NATURES BEAUTY - MISTLETOE

My mother loved decorating for the holidays. From the tree in the den to the lights around all the windows and a big Santa decal on the front door, she was all in. She would also hang a sprig of (fake) mistletoe, complete with sharp-edged leaves and white berries, from the lintel of the doorway between the living room and the kitchen. She and my father always shared the first kiss under the mistletoe after she put it up.

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NATURES BEAUTY - YLANG YLANG

A new year is the perfect time to try new things. Recently a friend who is into essential oils and aromatherapy told me about ylang ylang. She touted its many benefits – they range from head to toe – and offered to get some for me, but I wanted to do some research on the substance first before committing myself. Ylang ylang is becoming very popular in a wide variety of cosmetic products these days, so perhaps you’d like to learn more about it, too.

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NATURES BEAUTY - LULO

Continuing our 2018 theme of seeking out new and unusual produce and other types of foods to try, we present to you lulo. Also known as naranjilla, this exotic tropical fruit is a member of the tomato family. It is native to northwestern South America and is found primarily in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Panama.  The lulo plant is a spreading herbaceous shrub with thick stems. Some of its leaves have spines, but others are spineless.

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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