Category Archives: Nervous System

Maca Root – Lepidium meyenii

Maca Root (Available in capsules and powder)

written by Katolen Yardley, MNIIMH – Medical Herbalist

Maca Root -Lepidium meyenii- is a root vegetable grown high in the Andean mountains of Peru (up to 7,000 to 11,000 feet),  making it one of the highest altitude growing plant in the world.  Maca’s use dates back to around 3800 B.C., when Peruvian Indians cultivated and ate it for both its nutritional and medicinal value.

A radish-like / turnip like root vegetable that is related to the potato family, Maca is also tuberous and spherical in form. Weeding or pesticide application are typically not used as the climate itself is not suitable for most weeds or insects, thus the majority of all maca cultivation in Peru is carried out organically, as maca itself is seldom attacked. Maca is sometimes planted alongside potatoes, to help repel most root crop pests. The root itself is about three to six centimeters across and 4.7 centimeters in length. There are four recognized types, based on the color of the root, varying from creamy yellow or light pink to dark purple or black however its nutritional value is consistent. Maca is consumed as a main staple food in the Andean diet – eaten roasted, steamed or mashed, used as a flour or cereal grain in cooking; and is packed full of nutrients including amino acids, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.

Recently termed a Super food, (like Chaga mushroom) meaning Maca is a highly nutritious, nourishing food for enhancing our health and promoting longevity.  Known as an adaptogen, an agent which helps the body to adapt to changes in the internal or external environment- Maca is used for strengthening the nervous system, enhancing immune system function and for hormonal balancing while helping the body to raise its natural resistance to stress.

Best known for its aphrodisiac and libido enhancing properties, Maca has been found to assist with impotence, relieve symptoms of menopause or andropause, raise the sperm count in males (according to animal studies) and useful for infertility in women. A hormone balancer, for both male and female issues, Maca is useful for symptoms associated with menopause, such as power surges, mood swings, PMS and low libido ; it supports adrenal gland function for conditions of chronic stress, fatigue or depletion. Maca can be used for mood enhancement, improving energy, mental clarity, assisting to alleviate depression and lowering anxiety. Coupled with Macas ability to support the body in stressful conditions, it also has been shown, when used long term, to assist in lowering raised blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Used to promote healthy blood sugar balance. Maca is consumed as a food in other countries, thus it is non addictive, non toxic and non habit forming – it does not contain any harmful stimulants and is free from caffeine.

How Can Maca Benefit You?:

  • Increases energy (Chronic Fatigue)
  • Treat sexual dysfunction (Loss of Libido)
  • Increases stamina & athletic performance
  • Nourishes glandular system
  • Fertility enhancement
  • Improves physical and emotional well being
  • Promotes mental clarity
  • Balance hormones (PMS, menopause symptoms)
  • HRT alternative(Hormone Replacement Therapy)

Maca is available in capsule form or in powder form (which can be added to a smoothie, cereal, missed into yoghurt or put into capsules). It has a slight and unique butterscotch aroma and unique taste. To order Maca capsules and Maca powder

What is mindfulness?

~ Written by Alyssa Coon ~ RPCc- Wellness Coach & Counsellor

Mindfulness is the practice of becoming more aware of your present moment without judgment and without thinking about past events or the future, for in reality, this moment is the only moment which we truly have. We have become out of touch with this sense of awareness, because we have become so out of touch with a connection to the rest of our senses. We no longer have a separation between our being and our doing instead much of the day is spent on auto pilot, rushing from task to task and not being truly present at any one time. This behavior creates a continual state, where we now see without seeing, hear without really hearing, touch without touching, taste without tasting and live without living (and without being fully present in this very moment).

Russ Harris says that mindfulness is a sense of awareness with openness and curiosity – when we bring the practice of awareness into our everyday experiences in the present moment- instead of getting lost in our thoughts (and living in our mind) even if the present moment experience is unpleasant or painful; it is a powerful practice to just be open and curious about the experiencing observing with out judgement.

We are in a constant state of auto pilot, lost in our thoughts of what we need to do in the future, or constantly replaying past events, which at this moment we have no power over. Because we are in this state of autopilot we are not even aware of the gifts we are missing from this present moment. Often we think negative thoughts about ourselves, and may be so caught up in the thought of “I can do anything right! when, in reality we should be saying, “Im having a thought that I can do anything right”; which will begin the process of separating us from our egoic thoughts and helps us to live more in our true divine nature. When we can begin to see the separation between our thoughts and our higher Self; then feelings of stress, anxiety, anger, depression or even physical sickness can fall away from us because we more are in a state of alignment with our higher selves.

