. In English, turmeric was called Indian saffron. Sanskrit has over 55 names for turmeric herb.

Yellow turmeric (Curcuma longa) roots have a rough, pale brown skin. On the inside, they’re bright orange or yellow. The rhizomes can be used while they are fresh or they can be boiled, then dried in hot ovens in order to be ground into the deep-orange-yellow powder commonly used for color and flavor in many Asian cuisines as well as for dyeing. Turmeric powder has a warm, bitter, black pepper-like flavor.

Because it has been used in folk medicine for centuries, many people believe that turmeric may be the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. According to a Google study, 2016 Food Trends from Google Search Data: The Rise of Functional Foods,

"Experts have dubbed the health-enhancing role of specific foods as “functional foods” i.e., foods that promote better health in addition to providing nutrition.

A number of the top trending foods over the last two years are "healthy" ingredients like turmeric, apple cider vinegar, avocado oil, bitter melon, and kefir (high in trendy bacteria called probiotics). They are said to infer benefits like better skin, libido, and energy or cures for depression, insomnia, and pain (in fact, "benefits" is a term that's commonly searched for along with many of these foods). Now, the focus of people's diets is less about eliminating foods than about adding them.

While the concept of functional foods has been around for decades, interest in these specific foods is growing faster than before. Turmeric, a spice that's purported to cure everything from cancer to depression, is the breakout star, with searches growing 300% over the last five years.”

Naturally Botanicals - Turmeric flower - Curcuma longa

Turmeric also contains the chemical curcumin. Curcumin and other chemicals in turmeric have been known to decrease swelling (inflammation). It can be used externally and internally.

Turmeric contains minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorous, sodium, iron, vitamins B and C, and manganese. It's also an excellent source of fiber, potassium, and magnesium.

There are several chemical compounds found in turmeric, known as curcuminoids. The active substance in turmeric is curcumin. Turmeric is considered to be a natural anti-inflammatory agent, have powerful antioxidant effects, be able to help keep your liver healthy, help stop the oxidization of cholesterol in your body, provide joint/injury support, and provide support to your immune health.

Turmeric may be used as a treatment for following health benefits:

  • Sprains
  • Swelling
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bronchitis
  • Hay fever
  • Depression 
  • High cholesterol 
  • Itching (pruritus)
  • Skin inflammation
  • Stomach disorders
  • Fatigue

Turmeric does come in supplement form. You can add one to your daily routine in addition to adding turmeric to your diet. Add turmeric to smoothies, juices, soups, salads, or oatmeal; season your roasted vegetables with it; or make a batch of turmeric tea, also known as golden milk.


Note: The content of this article, and additional content on this website, are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking help because of something you read here on this website.


Have you ever visited the island of Eleuthera? If you like islands, it sounds like a pretty fabulous place. A place, that with its wide rolling pink sand beaches, large outcrops of ancient coral reefs, caves and other geological features, sounds like it would be restful, fun, and provide a stress-free vacation.

Well, we’re not trying to sell you a travel package. It’s just that Eleuthera sounds like Eleuthero (also known as Siberian ginseng). Eleuthero (the herb) has been gaining fans in the West since the 1950s when a Russian scientist found that it appeared to have great power as a stress reducer. 

Eleuthero-Siberian Ginseng-Eleutherococcus senticosus berriesEleuthero has been used for centuries in Eastern countries, including China and Russia. Prized for its ability to restore vigor, increase longevity, enhance overall health, and stimulate both a healthy appetite and a good memory, it is widely used in some countries to help the body adapt to stressful conditions and to enhance productivity. 

Eluethero is the common name of Eleutherococcus senticosus, which is a thorny flowering shrub that can be found at the foot of cliffs. The root and the rhizomes (underground stem) are used medicinally. It is native to Japan, China, Korea, and the Far East of Russia. 

Even though it’s known as Siberian Ginseng, it’s not related to Korean or American ginseng in any way. It contains components called eleutherosides that are thought to increase stamina and to stimulate the immune system. 

Eleuthero-Siberian Ginseng-Eleutherococcus senticosusEleuthero is considered to be an “adaptogen.” This is a non-medical term used to describe substances that can supposedly reduce the effects of mental and physical stress and can help the user in a general, non-specific way.

It affects the adrenal glands in a positive way. These glands are found directly above the kidneys and are very important to good health. The body uses them to regulate metabolic functions, aid the immune system, regulate energy levels, and produce stress fighting hormones.



Eleuthero is thought to help provide the following health benefits:

  • Enhance mental concentration
  • Enhance memory and learning ability
  • Prevent inflammation
  • Reduce stress and fatigue
  • Enhance athletic performance
  • Increase male and female fertility
  • Help the body deal with physically and mentally stressful exposures, such as heat, cold, physical exhaustion, viruses, bacteria, chemicals, extreme working conditions, noise, and pollution.

Note: The content of this article, and additional content on this website, are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking help because of something you read here on this website.

What Secret Ingredient Do Pineapples Contain?

Did you know that pineapples just might contain have secret healing powers?

Naturally Botanicals - Bromelain - Pineapple - Ananas comosusThe pineapple, unlike Saw Palmetto which has leaves like a saw and fruit you really do not want to eat, has sharp leaves and thick skin that belie all the goodness inside. Sweet delicious flesh, a core that you can juice or put in your smoothies, and bromelain, a mixture of enzymes found naturally in the juice and stems. So yummy and it has medicinal properties! And we’ve got a winner!

Pineapple is the common name of Ananas comosus (Ananas sativus, Ananassa sativa, Bromelia ananas, Bromelia comosa). It's noted that, when European explorers encountered the tropical fruit in the Americas, they called them "pineapples" for their resemblance to pine cones.

Pineapple is the leading edible member of the family Bromeliaceae, grown in several tropical and subtropical countries including Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kenya, India, and China. Large-scale pineapple cultivation in Hawaii began in the early 1900s. Cannery operations in Hawaii flourished through the early 21st Century. Now a very small percentage of the world’s production is grown in Hawaii.

Pineapples have long been used as a medicinal plant among the natives of South and Central America. It has a centuries-long history of being used to treat medical ailments, primarily throughout Central and South America. The first isolation of bromelain was recorded in 1891. Bromelain is present in all parts of the pineapple plant but the stem has the highest concentration. The bromelain is extracted from the peel, stem, leaves or waste of the pineapple plant after processing the fruit for juice or other purposes. 

