Survival Update

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A Guy’s Guide to Herbal Health

Men don’t tend to be overly interested in herbal supplements, but maybe they should be. You don’t have to wait to be living off the grid to look into and make use of healthful herbs. Herbs can be especially helpful in staving off serious medical conditions that can be costly and hard to treat in a survival situation. I’d like to introduce you to a few of these herbs.

The hawthorn tree has often been seen as a symbol of love. There is a good reason for this: hawthorn supports healthy cardiovascular function. Almost every part of the tree (leaves, flowers, and berries) can be used to improve and maintain cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that hawthorn can widen the blood vessels, which helps to improve the amount of blood pumped out of the heart when it contracts. Hawthorn has also been shown to lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.

Ashwagandha is an herb used widely today. Sometimes called Indian ginseng, the root and berry are used to make medicine. Ashwagandha nourishes nervous system function, promotes a healthy mood, and supports the body’s natural resistance to disease and illness. This herb can be very helpful when your body is going through stress by normalizing your mood and your energy levels. Ashwagandha can also be applied directly to the skin for treating wounds and backache.

Saw Palmetto is an herb that has long been used effectively to support healthy prostate function associated with the natural process of aging. Saw palmetto is a small shrub that grows naturally in Southeastern United States, with saw-toothed leaves that give it it’s name. The fruit is used to make medicine. While saw palmetto doesn’t actually shrink the overall size of the prostate gland, it does seem to shrink the inner lining of the gland which can put pressure on the tubes that carry urine.

Stinging Nettle is a second herbal supplement that can promote a healthy prostate function. The root of the stinging nettle contains ingredients that are thought to decrease inflammation and increase urine output. In addition, the leaves of the plant can be applied to the skin for muscle aches and pains, oily scalp and hair, and hair loss caused by alopecia.

Turmeric is a spice which contains a yellow-colored chemical called curcumin. I could fill an entire page with the possible benefits of turmeric but will limit myself to just a few. Scientific research has shown turmeric to be beneficial in treating hay fever.  The curcumin in turmeric reduces sneezing, itching, runny nose, and congestion associated with hay fever. Turmeric is also useful in lowering high cholesterol levels by lowering levels of triglycerides in the blood. Fatty liver disease not caused by alcohol intake can benefit from taking turmeric extract.

As with any medication or supplement, you should read any precautions listed on the labels and consult with your physician if you have any questions or concerns. Herbal medicine is not as strictly regulated as modern pharmaceuticals, so do your homework before choosing which product is best for you.