Mother Earth Living

Natural Health

Better living through nature

Add to My MSN


Most of us today are tired of bumps, fatty pockets and increasing health issues, and have tried everything in our power to stay fit and healthy. There are hundreds and thousands of remedies available on the market that promise to put you back in shape and redress health issues. While some doctors suggest medicines and lotions, others claim proper diet, yoga and regular exercise to be very beneficial. But with today’s extremely hectic schedules and lifestyles, we’re hardly left with any time to spare for workouts at the gym or following a strict diet.

Switch to green tea. It’s not just a green liquid, it is a medicinal beverage with a multitude of uses —from preventing cancer to lowering blood pressure and much more. The reason that green tea has more health benefits than other natural products is apparent because of the way it’s processed. Green tea, when processed, retains the maximum amount of antioxidants and polyphenols, like flavonoids and catechins, which give it its plentiful benefits. So, let us discuss some of the health issues drinking green tea, every day, can help you address.

cup of green tea
Photo by Fotolia.

Weight Loss

Green tea increases metabolic rate. The polyphenol present in the beverage intensifies the fat oxidation level and the rate at which a human body converts food into calories. Several studies, over the years, have shown that regular consumption of green tea can significantly decrease body fat, especially in the abdominal area.


Type II Diabetes is a disease which has reached epidemic proportions and has affected nearly 300 million people all over the world. Green tea helps regulate the level of glucose, further slowing the rise of blood sugar level after meals. A cup of this organic beverage not only prevents high insulin spikes and the resulting fat storage, but also lowers the risk of developing Type II Diabetes.

Heart Disease

Scientists believe that green tea relaxes the lining of blood vessels in order to withstand any changes occurring in blood pressure. It also offers a protection against the formation of clots which are typically the primary cause of heart attacks in most people.


Eating oily food with high-fat content on a regular basis puts our health at a higher risk of developing high cholesterol and cardiac diseases. Replacing unhealthy food and drinks with green tea can help keep the cholesterol level down. A powerful antioxidant in green tea, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), discourages cholesterol absorption in the large intestine and further boosts the immune system.

Healthy Gums and Teeth

Drinking a cup of tea is usually considered to be bad for our teeth. The hot beverage contains tannic acid which gives it its dark color and can stain tooth enamel. However, the consumption of green tea is actually considered to be beneficial when it comes to our oral health, particularly in avoiding periodontal disease.

Brain Function

Compounds present in green tea, such as caffeine and amino acid L-theanine, have the ability to improve the brain’s function and make you smarter. Caffeine, the active ingredient in green tea, is a known stimulant. The quantity present in this green beverage is less than that found in coffee, yet enough to produce a response which leads to improvement in various aspects of brain's function including vigilance, mood, reaction time and memory.

Improved Eyesight

Carrots and spinach have long been considered foods that promote good eyesight, but scientists claim that antioxidants found in green tea can penetrate into the eye tissues and produce antioxidant activities. Catechins, a key antioxidant in green tea, have the prowess of being absorbed into the tissues of the eyes easily.


Theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid in tea leaves. It is this compound that provides a relaxing effect and serves as a great benefit to its consumers. Theanine also affects levels of serotonin and dopamine, which in turn affects mood.

Skin Care

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, the antioxidants present in green tea and their anti-inflammatory activities help fight against wrinkles, other signs of aging, and redness developed after UV exposure in an effective and efficient manner.


Cancer is a class of disease characterized by uncontrolled growth of mutated cells. Green tea is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants which have the ability to lower the risk of several types of cancers, especially esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, oral cancer and many cardiovascular diseases. Its strongest antioxidant, EGCG, causes the formation of reactive oxygen species in cancer cells and helps kill them through the annihilation of cell’s mitochondria. It’s in this weakened state that forces the mitochondria to surrender to EGCG and die. Green tea is also suspected to become a possible alternative to chemotherapy.

The green miracle beverage from China has already made its way into the mugs of individuals all over the world for its research-proven and vouched-for health benefits. From weight loss to preventing heart disease, green tea has evolved into a medicinal drink that caters to a host of illnesses. So, add a cup of green tea to your daily plan and welcome a healthy life.

