Herbs and Supplements

  1. The refreshing way to recharge your brain

    This morning, I shared with you how the general anesthesia used during surgical procedures have been linked to accelerated cognitive decline.

    Of course, it makes sense that something that "knocks you out" might also put a damper on your brain function.

    So, it stands to reason that something that wakes up your senses might also perk up your brain.

    And according to a new study, if you want to save your precious memories, you'll want to open your eyes to one herb in particular.

    I'm talking about spearmint!

    You may know it as the flavoring in your favorite gum or toothpaste, but spearmint can do a lot more than just give you fresh breath. And that's especially true if you're a little on the older side.

    In the study, researchers divided 90 older folks with age-related memory impairments into three groups. Each group took either a high dose of spearmint extract, a low dose of it, or a placebo.

    Compared to those who took the placebo, those who took the higher dose (900 mg) of spearmint extract showed a 15 percent improvement in their memory scores. And all it took was three months!

    More specifically, the spearmint improved their "working memory" (a.k.a. short-term memory), which is what you rely on when you want to remember, say, a phone number or a grocery list for a short period of time.

    And if you've ever walked into a room and forgotten what you went in there for, you know that working memory can fade with age!

    The theory is that spearmint can actually REVERSE oxidative damage to your brain tissue -- which is exactly what it did for mice in a previous study.

    And the polyphenols (plant compounds) in spearmint have been shown to reduce not only inflammation but also your brain levels of an enzyme called "cholinesterase," which is implicated in dementia.

    That means that as we "spring forward," spearmint may help turn the clock BACK on the aging of your brain.

    As a bonus, compared to those in the placebo group, those who took the higher dose of spearmint extract also reported improvements in the ability to fall asleep.

    So, why not add a hint of mint to your day?

    Spearmint extract is widely available at health food stores and online.

    You can also enjoy fresh (ideally organic) spearmint by brewing up a cup of spearmint tea... blending it with basil for a spring pesto... or adding some leaves to Asian soups and stir-fries.

  2. Vitamin D repairs heart damage

    For heart health, let the sunshine in

    Call it Old Faithful.

    Vitamin D has been working its healing powers ever since the first rays of light came out of the sun.

    And with all we already know that D can do, it's clear that we've only begun to scratch the surface.

    This morning, I shared with you how folks who suffer from IBS tend to also be deficient in vitamin D... and how boosting their intake of D tends to make them feel better.

    Well, now I've got another reason for you to bask in the sunshine -- and this one has to do with your heart.

    You see, you may not feel like anything is wrong with your ticker, but over time, you could be experiencing "silent" damage in your chest without even knowing it.

    Maybe it's from decades of low-level stress... or a few too many nights tossing and turning... or a few too many days of your blood sugar going all topsy-turvy on you.

    None of these things may have knocked you down, but they could be wearing down your heart.

    But according to a new study, vitamin D (a.k.a. the "sunshine" vitamin) can actually REVERSE years of wear and tear on your heart!

    In the study, out of Ohio University, researchers put impossibly tiny sensors into human endothelial cells, which are the same type of cells that line your heart and blood vessels.

    After the researchers exposed the cells to vitamin D, something very interesting happened: Concentrations of nitric oxide soared.

    Now, if you've been reading my eTips for a while, you know that nitric oxide (NO) increases all-important blood flow to every part of your body, including your heart.

    And in the study, that NO boost from vitamin D actually REPAIRED damaged heart cells -- and even regenerated cells that were beyond repair.

    What's more, vitamin D also protected the cells from further damage by working as an antioxidant, countering oxidative stress (a common repercussion of stress and diabetes).

    No wonder that vitamin D has previously been proven to reduce your risk of a heart attack!

    So, show your heart -- and the rest of your body -- some love by beefing up your stores of vitamin D.

    Your body naturally makes D when UV rays from the sun hit your skin, so spending about 20 minutes in the sun (without sunscreen) each day should do the trick.

    You can even do some exercise outside -- because studies have shown that combining vitamin D with exercise is more beneficial for your heart than either one on its own.

    But if it's often cloudy in your neck of the woods, you can also boost your intake by eating vitamin D-rich foods like fatty fish, egg yolks, and mushrooms.

    And since it gets harder to absorb nutrients from both the sun AND your food as we age, it's always a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement.

    Just make sure it's the natural form (vitamin D3) rather than synthetic D2.

  3. Vitamin D eases IBS symptoms

    Bask in the sunshine to soothe your gut When you've got irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), getting out the door each morning can be a non-starter. Between your dietary restrictions... painful cramps... and the urge to dash to the toilet... it probably feels safer to stick close to home. But if you stay inside all day, you could be missing out...
  4. Deadly flu season is still in high gear

    Turn to Mother Nature for the best protection Well, it's finally March. Spring is officially just three weeks away. But winter isn't quite behind us yet -- and it's shaping up to be one of the deadliest flu seasons EVER. This year's round of the flu has put more folks into the hospital than ANY other season this decade. And...
  5. Essential oils from plants fight superbugs

    This superpower makes plants more essential than pills Picture it. You're laid up in the hospital with a nasty infection... and the docs tell you that there's NO drug that can cure what you've got. Even worse? It's a bug you caught while you were in the hospital for SOMETHING ELSE! It sounds like a doomsday future -- but that...
  6. Nitric oxide improves blood flow

    Gravity’s out for BLOOD Q: My husband feels dizzy for quite a long time after having an orgasm. What can we do? GR: Now, when one of my patients comes to me complaining of dizzy spells, one of the first things I do is look at which medications they’re taking. There are plenty that can make folks feel lightheaded –...
  7. Vitamins and omega-3s can reverse diabetes

    A surprising new reason to take your vitamins These days, diabetes is so common -- and so often treated with drugs -- that getting diagnosed with it can seem like no big deal. You've got high blood sugar... you need to control it... there's a pill for that... end of story. But dealing with diabetes is rarely that simple. The...
  8. Chamomile extract and amber glasses ease insomnia

    Two new tricks to help you sleep like a baby When you've tossed and turned all night, getting through the next day can be just plain AWFUL. You feel tired and cranky... your brain doesn't fire on all cylinders... and you might get walloped with a pounding headache. Hopefully, you'll be sawing logs again the following night. But if insomnia...
  9. Ginkgo biloba aids stroke recovery

    Harvest the brain benefits of this miracle tree It's one of the most ancient trees on earth... it can live to be 1,000 years old... and it could help YOU live a longer and healthier life. I'm talking about ginkgo biloba. The fan-shaped leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree have been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine for everything...
  10. Natural sugar xylitol alleviates dry mouth

    Douse dry mouth with the help of this all-natural sugar Q: I am awakened every night with a very dry mouth. Flax oil helps some, but can you suggest aother solution? GR: You may not give saliva much thought -- IF you've got enough of it. We desperately need for breaking down the foods we eat... and preventing bacteria from...

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