Category Archives: skin
Smoothies can be packed with protein; pre-workout energizers, hydrators, and post-workout recovery accelerators can deliver performance-enhancing nutrients; herbal teas can soothe or energize — all of these beverages have a functional purpose to meet specific wellness needs. And then there’s a less obvious, simple, blender-free drink that serves a mighty wellness-enhancing purpose. Providing more than just hydration, fresh lemon juice and water can deliver surprising benefits.
Starting every morning with a glass of warm lemon water is actually a ritual in Ayurveda or Yogic traditions, used to stimulate digestion for the day and clear the body of any toxins that may have settled in the digestive tract overnight. While it is tricky to apply the strict burden of evidence expected by Western science to traditional practices (often called “folk medicine”) that originated long before modern medical science standards were developed, research on the nutritional elements found in lemons suggests the numerous health benefits traditionally associated with drinking fresh lemon water daily may have merit.
We tend to reach for those warm beverages in the morning like coffee and tea, but try starting your day with some warm lemon water first to kick-start digestion. The water doesn’t always have to be warm, but it should be purified. Simply use half a fresh lemon per large glass of water or to taste and sip throughout the day. On a simple level, fresh lemons take plain old water up a notch. Here are 5 health benefits of drinking lemon water that elevate drinking it for reasons beyond just taste:
1. Support immune function: Lemons are high in antioxidant vitamin C, known for its supportive role in healthy immune function1,2 which may reduce the risk of respiratory infection3. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) found in lemons demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms4,5. Lemons also contain saponins6, which show antimicrobial properties that may help keep cold and flu at bay. Last but not least, ascorbic acid enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function7.
2. Alkalize the body: Although the tartness of a lemon may make them seem acidic, lemons are actually one of the most alkalizing foods for the body. Lemons contain both citric and ascorbic acid, weak acids easily metabolized from the body allowing the mineral content of lemons to help alkalize the blood.
3. Aid digestion: Citrus flavonols8 are believed responsible for lemon’s traditional use as a digestive tonic. Believed to stimulate and purify the liver, lemon juice is traditionally understood to support digestive hydrochloric acid in the stomach further aiding digestion. Vitamin C status has been associated with reduced risk of peptic ulcers caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori9.
4. Clear skin: Vitamin C and other antioxidants in lemons combat free radical damage. Free radical damage — especially as caused by UV exposure and environmental toxins — is responsible for many symptoms of aging. Antioxidant intake can help offset this damage, minimizing wrinkles. Further, lemon juice can be applied topically to scars and age spots to help reduce their appearance. Traditionally used as a liver stimulant, lemon water is also believed to help purge toxins from the blood, helping to keep skin clear of blemishes.
5. Promote healing: Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), found in abundance in lemons, promotes wound healing, and is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of healthy bones, connective tissue, and cartilage10. As noted previously, vitamin C also displays anti-inflammatory properties. Combined, vitamin C is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of good health and recovery from stress and injury
by Brad Chase
(NaturalNews) Aloe vera has been used as a healing agent for centuries. As far back as the days of ancient Egypt, aloe vera was prescribed as “the plant of immortality.” Aloe vera is used to heal a variety of skin conditions, to heal wounds, and as a laxative when consumed internally. Even the FDA approves aloe vera as a food additive.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that aloe vera is being used to treat diabetes, arthritis, epilepsy, and asthma. It is often used topically on burns and sunburns, but is also used to help treat psoriasis. The gel inside the aloe vera plant can be spread directly on the skin, and the leaves can be juiced.
Aloe vera lowers blood glucose and lipid levels and heals skin conditions
The British Journal of General Practice published a medical study in 1999 which reviewed all of the available research done on aloe vera to that time. The researchers found sound evidence that aloe vera could be useful in the treatment of diabetes patients by lowering blood glucose levels. Aloe vera could also help to reduce blood lipid (fat) levels, and possibly help create faster healing times in genital herpes and psoriasis.
Dermatologists find a multitude of clinical uses for aloe vera
By 2008, dermatologists around the world were using aloe vera in numerous applications in the field of cosmetology. The Indian Journal of Dermatology noted over 75 different active components in the aloe vera plant. Aloe vera is full of vitamins and minerals, enzymes, mono and poly-saccharides, and laxative properties. It is antimicrobial, it provides pain relief, and provides fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory. In addition, aloe vera offers wound healing hormones and most of the human body’s required and essential amino acids.
There is scientific documentation that aloe vera is useful for the following health issues: dermatitis, psoriasis, herpes simplex virus-2, burns, type 2 diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and preventing cancer. There is also clinical proof that aloe vera works for ulcerative colitis, some cases of wound healing, radiation burns, acne, frostbite, and constipation.
Traditional literature suggests empirical evidence that aloe vera can also be used in the treatment of alopecia (hair loss and baldness), parasite infections, lupus, and arthritis.
Aloe vera tincture may be used as eye drops
An interesting new use for aloe vera is as eye drops for a variety of eye diseases. Pharmaceutical Biology suggests that an ethanol extract, or tincture, of aloe vera could be used to treat inflammations in the eyes and ailments of the cornea.
Side effects of aloe vera
The side effects of aloe vera are few, and are mostly related to individuals who are allergic to the plant. In sensitive individuals, aloe vera may cause redness or stinging when applied to the skin. When consumed orally, aloe vera may possibly cause abdominal cramps, either diarrhea or increased constipation, or a red tint to urine color. The laxative effect of aloe vera may cause potassium levels to become low.
Aloe vera is not recommended for pregnancy because of the remote possibility of triggering uterine contractions. It is also not recommended for breastfeeding mothers, because it may cause the baby’s gastrointestinal system to become upset.
There is some concern about long-term oral use of aloe vera as a laxative. Rats fed aloe vera for two years, over half of their lifetimes, developed colon cancer in a toxicology study. While no such evidence has occurred clinically in humans, more study is needed to determine any possible risk to ingesting aloe vera over several decades.