Showing posts with label Cholesterol. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cholesterol. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bible Trees The Myrtle - Medicial Uses

By Liliana Usvat
Blog 316-365

Myrtle (myrtus communis), also known as true or Roman myrtle, is a hardy, evergreen, highly fragrant shrub with dark green oval shaped leaves and attractive white flowers followed by black berries, during blossoming season (June-July). 

The myrtle tree is an indigenous species common in many parts of southern Europe and North Africa.

Like most other native trees, it had nearly disappeared from the Maltese countryside but there is evidence that in a number of localities such as Wied Għajn Riħana it used to be common.

The myrtle does not grow high and at most reaches five metres but its special attributes are aromatic leaves and beautiful white flowers that are in bloom from late spring to late summer.

Later in the year the myrtle tree produces large numbers of blue-black berries. The berries contain several seeds and it is very easy to propagate the tree from them.
The berries attract many birds that feast on them and help the plant by carrying away the seeds in their gut. When they defecate, they deposit them away from the parent plant, helping to disperse the species far and wide.

The myrtle is also cultivated and can be found in gardens even outside its natural range. It is ideal for hedges and one can be found in the front garden of the Domus Romana museum in Rabat.

Medicinal Uses 

The leaves, chewed raw or used as a standard infusion, is used as a general tonic and restorative, of special value during bouts of sickness, depression, or strain. It quickly revives the spirit, quickens the mind and strengthens the nerves. 

 Cases of poor memory and mental confusion in old age are successfully treated with Bog myrtle. The branch tea once was used as a diuretic for gonorrhea

In Sardegna and Corsica a liqueur known as Mirto is made from the berries. Myrtle has been used medicinally for at least 3,000 years and scientific studies show that the ancient medical uses of myrtle were based on real properties.

Myrtle oil is used, among other things, to treat respiratory problems by clearing the airways.

Myrtle and in particular myrtle berries contain many compounds that are thought could be beneficial to human health. 

 One group of flavonols known as myricetin, found in glycosides, are thought to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 
Myricetin may alleviate the suffering of Alzheimer patients as it is known to inhibit beta-amyloid fibril formation. 

The flavonoids in myrtle, including myricetin, are heart healthy as they can help reduce the oxidization of LDL cholesterol, which leads to heart disease. 

Studies using myricetin on diabetic rats have demonstrated that the flavonol reduces glucose plasma levels and might be beneficial to diabetics. Healers in Middle Eastern countries have traditionally used myrtle as a treatment for diabetes.

Egyptians used the plant to treat nervous afflictions. 

French women drank tea made from crushed myrtle leaves, believing that it would help to preserve their youthful appearance and overall vigor. 

Myrtle has been conventionally used to treat coughs, bronchitis and other respiratory infections.  

There are two types of myrtle, and it's important that you do not confuse the two. Myrtus communis is known as "true" myrtle. The other variety, called "Madagascar Myrtle" (Eugenia jambolana), is a completely different plant and has entirely different effects on the body.  

Myrtle has been found to effectively clear up acne and other imperfections on the skin. It should topically be applied in its essential oil form, often in another carrier oil or in very limited concentrations. 

The organic compounds and powerful antioxidants in myrtle can help the cells heal quicker and improve the appearance of those affected areas. In its herb form, it can be consumed to see similar effects working from the inside out! 

One of the ancient applications of myrtle leaves was for the treatment of urinary tract or kidney issues. Myrtle can help to stimulate urination, thereby eliminating excess toxins, salts, fluids, and even fat, thereby helping to regulate the functions of your kidneys. 

Myrtle and its Culinary Uses
  Myrtle leaves are usually dried and used like bay leaf. They have a flavor similar to allspice, with a touch of menthol. The flowers are used as a garnish and myrtle berries are dried, ground and used like a spice, in a similar way to juniper berries. 

Myrtle leaves and berries are used to season lamb and pork dishes in Middle Eastern cuisine but are far less popular in the west, although they can be found in some western supermarkets. In Italy and on the island of Sardinia, where myrtle grows wild, the herb is a staple spice used in the kitchen and also for wood smoking to impart a distinctive flavor to barbecued food. 

 At the end of a meal Sardinians and also people on the island of Corsica often enjoy a glass of Mirto. Mirto is a liqueur produced from both myrtle berries, known as sweet, (rosso) and myrtle leaves, Mirto bianco.

