Hedera helix (common Ivy)

Did you know how the symbol of love – the heart – came into being? And why it not only resembles the human heart, but looks completely different. One legend says that the shape of the symbol is taken from the leaves of the ivy – the plant that with its roots wraps around everything that is close to it. For the ancient Greeks and Romans, ivy symbolized deep affection, and it has become a symbol of love.

There are approximately 15 species of ivy that grow by crawling on the ground until they reach a stable climbing surface such as a tree or wall. Evergreen shrub with creeping or climbing stems, which develop adventitial aerial roots, used for attachment. The leaves are 3 -10 cm long, leathery, shiny, but the flowering branches are ovate or elliptical, and on the vegetative stems 3-5-parted with triangular entire lobes. The inflorescences are umbellate, located at the tips of the branches.

Beneficial ingredients of ivy

It contains up to 5% hederasaponin C, an aglycone containing triterpene hederagenin. It also contains the flavonol glycoside rutin, chlorogenic and caffeic acid, scopolin, tannins, resins, pectin, carotene and others.

Flavonoids are commonly found in plants, fruits and vegetables. They act as antioxidants and help bind toxins to remove them from the body.

In addition, flavonoids help cleanse and strengthen blood vessels, making them useful in circulatory disorders. Many flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties as they can block inflammation and stabilize mast cells to reduce the release of histamine, which causes inflammation. Flavonoids also have the ability to modulate the production of various enzymes in the body. Enzymes are key factors in many body processes, blocking or producing more than a certain enzyme can have a positive effect on health. Ivy finds such flavonoids as quercetin, campherol, rutin.

Hedera helix medical use

Since ancient times, ivy has been used in medicine in both Europe and Asia. This plant was sacred to the Druids. Today it is widely used to treat diseases of the upper respiratory tract.

Studies show that ivy leaf extract helps increase oxygen delivery to the lungs and is a good anti-inflammatory and decongestant. It is especially effective in dry cough and is often included in medicines. A typical dose used in the treatment of obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma is 25 drops of leaf extract twice a day for children and 50 drops twice a day for adults. Broths and tea are made from the leaves. These tools can be used to wash wounds, skin ulcers. The leaf capsule can relieve pain caused by diseases of the skeletal system, such as arthritis, rheumatism, gout.

Healing properties of ivy

Ivy leaves are usually used in respiratory disorders. Due to their chemical nature, they act as a strong expectorant, anti-cellulite, antifungal, anti-inflammatory: the plant helps with inflammatory processes in the body and accelerates healing processes.

Hedera helix improves digestion, antioxidant, diaphoretic and causes sweating.

Ivy is used in the treatment of the following diseases –  cough, chronic bronchitis, edema, gout, gallbladder inflammation, urogenital infections, ulcer.

Many people avoid keeping ivy in their homes. But you should know that this helps to clean the air in the home. The hedera helix is able to clean the house of toxic substances. These toxic substances can lead to many diseases when people in such premises are ill, and for no reason constantly experience certain diseases.

In addition, as some studies by British scientists show, ivy can significantly reduce the amount of toxic substances from various fungi and molds. Therefore, it can’t be considered a “harmful” indoor plant. On the contrary, it will help you make your home cleaner.

Unusual honeys

We have gathered some very interesting and unbelievable honey types for you, do enjoy this sweet article.

  • TUALANG HONEY

Malaysian Tualang honey is a known therapeutic honey extracted from the honeycombs of the Tualang tree and has been reported for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties. What is really interesting about this honey is the way it is gathered.

The “honey hunters”, as they are known, are gatherings of neighborhood locals who head to far off corners of the Malaysian wilderness consistently looking for the uncommon nectar, sitting on the top of the 60-75 m tall tualang trees, the bees are very smart insects they protect their property and liquid treasure. Like New Zealand’s “Manuka” honey (which we will talk about later), also hailed for its supposed medicinal qualities, Malaysian tualang honey is expensive, fetching around $45-$60 a kilo— an enormous amount for the local people from rural poor communities.

