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The Health Benefits of Chamomile

The health benefits of chamomile include safe, soothing stress relief. Although it is possible to have an allergic reaction to chamomile, it is usually considered safe enough for even the elderly and young children.

There are two kinds of chamomile, Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobilis) and German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). Their actions are quite similar. The German Chamomile is usually used in the United States. It is tastier and more effective for soothing digestion.

Health benefits of chamomile
have a long history in traditional herbal medicine

  • This gentle herb can relax muscles and have a calming influence on nervous irritability and anxiety.
  • It can promote proper functioning of the stomach, improve digestion and dispel accumulated gas.
  • It is often used for babies suffering from colic spasms or teething irritability.
  • Chamomile has an anti inflammatory action and can promote healing of wounds.
  • It can help promote perspiration and have a beneficial influence on fevers, colds and flu.
  • It can help with nervous headaches, insomnia, and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Chamomile supports refreshing and relaxing sleep.
  • It is useful for nervousness due to common every day over work and fatigue.
  • Chamomile has a gentle calming sedative effect on the central nervous system.
  • It is often recommended by herbalists to ease the impact of stress.

That’s quite a lot of relief from one simple herb!

Constituents of Chamomile

The health benefits of chamomile seem to come from its unique assortment of natural plant oils including azulene, chamazulene, pro azulenes, bisabolol, farnesine, pinene, anthermal, spiroether, angelic acid and a number of various sesquiterpenes.

The beneficial phyto nutrients in chamomile include flavones, glycosides, bitter glycosides, valerianic acids, tannins, salicylic acid and coumarin derivatives.

Using Chamomile

Chamomile can be used as capsules and tincture. Most often it is probably used as a simple tea.

How to Make Chamomile Tea

  • Boil water
  • Place dried chamomile blossoms in a tea pot or cup
  • Use about 1to 2 teaspoons of blossoms per 8 ounce cup of water
  • Pour boiling water over the blossoms and cover the pot or cup
  • Allow the tea to steep for 30-45 minutes
  • Drink and enjoy

The tea can be used as a relaxing foot bath. It can also be used as a mouth wash for sores in the mouth, or as a gargle to soothe a sore throat.

Availability

Chamomile is a common herb which is widely available. The health benefits of chamomile can be obtained by purchasing this inexpensive herb in most health food stores. It grows freely in many gardens. In fact the Victorians used to create a whole lawn of chamomile blossoms which were very soothing to relax on. (If you decide to try this, be sure to border your lawn with bricks or stones which will inhibit invasion of weeds and other grasses.)

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8 Ways to Use Your Mind to Live Longer

by Self Magazine

Fret Less

To banish worries, put stressors on paper. Writing them down and stashing the note in a “worry jar” (or a drawer) makes it easier to compartmentalize and move on, says Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., a psychologist in Washington, D.C. Limiting anxiety is healthy. A surfeit of the stress hormone cortisol may lead to chronic pain, depression, cognitive issues and even heart problems, potentially shortening your life. Not to mention that constant worry is no fun.

Keep Your Sunny Side Up

Optimists live longer, plain and simple. In a 15-year study of more than 100,000 women, cheery types were 14 percent less likely to die in an eight-year period than gloomy gals were, the National Institutes of Health Women’s Health Initiative finds. To change your thinking, visualize a happy moment: “Imagining yourself in a hammock on the beach can have an immediate, relaxing effect on the body that makes it more difficult to stay focused on the negative,” Bonior says.

If All Else Fails, Take a Nap

When life starts getting you down, catch 40 winks. If you’re stressed out, a 45-minute daytime snooze may lower your blood pressure, a study from Allegheny College reports. Siestas also help you catch up on much-needed sleep. That’s crucial, because chronic sleep deprivation can cause aging at the cellular level. So give yourself permission to nap like a kid. We predict you’ll start feeling like one, too.

Your Relaxation Rx

Which mind/body treatments have the most rock-solid science backing them up? Brent Bauer, M.D., director of the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, provides the big picture.

For: Back pain Try: Yoga

For: High cholesterol Try: Qigong

For: Depression Try: Music therapy, qigong, yoga

For: Eating disorders Try: Meditation, yoga

For: Fertility Try: Visualization, yoga

For: Heart health Try: Deep breathing, qigong, yoga

For: Immunity Try: Breathing, chants, meditation, qigong

For: Insomnia Try: Acupuncture, visualization, yoga

For: Joint pain Try: Music therapy, qigong, yoga

For: Migraines Try: Acupuncture, yoga

The Science

The latest cutting-edge research proves your mind can heal your body. Here’s how:

Your body dials down stress. Dr. Benson’s research has found that mind/body practices—meditation, yoga, tai chi, deep breathing, visualization—all elicit the relaxation response, quelling the release of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Your heart slows, blood pressure falls and digestion eases. 

