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Plants Can Survive Without Humans, But Humans Cannot Survive Without Plants

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Plants Can Survive Without Humans, But Humans Cannot Survive Without Plants
Plants Can Survive Without Humans, But Humans Cannot Survive Without Plants
Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com. Background photo – Pixabay (PD).

Although humans are the most dominant species on earth, we are not the most important. Regardless of our position on the “pecking order” of species, we are the most destructive. In fact, a recent study appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that humans have destroyed over 80% of wild animals – despite accounting for a meager 0.01% of all life. [1]

If we don’t work towards the sustainability and preservation of our ecological systems, we might end up being the architects of our own downfall. To put this into perspective, let’s highlight what would happen if all the trees suddenly disappeared.

⦁ Considering habitat loss is one of the drivers of extinction, the lack of trees would wreak havoc on biodiversity. We would witness a global mass extinction of different species (fungi, animals, plants, etc.) that directly and indirectly rely on trees.

⦁ Trees act as biological pumps in our planet’s water cycle and contribute to precipitation. Their destruction would drastically alter the global climate.

⦁ Local temperatures would continually rise since trees perform various cooling services – including regulating soil temperature, absorbing heat, and evapotranspiration.

⦁ Over 1.6 billion people who depend on forests for livelihood would descend into poverty or even death. [2]

References:

[1] The biomass distribution on Earth https://www.pnas.org/content/115/25/6506.

[2] Forests and poverty reduction http://www.fao.org/forestry/livelihoods/en/.

12 Plants For Your Bedroom To Help You Sleep

12 Plants For Your Bedroom To Help You SleepImage © Jason Stitt – shutterstock.com

Getting a good night’s sleep is very important for us in order to have an alert mind and a sharp attention. It restores energy, reduces stress, and improves overall mood. Also during sleep, the body produces cells that grow and repair the nerve cell insulation in our brain, leading to better memory retention. [1] Poor sleep quality has been associated with reduced memory performance.

Having enough sleep has also been found to reduce the risk of developing serious health problems. Whenever you’re deprived of sleep, your immune system is weakened – which makes you more prone to disease. Six to eight hours of sleep is generally considered the best amount of time for adults, with six hours often being regarded as the “critical minimum, without which undesirable health effects can be produced. [2]

Interestingly, there are a wide variety of plants that are thought to be able to help you improve the quality of your sleep. A study in Japan found that plants play a big role in physiological relaxation and immune recovery. [3]

Here are 12 plants to try for your bedroom:

1. Lavender: This herb is a very common ingredient in soaps and shampoos, plus it is frequently used in baths due to its calming and soothing fragrance. Lavender has also been used as a treatment for insomnia, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. In old times lavender flowers were placed under pillows or near beds for this reason. Placing a potted lavender plant on your nightstand may help you sleep comfortably at night. [4]

2. Gerbera Daisies: While most plants’ respiratory cycle decrease at nighttime, gerbera daisies continue to release oxygen throughout the night which is helpful for those who are suffering from sleep apnea and breathing disorders. [5]

3. Peace Lily: If you want a plant that brings a relaxing fragrance to your room and purifies the air at the same time, the peace lily is the perfect plant for you. Its large leaves filter benzene, trichloroethylene, and other harmful pollutants. [5]

4. Bamboo Palm: Not only do bamboo palms naturally rid the air of toxins and repel spider mites that attack plants, they also provide much-needed moisture in the air during the winter months when the air is dry. [5]

5. Jasmine: Placing a potted jasmine plant in your room not only adds beauty to your space, but its scent can also reduce anxiety, provide relaxation, and improve the mood. The blooms and the odor of the jasmine may help you achieve better sleeping patterns and reduce your stress. [6]

6. Aloe Vera: This succulent plant is extremely easy to grow, plus it also clears out toxic agents in the air that could harm your body and make it difficult for you to sleep. Place one in your bedroom window where it can get much-needed sunlight. [7]

7. Spider plant: The spider plant came out as a winner in tests and was found to filter carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and other solvents in the air from the rubber and leather objects in your room. It can also survive with minimal maintenance, but make sure to place them where there is bright, indirect sunlight. [8]

8. Snake plant: It’s regarded as an excellent plant for purifying the air from formaldehyde, which is commonly off-gassed from all manner of consumer products from plywood to carpets. As with other plants, this plant also releases oxygen at night, which may have health benefits. [8]

9. Golden Pothos: Golden pothos is also considered good in fighting off formaldehyde and it doesn’t need constant watering – just place it somewhere with indirect sunlight. However, it’s a poisonous plant so you may wish to avoid this one if you have children or pets. [8]