Meggie Haneckow is a niche writer and blogger who loves to write on trending topics and share her personal experiences and knowledge through her writing. She is also a health enthusiast, so she loves to share health-care related tips through her blogs.


Photo by Fotolia

The shelves of any store are full of choices. Overwhelmingly full.

For a consumer, a parent, or even a physician, making an informed decision about the best solutions can be downright exasperating. Soothing throats, easing tummy woes, or just maintaining health and wellness is a challenge when so many products offer similar outcomes.  When choosing solutions to keep your family healthy, reading the label is of particular importance to ensure that what you put in your body is as natural as possible, while still effective.

Taking a step back and considering the efficacy of the ingredients available to us in nature is an important first step in choosing a wellness plan for yourself and your family. Homegrown remedies will always have their place, but you and your family deserve solutions that are grounded in solid, scientific evidence. 

Quality, wholesome products can be difficult to find. Even more trying is selecting a product made with naturally derived ingredients that are proven to be efficacious. At the end of the day, consumers want a healthy solution, but they also need a product that works. Fortunately, by reading labels carefully and conducting some basic research on the clinical impact of handpicked ingredients, you can have both.

Always speak with your physician.

It should go without saying that your physician should always be your first stop for guidance about maintaining wellness. Many physicians’ offices and pharmacies have staff members available during business hours, so that you can consult a professional regarding the best choice for your routine.

Choose natural ingredients, when possible.

Many times a natural ingredient can support wellness or solve a problem for people of all ages, including for children. Simple, wholesome solutions can be effective, without the harmful, negative side effects.

Determine clinical effectiveness.

When using natural ingredients, be sure to confirm their clinical effectiveness. Everyone has heard of plant-based solutions to promote well-being, but be sure that the products you choose are supported by clinical evidence.

All of this information may leave you wondering exactly which ingredients are effective for everything from soothing throats to digestive wellness and general health. Often nature’s most powerful remedies come from the most unlikely places.

Bees produce certain dark honey blends that are liquid gold for people experiencing throat irritation by providing a dose of nutrients to help calm coughs. Tiny Austrian elderberries provide big support to the immune system through a blast of antioxidants and vitamins, while marine algae in South Carolina delivers a type of omega 3 nutrient to support brain function. 

To learn more about the efficacious properties of dark honey, elderberries, and algae follow along with this upcoming blog series where we will focus on several key natural ingredients to keep your family healthy because you deserve a simple, authentic approach to wellness. 

Bret Furio is the CEO of Zarbee’s NaturalsTM , a whole family wellness company with a commitment to providing consumers with simple, handpicked, quality ingredients to support family health & wellness.  Zarbee’s uses clinical evidence to identify ingredients, and strives to avoid many unwanted additives, components or fillers, resulting in wholesome, safe, and effective options for the entire family.


Of the most joyful events of your life can easily turn into a nightmare. Postpartum depression is real, and it affects 1 in 7 women.

Postpartum depression can cause mothers to feel sad, overwhelmed and inadequate to the point of wanting to harm themselves or even their baby. It’s a problem for many women, but the good news is there are ways to naturally prevent and treat it.

Photo by Fotolia

Medication vs. Natural Remedies

The concern many women face is taking medication following the delivery of their baby when they are breastfeeding. Since what the mother consumes can enter her breastmilk, many women forgo anti-depressants. This can lead to much more devastating consequences when postpartum depression gets out of control.

As an alternative, many women have been turning to natural remedies such as placenta encapsulation, omega-3 supplements, Sam E, bright light therapy and acupuncture.

Placenta Encapsulation

Placenta encapsulation is the process of manufacturing a pill with pieces of your placenta inside of it. Since the placenta delivers all of the nutrients to the growing fetus, it is full of them even after delivery. There’s also estrogen in the placenta, which the body lacks after having a baby. These low levels of estrogen can play a role in depression, which is why getting it from the placenta may be helpful.

To make the placenta ready for encapsulation, it must be dehydrated, steamed and then ground. The grounds are what go inside of the pills.

Besides providing them with nutrients and hormone replacement after birth, some women report it increases milk supply. Since many new mothers feel inadequate when they cannot produce enough milk for their baby, this boost can also help women avoid feeling depressed.


