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Easter munchies getting you down?


If you've enjoyed that extra Chocolate or Hot Cross Bun over Easter a bit too much, then we have some herbs that could help your waistline out.  

Gymnema (leaf)
G.sylvestra is an Ayruvedic (Indian herbal medicine) herb that has been used for centuries as a "sugar destroyer".  Gymnema has the ability to switch the sweet taste buds off, thus greatly reducing the craving for sweets.  Scientific research found that Gymnema reduces appetite up to ninety minutes after its sweet-numbing effect.  Subjects given Gymnema consumed less food than controls who were not given Gymnema.  It's believed that this effect on the sweet taste buds acts to modify the appetite centre in the brain via a nervous reflex.  This effect is subtle, and will work best with consistent use.  

As well as that it also inhibits the absorption of sugar molecules in the intestines during digestion, reducing increases in blood sugar levels.  When our blood sugar levels are higher or lower than normal that is when our body craves foods and we tend to overeat.  In the absence of sweetness, it has been found people eat less sugary food but also helps control appetite and food volume as well. 

A great party trick is to get your friends to chew on the leaf and then get them to chew on something sweet - chocolate will taste like butter and sugar like grains of sand!!

Schizandra (berry)
Native to China, Russia and Korea.  It's name comes from the fact that it's berries possess all 5 basic flavours salty, sweet, sour, spicy and bitter.  Schizandra helps to cleanse our liver, improving digestion and supporting kidneys.  Increasing our energy by helping to improve our oxygen levels so exercise is less of a chore.  Lessening the mental stress that comes with restriction and change of diet.

Taraxacum officinale (root)
Dandelions have been used as food for much of recorded history in Europe and Asia.  It's common name 'dandelion' comes from the French 'dent de lion' meaning 'lions tooth'.  Dandelion helps to cleanse the liver so it will produce a better quality and larger amount of bile to emulsify and breakdown fat.  Excessive toxins within the body may also lead to congestion and water retention.  Dandelion will help to clear these, which in turn also help increase energy levels making us more able to enjoy exercise and make healthier food choices.

Galium aparine (herb foliage)
The lymphatic system is one of the places in our body where fat (toxins within the fat) is stored.  Cleavers (G.aparine) helps with removal of this out of the lymphatic system and removal via the digestive and urinary system where it supports the kidneys.  We can assist cleavers further by exercising as physical movement is our lymphatic systems way of cleaning itself out.

Oolong and Green Tea have both been shown to increase metabolism, helping to burn fat and block dietary fat absorption.  EGCG and caffeine together in green tea have been shown to cause fat to be used as a first source of fuel.  One 2001 Japanese study stated that one month daily consumption of Oolong could result in reduction of cholesterol levels.  In a 2004 study, it was reported that consumption of Oolong tea increased plasma adiponectin levels.  Low levels of plasma adiponectin results in type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, and coronary artery disease (CAD).

So you can see that herbs can help influence your weight loss routine in many ways.  Be it reducing your energy intake by decreasing appetite, reducing cravings, modifying food absorption, increasing your energy expenditure by mobilizing fats or increasing metabolism and stamina.  When you combine them with a well balanced diet and exercise routine you can get some great weight loss results.  

For those on diabetic medications please check with your practitioner before consuming Gymnema.

Getting started is as easy as clicking on any of the links below:

So get into that tea - perhaps not as literally as the kitty!


The Secret to Eternal Youth is closer than you think!!


I was waiting for my mother while she had her appointment and noticed out the window of the truck this most amazing tree turned nearly completely yellow with the autumn months.  And to my joy I found it was a fruiting Ginkgo Tree - hopefully my cell phone photo shows well!

Ginkgo trees have been around since the time of the dinosaurs they are the only species in their family, and some say this ability to have survived for many years is part of how they help us.  Ginkgo is a fantastic antioxidant and it has been shown to be helpful with all of the following:

* Impaired peripheral and cerebral circulation, atherosclerosis, peripheral arterial occlusive disease, Raynaud's disease. 
• To promote healing, particularly in peripheral tissues such as those in the arms and legs. 
• May improve concentration, cognitive function and memory. 
• To assist healthy ageing and as a tonic for the elderly. 
• Tinnitus, dizziness, sudden hearing loss. 
• Altitude sickness, hypoxia. 
• Conditions requiring mild anti-PAF activity e.g. adjunctive treatment for asthma, liver fibrosis. 
• Multiple sclerosis, diabetes, stress. 
• Disorders due to reduced retinal blood flow, normal tension glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration. 
• May assist schizophrenia and cancer as adjunctive treatment. 
• Congestive dysmenorrhoea, oedematous conditions, migraine, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, vitiligo.

So get to our TEA page, you can get ginkgo either as Single Herb Tea, Memory Tea Blend, or Stress Tea Blend (for those of you viewing the blog away from our store website go to the following link):

The following study I've included for the more scientifically starved:

Ginkgo Helps Prevent Dementia in European Study 
The GuidAge study is a large European clinical trial commenced in 2002 that was designed to assess the 
effects of a 50:1 standardised Ginkgo extract at 240 mg/day for 5 years on the prevention of 
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in people aged 70 or more and complaining of memory problems. It is the longest and largest European study for AD ever conducted, and used a randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled design.1.  A total of 4066 patients were screened for participation, of whom 2854 were entered into the study. 2. Their mean age was 76.8 years and two-thirds were women. The average MMSE (Mini-mental State Examination) score on entry was 27.8 (out of a maximum of 30), indicating good cognitive function. 

