How to Build a Herbal Medicine Cabinet [Slideshow]

February 26 2014 | Digestive Health | Family Health | Immune Health | Nervous System | Respiratory Health

Last week, Laurence Smith presented a webinar on how to build a herbal medicine cabinet. These are his personal essential tips and life-saving methods to being naturally prepared and equipped for any urgent health situation. Check out the slides below, or see the all the webinars from Education Week here.

 

If you can't see the slides, below is the text:

Why Would You Need a Herbal First Aid Kit?

There are many health concerns that could and should be handled at home.  The sooner there is intervention, the sooner the healing process begins.  It is important to have natural products on hand that can immediately be used when a person feels "out of sorts".  

Developing a Natural Medicine Cabinet and First Aid Kit

Provides peace of mind knowing that you have basic remedies on hand. Gives you the opportunity to practice using herbs in a non-emergency situation, and build your confidence in both yourself and these natural products – and caring for common complaints at home.

 

These should be separated into Primary Products, Secondary Products, Specialty Products and Programs:

 

Primary Products

  • Silver Shield 
  • Silver Shield Gel 
  • Elderberry D3fence 
  • VS-C 
  • Golden Seal 
  • Echinacea  
  • Mullein 
  • LBS II 
  • Oregon Grape 
  • Distress Remedy

 

Secondary Products

  • Echinacea 
  • Cascara Sagrada 
  • Capsicum 
  • Black Ointment 
  • Charcoal 
  • Tei Fu Oil 
  • Tei Fu Lotion 
  • Golden Salve

 

Specialty Products

ALJ capsules & liquid APS II Aloe Vera Gel Catnip/Fennel Cranberry-Buchu HistaBlock Lobelia Papaya Mint Peppermint Oil Stomach Comfort Tea Tree Oil Zinc Lozenges

Primary Products

The Silver Solution -- Silver Shield -- "Second Immune System." The very minute ionized particles of silver, suspended in pure water aid in immune system defense for maximum bioavailability. It works quickly when ingested. The very minute ionized particles of silver, suspended in pure water aid in immune system defense for maximum bioavailability. It works quickly when ingested. Silver Shield is cell-structure specific—any single cell organism is subject to silver.

Elderberry D3fense -- Supports the immune system and contains naturally derived Vitamin D3.

VS-C -- Vital Shield for the immune system, it's an immune-system Stimulant – Chinese (was HRP-C). It's Effective with l-lysine and nourishes the liver. It promotes a healthy respiratory tract.

Goldenseal -- Maintains a strong immune system, supports mucus membranes throughout the body. 

Mullein -- supports healthy ears and lungs and may help soothe the respiratory system. 

LBS II --  A lower bowel stimulant formula and Support that strengthens the colon and increases peristalsis. It improves digestion, reduces gas and cramping, and helps the growth of friendly bacteria.

Oregon Grape -- Supports the immune system and is easily assimilated in the body. 

Distress Remedy -- Flower essence version of Bach's Rescue Remedy and is for a variety of emotionally stressful situations. 

 

Secondary Products

Ultimate Echinacea -- Potent immune system stimulant and lymphatic cleanser. Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea pallida, and Echinacea angustifolia. Directly stimulates the immune system.

Cascara Sagrada -- A stimulant laxative for a moving experience. "Sacred Bark" root is a popular treatment for occasional constipation because it is not habit-forming. It is used to increase the secretion of digestive fluids, create large soft bowel movements, and stimulate the peristaltic action of the colon.

Capsicum -- The hot pepper that cools pain after exercise or muscle overuse. Capsicum can be applied directly to the skin or swallowed. It is one of the most versatile stimulant herbs known. It is a digestive aid, relieves pain after exercise or muscle overuse, and itching palms and feet. Provides digestive and circulatory support.

Activated Charcoal -- Used to support the body's cleansing and detoxification mechanisms. Ability to "attract" and absorb. Removes toxins from the body. Absorbs intestinal gas.

Tei Fu -- Tei Fu Essential Oils and Tei Fu Massage Lotion. These stimulating aromatic oils are cleansing and mood enhancing.

Golden Salve -- Soothing salve that helps moisturize tissues. Use on any external tissue. Supports healthy skin and soothes and moisturizes dry skin.

