5 Questions You should Ask before using Stinging Nettle

Urtica dioica L., of the Urticaceae family, is commonly known as a stinging nettle or burn nettle. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) has a long history of usage since the ancient’s time. Currently, this leaf has received attention as a source of fiber and alternative medicine. In many cultures, nettle is also eaten as a leafy vegetable. People use nettle for a wide variety of ailments, both in traditional and modern medicine. The nettle plant is used for bladder and kidney disorders, various allergies, anemia, internal bleeding, osteoarthritis, and musculoskeletal aches.  In this post, I will share with you 5 things you need to know about ingredients, traditional usages, the dose and how to use nettle at home. As the information about nettle is enormous I will discuss more in coming post. The post will discuss the health benefits with clinical evidence support and side effects of nettle. Now let’s look at some questions you might have about nettle.

1. What are key ingredients in Nettle?

The nettle’s key components are vitamin A, calcium, carotene, beta-sitosterol, quercetin, rutin, and kaempferol. Both raw and cooked nettle have the rich sources of mineral, vitamins, minerals and protein. Using 100 gram of cooked or blanched nettle supplies you 100% of Vitamin A (including vitamin A as β-carotene), 40% of Calcium, 10% of Iron, and 20% of dietary fiber.
Besides, this leaf is rich in fatty acid, carotenoid, and Omega-3. Researchers find fatty acid and carotenoid content in leaf, stem, root, and seed of nettle. The amount of amino acid in nettle is higher than most other leafy vegetables. The Amino acid in nettle is higher than almond (dry), common bean and chicken. Nettle leaves are rich in α-linolenic acid, the predominant fatty acid, and seeds are richer in linoleic acid. The Omega-3 fatty in nettle is the same with treated frozen spinach. The total carbohydrate in fresh and cooked nettle (4.2%–16.5%) is lower than spinach (66.6%–78.9%).
Nettle leaf contains nine carotenoids. This leaf has high levels of lutein, lutein isomers, β-carotene and β-carotene isomers. Nettle leaf at maturity stages also contains Neoxanthin, violaxanthin, and lycopene.

Modern science has found many of the key elements in the stinging nettle that make it useful as a medicine. Nettle plant has approximately fifty active chemical compounds. These are including simple phenols, triterpene acids, lignans, hydroxyl fatty acids. Most of the medicinal uses of nettle come from chemicals located in the stinging hairs of the plant and the root.
2. What are the benefits of nettle?

  • Mineral and nutrient-rich food:  You can use nettle as a fresh vegetable in soups, pizza or cakes. Nettle is easy growing and it can be mineral-rich diets for poor and undernourished populations.
  • Healthy Drink: Making fresh or dry nettle tea for tonic water and healthy drinks. Nettle tea can work as spring tonic water as the leaf contains the high amount of antioxidant. Nettle tea is used for disorders of the kidneys, urinary tract, and gastrointestinal tract. The nettle tea also can support your skin, cardiovascular system, hemorrhage, flu, rheumatism, and gout.
  • Medical application: Currently researchers have focused on using nettle as the alternative medicine and fiber. In 1980’s, clinical trials have confirmed the effectiveness of nettle root and saw palmetto fruit extracts to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Dried nettle leaf preparations are also known to reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis or asthma.
  • Technology for granulating lipophilic leaf extracts for medicine has been developed. As many valuable nettle’s chemicals are located in the stinging hairs of the plant. Nettle leaf extract contains active compounds that reduce TNF-α and other inflammatory cytokines.
  • Textile fiber: scientists in Italy have confirmed the potential of using nettle as a sustainable source of textile fiber.

3. How to harvest and store the nettle for winter time?

The best time for you to pick up nettle shoots is before flowering. You can use young nettle shoots as a potherb or spinach alternative. The nettle leaves on stems are tender enough to eat when the nettle grow up to 25 cm from the growing point. But the stems will become woody about 4 cm away from the growing point (29 cm). You will need to separate the tender tip (approx. 4 cm and leaves) from the woody stem before cooking.
First, you can boil the leave in water to remove the stinging chemicals for 7-10 minutes. Nettle has an intense grass-like taste and you can add it to soups and pies as in Finland. You can also combine it with others greens (spinach, sorrel, onions, and spices). In Greece, people will fry nettles, eggs with butter or fried it with olive oil and garlic.  
Freeze the nettle you need to boil them in water, pack and store them in the freezer to keep them fresh.
If you want to dry nettle for winter time, try to collect the nettle roots. Nettle roots grow on the surface of the land not so deep but it grows in a group and around under the stem. Use plastic gloves to collect nettle and its roots; it will help you from the stinging hairs. After harvesting, you can dry them in a cool place away from the sun and store them in tight jars for winter time.

You can also use nettle water as a shampoo to control dandruff and make hair glossier.

4. How to brew fresh & dried nettle leaf tea?

You can boil nettle leaf as a green leaf and also can use the boiling water as a tonic herbal tea.The nettle tea is tasty, fresh and healthy. You can add some lemon juice and honey in your nettle leaf tea. The lemon will enhance absorption of minerals.

As a research in the International Journal of Food Science in 2013, the best time to boil the nettle is between 7-9 minutes. In the research, scientists found that after different acid and amino acid in nettle leaves will reach a peak at 6.7-10 minutes. After 11 minutes of cooking, all amino acid in nettle goes to 0. I did experiments by cooking nettle for 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and 12 minutes. After 2 minutes nettle looked lively, scary with full of hairs. With 5 minutes the nettle tea still drinkable, but there were small hairs in the water. These hairs made a bit itchy in my lips and mouth when you drink it. At 12 minutes the water is thicker than normal water with full of medical or drug smell. So that I will cook my nettle around 7 minutes next time to keep the antioxidant and amino acid in the tea.  
5. What are dosages for nettle?