When they find a tree with a lot of honey, the hunters climb up the tree at night, always at night, holding a torch in the hand (as there are no street lamps in the jungle). As they approached a hive on the top of a tree they start hitting the torch against the trunk and A flood of embers starts falling down, the other hunters called out to the bees to come down J, a swarm of bees rushed out, chasing the sparks of light, thus granting the hunters precious moments to cut through the hive and fill a bucket with chunks of the precious honeycomb.

The men worked through the night, slowly moving around from tree to tree, only stopping just before dawn, having collected all the honey can. Usually around 40 – 50 kg. Almost every “hunter” is stung numerous times a night, but they continued working, because that is just all the day’s (night in this case) work. Just smear a little honey on that wound old chap.

  • MANNA HONEY is a honey with a geographic protection from the EU, it is only produced in “Strandja” national park in Bulgaria, where it is believed to be the tomb of the Egyptian goddess Bastet, and it was the capital of the ancient Tracians.

An extremely important role in forming the manna plays the leaf lice that parasites the trees. They drill holes on the leaves, a sweet, sticky juice runs down out of them. The leaf lice, take up some of the liquid, enrich it with the enzymes from their digestive system and release it to the surface of the leaves in the form of valuable nutritional material called – manna. From this point on the bees start to play their part in the workflow. They collect the enriched with enzymes manna, process it and produce the unique healing honey with it. Manna honey is composed of a large amount of free amino acids and the mineral substances in it are between 5 and 9 times more than in light nectarine species. The electrical conductivity of the honey is 2,2 millisimens. These undisputable facts also determine the great healing power of manna honey.

One of the biggest proofs of the special qualities of manna honey is its rich content of vital vitamins: B1, B2, PP, B12 (about 16 times more than in apples and apricots), B6, folic acid, biotin etc. The rich mineral composition of manna honey determines its alkalizing action, which is why it is recommended to athletes and all physical exercise activities to prevent muscle fever and fatigue. It has the ability to strengthen the immune system.

  • MANUKA HONEY 

Everything has been written for the Manuka honey and its outstanding qualities like: MGO ™ 300+ Manuka honey naturally has a rich content of Methylglyoxal (MGO) – the substance responsible for its antibacterial effect. Origin from New Zealand Manuka honey is known as the most powerful antibiotic, it has antioxidant, antiviral and antiseptic properties, it is a reliable ally for health. But I can tell you two things about this honey: 1st it is really expensive, ranging from $200 up to $500 per kilo, BUT it is not the most expensive honey on our list (stay tune) and second if you haven’t tasted it, I tell you it tastes as you have swallowed a bunch of random pills and it smells like pharmacy.

  • YEMENIES CAVE HONEY The most expensive honey in our list and in the world is the Yemeni cave honey, with prices ranging from $1200 to $1600 per kilo. In the remote mountains of  Yemen inside the caves the bees make their wild hives in order to hide from the hot, hot sun, thus they protect themselves and the unique honey. This honey has a very thick consistency and amber color, it is really like a fresh made caramel straight out of the pan of some Michelin star chef. The price of the honey also comes from the fact that this caves are very hard to find and the quantity is so very low. The beekeepers have to crawl inside the caves through narrow fissures in the rock and collect just enough so that the bees can still thrive without damaging the hive.
  • HONEY FROM ARGENTINA RIVERS

The raw honey is harvested all along the banks of the Paraná River in Argentina. The beehives are floating on wood pallets in the river. The beekeepers collect it in small boats; then the pure honey, is shipped straight from to local shops or to the airport for luxury boutiques around the world. The texture of the honey is very liquid and the color is crystal clear. Stock is extremely limited and it sells out very quickly as you would expect of such a rare substance. These traditional methods of beekeeping in Argentina are kept in tandem with nature, for generations.

  • HERBAL HONEY also known as multicolor or bouquet honey, it is the most commonly known honey in the world, it is derived from the nectar of many polish and mountain plants. But we save it for the number one spot in our list, because we want to give you a different point of view of how the most common honey is made in the most uncommon and hard way.

