As a naturopath, when I think of Gingko biloba, I think of words such as hope, vitality, resiliency, and patience.
This majestic tree has shown us that it embodies these exact words in the most horrific circumstances - 1945 Hiroshima atomic bomb destroyed everything within its epicentre, except six Gingko biloba trees, which even sprouted new greenery days after the terrible event.
This example of the resilience and vitality of this beautiful herb is translated in to its medicinal use and how it can help us become representations of these words.
Gingko biloba produces fruit that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine.
When they fall and start to decay, they produce a very unpleasant odour, one could compare to a pair of stinky feet.
So many who front this tree on their lawns must bare with this one downfall of having this tree in their presence.
This downfall, however, is completely superseded by the amazing beauty, elegance and medicine benefit of being around such a remarkable creation of nature.
Leaf, (seeds in Chinese medicine, not typically used in Western Medicine)
Astringent, Bitter, Warming, Moving
Ginkgo is not considered an edible plant
The actions of Gingko biloba on the human body can be represented as low and slow, and requires patience.
The medicinal properties of this tree are the strongest when used over a course of time.
The most commonly known medicinal property for Gingko leaves is its effect on memory, making this herb a “nootropic”.
Gingko has been heavily marketed to the public to be used to “improve and strengthen memory”, as people bought in to this claim, it's not surprising the feedback that many found that they didn't feel this at all worked.
Gingko indeed does improve memory but the application of this herb in this context is flawed.
This herbs works slow - expectations that this herb will work within a few weeks is not accurate - so if you're a student looking to strengthen your memory in a week for an exam, gingko is NOT the herb for you.
Ginkgo has it's best effect when used over a long period of time to establish its effects in the body and it works on memory in two ways: 1) Vasodilation and 2) Reducing blood viscosity.
This means that the biochemicals in Gingko will help open up the blood vessels as well has thinning the blood, allowing blood to flow more freely within the vessel, increasing microperfusion to the brain - more blood flow to and within the brain means more oxygen and protection to the brain.
Gingko also protects the brain through antioxidant biochemicals, protecting the brain from tissues damage caused by lack of oxygen, and increasing mitochondrial function therefore increasing energy production in the brain.
There is a plethora of research supporting the effect of Gingko in the improvement of memory and cognitive function in those with dementia and Alzheimer's disease, especially if these conditions are a result of vascular insufficiency.
However there are many trials that do not support this, resulting in review studies performed between 2003-2014 concluding the research is too inconsistent to support Gingko in this context.
The varying results come from inconsistencies in dosage, administration and inclusion criteria set out by each trial.
One of the most recent meta-analysis on Gingko biloba research performed by Tan et. al (2015) took in to account these flaws and came to the conclusion that 240mg of standardized Ginkgo daily improved cognitive function and prevented decline in patients with dementia after 24 weeks, especially for those who also exhibited neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Another recent review study by Yuan et. al (2017) also concluded similar results that Gingko biloba improved cognitive function in those with Alzheimer's at a dose over 200mg/day if taken for at least 5 weeks.
These review show promise and exemplify the need for higher quality, larger-scale studies in order to demonstrate the efficacy of Gingko biloba in the treatment of dementia.
Prevention of cognitive decline in healthy individuals is still not well represented in the research, but traditional use and anecdotal evidence supports the use of this herb for this purpose.
The effect of Gingko on blood flow doesn't just stop at memory.
These properties translate in to effects on the peripheral body as well.
There are promising outcomes represented in the research of using Gingko in the treatment of cerebral insufficiency in stroke victims, peripheral artery disease, prevention of coronary artery disease by reducing plaque formation, diabetic neuropathy, Raynauds and thrombosis (blood clots).
There are claims that Gingko can be useful in the treatment of tinnitus, though studies are limited and results are inconsisent.
The most recent Cochrane Review on Gingko and Tinnitus found Ginkgo only to be beneficial when tinnitus is associated with dementia, not when tinnitus is the sole symptom.
This reflects back to the circulatory actions of gingko - when tinnitus is a result of poor cerebrovascular circulation, appears to be effective.
If it's due to other reasons, the effects of Gingko appear to be less impactful on tinnitus symptoms.
Traditionally Gingko biloba taken through infusion (tea) - this application is best for people who want to use Gingko for daily prevention of cognitive decline.
Tinctures of Gingko leaf also provides a gentle and supportive effect.
I typically use these forms for healthy, older individuals who want to keep their memory sharp and encourage blood flow to the brain.