Omega-3s are fatty acids found in fish. They can help boost women’s moods after having a baby. Hormones and the life transitions that come along with having a new baby can alter moods. To keep them more stable, women sometimes take omega-3 supplements or increase their intake of fish.


Sam-E is a natural molecule found in neurotransmitters. Studies have found this supplement may be able to decrease the risk of postpartum depression. The good news is that there are no reports of side effects in breastfed babies.

Folic Acid

Folic acid, or vitamin B6, is something most women take during pregnancy, and they should continue the supplement after delivery. It’s been known to help with depression because a deficiency in it often leads women to have low energy, which can make caring for an infant difficult.

Bright Light Therapy

Bright light therapy has been used for quite some time to help people with seasonal depression. In a postpartum study, the therapy was shown to help with depression as well. This therapy involves sitting under a 10,000 lux light source from 30 to 60 minutes each day.


Acupuncture may also be a consideration. While there still needs to be more research on using it for postpartum depression, it may have some benefits since it has been shown to help women who suffer from depression during pregnancy.

Besides one of the above natural remedies, remember to eat healthy foods during this important time in your life and the babies. Something as simple as adding prebiotics to your diet could make the necessary changes to keep postpartum depression at bay. Just speak to your doctor before you start to make sure these methods are safe for you and your baby.

Ali Lawrence is a tea-sipping writer who focuses on healthy and sustainable living via her family blog Homey Improvements. She was born and raised in Alaska and dabbles in PR, Pilates, and is a princess for hire for kid’s parties. Find her on Twitter @DIYfolks.


Photo by Fotolia

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, which is an important time of the year to spread the word about this “silent thief” of sight. Responsible for over four million cases of blindness worldwide, over three million Americans are afflicted with this disease, while sixty million globally have glaucoma.

Left untreated, glaucoma can rob a person of up to 40% of their irreplaceable eyesight before a person is even aware they have the disease. While there is no known cure, there are treatment options available and while many people believe that glaucoma mostly strikes the elderly, people of all ages are at risk.

Genetics and Descent

It’s believed that, as with many forms of eye disease, glaucoma can be hereditary, so if you have a family history of this condition, you should consider yourself at a higher risk. Glaucoma is also more prevalent in those of African and Hispanic descent according to the GRF, when compared to their Caucasian counterparts.

Asians are also more susceptible to glaucoma simply due to the general makeup of their eyes themselves. One of the most aggressive forms of this disease, PACG (or primary angle-closure glaucoma) accounts for up to 90% of blindness throughout all of China, the largest population in the world.

Health and Welfare

A healthy lifestyle is also believed to contribute to the prevention of many eye issues including glaucoma. For example, smoking leads to high blood pressure (or hypertension) and unhealthy eating habits puts people at a greater risk for diabetes, which are both linked to eye problems and diseases like glaucoma.

Speaking of smoking, many people believe that natural remedies like marijuana can be used to treat glaucoma, but some experts disagree. While THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in marijuana lowers pressure to the eye caused by glaucoma, it only offers temporary relief and should not be used to actually treat the condition itself.

More Problems with THC

Since smoking causes damage to the lungs, some will administer this remedy orally to achieve the same results, but there are still hazards to this practice. Drowsiness and a loss of judgment caused by marijuana can be problematic for some users. One study found that nine out of nine participants with advanced glaucoma who were taking THC in pill form, discontinued use after nine months due to side effects. Experiments with eye drops containing tetrahydrocannabinol have been investigated, but so far, introducing a sufficient concentration of THC into the eyes has not been found to be effective.

Photo by Fotolia

The Jury is Still Out

While the debate on the use of medicinal marijuana continues to rage, benefits versus risks, some doctors believe there is a lack of evidence to support the fact that it actually alters the course of the disease itself. A type of catch-22 situation also exists with the use of pot when offering temporary relief from glaucoma conditions.

As mentioned previously, while THC reduced pressure to the eyes, it also lowers blood pressure, which results in a lower amount of blood flow to the optic nerve. This reduction of blood supply could conceivably cause further damage and make conditions of glaucoma, including vision loss, even worse. Given its side effects and short-duration of relief, while doctors may (or may not) shy away from the use of marijuana in glaucoma patients, it is up to each individual to choose what they believe is appropriate.


