Tom Campbell: How to Change the World

So many are concerned with the quality of our collective consciousness and the state of the world. What is the real solution? Tom proposes a new solution to our world problems. Challenging the belief about how we collectively blame something or someone else for the current high entropy state of the world, Tom provides us with another approach that puts us in the driver’s seat. Please share!

The Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

By Dr. Edward Group

Guest writer for Wake Up World

Withania somnifera, better known as ashwagandha or “Indian ginseng,” has been a traditional staple of Ayurvedic medicine for over 3,000 years. The herb has a wide range of activity that promotes physical, emotional and mental health, body rejuvenation, and longevity. It is known to inhibit anxiety and improve energy. Ashwagandha may also promote healthy fertility.[1, 2]

Ashwagandha for Energy

Long distance cycling is an endurance sport that requires aerobic fitness and energy. Many products have been developed to provide energy in a quick, easy form: gel packets, energy chews, sports drinks, and more. Generally, these products just provide extra calories, which are necessary if you’re expending energy but don’t actually support physical ability.

In 2012, the Faculty of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy at India’s Guru Nanak Dev University conducted an eight-week study in which forty elite cyclists supplemented with ashwagandha. By the study’s conclusion, significant enhancements in both cardiovascular and respiratory endurance were reported.[3]

Perhaps even more importantly, research out of Malaysia found that when ashwagandha root extract was regularly administered to persons receiving chemotherapy, it had potential to relieve fatigue and improve their quality of life.[4]

Cognitive Benefits of Ashwagandha

In Ayurvedic medicine, one of the primary uses of ashwagandha root extract is to enhance memory and improve brain function. One of the mechanisms responsible for this effect is ashwagandha’s antioxidant action. Since oxidative stress contributes to neurodegenerative disorders, lessening oxidative damage may offer neuroprotection.

Multiple studies have been performed to evaluate the neuroprotective properties of ashwagandha root extract on rats and found that it may prevent some instances of memory impairment and oxidative stress on the brain.[5, 6]

Ashwagandha to Relieve Stress

Stress affects both mind and body and can be a strain that leads to underperformance. Most people will also testify that stress affects their quality of life. Ashwagandha has been documented in Ayurvedic and Greek medicine for its stress-combating properties.

The Department of Neuropsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry at India’s Asha Hospital orchestrated a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving sixty-four subjects with a history of chronic stress. After separating the participants into control and study groups, the study group began supplementing with high-concentration, full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract. After two months, the study group reported significant improvements in all stress measurements and quality of life; all without serious side effects.[7]

Stress and Male Fertility

Additionally, stress is known to be a contributing factor for male infertility. Along with Tribulus terrestris, Ashwagandha is prized for its stimulating effects on fertility.

The Department of Biochemistry at C.S.M. Medical University conducted a study involving sixty infertile men who, however, did have normal sperm production. Participants were given five grams of ashwagandha root powder every day for three months. At the study’s conclusion, stress reductions and improvements in semen quality were observed and 14% of the participants’ partners ended up becoming pregnant.[8]

Supplementing with Ashwagandha

As a supplement, ashwagandha can be found in liquid and capsule form, sometimes blended with other herbs.

Be aware that ashwagandha may cause drowsiness; if you’re taking any medications that could interact with that effect, it’s best to consult your preferred healthcare provider before starting any new nutritional supplement programs — which, unfortunately, many conventional practitioners disregard. Will we see the day when the medical establishment understands and promotes ashwagandha root? Time will tell.

What have your experiences been with ashwagandha? Let us know in the comments section below, or join the conversation on Facebook.