Much of the research on Gingko biloba use and support standardized extracts of Gingko at dosages of 120-240mg/day.
Extremely potent extracts of Gingko (50:1) are considered pharmaceutical grade substances and should not be dosed unless monitored by a health care professional.
Gingko biloba is considered a safe herb to use if used at the standard recommended dose (see above)
The blood-thinning effects of Ginkgo has made many clinicians weary about using this herb with blood thinning pharmaceuticals.
However, it has been found that the blood-thinning effects of Gingko are not related to reducing platelet count, but inhibiting platelet aggregating factor (PAF), so the that use with blood thinners may not be as detrimental as previously thought, with many studies demonstrating using Ginkgo (up to 240mg) in conjunction with blood thinning medication does not increase bleeding risk or influence coagulation time.
Nonetheless, do no use Gingko if you are on blood thinners and consult with a physician that is familiar with herb-drug interactions before use of this herb - one of the only cases of increased bleeding is when using the extremely potent extract (50:1) in combination with blood thinners
Do not use with drug exhibiting monoamine-oxidase activity (such as certain antidepressants), or anti-epileptic drugs.
Always consult a physician familiar with herb-drug interaction if you're on medication and are considering using this herb.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Tanya Lee, N.D
To read additional tips on health, wellness, and alternative medicine, please visit us here: best naturopathic doctor
30 Tips in 30 Days Designed to Help You Take Control of Your
This article is part of the 30 Day Resolution Guide series. Each day a new tip will be added designed to help you take control of your health. For a complete list of the tips click HERE
By Dr. Mercola
It's unfortunate how many fail to fully appreciate the importance oral health has on their overall health. The fact of the matter is, the delicate balance of bacteria in your mouth is as important to your health as your gut microbiome. When certain bacteria become overabundant, various oral problems start to develop.
Periodontal disease, for example, which affects the soft tissues and bone, is initiated by an increase in Porphyromonas gingivalis, which impairs your immune response, while dental caries had been causally linked to Streptococcus mutans.1 Your oral health, in turn, impacts the rest of your body, and can have a significant impact on your disease risk.
Type 2 diabetes and periodontal disease are strongly connected, for example.2 Research also shows that failing to brush twice a day increases your risk of dementia by as much as 65 percent, compared to brushing three times a day, and good oral hygiene has been shown to lower your risk of pneumonia by about 40 percent.3
When bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease enter into your circulatory system, your liver releases C-reactive proteins, which have inflammatory effects. Inflammation, in turn, is known to be a disease-causing force leading to most chronic illness. For example, inflamed and diseased gums may raise your risk of a fatal heart attack by up to 10 times.
What's worse, according to Dr. Gerry Curatola, founder of Rejuvenation Dentistry, heart attacks related to gum disease are fatal 9 times out of 10. So, a major part of oral health is attending to your oral microbiome. If you've been lax about your oral health, make this the year you grab the proverbial bull by the horn and really make an effort to address the health of your mouth.
Your oral microbiome is like your gut microbiome in the sense that it needs to be well-balanced in order to support optimal health. Even otherwise harmless bacteria can have pathogenic effects if the balance gets too disrupted. However, while ingesting probiotics will improve the balance of bacteria in your gut, this strategy does not work for your oral cavity. Instead, the key to improving your oral microbiome is, first and foremost, to cease the indiscriminate killing of microbes in your mouth.
This means abstaining from harsh alcohol-based mouthwashes and toothpastes containing fluoride and antimicrobial ingredients such as triclosan. Fluoride not only harms your microbiome, but also has many other detrimental health effects. In fact, fluoride overexposure from toothpaste, fluoridated water and other sources has led to a virtual epidemic of fluoride damage.
At present, 4 out of 10 adolescents in the U.S. have fluoride-damaged teeth - a condition known as dental fluorosis. Fluoride is also an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland and even your blood sugar level.4 Fluoride has also been linked to brain damage and lowered IQ in children.5 While your teeth need certain minerals and nutrients, fluoride is not one of them, and even topical application of fluoride has come under question.6
Daily tooth brushing is the most basic of oral care. Research suggests the ideal brushing time is two minutes, and the ideal pressure is 150 grams, which is about the weight of an orange. Brushing your teeth too hard and longer than necessary may cause more harm than good, so there's no reason to brush harder or longer. Ideally, brush twice or three times a day - in the morning, evening and 30 to 60 minutes after your main meal.