Black Ointment -- Drawing salve that helps tighten, tone and firm the skin.

 

Specialty Products

APS II (w/White Willow Bark) -- Chemically similar to salicylic acid. Salicin appears to help prevent the production of prostaglandins. Includes valerian root to provide additional nervous system support, including promoting feelings of relaxation.

Relief Formula -- Pain relief formula after exercise or muscle overuse, also for sore muscles or sore back.

Products that encourage a healthy inflammatory response after exercise or muscle overuse: CurcuminBP, IF-C, Triple Relief, Licorice, Omega-3, Thai-Go.

Individual Products

ALJ -- Lung support. Helps soothe irritated tissues. Provides effective respiratory system support.

Aloe Vera Gel -- Soothes the skin. It spreads on and penetrates quickly. Use generously and keep the skin moist.

Catnip and Fennel -- Although the flavor is mild enough for an infant, you can also rub the liquid on baby's back and abdomen. Also try some on the back of the tongue to expel occasional painful gas or control hiccups.

Cranberry and Buchu -- Cranberry juice does contain substances that support a healthy urinary tract.

Histablock -- Supports the respiratory system in its battle against pollutants and toxins, especially during the changing seasons. Stabilizes immune cells.  

Lobelia -- Muscle-relaxing respiratory and lymphatic stimulant. Relaxing, antispasmodic, supports the respiratory system. Larger doses can bring on nausea. This is cleansing; not a reaction to "poison."  

Papaya Mint Chewable Tablets -- Tasty digestive stimulant. Papaya fruit contains proteolytic enzymes that function in the digestion of protein, while peppermint leaves contain aromatic compounds capable of triggering the production of digestive fluids.  

Pau d'Arco Capsules -- Strengthens and supports the immune system. Fortifies against foreign invaders.

Peppermint Oil -- Digestive aid and Freshens breath.

Stomach Comfort -- Helps neutralize acid and soothes the stomach and is a pH-balancing formula that provides natural ingredients to help nutritionally support digestion in times of occasional stomach upset. Contains calcium carbonate, which is alkaline in nature and helps buffer acid. Helps neutralize acid.

Tea Tree Oil -- The wonder from down under.

Zinc Lozenges -- Help Take the Bite out of Winter. Lozenges dissolve slowly in the mouth, releasing beneficial nutrients to the body. Zinc supports the respiratory, immune and glandular systems.

Programs

Colon Health --Artemesia Combination, Black Walnut concentrate,Herbal Pumpkin and Fossil Shell Flour.  

Digestive Health -- GastroHealth aids the digestive system, soothes the stomach, ,inimizes occasional gastric heartburn, acid indigestion, and discomfort.

Acting Quickly in an Emergency

Food Poisoning -- Activated Charcoal (Always call Poison Control Center first. If they recommend inducing vomiting, use Lobelia. Lobelia – emetic, Distress Remedy and Capsicum.

For Skin Issues

Use Black Ointment for a drawing salve, Aloe Vera Gel to moisten the skin, Silver Shield gel, Tei Fu Oil, Lavendar Oil and Tea Tree Oil.

For Pain

Use Relief Formula for minor muscular aches and pains following exercise, APS II and Tei-Fu Massage Lotion may promote muscle relaxation for aching and tense muscles. Also use Peppermint Oil, Lavender Oil, and Curcumin.

For Digestive Issues

Catnip and Fennel for occasional gas, occasional mild acid indigestion, occasional bloating. Activated Charcoal for bloating, absorbs gas.

For Occasional constipation and diarrhea use activated Charcoal, LBS II or Cascara Segrada. Peppermint Oil promotes digestion.

For the Nervous System

For occasional sleeplessness, nervousness, and situational anxiety, use Distress Remedy and Lobelia, which calms nerves and muscle tension. Topically, use Lavender Oil to promote restful sleep, Peppermint Oil for muscle tension and Tei Fu Oil/Lotion for muscle tension due to stress.


Understanding and Strengthening Nervous System Health [Slideshow]

February 14 2013 | Brain Health | Nervous System

The health and function of the entire body is dependent on the health of the nervous system. A variety of factors, including diet, environmental toxins, stress and emotion can affect the nervous system. Watch this slideshow to understand how your nervous system works and how you can help it stay healthy.

