Darkness descending in the late afternoon, lack of warmth, sunlight and Vitamin D can all contribute to the "Winter Blues". Our circadian rhythms are still attuned to nature, with many of us wanting to crawl under the covers or snuggle up by the fire and hibernate! However in this day and age, recently developed technology (in evolutionary terms), insists we carry on working the same hours, do the same activities and continue on with our busy lives. To add insult to injury, winter can be a time when all of our best laid plans go awry and we inadvertently pile on the pounds whilst we wait for the warmer weather to release us from our sluggish slumber. Luckily, mother nature has a well stocked medicine cabinet and help is at hand to give us the boost we need to keep going through this sleepiest of seasons.....
Guarana – Nature’s Rocket Fuel!
Native to the exotic Brazilian rainforest, the indigenous peoples consider Guarana the “Elixir of Youth” and deem it as valuable as gold due to its myriad of health benefitting effects.
The Guarana bean holds more natural caffeine than any other plant – for this reason it was once demonised as a dangerous form of supercharged caffeine – however, it contains a whole host of other compounds which act together to stimulate, over and above its caffeine content.
A study conducted at the University of Tasmania entitled, “Psychological and Cardiovascular Effects of Guaraná and Yerba Mate: A Comparison with Coffee” found that guarana produced the greatest alertness and improvement in the performance of mental tasks. Whilst coffee produced a peak in alertness after 30 – 45 minutes, this rapidly fell away in comparison to the effects of guarana which were still continuing, and increasing, after 150 minutes. This may be due to its naturally occurring caffeine being released slowly, thus maintaining a steady supply of natural energy.
Guarana doesn’t just rely on caffeine to provide energy and stamina – it contains xanthines which have been shown to enhance physical and mental performance. Also containing flavonoids and alkaloids, in clinical studies alkaloids were shown to stimulate the myocardium and central nervous system, enhancing alertness and reducing fatigue.
Guarana For Weight Loss
This wonder herb not only gives a physical and mental boost, it also contributes to weight loss with its promotion of thermogenesis – the way our bodies convert food to fuel. It does this through nutritional stimulation of the beta-adrenergic receptor pathway, this then breaks down stored fat, which stimulates lipid migration and allows the fats to be turned into energy.
Used for centuries by the Guarani Tribe as a natural appetite suppressant, they would consume guarana when about to undergo extensive periods of fasting. This effect is thought to be caused by the unique set of compounds in guarana slowing down the rate at which food is absorbed – leaving you feeling fuller for longer.
Lastly, but by no means least, guarana is powerfully antioxidant – this is thought to be due to the phytochemicals; procyanidin, catechin and tannin. When we lose weight, our fat cells can oxidise as they are broken down before leaving the body, this will cause “oxidative stress” producing free radicals. This effect makes it especially important to eat a diet rich in antioxidants if we are embarking on a weight loss programme - using guarana will help to motivate us to do the exercise, keep our energy levels up, act as a natural appetite suppressant and supply our bodies with the antioxidants it requires – especially as we lose weight. Nature has provided us, once again, with the perfect plant medicine, maybe this is why the natives of the Amazonian rainforest consider it one of the best plants in the jungle!
Siberian Ginseng – The King of the Adaptogens
In his “Great Catalogue of Medicinal Herbs”, Li Shih Chen called Siberian Ginseng a superior herb, “Its action is to invigorate physical energy, regulate vigour, strengthen the skeleton and tendons, and increase one's ambition”. As a motivational herb, Siberian Ginseng is hard to beat – there isn’t much else that can deliver so much wonderful, raw energy.
Rumour has it that Siberian Ginseng was the first ever herb to have the term “Adaptogen” applied to it. Adaptogens are a unique group of herbal ingredients which help your body adjust to stressful circumstances ranging from extreme heat or cold to infections or trauma.
Besides protecting your body from stress, Siberian Ginseng also increases oxygenation of the cells, thereby increasing endurance, alertness and even visual acuity. It is used by Russian Cosmonauts for these very reasons, all whilst promoting the natural healing power of our bodies.
