Cordyceps ‘Miracle’ Mushroom Fights Cancer & Diabetes

Cordyceps ‘Miracle’ Mushroom Fights Cancer & Diabetes

Cordyceps is a mushroom that grows in China where it is considered a miracle and you will see why. Here is what one of the world’s most potent mushrooms can offer in terms of health benefits. 

General Health Benefits of Cordyceps Mushroom

The Cordyceps or “winter worm and summer grass” is a mushroom used in Chinese traditional medicine for over a thousand years. It grows at around 3500 meters above sea level, on the mountains in China.

The cordyceps mushroom consists of 77 micro and macro elements, unsaturated fatty acids, more than 80 types of enzymes, vital amino acids, vitamin A, C and E.

The general health benefits this mushroom offers are: its immune boosting ability, providing the body with strength and energy and slowing down the aging process.

Due to its non-toxic compound, cordyceps is a great supplement for fighting the following diseases:

Cordyceps and Regulation of Blood Sugar

One area where sufficient scientific research has been done is the Hypoglycaemic effect of the mushroom and blood sugar regulation.

In one trial 95% of the patients treated with 3 grams of cordyceps per day saw improvements in their blood sugar levels. For comparison, in the controlled group treated with traditional medication only 54% of the patient saw improvement in their blood sugar levels.

As a result, cordyceps is often recommended to diabetic patients as a supplement or as a sole treatment.

Cordyceps as a Natural Antibiotic

Cordyceps mushroom has also been very effective against pathogenic bacteria and respiratory illnesses, such as chronic bronchitis and asthma (Ref. 2, Chapter “Effects on the Respiratory System”, pages 429-432). It is an excellent natural remedy for arthritis and rheumatism.

Cordyceps stimulates the blood circulation in a way that it steadily increases the blood flow in the coronary arteries which prevents blood clots or thrombus formation.

By lowering the cholesterol, cordyceps also helps against chronic fatigue (Ref. 1, Chapter “Effects on blood lipid metabolism and arteriosclerosis”, pages 299 – 301).

It contains large quantities of beta-carotene, vitamin E and C, mineral selenium and zinc, and coenzyme q10.

The mushroom stimulates the production of melatonin, the universal cancer-fighting antioxidant, making cordyceps mushroom very popular among large number of oncologist in the world as an anti-carcinogen supplement to the traditional treatments (Ref. 3).

Cordyceps Benefit on Kidney Function

In an unpublished study, the cordyceps mushroom was used as a treatment for alcoholic patients. The amazing discovery was that almost immediately after beginning the treatment patients lost their cravings for alcohol.

Further research confirmed this by proving that cordyceps improves the kidney function, helps removing urotoxin, prevents kidney infection and kidney stones.

In this study, 57 patients were treated with 4.5 mg of Cordyceps and managed to recover 89% of their kidney functions. As opposed to them, the controlled group recovered only 45% of normal kidney functions.

The effects of Cordyceps on Cardiac Function

Some of the most important benefits of the Cordyceps mushroom in traditional and modern medicine, are its positive effects on the heart pulse and heart arrhythmia (Reference 2, Chapter “Effects on the Cardiovascular System”, pages 436 – 441).

Today, this mushroom is used in China as one of the first lines of defense when it comes treating serious heart diseases. Even though the way cordyceps works in controlling the arrhythmia is only partially known, it is considered that the greatest merit is the presence of adenosine.

It has been proven that these nucleosides have a positive effect on treating irregular heartbeat, slowing down heart rate and normalizing the heart rhythm. Cordyceps contains a significant amount of adenosine, deoxyadenosine and similar nucleosides.

Although herbal supplements have a different effects on different patients, there have been very few cases where arrhythmia has not been effectively treated after adding Cordyceps to the traditional therapy in patients.

Disclaimer: Always consult your physician before consuming any supplement. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition. Consult with your doctor to receive an appropriate prescription.

References:

1. Zhu, J.S., Halpern, G.M., and Jones, K. (1998): The Scientific Rediscovery of an Ancient Chinese Herbal Medicine: Cordyceps sinensis. Part I. Journal of Alternative and complementary Medicine 4(3), pp 289-303.

2. Zhu, J.S., Halpern, G.M., and Jones, K. (1998): The Scientific Rediscovery of a Precious Ancient Chinese Herbal Regimen: Cordyceps sinensis. Part II. Journal of Alternative and complementary Medicine 4(4), pp 429-457.

3. The National Cancer Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM): Melatonin, Chronobiology, and Cancer

Groundbreaking New Documentary Offers Real Solutions for Our Food Security and Environmental Troubles

Inhabit - A Permaculture Perspective

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

“Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” ~ Bill Mollison

A revolution is quietly sweeping across the globe, one that works in harmony with nature to create abundance for all life — including us. The method has been around for some time now, but it’s experiencing a resurgence of interest as ecological repair and regeneration becomes an urgent issue of survival for the planet.

