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When we think of headaches and managing the pain, many think to grab some vitamins, take some herbal supplements, get a massage, maybe acupuncture and even have a shot of a strong cup of coffee. However, few people consider taking a cup of strong hot tea for the pain, let alone a vintage tea called Pu-Erh.
I came across this ancient remedy several years ago while on travels and had a bad bout with a disturbing headache. Without any supplements at hand and the thought of having coffee was nauseating, I opted to try Pu-Erh tea for the first time based on a recommendation at a local tea house.
I was told that Pu-Erh is considered to be in a class of its own because it is a post-fermented tea, thus explaining its hefty price tag. This medicinal tea has numerous health benefiting properties despite its high caffeine content. Due to its high amount of antioxidants it is beneficial as a cancer preventive, aids in digestion and metabolism, cardiovascular benefits, lowers cholesterol (due to lovastatin) keeps one alert and relaxed at the same time without the jitteriness of coffee (due to its theanine component), helps with vision, halitosis and healthy teeth.
When the tea came out in a cast iron tea pot the smell was very pungent, bold, dark, and earthy. Something I had never experienced before. While I poured it into the stark white tea-cup, its dark brown almost black color was very mysterious looking. One whiff of it and I thought, ‘oh my, will I be able to drink this?’ The aroma was that of tobacco, leather, earth, must and fermented tea leaves all rolled into one. I proceeded to take a sip and the taste did match the smell; however the aftertaste in my mouth went through a variety of complex flavors from nutty, fruity to bitter.
After my first cup, I was hooked. I wanted more, although the taste was definitely an acquired one. I sipped the tea and emptied the pot in half an hour and proceeded to notice that the awful pain in my head was starting to dissipate. My headache was starting to release slowly in waves. Pu-Erh took the edge off the feeling of my head wanting to burst. I was shockingly impressed yet at the same time intrigued at how could this tea actually help me.
Late that night when I got my hands on a lap-top, I began researching anything I could find on Pu-Erh, and was so surprised to learn that Pu-Erh was used in ancient China to alleviate headaches and migraines. After my first hand experience and reading up on its health benefits, I now carry Pu-Erh tea bags wherever I go or travel just in case. I am a Pu-Erh Connoisseur!
Interesting Fact: The last emperor in China’s history said “Drink Pu-Erh in winter”.
During the winter months certain spices come to mind that have a warming affect such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, and peppermint. We add these spices to hot drinks, holiday foods, and seasonal desserts for that extra kick, and revel in their unique and unforgettable tastes.
In previous centuries, people have used spices primarily for medicinal purposes, but nowadays they have been forgotten. However, imagine taking one of these spices as a natural remedy for a condition that many people are battling in today’s day and age, such as diabetes.
According to the CDC, a reportedly 9.3% of the US population suffers from diabetes, which is around 29 million people. In addition, 1 out of 4 Americans are pre-diabetic without even knowing it. These statistics continue rising every year.
Diabetes is considered a serious disease which can be managed via exercise, food modification plans, and the use of insulin or other medications to help lower blood sugar levels. However, there is a natural alternative that can be introduced to the management of Type 2 diabetes and that is the ancient spice Ceylon cinnamon.
Cinnamon with its inner bark, leaves, buds and essential oil has been used for thousands of years as a traditional medicinal remedy to help various ailments ranging from female reproductive disorders, cough, congestion, kidney problems, tooth and gum complaints to its external application for rheumatism and joint problems.
There are two varieties of cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum Verum) and Cassia cinnamon (sometimes labeled as Chinese cinnamon). Cassia is the variety of cinnamon most often found at the food market and the one used in scientific clinical trials. Ceylon cinnamon is considered the “true” cinnamon with its milder flavor, higher potency, and heftier price tag. Cassia is the widespread variety used throughout North America and Europe, which carries a lower price tag and contains high levels of ‘coumarin’ (4-8%), which if ingested in high doses, may cause issues with the liver. So when consuming cinnamon daily over a period of six weeks for its healing benefits, it is advisable to take Ceylon cinnamon, which you most likely will have to purchase online or at a specialty spice store.
As of now there have been several studies conducted on patients with Type 2 diabetes, where cinnamon’s effect on the amount of glucose in the bloodstream (glycated hemoglobin- Hba1c), low -density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides were being monitored. The results varied with efficacy, but 5 studies acknowledged reductions in blood glucose providing data for cinnamon’s healing benefit.     
Hopefully cinnamon’s resurgence into the mainstream community as a beneficial natural remedy will be accepted with as much respect as it was once given in ancient Egypt and China, as well as in Ayurvedic medicine.
Interesting Fact: Mexico leads in the highest consumption rate of Ceylon Cinnamon in the World according to UN COMTRADE figures.
 Suppapitiporn S, Kanpaksi N, Suppapitiporbn S. The effect of cinnamon cassia powder in type 2 diabetes mellitus. J Med Assoc Thai. 2006;89(3):S200–205.
 Crawford P. Effectiveness of cinnamon for lowering hemoglobin A1C in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled trial. J Am Board Fam Med. 2009;22(5):507–12.
 Khan A, Sadafar M, Ali Khan MM, Khattak KN, Anderson RA. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003;26(12):3215–8.
 Mang B, Wolters M, Schmitt M, Kelb K, Lichtinghagen R, Stichtenoth DO. Effects of a cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA, and serum lipids in diabetes mellitus type 2. Eur J Clin Invest. 2006;36(5):340–4.
 Akilen R, Tsiami A, Devendra D, Robinson N. Glycated haemoglobin and blood pressure-lowering effect of cinnamon in multi-ethnic Type 2 diabetic patients in the UK: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial. Diabet Med. 2010;27(10):1159–67.
Add fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice to purified or distilled water at least once a day and sip slowly. This will help alkalize and maintain your optimum ph levels (above a 7) of your body tissue, helping your body fight off disease.
Lemon water will keep you hydrated, refreshed and fill you up with electrolytes (calcium, magnesium, potassium). Potassium is very important for those who suffer with anxiety and for those prone to bouts of depression. Lemon is high in natural vitamin C , but also contains pectin, limonene, citric acids and bioflavonoids, which boost immunity.
Internally, it will also help your liver produce more enzymes, remove toxins and uric acid from your body and help keep your bowels moving regularly.
Due to lemon’s natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and immune enhancing properties, it is quite beneficial to ingest during the cold and flu season to keep germs, sore throats and coughs at bay. It is ideal for children and pregnant women.
For an adult person the juice of a single lemon contains 71% of the daily need for vitamin C, 7% of the potassium requirement, 9% of magnesium and 1% of calcium.
Interesting Fact: The ancient Egyptians developed lemonade around 500 AD. They called it “Qatarmizat” (Lemonade of Pharoahs). It was made from lemon juice and sugar.Only the Pharoah and the royal family were allowed to consume qatarmizat.