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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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