See the slides below, or view the entire webinar with audio here: Nature's Sunshine Webinars


You are Electric

Everything in your body is connected:

  • Nerve cells
  • Electrical impulses
  • Chemical messengers

The nervous system “wires” us together!

Your Brain is Complex

Your brain:

  • Houses 98% of your body’s neurons
  • Makes up only 2% of your body weight
  • Consumes 25% of your oxygen
  • Consumes as much as 20% of your sugar

Let’s take better care of our brain and nervous system!

You are What You Eat

This phrase particularly applies to the brain. A “junk food” diet short-circuits your mental attitude and your emotional responses creating a “trashy” brain. With the poor diet of most Americans, nervous system disorders like stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia are on the rise 

Understanding the Nervous System

The nervous system consists of conscious and unconscious areas:

  • Brain
  • Spinal column
  • Peripheral Nerves

Conscious/Voluntary

  • Perceive through senses
  • Move skeletal muscles
  • Regulate conscious actions
Unconscious/Involuntary
  • Known as “Autonomic”
  • Keeps your heart beating
  • Digests your food
  • Regulates temperature
  • Makes sure you breathe
  • Takes care of everything you don’t have to think about!
  • Autonomic is divided into 2 parts

 

Autonomic Nervous Systeem


This is divided into the Sympathetic , which gets us charged or "wired up" and the Parasympathetic, which helps us wind down and relax. 

The Sympathetic Nervous System -- When we're excited, stressed or scared, the sympathetic nervous system:

  • Tenses our muscles
  • Makes our heart beat faster
  • Moves blood away from digestive organs
  • Shuts down elimination
The Parasympathetic Nervous System -- As we relax and unwind, the parasympathetic nervous system:

  • Moves blood to the digestive organs
  • relaxes muscles
  • Aids elimination
  • Initiates healing and self repair

Care For Your Brain and Nerves

The nervous system is probably the most nutritionally sensitive system in the body. Long before you feel physical conditions, you’ll notice mental and emotional conditions from poor nutrition, such as:

  • Fuzzy thinking (brain fog)
  • Absentmindedness
  • Mental confusion
  • Nervousness

These can lead to chronic insomnia, anxiety, depression and memory loss.

Other Facts about the brain:
  • The brain is 70% water,  so it is sensitive to dehydration
  • 50-60% of the “dry” weight of your brain is fat, 35% being omega 3
  • DHA is most abundant type of omega 3 in the brain
  • B-vitamins are essential to lower risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia

The Brain and Blood Sugar

Your brain consumes the most glucose of any organ. But, if you get too much sugar, you might experience:

  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness

If you don't get enough sugar, you may experience:

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Mental confusion
  • Shakiness
  • Fatigue

 

But just because your brain needs sugar, doesn't mean you should fill it with candy. Simple sugars contribute to brain fog. Complex sugars found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains stabalize blood sugar and nourish the brain. And try to include protein and good fats with your meals. 

Toxins and the Nervous System

Toxins pose a significant threat to the nervous system. Some of the toxins we're exposed to frequently include:

  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Chemical solvents
  • Pesticides & herbicides
  • Excessive caffeine
  • Refined sugar
  • White flour
  • Hydrogenated oils

How Stress and Anxiety Affects the Brain

  • Stress response is healthy and normal - too much is hurtful
  • Sympathetic nerves are activated (wind-up)
  • Parasympathetic are inhibited (relax)
  • Blood shifted from digestive organs to muscles

Consequences of Long-term Stress

  • Most dangers aren’t physical, but feel like a threat to our survival
  • Continuous activation of the stress response can lead to “burn out”
  • Many people live with emotional and nervous exhaustion