There is no formal dosage for nettle, and here is the nettles dosages information I collected. In Germany Commission E people recommend 4-6 g/day cut root for symptoms of BPH, doses up to 18 g/day. In some researches people use the daily dosages are 360 mg aqueous extract, 460 mg dried extract, and 600 mg freeze-dried nettle. Here are some more detail dosages

DOSAGES FOR THE NETTLE LEAF

  • In one research, people used 50 g stewed nettle leaf daily for rheumatic conditions.
  • Dry extract: 0.6-2.1 g/day in divided doses
  • Liquid extracts (1:2): 2-6 mL/day.
  • People also use 1 tablespoon nettle juice (15 mL) in 4-6 oz water three times daily.
  • Tincture of the leaf or root with a dose of 1/2-1 tsp (2-5 mL) three times daily, or as part of a formula with other herbs.

DOSAGES FOR NETTLE’S ROOT

  • German Commission E recommend 4-6 g/day cut root for symptoms of BPH. Some research uses doses up to 18 g/day for BPH.

I use 50 grams of fresh nettle for one person in cooking and brew 2-4 gram of dried nettle leaf and root for 1 cups of tea. If you use the nettle leaf extract or other extracted products, ask your doctors for advice before using it.
Nettle has been used as a food for many thousand years. Fresh and processed nettle have high-protein, low-calorie source of essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. The fresh nettle has formic acid, mucilage, mineral salts, ammonia, carbonic acid and water. The nettle works as high nutrient and vitamin foods. But nowadays scientists focus more on medical and fiber applications. I like the fresh taste of nettle and its huge health benefits. But when using this leaf you should pay attention to the dosages. Ask your doctors for advice before using this leave. I will discuss more the health benefits and side effects of nettle in my coming post. I hope you are not getting bored with this long and too much information post. Let’s me know what do you think about the nettle leaf. See you soon in my next post about health benefits and side effects of nettle leaf.

If you like to read more about nettle here are quite interesting links more about it:

Mineral Properties and Dietary Value of Raw and Processed Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica L.)


4 Easy Rosemary Tea Recipes and How to Make


Rosemary is a member of the mint family. This herb has a good source of fiber, iron and contains antioxidants: carnosic acid and carnosol. Rosemary also contains many phytochemicals like rosmarinic acid, camphor, caffeic acid, ursolic acid, and betulinic acid. Rosemary’s natural chemicals act as stimulants to support your memory. You can use rosemary tea as an herbal remedy to support the brain. The rosemary is also mood enhancing, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and stimulating. We will discuss the health benefits and the side effect of rosemary later. But today I want to share with you 4 healthy rosemary tea recipes I have collected. These recipes are delicious, easy and take short time to brew within five to ten minutes.

Rosemary Tea with Honey


This is the easiest rosemary tea recipes and takes a short time to make. Ingredients you need are for 2 cups of tea:
  • 1 to 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 1- 1,5 tsp. of dried rosemary.
  • 3 tsp. of honey
  • 2 cups of boiling water or 500ml of cold tap water if you brew tea in a saucepan.

You need to break the rosemary into small pieces and then you can make rosemary tea with honey in two simple ways. The first way is brewing rosemary as the normal tea. You can put rosemary pieces into boiling water for 8 minutes. As other herbs, rosemary needs a long time steeping. Then you can add some honey and decorate it with some fresh rosemary.

The second ways are boiling or simmering rosemary in the sauce pan for a stronger rosemary taste. You can boil rosemary small pieces with water and honey to slowly boiling. Then when it boiled, reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Your rosemary tea is ready after five minutes. If you want stronger rosemary taste you can press the rosemary against the side of the pan to extract the juices.

Rosemary milk tea

Rosemary tea with milk looks nice and tastes very good and refreshing. So what do you need to make one cup of this tea? 
  • 1 cup of milk (250 ml)
  • 1 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. of dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. of honey
  • And little patience

Break the rosemary into four pieces then put three of the pieces into a saucepan and add the milk. Bring slowly to the boil and reduce the heat to simmer rosemary for five minutes. Simmering the tea will need your patience as you have to stir the milk continuously in five minutes. If you don’t stir the and check it carefully, the heat can burn the milk easily and your rosemary tea will have the smoky taste.

Before serving it you can press the rosemary against the side for stronger tea taste. Then strain the drink and discard the rosemary and decorated with the reserved rosemary floating on top. The rosemary tea with milk can bring you lots of energy and refresh you after a hard working day. You can also make it in the morning too but maybe I do not do that. Instead of that, I would love to have a cup of hot milk with 1 or 2 tsp. of honey. Hot milk with honey also can energize and wake up you. This hot drink might be better than a cup of coffee if you have sleepless or bad sleeping night.   

Rosemary, ginger, and lemon peels

  • 1 small bunch of rosemary
  • 1 inch of ginger, you can slice ginger into small pieces or press it if you like a stronger ginger taste.
  • Peels of ½ lemon (I zest the yellow part of lemon peel to make tea as it contains many antioxidant ingredients.)
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 2 tsp. of honey


With teapot, you can put all ingredients in the same time and brew with boiling water 8 minutes. If you need stronger taste you also can boil it in a sauce pan and simmer it for 6 minutes as it is an ideal time to brew ginger. Strain the tea and add more honey if you like sweeter herbal tea.This herbal tea formula is good as all ingredients contain rich sources of antioxidant and vital minerals. The tea also can release cold, flu-like symptoms, bronchitis and clear phlegm.


Mediterranean Rosemary tea with thyme, sage, cinnamon and honey

This original recipe is the Mediterranean wine recipe but I change it into the nonalcoholic recipe. I hope you like it as I do. Ingredients for a cup of rosemary tea are:
  • 500 ml of cold tap water (2 cups)
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. of sage
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 cinnamon bark or ½ tsp. of cinnamon ground
  • 2 tsp. of honey

Boil the water until boiling and put all ingredients into a saucepan. Then simmer all ingredients over low heat for 8 minutes. The ingredients in this Mediterranean herbal tea recipe contain rich sources of antioxidant and minerals. This tea can help you to fight with cold, flu or keep you warm. Moreover, this herbal rosemary tea also can reduce the pain as ginger and rosemary work well with reducing the pain. Daily ginger consumption can reduce muscle pain caused by exercise. Besides it provides you many antioxidants and boosts your immune systems. 

In the picture, I used cinnamon ground which creates the red color. The tea color might change into brown when you use cinnamon bark. The tea color will look alike the hot fig tea with herbs. The recipe will have a quite strong cinnamon taste. You can reduce the cinnamon to 1/3 of tsp. or ½ barks if you like stronger rosemary taste. 