Permaculture works within the structure and efficiency of nature — rather than attempting to dominate and control the natural world as we have in the past. This symbiotic relationship can be used in a wide-array of systems, from building and technology, to education and economics. However, it is best known for its application within agriculture, a practice that offers real life solutions to our food security and environmental troubles. This is the subject of a groundbreaking new documentary, Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective.

Positive footprints

“All we need to live a good life surrounds us. Sun, wind, people, buildings, stones, sea, birds, plants. Cooperation with all these things brings harmony. Opposition brings disaster and chaos.” ~ Bill Mollison, co-developer of permaculture.

Unfortunately, instead of cooperating with nature, we’ve been in conflict since the industrial revolution. Scientists and researchers have been sounding the alarm about our path of ecological disaster for years. While the word “sustainability” generally evokes images of deprivation and damage control, permaculture approaches ecological balance from a stance of leaving a positive footprint, instead of no footprint at all.

The idea is beautifully captured by Inhabit, where individuals and groups who are “walking the permaculture talk” are profiled throughout the documentary. Ben Falk is once such person. Founder of Whole System Design Permaculture Research Farm in Vermont, United States and author of The Resilient Farm and Homestead, Falk has created what many consider a small slice of paradise.

The design of the farm is a far cry from traditional agriculture, the former being a type of strip mining more than anything else. Trees, land, plants and animals work together in permaculture, supporting ultimate well-being for everything and everyone involved. Falk helped the process along by creating swales (marshy depressions between ridges) to collect water and revitalize areas of land that were essentially barren. Before long, plant life began to thrive, creating another habitat and food source for animals and humans alike. By working with the natural design and water flow of the property, along with grazing animals and native plants, Falk was able to build a living ecosystem that not only regenerated the land, but also provides exceptional crop yield compared to conventional farming — without the use of harmful pesticides or toxins.

Granted, many of us are not quite at the point where we can move out to the country and create our very own bucolic oasis. Even so, the advantage of permaculture is that it can be applied to any situation — rural, urban or suburban.

Examples like Eric Toensmeier, co-author of Edible Forest Gardens and manager of Paradise Lot, a 1/10th acre permaculture educational garden in the heart of Massachusetts, demonstrate that suburbia is an excellent place for permaculture. Growing over 70 perennial greens and 40 different kinds of fruit, Toensmeier observed the bare backyard lot for a year before planting the garden in order to gain an understanding of the patterns of sun, wind and shade. The house on the property also utilizes a composting toilet, which provides rich soil for the plants and creates a closed-loop cycle of regeneration.

Permaculture - Bill Mollison quote

If suburbia isn’t your thing — or you live in a tightly packed area without a yard — permaculture can be adapted to rooftop gardens as well. These green spaces beautify and provide abundant food, while also diverting stormwater to the plants and rainwater collection barrels.

Dwaine Lee, an urban designer who teaches at the Five Boroughs Green Roof and founder of Power Polyculture, explains that a green roof garden mimics the natural world and provides an important service in helping to alleviate sewage overflow during rainstorms. Since storm water drains to the same system as sewage treatment, facilities become flooded with excess water during rainstorms, leading to the release of raw sewage into rivers, streams and the ocean — which seriously impacts the ecosystem.

The documentary highlights the fact that in New York City alone, there are one million buildings with 38,256 acres of rooftops, which are ripe for permaculture development. The possibilities are truly endless.

Another solution to the problem of storm water is to construct a rain garden. A teenager involved in the project describes how an old gas station was turned into a lush landscape, simply by diverting water from roadways during storms and structurally altering the land for the most efficient use of the water. The end result is a thriving garden of trees and plants which had previously been a wasteland.

Permaculture can also be taken out into the forest. Faced with an overabundance of cut wood, one man decided to use decomposition in his favor — by starting a shiitake mushroom farm with the logs. He then introduced ducks and geese into the mix to keep the slugs that eat mushrooms at bay. Again, all the elements work seamlessly in natural harmony to support one another.

Inhabit director Emmett Brennan leaves us with this final thought:

“Humanity is more than ever threatened by its own actions; we hear a lot about the need to minimize footprints and to reduce our impact. But what if our footprints were beneficial? What if we could meet human needs while increasing the health and well-being of our planet? This is the premise behind permaculture – a design process based on the replication of patterns found in nature.

“Inhabit is on the growing edge of media and cinema, presenting solutions to issues of food, water, medicine, governance, and more, and providing an impressive introduction to the permaculture worldview. The film illuminates the interdependence of all life and it presents an array of projects and people within this growing movement. “

Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective ~ Trailer

‘Inhabit provides an intimate look at permaculture peoples and practices ranging from rural, suburban, and urban landscapes.’