5 Helpful Ways to Manage Our Stress

  1. Stop and Take a Deep breath -- Fastest way to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This can restores calm and clear thinking. Breathing slow and deep counteracts the effects of stress
  2. Use Adaptogenic Herbs (Adaptamax) -- Adaptogens mediate the output of stress hormones, which gives you clearer thinking and helps you feel calmer and more relaxed.  
  3. B-Vitamins Help You Be Calm -- B-vitamins are vital for the nervous system. When depleted, refined carbohydrates increase anxiety and nervousness. Look to whole grains and take a good anti-stress vitamin and mineral supplement like Nutri-Calm.
  4. Get Physical and Active -- Stress hormones prime the body for action. Even taking a walk when stressed clears your head.
  5. Pamper Yourself -- Pleasurable experience does more good for the body than a stressful one does harm. Pleasure enhances health, energy, and emotional well being. Get a massage, engage in a hobby or activity. Take a relaxing bath, listen to beautiful music, and surround yourself with pleasant fragrances.  

Depression And the Nervous System

  • 18.8 million American adults suffer from depression
  • Anti-depressants are used to artificially increase serotonin
  • Complex sugars help increase serotonin naturally without the “letdown”

Age Related Memory Loss

  • Mostly associated with oxidative stress
  • The brain is sensitive to inflammation and free radicals
  • Feed the brain with antioxidant-rich foods
  • Thai-Go and Super Orac are other great ways to give the brain antioxidants
  • Brain Protex is another product designed for longevity and overall wellness that provides protection against free radical damage, and may help block the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of acetylcholine.

How to Protect Brain Health for Meaningful and Healthy Aging [Science Update]

February 13 2013 | Brain Health | Nervous System

Brain Preservation

Protecting brain health is imperative for meaningful and healthy aging.

Scientific and medical wisdom suggest that some degree of cognitive decline is part of the aging process. The possibility of living longer and healthier lives is within reach, but brain health must be preserved while achieving this goal.

For this reason, it’s quite encouraging to learn that scientists have discovered that neurological structure and function can be preserved and even restored. We can now offer scientifically substantiated approaches to enhancing our cognitive health.

Factors That Lead to Mental Decline

Various factors contribute to the gradual decline of mental acuity as we age. Recent studies suggest that inflammation, high blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, obesity, arterial inelasticity and a condition known as metabolic syndrome are all risk factors and can lead to a decline in brain health.

Anxiety and depression can also predispose an individual to a deterioration of brain health. A good strategy for preserving brain function starts with preventing illnesses that are known to contribute to cognitive decline. The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” definitely applies here. Good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are obviously beneficial to brain health and a great place to start. A healthy neurological system is also dependent on keeping blood pressure and body weight in check, avoiding diabetes and its precursor metabolic syndrome, as well as treating depression and anxiety disorders.

Supplements that Support Brain Health

A number of well-known dietary supplement ingredients support brain health. Nerve cells (neurons) have a high-energy demand, and hence free radicals are abundant due to a high level of oxidative metabolism within neurons. Antioxidants scavenge these free radicals and thus minimize neuronal damage. Alpha-lipoic acid is quite valuable for neuronal protection because of solubility characteristics that allow considerable free radical-neutralizing activity within nerve cell mitochondria.

Inflammation is implicated in a wide variety of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. Ginkgo biloba leaf extract (GBE) is well known for its neuroprotective effects mediated through anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action. GBE has been used extensively for memory enhancement as well as in a wide variety of dementias. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been used quite frequently to combat neurological damage and inflammation.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) and related phospholipids are integral components of every cell membrane and are particularly abundant in brain neuronal membranes. In Europe and Japan, PS is sold as a prescription drug to remedy memory loss and learning deficits. We have known for years that declining levels of the essential neurotransmitter acetylcholine is responsible for a wide range of cognitive deficits(1). 

By boosting acetylcholine levels in the brain, cognitive deficits are reversed. One approach to increasing brain acetylcholine levels involves inhibiting acetylcholine esterase, the enzyme responsible for acetylcholine metabolism or breakdown.

Many of the prescription drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias act as cholinesterase inhibitors. Huperzine A is a naturally occurring cholinesterase inhibitor sold as a nutritional supplement. This alkaloid is isolated and purified from extracts of the Chinese club moss, Huperzia serrata. Huperzine A has been found to be both potent and effective in elevating brain levels of acetylcholin(2).

I have always thought of progesterone as having an important role in female health. It has been known for quite some time that progesterone is also produced by males but at much lower levels. Recently, it was discovered that progesterone is synthesized in the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves from the precursor molecule pregnenolone (3). 