Here are how I make 4 lovely and healthy rosemary tea recipes in this spring. They are easy to brew with normal and available herbs and ingredients. Within 5 to 10 minutes you will have tasty and healthy herbal tea. You can use these herbal recipes if you don’t know what to do with your rosemary left after cooking. You will be surprised of refreshing taste of rosemary and their health benefits. Share with me what do your ideal rosemary tea recipe and how you brew your favorite tea.   

You might also interested in related topics:


Summer Savory: Benefits, Side effects and How to Make Savory Tea


    Savory is a plant which closes relative to thyme, lavender and sage (Lamiaceae plant family). Savory has a quite hot taste, like thyme, and a bit acrid, and have abundant of mineral and vitamins. This herb is a good source of iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Savory also contains lots of volatile-oil phenols like Carvacrol, Thymol, Cymene and Pinene.  These oils give savory exceptional antiseptic properties. For that reason, savory can protect you from intestinal and lung infections, as well as renal infections. 


    There are two main types of savory: summer savory and winter savory. But the summer savory has a sweeter flavor than winter savory and often used for cooking. Savory can be used as a seasoning for chicken, fish and meat. Fresh savory makes a great garnish for salads. It can be added to many different types of soups and sauces. Savory can maintain their flavor and aroma when dried. You can dry savory by cutting and keeping it in the cool, dry and drafty place for winter using. But remember that savory leaves harvested before the plants flower will have the best flavor. 


7 HEALTH BENEFITS OF SAVORY


    Savory was used widely to aid digestion and diarrhea in the past. Nowadays, it is used to treat mouth sores, cold stomach, parasites of the intestines and other common illness. In this post I would like to sketch 7 main health benefits of savory and how to use it as herbal tea.

1. Natural Antiseptic Herb

    The savory leaves contain volatile-oil phenols that make it an exceptional natural antiseptic. Savory oil contains 30 – 45 per cent carvacrol, 20 – 30 percent Thymol, and Cineol, Cymene and Pinene. Studies have shown that Carvacrol may have the potential to inhibit and fight certain bacterial such e.g. E. coli and Bacillus. Carvacrol oil is used as antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial. Additionally, Thymol oil in savory holds antiseptic, anti fungal and antibacterial qualities.  This makes savory tea excellent for general health and assist in preventing infections in the body.
    Moreover, savory’s volatile oils are useful in aiding respiratory health. In recent studies scientists have suggested using this oil to reduce sinus infections.

2. Rich sources of Vitamin, Mineral and Fiber

    The leaves of the savory plant are rich in mineral e.g. potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. This plant also contains many vital vitamins such as vitamin C, B-complex, and vitamin A. Savory also has a high source of fiber too. The fiber in savory leaf and shoot can help to lower the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol levels in the body. The rich sources of mineral, vitamins and fiber in savory can help and strengthen your total health.

3. Immune System Support

    The rich sources of vitamin in savory are able to ensuring good health and improving our immune system. Savory might help and protect your body against common illnesses and infections. Furthermore, the antiseptic qualities of savory offer protection against intestinal infections and parasites. Savory’s  powerful antiseptic action can improve liver and kidney functions too. Savory can reduce a headache and helps to regulate the GABA levels in the brain to handle the stress.

4. Home remedies for cold and flu

    Savory can be used as a tea during the cold and flu season. This herbal tea can reduce the chance of catching a cold or flu. The soothing oils in savory can reduce the cold and flu, sooth sore scratchy throat and cough. You can also mix savory with chamomile, mint leaf and black currant to strengthen the fighting cold and flu power. Mixture between black currant and savory can help you to sooth convulsive cough.

5. Support Digestion

    Savory tea used to relieve digestive upset, flatulence, diarrhea, and support digestive tract. You can use savory as a tonic to help prevent and cure diarrhea. Since savory has a mild diuretic, it can treat conditions that affect the urinary track and even tuberculosis. Besides, drinking savory as a tea can help maintain a healthy liver, bladder and good internal health.

6. Natural anti inflammatory

        Savory can be used to treat abdominal pains, menstrual pains or abdominal cramps. You can infuse 200-250g of savory in3 hours for making herbal bath. Put the boiled savory in the bath water and take a regular bath for 15-20 minutes though.
Rheumatoid patients who suffer from high fevers can dab savory on the affected areas to cure the painful symptoms.

7. Nature remedies for stronger skin

    Savory alcohol can act a good disinfectant and can be used to treat skin infections and wounds. People with oily skin can use savory in facial steams and baths for stronger skin. You can infuse 20 gram of savory in 500ml of water for treating greasy complexions. Used the water in small amounts and applied to the skin for 15-20 minutes.

SIDE EFFECTS OF SAVORY

  • Normally Savory is safe to everybody when eating or drinking it as tea or using it oil. Remember that summer savory can cause skin problems. Do not use concentrated and undiluted savory oil direct to your skin, it can cause irritating. Always use savory oil by diluting it with water.
  • The Chinese traditional medicine advises not to exaggerate the consumption of savory. When using too much savory you can have fever or aggravate some cardiovascular afflictions.
  • Do not use summer savory while pregnant or nursing. As there are not so many researches about the use it summer savory during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
  • Ask your doctor before using savory tea if you are in therapy or prescribed to any medications.

HOW TO MAKE SAVORY TEA?

    Tea brewed with savory can be used to treat internal health problems. It can treat urine retention, gastric disorders, cough, headache, colic and uterine contraction. Savory is quite hot and not good for using too much. I usually have only one cup of savory tea in morning for a day to boost up the body. If you drink it in day times, remember to drink savory tea before primary meal.

  •  2 fresh savory sprigs or half teaspoon of dried savory.

  •  Put savory in a cup and pour boiling water.

  •  Wait for 8-10 minutes before using it.

  •  Add honey or sugar to sweeten the drink. I prefer no sugar savory tea as sugar is not good to your health and skin.