Naturally Botanicals - Bromelain - Pineapple - Ananas comosus 2Used widely as a natural remedy to treat everything from indigestion to allergies, pineapple is filled with this enzyme. It also has its share of vitamin C, vitamin B1, potassium, manganese and phytonutrients. 

Bromelain is thought to stimulate the body’s natural ability to relive inflammation and chronic pain. It’s also said to stimulate digestion and improve heart health. Even though it’s extracted from pineapple, eating pineapple or drinking its juice doesn’t supply a large enough dose to be effective.

Bromelain has long been used as a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling agent. It’s also considered to be an anti-histamine and a diuretic; and may help prevent blood clots, edema and swelling. It has been used to improve the appearance of skin after a burn, and to help burn fat during weight loss.



Bromelain may be used as a treatment for following health benefits:

  • Allergies
  • Angina
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic Pain
  • Digestive Issues
  • Muscle Soreness
  • Nasal Swelling
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sinusitis 
  • Faster healing of skin wounds and burns
  • Ulcerative Colitis.

Pineapple on pizza is very controversial. There’s the “I love it on pizza camp” and the “Never, no way, are you kidding me camp." Here’s an interesting twist from our friends at Cooking Light Magazine; use the pineapple as the base of the pizza in this recipe!

Interesting fact: As a culinary ingredient, it can be used as a meat tenderizer. Along with papain (found in papaya), bromelain is one of the most popular proteases to use for meat tenderizing. Bromelain is sold in a powdered form, which is combined with a marinade, or directly sprinkled on uncooked meat.


Note: The content of this article, and additional content on this website, are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking help because of something you read here on this website.

Blessed Thistle

Have you noticed there’s a pattern here? Spiny exterior hides the secret medicinal properties inside. Good use of camouflage if you’re a spiny plant.

Naturally Botanicals-Cnicus benedictus-Blessed thistleBlessed Thistle is native to the Mediterranean and is a member of the Asteraceae (Aster) family, as are Jerusalem Artichoke and Dandelion. It was often grown in the gardens of monks, and the leaves, stems and blossoms were used to make bitter tonics and liqueurs. Other names for Blessed Thistle include holy thistle, St. Benedict's thistle, and spotted thistle.

There are many different kinds of thistles. You may think that they look similar but Blessed thistle can still be identified by its own unique features. It has the characteristic hairy stems and spiny-edged leaves but it also produces bright yellow flowers surrounded by specialized leaves meant to attract pollinators. The plant's leaves can be up to a foot long and the entire plant can reach up to 2 feet. (That’s one way to ensure that your pollinators find you!) Blessed thistle flowers in June, at which time the leaves and tops are collected, as that is when the plant is at its highest degree of medicinal power. 

Why is it called Blessed thistle? It was grown in monastery gardens throughout Europe, near holy sites and graves to ward off evil. “Blessed” or “holy” refers to the belief that the plant was a gift from a higher power. Its botanical name is Cnicus benedictus.


Naturally Botanicals-Cnicus benedictus-Blessed thistle 2Once upon a time, Blessed thistle was used extensively for medicinal purposes. During the medieval period in Europe it was considered a cure for just about every ailment. It is one of the oldest folk remedies for treating the absence of the menstrual cycle, and is often used in commercial herbal preparations formulated for women. The plant is also believed to stimulate bile production in the liver and is used to treat liver disorders of all types. Other modern medicinal uses of blessed thistle include regulating the menstrual cycle, improving appetite, lowering fevers, helping lessen bacterial infections, providing anti-inflammatory support, and treating indigestion. 


The plant is not considered edible, as it has an extremely bitter taste. Why use a bitter plant to help with digestion? Well, bitters are good for you. They stimulate the secretion of digestive juices in the stomach and support the breakdown of fats, supporting a healthy appetite and assisting in the assimilation of nutrients. The main bitter substance in Blessed Thistle is cnicin.

Blessed Thistle can be made into a tea, although other aromatic herbs should be added to reduce the bitter flavor. Blessed thistle tea has been used historically by midwives and naturopaths to support healthy breast milk production. That’s because Blessed thistle is a galactagogue that is used to promote lactation. A galactagogue is any natural or synthetic substance that increases milk production. 

Herbal galactagogues have been used for thousands of years. The most commonly used galactagogue herbs are fenugreek, hops, blessed thistle, and red raspberry leaves. Blessed thistle is said to increase milk supply two to three days after consumption. 


Blessed thistle is often used as a treatment for:

  • Anorexia
  • Arthritis
  • Fevers
  • Respiratory allergies
  • Poor appetite
  • Indigestion
  • Bronchitis
  • Flatulence 
  • Excess mucus
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Poor liver function 

Interesting fact: In Shakespeare's comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, Blessed thistle, in tincture form, is recommended for a cold.

Note: The content of this article, and additional content on this website, are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking help because of something you read here on this website.

Dandelion - More Than a Pesky Weed!

Dandelions are often thought of as weeds. They grow everywhere and their little puffballs go flying in the wind with just a breath of air. Did you know that they’ve been around forever; probably about 30 million years. However, they’ve only been in North America for a couple of centuries – having made their grand entrance on the Mayflower, it’s believed, brought here for their medicinal purposes.

Naturally Botanicals-Dandelion-Taraxacum officinale fieldDandelion is translated from dent de lion (tooth of the lion) because its leaves look like a lion’s tooth. The genus name, Taraxacum, is derived from the Greek taraxos, meaning “disorder,” and akos, meaning “remedy.” And it’s no wonder why it’s been called that. Dandelion greens are known as Taraxacum officinale.

Part of the flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, including Jerusalem Artichoke, the plant is also known as blowball, cankerwort, milk witch, lion's-tooth, yellow-gowan, Irish daisy, and puff-ball. 

Dandelions have been used by humans for food and as an herb for much of recorded history. They were well-known to ancient civilizations and have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat hepatitis, bronchitis, mastitis, and to enhance immune response to upper respiratory infections, for over a thousand years. Dandelion was first noted for its medicinal qualities in the works of Arabian physicians of the tenth and eleventh centuries as being used to treat liver and spleen disorders. Native Americans used the dandelion root in preparations to treat kidney disease and heartburn.