And here are the facts:

  • Honey bees collect pollen and nectar of about two million flowers to fill a jar of honey. For this purpose, they travel over 90,000 km.
    • In one flight the bee brings no more than 0.02 grams of honey.
    • To collect 4 kilograms of honey (1 gallon) the combined flight distance from the bees equal the way to the moon and back.
    • For the rest of his life, an average worker bee makes 1,5 tablespoons of honey.
    • The bees have the best built-in natural GPS in the world

Each and every extraction of honey is one of a kind and it is determined by the area and the period of the year. Next time you eat a spoon of honey you better be(e) grateful! 

Peppermint oil benefits

Peppermint oil is one of the most versatile essential oils. It can be used for aromatherapy, it helps to deal with a number of health problems – from muscle pain and seasonal allergic symptoms, to increase energy and relieve digestive complaints. Also, the oil is often used to improve the health of the skin and hair. Studies show that peppermint oil has antimicrobial and antiviral activities, acts as a powerful antioxidant, shows anti-allergenic potential and analgesic effects, and helps to relax the gastrointestinal tract. It is not surprising why peppermint oil is one of the most popular in the world.

The most active ingredients include menthol (50-60%) and menthol (10-30%). The oil has a cool, sharp and fresh aroma. It is one of the oldest European herbal remedies used for medicinal purposes, and other historical records date its use in ancient Japanese and Chinese medicine. An interesting fact is that even in Greek mythology it is also mentioned that the nymph Mentha (Mentha / Minthe) has been turned into a sweet-smelling herb by Pluto, who falls in love with it and wants to keep the memory of it.

Today, peppermint oil is recommended for its anti-nausea and soothing effects on the gastric mucosa and colon. It is also valuable for its cooling effects and helps relieve inflamed muscles when used topically. In addition, peppermint essential oil has antimicrobial properties, so it can be used to fight infections and can even freshen the breath.


More benefits of peppermint oil:

Relieves pain in muscles and joints – Peppermint essential oil is a very effective natural painkiller and muscle relaxant. In addition, it has cooling and invigorating properties. Peppermint oil is especially useful for relieving tension headaches (with a strong feeling of tension in the head). The combination of peppermint and lavender oil is also a great way to help your body relax and reduce muscle pain.

Sinus Care and Other Respiratory Benefits – Inhaling peppermint oil can help unclog your sinuses and relieve an irritated throat. Mint acts as an expectorant, helps open the airways, clears mucus and reduces nasal congestion. The oil is also one of the best essential oils for colds, flu, cough, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions. Laboratory studies have shown that the compounds found in peppermint oil have antimicrobial, antiviral and antioxidant properties, which means that they can also help fight respiratory infections.

Increases energy levels and helps improve fitness – mint is a great alternative to dangerous energy drinks. It will help you increase your energy levels on long trips, at school or any other time. It can be used to increase physical performance, whether it is regular weekly training or more serious athletic events (To increase your energy levels and improve concentration with peppermint oil, take 1-2 drops in a glass of water or apply 2 -3 drops locally on the temples and in the back of the neck).

Accelerates hair growth and reduces dandruff – Peppermint oil is actually used in many high quality hair care products because it can naturally thicken and nourish damaged hair. It can be used as a natural treatment for thinning hair and helps stimulate the scalp. Plus, menthol is a powerful antiseptic agent, so it can help eliminate germs that can build up in your hair. Menthol is actively used in anti-dandruff shampoos.


Relieves itching – Studies show that the menthol content found in peppermint oil inhibits itching. This is a common skin problem that is associated with an unpleasant constant itching that cannot be soothed. Peppermint oil can successfully relieve skin discomfort.

Insects repellent – Unlike us humans, a number of small creatures hate the smell of peppermint oil, including ants, spiders, cockroaches, mosquitoes and mice.


Important:

The oil it is recommended not to be used by pregnant women and young children. Keep it away from pets. If you have no experience with essential oils and are not sure how to use them, please consult your doctor or pharmacist!