MORE SAVORY’S RECIPES


    I also mix savory with mint leaf and Chamomile. All I have to do is putting all ingredients into a cup. Pour boiling water and wait for 8 minutes before serving. Brewing time of savory, mint leaves and chamomile all are 6-8 minutes.
  • Savory and mint leaf tea: mix 2 fresh savory sprigs (half teaspoon of dried savory) with half teaspoon of dried mint leaves. You can use savory and mint leaves drink to reduce the cough and cold. I have to say this drink does not look yummy but it is very tasty with strong flavor of savory and mint leaves. Besides, it might give you stronger skin with rich sources of menthol from mint leaves. Mint leaf can clear acne and healing your skin too.
  • Savory and chamomile tea: You can brew savory leaf with chamomile tea as natural sleep remedies. This drink can give you a deep sleeping. But you should drink this herbal tea in the evening or before going to bed. As chamomile can make you feel sleepy. It’s not wise to use this drink when driving or using any kind of machine. Besides, chamomile can interact with some medicine and have some side effect. You can check details about chamomile in Chamomile: Health benefits and Side Effect.  
    If you are looking for a small boost of vitamins and minerals in your diet, just have a cup of savory tea. The savory herb can promote your healthy living and supply you a lot of health benefits. And remember it’s safe only when you take it in reasonable proportions. Let me know your idea about this herbal plant. What’s your favorite ways of making savory tea? 


References: 


Chamomile tea: Health Benefits, Side Effects and Uses


Chamomile is a daisy-like flower, a member of the family Asteraceae. Chamomile tea is often used to fight fevers, colds, anxiety, insomnia, and anti-inflammatory. This herbal tea has palliative effects on the intestine, uterus, stomach’s muscles and support digestion. I like chamomile tea and wanted to know more about this healthy drink. But I surprised with what I found about this tea. The truth is chamomile tea is not safe to everyone. And the biggest surprised is there are few researches on the effectiveness of chamomile and whether it works or not in human. Most research’s evidence we have comes from animal studies, not studies with people. For this reason in this post I’d love to share with you what I found and learnt about benefits and side effects of chamomile tea.

Chamomile Tea Benefits

Home Remedy for Fevers and Cold

Chamomile tea is ideal for treating fevers, and colds. This tea can ease cold and flu’s symptoms by reducing fever, relieving headaches and mucus. You can combine chamomile tea with some honey to reduce sore throats. This combination can make you feel relax and breathe easier.  

Natural Anti-inflammatory tea

Chamomile tea is rich anti-inflammatory ingredients. The tea helps the body to heal the wounds and sooth inflammation. Animal studies have shown that chamomile reduces inflammation; speeds wound healing, reduce muscle spasms. But there are very few studies to see if the tea works as though in human. In another test tube, studies have shown that chamomile can kill bacteria, fungus, and viruses.

Herbal Remedy for Anxiety and Natural Sleep remedy

Chamomile is used to relieve restlessness, tension, anxiety, headache and insomnia for a long time ago. The tea can serve as a mild sedative to help with sleep and relaxes. You can find chamomile tea in the ingredient of almost sleeping herbal teas. But, so far there has been only one clinical trial using chamomile to treat anxiety in people. The scientists found that chamomile capsules can reduce anxiety in generalized anxiety disorder patients. In other animal studies, low dose of chamomile was proved to relieve anxiety, while higher dose helps you to sleep well. With me, I often have one cup of chamomile tea before sleeping for better and deeper sleep. 

Add Digestion

Chamomile tea can treat stomach cramps, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, diarrhea, gas, and colic. Chamomile tea helps to ease stomach and intestinal disturbances.This tea can relax muscle contractions, particularly in the smooth intestine’s muscle. You can combine the herb iberis, peppermint, and chamomile to make drink to relieve indigestion.

Chamomile Skin Benefits 

Chamomile is often used in a cream or ointment to soothe irritated skin. Chamomile compresses are touted for backache and treatment of the skin against dryness. Inhaling the vapors from a chamomile infusion it clears the bronchi and acts against acne of the face. Chamomile also can soothe eczema. In two studies in people found that a chamomile cream helped relieve symptoms of eczema.

Side Effects of Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is generally considered safe and nontoxic. But allergic reactions to chamomile are fairly common. Be careful when using chamomile tea if you have allergy to ragweed, purple cone flower, sunflowers, dandelions, marigolds, sagebrush or other members of the Asteraceae family. The chamomile allergy can lead to stomach cramps, itching, skin rashes and throat swelling. It also can cause serious problem with breathing, and even dead. Before using chamomile you should ask your physicians and read the instruction label carefully. Stop using chamomile tea when you got any allergic symptoms.

Using a small amount of chamomile tea can relieve nausea. But a large amounts of  highly concentrated chamomile tea may cause vomiting. And here are some notices you should consider before using chamomile tea.

Interact with blood medicines

Chamomile might increase the risk of bleeding when taking with blood-thinners medicines. These medicines include 
– Warfarin (Coumadin)
– Clopidogrel (Plavix) 
– Aspirin. 
Do not use chamomile tea with  other substances that possess anticoagulant action. As it can interfere with blood clotting.  Besides, taking chamomile tea with drugs for high blood pressure could cause blood pressure to drop too low.

Chamomile may also lower blood sugar too. People who have diabetes should take chamomile tea carefully. When using it with diabetes drugs, it could raise the risk of low blood sugar.

Stop drinking chamomile tea at least 2 weeks before having surgery or dental surgery.


Chamomile and women: Chamomile may act like estrogen in the women body. Ask doctor’s advice before using chamomile tea if woman has a history of hormone-sensitive cancers, breast or uterine cancer.

Pregnant women should avoid chamomile because of the risk of miscarriage during pregnancy. The tea can lead to early uterine contractions and miscarriage. During pregnancy women also should not use tincture or essential chamomile oil version. These products may increase the anticoagulant effects in pregnant women.

Chamomile and children: 

Chamomile tea is strongly not recommended to the newborns by both herbalist and physicians. Chamomile’s sedative effects may be too strong for a young baby because the risk of botulism poisoning.  

Children under 5 should not take more than half a cup of tea per day.

You should always ask your doctor before giving chamomile tea to children. Children might have serious and severe allergic reaction, breathing’s difficulty, skin hives, unconsciousness, etc.

