Tag Archives: anti-ageing

Looking for longevity…

Maybe it is the fact it is the beginning of a new year, or perhaps it has something to do with packing away the Christmas decorations for another year.  Whatever it is, I am thinking about things in a long term way, and I am trying to extend that long term for as long as possible.

longevity

I have been putting away my Christmas pressies as part of undecorating the house from the festivities and one of my presents was from my lovely hubby who bought me a book called “Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health” by Rosemary Gladstar.  The boy knows me well.  Perfect present, right up my street.  So, in the bid for longevity of this blog, I decided I would do what I did for the month of November and plan out my blogs from here until Easter.  I am also borrowing from the #NaBloWriMo methodology I employed, and I am going to base my blog posts on the contents of this very book.  There will be interesting snippets to share and recipes for herbal treatments, combined with some extra research from me, and maybe the odd snippet about the rest of what is going on in my life.  The one thing I will not be doing is posting every day.  That nearly wiped me out entirely, and with the stuff I have planned for the rest of this year, I am not really going to have the time to write a blog every day.  So, I am going to attempt to blog regularly, three times a week, but maybe not always on the same days or at the same time.  2015 is looking like it is going to be really, really busy… so my devoted readers are now on notice!

book pressie

Handily enough, there is a section in the “Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health” book about herbs which help with longevity.  It is interesting that the author states that herbs which help to increase life expectancy tend to be related to the Eastern style of herbal medicine.  Her argument is that the Western and Native American herbal traditions were effectively stamped out due to persecution of those who were skilled in the herbal lore – be that because they were condemned by the Inquisition, or were deemed to be witches or whatever – whereas the traditions in the Orient and India were effectively handed down via oral tradition.  I know that a lot of the herbal traditions of Europe have been lost, but instead of dwelling on the negative, let’s see if there are some herbs which help to extend life, or at least increase the verve and vigour for life.

My research indicates that western herbal medicine says that herbs for longevity are mostly about being a tonic.  That really means that the herb is taken in small amounts and over long periods of time.  It is not intended to alter or effect any symptom particularly, but rather it is meant to give long term benefits.  Ideally, the tonic will nourish the mind, body and spirit… but to be honest, I will take something that can guarantee to banish the colds and coughs flying around at this time of year.

fire cider

In this spirit then, here is a recipe for a Fire Cider.  This is a tonic designed to “light your fires”…. judging by the ingredients, they are not kidding.  No open flames around your mouth after drinking some of this stuff!!  You take half a cup of chopped ginseng root, either fresh or dried, a quarter of a cup of grated ginger root, a quarter of a cup of grated horseradish, an eighth of a cup of chopped garlic and cayenne pepper to taste.  You place all of these items into a glass jar, pour in enough apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs by an inch or to and then seal tightly.  You need to let this mix sit for 4 weeks.  After this time, strain out the herbs and sweeten with agave nectar or honey to your own taste.  I would suggest a tablespoon of the mixture daily ought to be enough to put some pep in your step… but perhaps I might suggest brushing your teeth after imbibing!!  Though I do understand that it makes a very nice salad dressing, so that might be another way of taking your longevity tonic!

Let me know if you have any success with the fire cider.  But one health warning…. do NOT sniff the grated horseradish root… it is very, very powerful and extremely tear inducing.  Great at clearing the sinuses… but… OUCH!

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Our next wonder herb is Mint!

I think Mint might be the first thing I ever grew in any garden I was responsible for.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of it’s thuggish nature, and put one small plant in the soil expecting it to bush out and provide me with a lot of leaves for my purposes.  It certainly provided me with lots of leaves, but it spreads through the garden like wildfire.  If you do plant mint in your garden, make sure you plant it in a nice big pot to contain it slightly.  And if it spreads out of those bounds… get it.  Otherwise Mint will become the bane of your gardening life!!

mint 2

Mint is a perennial herb, with a creeping habit (see thuggish behaviour described above!) and it grows anywhere and everywhere.  You use the leaves when you cook or medicate with it, as the stalk is a bit woody and the flowers don’t really have much to offer the party.  Except bees.  Bees love the mint flowers.  Mint leaves are packed with phytochemicals and that is a very good thing indeed.  Phytochemicals are powerful anti-oxidants staving off illness and even slowing the rate of ageing.  They also have a strong anti-inflammatory effect.

