Thursday, June 7, 2012


     St. John’s Wort is a strange name for an herb.  It is said to be an antidepressant and good for reducing stress.  Now this is something that we can all use.  As a caregiver, you know what stress can do.  This is an herb that might just help relieve nagging stress.  It is available as dried leaves and flowers,concentrated liquid, extract, oil, ointment, capsules and prepared tea.  Studies have found that St. John’s Wart might help relieve mild depression and anxiety.  Try a cup of tea made from one to two teaspoons of this dried herb in a cup of boiling water, steep for fifteen minutes.  If you are sensitive to the sun, be sure to check with your doctor before using this herb.  Also if you are taking a prescription antidepressant, be sure to get your doctor’s approval before using it.
     If you need a boost in the afternoon, try yogurt and fruit to give you a spurt of energy.  This snack contains just the right balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat to provide the energy you need to get through the day.  About eight ounces of yogurt and fruit should do the trick.
     If you are feeling blue, take a leaf out of Popeye’s book and eat your spinach.  It is thought that a deficiency of folic acid may cause depression.  Eat one cup of spinach a day to get your folic acid.  You need about 180 micrograms a day.  You can get additional folic acid from munching on leafy green vegetables, whole wheat foods, peas and beans.
     How about a cup of dandelion tea?  It is said that it will help you lose weight.  It may not be good for the lawn, but it’s good for you.  It is high in natural potassium, vitamin A. calcium and iron. The root and leaf are both known to build and restore energy and aid digestion.  In tea form, it serves as a mild diuretic and helps the body flush out the kidneys, eliminating excess fluid and, of course, weight.
     For a simple upset stomach, try a handful of dried blueberries.  They contain both an antibacterial compound and a sticky substance that soothes your tummy.  Take about two teaspoons of dried berries and wash them down with a little water.  Be sure to use dried blueberries they are the best.
     Of course, everyone has heard that chicken soup is good for colds, but have you tried spicy food for nasal stuffiness?  It works.  They say that bananas help heartburn and cranberry juice is good for a urinary tract infection.  Did you know that chocolate is good for the blues?  Sounds good to me.
     There are some combinations of herbs that could take the place of prescription drugs.  When I was researching herbs for my husband, I found that a combination of valerian, skullcap and hops helps with insomnia.  Valerian is said to be a tranquilizer, while skullcap relaxes the mind.  Hops help with restlessness and act as a nervine for insomnia.  Of course, always check with your physician first.
     Papaya, ginger, peppermint and wild yam are good for the digestive system.  I have tried chewing papaya pills to help with heartburn.  It works like a charm and it won’t hurt you---besides it tastes good.
     There are natural foods that can be eaten to help some complaints.  Apricots are rich in minerals, especially iron, and so are raisins.  They are also good for constipation.  They are high vitamin A and they are good for the blood and skin.
     Blackberries are good for diarrhea and help cleanse the colon.
     Grapes are a good blood builder, very good for anemia and are said to be an anti-tumor food.
     Try some of these.  They may make a difference in your life.  These are all nutritious snacks for your patients too.  They’re worth a try, but check with your doctor before beginning to take any herbs or vitamins or giving them to your patient.

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