Naturally Botanicals-Dandelion-Taraxacum officinale

The entire plant, including the leaves, stems, flowers and roots, is edible and has a high nutritional value. The root was traditionally roasted and consumed as a beverage, while the leaves and flowers were used in salads and other raw vegetable dishes. Dandelions are low in calories and high in fiber. It contains abundant vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C, D, K, and B-complex.  Dandelions are also a good source of manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, sodium, beta-carotene, and potassium. They are especially high in antioxidants. The roots are rich in inulin, a prebiotic that helps encourage the growth of healthy microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract.


Dandelion is thought to help provide the following health benefits:

  • improving appetite
  • reducing joint pain and muscle aches
  • helping relieve digestive ailments, upset stomach and intestinal gas
  • stimulating the functions of the stomach, liver and bile
  • treating infection 
  • treating skin conditions
  • as a laxative 
  • and as a diuretic

Dandelion contains more vitamins and minerals than most vegetables. It’s eaten raw in salads, cooked or boiled, the flowers can be batter-fried, and the dried roots are used as a coffee substitute. Dandelion coffee not your thing? Try dandelion tea made with the dried herb or root. Or go for the dandelion beer or wine!

Sauteed Spicy Dandelion Greens and Onions features onions, cloves, a hot Italian cherry pepper and ground black pepper. Spice up those greens!


Note: The content of this article, and additional content on this website, are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking help because of something you read here on this website.

Saw Palmetto

We all know that we can eat the fruit of many types of palm trees. Coconut palms. Date palms. Acai berry palms. Yep, that’s a palm fruit, too. 

Naturally Botanicals-Saw Pamletto-Serenoa repensNow, there’s another palm tree that offers health benefits, however it’s not one which is currently known for edible fruits. Historically it was a source of food for Native Americans in Florida. 

We’re talking about the Saw Palmetto. It’s considered an herb although it is a dwarf palm that grows in the coastal lands of North America, West Indies, and Mediterranean countries. The fruits are a rich source of fatty acids and phytosterols (those are naturally occurring compounds found in plant cell membranes) and have been used to help with various health conditions.

Why is called “saw?” Well, as one person said, “You don’t want to run through a saw palmetto grove. The sharp spines on the leafstalks will scratch your legs like the teeth of a saw.” Its fan-shaped leaves have sharp, saw-toothed edges that give the plant its name.

Naturally Botanicals-Saw Pamletto-Serenoa repens 2

Saw palmetto benefits have been known for centuries, and the plant has been used in traditional, eclectic and alternative medicine. Its active ingredients include fatty acids, plant sterols and flavonoids. The plant bears white flowers and berries that emerge yellow but ripen to blue-black. The abundant berries are harvested from the wild in the fall and are dried for medicinal use. The berries contain high molecular weight polysaccharides (sugars), which may reduce inflammation that’s at the root of many diseases and strengthen the immune system — thus adding immune system booster to the list of saw palmetto benefits.

(Other natural anti-inflammatory ingredients such as quercetin, bromelain, and ashwagandha can help calm your body down and also boost your immune system.  You can find these and other anti-inflammatories in our full line of supplements and homeopathics.)

Serenoa repens is the scientific name. It’s the only species found within the Serenoa genus. Some saw palmetto plants live for over 700 years. It's also known as sabal, American dwarf palm tree, cabbage palm, dwarf palmetto, fan palm, Fructus Serenoae Repentis, sabal fructus, saw palmetto, serenoa, and scrub palm.

Today saw palmetto is much better known as the source of a prostate medication found in the fruit that helps shrink overgrown prostates. The size of the prostate changes with age. It’s about the size of a walnut in younger men, but it can grow to be much larger in older men — and this can become problematic. It’s when the prostate becomes enlarged that men begin experiencing symptoms from BPH and lower urinary tract issues.

Saw palmetto treatments are usually associated with men; women do use it for counteracting the physical manifestations of too much testosterone, treating hair loss, treating acne, and treating symptoms of menopause.

In addition to eating the berries, the saw palmetto plant was used for medicine by the Native Americans of the southeastern United States. In the early 20th century, men used the berries to treat urinary tract problems and increase sperm production.

It’s thought that saw palmetto can help provide the following health benefits:

  • Helping reduce colds, coughs and sore throat
  • Treating asthma and chronic bronchitis
  • Relieving migraine headaches
  • Promoting hair growth
  • Keeping testosterone levels balanced
  • Increasing urine flow
  • And enhancing sex drive

We’re not including a recipe on this herb. (We think you’ll thank us for that!)


Note: The content of this article, and additional content on this website, are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking help because of something you read here on this website.


Jerusalem Artichoke

Naturally Botanicals-Jerusalem Artichoke-Sunchoke-Sunroot


When you think of an artichoke, do you envision that green spiny vegetable that holds inside it that beautifully delicious and nutritious artichoke heart? I think that’s what most of us do. That one is called a Globe Artichoke and is quite a bit more well-known than the Jerusalem Artichoke. They have similar names however they don’t have a lot in common. The Globe belongs to the thistle family, and Jerusalem Artichoke, also called a sunchoke, belongs to the aster family.


Another difference is that the Globe, which has been around forever, is native to southern Europe and widely cultivated in the Mediterranean regions and central Europe. Jerusalem artichoke originates in North America. Cultivation of Jerusalem artichoke started long before first European settlers arrived to America. It’s often believed that the name comes from “artichokes from Jerusalem.” It actually comes from Italian “girasole carciofi,” which means sunflower artichoke in English. Some of the common names are sunroot, sunchoke, topinambur etc. Its scientific name is Helianthus tuberosus.


Naturally Botanicals- Jerusalem Artichoke-Sunchoke-SunrootWhen in bloom, the sunchoke looks much like a miniature sunflower. To get to the edible part you have to dig up the bulbous root in spring, before the plant has blossomed. That edible part is known as the knobby tuber, which looks like a ginger root. The skin of the root can be eaten, too, as long as its thoroughly scrubbed.


This knobby tuber, like ginger and turmeric with their rhizomes (mass of roots), is chock-full of goodies from the inside out.


You can eat it raw, roasted, boiled, steamed or mashed and can be added to many dishes. Put it in salads, soup or sandwiches to improve vitamin, mineral and fiber content. It’s a root vegetable and eaten in much the same way like potato in many parts of Western Europe and Mediterranean regions.


Jerusalem artichoke is excellent source of vitamins B1 and B3 as well as minerals and electrolytes such as iron, potassium, copper and phosphorus. It also has some of  the B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and thiamine.