INHABIT: A Permaculture Perspective from Costa on Vimeo.

Article sources:

Amazing Food Science Discovery: Edible Plants ‘Talk’ To Animal Cells, Promote Healing

 

A groundbreaking new study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research titled, Interspecies communication between plant and mouse gut host cells through edible plant derived exosome-like nanoparticles,” reveals a new way that food components ‘talk’ to animal cells by regulating gene expression and conferring significant therapeutic effects. With the recent discovery that non-coding microRNA’s in food are capable of directly altering gene expression within human physiology,[1] this new study further concretizes the notion that the age old aphorism ‘you are what you eat’ is now consistent with cutting edge molecular biology.

Exosomes: The ‘Missing Link’ In How Plants and Animal Cells Communicate and Collaborate

This is the first study of its kind to look at the role of exosomes, small vesicles secreted by plant and animal cells that participate in intercellular communication, in interspecies (plant-animal) communication.

The study explained the biological properties of exosomes as follows:

“Exosomes are produced by a variety of mammalian cells including immune, epithelial, and tumor cells [11–15]. Exosomes play a role in intercellular communication and can transport mRNA, miRNA, bioactive lipids, and proteins between cells [16–19]. Upon contact, exosomes transfer molecules that can render new properties and/or reprogram their recipient cells.”

While most of the research on exosomes has focused on their role in pathological states such as tumor promotion, they were recently found to play a key role in stimulating regeneration within damaged cardiac tissue,[2] and are known to be found in human breast milk, further underscoring how irreplaceable it is vis-à-vis synthesized infant formula.[3]

The New Study

The investigators isolated plant derived exosome-like nanoparticles (EPDENs) from ginger, carrot, grape and grapefruit, and observed their behavior in mammalian cells (mice).

They chose these commonly consumed edible fruits and vegetables because,

“It is well established that a plant-derived diet has great influence on regulation of mammalian host cell homeostasis, in particular, cells in the digestive system [1–3]. Deregulation of plant-derived diet regulated host cell homeostasis leads to increased susceptibility to infections, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, and cancer [4–10].

They noted, “the cellular and molecular machinery regulating such interspecies mutualism between a plant-derived diet and the mammalian gut is not fully defined.” Their new study aimed to gain new insight into defining the mechanisms through which cross-kingdom crosstalk occurs.

Plant Exosomes Affect Mammalian Cells Intimately

After isolating and characterizing exosome-like nanoparticles from all four edible plants, the researchers discovered they possessed remarkable similarity in size and structure to mammalian-derived exosomes. Furthermore, the study showed “that these exosome-like nanoparticles are taken up by intestinal macrophages and stem cells, and have biological effects on the recipient cells.”

The biological effects were described as follows:

  • Ginger exosome-like nanoparticles strongly induced heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and IL-10 expressed in macrophages, an indication of anti-inflammatory and antoxidant properties.
  • Fruit-derived exosome-like nanoparticles including grape and grapefruit induced Wnt/TCF4 activation, which is a key component of the anti-inflammatory response
  • All tested foods activated nuclear translocation of Nrf2, a key regulator of the HO1 gene, which has an important role in anti-inflammation and antioxidation; ginger was found to be most potent, followed by grapefruit, carrot and grape

Notably, EPDENs were found to be resistant to gastric and intestinal enzymatic digestion, further indicating they are capable of exerting significant biological effects by escaping digestive degradation, which has also been found with lectins and microRNA’s within edible foods.

The researchers discussed their results:

“Our findings show that exosome-like nanoparticles are present in edible fruits and vegetables and reveal a previously unrecognized strategy by which plants communicate with mammalian cells via exosome-like nanoparticles in the gut, and in particular intestinal macrophages and stem cells. We found that edible plants contain large amounts of nanoparticles. Like mammalian exosomes, further characterization of the plant nanoparticles led to identifying them as exosome- like nanoparticles based on the nanoparticles being com- posed of proteins, lipids, and miRNAs. EPDENs from different types of plants have different biological effects on the recipient mammalian cells. This finding opens up a new avenue to further study the molecular mechanisms underlying how the plant kingdom crosstalks with mammalian cells such as intestinal macrophages and stem cells via EPDENs. This information may provide the molecular basis of using multiple plant-derived agents for better therapeutic effect than any single plant-derived agent.”

They also offered that their results may explain why those who consume a greater variety of edible plants are healthier:

“It has been known for decades that people eating a variety of edible plants daily are the recipients of many beneficial health effects when compared to subjects that ingest fewer types of edible plants. Ingesting EPDENs from a variety of fruits and vegetables daily would be expected to provide greater beneficial effects for maintaining gut homeostasis than ingesting EPDENs from single edible plant.”