10. English Ivy: This plant has been reported to reduce airborne fecal-mater particles and toxins, which may mitigate some of the effects of sick building syndrome. Keep the soil moist and place it in sunlight for four hours or more per day if possible. [8]

11. Valerian: The root of the valerian plant contains a natural sedative and it has been used since old times as a tea for relieving insomnia and anxiety. However, research shows that having the plant nearby may also enhance sleep quality by virtue of its scent. [9]

12. Gardenia: Gardenia contains crocetin, a compound which helps in improving the quality of sleep. It requires more maintenance than most plants in order to keep its flowers intact. [10]

References:

[1] Sleep Produces Cells that Grow and Repair Nerve Cell Insulation. http://www.med.wisc.edu/news-events/sleep-produces-cells-that-grow-and-repair-nerve-cell-insulation-/41696

[2] Mercola, J. 2010. Want a Good Night’s Sleep? Then Never Do These Things Before Bed. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/02/secrets-to-a-good-night-sleep.aspx

[3] Miyazaki, Y. et al. 2014. Forest medicine research in Japan. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24858508

[4] Lavender. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lavender

[5] Mao, S.N. 2012. 4 Plants to Clean Your Air Quality. http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/mao-shing-ni-lac-dom-phd/4-plants-clean-your-air-quality

[6] WJU Professor and Students Find Jasmine Odor Leads to More Restful Sleep, Decreased Anxiety and Greater Mental Performance. http://www.wju.edu/about/adm_news_story.asp?iNewsID=539&strBack=/about/adm_news_archive.asp

[7] NASA Clean Air Study. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Clean_Air_Study

[8] Knapp, J. 2016. 15 Houseplants for Improving Indoor Air Quality. http://www.mnn.com/health/healthy-spaces/photos/15-houseplants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality/spider-plant

[9] Komori, T. et al. 2006. The sleep-enhancing effect of valerian inhalation and sleep-shortening effect of lemon inhalation. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16857858

[10] Kuratsune, H. 2010. Effect of crocetin from Gardenia jasminoides Ellis on sleep: a pilot study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20537515

★ Top 10 Most Important PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Items For Survivalists (get these asap:)

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The #1 Muscle That Eliminates Joint And Back Pain, Anxiety And Looking Fat

By Mike Westerdal CPT

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15 Plants And Herbs That Can Boost Lung Health

15 Plants And Herbs That Can Boost Lung Health
15 Plants And Herbs That Can Boost Lung Health. Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com. Background image © AdobeStock 66298358 (under license)

The advent of the technological age has brought with it numerous medical advancements in the form of pharmaceuticals that promise the world. Despite the “results” we see from taking an aggressive course of medical treatment, the fine print is clear on what we are risking – potential damage to our kidneys, liver, and heart. Lung infections like pneumonia can lead to respiratory failure without proper treatment, but for mild respiratory problems, these plants are worth knowing.

1 – Licorice root

Did you know that licorice candy used to be made from the roots of a licorice plant? It’s most popular use is in the confectionary world because of its surprising sweetening ability that is 50 times stronger than regular table sugar. However, licorice root has a place in traditional medicine in both the East and the West. One of its main benefits is the ability to fight against respiratory infections, specifically on the bacteria that causes them. Studies have discovered that licorice root extracts have anti-influenza properties and directly on pathogens that cause upper airway respiratory tract infections. In fact, licorice extract is also able to fight dangerous bacteria in the oral cavity better than antiseptic mouthwashes. Beyond its bacteria-fighting properties, licorice can be very soothing to an irritated throat, making it easier to expectorate mucous. [1][2][3][4]

2 – Coltsfoot

Scientifically known as Tussilago farfara, coltsfoot is a plant species traditionally used to manage severe respiratory infections, specifically tubercular disease. While pulmonary tuberculosis is no longer an epidemic in the United States, in third world countries who have poor access to adequate health care, many people are still affected by it. Research has shown how coltsfoot extracts reduce the activity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the organism that causes pulmonary TB, as well as having expectorant and antitussive (anti-coughing) properties. Whether or not you have pulmonary tuberculosis, coltsfoot is regarded as able to help relieve coughing and get rid of phlegm. [5][6]

3 – Cannabis

Cannabis has gained a bad reputation in many countries, with legislation making its use in several countries a felony. Cannabis has however been linked to different physical benefits associated with pain relief in people affected by chronic conditions like cancer. However, smoking cannabis can damage the respiratory pathways which can cause chronic lung problems. This is why a lot of people are turning towards vaporizing the herb or making “edibles”. Vaporization reduces the harmful effects of smoking cannabis and promotes its bronchiodilating effects. This reduces airway inflammation which can potentially fight chronic respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis. [7][8]