It’s a great source of dietary fiber. Fiber is the indigestible portion of food derived from plants. A high-fiber diet can normalize bowel movements. It contains small amounts of antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E. Combine that with no cholesterol and almost no fat, and you just might have to add sunchokes to your diet. They’re low in sodium, too.


With its iron, copper and vitamin C nutrients, Jerusalem artichokes are a good source for hair health. This iron carries oxygen to the hair, keeping hair follicles healthy. Similar to iron, copper helps prevent hair loss and boost hair growth. Vitamin C helps because is required for the synthesis of collagen. Collagen contributes to healthy hair by strengthening hair follicles and by keeping blood vessels in the scalp healthy. 


Prebiotics are getting a lot of press these days.  They deserve it. Prebiotics are food ingredients, typically non-digestible fiber compounds, that cause the growth or activity of beneficial fungi and bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. 


Your GI tract requires the right balance of bacteria to stay healthy. Gut bacteria play a role in many important functions in the body, including helping your immune system, making serotonin, creating energy for your body from the food you eat, and disposing of foreign substances and toxins.


Unfriendly bacteria like to make themselves known in a number of ways. Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, nausea, and heartburn are well-known symptoms of problems in the gut. Leaky Gut Syndrome is becoming more prevalent as modern diets and lifestyles negatively contribute to overall health through our digestive system. Food cravings, weight gain or loss, feeling moody or anxious, difficulty staying or falling asleep, skin issues, and other health problems are often symptoms of a dysfunctional gut.


Jerusalem artichokes contain plenty of inulin, a complex carbohydrate which improves absorption of calcium and magnesium from the food we eat and lowers blood cholesterol level. It also stimulates the growth of Bifidobacteria and fights harmful bacteria. We don’t have a permanent supply of gut bacteria so we need to constantly replace them through our diet. 


(RenewLife, one of our product lines, recently created a new line featuring their Probiotics plus Organic Prebiotics. Another line, NuMedica, has Power Greens which have a Pre- and probiotic blend.)


Jerusalem Artichoke is also considered to help control cholesterol and blood pressure, assist with new blood cell formation, help boost the immune system, and support blood glucose levels.


Jerusalem Artichoke may be used as a treatment for the following health benefits:

  • Normalizing bowel movements
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Promote weight loss
  • Fighting food cravings
  • Help prevent mood swings
  • Improving diabetes control
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Providing a high amount of Vitamin B1 (thiamine). Thiamine is crucial for the proper functioning of the nervous system and the muscles. It is also needed for carbohydrate metabolism as well as for the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.


Check out this super-easy recipe from Jamie Oliver for sautéed Jerusalem artichokes with garlic and bay leaves:


Interesting fact:

A US distillery makes a brandy from Jerusalem artichokes. They say “sunchokes are the root of certain varieties of Sunflowers and have a unique natural sweetness. This spirit is perhaps one of the most unique in the country and tastes like tipsy sunflower seeds.”


Note: The content of this article, and additional content on this website, are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking help because of something you read here on this website.

Herbie, Viti, and Mini Talk To You About The Importance of Vitamins & Minerals

For National Nutrition Month, it is particularly important to be talking about healthy lifestyle choices.

Healthy eating and supplementing with a quality vitamin and mineral is essential for the body's overall health and well-being. Check out Herbie, Viti, and Mini in the video below...


Alfalfa, not just for livestock


Alfalfa sprouts are small but mighty...

The benefits of alfalfa - Naturally Botanicals

Alfalfa, while known as a livestock feed,

Can also help humans with what we need

It’s said it can improve cardiovascular health

Perhaps offer some digestive fiber wealth

And can be grown at home from a little seed!

Alfalfa is one of the oldest cultivated plants. Hay is made from alfalfa; it’s made by allowing the plants to grown until their early bloom, then they’re harvested dried and cured. It’s also a highly nutritious food for humans, and has been used an herbal medicine for at least 1500 years!

The benefits of alfalfa - Naturally BotanicalsThe word Alfalfa is Spanish and was derived from the Arabic word that means “Father of All Foods.” Sometimes called lucerne, buffalo herb, or Medicago sativa, alfalfa is a member of the pea family.  It is the most cultivated legume in the world, with the United States being the largest producer. 


The extensive root system of the alfalfa plant allows it to absorb a high level of nutrients from the soil. They contain a concentration of all the B-vitamins, A, C, D, E and K. Alfalfa is a source of iron, niacin, folic acid, biotin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous potassium, beta carotene and flavonoids. Alfalfa has the highest chlorophyll content of any plant. Compared to other plants, alfalfa leaf is very high in protein, especially when dried. Alfalfa also contains essential amino acids that are not made by the body but must be obtained from food sources.

In China, it’s used as an appetite stimulant and as a treatment for digestive disorders, especially ulcers.

Ancient Indian texts show that Alfalfa seeds and sprouts were prescribed for improving blood cell production and its leaves and stems as a good source of proteins and minerals. Ayurvedic medicine used it as an herbal treatment for ulcers, to alleviate the pain of arthritis, and a treatment for fluid retention. Native Americans used the seeds as a nutritious additive to their meals. Herbal physicians in the early 19th century used it in their tonic mixes. 

This is one plant where the outer leaves and roots not only have medicinal properties, but their sprouts are edible. Alfalfa sprouts may be small but they’re mighty. And low in calories. A single  serving of alfalfa sprouts provides nearly 15% of the daily required intake of vitamin C, making sprouts a great immune booster. By stimulating the production of white blood cells, alfalfa sprouts may help protect the body from infections and inflammation. 

You know, your immune system is amazingly complex. It can recognize and remember millions of different enemies, and it can produce secretions (release of fluids) and cells to match up with and wipe out nearly all of them. When our immune system is working properly, we don’t even notice it. It’s when the performance of our immune system is compromised that we face illness.

Obviously, the goal is to stay healthy. Get more sleep, work on lowering your stress level (easier said than done however it’s worth a try!), give your system good, regular nourishment with as many vitamins and nutrients as possible, and add in some immune boosters to help you seek and destroy those unwanted visitors.

Alfalfa juice and leaves are considered to help provide the following health benefits:

  • improving digestive health
  • reducing inflammation
  • enhancing kidney function
  • improving cardiovascular health
  • detoxing the urinary tract
  • supporting healthy blood sugar levels
  • supporting the pituitary gland
  • and faster wound healing

Scientific research confirms the effectiveness of medicago sativa as a natural treatment for high cholesterol. Studies have shown that alfalfa may reduce blood sugar levels due to its high manganese content.