These herbal teas will improve your mood

In a situation of continued isolation, one can easily feel lonely, without mood, even unhappy. The days spent at home and without enough social contacts can affect our psyche.

Fortunately, in this case we can turn to nature to get rid of depression. What are the herbs that will help us improve our mood and tone?

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort is a proven natural remedy for depression. However, it should not be combined with other antidepressants.The plant contains hypericin, whence its antidepressant action. If you feel out of mood, make a tea with 1 tablespoon of the herb.

St. John’s wort has a variety of very useful properties. It has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, wound-healing and anti-ulcer effects, tones the nervous system.

Lemon balm
The herb is used to treat depression and anxiety. It has a sedative effect and calms. A cup of lemon balm tea will certainly improve your mood.

Valerian herb

The root of the herb has a calming effect. The plant, rich in antioxidants, acts against stress. Valerian tea soothes anxiety and suppresses the symptoms of depression, works well for insomnia.


Camomile

A cup of chamomile tea before bed will prevent insomnia and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. The drink has a relaxing and calming effect.

Ginger

Although it is most often used as a spice, as well as in flu conditions, ginger can also serve as an anti-depressant. Ginger tea will improve your mood and banish gloomy thoughts.

BEE POLLEN

As its name suggests, this product is produced from pollen collected by bees, which then forms granules after mixing with their saliva. It may not sound very appetizing, but it has a sweet and slightly floral taste that you will like.

Very rich in protein, amino acids, vitamins… restores muscles after a workout, providing them with clean energy and important nutrients. This is the purest protein in nature, the protein content of bee pollen exceeds that of beef, eggs or cheese of the same weight. In addition, these proteins are found as free amino acids that the body can easily use, even in the absence of enzymes to break down proteins.

Each granule of bee pollen contains amino acids, vitamins, fatty acids and minerals that are needed for various bodily functions. This makes bee pollen one of the most complete superfoods.

  • Reduces inflammation – bee pollen is rich in flavonoids such as quercetin, known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that the ability of bee pollen to reduce inflammation is comparable to that of conventional anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Relieves allergies – one of the traditional ways to use bee pollen is as a natural remedy for allergies. The anti-allergic effects come then. that it can reduce the amount of histamine produced by mast cells in response to allergens.
  • Increases metabolism and energy – due to its high protein content, bee pollen nutrition also improves metabolism, which deteriorates in people with protein deficiency. As a result of improved metabolism, the body will have higher levels of energy that it can use. In addition, bee pollen increases muscle mass by restoring protein that has been lost.
  • Eliminates harmful bacteria – bee pollen contains a naturally occurring antibiotic that is effective against Salmonella and other bacterial strains.
  • Increases fertility – if you have problems conceiving a child, then you can benefit from eating bee pollen. It has been found to enhance fertility by stimulating ovarian function. In addition, bee pollen improves egg survival during the incubation phase so that pregnancy can continue.
  • Improves skin condition – bee pollen has large amounts of antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays or exposure to environmental toxins. By eating bee pollen regularly, you can prevent the formation of wrinkles and fine lines. Moreover, its powerful antibacterial properties also prevent acne and help heal wounds.

How to eat the bee pollen?

The best recommended way is to simply take the appropriate dose and chew and suck it until it completely melts in our mouth. Thus, we take the optimal doses of pollen content, and it is worth it. We are loaded with monosaccharides, hormone-like components, all amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids – including the important omega-3 and 6; carotenoid, vitamins K, E, D, B, P, C, micro- and macroelements – K, Mg, P, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Cr, I, Co; enzymes and organic acids.

The most delicious and light option for consumption, which is also easy to prepare, includes 1 cup of yogurt, with 1 tablespoon of pollen. Before consuming, leave for about 10-15 minutes for the bee pollen to dissolve. In this form it is great for breakfast – a delicious and nutritious start of the day.


Another option is to mix with honey – 100 g of pollen per 1 kg of honey. It is recommended to grind for faster dissolution. After mixing, leave for about a week, stirring periodically until completely dissolved in the honey. Take 1 teaspoon 3 times daily before meals.