Archive for October, 2010

“Fire, burn; and cauldron, bubble.”

 

“Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,…
–Macbeth (IV, i, 14-17)

Eww! Those three witches from Macbeth used these creepy ingredients (and many others) to stir a cauldron full of darkness, chaos, and conflict. This vile recipe makes me shudder with disgust. Yecch!

But did you know that these were actually century-old nicknames for herbs? “Eye of Newt” is actually a type of mustard seed. Yellow, with a black spot, it looked like a newt’s eye. “Toe of Frog” (or “Frog’s Foot”)? Bulbous buttercup (has a bulb at the base of its stem). “Wool of Bat”? Holly (its leaves look a bit like bat’s wings).“Tongue of Dog”? A plant called Hound’s Tongue (its leaves look and feel like a dog’s tongue-pictured).

Long ago, herbalists and midwives used these vividly descriptive (some would say magical) names for these plants. Many healers couldn’t’ read, so to make it easier to pass the knowledge along, these names were used instead. Just imagine having to remember these four ingredients by their botanical names: Brassica spp., Ranunculus bulbosus, Ilex aquifoleum, and Cynoglossum officinale!

Nowadays, many of these herbs can be grown at home or purchased from herbal shops and natural food stores. Maybe you’ve seen or even used some of these. “Erba Santa Maria” is Spearmint (makes a yummy tea).  “Jupiter’s Nut” is Walnut. “Palma Christi” isCastor (as in castor oil). “Seed of Horus” is Horehound (An expectorant, often found in syrups and candied. In ointment, it’s used for wounds too). “Witches’ Aspirin” is White willow bark (contains substances related to aspirin).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Many herbs and their products are NOT to be taken internally. Traditionally, some plants were eaten or used in teas and infusions, and some were applied as balms, baths, and wraps. Sometimes they were burned as incense (the smoke was said to make prayers visible). Some were simply carried as adornments or charms, according to folklore (for example, “Five Finger Grass” or cinquefoil, is said to attract money when its tiny leaves are carried in a wallet or purse. Hmm….)

In any case, remember that not all herbs or plant products are safe to eat or drink, just because they are “natural”.

At Vita Nutritionals®, we make no claims of magic or miracles with our products. You won’t find “knuckle of this” or “tail of that”. We simply provide the best supplements available. QUALITY ingredients, backed by SCIENCE—that’s what we do.

Hope you had fun with this bit of herbal folklore. May your cauldron bubble over with supreme wellness and vitality! Have a happy, safe, and HEALTHY Halloween!

“Double, double, toil and trouble;

Fire, burn; and cauldron, bubble.”

–Macbeth (IV, i, 10-11)

 

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Flu Season

Your head aches, and so does every muscle in your body. You’re cold one minute and hot the next. Your throat is scratchy and you’re starting to cough. You might be coming down with the flu, the common name for influenza, a virus that infects the respiratory system.

If you get the flu, you’ll have lots of company. Each year from November to April, across the United States, as many as 60 million people come down with the flu. Although kids get the flu most often, people in every age group can catch it.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 35 to 50 million Americans come down with the flu during each flu season, more than 100,000 people are hospitalized and more than 20,000 people die from the flu and its complications every year.

The best way to combat the flu on a daily basis is to keep your immune system strong, using products like the Vita Nutritionals® Immune Science. In addition to a good immune product, the CDC recommends the following:

Get the flu vaccine. It’s the best way to protect your self against the flu.  Getting vaccinated doesn’t just protect your own health. It also helps the people around you because there’s less chance you’ll catch the flu and pass it on. I usually just go to my local drugstore to get one.

Wash your hands often.  Hand washing is an important line of defense against germs like flu viruses. Why? The body takes about 2 weeks to build immunity after a flu vaccine and even a vaccine isn’t foolproof if a new strain of virus starts making the rounds. It’s best to use an anti-bacterial soap too! Not as good, but better than nothing, is an anti-bacterial gel – keep some in your purse, pocket, and desk drawer.

Keep your distance if someone is sick (coughing, sneezing, etc.). Flu viruses travel through the air, so try to stay away from people who look sick. It’s also a good idea to avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth — three places flu viruses can easily enter the body. “I love you too honey, but I’ll give you a goodnight kiss next week…”

Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow — not into your hands. That way, you’re not spreading the virus when you touch surfaces that other people may touch too. 

Stay home if you have the flu. You don’t want to pass your germs to someone else (even though it may be tempting!). Staying home is a great excuse to curl up and watch your favorite movie, play video games, or read. Rest can help the body recover faster and you get to stay in your PJ’s.

Other Immune boosters are: getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods (including five or more servings of fruits and veggies a day!), drinking plenty of fluids, and regular intake of an immune support product .  Visit us at www.vitanutritionals.com to order your Immune Science product today and receive a discount by entering promo code BL1010.

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Pumpkin

With Fall upon us, ‘tis the season for pumpkins! My family loves this time of year and we have pumpkins of all sizes around the house. My kids paint the little ones and then we carve larger ones with fun faces.  We also eat pumpkin in many different ways! There’s pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, and of course, pumpkin pie. I also found some yummy looking recipes for pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin pancakes! A lot of us treasure this season just so we can eat that delicious stuff, but did you know all of the wonderful things pumpkin can do for your body? Pumpkins taste great and are a great source of fiber, vitamins C and E, and potassium. They are also chock full of caratenoid pigments like alpha-carotene, along with beta carotene and lutein. There are many benefits pumpkin provides, such as cholesterol lowering, bone health, kidney stone prevention, anti-inflammatory benefits, and anti-oxidative properties. Pumpkin seeds have many health benefits too, some of which include a good source of protein, zinc, and other vitamins, and are even said to lower cholesterol. One gram of pumpkin seed protein contains as much tryptophan as a full glass of milk. Pumpkin seed oil contains fatty acids that help maintain healthy blood vessels and nerves, and are loaded with essential fatty acids that help to maintain healthy blood vessels, nerves and tissues.

Perhaps the most noteworthy of the benefits of pumpkin are specific to prostate health.  Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH), which involves an enlarged prostate, commonly affects men over the age of 50. The components in pumpkin seed oil interrupt the chain of events that cause the enlargement, and provide potential prostate benefits. The carotenoids and omega-3 fats found in pumpkin seeds are also being studied for their potential prostate benefits, as men with higher quantities of carotenoids in their diet are less prone to suffer from BPH.

 

Men can get a daily pumpkin fix with the Vita Nutritionals® products Superior Wellness for Men and Daily Prostate! And women can eat all the pumpkin dishes this season and know you’re getting some healthy stuff too!

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