4 – Osha root

The Osha or “bear” root has been traditionally used in Native American culture to manage ailments that affect the lungs and the heart. It is a member of the parsley family and is currently marketed to the public for the management of flu-like symptoms like a sore throat and colds. Recent studies on the plant have revealed its immune-boosting properties, protecting the body from oxidative damage and reducing inflammation (which can explain why it’s adept at managing the symptoms of a simple flu). [9][10]

5 – Thyme

Thyme’s rich anti-inflammatory properties would appear to make it an excellent way to manage respiratory problems at home. A study has been done on syrup containing thyme as a main ingredient, whose results show that thyme was able to reduce the inflammation in bronchoalveolitis (inflammation of the broncheols and alveoli). Another study revealed thyme’s ability to clear out mucous from the airways as well. [11][12]

6 – Oregano

Oregano is considered able to boost lung health through its antimicrobial and pulmoprotective abilities. Essential oil from oregano has been found by studies to be able to fight against gram positive and negative bacterial strains, exhibiting antibacterial, antioxidant, and even chemopreventative properties. It has also been found to specifically protect lung tissues from disease processes that cause oxidative damage and stress. [13][14]

7 – Lobelia

Another mainstay in traditional medicine is the flowering plant Lobelia. Used in Chinese traditional medicine, its potent anti-inflammatory properties allow have been used for respiratory conditions like lung cancer, bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma. Its anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties were seen in a 2015 study on the Lobelia plant extract. Like thyme, it can also help with mucous clearance from the airways. Note that Lobelia should only be used under the guidance of an expert and qualified herbalist as it can be dangerous if used incorrectly. [15][16]

8 – Elecampane

A member of the sunflower family, Elecampane has been shown by the human study to be able to reduce airway inflammation in people affected by bronchial asthma. A 2011 study used Elecampane flower extract and revealed that it was able to reduce cell inflammation and mucus hypersecretion in test subjects with asthma. In 2012, extracts from the plant’s roots revealed possible antitumor properties, specifically found in lung fibroblast cells. [17][18]

9 – Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus oil is regarded as a “herbal toolkit” to fight infection, stimulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, reduce pain and spasm, and detoxify the body. Inhaling the oil’s vapors has been found to relieve the signs and symptoms (if not cure) acute and chronic respiratory tract ailments. A study in 2012 even found evidence that eucalyptus leaf extracts could possibly fight cancer by preventing the spread of cancer cells in the body. [19][20][21][22]

10 – Mullein

Mullein flowers have been used in European traditional medicine to manage conditions of the respiratory tract because of its soothing properties. This can be attributed to the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Mullein polyphenols which were studied in 2013. [23]

11 – Lungwort

The lungwort plant received its name because of its uncanny resemblance to lung tissue. Because of its appearance, it was used in traditional medicine to manage diseases that affected respiration. However, recent studies on the plant have discovered its potent antioxidant properties that improve respiratory function by boosting the health of lung tissue. [24][25]

12 – Chaparral

The scientific community is divided when it comes to the health benefits of chaparral. Cases of liver damage have been reported because of its very strong antioxidant component (which comes from a substance called NDGA or nordihydroguaiaretic acid). However, it cannot be denied that this substance is able to ward off respiratory problems with something as simple as brewing chaparral tea. [26]

13 – Sage

When brewed or placed into a vaporizer, you can reap the benefits of sage’s potent antioxidant and antibacterial properties that can help reduce the symptoms of a cough and cold. The high levels of polyphenols in the sage plant boost the immunity of lung tissue, protecting it from dangerous bacteria that can cause a respiratory infection. [27][28]

14 – Peppermint

The cooling effect of peppermint tea is widely held as soothing to throats, relieving inflammation instantly. In a 2010 study, peppermint oil was able to relieve the spasms in the throat muscles of the test subjects, which would explain why it is able to relieve the symptoms of common respiratory illnesses. Peppermint has potent anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and anti-congestive properties as well. [29]

15 – Plantain leaf

Commonly found in North America, Europe, and Asia, the plantain leaf (plantago) is a medicinal plant that has been popular for treating respiratory and gastrointestinal conditions since ancient times. In a 2013 study, plantain leaf extract was used on asthmatic test subjects and revealed its ability to reduce the number of mast cells, cells that are responsible for the inflammation of the airways in bronchial asthma. [30]

References:

[1] University of Maryland Medical Center. Licorice. http://umm.edu/Health/Medical-Reference-Guide/Complementary-and-Alternative-Medicine-Guide/Herb/Licorice

[2] Grinke, U., et. al. (2014). Computer-guided approach to access the anti-influenza activity of licorice constituents. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24313801