Bible Reference
While the Israelites suffered in exile, God offered a vision of hope - all kinds of trees growing in the desert. “I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive; I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together...” -Isaiah 41:19


The ancient Greeks dedicated the myrtle to the gods Aphrodite and Demeter and in many parts of the Mediterranean the myrtle still symbolizes love and immortality.

Myrtle, Myrtus communis is associated with both Aphrodite and Venus — the Greek and Roman goddesses of beauty, love, laughter, protection and joy.

In fact, myrtle forms part of the wedding bouquet in some European countries and it is also used to make a crown for the bride
In Greek mythology, myrtle, with its small creamy-white fragrant blossoms, represented the goddess Aphrodite and adorned the Three Graces, her attendants who were symbolic of the “graces” of femininity. “Although many plants and flowers were dedicated to Venus in Roman antiquity, the myrtle was the most sacred.”

Prized by the Hebrews, myrtle was their symbol for marriage. The online resource, Alchemy Works, explains that the association with marriage in many ancient cultures is probably because myrtle “was originally connected with sex.” An ingredient in magic love potions, it was thought to be “helpful in creating and preserving love.”

Women of both ancient Roman and Greek cultures bathed in healing and soothing myrtle-scented water; these baths became sacred rituals for brides in preparing for their wedding.  

Uses of Myrtle

Although the myrtle flower and tree are known for their many uses – from spicing up a meat dish, to adding a bit of sweetness to perfume – they are best known for their place in mythology and magic. The two best known tales tell of Adonis and Aphrodite. Adonis’s story states that his mother, Myrrha – daughter of the king Theias of Assyria – tried to escape from the clutches of her tyrannical parentage, and so the goddess Aphrodite turned her into a myrtle tree. 

Theias, still quite angry with his daughter, shot an arrow into the trunk of the tree, which shattered the bark. From the newly made hole, Adonis sprang forth. The story of Aphrodite is connected with that of Adonis. Finding the infant, she fell in love with it; when he grew older, she became smitten with him. Knowing his origins, she named the myrtle tree as one of her sacred plants. 

The myrtle flower has several other, looser, connections with Greek myth. For instance, Erato – the muse of marriage and love – wore a crown of roses and myrtle, while Phaedra – an enchantress – became a minor goddess that was associated with myrtle, as well as barley, the moon and rain. In magic, these flowers are commonly used as a sign of respect to the goddess of love, Venus. They are also frequently made into love charms, and placed in love spells.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dragon Fruit Tree - Anti Cancer Super Fruit

By Liliana Usvat

"Pitahaya" or "Dragonfruit" is the fruit of several cactus species.

Pitahaya-producing cacti of the genus Hylocereus are originally native to Mexico, and they were also transplanted to Central America and to other parts of the world.

Currently, they are also cultivated in East Asian and Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia and more recently Bangladesh.

The fruit was probably introduced by Europeans who brought it from the New World. In the case of Taiwan, the fruit was brought in by the Dutch.

Health Benefits 

  • Dragon Fruit Antioxidants - Eat dragon fruit as a good natural source of anti-oxidants which help to prevent the dangers of free radicals which can cause cancer and other undesirable health detriments
  • The fruit has been hailed as having remarkable health-giving properties, including the ability to regulate blood sugar levels in diabetes as well as providing a dose of anti-oxidants.
  • Dragon Fruit Vitamin C - The amount of vitamin C in dragon fruit is high

  • Dragon Fruit Cholesterol -Dragon fruit is both low in cholesterol and has little to no unhealthy cholesterol producing fats 
  • Dragon Fruit Fiber - Dietary fiber is an important nutrition factor for everyone from young to old, and the best way to get dietary fiber is to eat fruits and vegetables including fruits like the dragon fruit. 
  • 50% of the seeds were made up of an essential fatty acid, oleic acid, which helps lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol.

  • a study indicates regular consumption of dragon fruit may lower the risks of developing heart disease and developing high blood pressure.
  • Dragon fruit is high in antioxidants. Studies show that antioxidants may be effective at lowering risk of certain types of cancer.
  • The seeds contain omega-3 fats. A great deal of research shows that omega-3 fatty acids can fight inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
  • Because of its nutritional makeup, including antioxidants, monounsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fiber, pitaya is a beauty-enhancing fruit.
Also known as pitaya, dragonfruit is a hemi-epiphytic cactus that produces large and tasty fruits with neon pink skin and a surprising white flesh that's peppered with tiny black seeds. These seeds are really easy to germinate, and the patient gardener will one day be rewarded with a fruit bearing plant of her own!

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