The reason why brushing immediately after eating is not recommended is because doing so may actually weaken rather than strengthen your tooth enamel. This counterintuitive finding was revealed in a 2004 study,7 which found that brushing your teeth too soon following eating or drinking, especially acidic foods and drinks such as soda, accelerates dentin erosion.
As reported by The New York Times.8
“Acid attacks the teeth, eroding enamel and the layer below it, called dentin. Brushing can accelerate this process, said Dr. Howard R. Gamble, president of the Academy of General Dentistry. 'With brushing, you could actually push the acid deeper into the enamel and the dentin,' he said.
In one study, a group of volunteers were followed for three weeks as researchers examined the impact of brushing on their teeth after they drank diet soda. The scientists found an increase in dentin loss when brushing in the 20 minutes after drinking soda. But there was considerably less wear when brushing took place 30 or 60 minutes afterward.”
As for toothpaste, I recommend using nonfluoridated versions for all the reasons mentioned earlier. Also check the ingredient list for other harmful ingredients such as triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, diethanolamine, parabens and microbeads. Your safest bet is make your own toothpaste, which is both simple and inexpensive.
For example, you could simply mix coconut oil and baking soda with a pinch of Himalayan salt. High-quality peppermint essential oil can be added for flavor and cavity prevention. Start with a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil and baking soda, and add more of one or the other until you get an agreeable consistency. (Slightly firmer consistency tends to be easier to use.)
Here's another, clay-based, recipe by MindBodyGreen:9
Mix the clay and salt in a bowl. Add the water. Mix well. Add the rest of ingredients and mix until it forms a paste. Store it in a jar with a lid. Every time you go to use it, spoon some onto your toothbrush. Dampen the paste by putting your brush under some gently running water and brush as usual.
While most people brush their teeth every day, the practice of flossing is more frequently overlooked. This is unfortunate, as flossing is perhaps even more important than brushing. It removes
bacterial precursors of plaque, which eventually turns into hard tartar that cannot be removed by regular brushing or flossing. Tartar is what eventually causes the damage that leads to decay and
Most people are aware that flossing is a recommended practice for optimal oral health, yet statistics suggest:10
If you're among those who rarely or never floss, consider adding this practice to your daily routine. One way to improve your odds of making this a daily habit - especially if your excuse is lack of time - is to build up slowly. On the first day, simply floss a single tooth. The next day, do two. On Day Three, floss three teeth, and so on, until you're in the habit of flossing your entire mouth each day.
To ensure a proper floss:
If dexterity is an issue, use soft plaque removers instead of floss. Similar to toothpicks, they allow you to clean between your teeth with one hand. If brushing, flossing or using a plaque remover causes your gums to bleed, this is a warning sign that bacteria are at work, causing damage. If left to fester, it can easily cause chronic inflammation elsewhere in your body. The answer is to gently floss and brush more often, until your gums no longer bleed from brushing or flossing. If bleeding persists longer than a week, see a dentist.
Next, if you've never tried oil pulling with coconut oil, consider trying it now. Recent research11 suggests using mouthwash twice a day may increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes within three years by as much as 55 percent. As reported by British Diabetes News,12 “Scientists at Harvard University were analyzing links between over-the-counter mouthwash and its potential to predispose people to metabolic disorders because of the antibacterial ingredients mouthwash contains.”
More than 1,200 overweight individuals between the ages of 40 and 65 who were at high risk of Type 2 diabetes were included in the study. Seventeen percent of the control group went on to develop Type 2 diabetes over the next three years, whereas 20 percent of those who used mouthwash once a day, and 30 percent of those using mouthwash twice a day developed diabetes. The latter was deemed to be a statistically significant increase, suggesting the connection warrants further examination. According to the authors:
“The indiscriminate routine use of antibacterial mouthwash products may cause more harm than good, in light of recent studies, and further supported by findings from this study … Mouthwash use may also have a detrimental impact on diabetes control and possible complications, as these share some common … pathways with blood pressure and diabetes."
Oil pulling has been scientifically verified to help eliminate unhealthy biofilm, debris and harmful bacteria from your teeth, much like mouthwash. It basically acts as a safe and natural detergent, without the adverse effects. Some believe oil pulling may have even more extensive benefits to your health. While I cannot support all of those claims, I do have firsthand knowledge of how oil pulling benefits oral health as I have been pulling consistently since 2011.