[3] Tanaka, Y., et. al. (2001). Antibacterial compounds of licorice against upper airway respiratory tract pathogens. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11575586

[4] Ajagannanavar, S., et. al. (2014). Effect of aqueous and alcoholic licorice (glycyrrhiza glabra) root extract against streptococcus mutans and lactobacillus acidophilus in comparison to chlorhexidine: an in vitro study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25214729

[5] Li, Z., et. al. (2013). Metabolomic profiling of the antitussive and expectorant plant Tussilago farfara L. by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and multivariate data analysis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23261808

[6] Zhao, J., et. al. (2014). Antitubercular activity of Arctium lappa and Tussilago farfara extracts and constituents. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24955560

[7] Gieringer, D. (2001). Cannabis “Vaporization”. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J175v01n03_10

[8] Tetrault, J., et. al. (2007). Effects of Marijuana Smoking on Pulmonary Function and Respiratory Complications: A Systematic Review. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2720277/

[9] Nguyen, K. (2015). Investigation of the cytotoxicity, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects of Ligusticum porteri (Osha) on human peripheral lymphocytes and promyelocytic leukemia cellss of Marijuana Smoking on Pulmonary Function and Respiratory Complications: A Systematic Review. http://repositories.tdl.org/tamucc-ir/handle/1969.6/642

[10] West, K. & Jackson, S. (2004). Research to Determine Osha’s Economic Potential as a Sustainable Agricultural Crop. http://www.encognitive.com/files/Research%20to%20Determine%20Osha’s%20Economic%20Potential%20as%20a…/

[11] Wienkotter, N., et. al. (2007). The effect of thyme extract on beta2-receptors and mucociliary clearance. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17564943

[12] Seibel, J., et. al. (2015). Bronchipret® syrup containing thyme and ivy extracts suppresses bronchoalveolar inflammation and goblet cell hyperplasia in experimental bronchoalveolitis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26598916

[13] Shokrzadeh, M., et. al. (2014). An ethanol extract of Origanum vulgare attenuates cyclophosphamide-induced pulmonary injury and oxidative lung damage in mice. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24646304

[14] Grondona, E., et. al. (2014). Bio-efficacy of the essential oil of oregano (Origanum vulgare Lamiaceae. Ssp. Hirtum). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25266989

[15] Li, K., et. al. (2015). Anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of Lobelia chinensis in vitro and in vivo. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25787301

[16] University of Maryland Medical Center. Lobelia. https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lobelia

[17] Li, Y., et. al. (2012). Antitumour activities of sesquiterpene lactones from Inula helenium and Inula japonica. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23016276

[18] Park, Y., et. al. (2011). Alleviation of OVA-induced airway inflammation by flowers of Inula japonica in a murine model of asthma. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21597181

[19] Sadlon, A. & Lamson, D. (2010). Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20359267

[20] Lawal, T., et. al. (2012). In vitro susceptibility of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to extracts of Eucalyptus camaldulensis and Eucalyptus torelliana and isolated compounds. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22129202

[21] Camporese, A. (2013). In vitro activity of Eucalyptus smithii and Juniperus communis essential oils against bacterial biofilms and efficacy perspectives of complementary inhalation therapy in chronic and recurrent upper respiratory tract infections. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23774975

[22] Bhagat, M., Sharma, V. & Saxena, A. (2012). Anti-proliferative effect of leaf extracts of Eucalyptus citriodora against human cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23350280

[23] Grigore, A., et. al. (2013). Correlation between polyphenol content and anti-inflammatory activity of Verbascum phlomoides (mullein). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23627472

[24] Hawryl, M. & Waksmundzka-Hajnos, M. (2013). Micro 2D-TLC of Selected Plant Extracts in Screening of Their Composition and Antioxidative Properties. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3779791/

[25] Ivanova, D., et. al. (2005). Polyphenols and antioxidant capacity of Bulgarian medicinal plants. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874104004519

[26] United States National Library of Medicine. Chaparral. http://livertox.nih.gov/Chaparral.htm

[27] Lu, Y. & Foo, L. (2001). Antioxidant activities of polyphenols from sage (Salvia officinalis). http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814601001984

[28] Bozin, B., et. al. (2007). Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Properties of Rosemary and Sage (Rosmarinus officinalis L. and Salvia officinalis L., Lamiaceae) Essential Oils. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0715323

[29] de Sousa, A., et. al. (2010). Antispasmodic effect of Mentha piperita essential oil on tracheal smooth muscle of rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20488237

[30] Farokhi, F., et. al. (2013). Histophatologic changes of lung in asthmatic male rats treated with hydro-alcoholic extract of Plantago major and theophylline. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25050268