Discussion: Deeper Implications of the Study

As part of the fascinating new fields of epigenetics and nutrigenomics, this new study’s findings promise to expand the relevance of food in the practice of medicine and the prevention of disease. We have crossed a critical threshold in the past few decades where food can no longer considered simply as a source of caloric content, minerals and vitamins, and building blocks for the body-machine. [Learn more by taking the author’s E-Course] Rather, food carries very specific forms of biologically meaningful information (literally ‘to put form into’), without which our genetic and epigenetic infrastructure cannot function according to its intelligent design.

The discovery of plant-dervied exosome-mediated modulation of fundamental mammalian cellular pathways, lends powerful support to the concept that ancestral nutritional practices handed down for countless generations are critical in maintaining our health. With the advent of the post-industrial diet, based largely on ‘food-like’ synthesized nutrition, and the novel introduction of grain-based nutrition in only the past 500 generations, our present diet suffers from a series of profoundly biological incompatible foods.

Millions of years of co-evolutionary processes have generated a wide range of interspecies, cross-kingdom co-dependencies. For instance, mammals and angiosperms (which comprise about 250,000 species and include most of the flowering plants that provide the modern world its diet) co-evolved for at least 200 million years together, and are today two of the most dominant forms of life on the planet. The very molecular and informational fabric of our bodies evolved to intimately depend on the presence of various key food components in the human diet, and the absence of others which may be detrimental to our health. Food components like exosomes may be as important to our health as vitamins and other classically defined ‘nutrients,’ and may even be more important in modulating a wide range of complex genetic- and epigenetic-mediated cellular processes within the body. This may also explain the mystery of how certain fruits, such as pomegranate, have been found to replace the function of the mammalian ovary in an ovariectomy induced models of premature aging.  While pomegranate is one of nature’s most concentrated source of bioidentical estrone, exosomes may be the ‘missing link’ as to how a plant food can support complex hormonal processes within the animal body, along with exerting such a wide range of additional therapeutic health effects. This is all the more evidence with plants like turmeric, which have over 600 health benefits and has been found to modulate the expression of thousands of genes simultaneously.[4]

We believe that taken together, the recent discoveries that 1) microRNA’s within foods like rice can enter into our blood and tissue and regulate gene expression 2) that double-stranded RNAs within a wide range of commonly consumed foods have molecular homology with thousands of human RNAs (and are therefore capable of silencing them) 3) that lectins also can directly activate nuclear machinery within certain cells, the addition of exosome-mediated gene modulation, lends further support to the concept that the quality and types of food we consume carry as much relevance in terms of ‘biological destiny’ as the DNA within our genome.

With exciting research now available, the famous quote attributed to Thomas Edison rings truer today than ever:

“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

References:

[1] Lin Zhang Exogenous plant MIR168a specifically targets mammalian LDLRAP1: evidence of cross-kingdom regulation by microRNA Cell Research (2012) 22:107–126. doi:10.1038/cr.2011.158; published online 20 September 2011

[2] Ahmed Gamal-Eldin Ibrahim, Ke Cheng, Eduardo Marbán. Exosomes as Critical Agents of Cardiac Regeneration Triggered by Cell TherapyStem Cell Reports, May 2014 DOI:10.1016/j.stemcr.2014.04.006

[3] Qi Zhou1, et al Immune-related MicroRNAs are Abundant in Breast Milk Exosomes Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(1):118-123. doi:10.7150/ijbs.8.118

[4] Sreenivasan S, Thirumalai K, Danda R, Krishnakumar S. Effect of curcumin on miRNA expression in human Y79 retinoblastoma cells. Curr Eye Res. 2012 May;37(5):421-8. doi: 10.3109/02713683.2011.647224. PubMed PMID: 22510010.

Credits: Sayer Ji of Green Med Info, Guest contributor. Used here with permission.

Three Foods From Ancient Times With Miraculous Benefits

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Consumed for thousands of years in various parts of the world, these three simple foods were revered by ancient civilizations for their healing powers. Today, modern science is proving these civilizations right, yet they are still relatively unknown in the Western world. Here are three foods you need to know about.

Being a Vigilant Citizen is not only about being aware of what goes into your mind, it is also about being aware of what enters your body. If your body is fueled with toxic garbage, your brain will also run on toxic garbage. And when your brain runs on toxic garbage, it becomes slow, cloudy, and enjoys listening to Pitbull.

In my series of articles, Dumbing-Down Society, I list some toxic elements found in everyday products that we all need to avoid. This article, however, is about the exact opposite. It is about foods we all need to consume on a regular basis. The three foods in this article have been revered for thousands of years for their incredible healing proprieties and modern science is slowly confirming these ancient claims. Not only can these foods cure ailments, they can be used as supplements to improve the immune system, brain function and general well being.

