Each month herbalists are encouraged to submit articles to the Herbal Blog Parties, hosted by various herbalists. The August party had as its theme sweet ways to use herbs, including herbal honey’s, glycerites, elixirs, electuaries, melomels and the like. If you need definitions, go down to Kiva Rose’s article which has an overview.
While we generally want to keep sugars low in our diet, there are legitimate uses for sweet herbs. Sugar in its various forms is used in a variety of traditional medicines. In Chinese medicine it strengthens the Spleen/pancreas function (in judicious quantities) and formulas often use dates, honey, longan fruit, or licorice to engage the digestive function. Ayurveda makes medicinal honey and ghee preparations like Chayawanprash. Continue reading The Sweet Herbal Blog Party→
Most people with blood sugar problems have noticed that carbohydrates raise blood sugar, often followed by a crash. The various low carbohydrate diets- Atkins, South Beach, Anti-Inflammation Diet, and even the Zone- do somewhat better at weight loss compared to a low calorie diet, but really excel at keeping blood sugar levels stable, lowering triglycerides, lowering blood insulin, and even cholesterol.
David Kessler, former FDA Commissioner under GW Bush and Clinton, explores why we are so driven by reward-driven eating that our control mechanisms have disappeared. In his book, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, Kessler discusses how we biologically lay down neurological pathways that induce us to eat. In recent decades the food industry, in collusion with the advertising industry, and our own lifestyle changes have short-circuited the body’s self-regulating mechanisms, leaving many at the mercy of reward-driven eating.
There was a time when people ate at home, at the table during prescribed mealtimes and were unlikely to eat on the street. Now we pass outlets that stimulate our senses with neurologically exciting foods made of fat, sugar and salt, attractive presentation, pleasant odors (have you passed a Cinnabon lately?) and all of the emotional triggers associated with the food by advertising, and we biologically set ourselves up for triggering eating these foods. Even if you do not succumb on day one of your diet, the neurological pathways are being laid down to entice you later.