By introducing mindfulness into everyday living it can help to lessen the amount of stress in your life, improving states of depression, anxiety, skin disorders, obesity, but most importantly mindfulness helps you to live your life to the fullest!

There are many areas in our lives where we can bring mindfulness into our lives, and the one technique which I would like to introduce to you for this very moment is the power of your breathe. Breathing is the simplest mindful technique of all. Be mindful of your breath, take a few moments right now to check in with yourself for a “mind-ful moment“ and take a few deep breaths feel the air in your lungs and feel the air fill out your belly. This breathing practice can help with stress, as our breathing tends to become very shallow during times of stress.

Anyone can enjoy the benefits of practicing mindfulness, as it has no necessary religious background to it- though it has origins from Buddhism and Eastern philosophy.

I hope to see you at my Å“Mindfulness for Everyday Living seminar at Alchemy & Elixir Health Group at suite 320- 1026 Davie St., Vancouver BC (www.alchemyelixir.com) on November 23rd, 2011 at 6:30 pm. For more details please contact me directly at 604 626 9884 Alyssa Coon ~ RPCc- Wellness Coach & CounsellorÂÂ

Evening Seminar on Understanding Self Sabotage

with Lisa Tomlinson, MA, Psychotherapist, Counseling services.

Lisa is a counseling therapist whose areas of specialization include depression, anxiety and disordered eating. Lisa offers individual, families and couples counseling.

Join us on Wednesday October19th, 2011, for an evening talk on self sabotage, learn to identify primary and secondary goals and learn how secondary goals can be unconscious sabotaging mechanisms that keep us from achieving our ultimate potential. During the evening we will practice an exercise intended to identify, name and isolate some core beliefs that are driving our self-limiting behaviors.

Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Admission is $ 10 cash at door. Bring a friend. Bring your questions!

Location: Alchemy & Elixir Health Group – # 320-1026 Davie St. Vancouver, BC . V6E 1M3

Website: www.alchemyelixir.com Co sponsored with Choices Market Space is limited: Pre-registration is required.

Email us at info@alchemyelixir.com to register

Food and Mood Workshop

taught by Melissa Furneaux, B.Sc., HHC, RHN Registered Holistic Nutritionist

What would your life be like if you were happier, had more energy, and felt a sense of balance each day?

What would your life be like if you were happier, had more energy, and felt a sense of balance each day? Would you like to learn to…

  • Improve your mood and lessen feelings of depression?
  • Find balance in your relationship with food?
  • Decrease feelings of stress and anxiety? There is a great deal of wisdom in the old saying “you are what you eat.”

Food is a powerful tool that is often overlooked in its effects on mood and mental health. In this workshop, we will cover the basics of how our nutritional choices interact with our state of mind, and how we can use food to our advantage to promote a sense of balance and well-being.

When: Wednesday February 23, 2011

Where: Alchemy & Elixir Health Group # 320-1026 Davie St, Vancouver BC. V6E 1M3

Time: 6:30pm-8pm  and Cost: $10 at door

Contact: Melissa Furneaux, B.Sc., HHC, RHN Registered Holistic Nutritionist directly at 604-760-9892

**Please register in advance to reserve your seat, as spaces are limited mfurneaux@gmail.com or info@alchemyelixir.com to reserve your seat.

Herbal Medicine and Holistic Support for Anxiety, Tension and Depression

Learn about the key herbs for optimal nervous system health, methods of application and home use and usable tips for minimizing common nervous system dis-ease. Tea sampling included

Taught by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist. Everyone is welcome to attend this information talk.

Date: Thursday, March 4, 2010

Time: 7-9 pm

Cost: sponsored by the Powell River Women’s Health Network, donations are requested.

Location: Powell River United Church in Powell River, BC

Effortless Meditation & Mindfulness Workshop…. Learn how to Meditate Effortlessly

taught by Alycia Hall Wellness Coach

Effortless meditation & mindfulness….

Learn to Meditate Effortlessly in One Evening!

With over 10 years of experience, Alycia has discovered an approach to meditation that is both simple and highly effective. This interactive workshop will help you develop the tools and skills needed to incorporate a daily meditation practice without effort! No experience in meditation required

More About Alycia: http://www.alyciahall.com/

Location: Alchemy & Elixir Health Group

Time: 6-7:30 PM

Date: Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Cost: $20 (includes GST)

Preregistration required: call 604 551 9402

Adrenal Fatigue: High Sugar Intake Stresses the Adrenal Glands

~ written by Sharon Green, RHN (registered holistic nutritionist) in private practice at Alchemy & Elixir Health Group in Vancouver.

The adrenal glands; two small triangular glands that are located on top of the kidneys, are part of our endocrine system. The endocrine system regulates hormones, body temperature and balances our bodys chemistry.

