just say no to synthetic vitamins and processed food



For some time now there has been a sort of gross reductionism going on in the field of health and nutrition. Part of it is due to the type of research being done, and the way that it is interpreted to serve the corporations sponsoring it. Specific nutrients that are shown to be beneficial in clinical studies are isolated, often in synthetic form, and heralded as new weapon against cancer, heart disease, old age, etc.

There are some rather disturbing marketing trends going on right now that are geared towards women and children. Television and print advertisments show smiling, athletic women racing from one place to the next while nibbling on a "just for women" candy bar that has been "fortified with a bunch of synthetic vitamins and minerals as well as a whole host of other artificial addditives and preservatives.

Children have 'fortified juices, cereals, ceral bars, and even flouridated 'nursery water'.

What these ad campaigns don't show is no matter how fancy these products are dressed up and displayed, they are still dead, processed foods that may contain harmful ingredients like hydrogenated oils, preservatives, and neurotoxins.

Even in the field of "alternative health" we find this same sort of reductionism going on. Herbal compounds are isolated, extracted and ingested in inappropriate quantities, without the synergy that the whole plant provides.

We've all heard the alarming research showing that a specific herb has been found to be toxic - comfrey, ephedra, kava, etc. Yet somehow Native peoples managed to use these herbs very successfully for many generations. Many of us still do. There is something to be said for using plants and foods in their whole forms and for cultivating a relationship with the different energies offered by the plants around us.

It's very hard to improve on a diet of wild foods and herbs. Well-nourished bodies and minds enjoy balnaced hormones and hearty immune systems.

Many of us commonly turn to herbs in times of imbalance - but the use of herbs can also be a wonderful preventative ally. Daily infusions of nourishing herbs such as nettle, raspberry leaf, oatstraw,and lemon balm are a wonderful way to add extra nutrients to your diet.

I say we trade in the food labels showing the isolated synthetic ingredients provided in the de-natured, processed products for a diet rich in wild foods and nourishing herbs.

Unlike synthetic pills, daily herbal infusions provide essential nutrients in a highly assimilable form.

Vitamins & minerals are abundant in many common herbs:

~VITAMINS~

VITAMIN A Enhances immunity, prevents eye problems and skin disorders. Important in bone and teeth formation. Protects against colds and infection. Slows aging process.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, borage leaves, burdock root, cayenne, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, hops, horsetail, kelp, lemongrass, mullein, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, plantain, raspberry leaves, red clover, rose hips, sage, uva ursi, violet leaves, watercress, yellow dock. VITAMIN B1 (Thiamine) Promotes growth, improves mental attitude, aids digestion, helps strengthen nervous system and prevent stress.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, bladder wrack, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, hops, nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaves, red clover, rose hips, sage, yarrow, and yellow dock. VITAMIN B2 (Riboflavin) Needed for red blood cell formation, aids growth and reproduction, promotes hair, skin and nail growth. Important in the prevention and treatment of cataracts.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, bladder wrack, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, ginseng, hops, horsetail, mullein, nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaves, red clover, rose hips, sage, yellow dock. VITAMIN B3(Niacin) Essential for proper circulation and healthy skin. Increases energy, aids digestion, helps prevent migranes.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, hops, licorice, mullein, nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hips, slippery elm, yellow dock. VITAMIN B5 (Panothenic Acid) Enhances stamina, prevents anemia, helps wounds heal, fights infection, strengthens immune system.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, nettle, yellow dock. VITAMIN B6 (Pyridoxine) Needed to produce hydrochloric acid. Aids in absorption of fats, and protein. Mildly diuretic, helps prevent kidney stones. Helpful in treating allergies, arthritis, and asthma.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, catnip, oat straw. VITAMIN B12 (cyanocobalamin) Helps prevent anemia. Protects nervous system, improves concentration, aids digestion.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, bladder wrack, hops. VITAMIN C (ascorbic acid) Helps calcium and iron formation. Enhances immunity. Helps prevent cancer. Aids in production of anti-stress hormones. Antioxidant required for proper tissue growth and repair, and adrenal gland function.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, cayenne, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, hops, horsetail, kelp, peppermint, mullein, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, pine needle, plantain, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hips, skullcap, violet leaves, yarrow, yellow dock. VITAMIN D Essential for calcium and phosphorous utilization. Prevents rickets. Needed for normal growth of bones and teeth. Helps regulate heartbeat. Prevents cancer and enhances immunity. Aids thyroid function and blood clotting.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, horsetail, nettle, parsley. VITAMIN E Antioxidant which helps prevent cancer and heart disease. Prevents cell damage. Reduces blood pressure and promotes healthy skin and hair.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, bladder wrack, dandelion, dong quai, flaxseed, nettle, oat straw, raspberry leaf, rose hips. VITAMIN K Promotes healthy liver function. Helps bone formation and repair. Increases longevity. HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, green tea, kelp, nettle, oat straw, shepherds purse.

