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Juice

Amazing Health Benefits of Sugarcane Juice

Why is sugarcane juice becoming more and more popular? This refreshing drink is perfect for a hot summer day, but sugarcane juice offers a lot more than a simple sweet treat. Businesses and their consumers rave about sugarcane juice and its incredible properties. See why with this list of amazing health benefits of sugarcane juice.

Sugarcane Juice Is Alkaline in Nature

Sugarcane juice contains a high concentration of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and similar components, making it an alkaline drink. These properties are beneficial by themselves, but the alkaline nature also makes sugarcane juice perfect for naturally balancing your body’s pH levels. Similarly, sugarcane juice can help maintain a healthy electrolyte balance.

Promotes Better Liver Health

Sugarcane juice’s alkaline qualities also make it a boon for the liver. Sugarcane juice can strengthen the liver, control bilirubin levels, and lower your risk of infection. These properties also make sugarcane juice a helpful remedy for jaundice and similar liver-related ailments.

Strengthens the Immune System

Sugarcane juice, like many natural drinks, is excellent for the immune system. Every glass is packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants. In addition to helping with liver disease, sugarcane juice aids the body when dealing with digestive disorders, respiratory issues, inflammation, and more. The natural sucrose in sugarcane juice also helps minor wounds heal faster. All in all, the rich, natural proteins and nutrients in sugarcane juice promote a speedy recovery from various mild ailments.

Stronger Teeth and Bones

As we mentioned above, sugarcane juice is full of calcium and other beneficial minerals. This makes it perfect for promoting stronger teeth and bones. Calcium- and phosphorus-rich sugarcane juice strengthens your teeth, builds enamel, and helps prevent tooth decay. Sugarcane juice also fights bad breath, which can occur due to a deficiency of calcium and similar minerals.

Similarly, sugarcane juice is good for bone health. For kids, sugarcane juice promotes proper bone development and can help strengthen the skeletal system. For adults, adding sugarcane juice to your regular diet can help keep your bones as strong as you age.

There are numerous amazing health benefits of sugarcane juice, which is why more and more businesses are offering this natural and refreshing drink to their customers. If you want to join the buzz around this incredible natural product, start with an efficient sugarcane juice machine from Juicernet. With the right equipment in your kitchen, you can serve fresh and delicious sugarcane juice to happy customers every day.

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Juice

Holy Basil: Uses, Benefits, and Recipes

For thousands of years, holy basil has been used in recipes to reduce stress, boost immunity, promote better sleep, and overall health and well-being.

I first discovered holy basil (also known as tulsi) at the same time I also found ashwagandha, both are ingredients in an ashwagandha tulsi tea that I tried. I discussed tea previously in another World of Adaptogen blog series article, you can read it here: Ashwagandha: Benefits, Uses, and Recipes.

holy basil tulsi herb growing outside

A short time after I started taking daily doses of both ashwagandha and holy basil extracts, I noticed a great improvement in my body’s performance and general health. Because this has been so beneficial for me, I am excited to share more about what holy basil does, what it is used for, and ideas for how you can work it into your daily regimen!

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tulsi holy basil herb flowers outside

What is Holy Basil?

Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)is an aromatic flowering plant of the mint family that is native to India, found throughout Southeastern Asia. It is not the sweet basil leaves you put on your margarita pizza, or the Thai basil herb you use to garnish your pho! It is a different plant that is grown for religious purposes, essential oils, and its medicinal qualities as an adaptogen.

Within Ayurveda, tulsi is known as “The Incomparable One,” “Mother Medicine of Nature” and “The Queen of Herbs,” and is revered as an “elixir of life” that is without equal for both its medicinal and spiritual properties.1 Ayurveda is one of India’s traditional health care systems and one of the oldest medical systems in the world. Taking a holistic approach to health, Ayurveda encourages regular consumption of adaptogenic herbs that enhance the body’s capacity to maintain balance while being exposed to a range of stressors.

In the Hindu religion, tusli is a sacred plant, as it is believed to be the personification of the goddess Tulasi. This is why holy basil is sometimes referred to as tulasi, or tulsi.2 The tulasi plant is considered as the holiest of all plants, and is seen as a threshold point between heaven and earth. For this reason, it is grown next to Hindu temples and houses and is often worshiped twice a day (morning and night).

Health Benefits of Holy Basil

Cognitive Booster

Supplements that improve cognitive function are referred to as nootropics. Holy basil is considered a very powerful, herbal nootropic because of its positive effects on cognitive functions such as memory, focus, creativity, and motivation.

Calming + Antidepressant

Holy basil has been successfully used to relieve mental fog, cloudy thinking, poor memory, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and mild depression. 3 studies have shown that combining botanical nootropics has helped those with moodiness and chronic depression. Holy basil is a stress relieving adaptogen, reported to improve general stress scores, and therefore promotes calm and clear thinking.