References:

  1. Kulkarni SK, Dhir A. Withania somnifera: an Indian ginseng. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Jul 1;32(5):1093-105. Epub 2007 Sep 21. Review.
  2. Singh N, Bhalla M, de Jager P, Gilca M. An overview on ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011;8(5 Suppl):208-13. doi: 10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.9. Epub 2011 Jul 3. Review.
  3. Shenoy S, Chaskar U, Sandhu JS, Paadhi MM. Effects of eight-week supplementation of Ashwagandha on cardiorespiratory endurance in elite Indian cyclists. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2012 Oct;3(4):209-14. doi: 10.4103/0975-9476.104444.
  4. Biswal BM, Sulaiman SA, Ismail HC, Zakaria H, Musa KI. Effect of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) on the Development of Chemotherapy-Induced Fatigue and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients. Integr Cancer Ther. 2012 Nov 9.
  5. Baitharu I, Jain V, Deep SN, Hota KB, Hota SK, Prasad D, Ilavazhagan G. Withania somnifera root extract ameliorates hypobaric hypoxia induced memory impairment in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Jan 30;145(2):431-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.10.063. Epub 2012 Dec 2.
  6. Prakash J, Yadav SK, Chouhan S, Singh SP. Neuroprotective Role of Withania somnifera Root Extract in Maneb-Paraquat Induced Mouse Model of Parkinsonism. Neurochem Res. 2013 May;38(5):972-80. doi: 10.1007/s11064-013-1005-4. Epub 2013 Feb 22.
  7. Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022.
  8. Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, Ahmad MK, Rajender S, Shankhwar SN, Singh V, Dalela D. Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Sep 29.

Recommended articles by Dr. Edward Group:

About the author:

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 and is currently the Chief Executive Officer. Heading up the research and development team, Dr. Group assumes a hands-on approach in producing new and advanced degenerative disease products and information.

Dr. Group has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the internet.

For more information, please visit Global Healing Center.

The Incredible Mind Altering Meditation of Sky Gazing and How To Do It

Sky Gazing

There is a meditation practice within Tibetan Buddhism called Sky Gazing it comes from the Meditation tradition of Dzogchen – which strongly emphasises resting in a natural state free from conceptual elaborations. This natural state is wide open, clear and lucid; it neither rejects anything or clings to anything and is sometimes referred to as spontaneous awareness. It is spontaneous because nothing has manufactured or created it, like having to meditate or having to be calm.  It always has been there and therefore is also called primordial awareness.

The clear blue sky is the closest external example of what this natural state is like. The clear sky is also a metaphor for the natural states indestructibility. Just like the sky is not affected by the passing weather neither is our natural state stained by thoughts or emotions no matter how strong they may be. This is a liberating view in the field of meditation. No longer do you have the idea that you have to purify and remove all the negative states of mind, now there is a teaching that directly points to an aspect of yourself which is your essential nature.

This nature is pure right from the beginning and accessing that awareness is what sky gazing skilfully aims to do.

Another important things to understand is that the sky like nature of your mind is always there, it is permanent. All other mental states come and go. This is the reason enlightenment is possible. If disturbing and negative states where permanent or fundamental to the mind they could not be removed, but because all negative states are impermanent and not an essential nature of the mind they can be removed. This is great news.

Sky gazing is apart of the Dzogchen tradition which is considered the highest spiritual path within Tibetan Buddhism and has been kept secret and only given to the most devout students, but as one Meditation Master has said in these times of strong materialism, chaos and disturbing emotions there needs to be an equally strong practice that can counter those negative forces and sky gazing is a practice that can do just that.

“Sky gazing is a way to feel release from the narrow confines of the personality or ego. It connects a person to the vast, expansive, clear, open, space of awareness that is their authentic nature. It brings relaxation, peace, joy, and a fresh, crisp sense of connecting to reality; the natural state of things.”

Before I explain how to do it I would like to include here the psychology of why it’s so powerful. My Buddhist teacher always emphasised how the mind is clear like water and whatever you focus on colours that clear awareness. By it’s very nature the awareness is clear and pure but gets muddied and coloured by focusing our attention on negative thoughts and disturbing emotions. In fact just like water becomes muddied our mind becomes the same as what we focus on. If we focus on anger our minds become anger, if we focus on our ego our minds become the ego. In this way what you focus on is like cordial and your mind is like water, once they are mixed together they become almost inseparable. This is where sky gazing comes in. By gazing into the clear sky you can experience the purity of awareness without it being coloured by thoughts and emotions, this is an amazing discovery, which you can realise for yourself, it does not require belief it requires practice.

Your awareness becomes clear and open too like the sky and this becomes an access point for the clear and lucid spontaneous awareness of the natural state itself.