Risks of drowsiness: You should avoid taking the tea if you are driving or operating machinery. Because the tea has mildly sedative and anti-anxiety properties and it may cause you drowsiness.  It is unwise to drive shortly after having a cup of chamomile tea.

Medication Interactions:  

Avoid taking Chamomile in conjunction with alcohol and sedative medications.  Our liver break chamomile down in the same way with other drugs. If we drink chamomile tea and drug in the same time they may interact each others. These drugs are: 
–  Fexofenadine (Seldane)
–  Statins (drugs that can lower cholesterol)
–  Birth control pills and some anti fungal drugs
–  And other blood medication drugs

How to use chamomile tea?

It is easy to make a cup of chamomile tea from a dried flower or tea bad. All you need is one tea bag or 1,5 gram – 3 gram of chamomile tea (about 1 -3 teaspoonful’s).
Then boiling water and pour 5 ounces (about one-half cup) of fresh boiling water over it. Wait 6-10 minutes for the tea is totally infused. I usually steep chamomile tea in 6 minutes for 1 teaspoon of Chamomile. Depend on your taste and amount of tea you can increase the steeping time. The longer the tea is steeped, the stronger flavor it will be.
Having two or three cups of chamomile tea a day is recommended for muscle relaxation and antispasmodic effects. When I have a cough, I will have 2 cups of chamomile tea before sleeping. The inflammation ingredients in chamomile tea can treat the cough well and fast. But remember not to drink too much more than 4 cups chamomile tea in the day because it can cause vomiting.
On the whole, I love drinking chamomile to relax and sleep easily. A cup of chamomile tea is a great home remedy for colds and flu, natural anti-inflammatory, and natural skin cares. But before using it you should notice some side effects of the Chamomile. Ask your doctors if you use medicine which might conflict with chamomile tea. Stop using it if you have any symptoms of allergic. And now it’s time to boil water and enjoy your time with a cup of chamomile tea.

References:

Cancer.org, ‘Chamomile’, Cancer.org ,

Leena Palande, ‘Chamomile tea side effects’, buzzle.com, December 5, 2011

Juniper Russo, ‘Chamomile safety and potential side effects’, suite101.com, Nov 4, 2013

ST. Luke’s hospital at the vintage, ‘Germanchamomile’, stukesvintage.adam.com, 17th March 2013

Green Tea’s Benefits and Side Effects

People in Asia have used green tea for thousand years ago. Nowadays, people around the world use green tea daily as it has enormous health benefits. The health benefits of green tea come from high amount of mineral and vitamins. Besides, green tea contains rich sources of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG in green tea has anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. The herbalist use green tea and tea extracts to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels and to blockage blood vessels in the hearts. Many researches have indicated that green tea may have ability to prevent some types of cancers like skin, colon, prostate and breast cancer. In this post we will have a closer look at 5 health benefits of green tea and how to use it effectively.

5 Health Benefits of Green Tea

1. Healthy heart

Green tea and extracts of its leaves contain rich sources of Flavonoid. Flavonoid in green tea can reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, and modify blood lipid levels. Green tea also helps to regulate carbohydrate and glucose metabolism. It can reduce oxidative stress and related signaling pathways in blood vessel cells. In fact, researchers estimate that the rate of heart attack decreases by 11% with consumption of 3 cups of tea per day.

2. Natural Detox cleanse

Green tea’s vitamins and minerals to nourish your body, reduce stress, skin damage and boost the immune system. EGCG in green tea can protect our body against cell damage and slow the aging process. EGCG help to breakdown cellular membranes caused by smoke, pollution, and viruses. Moreover, the B-complex vitamins in green tea benefits and alert the central nervous system. This vitamin supports the circulatory system and aids the absorption of carbohydrates for energy.

3. Green tea and Skin care

Green tea nourishes our skin with vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin B2, Folic acid, vitamin E and many other minerals. Scientific studies suggested that EGCG in green tea may prevent the development and growth of skin tumors. As having a cup of green tea you can supply your skin many essential nutrients. 

4. Green tea and Weight loss

The scientist has proved that green tea can lower total cholesterol and raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol in both animals and people. Green tea stimulates your digestive system and blocks cholesterol absorption. It helps to remove excess body fat all while adding essential nutrients for health and energy. In another small study, the researchers found that green tea can reduce harmful LDL cholesterol in male smokers.

5. Natural anti-cancer remedy

Many people believe that green tea can inhibit the growth of cancer cells and protects your digestive system from esophageal, colon and stomach cancers. With me, I do believe that green tea can boosts immunity, and its antioxidants fight damaging free radicals in the body. So what is the evidence of these believe?

Early clinical studies suggest that the polyphenols in tea, especially green tea, may play an important role in the prevention of cancer. EGCG in green tea may cause certain types of cancer cells to die in much the same way that normal cells do. This effect is important because cancer cells do not die as normal cells but they continue to grow and spread.

Several population-based clinical studies have shown that both green and black teas may help to protect against cancer. Cancer rates tend to be low in countries such as Japan where people regularly consume green tea. But, it is not possible to know for sure whether green tea actually prevents cancer in people. The researchers did not be sure the lower cancer rate is a result of drinking green Tea or other healthy living habits.


As the website Cancer.org ‘‘While the results of laboratory studies have been promising, at this time the available scientific evidence does not support claims that green tea can help prevent or treat any specific type of cancer in humans. Purified extracts have shown some promise in limited areas. Controlled, randomized clinical trials are needed to learn about the effects of green tea and more about those of its extracts. Several studies are under way.’’

How much green tea should I drink daily?

The typical amount of green tea consumed varies widely, and it is not clear how much might be needed for beneficial effects. Two or three cups of green tea (for a total of 240 – 320 mg polyphenols) are typically taken in Asian countries.
The most common amount of dried green tea for brewing 1 cup of hot water is 1 to 2 teaspoons. You can find more information about the amount of green tea and water temperature in my post ‘‘Do and don’t when brewing green tea’’.
If you use the green tea extract product, 100 – 750 mg per day a day of standardized green tea extract is recommended.