Chicken Salad Sandwich with Alfalfa Feta and Mint Food and Wine Magazine |

This Chicken Salad Sandwich with Feta and Mint (and alfalfa added for good measure!) is from Food and Wine Magazine. (or click here for more recipes)

Note: The content of this article, and additional content on this website, are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking help because of something you read here on this website.

Vol 5 | Issue 7 | Digestive Health


Support for Your Body Naturally…

Is your stomach the only organ involved in the digestion of your food?

The answer is no. The human digestive system is a complex series of organs and glands that process food. In order to use the food we eat, our body has to break the food down into smaller molecules that it can process; it also has to excrete waste. 
Food provides us with fuel to live, energy to be active, and the raw materials to build new cells. All the different varieties of food we eat are broken down by our digestive system and transported to every part of our body by our circulatory system. 

How the Digestive System Works

Our digestive system is an approximately 30 foot long tube. The digestive process begins in the mouth, where the teeth and tongue break up the food after it has been softened with saliva. The food is then swallowed and travels down the esophagus to the stomach. 

While the food is in the stomach, it is mixed with a mild acid which breaks the food down into a paste similar to porridge, called Chyme. The food then passes, a little at a time, into the small intestine, which is roughly 18 feet long. Here the food is broken down even further until it is small enough to pass through the walls of the small intestine into the bloodstream. Food that cannot be digested passes into the large intestine, where the water and minerals are absorbed into the blood stream. The solid waste is then expelled from the body. The digestive tract also functions as an immune organ, serving as a protective barrier to ingested toxins, allergens, and pathogens (bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi) that could otherwise cause disease
Parts of the Digestive System

The Mouth: The process of digestion begins with chewing. Chewing breaks up food into smaller pieces that can be swallowed without choking. The salivary glands secrete a mucous solution into the mouth that moistens and lubricates food particles. Saliva contains amylase, an enzyme that begins to digest carbohydrates. As food particles begin to dissolve, they react with the chemoreceptors in the mouth, giving rise to the sensation of taste.

Esophagus: Once food is in the esophagus, involuntary muscle contractions called peristalsis push it toward the stomach. At the end of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter lets the food into the stomach. It opens and then quickly closes to keep the food from escaping back into the esophagus. 

Stomach: In the stomach, the food begins its preparation for the small intestine. Glands in the stomach secrete acid, enzymes and a mucous that coats and protects the stomach from its own acids and prevents ulcers. The stomach's smooth muscles contract about every 20 seconds, stirring up the acid and enzymes and turning your food into chyme. But some foods just can't be reduced to chyme and remain a pasty, solid substance that is released into the small intestine in a process that takes more than an hour. Some food, however, can be out of the stomach in a mere 20 minutes.

Duodenum: Your now unidentifiable food squirts into the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. The breakdown process continues with enzymes from the pancreas and bile from the liver. Again, peristalsis helps mix up these juices. The next small intestine section is the coiled jejunum, followed by the ileum, which leads straight to the large intestine. These two sections absorb nutrients and water more than they break down food.

Small Intestine: The small intestine has a smaller circumference than the large intestine, but it's actually the longer of the two sections -- it has the surface area of a tennis court! You may wonder how all this fits into your body. The answer is simple: The surface of the small intestine has many tight folds that can absorb nutrients and water -- they greatly increase the surface area. These folds are covered with villi, or tiny projections that have even smaller microvilli on them. Villi and microvilli have affinities for specific nutrients. That means that several different kinds of villi will grab the nutrients, electrolytes and dietary molecules in your food (for example carbohydrates, protein, sodium, calcium, and vitamins.). The absorbed nutrients move through the wall of the intestines and into blood vessels that take them throughout the body.

Large Intestine: Once all the nutrients are extracted from the food, the indigestible parts are transported into the large intestine. The large intestine absorbs extra fluid to produce solid waste. To move the waste, the colon uses the same involuntary muscular movements called peristalsis. Unlike the stomach and small intestines, though, whose movements take a matter of hours, it takes days for waste to move through the large intestine. The waste moves at a pace of about 1/3 of an inch per hour.  The large intestine is often referred to as the colon.

Colon: Also known as the large intestines, the colon has four sections: ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid. In the first two sections, salts and fluids are absorbed from the indigestible food. Billions of bacteria that normally live in the colon help to ferment and absorb substances like fiber. While these tracts absorb, they also produce mucus that helps the solid waste move easily through the descending colon and into the third part of the large intestine, through the sigmoid section and finally on to the rectum where the fecal matter is stored before it leaves the body.

Digestive Disorders
The digestive system is an intricate system that can be disrupted by disease, diet, and emotional stress. Digestive problems can include gas pains, bloating, heartburn, indigestion, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, constipation, diarrhea, ulcers, protein metabolism, and poor appetite. Common digestive problems such as heartburn/GERD, IBD, and IBS cause millions of Americans to suffer daily and limit quality of life. 

1. Indigestion
Also known as dyspepsia, indigestion is marked by a feeling of abdominal discomfort after a meal. Key symptoms include pain or a burning sensation in the upper abdomen.

2. Causes of Indigestion
Indigestion is often caused by overeating, eating too quickly, or consuming an excess of greasy or spicy foods. Certain emotional issues, such as stress or anxiety, can also trigger indigestion.

Indigestion may be particularly common among individuals with the following conditions: gastro esophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcers, abnormality of the pancreas or bile ducts, gastritis, pancreatitis, gallstones, and people taking antibiotics or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

3. Symptoms of Indigestion
While abdominal discomfort following a meal is the hallmark of indigestion, other symptoms may include: mild to severe pain or burning in the epigastric area (located between the lower end of the chest bone and the navel), bloating, nausea and belching.

4. Heartburn
Ever had heartburn? This occurs when this sphincter isn't working properly and stomach acid manages to splash into the esophagus. If this happens chronically, you might have Gastro esophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD

5. Leaky Gut Syndrome
The lining of the intestines is a barrier that normally only allows properly digested fats, proteins, and starches to pass through and enter the bloodstream. It allows substances to pass in several ways. 

Chloride, potassium, magnesium, sodium and free fatty acids diffuse through intestinal cells. Amino acids, fatty acids, glucose, minerals, and vitamins also cross through cells, but they do it by another mechanism called active transport. 