The key to the natural state is that it is both empty, without boundaries like the sky but it is also lucid and cognizant, the realisation of these two inseparable things, emptiness and awareness, as your true nature is your enlightened nature which does not need to be created because it’s always there –  it needs to be discovered.

This meditation unlike others has the eyes wide open and this is also a great way to train because it does not shut anything out but opens up to all things. This can have a profound effect on the mind to keep the eyes open while in a meditative state. A great Dzogchen Master Jamgon Kontrul Rinpoche explains:

“Present awareness is empty, open, and luminous; not a concrete substance, yet not nothing. Empty, yet it is perfectly cognizant, lucid, aware.”

sky gazing

I have practiced sky gazing and I must say it is by far the most direct path to an enlightened experience. I have so far been technical in my explanation but the experience is nothing less than poetic and magical. An open expansive state beyond the bounds of normal thinking, its clarity is only surpassed by its indescribable quality, any only people who have sat on a high mountain and gazed out at the eternal nothingness have probably had a glimpse of what I am trying to put into words.

Open, naked, enormous and all engulfing. A moment of timeless unity where all things seem so vivid yet so incredibly insignificant.

As I mentioned Dzogchen or sustaining the natural state of non-conceptual awareness  is literally the highest and most advanced practice of all of Tibetan Buddhism. It is something that can take you to full awakening of enlightenment in a few short years and is also been called Tibetan Zen for its similarities to the cutting simplicity of Zen Buddhism. The enlightened Master Jamgon Kontrul Rinpoche says this about the meditation tradition:

“…. the heart of all practices is included here, in simply sustaining the luminous nature of this present awareness….If you search elsewhere for something better, a Buddha superior to this present awareness, you are deluding yourself.”

How To Practice Sky Gazing

Method 1:
1. Find a high place with a good view of an expansive clear sky. (You can also lie on your back outside and try it)
2. Sit comfortably and for a few moments calm your mind with long deep slow breaths.
3. With a good posture tilt your head slightly upward and with a noble disposition gaze without distraction or dullness into the clear expansive blue sky (best done on non cloudy days).
4. Let go of all thoughts allowing them to pass by like clouds and encourage your awareness to slowly merge with the expansive blue sky
5. Notice how inner thoughts evaporate into your inner sky like awareness like clouds evaporating in the sky.
6. Recognise that this open and expansive experience is actually the most fundamental and natural state of your being.
7. Sustain this recognition of an open and expansive state as being for as long as possible and return to it when you get distracted.

Method 2.
1. Find a high place with a good view of an expansive clear sky. (You can also lie on your back outside and try it)
2. Sit comfortably and for a few moments calm your mind with long deep slow breaths.
3. With a good posture tilt your head slightly upward and with a noble disposition gaze without distraction or dullness into the clear expansive blue sky (best done on non cloudy days).
4. Fully concentrate on your breath going in and out without getting distracted or becoming dull.
5. Follow the breath out with your awareness and notice or imagine how it dissolves into the sky in front of you.
6. Follow the breath in with your awareness and notice or imagine how it dissolves into the inner space of your sky like awareness.
7. Keep following the breath in and out noticing it dissolve into outer space and inner space repeatedly.
8. Notice and fully recognise that the outer sky is exactly the same as the inner sky like mind and allow yourself to dwell in this non dual realisation without distraction and without dullness- The inner space is one with outer space.

NOTE:
Whilst this meditation is meant to be done on a high up place it also can be done right now at your computer. There is always space in front of you that you can merge with and recognise as your true and authentic natural state. Even the space between you and the computer can be used to shift your attention from objects to clear open space. Try it now.

Written by Chad Foreman

7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

Marigold. Image source: Pixabay.com

Written by: Patrick Shelley

There is absolutely nothing like having fresh medicinal plants that you can pick and use right on the spot, when you need them.

Plus, you can dry them, and then use a mortise and pestle to grind them and encapsulate your own medicinal plants. You know they were never sprayed with pesticides. And you know all about the nutrients that were fed to them.

You can grow them in decorative planters in the kitchen if you have the lighting for it.

