Green Tea … A Cup a Day to Keep the Doctor Away

by Dr. Tracy Gilbert, ND Naturopathic Doctor

Green tea is a powerful plant that has countless benefits ranging from cancer prevention to lowering cholesterol levels.  Thousands of scientific studies have been conducted to confirm what Asian cultures have been saying for centuries: green tea has tremendous health-promoting properties and healing powers.

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What Might Your Gut Be Telling You?

by Dr. Sylvia Marasco, ND
Naturopathic Doctor

The idea of supplementing “good” bacteria with a probiotic has become a familiar one with most individuals.  Many tend to understand the concept of replenishing the “ecosystem” of bacteria in the digestive tract, perhaps after antibiotic use, or with uncomfortable digestive symptoms.  Many people may not realize, however, the importance of probiotics for other illnesses including allergies, asthma, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression and many more.

Intestinal dysbiosis is the term used when there is an imbalance of microorganisms in the digestive tract.  This can present as a deficiency of certain strains of bacteria, or an overgrowth leading to a wide array of uncomfortable symptoms, both inside and outside the digestive tract.  While diagnosis of dysbiosis can be confirmed with an Indican urine test and/or a stool analysis,  a thorough naturopathic clinical intake based on signs and symptoms, diet, medications, stress and lifestyle, can often point to this direction in diagnosis before the testing confirms it.

Here are three ways to help promote balance of the microflora in the digestive tract:

1)     Eat a nutrient dense diet with fiber.  The typical North American Diet is high in saturated fats and low in fiber (not to mention high in sugars) creating a perfect “landscape” for intestinal microorganism imbalance.  Fiber acts as a prebiotic which encourages and nourishes the healthy bacteria already present in the gut.  Two examples of prebiotic foods are garlic and onions.

 2)     Eat probiotic foods. These foods might include unsweetened yogurt (if dairy is an issue, coconut yogurt is a great alternative), kefir (a fermented dairy product), sauerkraut, tempeh (fermented soy beans), kombucha tea ( a cooled beverage made from fermented green and black tea), kimchi (fermented vegetable dish) and more.

3)     Supplement with a suitable probiotic .  There are countless strains of microorganisms in the digestive tract, but newer research is doing an excellent job at looking at specific bacterial strains (or a lack thereof) for specific conditions.  Interestingly, there is a term in research circles called “psychobiotics” .  This is the study of intestinal strains of bacteria that help with brain health.  This is mentioned just to show how many diverse illnesses may indicate the need for a probiotic as part of the treatment plan. Consult with a medical professional to determine which strains would be most suitable for you.

Science is showing us more and more just how integral intestinal bacteria balance is with achieving health and wellness.  While there is more research to be done, it is empowering to know that simple steps can be taken to assist with creating the optimal “terrain” that encourages good health. Always consult with your naturopathic doctor or other healthcare provider for further assistance.

Infuse Yourself … And Reap the Benefits

What are essential Oils?

Essential oils are oils that are extracted from plants (usually by distillation) that have the characteristic fragrance of the plant.  The oils are volatile, meaning that they evaporate on exposure to air and have a powerful aroma.

Essential oils have been used throughout history to help with ailments and promote relaxation – they have also been used in many religions and cultures around the world. Thought of as the life force of the plant, they are present in various parts, such as leaves, seeds, flowers and bark. Essential oil gives the plant its particular signature scent. Complex and often misunderstood, these safe, effective, and powerful essential plant oils, offer a wide range of therapeutic properties and benefits.

How are they harvested?

Essential oils are extracted from plants in a variety of ways, the traditional and most common method is steam distillation which takes place on site just after being harvested. Careful, low heat and slow distillation is preferred to keep the therapeutic constituents and delicate properties of the oils intact. This allows for purer oil and thus greater oil to use for its intended benefits.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of essential oils are immense and specific oils can be selected according to their unique therapeutic properties.  Common benefits include:

  • Stress reduction or promoting relaxation
  • Headache relief
  • Reduction in nasal and sinus congestion
  • Promoting restful sleep
  • Improving focus and concentration

Using lavender oil at bedtime will allow for a more peaceful and sound sleep.  Eucalyptus oil, on the other hand, can help to fight cough and congestion by simply placing a few drops of the oil into your diffuser when someone in the family is suffering from a cold. Frankincense will help alleviate anxiety and headaches, and peppermint oil will ward off spiders and insects.

How to enjoy essential oils?

There are many ways to enjoy the benefits of essential oils. Here are a few suggestions to get you started, simply add a few drops to:

  • An essential oil diffuser
  • Body oil or lotion
  • Bath water along with Epsom or Himalayan salts

Note: Only a few drops of these highly concentrated plant essences is needed to reap the benefits of the essential oil.

At Ezentials we have numerous essential oils and essential oil blends, each of therapeutic grade, along with many types of diffusers to match your own personal style and home décor. Try out these amazing essential oils and start reaping the benefits each can give to you and your family.