Ancient civilizations did not praise these foods for the heck of it. They observed, for thousands of years, the various effects these foods had on the mind, the body and even the soul. Ancients were so in awe about their proprieties that they obtained special statues: they were perceived as gifts from above, they were celebrated in ceremonies, and Kings were buried with them. So, without further ado, here are three ancient foods you need to know about right now.

 

Zaatar

IMG_8661

When I was a snotty little kid running around the house getting hungry, I used to go up to my mother, interrupt whatever she was doing and demand food. And, very often, I got the same snack: Zaatar mixed with olive oil inside a pita bread (that’s what you get when your parents are Lebanese immigrants). As I got older, I understood why I was given this wrap all the time. First, it took about 30 seconds to make; second, it’s the cheapest lunch in the history of the world (it costs about 26 cents to make); third, it tastes pretty good. Finally, it is a natural, wholesome food that is packed with important nutrients.

Zaatar is a mix of spices that is mainly consumed in the Middle East. While each region has its trademark take on it, zaatar usually consists of the same basic ingredients: Dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, sumac, toasted sesame seeds and salt.

Zaatar has been part of the Mediterranean diet for thousands of years. It was consumed in Ancient Egypt and, throughout history, has remained a staple credited with various healing properties.

There is evidence that a za’atar plant was known and used in Ancient Egypt, though its ancient name has yet to be determined with certainty. Remains of thymbra spicata, one variety used in modern za’atar preparations, were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, and according to Dioscorides, this particular species was known to the Ancient Egyptians as saem.

Pliny the Elder mentions an herb maron as an ingredient of the Regale Unguentum (“Royal Perfume”) used by the Parthian kings in the 1st century CE.

In Jewish tradition, Saadiah, Ibn Ezra (d. circa 1164), Maimonides (1135–1204) and Obadiah ben Abraham (1465–1515) identified the ezov mentioned in the Hebrew Bible with the Arabic word “za’atar”. Ezov/za’atar is particularly associated with ritual purity ceremonies, such as preparing the ashes of the Red Heifer (Numbers 19:6) and handling bodily contaminations (Leviticus 14:4, 6, 51-52; Numbers 20:18).
– Lise Manniche. An ancient Egyptian herbalist

As stated above, the renowned 12th Century philosopher, astronomer, and physician Maimonides was a big fan of zaatar. He regularly prescribed it to his patients to cure various ailments and to “open the mind”. Recent studies all tend to confirm these claims, as zaatar has proved to be a powerful antiseptic (it kills nasty things in your body) and a potent “brain food”. Here are some of the proprieties of each ingredient found in zaatar.

Sumac Health Benefits

Sumac is rich in gallic acid, which research suggests has anti-fungal, anti-viral, and cancer-fighting properties, and quercetin, which also seems to an anti-inflammatory agent effective against cancer.

A 2009 study also suggested that sumac can protect DNA from errors during cell reproduction in animals, though research on human cells was inconclusive.

Thyme and Oregano Health Benefits

Thyme and oregano are both rich in thymol and carvacrol, similar organic compounds called phenols that have antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Like gallic acid, they are also effective in suppressing funguses and other microorganisms.

A 2010 study found that thymol and carvacrol can weaken drug-resistant strains of disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus, making the microbes more susceptible to antibiotics.

In lab tests, the antioxidants in thyme were even powerful enough to fight off acne-causing bacteria.

A fluid extract of thyme also helped patients with acute bronchitis and phlegmy coughing fits minimize their respiratory symptoms — which, as The Salt notes, echoes Maimonides’ prescription of za’atar to treat colds.

Brain-Boosting Za’atar?

In certain parts of the Middle East, folk tradition suggests that za’atar has brain-boosting properties – The Salt recounts that Syrian children are often encouraged to sprinkle the spice mix on meals before exams.

Scientific literature on the health benefits of za’atar herbs like thyme, oregano, and sumac for human intelligence is minimal, though some researchers are beginning to speculate that the carvacrol, the phenol found in thyme and oregano, may have cognitive and mood-enhancing properties, at least in rodents.

A 2011 study found that in mice, specific doses of an oregano extract elevated levels of serotonin, a vital brain neurotransmitter involved in regulating mood, learning, sleep, and appetite, working like a low-impact version of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs that are commonly prescribed as antidepressants in humans.

Another study published last month showed that when fed to rats, steady low doses of carvacrol can boost levels of serotonin and dopamine, which is also involved in mood, learning, and feelings of reward, possibly increasing feelings of well-being and reinforcing other positive brain processes.

Finally, a 2012 study found that in rats, thymol and carvacrol helped alleviate some symptoms of dementia caused by beta-amyloid, a protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease. When dosed with the compounds before being placed in a water maze, cognitively impaired rats learned how to navigate the labyrinth more quickly than expected.