Everyone knows that exercise is good for your physical well-being, but many may overlook the fact that regular exercise has a real and positive influence on mental health as well. Exercise helps reduce stress, increase focus, heighten self-confidence, improve memory, ease anxiety and improve motivation. There are a few quick, simple exercises that will have you looking, feeling and thinking your best.

outdoor group fitness
Photo courtesy Boot Camp Melbourne.


Walking has a great impact on your mental health, aiding in reducing anxiety and depression. Even a short 20 minute walk can make a huge difference in your attitude. The increase in body temperature and release of feel-good chemicals (endorphins) that come with physical movement have been shown to relieve some depression symptoms. Walking also helps give your mind a break from the everyday, which takes it off of things that might be causing anxiety and worry. If possible, take a hike outdoors with a friend or pet to enjoy fresh air, nice scenery and really maximize the mental benefits.


The practice of yoga offers many health benefits. It helps alleviate stress, calms the nervous system, relaxes muscle tension and decreases stress. There are many places that have regularly scheduled group yoga classes, but if you don't have the time or desire to take one of these, simply practicing with a yoga DVD from the comfort of your living room will provide a multitude of benefits.


According the United States Census Bureau, swimming is the second most popular sport in the United States. Swimming with others during swim lessons or at a public pool fosters friendships, which alleviate stress, provide a sense of well-being and improve memory formation. If you live in or around New York City, find swim lessons near you and get started learning a skill you can use your whole life.

Jumping Jacks

Several studies have shown that creativity increases for a few hours after an aerobic workout. If you don’t have time to do a long workout, or need to wake your brain up fast, short bursts of aerobic exercise are very effective. Try doing 20 jumping jacks or jogging in place for a few minutes. While, short mini-exercise sessions may help in the short-term, regular exercise has more lasting benefits.

Bike Riding

Cycling provides you with new scenery, physical exercise and mental stimulation. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that regular exercise can keep your “learning, thinking, and judgement skills sharp as you age.” With Alzheimer's on the rise and a growing concern for many, it's encouraging to hear that exercise can help improve memory and long-term cognitive function. Bike riding is enjoyable for most and relatively easy to get started, even if you aren’t in fabulous physical shape.


Dancing can be enjoyed by anyone, at any age and any fitness level. You can dance at home while doing housework to increase your aerobic exertion, or sign up to take a formal class. Classes provide the opportunity for you to interact and be social, and also offer accountability, motivation and fun.

As a general rule, any exercise that’s good for your heart is also good for your brain. To maximize the benefits, it’s best to exercise in the morning before your day gets started. This gets blood flowing and spikes brain activity, which will allow you to respond quickly and appropriately to difficult situations and reduce your stress throughout the day. Experts recommend exercising 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. If you’re unable to do that immediately, start small and work up to it. So, do your heart and mind some good and get exercising!

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter, @BrookeChaplan.


Chewing is as simple as cramming a bite in your mouth, chomping down a few times, then down the hatch, right? Wrong! It’s actually a really important part of digestion, and if we don’t do it right, it could cause big problems.

friends sharing meal together
Photo by Fotolia/gstockstudio.

It may surprise you, but chewing does more than what meets the eye, or in this case, taste buds. When we take our time to munch up food, it becomes encased in saliva. Saliva, along with acting as a lubricant to send food gliding smoothly down our esophagus, contains enzymes that start breaking down all that delicious goodness into stuff our bodies can use. When food is chewed well, we don’t swallow as much air, which keeps embarrassing gas away.

If you throw back snacks faster than the county fair pie eating champion, you may also be missing out on vital nutrients. When food is left in partially whole form, our bodies can’t properly absorb essential vitamins or minerals. If you start doing more of the work in your mouth, it will make things easier on your belly, keeping it strong and healthy.

GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), ulcers, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and diverticulosis are occurring at alarmingly high rates, and it’s difficult not to blame the “fast” food mentality as a contributing factor. And we’re not just talking a cheeseburger with fries, I am talking choking that cheeseburger down without taking a breath.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15.4 million adults have been diagnosed with ulcers which, simply put, are holes in our stomach lining. WebMD states that cases of GERD, a condition that allows stomach acid to creep up the esophagus, have risen a shocking 50 percent over the last decade. WebMD also includes that 58 million Americans suffer from IBS. Half of people over 60 have diverticulosis, when pockets of the intestine become weak and bulge outward. I’d say statistics like that are great reasons to spend an extra 15 minutes at the table!