“Like yoga, tulsi has a calming effect that leads to clarity of thought, along with a more relaxed and calm disposition.” Prof Marc Cohen, RMIT University, MBBS, PhD, BMedSc

Anti Inflammatory

Tulsi (holy basil) exerts anti-inflammatory effects comparable to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone, ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin and indomethacin.4
The clinical effects demonstrated in studies suggest tulsi may have an important role in addressing other inflammatory disorders and that the Ayurvedic tradition of consuming tulsi on a daily basis may be an effective lifestyle measure to address many modern chronic diseases.5

Blood Pressure + Blood Sugar

The findings from 24 human studies published (as of 2017), suggest that tulsi is a safe herbal intervention that may assist in normalizing glucose (blood sugar) and blood pressure, along with dealing with psychological and immunological stress.5

Immune System Support

In clinical studies, enhanced immune response and improved immune functions were reported. This included symptomatic improvements for those already with viral infections.5 Tulsi has also been shown to boost defenses against infective threats by enhancing immune responses in animals and healthy humans.4

How to Grow Holy Basil

If you live in a warmer climate, zones 10 to 11, you may want to try your hand at growing holy basil from herb seeds in your outdoor garden. Holy basil loves full sun and it will come back every year if you live in the aforementioned zones.
It makes a great addition to your herb garden and can even be grown in a pot for use indoors or outdoors, which makes it suitable for apartment or tiny home gardens.

  1. Start the seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the end of the frost season. Use a good seed starter soil and cover the seeds with ¼” of the soil.
  2. Keep the soil moist but not saturated until germination occurs.
  3. Once the leaves appear, fertilize every other week.
  4. When transplanting outside, allow about 6” between plants.

Where to Buy Holy Basil

Since I live in Buffalo, New York, where we average about 155 sunny days per year, I find it easiest to purchase my holy basil instead of growing it.

I take a daily dose of holy basil extract and drink tulsi green and tulsi ashwagandha tea every day.

Some of my favorite sources for holy basil are:

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How to Use Holy Basil

Traditionally, holy basil (tulsi) was made into essential oil or dried for tea. Today, adding to juice, smoothies, and snacks are some of the best ways to incorporate this adaptogen into your daily life. It is available in whole form (fresh or dried), powder, and extract form.

Form Works well with…
Powders smoothies, smoothie bowls, plant-based milks, raw snack bars, baked goods, nut butters
Extracts juices, smoothies, plant-based milks, most applications
Whole tea

Holy basil is intensely spicy, with a flavors of black pepper and clove. I personally like the way it tastes, but I am the kind of person that loves black licorice, fennel, anise, clove, and chai flavors. When mixed in with green tea, like Organic India’s Tusli Green tea, it has a more subtle taste and complements the flavors perfectly (my absolute favorite green tea out there).

Possible Side Effects

If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you may want to avoid consuming holy basil. Some studies have shown tulsi to have antifertility properties, affecting the male reproductive system.6 Other contradictory animal studies have shown that holy basil may be toxic to embryos.

Holy Basil Juice Recipe

two glasses of holy basil tulsi herb green juice on a wooden platter

Typically holy basil is made into a tea, commonly known as tulsi tea. Luckily, we have Chef Ari to help come up with amazing recipes and he created a light and refreshing green juice featuring holy basil with other fine herbs.

Holy Basil & Herb Green Juice Recipe

  • Yield: About one 12 oz serving

Ingredients:

  • Holy basil leaf extract – 0.5 ml (1 serving)
  • Pear – 8.7 oz (1 1/2 medium pear)
  • Green apple – 7.7 oz (1 1/4 medium pear)
  • Snap pea – 3.3 oz (12 snap peas)
  • Spinach – 1.6 oz (1 1/2 cups spinach)
  • Parsley – 0.33 oz (about 1/4 cup chopped parsley)
  • Basil – 0.27 oz (about 9 leaves)
  • Lemon – 0.29 oz (1/8 lemon)
  • Tarragon – 0.1 oz (1 large pinch tarragon)

Directions:

  1. Wash and weigh the produce.
  2. Quarter the lemon (leaving skin on) and place directly into the press. If you don’t have a juice press, peel the lemon and juice with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Grind remaining ingredients, including the herb stems, and press.
  4. Add the holy basil leaf extract to the juice and mix.

Other Articles in This Series

THE WORLD OF ADAPTOGENS BLOG SERIES

References

  1. Singh, N., Hoette, Y., & Miller, DR (2002). Tulsi: The mother medicine of nature. International Institute of Herbal Medicine.
  2. Littleton, C. Scott; Marshal Cavendish Corporation (2005). Gods, Goddesses, And Mythology, Volume 11. Marshall Cavendish. pp. 1124–26. ISBN 9780761475590.
  3. Ayales, Adriana (2019) Adaptogens, Herbs for Longevity and Everyday Wellness. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
  4. Cohen, Marc M. (2014). Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. J Ayurveda Integr Med
  5. Jamshidi, Negar & Cohen, Mark M. (2017) The Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Tulsi in Humans: A Systematic Review of the Literature PMID: 28400848
  6. Sethi, J., Yadav, M., Sood, S., Dahiya, K., & Singh, V. (2010). Effect of tulsi on sperm count and reproductive hormones in amle albino rabbits PMID: 21455446

The information shared in this post is a combination of my personal experience, research, and knowledge as a certified holistic health coach, and is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice.