There's a third way substances can pass through. The spaces in between the cells that line the intestines are normally sealed. These tight junctions are called desmosomes. When the intestinal lining becomes irritated, the junctions loosen and allow unwanted larger molecules in the intestines to pass through into the blood. These unwanted substances are seen by the immune system as foreign (because they aren't normally present in blood). This triggers an antibody reaction.

When the intestinal lining becomes further damaged, even larger substances, such as disease-causing bacteria, undigested food particles, and toxins, pass directly through the damaged cells. Again, the immune system is alarmed and antibodies and substances called cytokines are released. Cytokines alert white blood cells to fight the particles. This fight produces oxidants, which cause irritation and inflammation throughout the body.

Symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome / Intestinal Permeability

Symptoms include: abdominal pain, asthma, chronic joint pain, chronic muscle pain, confusion, fuzzy or foggy thinking, gas, indigestion, mood swings, nervousness, poor immunity, recurrent vaginal infections, skin rashes, diarrhea, recurrent bladder infections, poor memory, shortness of breath, constipation, bloating, anxiety, fatigue, and feeling toxic.

Leaky gut syndrome is associated with the following conditions: autoimmune disease, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, hives, acne, allergies, inflammatory joint disease / arthritis, intestinal infections, pancreatic insufficiency, ulcerative colitis, giardia, chronic fatigue syndrome, eczema, psoriasis, liver dysfunction, food allergies and sensitivities, rheumatoid arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome.


a.     LEAKY GUT

Supports the body’s ability to repair the gastrointestinal tract, cools inflamed tissue and promotes the tissue-repair process. Unhealthy tissues allow for food and other particles to enter the system and are common in creating allergies, commonly known as “Leaky Gut”. Repairing the gut wall is essential for good health and proper digestion and assimilation.

N-Acetyl Glucosamine: Supports the extracellular tissue surrounding intestinal epithelial cells, decreases the binding of some lectins and prevents damage to the intestinal lining.

L-Glutamine: Glutamine is the transporter form which is converted to Glutamic Acid 'as needed' by the body. It is the main fuel that the intestinal cells need for maintenance and repair. It enhances the barrier function's ability to combat invaders.

Vitamin C (Sago Palm): Vitamin C helps tissue rebuilding and is an antioxidant which protects the lining from free radical damage.

Vitamin E Succinate (natural): Vitamin E is an antioxidant and thus helps protect the intestinal wall from oxidation. It also maintains the integrity of all lipid cell membranes. This substance is also an antioxidant.

Lactobacillus Acidophillus: These are friendly bacteria that restore the establishment of colonies to offset bad bacteria and Candida which can inflame the intestinal lining.

Zinc Chelate (elemental): Zinc is essential for proper immune system function. Zinc also helps in the repair of damaged tissue.

Slippery Elm Bark (Ulmus Fulva): Slippery Elm is a soothing demulcent which cools inflamed mucous membranes and stimulates mucus secretions. GINGKO (Gingko biloba): Gingko is known for its effect on improving circulation which is essential to tissue repair.

Deglycyrrhized Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza Uralensis): Licorice stimulates circulation promoting healing. It is believed to increase the life of the intestinal cells and coordinates protective substances and other herbs in this formula.

Ion Min Clay: Antiseptic clay that cools and soothes the smooth muscle in the intestines.

Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthemum Tuberosus), Cat's Claw (Dolichos Filiformis) & Gingko Extract: are herbs to promote circulation and support the formula’s intended action. More…


A powerful 12-strain probiotic formula that helps restore and support normal bacterial flora in the intestinal tract. Probiotics are needed to support the growth and restoration of normal flora in the intestinal tract. Commonly needed when a person has undergone any antibiotic therapy.

Contains a 12 Strain Probiotic Mix 5BUG/gm: Lactobacillus Plantrium, Lactobacillus Rhamnosusand, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium longum, Enterococcus Faecium, Lactobacillus acidophilius, Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus Helveticus, Lactobacillus Salivarius, Pediococcus Acidilactici & Streptococcus Thermophilus. Plus Apple Pectin & Rice powder. More…

Non-milk (non-diary) based probiotic. Supports the re-establishment of normal bacterial flora in the intestines, or more specifically the colon. This source is carrot based and is lactose free.

Proprietary blend of a non-milk (no-dairy) based probiotics 4 bug/gm, Acidophilus (carrot source), and Apple Pectin. More…


Designed to support proper digestion and support the body to relieve the pain of ulcers and aid the symptoms of indigestion, especially when accompanied by acidic/sulfur burps or heartburn.

100% vegetable-based blend of enzymes supporting the digestive process. 

The enzymes found naturally in raw foods are easily destroyed by heat and are not available from cooked or processed food which composes over 90% of our diets. Enzymes are also destroyed by chemicals such as caffeine, alcohol, and drugs (prescription and OTC).  Many doctors, therefore, consider enzyme deficiency to be our #1 nutritional problem. This formula provides an acid-stable balanced mixture of enzymes from a controlled ferment of selected plants for optimum activity in human digestion; it contains no chemicals, preservatives, or milk products. 

Enzymes are the indispensable catalysts of all metabolism and they are the most difficult of all metabolic factors to obtain from our food. We live as long as our body generates enough enzymes to operate its metabolic machine therefore we need outside enzyme sources from foods and supplements to keep our internal reserve intact to protect our continued health and longevity. Our selection of quality vegetable enzymes for this product include consideration to (1) temperature of maximum activity level (2) variety of foods acted upon (3) measured activity level and (4) effective pH range. The enzymes in this product are of 100% vegetable source and have an effective pH range of 2.4 to 9.8.

Amylase: a group of proteins found in saliva, pancreatic juices and parts of plants; helps to convert starch to sugar.

Protease: an enzyme that conducts proteolysis, i.e., it begins the breakdown of food proteins. It is involved in a multitude of physiological reactions.

Lipase: is the main enzyme responsible for breaking down fats in the human digestive system.

Cellulase: is not produced in the body and is needed to optimize the energy contained in plant material.

PLUS, varying amounts of maltase, oxidase, peroxidase, invertase & phosphatase as naturally associated with the above enzymes. Hypoallergenic - contains no chemicals, preservatives, or milk products.  
More… | and click here to see a 2-stage digestive enzyme formula, Di-Aide Enzymes

e.    Digest Ease

Supports stimulation of digestive organs. Activates and enhances digestive secretions and helps to tone the gastrointestinal tract. Also, supports a general reprogramming of the GI tract.