It is classed as a tonic herb and a mild stimulant with the ability to increase your work capacity after a single dose. It has the rare ability to increase both immediate and long term energy, making Siberian Ginseng an excellent motivational herb that will sustain you throughout your endeavours.
Organic SuperGreens Powder
If you are looking for a complete superfood that will nourish, energise, detoxify and leave you feeling satiated, then look no further! Our Organic SuperGreens Powder has it all in spades – it is a comprised of Organic Chlorella, Spirulina, Wheatgrass, Barleygrass and Moringa Powders – a heady combination of dense nutrition.
It is exceptionally High in Vitamin C - the importance of getting enough of this wonderful nutrient cannot be overstated, especially in the winter. Vitamin C is powerful ally to aid our bodies in preventing and shaking off winter viruses such as colds, flu and all manner of viral infections.
Unfortunately in this day and age we are exposed to many more toxins than at any other time in our (known) evolutionary history. They are in our food, water and the air – our bodies create fat as a buffer to deal with excess toxins, regular detoxing will boost the body's ability to shed excess pounds - great if you want to fit into that LBD for your Christmas Party. Luckily, our SuperGreens Powder is powerfully antioxidant - it is exceptionally high in antioxidant vitamins and minerals as well as chlorophyll, the lifeblood of plants and containing 100’s of enzymes in perfect ratio.
Used as a traditional herbal remedy for centuries by the Great Plains Indians, Echinacea has long been esteemed as a powerful immune system stimulator providing significant therapeutic value. It is perhaps most famous for its ability to cut the chances of catching the common cold by up to 58% and in reducing its duration by 1 – 2 days.
Also effective in alleviating the symptoms of inflammation, Echinacea contains active substances that can relieve pain and provide an antioxidant and antiviral effect in the body, making it useful in fighting off a whole host of infections.
Keep those colds at bay this season, here at Indigo Herbs you can choose from: Echinacea Purpurea Leaf or Root Tea, Powder or Tincture.
Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil
Lastly, but by no means least, one of the healthiest fats on the face of the earth is Organic, Raw Virgin Coconut Oil. But how does this contribute to weight loss or help to motivate us? Well, coconut oil is the world’s most weight loss friendly fat due to its unique combination of fatty acids with powerful effects on metabolism. In fact, several studies show that by adding coconut oil to your diet you can lose fat – especially the dangerous fat from around the abdominal cavity.
Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil consists of almost entirely Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA's), these fatty acids are metabolised differently to the more common, longer chained fats. They are sent straight to the liver from the digestive tract where they are immediately used by your body as fuel to generate energy, rather than being stored as fat. Because it produces energy, coconut oil actually stimulates metabolism and this thermogenic effect causes the body to burn more calories, thus leaving fewer to be converted into body fat. This effect is backed up by several studies, one in particular found that eating 1 – 2 tablespoons of coconut oil daily led to an increased energy expenditure of 5% (around 120 calories per day).
Another major benefit of this wonderful oil is that it destroys candida (yeast overgrowth). Candida craves sugar and unhealthy carbohydrates – this can lead to weight gain and fatigue amongst other things. Not only this, it cleanses the body of many infirmities, balances the digestive tract and nourishes all cells in the body. These benefits restore your health and pave the way for natural weight loss.
Making coconut oil a part of your daily diet couldn’t be easier! Not only does it taste great, it adds a smooth silkiness to any dish you care to include it in. You can “Bulletproof” your coffee by adding 1 tbsp to high grade, organic coffee – the caffeine dilates the blood vessels making it easier for the important MCFA’s to travel to your brain where these fats are in high demand. This in turn will feed your brain, making you more alert, focussed and motivated. You can use it in just about anything, sweet or savoury – check out our recipe pages to see some awesome, coconutty dishes.
Motivation is All You Need!
The biggest killer of motivation is a sluggish system and a foggy brain. These fabulous herbs and superfoods are straight from nature’s medicine cabinet, with each one containing a unique blend of nutrients and phytochemicals that work in symbiosis to increase energy, focus and mental acuity – all of this ultimately leads to MOTIVATION! So what are you waiting for? Beat those winter blues and be your BEST SELF!
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