In the video above I describe how I use oil pulling in my own oral health practices and the benefits you may experience as well. One of the reasons it works so well for cleansing your teeth and gums is because bacteria have fat-soluble membranes that break down with the mechanical action of swishing and pulling the oil through your teeth.13 Coconut oil also has the added advantage of inhibiting Streptococcus mutans, the chief bacteria responsible for cavities.14
Here are the basic instructions for how to do it:
Increasing the pH in your mouth after pulling may reduce bacterial growth even further. To do that, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 6 ounces of water and gargle. This will alkalize the pH of your mouth, and since bacteria thrive in an acidic environment, the increased pH will discourage growth.
I personally use 1 teaspoon of potassium bicarbonate to normalize the oral pH and then swallow it to help normalize systemic pH. I like potassium bicarbonate better than sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) as most of us are deficient in potassium, not sodium.
Last but not least, you may also consider taking nutritional supplements that support gum and oral health, such as:
• Vitamin C, which helps improve and preserve periodontal health by improving your body's defense mechanisms.15
• Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Bleeding gums is often a sign of CoQ10 deficiency. If you're an adult, the reduced version of CoQ10, called ubiquinol, tends to be more readily absorbed.
• Vitamin K2. The second highest concentration of vitamin K2 in your body is in your salivary glands, and vitamin K is secreted in saliva. Research16 shows that when vitamin K2 is administered, it reduces bacterial counts in your saliva. Specifically, vitamin K2 reduced the concentration of a bacteria involved in tooth decay, Lactobacillus acidophilus, from a count of 323,000 to 15,000.
This is intriguing, since fermented vegetables, which are loaded with friendly bacteria that improve digestion, alter the flora in your mouth as well. And when made using a special culture, fermented vegetables are an excellent source of vitamin K2. Since the addition of vitamin K2-rich fermented vegetables to my diet, my plaque has decreased by half and is much softer.
• Homeopathic tissue salts such as silica, calcarea fluorica (calcium fluoride), calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate. (Calcium fluoride should not be confused with the chemical formulation of sodium fluoride found in toothpaste, which is toxic and carries a poison warning).
Caring for your teeth and gums is an essential part of your overall health and wellness. It's important to address nutrition, oral care and the products you use. To summarize, here's a five-step plan that can help you improve your oral health this year:
1. Reduce your net carbohydrate intake to meet your insulin level requirement. I suggest you reduce your overall net carbs (total grams of carbohydrates minus your grams of fiber intake) if your fasting insulin level is over 5. Aside from sugar, avoid carbs like beans, legumes and grains such as rice, quinoa and oats, as well as highly-processed grain products like bread, pasta, cereal, chips, bagels and fries. These begin digestion in the mouth and impact the health of your teeth the most.
Limit your daily fructose intake to 25 grams or less. Even fructose found in fresh fruit should be limited until you've normalized your insulin and leptin levels. If you're already struggling with Type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance, consider restricting your total fructose to 15 grams per day until your insulin sensitivity has been restored.
Focus on eating a diet of fresh, whole foods, including grass fed meats and organic and fermented vegetables. This helps ensure you
get plenty of minerals for strong bones and teeth. If needed, consider adding one or more nutritional supplements to support your oral health.
2. Brush twice or three times a day, 30 to 60 minutes after drinking and/or eating.
3. Use nonfluoridated toothpaste, or make your own using natural ingredients such as coconut oil, baking soda and essential oils. There is no compelling reason to expose yourself to dangerous chemicals when other natural alternatives are easily available, highly effective and cost efficient.
4. Floss daily.
5. Pull with coconut oil once a day, ideally first thing in the morning, for five to 10 minutes to reduce bacterial growth, strengthen your teeth, reduce bad breath and lower your risk of gum disease.
Winter squashes and pumpkins are robust “fruits” that are harvested in the fall so we can use them throughout the winter.
Keeping them in a dark cool place will preserve these foods to give us nutrient-packed meals that are warming, healthy and delicious.
One of my favourite things to eat during the winter are winter squashes - particularly acorn squash, due to it's abundance in vegetable markets in Ontario and for it's sweet, buttery taste.
I use these in casseroles, bakes, mash them in place of white potato or simply bake them in the oven.
Acorn squash is a great source of low glycemic-load carbohydrates - this means that despite it being a source of carbohydrates, it won't spike your blood sugar (therefore insulin) to the extent other carbohydrates such as wheat-based carbohydrates (and other grains) will increase your blood sugars after eating.
They are also easier to digest than grains, which makes it suitable carbohydrate source for people who experience a lot of bloating and bowel movement problems.
Acorn squash is rich in antioxidant vitamins C and A (beta-carotene, hence the orange colour!), potassium (great for lowering high blood pressure) and a great source of fibre (valuble for those with diabetes and cardiovascular disease).
