The Many Benefits of Herbal Adaptogens

“Feel better! Have more energy! Live longer!” Sounds like a late night infomercial, or the claims made for patent medicines in the late 1800’s, doesn’t it?

But in truth, there is a class of herbs that will increase your energy, help to prevent disease, and even likely extend your lifespan. These herbs are called “adaptogens”, and I recommend them to everyone for increasing vitality and well-being.

Adaptogens got their name from their unique ability to buffer the effects of stress—they actually help the body adapt more readily to the demands of life. Everyone experiences stress, whether it’s everyday worries about work, money, and relationships; the physical demands of athletic competition; or the emotional and physical stressors of chronic illness.

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St. Francis of Assisi

I have always felt a deep connection to St. Francis of Assisi, the Christian saint best known for his love of nature, animals, and the poor.  In the early 1980’s I lived in Holy Protection monastery, a Byzantine Eastern-Rite Franciscan monastery. This was where I was professed as a 3rd Order, Secular Franciscan.

Born at Assisi in the year 1182, St. Francis came from a wealthy family. Although he spent his early years enjoying the material benefits of wealth, he soon recognized the shallowness of his lifestyle, and renounced his inherited wealth. He chose instead a simple life of poverty, which allowed him to fully devote himself to God and his calling.

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Schi-Zam™: A Natural Energy Beverage

Energy enhancing beverages are everywhere these days, but most are designed merely to provide an intense, temporary jolt of energy. Unfortunately, this false energy leaves you depleted when the “high” wears off.

Most commercial energy drinks depend upon large amounts of caffeine (two to three times the amount found in a cup of coffee), an excessive amount of sugar (from six to sixteen teaspoons in one serving), and long list of other questionable ingredients.

Energy drinks are actually a great idea that can benefit almost everyone needing an infusion of energy, including athletes and people suffering from chronic illness or undergoing chemotherapy. But instead of drinking a highly sweetened, caffeinated, chemical concoction, try Schi-Zam™, my natural energy drink.

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The Practice of Lectio Divina

I spend a great deal of time counseling individuals with life threatening illnesses. Understandably, the unknown—the emotional trauma of their unexpected diagnosis, the rounds of invasive medical treatments, and their suddenly uncertain future, frightens many people.

They come to me for advice in how to best approach their illness, knowing that they will receive a leading-edge, holistic protocol that encompasses nutrition, botanical support, information about medical procedures, and lifestyle recommendations. What they generally don’t anticipate receiving is spiritual guidance. In my experience, however, the people who do best are those who deepen in their spiritual practices, and who strengthen their connection to God, however they may conceive him to be within the context of their personal beliefs. For healing to occur at the deepest level of being, I believe that a strong personal connection to God is essential.

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Fish Oil Supplements: Beneficial Or Not?

If you believe the findings of a recent highly publicized research report, you may be wondering if you should throw your fish oil supplements into the garbage. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (September 2012), researchers who evaluated data from 20 previous studies maintain that neither fish oil supplements nor a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids effectively reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

In my estimation, this is a seriously flawed evaluation of research. I’ve collected an enormous amount of data that strongly suggest multiple benefits from the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, including protection from cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurological disease, and autoimmune disease, as well as for bone, skin, and lung health.

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Herbs and Nutrients to Keep Your Memory Sharp

If you’ve ever walked into a room and couldn’t remember why you were there; misplaced your keys (or even your car in a parking lot); or forgotten the name of an acquaintance, you might have momentarily wondered if you were losing your mind. If you’re over the age of 50, you might even be seriously concerned about the possibility of Alzheimer’s.

It’s a valid concern. According to the 2008 Alzheimer’s Association figures, more than five million Americans over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, approximately 500,000 Americans under the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

Although a decline in memory and brain function is generally regarded as an inevitable part of growing older, in reality, brain aging is caused by poor cerebral circulation, mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammation, oxidative damage, and decreased levels of anabolic-repair hormones, including DHEA and testosterone. All of these factors contribute to changes in the brain that lead to neuronal degeneration and cognitive impairment.

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