~MINERALS~

CALCIUM Builds and protects bones and teeth. Helps maintain regular heartbeat. Prevents muscle cramping.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, chicory, dandelion, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, flaxseed, hops, horsetail, kelp, lemongrass, mullein, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, plantain, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hips, shepherd's purse, violet leaves, yarrow, yellow dock. CHROMIUM Vital in the synthesis of glucose and the metabolism of cholesterol, fats and proteins. Maintains blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

HERBAL SOURCES: Catnip, horsetail, licorice, nettle, oat straw, red clover, sarsaparilla, wild yam, yarrow. COPPER Converts iron to hemoglobin. Protects against anemia. Needed for healthy bones and joints.

HERBAL SOURCES: Sheep sorrel. GERMANIUM Helps fight pain, detoxify the body, and keep immune system functioning properly.

HERBAL SOURCES: Aloe vera, comfrey, ginseng, suma. IODINE Needed in trace amounts for a healthy thyroid gland , and to help metabolize excess fat.

HERBAL SOURCES: Calendula, tarragon leaves, turkey rhubarb. IRON Essential for metabolism, and the production of hemoglobin.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, chicory, dandelion, dong quai, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, horsetail, kelp, lemongrass, licorice, milk thistle seed, mullein, nettle, oatstraw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, plantain, raspberry leaf, rose hips, sarsaparilla, shepherd's purse, uva ursi, yellow dock. MAGNESIUM Prevents calcification of soft tissue. Helps reduce and dissolve calcium phosphate kidney stones. Helps prevent birth defects. Improves cardiovascular system.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, bladder wrack, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, dandelion, eyebright, fennel, fenugreek, hops, horsetail, lemongrass, licorice, mullein, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf, red clover, sage, shepherd's purse, yarrow, yellow dock. MANGANESE Minute quantities of this mineral are needed for healthy nerves, blood sugar regulation, normal bone growth, and thyroid hormone production.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, chamomile, chickweed, dandelion, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, ginseng, hops, horsetail, lemongrass, mullein, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hip, wild yam, yarrow, yellow dock. MOLYBDENUM Small amounts of this mineral are required for nitrogen metabolism. Supports bone growth, and strengthens teeth.

HERBAL SOURCES: Red clover blossoms. PHOSPHOROUS Needed for teeth and bone formation, nerve impulse transfer, normal heart rhythm, and kidney function.

HERBAL SOURCES: Burdock root, turkey rhubarb, slippery elm bark. POTASSIUM Regulates water balance, and muscle function. Important for health nervous system and regular heart rhythm.

HERBAL SOURCES: Catnip, hops, horsetail, nettle, plantain, red clover, sage, skullcap. SELENIUM Provides an important trace element for prostrate gland in males. Protects immune system and helps regulate thyroid hormones.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, fennel seed, ginseng, garlic, hawthorn berry, hops, horsetail, lemongrass, milk thistle nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf, rose hips, sarsaparilla, uva ursi, yarrow, yellow dock. SULFUR This mineral helps skin and hair. Fights bacterial infection. Aids liver function. Disinfects blood. Protects against toxic substances.

HERBAL SOURCES: Horsetail. VANADIUM Needed for cellular metabolism and formation of bones and teeth. Improves insulin utilization.

HERBAL SOURCES: Dill. ZINC Promotes growth and mental alertness. Accelerates healing. Regulates oil glands. Promotes healthy immune system, and healing of wounds.

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, dandelion, eyebright, fennel seed, hops, milk thistle, mullein, nettle, parsley, rose hips, sage, sarsaparilla, skullcap, wild yam. Nourishing Daily Brews Daily infusions of nourishing herbs such as nettle, raspberry leaf, oatstraw,and lemon balm are a wonderful way to add extra nutrients to your diet. Children and toddlers can benefit from them as a healthy alternative to sugary juice drinks. Herbs that help tame stress and anxiety can also play a huge part in keeping our systems in balance. A convenient way to prepare your daily brews is to make them in the evening and let them steep overnight. In the morning you can strain out the plant material and refrigerate your infusion if desired, or carry it with you to drink throughout the day.



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