Let’s forget about rats eating zaatar for a second and focus on the great minds who were fueled on it instead. If zaatar was good enough for Egyptian pharaohs, the Bible and renowned philosophers, it is probably good enough for you.

How to get and consume zaatar

Zaatar can be found in most markets selling products from the Middle East. You can also order it online through Amazon – this one is pretty authentic

You can also buy each spice that make up zaatar separately and create your own blend.

Zaatar can be sprinkled on dairy products, vegetables and meats to add flavor. It is however at its best when mixed with its long time partner: olive oil.  I personally like to spread some zaatar and olive oil on whole wheat bread, and then add a slice of tomato and some feta cheese. Nice.

Black Seed Oil (aka Nigella Sativa Oil)

Nigella sativa (Black cumin) on wooden spoon and essential oil. Real oil from nigella looks like dark honey

Although black seed oil has been praised for thousands of years for its incredible healing properties, it gets little to no love in the Western world. However, scientific research is shedding light on this seed’s awesome powers and is gradually confirming what ancient cultures claimed for thousands of years: Black seed oil is a miracle worker. Considered to be an “elixir of life” and the “most powerful oil in the world”, black seed oil built its reputation over thousands of years of use across various cultures.

Black Cumin Seed (Nigella Sativa) oil has been used in traditional medicine since the beginning of civilization. It was called Panacea (which roughly translates to ‘cure-all’) in Ancient Egypt; it was found in the tomb of King Tut and it is said that Cleopatra used it as a beauty treatment. Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician, used it to cure digestive and metabolic disorders. The Prophet Muhammad called it “a remedy for every illness except death.

The oil has also been recommended by practitioners of Ayurveda and Chinese Traditional Medicine for thousands of years for conditions from diabetes to indigestion to cancer. In recent years, it has been put to the test of modern science and several studies confirm its long reported health benefits.
– Natural Living Idea, “Black Cumin Seed Oil: The Most Powerful Oil In The World?”

Black seed oil has been used by ancient cultures to cure and to prevent pretty much anything – from common colds to life-threatening cancers. Science is now confirming these claims.

Nigella Sativa has been involved in hundreds of studies regarding health, and particularly cancer treatment and prevention. One of its active ingredients, Thymoquinone, has been found to be particularly effective in reducing the size of existing tumors. In studies on rats and humans, researchers found that Black Cumin Seed Oil:

  • Inhibited tumor growth by up to 50%
  • Increased the growth of healthy bone marrow cells by 250%
  • Helps to protect the body against damage from chemotherapy and radiation
  • Has strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Aides in the production of natural interferon
  • Can even deactivate or kill certain types of cancer cells

– Ibid.

Although that is pretty impressive, black seed oil is most useful when it is consumed on a daily basis to improve health and to prevent illnesses from even appearing. The “magic” ingredient in black seed oil is called crystalline nigellone, a compound that is relatively rare in nature and difficult to synthesize. Black seed oil also contains Beta Sitosterol, Calcium, Copper. Folic Acid. Iron, Oleic, Linoleic and Linelenic Acids (Omegas 3 & 6), Palmitol, Phosphorous, Protein, Stearic Acid, Thymoquinone, Vitmins B1, B2 & B and Zinc. All of these ingredients contribute in maintaining optimal health.

Overall, the greatest benefit of Black Cumin Seed is its effect on the immune system and metabolism – which, in turn, supports all the functions of the body. The active compounds in the oil have been proven to fight several diseases by naturally boosting the body’s production of immune cells, bone marrow, and natural interferon. It also protects the liver (your body’s filtering system) from toxicity. Even for people in the best health, regular supplementation with Black Cumin Seed Oil can greatly increase their overall sense of health and well-being.

Some of the many conditions successfully treated with regular ingestion of Black Cumin Oil, over an extended period of time (6 months or more), include:

Allergies and Sinusitis
Anxiety and Nervous Tension
Bronchitis
Colds and Flus
Colic (babies)
Diabetes
Diarrhea, Indigestion and Heartburn
Hair Loss
Headaches and Migraines
High Blood Pressure
Insomnia
Intestinal Parasites
Lethargy and Depression
– Ibid.

How to Get and Consume Black Seed Oil

Black seed oil can be found in markets specializing in Mediterranean and North African products. It is however rather difficult to find in some areas. For this reason, I found it easier to order the oil online – this brand is one of the most authentic

No matter what brand you buy, make sure the oil is 100% pure, cold pressed and its color resembles dark honey. Oils that are too light (like vegetable oil) might have had important nutrients filtered out.

For general well-being, it is recommended to take one teaspoon of oil in the morning, one hour before breakfast. For therapeutic purposes (if you’re sick) a second teaspoon in the evening is recommended. The taste is somewhat nasty, but you’ll eventually get used to it. After about week of using this magical oil, you’ll feel a noticeable boost of energy and you’ll feel pretty sharp. If you don’t believe me, go back in time and ask King Tut, Cleopatra, Hippocrates, and the Prophet Mohammad. They’ll tell you.

