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3 Herbs That Offer a Variety of Healing Benefits

3 Herbs That Offer a Variety of Healing Benefits

If you cook, you probably flavor your recipes using a variety of fresh herbs. But did you know that many of these herbs have medicinal properties as well?

If you’re suffering from pain, illness, or some other form of discomfort, rather than immediately running to the drugstore to medicate the symptoms away, you’ll be surprised to discover there are natural alternatives that can not only do the trick, but can make the healing process pleasant, inexpensive, and even creative.

So, if you’ve got a bug bite, a headache that won’t go away, or if you can’t sleep, check out how these three amazing herbs can be used to help to alleviate some those pesky health conditions and promote wellbeing.

1. Catnip

You’ve heard catnip’s for cats, but did you know it can help you too? If not, check this out.

Catnip can offer relief for quite a few of the common ailments you may be experiencing daily, such as:

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  • Insomnia
  • Digestive issues (especially bloating and constipation)
  • Stress and chronic anxiety
  • Menstrual discomfort
  • Headaches and migraines

Catnip is known to induce sweating. This is useful when it comes to flushing out toxins and can help speed up the healing process of the common cold.

It can easily be made into a tea by pinching off the leaves, dicing them up, placing them into a tea ball, and steeping them in hot water. Add some locally produced raw honey and fresh lemon and you’re good to go.

You can also apply catnip topically to help soothe bug bites and other skin irritations.

Catnip can be made into oils, tinctures, and teas.

You can grow your own and have it available whenever you need it. It isn’t a high-maintenance plant, so even if you’re a newbie gardener, this may be right up your alley. If gardening isn’t your thing, products made out of catnip are available at your local health food store.

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2. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a beautiful plant that has a fresh lemony scent. You can add it to your water to enhance the flavor or in a recipe as a delicious culinary herb. Like catnip, it can also be used to provide health benefits. It can promote:

  • Relief for sleep disorders (sleeplessness/insomnia)
  • Mental sharpness/cognitive function
  • Calming properties to help alleviate anxiety and stress
  • Protection of brain cells
  • Blood sugar stabilization

You can make a tincture out of lemon balm and use it for its antiviral properties (perfect for when you feel like you’re getting a cold or a bug of some sort) or to help soothe stomach discomfort. It also comes in handy as a cosmetic clay to lightly apply to bug bites and blemishes.

Lemon balm is considered easy to grow and doesn’t require much sun. It also attracts bees, which is ideal if you have a garden.

3. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper may sound familiar to you because it’s often added to recipes for those who enjoy spicy foods. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it also contains an impressive range of healing properties.

It’s best used for:

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  • Pain management
  • As a nasal decongestant
  • Calorie-burning properties/appetite reduction
  • Increased circulation
  • Psoriasis symptoms
  • Leveling blood sugar

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in cayenne peppers. It helps to control peripheral nerve pain because it’s known to inhibit “substance P,” a neuropeptide which is associated with inflammation.

It’s also the ingredient that makes cayenne peppers so spicy. When consumed, it helps to clear up mucus in the lungs and nose.

Cayenne peppers have been demonstrated to help lessen triglyceride levels, blood platelet buildup, and blood cholesterol. This is because they increase your body’s ability to break down fibrin, which is necessary for forming blood clots.

You can add them to your meals, but you may want to do this sparingly at first to see how well you can handle the heat — it can be pretty intense.

If you’re not a fan of cooking with them, you can easily find cayenne in supplement form.

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A Note of Caution

Now that you’re aware that herbs can offer some fantastic health benefits, it’s important to know that if you take any medications or suffer from certain medical conditions, you’ll want to ask your health care provider if any of these herbs could interfere with your prescriptions or would be considered contraindicated for any reason.

One example is that lemon balm may not be suitable for people with hypothyroidism because it may block some of the thyroid hormone activity in the body.

This is why it’s a good idea to use discernment. Then, go ahead and enjoy the benefits.

Featured photo credit: Crookedly via flickr.com

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3 Herbs That Offer a Variety of Healing Benefits

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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