Your immunity soars. The relaxation response causes cells to release micropuffs of nitric oxide, a gas that dilates blood vessels and stabilizes the immune system, Dr. Benson reported in Medical Science Monitor. Mind/body methods worked as well as drugs designed to do the same thing, without the side effects.

Your genes change. Here’s the real slap-your-forehead news: In a study in PLoS ONE, Dr. Benson compared the genes of 38 people, half of whom meditated regularly and half of whom never did. Controlling for other factors, he found that genes associated with stress-related illness behaved differently in the two groups. “These genes control not only stress but also premature aging and inflammation,” he says. It seems meditators’ genes were essentially telling their body to stress less and age more slowly.

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6 Appetizers with more calories than an entree

When you sit down in a restaurant and order an app, you don’t expect it to equal or exceed the calories in a main meal. Unfortunately, many popular appetizers contain astronomically more calories, fat, and sodium than you should consume or the day, let alone in your pre-entrée nosh. What’s worse is that apps tend to be a shared experience, with three-or-more split between everyone at the table, so it’s easy to lose track of how much you actually eat. Our advice? When you’re dining out, skip the apps in favor of a small green salad and recreate these perennial favorites at home for a fraction of the calories and fat.


1. Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers These spicy stuffed poppers not only come at a high heat, they also come at a steep caloric cost. One plateful of these peppers tallies over 1,900 calories, 135 g of fat, and over 6,000 mg of sodium! (Yes, that’s right 6,000 mg of sodium.) You could have ordered 9 chicken enchiladas and still saved 36 g of fat and 2,000 mg of sodium.

Make it Yourself: Spicy Jalapeno Salsa We love spicy food: Not only does it pack a whole lot of flavor, the capsaicin found in chiles are known to kick your metabolism into high gear. Opt for this fiery jalapeno salsa instead of the fattening poppers: This version uses chili powder as well as jalapeno peppers to give this sauce a zesty punch. Plus, it amounts to under 10 calories per serving.


2. Boneless Buffalo Wings With Blue Cheese Stop trying to kid yourself that the celery stalk that comes with the basket of wings makes this starter a healthy choice: One order of these saucy snackers amounts to almost 1,500 calories and 4,590 mg of sodium. That’s the salt equivalent of gorging on over 2 large bags of potato chips before your main entrée.

Make it Yourself: Waistline-Friendly Buffalo Wings These wings have all the qualities you love—smoky and fiery chicken coated with a finger-licking-good sauce—but they come with a fraction of the calories, fat, and sodium. One serving of these has less than 220 calories and nearly a 10th of the sodium.

3. Stuffed Potato Skins While potato skins are not regarded as a typical healthy choice, these “loaded” appetizers may be far worse than you anticipated. The boat-like munchies are usually brimming with high-calorie and high-fat ingredients like sour cream, bacon, and a medley of melty cheeses, but all that indulgence comes at a price: One plate of these is 2,070 calories. It’s also got 135 g of fat, the equivalent of over a dozen chocolate donuts.

Make it Yourself: Spicy Potato Skins Baked potato? Check. Sour cream? Check. Cheddar? Check. Bacon? Yup, we’ve got that too. These creamy and delicious potato skins have every element of classic stuffed potato skins, plus a few added extras (like some chile peppers), but they have less than a fifth of the caloric cost.


4. Guacamole And Chips We absolutely love avocado: It’s got a rich, buttery taste, and it’s packed with belly-flattening MUFAs. Unfortunately, not all guacs are created equal. Some restaurant versions really pack on the calories and salt—one platter of chips and dip could amount to close to 1,400 calories and 84 g of fat, not to mention over 2,000 mg of sodium.

Make It Yourself: Guiltless Guacamole This unique recipe for guacamole cuts calories, fat, and sodium with one simple (and yummy) swap. This version is not only packed with MUFAs, but it’s brimming with vitamin A as well as folate.


5. Beef Nachos  It’s hard to resist the tempting call of layers of tortilla chips, melted nacho cheese, onions, peppers, and juicy beef. But you would be all the wiser to stray from this fattening app tower: One plate has 1,700 calories and over 3,500 mg of sodium.

Make it Yourself: Cheesy Nachos Hold the beef with your nachos: That simple skip will cut a ton of calories, and you won’t be left wondering, “Where’s the beef?” This recipe, complete with blue corn chips and a layer of cheese, comes in under 250 calories per serving.


6. Chicken Strips Ordering an individually sized chicken appetizer may make you believe that you are playing it safe when it comes to keeping your eye on your waistline. Think again. A single serving of sesame chicken strips amounts to more than half of your day’s calories and over 2,600 mg of salt.

Make it Yourself: Parmesan Chicken Strips Try these breaded Parmesan chicken strips instead: They’ve got that scrumptious crunch and a rich, cheesy coating with one plateful tallying up to a mere 167 calories.

Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

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