 

Mint is anti-bacterial.  It helps prevent infections of all kinds.  Bacteria, fungi and yeast are all killed by mint, and there is even some research to indicate that viruses aren’t very pleased if you use mint against them.  I am loathe to say that it is an anti viral herb, because that would be a very rare herb indeed, and I don’t want you to think that if you have a virus, mint will sort it out.  It’s good, but I fear it is not that good.

mint plant

Most people know that a cup of mint tea (made with a sprig of mint with 4 or 5 leaves on it and boiling water poured over it, and then steeped for 3 to 4 minutes) is a fantastic way of completing a meal.  Particularly if that meal as been quite rich and quite large.  Mint is a fabulous digestive calmative, it prevents spasms in the intestines and it has been shown to help with symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

mint tea

A topical application of mint essential oil, which has a large component of menthol, has been shown to be effective in controlling the pain of headaches and some injuries.  It can help calm travel sickness, and it may even help those who suffer from allergic reactions.  Mint is a fabulous addition to your skin routine (antibacterial = anti acne!), would make a fine ingredient for a homemade mouthwash, and if you want to cut down on your salt intake, flavour your food with mint.  Salt and mint really do not work together, so the more minty it is, the less salty you want it to be.

mint imperials

It doesn’t matter whether you use peppermint or spearmint, the important bit is the mint.  Unfortunately, this does not mean you can go out and stuff your pockets with Mint Imperials, Candy canes or Wrigley’s Double Mint Gum.  Sweeties are not the best way of taking in the chemicals of mint.  Go straight from the plant.

Going back. Again.

Today, I start back at the gym.  I gave up going to the gym back in November when I got ill, with that we think was glandular fever.  I am heading back to the gym, like lots of other people, after the post-Christmas New Year’s Resolution rush to get fit.  My plan is to use the combination of exercise and portion control to get fighting fit in preparation for becoming a Mum via adoption.

50 reasons

On the basis that if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got, I am searching for Motivation to help me when I get the inevitable attack of the CBAs (Can’t be Asked).  Where do I go for short sharp inspiration?  My favourite Pinterest of course!  It came up with the goods.  50 reasons to exercise.  I won’t trail through the whole 50, because otherwise I will spend all my day at the computer, and not go to the gym!  Here, instead, are the edited highlights.

 

Exercise makes you feel happier through the release of endorphins.  It improves your self esteem, because you are achieving something as well as making yourself look better.  If you are studying and want to boost you learning, then get with your books and get on the stationary bike!  Exercise lifts your mood, keeps your brain fit, reduces stress and boosts your immune system.

exercise advice

It also apparently has anti-ageing effects and boosts your creative thinking.  It improves sleeping patterns, helps to control addictions, improves your eating habits and improves your posture.  Exercise can also keep you focussed in life and strengthens your bones.

 

If you exercise regularly, your cholesterol levels improve, you lower your risk of certain cancers, you can lower high blood pressure without resorting to drugs, it reduces your risk of diabetes, can fight the onset of dementia, eases back pain and decreases the risk of osteoporosis.

exercise

Some obvious ones now.  Exercise increases your energy and endurance, improves sport performance, improves pain resistance and lessens fatigue.  Also, aerobic exercise improves oxygen supply to blood cells.

 

Do I think that these reasons will help motivate me?  Well, hopefully.  I also need to keep my eye on the prize;  I want to feel like I have the energy to keep up with a small person (or people) when they come into my life.  I also want to feel better about myself.  But the main thing I have to remember is to break the habit of a lifetime and not do too much, too soon and burn up or burn out.

pool

So, on that note, I am off to try out the exercise bikes (slowly), maybe the treadmills (for some walking) and get in the pool and do some lengths.  After all that, I am going to treat myself to a sit in the steam room!