A diet compromised by high sugar intake stresses the adrenal glands because the human biochemical system is not adapted to handle large amounts of concentrated sugar. London Universities, John Yudkin in his book “Sweet and Dangerous” warns against the ill effects refined sugar can have on our hormones. A high sugar diet, he reports, can cause a striking increase in the level of adrenal cortical hormone. It can slow the rate of transport of hormonal chemicals by as much as 2/3 even in one week.

When the adrenal glands fail to function properly, the blood sugar response tends to become sensitive and thyroid-hormone out-put tends to decline. Sometimes just regulating sugar intake may be enough to control cortisol levels and over the long term a high sugar intake may cumulatively weaken the adrenal glands so that hormones are not converted efficiently.

Exhaustion of the adrenal glands may be managed by the consumption of a wholesome diet of natural foods, many B-rich foods and the avoidance of sugars and sweets. Probably the richest source of B complex is the germ and bran of seeds such as cereal, nuts, beans and legumes. Other B-rich foods include; leafy greens such as kale, collards, spinach, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, avocado, eggs, peanuts, almonds, kidney beans, millet, cracked wheat, wheat germ, brown rice, lentils, asparagus, bananas & dates, to name a few.

Incorporating a ‘whole foods’ eating style that emphasizes a greater use of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts & seeds and the inclusion of un-refined cereal, beans and other complex carbohydrates will assist in nourishing the adrenal glands. Regular moderate exercise also stimulates the adrenal glands and helps to relieve stress.

The constant fluctuation of adrenal hormones from stress will result in the exhaustion of the adrenal glands and increase symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, irritability and depression. In order to preserve health; supporting, restoring and enhancing the function of these two important glands is paramount.

** Reference: John Yudkin, “Sweet and Dangerous” excerpt from Menopause without Medicine by Linda Ojeda PhD

Sharon Green, RHN is in private practice at Alchemy & Elixir Health Group in Vancouver, contact us at 604-683-2298 to book an appointment.

Finding the Jewel in Challenging Circumstances

In every area of challenge and hardship, there exists an opportunity of equal and opposite proportion to experience huge gifts. Our ability to choose what it is we focus on is the key to the outcome we will experience. With financial uncertainty and shifts in the economy, leading to increased stress and anxiety in many, NOW appears to be the perfect time to focus on developing solid habits which serve our future -cultivating thoughts of health, vitality, abundance, generosity and gratitude.

There are habits for health, happiness, peace of mind and wealth. The key is to investigate and identify those very habits of individuals who have what it is we desire more of, then commit to integrating those routines and ways of being into our own life. If we want a greater state of health for ourselves, then a study of the habits of healthy, vital individuals will lead us closer to our goal. Taking action and incorporating those routines into our daily life will allow us to create a similar level of success.

We become healthy by learning of, reading about, and investigating HEALTH, not by studying and focusing on dis-ease. Focusing on dis-ease only leads to more of the same. Contemplate the physique of an olympic athletewith a strong body, toned body. What habits must these individuals practice daily to reap the benefits of their desired goal? With an olympic athlete focused on the end result -of winning a gold medal, perseverance becomes a daily practice, training is a commitment, there is no putting off of what should be done today. Extreme weather conditions, early mornings and short term inconveniences become secondary (even insignificant) to the strong commitment and desire to attain the goal at hand.

If one is suffering from a physical dis-ease or dis-comfort, then study the actions, habits, eating patterns and routines of an individual who exhibits a healthy state of be-ing (both the body and a healthy state of mind -optimistic & loving). If anxiety is becoming a growing concern, then contemplate, sit with and speak to individuals who are serene, loving and peaceful — to learn skills and mirror a healthier way of be-ing. The poise and serenity of individuals practicing daily meditation is noticeable. Persons who consciously cultivate gratitude and give thanks for those things which bring them joy, peace and contentment possess a pleasant, magnetic and contagious personality, there-in lies a key for learning.

Developing new ways of being, incorporating regular physical exercise into each day, changing ones eating habits, and modifying ones thought patterns are skills which do not happen overnight. Like developing any new habit, it takes time, perseverance and a commitment to change which is stronger than the desire to remain the same. There is a benefit to every state of being, a benefit to change, and a benefit to staying the same. Every change also has its price, it is a personal decision to determine if the cost to change is greater than the cost to remain the same (which is more important) and then decide to pay the price and then commit to do the work to obtain the desired results.

Think back to childhood, learning to write was a learned habit, any new way of being can be considered a learned skill. Learning to write was at time a struggle when beginning to implement, repeat and practice daily the sound habits which months later led to an effortless flow of skilled penmanship ~writing is a skill which will serve us for the rest of our life.