Turmeric Powder

turmeric-roots-and-a-jar-of-turmeric-powder

Turmeric powder is a staple in Indian cuisine and is often found in curry-based recipes. Although it is relatively easy to find in supermarkets, most Westerners are not taking advantage of this spice’s incredible healing powers. This situation is unfortunate because turmeric is a potent antidote to the many ills resulting from our modern lifestyle characterized by poor diet, contact with toxic chemicals and heavy pollution.

The most well known medicinal action of turmeric is its use as a powerful anti-inflammatory, the effectiveness of which is comparable to pharmaceutical medicines. However, it also acts as an alternative, analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-allergic, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, stimulant, and vulnerary  . Modern science is beginning to recognize and understand the amazing healing qualities of turmeric and much research is currently being conducted.
– Lisa Gallant, Turmeric : “The Golden Goddess”

There is nothing new about the usage of turmeric – its healing powers have been known since the dawn of civilization. Turmeric has been used for centuries in Ayurveda, the 5,000 year old natural healing system of India. In Ayurveda, turmeric is believed to balance the three doshas, the three bodily humors that make up one’s constitution (named vata, pitta, and kapha).

It was around 500 BCE that turmeric emerged as an important part of Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of natural healing that is still practiced today. Ayurveda translates to “science of life”– ayur meaning “life” and veda meaning “science or knowledge.” Inhaling fumes from burning turmeric was said to alleviate congestion, turmeric juice aided with the healing of wounds and bruises, and turmeric paste was applied to all sorts of skin conditions – from smallpox and chicken pox to blemishes and shingles. Ayurvedic literature contains over 100 different terms for turmeric, including jayanti, meaning “one who is victorious over diseases,” and matrimanika, meaning “as beautiful as moonlight.”

In Indian culture, the importance of turmeric goes far beyond medicine. The Hindu religion sees turmeric as auspicious and sacred. There is a wedding day tradition in which a string, dyed yellow with turmeric paste, is tied around the bride’s neck by her groom. This necklace, known as a mangala sutra, indicates that the woman is married and capable of running a household. The tradition still continues in Hindu communities and has been compared to the Western exchange of wedding rings. In parts of southern India, a piece of the turmeric rhizome is worn as an amulet for protection against evil spirits.
– Lisa Gallant, “Turmeric, the Golden Goddess”

In India, turmeric has been used traditionally for thousands of years as a remedy for stomach and liver ailments, as well as topically to heal sores, basically for its supposed antimicrobial property. In the Siddha system (since around 1900 BCE) turmeric was a medicine for a range of diseases and conditions, including those of the skin, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal systems, aches, pains, wounds, sprains, and liver disorders. A fresh juice is commonly used in many skin conditions, including eczema, chicken pox, shingles, allergy, and scabies
Siri-Ved Kaur Khalsa, “Turmeric, the Golden Healer”

Recent studies are not only confirming what Ancients believed about turmeric, they are also discovering several applications for modern ailments. Here’s a quick summary of the properties attributed to turmeric by modern science.

  • A Potent, Yet Safe Anti-Inflammatory
  • An Effective Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Relief for Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Help for Cystic Fibrosis Sufferers
  • Cancer Prevention
  • Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth and Metastases
  • Turmeric and Onions May Help Prevent Colon Cancer
  • Turmeric Teams Up with Cauliflower to Halt Prostate Cancer
  • Reduce Risk of Childhood Leukemia
  • Improved Liver Function
  • Cardiovascular Protection
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Protection against Alzheimer’s Disease

– whfoods.com, Turmeric

Yup, that’s a pretty hefty list … and the research has barely started.

How to Get and Consume Turmeric

Due to the surge of popularity of Indian food, most supermarkets now carry turmeric powder. If you live close to a market selling South East Asian products, you can probably buy a bucketful of the spice for about a nickel. You can also order it only through sites like Amazon – this one is pretty good

Turmeric can be consumed in a variety of ways, but, due to its peculiar taste, I do not suggest adding it where it doesn’t belong. Turmeric is right at home in soups, curries or tossed with rice and vegetables. Make sure to add black pepper to your recipes as it is known to improve the bioavailability of turmeric, making it even more effective. You can also simmer turmeric with honey, ginger and lemon to make the world’s healthiest beverage.

In Conclusion

Zaatar, black seed oil, and turmeric powder were considered to be true miracle workers by ancient civilizations for millennia because, like miracle workers, they have the power to heal. They also improve general health by cleansing the body, sharpening the mind and nourishing the soul. Unfortunately, instead of benefiting from these affordable gifts from nature, many resort to swallowing pills made by profit-driven pharmaceutical companies to feel better. Some of the pills sold on TV have horrible side effects such as “suicidal thoughts”. If a pill makes your brain want to kill itself as a “side effect”, maybe it’s a sign from the universe that you should not be taking this pill. The side-effects of the three foods in this article? You feel better and you’re in a better mood. That’s the universe telling you that you should eat these foods … and thousands of years of experience, wisdom and knowledge agree.

