Monthly Archives: December 2020

Why You Should Use Herbal Tinctures Instead of Whole Herbs

benefits-of-herbal-tinctures

Tinctures have been used for hundreds of years to distill and preserve the essence of medicinal herbs. Occasionally used for culinary purposes, the vast majority of tinctures (which are plant chemicals isolated and preserved in alcohol) are found in the herbalist’s medicine cabinet. There are various tinctures labeled for specific health concerns, and those that are formulated for general purposes. Herbal medicine, and specifically tinctures, are a form of alternative medicine medicine with a longstanding history in all corners of Eastern and Western cultures.

So why would you choose a tincture instead of a whole herb? After all, whole herbs are alive, and can be grown right in your garden or kitchen. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using whole herbs freshly snipped, but there are several advantages to using tinctures that just can’t be beat. 

Here’s our best argument for using tinctures instead of whole herbs. 

Tinctures are Concentrated

Typically a tincture is produced by submerging a large amount of herbal plant matter in a relatively small amount of high proof, usually grain alcohol. Left to sit for a predetermined amount of time, the medicinal chemicals that grow naturally in these healing herbs are dissolved into the alcohol, thus being transferred from leaf and stem to the surrounding liquid. 

As you might have guessed, this makes tinctures (potentially) much more potent than whole herbs, meaning that you have to consume a whole lot less to feel the effect. Most tinctures call for doses of 20 drops or so, which is convenient for most of us. Because this tiny dose is almost guaranteed to pack a punch, most of us find it more convenient to make a habit of tincture consumption than to regularly eat, drink, or otherwise prepare whole herbs. As with most aspects of herbalism, consistency is key, and tinctures make consistency a breeze.

Quick absorption

There is simply no faster way to absorb the healing properties of an herb than to put a tincture drop under your tongue. This tissue is among the body’s most absorptive, so you’ll be sure to get the most out of your herbal discipline if you ingest the tincture this way. Of course, some tinctures are bitter due to their herbal payload, and grain alcohol isn’t palatable to most of us anyway. However, even if you want to put your tincture into tea, water, or what-have-you, you’ll still digest the liquid faster than you would a whole herb. 

Long Preservation

One of the main reasons tinctures were created was to preserve herbal harvests. Dry herbs won’t last forever. Tinctures remove the plant material that breaks down over time, preserving the essential medicinal compounds. Also, tinctures have a small form factor that works in favor of long term storage. Of course, there’s room in your herbal practice for both if you prefer, but if you were to choose only one, we’d recommend tinctures over whole herbs any day of the week. 

Tinctures are easy to make on your own. Now that spring is just a matter of weeks from bringing our gardens into bloom once more, why not start to plan out your 2021 herb garden. You’ll be able to preserve the best of your harvest using simple tincture-making methods that can be learned anywhere online. If you’re ready to start building your tincture library but it’s still too cold to garden, why not stock up on Immune Tincture by Nutritional Frontiers and Milk Thistle Tincture by Genestra. These tinctures could have a positive effect on your immune system and liver/antioxidant response, respectively, and they’ll open up your mind to a whole new world of herbal tinctures.

How Sleep Affects Fitness Outcomes

sleep-affects-fitness-outcomes

Sleep is an essential aspect of life, no matter who you are. For athletes, though, it’s an ingredient in the recipe for success that can’t be replaced with anything else. The same is true for non-athletes who exercise regularly, especially those who consistently push themselves to new levels of achievement. In short, sleep is essential for recovery. But what, exactly, does this mean?

Sleep and Exercise Recovery

When we exercise, we put stress on our muscles, heart, tendons/ligaments, and other body systems. This stress is calculated, as it stimulates our bodies to recover stronger than they were before the stress took place. When the body experiences stress, it “anticipates” that such stress may continue in the future, and prepares itself by packing on muscle and increasing agility. However, it takes time for these changes to take effect, and sleep is the time when the greatest improvements are made. 

William and Mary athletics research indicates that it takes about one hour of sleep for an athlete to recover from 2 hours of bodily stress. Therefore, 16 hours of wakefulness and training would require a full 8 hours to build back to 100%. Obviously, in the case of extreme strenuous exercise, the body may require multiple days to fully recover, with each night of sleep playing an important role. Ideally, the athlete will be conditioned to difficult training, though, and therefore a single night of sleep will do most of the work. 

When we don’t sleep enough after difficult training, we enter the next day only partially recovered. Our bodies must then continue the difficult process of recovery while also handling the burden of daily tasks and responsibilities, possibly with the added burden of further exercise. During such exercise, strength and mobility will be limited, reducing the effectiveness of weight-lifting, running, or whatever other form of exercise you practice. In many way, exercise of this sort is “going through the motions” – dragging oneself in a state of exhaustion through a routine, without reaping the benefits that good sleep can provide. 

How to Improve Sleep Quality for Optimal Exercise Recovery

If you aren’t sleeping enough, the first step is to make time for sufficient sleep. Give yourself at least 8 hours of undisturbed time, and be willing to go to bed early enough in the evening to achieve it. It’s important to follow all of the useful practices that can contribute to good sleep, such as removing electric lights from the bedroom, “winding down” sufficiently early to drift off to sleep, and avoiding food, drink, and chemicals like caffeine even hours prior to slumber. 