SIDE EFFECTS OF GREEN TEA 

Green tea has been used for thousands of years in Asia with few dangerous side effects. However, some people may have allergic with green tea. If you have any reactions with green tea you should stop drinking it.
If you drink a large amount of green tea you can have some problem too. Polyphenols in green tea can make your body to be harder to absorb certain medicines and iron supplements. Remember to tell your doctor and pharmacist about any herbs and supplements you are taking when you are using medicines.
When you drink too much green tea you might have irritability, nervousness, nausea, and trouble sleeping. Caffeine in green tea acts as a stimulant, people with irregular heartbeats or who have anxiety attacks should use it cautiously.
Pregnant women or breast-feeding women should not drink green tea in large amounts. Caffeine can cross the placenta and affect the fetus and can also be passed along in breast milk.
People with heart problems or high blood pressure, kidney problems, liver problems, stomach ulcers, and psychological disorders should not take green tea. Always check with your health care provider before drinking or taking green tea.
In conclusion, green tea is very powerful herbal drink and you can use it to enhance, nourish and protect our body. However, if you have any kind of sickness symptoms or concern about your health you should go to doctor immediately. Relying on this type of treatment alone and avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for sickness may have serious health consequences.

Latest updated: 22/10/2014 

 References:

Ito en, ‘‘Major component and Healthbenefits of Green Tea’’, itoen.c.jp, 7th October 7, 2013
Cancer.org, ‘‘Green Tea’’, cancer.org, 2ndApril 2012

ST. Luke’s hospital at the vintage, ‘‘Green Tea’’, stukesvintage.adam.com,                    14th October 2011

Abigail Smestad, ‘‘Green Tea’s effect on digestion ’’, ehow.com, web 4th                       October 4, 2013

                   Wikipedia, ”Flavonoid”, wikipedia.org, web 23th January, 2014

Mint Leaf Tea: Health Benefits and Side Effects


Mint leaves have been used as a digestive aid thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, Greek, and Romans. More recently Mint leaves, mint tea and menthol products like mint oil, mint capsule have been used as a folk remedy or food supplements for vomiting, respiratory infections, menstrual problems and natural remedy for insomnia. The power of Mint leaves come from it precious Mint leaves elements with 3% of Dietary fiber, 9% Vitamin A, 2% Vitamin C, 7% Iron, 2% Calcium, 2% Magnesium, 3% Folate, 1% Copper and 6% Manganese. Mint also has the great source of protein, Thiamin, and Niacin.

Mint is very good at curing dyspepsia, gasses, nausea, body aches and pain nervous, fatigue, tension and headaches, muscle soreness and pain, itching, sunburn, and clearing nasal congestion.  

What are the benefits of Mint leaf tea?

Nausea and headaches

A refreshing mint scent is a powerful medicine to treat nausea. Smell the aroma of mint oil or fresh mint leaves so nausea is reduced. Mint leaves also can reduce the vomiting of women at gestation periods and motion sickness.
The ancient Greek believed that mint could invigorate the mind and refresh the blood. Mint leaves can be used as a remedy for headaches when you applied topically by mint soothing effects.

Supporting Digestive system

Drinking herbal mint tea reduces irritated bowel syndromes, gallstone and cleanses the stomach. A teaspoon of honey in lukewarm fresh mint tea can check tummy aches/distension and stomach ulcers.

Respiratory disorders

The aroma of fresh mint is very effective relief of respiratory congestion by opening up the nose, throat, and lungs. Mint can also help to overcome a cough. The use of mint on a regular basis can help people with asthma by providing relaxation and helping to relieve breathing.

Natural remedy for insomnia

Mint leaves are also used as an old traditional way of natural cures for insomnia. According to the ehow website, we can brew¼ tsp. dried chamomile flower, ¼ tsp. dried peppermint dried leaves and ¼ tsp. dried strawberry leaf with 4 cups of boiling water in 20 minutes to cure insomnia. The mint leaves and chamomile are good for the respiratory system and also helps you to clear and calm your mind.

Clear the acne and improve skin problems

Mint has strong antiseptic qualities and menthol compresses were used in the past to cure inflammatory skin disease and herpes. Mint can be used to soothe and calm skin that’s itchy or infected and even use to heal bites from mosquitoes, wasps, and bees. Because Mint contains a high content of salicylic acid so it can act as antipruritic agent and prevent acne. The salicylic acid in mint leaves loosens up dead skin cells, allowing them to shed easier. Therefore clogged pores and you will have clear skin with fewer pimples. Besides Mint may strengthen skin tissues and help reduce oily skin with the high amount of Vitamin A (9%) in mint.

What are the side effects of Mint leaves?

Mint is considered safe when taken by non-allergic people in normal doses. But if you are sensitive to mint or its components you should stop using mint and avoiding mint in all forms to prevent recurrence. These are some allergic reactions to mint:

  • Skin hives and Eczema
  • Nasal Congestion and runny nose along with watering of eyes
  • Tingling around the mouth and lips and sudden numbness of area where the mint contacts the skin
  • Abdominal cramps and diarrhea
  • Headaches which can result in severe migraines
  • Clogging of the sinuses
Mint may increase symptoms of acid reflux disease and hiatal hernia; people with these conditions are advised to avoid the herb. People with gallstones or liver damage should also use caution when using Mint leaves.
When applied mint leaves or menthol product directly to the skin, it can cause irritation. Mint oil and menthol products should not be applied to the nose or face of an infant or small child since they could cause trouble breathing.
Acid-reducing medicines may allow enteric-coated mint to be released before it leaves the stomach, which may reduce its effect on an irritable bowel.
If you use Mint oil or any kind of menthol products, remember that they may interact with other medicines as well. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about all medicines and supplements that you are taking when buying menthol products.

How to use mint leaves and menthol products?

Mint leaves are best to pick during early morning hours in spring. If you need to dry it, first rinse it under cool, running water. Then place it in cool, dark place. To keep it fresh for 3-4 days, store it in the refrigerator. Mint or spearmint which is kept in sealed packages can maintain its aroma. Never buy it in bulk.

Common dosages are 1 to 2 capsules 3 times a day for irritable bowel syndrome; 1 tablespoon of leaves in a cup of boiling water for tea, 2 or 3 times a day; 3 to 4 drops in hot water for inhalation; 1% to 5% essential oil for nasal ointments; and 5% to 20% essential oil for other ointments applied to the skin.