Categories
Juice

Chaga Mushroom: Benefits, Uses, and Recipes

King of Medicinal Mushrooms

Chaga is an extraordinary functional mushroom that grows primarily on birch trees and has been used since the 12th century for its medicinal compounds. It is well known for its antimicrobial, antiviral, and antitumor activity. 1, 2 I’m really excited to share what I’ve discovered about this “King of Medicinal Mushrooms” with the intention that you will learn how to enjoy the benefits of this amazing adaptogen for yourself!

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What is Chaga Mushroom?

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), is a fungusand the Chaga “mushroom” is not technically a mushroom but a sclerotium (a mass of Chaga mycelium and wood from the tree that it grows on). Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi. Chaga does have a fruiting body, but for most of its life it grows underneath the bark of the host tree and is rarely seen.

A pathogen to the birch tree, the spores of the Chaga fungus typically infect the tree through its weak spots like wounds and dead branches.
Once the fungus takes hold, it causes the center of the tree trunks and branches to start to rot. The fungus spreads inside and grows toward the outside of the tree until it eventually bursts through the bark and a burnt charcoal-looking mass (a “conk”) appears. The conk will continue to grow on the tree’s trunk as the inside of the tree continues to decay. This can go on for ten, twenty, or even eighty or more years.
As the conk grows, the medicinal compounds of the birch tree become concentrated in the Chaga mass. 3, 4

Because the tree can live for a long time after being infected with the fungus, some people believe that the relationship between Chaga and the birch is symbiotic in nature. While this is a nice theory, I have not found any scientific evidence to support this idea.

Health Benefits of Chaga Mushroom Extract

Chaga has been used for centuries to help improve the body’s response to stress, boost immunity, reduce inflammation, promote healthy skin and hair, fight and prevent cancer, and as a remedy for many other ailments.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY

In its true adaptogenic style, Chaga has a way of balancing inflammation, allowing the “good” inflammatory responses to occur while preventing the “bad” inflammation from developing. 5, 6

ANTI-CANCER

Chaga has long been used in folk medicine for cancer treatment in Russia, China, Korea and Japan. Studies show that Chaga contains large amounts of betulin or betulinic acid, a compound that has anti-cancer properties. In other scientific studies, Chaga extract demonstrated antimitotic activity on human cancer cells, as well as reduction of tumor growth, which could be useful in stopping the spread of cancer. 7, 8, 9

BOOSTS IMMUNITY

Chaga is rich in polysaccharides, especially beta-glucans, which are responsible for stimulating the immune system by activating adaptive immune cell responses. 10, 11

ANTI-VIRAL

Chaga mushrooms have a powerful enzymatic system and a strong system of defense, due to their parasitic mode of life. Insight into the connection between Chaga mushroom and its antiviral effect has proven to be promising. Some studies show that Chaga extract fights against viruses, including herpes, hepatitis C, and HIV. In other studies, Chaga extract prevented infection by blocking viruses from attaching to cells. 12, 13

ANTIOXIDANT

Antioxidants molecules that work to neutralize free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells) in our bodies. These free radicals can contribute to heart disease, cancer and other illnesses, and keeping high levels of antioxidants in our bodies helps to keep us healthy and balanced.
Surprisingly, Chaga is loaded with more antioxidants than berries! Many people use Chaga for anti-aging and to help promote healthy skin and hair. 14

“The study also found that Chaga has 3 times more antioxidant power than the next strongest food of any kind (wolf berry). So according to the study, Chaga is the #1 best antioxidant source in existence. Additionally, Chaga provides 19 of the 20 amino acids required by humans, making it a valuable supplement for vegetarians and vegans.” — University Health News

While some scientific studies indicate that Chaga extract may provide these health benefits, there is definitely a need for clinical trials to help determine dosage and potential side effects. Most people do well at the recommended supplemental doses, however, as with any type of new food or supplement, start with a small amount to make sure that you are not allergic. You should also talk with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet, especially if you are on medication.

Where To Find Chaga Mushrooms

Chaga grows mainly on birch trees in the northern climatic zones, including the northern United States, Canada, Russia, and northern China.

Last month I had the awesome opportunity to go Chaga hunting in the forests of Vermont with an amazing bunch of people. It was definitely an adventure, and let’s just say I have some new campfire story material!

I learned that the best way to locate Chaga is to find a stand of birch trees. Then, look high and low for a black clump that looks like burnt charcoal. It will have a cork-like, golden-colored inside. Full grown Chaga usually averages around 15 to 20 inches in size. The first Chaga mushroom we found on our trip was too small. Check out the short video below where Josh, (our forage leader and founder at Life Itself), explains what we should be looking for.

Sustainable Chaga Harvesting