Gentian Root (Gentiana Lutea): An herb broadly used for digestion. Gentian is bitter to taste, because the body responds to a bitter taste, its first response is increased saliva secretion, then neurological receptors respond through the brain to organs of digestion causing a reflex secretion of fluids in the stomach lining, pancreas and liver. This activity reaches the stomach for digestion and enhances digestive properties. Gentian is considered effective for dyspepsia, tonic conditions of the digestive tract and anorexia. It is an aid after prolonged illness, especially when fever and infection were present, to speed recovery though better digestion and assimilation. It is useful in gastritis and intestinal catarrh. If acute irritability and inflammation is present, Gentian may control gastric juices. Gentian also tends to increase circulation to the gastric system and promotes the appetite.

Bitter Orange Peel (Aurantium Amara Cortex): Again, the bitter flavor enhances the flow of digestive juices. This herb is also slightly pungent and has an aromatic quality that encourages increased circulation to the digestive tract. It also helps relieve cramping by relaxing the intestinal tract.

Cardamom Seed (Elettaria Cardamomum): Quite a bitter, but tasty herb with a very pungent taste similar to Orange Peel. Slightly diuretic, because of its aromatic oils, it is known as a carminative and aids flatulence and colic.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Cassia): Aromatic oils and carminative qualities make Cinnamon a plus in digestive formulas and tannic acid in it reacts as an astringent. It also helps cleanse the mucus sludge from the intestinal tract.

Cloves (Caryophyllus Aromaticus): A carminative due to its aromatic oils. Cloves is a good flavoring agent, is slightly laxative, warming, and helps sweeten the digestive tract.  More… 


Dandelion contains high levels of potassium, is a rich source of iron and vitamins, and, ounce for ounce, and contains more carotene than carrots. Dandelion leaves are a powerful diuretic. The roots act as a blood purifier that helps both the kidneys and the liver to remove toxins and poisons from the blood. The roots have been used for centuries to treat jaundice. Dandelion also acts as a mild laxative and improves appetite and digestion. Dandelion stimulates bile which is needed to digest fats.  

Vitamin C: Helps break down fats in the liver.

Niacin: Aids in the metabolism and breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and in the production of hydrochloric acid. Niacin lowers cholesterol, and other fats in the body including those in the liver.

Biotin: Aids in cell growth, in fatty acid production, and in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Choline Bitartrate: A lipotropic* agent which is needed for nerve transmission, gallbladder regulation and liver function. It minimizes excess fat in the liver, aids in hormone production and is necessary in fat and cholesterol metabolism.

Methionine: A sulphur-bearing amino acid used therapeutically as a dietary supplement with lipotropic* action.

Inositol: A lipotropic* agent which is vital for fat and cholesterol metabolism. It also helps remove fats from the liver.

Dandelion Root: Dandelion stimulates bile which is needed to digest fats.

Betaine HCL: A lipotropic* agent and a substitute for hydrochloric acid (HCL).

Red Clover: Red Clover has many benefits for digestion and is commonly used for constipation and sluggish appetite. Red Clover tea stimulates liver and gallbladder activity to aid in digestion. More…


Designed to support proper digestion and support the body to relieve the pain of ulcers and aid the symptoms of indigestion, especially when accompanied by acidic/sulfur burps or heartburn. Supports a return to healthy digestion regardless of whether symptoms are caused by a heavy protein meal, dysentery, milk poisoning or severe food poisoning. 

Fennel Seed (Anethium Foeniculum): Fennel fits well here due to its aromatic quality. It helps sweeten the intestinal tract. Its aromatic oils help increase circulation in the stomach and the intestinal tract, thereby serving to relax the muscles in that area and relieve cramping. Digestion is also aided by increasing healthy secretions in the intestinal tract and gall bladder.

Slippery Elm Bark (Ulma Fulva): Slippery Elm is a famous American folk herb used in the treatment of intestinal and stomach irritation by American pioneers and Native Americans. It is also very nutritive. It has been used for inflamed stomach and bowels. It has been used for treating diarrhea and also to soothe the pain of an ulcer. It is also used to stop prolonged vomiting.

Wild Yam Root (Dioscorea Villosa): Wild Yam is included because it’s an antispasmodic in the intestinal tract. It’s an antispasmodic to the gall bladder and the ileocecal valve. It’s included because it relieves spasmodic cramping in the stomach and down the intestinal tract. It also supports the adrenal glands due to plant steroids it contains.

Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza Glabra): Licorice Root is soothing as it is somewhat mucilaginous. Evidence indicates that licorice is very healing for ulcers and it is a tonic to the adrenal glands. It helps calm people who lead a stressful life. Many times this is a symptom and cause of ulcers.

Ion Mineral Clay: Has the ability to absorb a large amount of toxic gases and acids. It is also mucilaginous and therefore soothing to the stomach lining and intestinal tract. It is antiseptic and it also aids in the removal of undesirable material from the digestive tract. More…


Click Here to View All Natural Digestive Support Products

Vol 5 | Issue 6 | Summer Activities, Sports & Fitness



Support for Your Body Naturally…

Summer Fun

The hot summer months get us energized and take us outdoors doing all sorts of sports and fun activities, bringing with it an increased risk of injury and physical stress to the body.  Acute injuries are usually very obvious, as they often occur in a very dramatic fashion. However, other injuries can creep up slowly and get progressively worse.  These often turn into nagging chronic aches and pains.  Most joint and soft tissue injuries have some common warning signs and symptoms; pain being the number one warning sign.  Don’t ignore it. Pain is a communication.  If we pay attention to the warnings signs and symptoms of both types of injuries, we can often get to the root of the problem.  It’s important to start off on the “right foot” to promote health and strength in the body, and possibly prevent sports injuries.

Eating Right is a Good Start

There is no doubt that the type, amount, composition, and timing of the food you eat can dramatically affect exercise performance, recovery from exercise, body weight and composition and health. When exercise increases to more than one hour per day, the importance of the food you eat becomes even more critical. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are important nutrients for active individuals. A balanced diet of protein, healthy fats, fresh fruits and vegetables plays a vital role in providing adequate essential nutrients and energy for a healthy active lifestyle. 