I was surprised to learn that within the brain and the nervous system in general, progesterone offers neuroprotection and is intimately involved with the formation of myelin sheaths. These findings suggest that progesterone, now referred to as a neurosteroid, has the potential to preserve cognitive functions because of these neuroprotective and promyelinating effects. Very recently, animal studies revealed that progesterone inhibited the inflammatory response and enhanced the recovery from traumatic brain injury and stroke (4). 

Conclusion

At this point, the conclusion is that progesterone supports brain health and combats neurodegeneration that may occur during the aging process. The brain, like any other organ or system in the body, is subject to the aging process. During this process, physical and biochemical changes in brain cells can lead to various degrees of cognitive impairment. This loss of brain function as we age is not inevitable. 

Scientific research has demonstrated mechanisms that explain cognitive decline as well as nutrients/supplement ingredients that can slow and even reverse the progression of age-related brain degeneration. Natural supplements provide a smart option for maintaining optimal brain health throughout life.

By Dr. William J. Keller

 

Download a PDF version of this article here.


 

 

References

1. Bartus RT, Dean RL, Beer B, Lippa AS. The cholinergic hypothesis of geriatric memory dysfunction. Science. 1982 Jul 30;217(4558):408-14. Abstract available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7046051

2. Jellin, JD. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 2010. pp. 926-929.

3. Schumacher M, et al. Local synthesis and dual actions of progesterone in the nervous system: neuroprotection and myelination. Growth Hormone IGF Research. 2004 Jun;14 SupplA:S18-33. Abstract available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15135772

4. Wang J, et al. The protective mechanism of progesterone on bloodbrain barrier in cerebral ischemia in rats. Brain Research Bulletin. 2009 Aug 14;79(6):426-30. Abstract available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19477244.

 


15 Vitamins and Herbs that Help Lower Stress and Improve Nervous System Function

February 11 2013 | Nervous System

 

Long-term stress comes at us from a variety of sources: family struggles, financial difficulties, job worries or pressures, relationships, worry about health, the economy, etc. Continuous or repeated activation of the stress response process takes a toll on the nervous system and can lead to burnout, i.e. emotional and nervous exhaustion.

We can’t very easily change the world around us. But we can take steps to give our bodies the protection and nourishment they need to help handle stressors before they create anxiety. 

Important VITAMINS for the Nervous System

B vitamins are food for the nervous system. In times of stress, the body rapidly uses up these nutrients. And, along with Vitamin C, they are water-soluble and must be replenished daily.

  • B1 (thiamine) optimizes cognitive activity and brain function.
  • Folic acid is considered brain food by some. It helps with depression and anxiety and helps prevent neural tube defects in unborn children.
  • B6 (pyridoxine) is needed for normal brain function.
  • B12 (cyanocobalamin) prevents nerve damage and helps maintain the fatty sheaths that cover and protect nerve endings. It is linked to the production of acetylcholine (a key neurotransmitter that aids memory and learning).
  • Biotin helps B-complex vitamins be utilized properly in the body.
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) is necessary for the development of the central nervous system, for proper adrenal function, for the conversion of fat and sugar into energy, and for the maintenance of normal growth and tissue replacement. Pantothenic acid is needed to make steroid hormones and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The body needs extra amounts of this vitamin when under physical stress.
  • Choline is the precursor molecule for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in many functions including memory and muscle control. It helps nerve impulses travel from the brain through the nervous system. Choline aids brain function and memory.
  • Vitamin C aids in the production of anti-stress hormones.
  • Inositol has a calming effect.

Key HERBS for Stress and Anxiety

  • Passionflower provides natural support to the relaxation centers of the nervous system and has been used historically to help with restlessness. Calming and soothing, it doesn’t affect mood.
  • Fennel seeds have long been known to strengthen the digestive system, where emotional stress is most likely to center.
  • Feverfew, an aromatic herb, helps the body deal with muscular tension, which may lead to head and neck pain.
  • Hops (flower) is a tonic herb. It promotes sleep and helps the body deal with occasional restlessness.
  • Chamomile flowers are known for supporting nerve health and mental alertness. This soothing herb also aids digestion and supports circulation.
  • Schizandra fruit—allows the body to respond quickly to stress, thus increasing ourcapacity to work. Its bitter compounds also support circulation.