References:
         Myrsini, Lambraki. ‘‘Herbs, Greens, Fruit: The key to the Mediterranean diet’, p. 37, 1999
         Nutrition data. ‘‘Nutrition facts: Spearmint, fresh(Mint)’’, Nutritiondata.self.com, 16 September 2013
         Ehow Contributor. ‘‘How to use peppermint to cure Insomnia?’’ ehow.com, 16 September 2013
         Aida, Duncan. ‘‘Improveskin with mint’’, Health.howstuffworks.com, 16 September 2013
 thot4food, ‘’Mint allergy’’, Ifood.tv, 11 July 2011,
         Cancer.org,‘‘Peppermint’’, cancer.org, 28 November 2008

Making fresh and dry Raspberry Leaf Tea at home

Raspberry leaf tea is very good herbal tea with a lot of vitamin C, E, A, B, and minerals such as Phosphorous, Potassium and tanning. This amazing herbal tea can enhance the immune system, tonic body, skin and reducing the cough when you got a sore throat. In Finland’s summer raspberries grow everywhere and it is very easy to collect the fresh raspberry leaf. That’s why I use fresh raspberry leaf tea in the summer time and dried some raspberry leaf tea for winter time.  

HARVEST FRESH RASPBERRY LEAVES

The best time to collect raspberry leaves is before blossom time. Always remember to harvest only the green and healthier looking leaves.
If you harvest red raspberry leave for only fresh tea, pick only the amount of leaves you will use last for 5 – 6 days.  Raspberry leaves will lose their precious quantities of nutrition after 5 or 6 days.

After picking the leaves don’t put it nylon, plastic bags or closed spaces like in the trunk of your vehicle. Keep the picked leaves in open space such as the basket.  

And don’t:

Don’t pick the leaves with obvious damage.
Don’t harvest the red raspberry leaves growing on roadside or curbs. These leaves are not suitable for consumption.
Don’t put the picked leaves under direct sunlight too.

CLEAN RASPBERRY LEAVES

You can clean raspberry leaves by rinsing the leaves under cool and running water. Do not soak the leaves in water, they will lose many of their much-desired substances (particularly sugars, vitamins, and minerals)

MAKING FRESH RASPBERRY LEAF TEA

Firstly, I will choose 3 fresh and healthy looking raspberry leaves to make tea. You can add more leaves or reduce the leaves depend on your taste. But with me, 3 red raspberry leaves are enough.
I used my favorite ceramic cup with lid and strainer to brew this herb tea.  As I mentioned before in the post of 5 main types of teapot, the ceramic is the best material for brewing herbal tea.

Then, I cut raspberry fresh leaves it into small pieces and put them into the strainer like this. If you do not cut it, the hot water cannot exploit all the benefits of raspberry leaves.
Boil water until fully boiling and pour the water into the cup. Put the lid on and wait for 8-10 minutes. 
The fresh raspberry leaf tea has a light sweet taste and the smell like raspberry. If you like sweet, you can put some sugar or honey as you like. I would prefer to drink this herb tea without sugar. If you need to enhance the berry smell, you can put some fresh raspberry in the tea.

DRY RASPBERRY LEAF TEA

After rinsing the raspberry leaves under running water you can leave them dry by their own. The best way to dry raspberry leaves or other herbs is to make little bunches and rig them upside down on a line in a cool, dry and drafty place. Bunches should be thin so that the circulating air can dry the herbs to the core. Avoid humid areas. Make sure the temperature is steady and the air is dry. The ideal temperature is 20 – 31oC. The faster the drying of herbs is the better. Do not dry raspberry leaves under direct sunlight, or they will wither.

After 4 days, my raspberry leaves were totally dry.


 I plucked raspberry leaves and placed them in airtight jar and stored away in cool and dry place.

Remember to use dried herbs six months later, but not later since they tend to loose their aroma.

You can use one teaspoon of dried raspberry leaf tea for one cup of tea. Put the leaf tea into a strainer and pouring boiling water into the cup. Wait for 10-15 minutes then enjoy the raspberry leaf tea. 

It is not so difficult to make fresh raspberry leaf tea and dry raspberry leaf tea at home. Why don’t you make your own raspberry leaf tea if you can find the suitable leaves? Only after 4 days, you can have a jar of dried raspberry leaf which you can use for 6 months.  I strongly recommend you read more about Raspberry leaf: Benefits and Cautions before using this healthy leaf tea for better results.

Raspberry leaf tea: Benefits and Cautions


Like the raspberry fruit, raspberry leaf tea contains a lot of vitamin C, E, A, B, manganese, magnesium, and many minerals including phosphorous and potassium. Raspberry leaf tea is the most popular tonic for pregnancy and labor. Many women consume the raspberry leaf tea during their pregnancies in the belief that it shortens labor and makes labor “easier.” With me a new user raspberry leaf tea since this summer, I got a lot of concerning about this herbal tea like who can use raspberry leaf tea? Does the raspberry leaf tea is really good to the pregnant? Do I need to wait until pregnant to use the benefits of this wonderful leaf? What doses for using raspberry leaf tea?


For that reason, in this post, I want to discuss with you about raspberry leaf tea’s benefits and cautions when using this herbal tea. 

1. What are benefits of raspberry leaf tea?

The first benefit I like in raspberry leaf tea is its usage as a tonic herbal tea for the body and skin. With the high amount of vitamins and minerals, the raspberry leaf tea can enhance an immune system. The raspberry leaf tea promotes sweating, urination, and bile production. Besides, the raspberry leaf tea can enhance and purify the skin too. The raspberry leaf tea can act as an astringent on irritated skin and tighten the top layers of skin or mucous membranes effectively reducing secretions, relieving irritation, improving tissue firmness. I do not recommend you to drink too much raspberry leaf tea in a week because raspberry leaf tea can work as estrogen hormone and it can change your hormone. Normally, I drink 2 or 3 cups raspberry leaf tea in a week with the aim of improving my skin and strengthen the immune system.  