Many people set up a multi-tiered rack that allows planter pots to be set at a forward-facing angle. This allows you to put the back of it against a wall, and the plants grow at a forward-facing angle.

Other people like to use wire hangers and hang the pots from a wall in rows or a pattern. If you’re going to do this, then test the strength of your wall.

If you have a sunroom or a sunroom-like area, these make great growing spaces, too.

Here are seven of the best medicinal plants you can grow indoors:

1. St John’s Wort. This plant will grow year-round with a grow light in the morning or evening to extend the growing hours of the day. If you find that it’s not flowering, then it may need longer hours of light.

7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

St. John’s Wort. Image source: Pixabay.com

It’s a great-looking plant with attractive yellow flowers and can really brighten up a home.

Benefits:

  • May be as effective as some prescription medication for treating depression1.
  • Helps alleviate the symptoms of PMS and menopause2.
  • May help with the symptoms of ADD (attention deficit disorder)2.

2. Thyme. This is a hearty plant that can be used in cooking, as it’s one of the most popular herbs around. It’s hearty, grows pretty easily and doesn’t require much care at all.

Benefits:

  • Thyme has been shown to aid in the relief of chest and respiratory problems, including coughs, bronchitis and chest congestion3.
  • Thyme has been shown to have a strong antimicrobial activity, neutralizing such bacteria and fungi as Staphalococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli and Shigella sonnei4.

3. Sage. Its genus name, Salvia, means “to heal.” As long as you give it light, adequate water and good soil, you almost can’t kill it. Sage is one of the herbs that makes everyone look like they’ve got a green thumb.

7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

Sage. Image source: Pixabay.com

Benefits:

  • May lessen the symptoms of Alzheimer’s 5.
  • Has been shown to lower both blood glucose and cholesterol5.

4. Parsley. Too many people think of parsley as a garnish on their plate. But parsley is one of the best green foods around.

It grows rather easily, and you shouldn’t have a problem so long as you keep its soil damp.

Benefits:

  • Can help with bad breath6.
  • Can help detoxify the brain of ammonia, thereby reducing the feelings of a hangover.
  • May be a potent anticancer agent and has been shown to be chemo-protective7.

5. Marigold. A truly unique and beautiful flowing medicinal, marigold will grow with only just a little bit of TLC needed.

Benefits:

  • The flowers have long been touted to posses near legendary anti-inflammatory properties that have shown to fight eczema and allergic reactions.
  • Relieves pain of arthritis.
  • Can be made into tinctures and ointments that have shown to sooth rashes, bed sores, diaper rash, sun burns and other types of burns.

6. Lavender. This is one of the most fragrant medicinal plants you can grow in your home. Lavender is a little more work to grow inside and it needs a little more space.

Benefits:

  • Put lavender in your pillow to have a restful sleep and avoid insomnia8.
  • Helps with nervousness, headache, stomach nerves, restlessness and stress8.
7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

Image source: Pixabay.com

7. Echinacea. Here you have the granddaddy of all medicinal plants. It grows easily, as long as you give it a grow light.

Benefits:

  • Several studies show that Echinacea helps boost the immune10.
  • Echinacea has shown to be very promising in treating most any kind of infection, from sinusitis to vaginal yeast infections to ear infections10.
  • Shows promise in treating colon cancer and athlete’s foot10.

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stjohnswort/sjw-and-depression.htm
  2. https://draxe.com/st-johns-wort-uses/
  3. Kelm MA, Nair MG, Strasburg GM, DeWitt DL. Antioxidant and cyclooxygenase inhibitory phenolic compounds from Ocimum sanctum Linn. Phytomedicine 2000 Mar;7(1):7-13. 2000. PMID:12240.
  4. Bagamboula CF, Uyttendaeleand M, Debevere J. Inhibitory effect of thyme and basil essential oils, carvacrol, thymol, estragol, linalool and p-cymene towards Shigella sonnei and S. flexneri. Food Microbio 2004 Feb;21 (1):33-42. 2004.
  5. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266480.php
  6. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-parsley.html
  7. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf00013a020
  8. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lavender
  9. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/echinacea