NATURES BEAUTY - LILY

Easter is upon us, and no flower is more associated with the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection than the lily. Traditional lore says white lilies emerged where drops of Christ’s sweat fell to the earth in his final hours on the cross. The ancient Greeks believed lilies came from the breast milk of Hera, the queen of the gods. In Roman mythology, Venus, the goddess of beauty, was jealous of the flower’s white loveliness. A European legend says if you approach an expectant mother holding a lily….

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NATURES BEAUTY - SQUASH

Is squash a vegetable or a fruit? You would probably call a zucchini squash a vegetable, but you would most likely call a pumpkin a fruit. The definitive answer, from a botanical view, is squash are fruits because they contain the seeds of the plant.  Squash are some of the oldest cultivated crops on earth, believed to have originated in Mexico and Central America more than 10,000 years ago. The word squash comes from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means…..

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NATURES BEAUTY - CINNAMON

One of the best-loved spices of cooks and food lovers alike is cinnamon. Made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree, cinnamon has been around since the days of ancient Egypt, where it was used to embalm mummies. The tree is native to the Caribbean, South America and Southeast Asia. Indonesia and China produce three-quarters of the world’s supply of cinnamon today.

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NATURES BEAUTY - GINKGO BILOBA

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, ginkgo biloba is one of the best-selling herbal supplements in the United States and Europe. Ginkgo biloba extract is collected from the dried green leaves of the plant and is available in capsules, tablets, liquid extracts and dried leaf for tea.


The ginkgo or maidenhair tree is a large tree with fan-shaped leaves. It is native to Asia. People often take ginkgo leaf orally for problems related to cerebral insufficiency or poor blood flow in the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease, vertigo and memory loss. However, although most clinical trials show ginkgo helps the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, conflicting findings suggest it may be hard to determine which people might benefit from taking it. It does not seem to prevent dementia from developing. New research suggests it may protect nerve cells that are dam- aged by Alzheimer’s disease.


Ginkgo seems to improve blood circulation. Laboratory studies have shown it opens up blood vessels and makes blood less sticky. Some people take ginkgo biloba for problems associated with poor blood flow in the body, such as Raynaud’s syndrome, in which the fingers and toes react painfully to cold weather, and peripheral vascular disease. The herbal supplement has also been used to treat sexual performance problems, eye problems such as glaucoma and age-related

degeneration and premenstrual syndrome. Ginkgo thins the blood and decreases its ability to form clots, but it might also worsen bleeding disorders. It is also is a good source of flavonoids and terpenoids, antioxidants that protect against oxidative cell damage from harmful free radicals, thus reducing cancer risk.


WebMD (www.webmd.com) says ginkgo biloba is one of the longest living tree species in the world. Ginkgo trees can live as long as 1,000 years. They have been called living fossils because they have survived other major extinction events. The Missouri Botanical Garden says it is the only member of a group of ancient plants believed to have inhabited the earth up to 150 million years ago. Medicinal use of ginkgo was described in 2600 B.C.E. It is also used for food, such as roasted ginkgo seed. Fresh ginkgo seeds are poisonous. They contain substances that may kill the bacteria and fungi responsible for some infections, but they also have a toxin that can cause side effects such as seizures. Some people are allergic to ginkgo fruit and pulp as well as ginkgo leaf extract. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are advised not to use ginkgo, and it should not be given to children. Ginkgo does not appear to be beneficial for treating high blood pressure.

Many people take ginkgo because it has been touted as good for boosting memory, but again study results are contradictory; some found slight benefits, while others found no effect at all. The bottom line appears to be: Remember to take your ginkgo biloba – but don’t forget to double check with your primary care physician first, especially if you’re taking blood- thinning drugs or have diabetes.

TANYA TYLER

Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Tanya Tyler