As stated in the 2000 Position Statement on Nutrition and Athletic Performance, published by the American Dietetic Association (ADA), Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), any active individual “who wants to optimize health and exercise performance needs to follow good nutrition and hydration practices, use supplements and ergogenic aids carefully, minimize severe weight loss practices, and eat a variety of foods in adequate amounts” (ADA, 2000).

Supplementing is Necessary

Most health care practitioners advocate healthy diet practices, a daily exercise routine and recommend adding daily supplements to support and maintain health in the body. Food grown in depleted, nutrient deficient soils lacks the nutrients needed to keep people healthy. The nutritional content of harvested food produced today is significantly different from the food produced 70 years ago. In the United States and throughout the world there is a widespread lack of adequate nutrition in both in the agricultural soils in which food is grown and in harvested food. A critical need exists to halt the alarming declines in the world’s supply of topsoil and to increase the nutritional values of our food. Exhausted soils depleted of needed minerals and organic material cannot grow healthy, nutrient rich food.

The human body needs nutritious food to stay healthy. Food is the body’s main source of energy. Nutrients in food are needed to sustain life. Our diet, the food we eat, is the source of nutrients for all our body’s biochemical processes. Minerals may be more vital to physical and mental health than vitamins. Minerals assist the body in a multitude of biochemical processes. Minerals are inorganic compounds found in the soil. Foods grown in soil depleted of minerals do not contain the minerals needed to sustain human health.

Hydration is a Must

It is well-documented in the research literature that exercise performance is optimal when athletes and active individuals maintain fluid balance during exercise (Coyle, 2004). So, it is imperative that all active individuals drink adequate amounts of fluids and stay well hydrated.  Active individuals exercising in special environmental conditions (heat, cold, altitude) need to take extra precautions to remain hydrated (ACSM 1996a; Brinkley et al., 2002; Freund & Sawka, 1996).

Maintaining Water and Electrolyte Balance

Maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance means that active individuals need to replace the water and electrolytes lost in sweat. This requires that active individuals, regardless of age, strive to hydrate well before exercise, drink fluids throughout exercise, and rehydrate once exercise is over.

As outlined by ACSM and NATA (ACSM, 1996a; Casa et al., 2000), generous amounts of fluids should be consumed 24-h before exercise and 400-600 mL of fluid should be consumed 2-h before exercise. During exercise, active individuals should attempt to drink ~150-350 mL (6-12 oz) of fluid every 15-20 minutes.

When Sports Injuries Occur….

Sprains and Strains

A sprain is a stretch or tear of a ligament, the band of connective tissues that joins the end of one bone with another.  Sprains are caused by trauma such as a fall or blow to the body that knocks a joint out of position and, in the worst case, ruptures the supporting ligaments.  Areas of the body most vulnerable to sprains are ankles, knees, and wrists.  Signs of a sprain include tenderness or pain; bruising; inflammation; swelling; inability to move a limb or joint.

A strain is a twist, pull, or tear of a muscle or tendon, a cord of tissue connecting muscle to bone. It is an acute, noncontact injury that results from overstretching or over-contraction.  Symptoms of a strain include pain, muscle spasm, and loss of strength.  Strains not treated immediately can cause damage and loss of function.

Knee Injuries

Because of its complex structure and weight-bearing capacity, the knee is the most commonly injured joint. Each year, more than 5.5 million people visit doctors for knee problems.  Knee injuries can result from a blow to or twist of the knee; from improper landing after a jump; or from running too hard, too much, or without proper warm up.

Shin Splints

Although the term "shin splints" has been widely used to describe any sort of leg pain associated with exercise, the term actually refers to pain along the tibia or shin bone, the large bone in the front of the lower leg. Shin splints are primarily seen in runners, particularly those just starting a running program.  Risk factors for shin splints include overuse or incorrect use of the lower leg; improper stretching, warm up, or exercise technique; overtraining; running or jumping on hard surfaces; and running in shoes that don't have enough support.

Enduring Pain is Not the Answer

When injure or pain occurs, most of us try to “push through the pain.”  We continue working out and playing summer sports.  We endure the pain and pop a couple of over-the-counter pain pills rather than taking positive steps to repair the joint and tissue damage, reduce inflammation and pain.  After all, isn’t it easier to take a quick trip to the drugstore and grab some ibuprofen? While taking pain killers provides temporary relief, it is simply the wrong approach for long term relief and ultimate healing.

Taking Over-The-Counter Pain Medication is Not the Answer

Taking over-the-counter pain medication provides only short term relief to a long term problem! 

Since pain goes hand in hand with joint injury and inflammation, the most common approach is to take aspirin, Tylenol, Ibuprofen or one of the family of drugs known as NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).  What is often not realized is that the relief provided by these drugs comes at a very high price.  Over time, they all can have dangerous and possibly even health threatening consequences. Prolonged use is not recommended.  There are natural alternatives you can use instead. Click here to see. 

Old Fashioned Remedies Work

What to do with an injured joint?  The old fashioned remedies still work. Ice, elevate, and immobilize the joint.   Elevate, whenever possible, to relieve the swelling; and wrap in an ace bandage to secure the joint to provide support and prevent additional injury or trauma to the joint and damaged tissues. Keep the injury iced for as long as possible. Icing the injury helps reduce tissue inflammation caused by the injury, which in turn reduces swelling, which then reduces the pain.  It is the inflammation and the swelling that causes the pain. Anytime inflammation and swelling are reduced, pain is reduced.

Repair the Problem

So, when summer injuries occur and pain, swelling and inflammation are present, get to the root of the problem.  Allow the body to heal.  Don’t just mask the symptoms with pain killers.  Support your body’s own natural healing process by using natural sources to reduce inflammation and swelling, which ultimately reduces pain.  There are many natural source products and ingredients that have been used successfully for many, many years.   Many of these natural ingredients, such as glucosamine and chondroitin have long been used to repair and improve joint tissues and cartilage.  While others, such as valerian root, white willow bark, quercetin, and bromelain are often used for their natural anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties.  A combination of Serrapeptase + Prozyme with SPR Oil provides a highly effective immediate relief remedy for acute injury.  Ligatone/Disc Support paired with Glucosamine CL non-sodium offers a powerful long term regenerative combination.  Try some natural alternatives to support the body in healing as assumed to just masking the symptoms. Click here to see. 

 This Month’s Featured Product – 365 Active Power Pro 21



rehab physical therapy pack | glucosamine CL  | inflam-X  | Ligatone/Disc Support

Serrapeptase + Prozyme  | spr oil | Relaxall  | total pain relief