The headline results of the GuidAge study have just been released (full publication of the data is pending).3. The primary trial outcome was a significant delay in conversion to clinical AD in all trial participants. This was not seen: during the study 134 patients developed AD, 4.3% in the Ginkgo group versus 5.2% in the placebo group (p = 0.31). However, this analysis was made using an intention-to-treat guideline that included patients who did not complete the trial. In any preventative trial it is reasonable to assume that patients who take the active treatment the longest time should be the ones to exhibit any benefit. Hence a further analysis was completed for patients treated for at least 4 years. In this instance a clinically and statistically significant difference was observed: 15 out of 947 patients (1.6%) developed AD in the Ginkgo group, versus 29 out of 966 (3.0%) in the placebo group (p = 0.03). Interestingly the protective effect in this subset was most marked in men: AD incidence was 2.9% for the Ginkgo group versus 7.0% for placebo (p = 0.007). 

This is probably the first ever clinical study where an intervention (natural or otherwise) has demonstrated a protective effect against AD onset. As such it is a landmark finding that will hopefully encourage more research in this area for Ginkgo and other natural agents. 

The results are in sharp contrast to the GEM study conducted in the US that found no protective benefit for Ginkgo.4. A paper highlighting the differences in design and execution between the two studies has been published.5. Long-term preventative studies in elderly people are difficult to conduct, with problems created by poor compliance, death and disability to name a few. GEM participants were slightly older and the trial design excluded patients taking anticoagulants, whereas GuidAge did not. However, a crucial difference between the two trials was the compliance rate. This was only around 60% for the GEM study, whereas 93% of the participants in the GuidAge took their medication regularly. 3.

1. Vellas B, Andrieu S, Ousset PJ et al. Neurology 2006; 67(9 Suppl 3): S6-S11 
2. Andrieu S, Ousset PJ, Coley N et al. Curr Alzheimer Res 2008; 5(4): 406-415 
3. Ipsen. Encouraging results of GuidAge®, large scale European 
trial conducted in the prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia. 
Available online: 
Accessed July 2, 2010. 
4. DeKosky ST, Williamson JD, Fitzpatrick AL et al. JAMA 2008; 300(19): 2253-2262 
5. Williamson JD, Vellas B, Furberg C et al. J Nutr Health Aging 2008; 12(1): 73S-79S


Hot Hot Hot!!

Well it's getting colder and I thought you might like some interesting info on a little red fruit that can keep you nice and toastie warm!!

"Capsicum annum"

Cayenne is one of the oldest cultivated plants on earth and has been consumed as early as 7000 B.C. by the indigenous people of South & Central America.  The Mapache of South Central Chile used as an infusion to lessen headaches!  Due to its pungency 'Columbus' named Cayenne as part of the 'pepper' family, even though they are not related as a species.

Capsicum annum and Capsicum frutescens are mainly used medicinally.  The alkaloid compound capsaicin gives cayenne its spiciness.  Capsaicin also helps with pain relief by binding to 'vanillinoid (or capsaicin) receptors' and promotes the release of substance P, neurokinins, somatostatin and calcitonin from peripheral nerve fibres.  Hence you will get a worsening of pain and itching, this does go away and the nerve fibres are no longer able to transmit pain or itch signals - such relief!!  This is similar to the tolerance to hot curries which can be developed with regular intake.  Regular applications up to 3 times daily will result in long-lasting desensitisation to painful stimuli.  This occurs without any effect on other sensory stimuli.

Capsaicin has been proven effective in double blind trials for many conditions including:

Neuralgias (nerve pain)
Diabetic neuropathy
Dialysis induced pruritis (itchiness)
Psoriatic pruritis
Stump pain
Post mastectomy pain

as well as helping with: Chill blain pain, Poor circulation

So there's no excuses for this over winter:

Head to our 'Creams' page and get some 'Cayenne Plus Cream'

Marketing Naturally Dog

Today was exciting we're sorting out display packaging for our Naturally Dog soap - so if you have a favorite pet store you'd like us to get it into let us know :)


First Time Blogger!

Well my name's Tanya or Tan and Muz (my partner) & I make 100% Natural products for your body and mind -

I'm new to this blogging so bear with me - let me know what you think, be it my blogging or our products.

We're based in ChCh the Earthquake City of NZ, we took the title off our Wellingtonians & I hope you like what we do here at Naturalus.

I'm just going to go make some Goats Milk Black Tea on Orange Soap - here's a shot of what it looks like & go to our 'Soap' page if you want to try it - love to hear from you.


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Naturalus has been making and selling natural products here in Christchurch
New Zealand since 2008. Being a Clinical Medical Herbalist, Tanya has an understanding of how natural ingredients work on the body and how to combine them to give the most benefit. Also over the years more pure essential oils have been sourced and added. To compliment that there is a great range of Ultrasonic Oil Diffusers, being one the first in NZ to have them. There are plenty of other products to check out and if you want to read some feedback its’s here: Feedback.
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