Children Grow Food Better Than Adults & Lead Paradigm Shift

kidgarden

Riding the full force GMO backlash of 2014, communities and individuals alike are breaking down the door with Black-Friday urgency in search of better access to better food. Yet in a country where we continue to be limited by the bottom line of big corporate influences and their overarching monetary reach, the first sprouts of a mighty paradigm shift have been peeking through the dirt waiting for everyone to notice. What I’m talking about is the decentralization of food back to communities and individuals.

Children ≥ Adults

In recent interviews Dr. Richard Alan Miller, herbalist and longtime fixture in alternative agriculture, has described what he sees as proof of a shift in consciousness that is occurring in his recent work on the outskirts of Mexico City, as well as in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Groups of children, varying in age, are learning to grow vegetables and salad greens on their own terms. Taking a page from Rudolf Steiner’s Waldorf educational philosophy, the children become both the teachers and the students.

They learn at their own pace while Dr. Miller and others remain to oversee and provide only minimal, gentle guidance. According to Dr. Miller, while observing the youth interacting with nature he noticed that many of them “had inherent, natural skill that was better than most master gardeners.” The food grown by the children was then used in nearby cities to feed hungry adults. “We are witnessing an educational shift with a new paradigm shift in agricultural reform in which small groups of children grow food for larger groups of adults,” said Dr. Miller.

Local Open Source Food = Empowered Community

The answer to many of society’s problems can be found by walking in the opposite direction of the current push for further centralization being sold in many aspects of our life. Indeed, it is because of the centralization of the food system that we are now vulnerable to supply chain disruptions that can come from a variety of sources, instantly crippling unprepared communities. In addition, a centralized food supply allows large corporations to monopolize the food sources while diminishing both our rights and the quality of our food. However, alternatives to this model have begun appearing, such as the seven acre Beacon Hill site in Seattle, which made headlines in 2009 with plans for the first free open Food Forest within city limits. Simultaneously, the common sense concept gained momentum through many cities across America.

This movement can be seen in the first crop of documentaries chronicling the rise of urban farming and community food forests. America is witnessing many communities develop local foodsheds in small cities and large metropolises alike. A foodshed encompasses the land where the agricultural products are grown or raised, the route the food travels, the markets in which it is sold, and finally the individuals who eat it. This is true community empowerment on multiple levels.

With these local movements beginning to establish powerful roots, we are now seeing a supercharged quickening of their efficacy with the use of alternative agriculture practices such as permaculture, biodynamic practices, vertical and rooftop gardens for space limitations, drip irrigation and structured water systems for water conservation, and microbial, phyto, and bioremediation for accelerated soil building. The combination is propelling humanity forward and rebuilding the connection we have lost between our relationship with food and each other.

Contributionism Philosophy

Put into the public consciousness by Michael Tellinger, the idea of the Ubuntu movement can be summed up in one word; contributionism. A straightforward concept, it is set around building community, following one’s passions, and stepping away from the monetary/corporate system. The open-sourced, free food movements happening in every community on large and small scales are testaments to the permeation of this idea and its unstoppable growth. The fact remains that corporations have little power to do anything in the wake of decentralized community contributionism around a free food movement.

Just recently, McDonald’s attempted to get its brand into this new paradigm by launching the “Give lovin’, get lovin’” campaign. On McDonald’s heels, Braintree also recently rolled out the #AcceptAnything food truck with a similar “take anything as payment” effort to keep some semblance of monetary control over a system that is in flux and searching for solutions. However, what corporations fail to understand is that this shift is not simply a new market, a changing demographic, or a product to exploit for the purpose of enhancing their bottom line.

In many ways, it is because of their corporate abuse, suicidal banking practices, and an overall inability to show empathy that communities are walking away from that old paradigm. In America there are over 46,000,000 people on The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) –AKA food stamps. This is proof that the old paradigm didn’t work and is at an end. As individuals and communities learn and empower themselves through decentralized free food urban gardens, it is an absolute certainty that this number will decrease.

References:

http://www.beaconfoodforest.org/

http://www.seattlechannel.org/CityStream/segments?videoid=x29838

http://vimeo.com/109299341

http://quantumwai-structuredwater.com/our-products/

http://www.fungi.com/product-detail/product/earth-repair.html

http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2015/02/04/mcdonalds-not-first-to-accept-kisses-hugs-as-payment/

http://crabtreefarms.org/about/what-is-a-foodshed

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC8JcXIoITw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeoGc4hxnno