The second benefit of raspberry leaf tea is the leaf can be used for sore respiratory system disorders including flu and swine flu, heart problem, fever and vitamin deficiency and sore throat. When I have a sore throat, using raspberry leaf tea is a good choice besides using lemon or cough medicines. With the high amount of tanning, the raspberry leaf tea can be used as a mouthwash to soothe mouth and throat irritations. You should cool the tea before using it as a gargle or apply it topically.

Raspberry leaf tea can regulate a menstrual period and decrease heavy periods. Astringent properties of this herb help to stop heavy bleeding. The high rate of iron which may help prevent anemia due to heavy menstrual bleeding.

Raspberry leaf tea for fertility issues: If you are thinking of trying to get pregnant, raspberry leaf tea can be a good food supplement to improve uterine health and boosting overall nutritional intake. The raspberry leaf tea can heal and improve uterine health where there is uterine weakness present. The raspberry leaf tea constituents the alkaloid that helps to tone the muscles of the pelvic region, including the uterus. Besides, this herb is very nutritive and may help to boost overall nutrition. It is also safe for men to use because it does not contain any hormone-like substances. If you are actively trying to conceive, you should be avoided after ovulation.
Raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy:  Raspberry leaf tea is a traditional herbal therapy and is recommended in pregnancy by some midwives. When searching information about raspberry leaf tea’s benefits I found millions of article and blog posts motivate pregnant women using raspberry leaf tea. But does raspberry leaf tea really work or not? I don’t know because I haven’t got a baby yet. With me, this issue is very controversial and I would like to discuss with you more detail in the question 3.
2.  How much raspberry leaf tea I can use?

According to the drug.com, the safety and typical doses of raspberry leaf tea are 1.5 to 2.4 g/day. It’s mean 1 to 2 cup of raspberry leaf tea per day.
3. Does Raspberry leaf tea’s benefits to pregnant women?

I haven’t got a baby yet and I cannot share with you experience about pregnancy. But I do interest in finding information about raspberry leaf tea with pregnancy. The first website I visited to find information is Wikipedia. On Wikipedia, I found that ‘‘Most of the evidence available are anecdotal, and a recent scholarly review stressed concern at the lack of evidence for safety and efficacy and called recommendations of its use “questionable”.’’

The result of Wikipedia made me wondering and I start to find more information based on Wikipedia references. The references led me to the website of US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health. In this website, I found some research on safety and efficacy of raspberry leaf in
pregnancy. All research do not recommend raspberry leaf tea in pregnancy because of the lack of evidence for safety and efficacy. And further research on this issue is suggested. The research of Center of Pharmacy, University of Bergen, Norway, showed that the efficacy of raspberry leaf is not convincing because the limited documentation exists. The research was conducted in the electronic databases including PubMed, ISI Web of Science, AMED, EMBASE, Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database and Cochrane Library. Altogether there are only 12 original publications focus on safety or efficacy of raspberry leaf during pregnancy in 50 years or older. However, all the studies are small and cannot rule out negative effects on pregnancy outcome.

In the latest animal study of McMaster University, Canada in 2009, the study indicates an increased risk for the unborn child.

I know the using of raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy is a controversial issue. I do not against people who believe the benefits of raspberry leaf tea with the pregnancy. But, with all information found, I strongly
recommend you go to ask your doctor or health care before you using raspberry leaf tea in your pregnant time. Only use this herbal tea when you are noted by your doctor. If you need to read more about this issue you can find the detail information in my references.

4. What cautions should take when using raspberry leaf tea?

Raspberry leaf tea can work as a hormone estrogen so in some cases, it might harm your health. Before using this herb pay caution to the main DO and DON’T

A.   DO

I strongly recommend you to seek advice from your doctor before using red raspberry leaf tea or any kind of herbal tea. Keep in your mind that raspberry leaf tea is to be used only as a food supplement and must not be used to treat, mitigate or cure any symptom, illness or disease.

It is important to only take the raspberry leaf doses as you recommended. In extremely high doses, the raspberry leaf can reduce your blood sugar or may cause muscles in the uterus to contract or relax, therefore, a miscarriage could occur when pregnant time.

The red raspberry leaves could change the way the body absorbs medications. The tannin in raspberry leaf tea could interfere with the absorption of non-prescription drugs such as vitamins. Take the red raspberry at least two hours before or after taking non-prescription drugs by mouth.

B.   DON’T

Do not combine herbal remedies with pharmaceutical drugs unless you have been consulted by your physician. Keep out of reach of children & pets,

Do not use raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy or lactation unless noted. Do not
take red raspberry leave tea on your own. Only use the red raspberry leave tea under the direct supervision of a healthcare provider.

Raspberry leaf is not also used by women who have endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or cancers of the breast, ovaries, or uterus because it can change the estrogen hormone.

Men who have prostate cancer should also avoid using it.

Raspberry leaf may affect infants and is not recommended for women who are breastfeeding.

Diabetics should be careful as it might lower the blood sugar levels drastically.

Here are the main benefits of raspberry leaf I collected and researched. I do hope you should pay attention and be careful before using raspberry leaf tea. I like raspberry leaf tea because it’s tasty, lots of healing benefits and can strengthen the immune system. But I strongly recommend you find the advice from a doctor before using raspberry leaf tea or at least educate yourself before using it. If you are pregnant, remember to only use the red raspberry leave tea under the direct supervision of a healthcare provider. With whom who prepare to have a baby, raspberry leaf tea can be a food supplement help you to fertility. And remember some cases that you cannot use the raspberry leaf tea too.  




References:
·        Voice Yahoo, ‘‘The benefits red raspberry leaves’’, Web August 21, 2013 


·        Drugs, ‘‘Raspberry’’, drugs.com, Web August 21, 2013 

·        Local harvest. ‘‘Red raspberry leaf tea’’. localharvest.org. Web August 21, 2013 

·        US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. ‘‘Raspberry leaf in pregnancy: its safety andefficacy in labor’’. Web August 21, 2013 

·        US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. ‘‘Raspberry leaf–should it be recommended topregnant women?’’ Web August 21, 2013

·        US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. ‘‘Effect of maternal raspberry leaf consumption in rats on pregnancyoutcome and the fertility ofthe female offspring.’’ Web August 21, 2013