Yours in Health,
Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D
To find additional info about health, wellness, and alternative medicine, please visit us here: natural health doctors
always count on the earthy richness of mushrooms to make any dish taste extra
savory. But did you know these chewy goodies are technically not vegetables?
Mushrooms are actually members of kingdom fungi. Don't let that throw you off,
though, since they're still bursting with nutrition. In fact, they may even be
better than some veggies since they contain nutrients found in different food
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want to enjoy the simple flavor of mushrooms, then this Easy Slow Cooker Garlic Mushrooms
recipe from Paleohacks is something that you should try. It's a fantastic side
dish that's absolutely effortless to make. Pair it with your lunch or dinner
for a tasty and hearty meal.
pound cremini mushrooms
cup organic vegetable stock
tablespoons grass fed butter
tablespoons garlic, minced
1. Set slow
cooker to low. Rinse and dry mushrooms. Add mushrooms, vegetable broth, grass fed
butter, garlic, thyme, sea salt and black pepper. Stir. Cover with lid and cook
for 1 hour.
mushrooms and cook an additional hour or until mushrooms are tender. Remove
thyme and serve hot.
A Few Tips for Preparing Mushrooms
probably heard that mushrooms shouldn't be washed since they'll soak up water
and lose their flavor. Some people prefer to clean mushrooms by wiping them
with a damp paper cloth or a mushroom brush. However, this can be a painstaking
and time-consuming task. So the question is: Is it really bad to wash
it's true that mushrooms soak in water, the amount that they absorb after a
quick wash is actually small. Therefore, it's okay to clean mushrooms with
water, as long as you only give them a quick rinse and pat them dry right away.
Remember not to leave them soaking for a long period of time. mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
If you have some leftover mushrooms, put them in a perforated plastic
container. They should last up to five days if stored properly. mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
Why Cremini Mushroom Is a Great Addition to Your Diet
mushroom, also known as baby portobello, is a
more mature version of the famous white button mushroom. It has a firm texture
and a deep flavor, making it a great addition to stews, soups, salads and main
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Eating cremini mushroom is also great for your health since it's full of
vitamins and nutrients, which include: mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:
contains a variety of B vitamins, including vitamin B12, vitamin B6,
riboflavin and niacin. B vitamins are essential for maintaining proper brain,
cardiovascular and nervous system functions.
hundred grams of cremini mushroom contain 13 percent of your daily
recommended intake of potassium.
mineral is essential for promoting cardiovascular health, maintaining proper
nerve function, reducing blood sugar and blood pressure and regulating body
mushroom is also rich in selenium, a mineral that helps lower the risk of
cancer and improve the immune system by stimulating the production of T
hundred grams of cremini mushroom have 0.6 grams of dietary fiber, which is
known to promote a healthy gut microbiome, effectively strengthening the
immune system and lowering the risk of inflammatory diseases.
mushroom is a good source of protein. One hundred grams of it contain 2.5
grams of protein.
right amount of protein intake is beneficial for your muscles, bones, enzymes
and hormones. Be careful, though, as excessive consumption of protein may
also wreak havoc on your health.
hundred grams of cremini mushrooms also contain 7 percent of your daily
recommended intake of zinc.
an essential mineral that protects the DNA strands from breakage, strengthens
the immune system, prevents diabetes
complications and maintains proper sensory organ function.
Make Sure That You're Only Using Grass Fed Butter in Your
dairy products not only are rich and creamy, but are also more beneficial to
your health. They are produced by cows that are fed their natural diet of grass
and are allowed to forage freely.
most dairy products available in the supermarkets come from concentrated
animal feeding operations (CAFOs). These animals are raised in poor
living conditions and given low doses of antibiotics from time to time, which
results in a growing threat of antibiotic-resistant illnesses. They're also fed
grains, which alter their gut bacteria and predispose them to diseases. All of
these factors negatively affect the nutritional composition of dairy products
from CAFOs, which is why you should opt for farm-fresh products instead.
shopping for butter or other dairy products, look for grass fed labels. Some of
the grass fed labels that you may encounter include Food Alliance Certified,
Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) Certified and Pennsylvania Certified Organic
(PCO) grass fed. You may also get your grass fed butter from local organic
farms or co-ops near you. By consuming farm-fresh products, you're not only
promoting your health but also supporting the environment.
Happy 2018! Usually I start a new year by posting smoothie bowls, salads and all of my favorite light and fresh things, but… well… it's -3 degrees outside here in Chicago so I thought I'd start this year off with … Go to the recipe...