Another way to improve sleep quality, though, is to simply exercise more! Exercise and sleep go hand in hand. The more tired you are, the more your body will naturally reach out for the restorative power that a night of quality rest can provide. If you are a natural insomniac, chances are that vigorous exercise during the day may be enough to help turn the tide. In fact, the exercise>sleep connection is so powerful that it’s been described as a positive “vicious cycle”, one which builds to a beneficial outcome in a rapid and surprising fashion. 

If you still have trouble sleeping, even with your fitness goals being achieved during the day, there are supplements that can help. TravaCor by NeuroScience, Sleep Time by Nutritional Frontiers, and Melatonin 3 mg by Pure Encapsulations each have a unique herbal/natural formulation that can help the body naturally relax for high quality sleep each night. Try any of them while also improving your daytime exertion practices, and you should be slumbering beneficially soon enough.

Cold Organic Pressed Juice Recipes

cold-organic-juice-recipes

If you love cold organic pressed juice, you know one thing for sure: buying it from the store can be expensive. But your budget doesn’t have to take a massive hit every time you want a cold organic pressed juice. That’s because with the right cold organic pressed juice recipes, you can make your very own organic pressed juice at home.

To get started, there are just two things you need:

  1. A juicer.
  2. The organic fruits and veggies of your choice.

That’s it! There are a lot of choices for juicers available for a variety of price ranges (from about $25 to over $400). While each one will have its particular perks or selling point, generally, you’ll be deciding between a centrifugal juice (which juices fast) or a masticating juicer (which juices slow).

Once you’ve decided upon your juicer, get started with these simple and delicious cold organic pressed juice recipes.

Cold Organic Pressed Juice Recipes

Green Goddess Cold Pressed Juice Blend

This simple four-ingredient pressed juice recipe is an easy and delicious entry point to adding more green juice to your diet. To make this juice, you’ll need:

  • 3 stalks of organic celery.
  • ½ large organic cucumber, quartered.
  • 1 medium organic green apple, cut into eighths.
  • 1 medium organic pear, cut into eighths.

Both celery and cucumber make great cold-pressed organic juice ingredients since they’re packed with water. Juice, stir, and enjoy!

Immune Booster Cold Pressed Juice Blend

If the colder weather finds you under the weather, you’re probably looking for all of the natural immunity boosts you can find. One simple and delicious one is this immune booster cold-pressed juice recipe. All you’ll need is:

  • 2 organic oranges, quartered (with or without the peel – without the peel makes it less bitter).
  • ¼ organic lemon, peeled.
  • 1 medium organic apple, cut into eighths.
  • ½ inch fresh organic ginger.

The result is a sunny, yellow juice that harnesses the germ-fighting powers of lemons, oranges, apples, and ginger.

Kale Juice With a Kick

If you like your green juices more spicy than sweet, then this cold-pressed juice recipe is the one for you. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 small organic lemon (peeled).
  • 1 medium bunch of organic kale, stemmed.
  • 3 organic Persian cucumbers.
  • One 1-inch piece of fresh organic ginger.
  • ¾ cup organic cilantro leaves.
  • ¼ inch piece of organic jalapeno (optional, and feel free to add either more or less to your spiciness preference).
  • Kosher salt (optional, to sprinkle over final drink blend).
  • Ice, to serve.

And to really amp up your juice game (or to combine with the drink of your choice), try adding one of these high-nutrition powder mixes to your next cold organic pressed juice recipe: Power Greens Chocolate (NuMedica), Pro Reds (Nutritional Frontiers), and BroccoMax (Jarrow Formulas).

Power Greens Chocolate – NuMedica

Power Greens Chocolate from NuMedica is a high ORAC value greens formula that is easy mixing, great-tasting, and an energizing phytonutrient powder mix loaded with certified organic, whole food plant extracts. It also provides a super blend of completely natural vitamins, ionic trace minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and symbiotic intestinal flora that may help in delivering maximum energy, metabolism, fat-burning, digestion, detoxification, immunity, repair, recovery, revitalization, and longevity. Its proprietary antioxidant blend provides almost 50 different superfoods, yet still contains absolutely zero:

  • Stimulants
  • Caffeine
  • Gluten
  • Wheat
  • Dairy
  • Preservatives
  • MSG

Pro Reds – Nutritional Frontiers

Pro Reds from Nutritional Frontiers is a delicious drink mix supplement jam-packed with antioxidants that deliver at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, all in a tasty berry blend. With an ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of 5000, Pro Reds is designed to boost energy and to support the body’s antioxidant defense systems.

Brocco Max – Jarrow Formulas

The makers of Brocco Max from Jarrow Formulas know that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli have been associated with antioxidant and cellular protection. That’s why Brocco Max contains a standardized concentration of sulforaphane glucosinolate extracted (without solvents) from broccoli seeds. 20x more concentrated than broccoli, Brocco Max supports healthy cell replication and can be taken before or after a meal. We recommend trying it with one of your new cold organic pressed juice recipes.

What is your favorite cold organic pressed juice recipes?