Try these stress-busters:

  1. Talk it out. Communicating about your worries with a trusted, emotionally stable confidant. Often a friend can help you see things from a different viewpoint and regain your perspective.
  2. Sleep. Operating in a sleep deficit can overburden your nervous system and make you more prone to meltdowns. Shoot for eight hours of sleep a night. Take naps when you’re tired or behind in your sleep. Try to catch up on shortages within the same week.
  3. Breathe Deeply. Sometimes a few deep breaths can help you remain calm in the face of mounting pressure and chaos. Deep breathing gets more oxygen to the body cells and may help you take a second to think before you act.
  4. Take a stroll. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which help improve mood. Get out and walk for 10-15 minutes. 
  5. Listen to uplifting music. The right music can change your mood and help you feel more energy and greater well-being. The wrong music can do the opposite. See what works for you.
  6. Get a massage or take a hot bath. Physical relaxation goes hand in hand with mental relaxation. Find ways to relax physically and your brain will usually follow suit.
  7. Go here for Nature's Sunshine supplements for stress management. 

     


7 Factors that Cause Cognitive Decline

February 6 2013 | Brain Health | Nervous System

 

Cognition is a group of mental processes that includes attention, memory, producing and understanding language, learning, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. Nervous system decline can lead to cognitive impairments, ranging from mild memory loss to dementia.

Recent studies have pointed to various factors that may contribute to the gradual decline of mental acuity as we age. The good news is that these factors are at least somewhat preventable when we apply knowledge, good nutrition and healthy habits. Some of those factors that can lead to cognitive decline include: 

Go here to learn more about nervous system health and here to see some herbs for the nervous system.

Factors the Lead to Cognitive Decline


1. Inflammation. Inflammation is a protective process that the body uses to fight off pathogens and to respond to injuries. However the inflammation process can become a chronic condition in which the inflammation process occurs regardless of infection or injury. Chronic inflammation is associated with many health issues from allergies to arthritis. New research also suggests that chronic inflammation can lead to cognitive decline, most likely due to the way inflammation disrupts the integrity of the blood-brain barrier.

2. High blood pressure. Your brain relies on a constant, nourishing blood supply. High blood pressure can narrow and block the arteries supplying blood to the brain, which can lead to cognitive problems. Evidence suggests that high blood pressure occurring as early as middle age can increase the risk of dementia later.

3. Insulin levels. Both high blood glucose levels and high insulin levels have been linked to cognitive dementia.

4. Obesity. Particularly in middle age, obesity is strongly correlated with later dementia. Research conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif. found that individuals who were obese (as measured by the body mass index) in their 30s and 40s were 74 percent more likely than those of a healthy weight to develop dementia.

5. Arterial inelasticity can lead to vascular dementia, a term for cognitive impairments associated with impaired blood flow in the brain. Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia, behind Alzheimer’s.

6. Metabolic syndrome is a name given to a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and accelerated decline in brain health. The symptoms of metabolic syndrome are strongly correlated with obesity, including accumulation of fat concentrated around the waist, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar levels.

7. Anxiety and depression are linked with increased risk of cognitive impairments, possibly as a result of the high levels of cortisol released through chronic psychological distress.

You can develop strategies now to preserve brain function. The maxim, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is good advice.

Good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are beneficial to brain health and should be part of a daily health routine. A healthy nervous system is also dependent on keeping blood pressure and body weight in check, avoiding diabetes and its precursor, metabolic syndrome, as well as treating depression and anxiety disorders.

 


15 Surprising Facts About the Human Brain [Infographic]

February 5 2013 | Brain Health | Infographic | Nervous System

Did you know your brain has 100,000 miles worth of blood vessels, enough to circle the Earth four times? Did you know there are 100 billion neurons? Did you know 20% of the oxygen you inhale is used by the brain?

