Refresh your taste buds and wake up with a zing! The lovely sun this morning put me in the mood for something refreshing, which reminded me I had had some frozen cranberries in my freezer for quite some time. Cranberries are packed with antioxidants and have some unique phytochemicals that can help reduce the risk of gastric ulcers (read more below) and urinary tract infections.
¼ Cup Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
Thumb nail size piece of fresh ginger, chopped
1 pear cored and chopped
Juice of half a lime
1 tsp agave syrup (or alternative natural sweetner) optional
Water to desired consistency or couple of ice cubes
Blend together and enjoy!
Cranberry & Ginger - Health Benefits for Gastric Ulcers and H.Pylori
I originally created this recipe when working with a client who had a susceptibility to stomach ulcers casued by the bacteria H.pylori (helicobacter pylor).
H.pylori is a type of bacteria that causes chronic inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach. It is now recognised as a common cause of gastric ulcers; tests have shown that as many as 90% of people with ulcers have detectable organisms.
Cranberries contain phytochemicals that have demonstrated anti-adhesive activity on H.pylori. Clinical trials have shown that cranberry suppresses and aids in eradicating H.pylori. It has also been demonstrated that the polyphenols found in cranberry can increase the effects of the orthodox medical approach of triple antibiotic therapy, particularly in women.
H.pylori is usually introduced into a person from infected food or drink. It can also be transmitted from person to person. This means that re-infection is a strong possibility. Cranberry has demonstrated inhibitory effect on H.pylori growth, and regular consumption of cranberry may reduce the chances of re-infection.
Ginger has a long tradition of use for digestive complaints. It is a potent anti-inflammatory and has anti-microbial properties. Research has shown that it has ulcer-preventative properties through it’s antioxidant and H.pylori inhibitory activities.
Matsushima M, Suzuki T, Masui A, Kasai K, Kouchi T, Takagi A, Shirai T, Mine T.. (2008). Growth inhibitory action of cranberry on Helicobacter pylori.. J Gastroenterol Hepatol.. 23 (Supp 2), 1.
Nanjundaiah SM, Annaiah HN, Dharmesh SM. (2011). Gastroprotective Effect of Ginger Rhizome (Zingiber officinale) Extract: Role of Gallic Acid and Cinnamic Acid in H(+), K(+)-ATPase/H. pylori Inhibition and Anti-Oxidative Mechanism. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.. 24 (9), 487.
Shmuely H, Yahav J, Samra Z, Chodick G, Koren R, Niv Y, Ofek I. (2007). Effect of cranberry juice on eradication of Helicobacter pylori in patients treated with antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor..
Mol Nutr Food Res.. 51 (6), 746-51.
Zhang L, Ma J, Pan K, Go VL, Chen J, You WC.. (2005). Efficacy of cranberry juice on Helicobacter pylori infection: a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial. Helicobacter.. 10 (2), 139 – 45
At this time of year gardens are becoming alive again and everything is starting to grow. What might look like a garden full of weeds to you, from a herbalists point of view, can actually be a great spring tonic for the body.
Here are my top 3 garden weed herbal super hero’s!
As a kid we used to call this herb sticky back, as it will literally stick to any fabric. This sticky herb has a long history of medicinal use. It is a valuable herb for the lymphatic system making it great herb to use for a spring tonic or detox. It works as a cleansing herb, eliminating toxins as well as waste substances from the body, thereby, reducing inflammation. Additionally its diuretic properties make it helpful for swollen glands, skins conditions and cystitis. The ideal time for harvesting this herb is May to July, when it is green and fresh and before it blooms. The leaves can be drunk as a tea. Simply pick a handful (circa 50g), wash carefully and cover with boiling water, leave for 10mins, strain and drink tea up to 3 times per day.
Next time you weed the garden don’t throw away all those lovely dandelion leaves. Instead use them to make a delicious digestive supporting salad (bitter but tasty flavour) or a detoxing cup of tea. The bitter taste of dandelion stimulates the digestive juices and promotes digestive health. Dandelion is a gentle diuretic and is particularly good for water retention. Most pharmaceutical diuretics leach potassium from the body, but dandelion, apart from being mild, is very high in potassium and other minerals and vitamins, so it makes a great all round health tonic.
Nettles may be the scourge of a keen gardener and who likes it stings, however it is a valuable and useful herb. Nettles are highly nutritious, containing high amounts of vitamins, minerals and chlorophyll. Nettles have diuretic properties, and have the added benefit of being anti-inflammatory reducing histamine reactions, making it useful for allergic conditions. It has traditionally been used for treating rheumatic conditions and arthritis. Don’t forget to use rubber gloves to avoid strings when picking nettles once the nettles are heated they lose their string. Make tea in the same way as above with the cleavers. Or try a lovely nettle soup! Will post up a recipe for one soon.