So when meal time rolls around, give yourself adequate time to eat. Cut food into smaller bites and chew until everything is ground well. Our busy schedules keep us from enjoying the simplest things in life, like eating. If we take time to focus on the smaller things, our lives will become more enriched.  Taste the flavors, enjoy the aromas, and notice yourself feeling more nourished and satisfied after each meal and snack.

Karyn WoffordKaryn Wofford is a type 1 diabetic, EMT and Certified Wellness Specialist. For years she has educated herself on wellness and natural, wholesome living. Karyn’s goal is to help people be the healthiest they can be while living fun, happy lives..


You do it every night but you probably have a number of questions related to sleeping and getting a good night’s rest. Before you take your next nap or shut your eyes for the night, open your mind to the following question and answers related to sleep.

woman sleeping
Photo by Fotolia.

1. Why is sleep so important?

Sleeping well influences how you feel while awake, which includes how you work, interact with others, and engage in forms of exercise. Getting rest helps the brain retain information and energizes the body for the following day’s events.

2. Is napping good or bad?

A number of people rely on short naps to keep them feeling good. However, if you find that you’re taking long naps or lethargy is a perpetual problem, you may not be getting a deep, restful night’s sleep. If you feel like you “need” to take a nap each day, speak to your doctor.

3. Do I need a premium mattress?

The average person spends about one-third of their day in bed, so the quality of mattress does determine how well you sleep and how you feel. The term “quality” is a bit subjective and does not mean you have to spend a load of money to sleep well. However, if you feel achy or sore upon waking, or often toss and turn at night, it may be a sign that your present mattress is old or it’s not a quality product.

4. How much sleep do I really need?

Some need more or less but most people sleep for an average of 7 to 8 hours per night. However, a person’s schedule is not always so regimented; some may have to get up early for work after working the night before, or take business trips at unusual hours. Plus, having a newborn in the home can definitely make a mom or dad sleep inconsistently. Some believe that if you sleep a lot longer on the weekends than you do during the week, you’re probably not getting enough rest.

5. How can I get better rest?

A consistent sleep-wake cycle helps. Try to go to bed and get up at the same times. Of course, you can alter things a bit on the weekends, but maintaining a schedule helps the most. Secondly, reserve a way to wind down each night, whether it’s drinking tea, reading, watching television, etc. Thirdly, create a restful environment, such as making the room dark, getting into bed, and adjusting the temperature in the room to match your preferences. If you suffer from an unknown sleep disorder, you may be unsuccessful and need to consult your doctor for proper diagnosis.

6. What can I do if I work varied shifts?

Some people work in varied shifts or sleep during the day and work at night. If you need to sleep during the day, do your best to make your immediate surroundings model nighttime conditions, such as blocking out the light and sleeping in an area of the home that will remain quiet. Creating white noise, getting a new mattress, and sleeping with earplugs are also methods to help you get better rest.

7. Is it OK to fall asleep in a chair or on the couch?

Ideally, you want to fall asleep in your bed so you get a full night’s rest. If you find that you prefer your chair or couch, you may be in denial about the state of your present mattress. Check the Bedroom Store for a wide selection of mattress solutions. Moreover, being on the couch or in a chair may pair with bad behaviors such as drinking alcohol or eating before bed, which does not make for a good night’s rest.

8. Can you make up for lost sleep?

No, as mentioned, the best method is to try and get at least 7 to 8 hours each night and go to sleep on a schedule. Don’t assume you can get 2 hours one night and 10 hours the next and feel as if you slept for 6 hours both nights. Your body does not respond that way, and trying to compensate on the weekends or particular nights of the week will take a toll on your body and mind.

9. How can I tell if it’s time for a new mattress?

Most mattresses will need to be put to rest after ten years or so, but look for signs of wear, such as lumps and uneven sections, in addition to taking note of how you feel upon waking in the morning.

Learn more facts about sleep in 11 Things You Didn't Know About Sleep.

Sandra Moon works at a doctor's office and knows just how few of her patients get an uninterrupted night's sleep. She shares tips and knowledge on a broad range of health topics to get everyone feeling better.

Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here