For those desiring financial stability, a focus on developing and practicing qualities which breed success, will win in the end. Hard work, perseverance, creating win-win situations and integrity do create more of the same.

It is up to each one of us to believe in our ability to make a difference.

“Opportunity may be found wherever one really looks for it and nowhere else.” – Napoleon Hill

Choosing The Best Calcium Supplement

Choosing the best calcium supplement requires the skill of filtering through endless marketing choices coupled with some basic education on calcium terminology.

Calcium is a mineral required for the activation of several enzyme functions throughout the body and optimal function of all body processes. Calcium is known as a coenzyme required for regulating the heartbeat and blood pressure, the normal contraction of muscles, prevention of cardiovascular disease, for conduction of nerve impulses, is involved in blood clotting, maintaining strong healthy bones and teeth and helps to prevent the absorption of lead.

Calcium is blended with other compounds to form a pill, There are numerous types of calcium on the market, from bone meal, oyster shell calcium and calcium carbonate, coral calcium, chelated calcium, calcium phosphate, calcium gluconate, calcium lactate and calcium citrate; even TUMS has been marketed as a calcium supplement….whoooah..overload!!! Which type does one choose?

Types of Calcium in Supplements

  • Calcium citrate is currently the best type of calcium on the market and is easily absorbed. It can be taken anytime during the day, even on an empty stomach, although I generally recommend taking Calcium Magnesium pills at bedtime to enhance sleep and relaxation.
  • Oyster shell calcium, bone meal and dolomite: these naturally occuring calciums may contain heavy metals, including lead, and have a low absorption rate.
  • Coral Calcium has been associated with many cure-all claims, (to me, this is always a sign to be a little wary) and is essentially a calcium carbonate supplement, one not well absorbed by the body!
  • Contrary to brilliant marketing…TUMS is not an adequate calcium supplement. In fact, this is a terribly misleading claim…First, the calcium found in TUMS is a carbonate source, not well asorbed by the body; plus TUMS is an antacid (antacid= it decreases the amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach), ironic though… that our body requires adequate levels of hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) for any calcium absorption to occur. So even though TUMS contains calcium, be-it a source already poorly absorbed, the fact that TUMS functions to neutralise stomach acid renders the calcium almost useless to the body.
  • Calcium lactate and calcium gluconate: These products contain a low content of elemental calcium. Thus large dosages of these products are required to meet the daily recommended allowance.

Other Minerals in a Calcium Supplement?

1. Always take Calcium together with Magnesium.The mineral, magnesium, is a catalyst enzyme used to ensure that all the calcium absorbed into the bones, stays in the bones…A lack of magnesium interferes with nerve and muscle message relay and deficiencies can cause muscle weakness, muscle twitching and symptoms of PMS. A high consumption of meat, increased amounts of Vitamin D and Zinc all increase the bodies need for magnesium.

2. Vitamin D: known as the sunshine vitamin, one of the only vitamins the body cannot manufacture on its own.Stimulates absorption of Calcium.

3. Zinc: a mineral involved in the absorption of Calcium.

4. Boron: A trace mineral used for healthy bones and muscles, assists the metabolization of calcium and magnesium. Studies indicate that boron can help prevent post menopausal osteoperosis and build muscle.

These trace nutrients can assist the absorption of calcium, helping this mineral stay in strong healthy bones -where it belongs.

How Much Calcium to Take?

The National Osteoporosis Foundation and the National Acadamy of Sciences recommend the daily allowance (RDA) of calcium at 1000-1200 mg daily for adult men and women.

For a pill to contain this dosage unit, it would be very large and difficult to swallow, thus it is necessary to take 3-4 pills per day to meet the recommended daily allowance.

Fast Facts on Elemental Calcium

Always identify the amount of elemental calcium, (found by reading the fine print on the label) when choosing a calcium pill.

Labelling is often misleading, the elemental calcium is the actual amount of calcium that your body can absorb, and it is always lower than the total calcium. Avoid getting mislead by labels, some manufactures do not even identify the elemental calcium amount on the label and unless you are educated about the elemental calcium level, it would appear that you are getting a higher amount of calcium than you actually are.

If the product label does not identify the elemental calcium levels, then choose another brand!

For example, a pill containing 500mg of Calcium Carbonate provides 200mg of elemental calcium. Hence one pill, in this example, only provides 200mg of calcium, not 500mg… Meaning that you would need to take 5-7 pills daily (not 2-3 pills) to reach the daily RDA of 1000-1200 mg.

For more information on quality calcium magnesium supplements visit our online holistic health market at Alchemy & Elixir Health Group

~ written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, Medical Herbalist