Science is still trying to unlock all the mysteries of the human brain, which is much more than a fascinating organ and a remarkable computing device. Check out OnlineSchools.org graphic revealing 15 surprising facts about the most important organ of the body:


15 Things You Didn't Know About the Brain

How the Nervous System Works and Affects Everything in the Body

February 4 2013 | Brain Health | Nervous System

The human nervous system is an amazing network of organs, nerve cells (neurons) and and neurotransmitters, connecting the brain and spinal cord to the entire body.

It runs on electricity, sending and receiving signals at lightning speed to keep every part of the body functioning effectively.

The nervous truly helps regulate everything happening in your body, whether it’s occurring consciously or unconsciously. It is divided into two branches: 

  • Conscious/voluntary — controls perception, analysis, memory, movement
  • Unconscious/involuntary (also called Autonomic) — takes care of all of the things you don’t think about, such as your heartbeat, digestion, regulating body temperature, breathing, etc.

Your Autonomic branch is further divided into two smaller branches:

  •  Sympathetic 
  • Parasympathetic

The Sympathetic nervous system gets you prepared for activity. It increases mental activity, heart rate and blood pressure, dilates the bronchials, slows or halts digestion, stimulates the release of stress hormones, makes goose bumps on the skin and more. When we’re excited, stressed or scared, the sympathetic nervous system gears us up for action (fight or flight) but shuts down digestion and elimination.

The Parasympathetic nervous system helps you wind down, relax and digest your food. It relaxes mental activity, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, increases the flow of blood to the extremities, constricts bronchials and stimulates digestion. As we relax and unwind, the parasympathetic nervous system moves blood to the digestive organs, relaxes muscles and allows elimination.

Nervous System Sending Messages

A stimulated nerve cell fires an electrical impulse that moves across the cell. At the end of the cell, this electricity triggers the nerve to squirt neurotransmitters (specialized chemicals) into the gap between this cell and the next one. These chemicals fill the space and either stimulate the next cell or prevent it from firing another electrical impulse, depending on what is needed.

Neurotransmitters control or regulate all kinds of things, including depression, addictions, mood, appetite, sleep, certain diseases of the brain and nervous system, and ADHD. Key neurotransmitters include:

  • Serotonin helps control mood, hunger, sleep, pain response and more.
  • Acetylcholine aids in memory and muscle movement. When the brain is short on acetylcholine, memory suffers.
  • Dopamine is responsible for sexual arousal and muscle coordination. Parkinson’s disease sufferers lack this neurotransmitter.
  • GABA helps prevent anxiety and increases mental clarity.
  • Epinephrine is released during times of stress. It can raise blood pressure and heart rate. It also opens the bronchioles to help restore normal breathing.
  • Norepinephrine helps maintain constant blood pressure when levels get too low.

As you can see, the vast network of the human nervous system affects or controls EVERYTHING in the body. It pays to take great care of your nervous system with a healthful diet, the right supplements and plenty of rest.

Go here to learn more about nervous system health and here to see some herbs for the nervous system.   

 


49 Basic Nutritional Supplements For An All-Around Healthy Body [Infographic]

December 10 2012 | Body System Health | Brain Health | Circulatory System | Digestive Health | General | Heart Healthy/Cholesterol | Immune Health | Infographic | Intestinal System | Men's Health | Nervous System | Nutrition | Respiratory Health

There are a lot of nutritional supplements out there. For some, it can be daunting to know what to take, and what parts of the body they benefit.

This graphic shows some basic nutrients that support the skin, brain, eyes, lungs, intestines, bones, colon, joints, muscles and heart. If you want to dig further into a specific area, and go beyond these basic nutrients, try out our Health Assesment quiz to see what could help you for your specific needs.  

 

Click to see larger image:

 

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Supplements for the Heart:

  • Omega 3 EFAs
  • Soluble Fiber
  • B-Complex Vitamins
  • Reservatrol
  • Calcium and Magnesium
  • Vitamins A, C, and E

Supplements for Muscles:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • B Vitamins
  • Antioxidants

Supplements for Joints:

  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Calcium and Vitamin D
  • Antioxidants

Supplements for the Colon:

  • Fiber

Supplements for Bones:

  • Calcium and Magnesium
  • Vitamin D
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B12

Supplements for Digestion

  • Fiber
  • Probiotics

Supplements for the Lungs

  • Lycopene
  • Beta-carotene
  • Lutein
  • Resveratrol

Supplements for Eyes

  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Lutein
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Beta-carotene
  • Selenium

Supplements for the Brain

  • Omega 3 EFAs
  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E

Supplements for the Skin

  • Silica
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Omega 3 EFAs

 


Nature's Sunshine's Liquid Herbs

July 4 2012 | Immune Health | Intestinal System | Liquid Herbs | Nervous System | Respiratory Health

Nutritional Support that’s Easy to Swallow

Like co-founder Gene Hughes, we know the nutritive power of herbs, and the benefits of putting certain herb powders inside capsules for palatability. But some people have a difficult time swallowing anything in pill form.

With these individuals in mind, Nature’s Sunshine offers a terrific line of liquid herb extracts to support numerous body systems and help make getting herbal support as easy as one or two swallows. Most NSP liquid herbs come in a glycerin base for a naturally sweet taste. Unlike tablets or capsules that require greater digestion, liquid herbs are readily absorbed into the body and can offer rapid support.

ALJ Liquid

ALJ® for Respiratory Support

ALJ is NSP’s top herbal combination for respiratory support. This system relies on proper nutrition to function well. ALJ Liquid is a blend of boneset aerial parts, fenugreek seeds, horseradish root, mullein leaves and fennel seeds in vegetable glycerin. These herbs are used traditionally to nourish the respiratory tract. Fenugreek and mullein support respiratory tissues. Horseradish has a stimulating effect on the system. Fennel offers cleansing properties. Boneset provides nutritional support. Together, these herbs assist the body in maintaining health by nutritional means and encourage the entire respiratory tract to gently cleanse itself. For kids too!

Lymphatic Drainage Boosts the Immune System

The lymph system helps remove waste products from the body, and it transports vital nutrients throughout the body. The herbs in this formula synergize to help disperse lymphatic fluid and improve nutrient absorption. These two steps lead to enhanced immune function. Lymphatic Drainage also supports the circulatory and immune systems. This formula contains cleavers aerial parts, red clover tops, stillingia root and prickly ash bark in vegetable glycerin.

VS-C®—Chinese Wisdom Takes Liquid Form

VS-C is one of NSP’s most popular immune system products. Chinese herbalists call this formula “metalenhancing.” VS-C contains dandelion root, purslane tops, indigo leaves and root, thlaspi whole plant, bupleurum root, scute root, typhonium rhizome, ginseng root, cinnamon twig and licorice root in vegetable glycerin. These herbs create a favorable environment for microbial balance and overall health, support detoxification and promote a healthy respiratory tract. For kids too!

Black Walnut Provides Intestinal Support

Black walnut has been used for thousands of years to support the intestinal system and the skin. Known as an astringent herb, black walnut is rich in tannins, which have beneficial toning properties. Black Walnut hulls (in liquid extract) are cleansing to the body.

Maintain Proper Flow with Kidney Drainage

The kidneys work incredibly hard to filter the blood night and day. Kidney Drainage provides added nutritional support to keep these organs working in top form. Kidney Drainage is comprised of asparagus tops, plantain leaves, juniper berries and goldenrod aerial parts in vegetable glycerin. These herbs help to increase urine production, promote elimination of fluid and maintain proper fluid balance.

Echinacea/Golden Seal Helps Strengthen the Immune System

This liquid herb formula combines the powerful, immune-supporting Echinacea purpurea and E. angustifolia root with golden seal root. Echinacea species are hugely popular for their immune-system benefits and golden seal root has gained popularity in the past decade or two for its ability to help the body maintain immunity. It also offers digestive and circulatory benefits. This combination Echinacea/Golden Seal Liquid has a banana–orange flavor in a glycerin base. (Not for pregnant or lactating women.)

Stress-J—Natural Help for Frazzled Nerves

Many customers find needed nervous system support in one of our Stress-J formulas. This particular combination helps provide relief for occasional stress. It contains passion flower aerial parts, fennel seeds, feverfew aerial parts, hops flowers, chamomile flowers and marshmallow root. For kids too!

Choose from 23 liquid herb formulas available, including extracts of:

See our complete line of liquid herbs.


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