Friday, October 24, 2014

Health Benefits of Rose Hips

Most people don't realize that their roses are fruit bushes. If we leave the flower to wilt on the plant it will become a Rose Hip. Rose Hips are packed with a multitude of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Here's a brief overview of the nutritional powerhouse that is the Rose Hip and some fun and interesting information about their metaphysical properties. Thank you Mana Keepers' for the metaphysical information. 
Roses are a nutritional powerhouses, all parts of the rose, and especially the hips, are storehouses of Vitamin C and other important nutrients. (Compared to the nutritional content of oranges, rose hips contain 25 percent more iron, 20 to 40 percent more Vitamin C, 25 times the Vitamin A, and 28 percent more calcium.) In addition, rose hips are a rich source of bioflavonoids, pectin, Vitamin E, selenium, manganese, and the B-complex vitamins. Rose hips also contain trace amounts of magnesium, potassium, sulfur and silicon. Rose hips can be found in dried form in most health food stores, but why not gather your own fresh supply? All roses are edible, a rose hip is the fruit of the rose plant. In spring wild roses produce lovely blossoms. As the petals fade, a green hip, or hypanthium, begins to swell at each blossom's base. When they are fully red and ripe you can gather them for making soup, wine, syrup, jelly, and tea. If you live, in a temperature zone that's too cold to grow citrus fruit, rose hips are an excellent alternative food source of Vitamin C. Rose hips don't have much flesh beneath their skins. Instead, they are filled with tiny seeds covered with silky hairs. The skin of the hip is where most of the food value and nutrition lies. 

Native Americans have been using rosehips as tea for hundreds of years, and when the tea is finished, the hips were added to stews or soups. There was just too much nutrition in a rose hip to let it go to waste. Here are some helpful hints so that you can do the same. 
Finding and gathering rose hips: 
Wild roses grow throughout the world and most have been part of the human diet. In late summer, rose hips ripen to bright red and are ready for gathering. We can also look to our own gardens. The domesticated roses we find there are rich in nutrients. (Many enthusiastic gardeners never see the development of colorful hips because as soon as blossoms fade they are snipped off to tidy up the garden. Blossoms must be left on the plant to naturally fade and fall for hips to develop.) 
Rose hips as food:
Rose hips can be made into a variety of appetizing, healthy dishes. Turned into jelly, syrup, and wine. Rose hips may be used fresh or dried. To dry them, discard any with discoloration then rinse in cold water, pat dry, and spread on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. It takes a couple of weeks for them to dry. They will be darker in color, hard, and semi-wrinkly. Rub off any stems or remaining blossom ends. Pour them into jars for storage in a dark pantry or cupboard.
Here are a few recipes:
Rose Hip Tea: they may be used fresh or dried. For fresh brewing, steep a tablespoon or two of clean hips in a cup of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey and enjoy. To make a tea of dried hips, use only two teaspoons to one cup of boiling water and steep for 10 to 15 minutes. 
Rose Hip Syrup: Can be used for pancakes, waffles, and vanilla ice cream. It is made from freshly gathered rose hips. Rinse and pat dry the hips and place them in a saucepan. Barely cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and strain the mixture, pressing the liquid off the hips gently with the back of a spoon, being careful not to break them open and release the seeds. If this happens, merely strain the seeds out. The resulting liquid may be frozen in batches for future use in soup or jelly, or turned into tasty syrup. To make rose hip syrup, add one part honey to two parts of the heated, strained liquid. Stir to dissolve the honey and refrigerate. After refrigeration, the syrup will thicken slightly. Rose hip syrup will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks. Reheat the syrup for use on pancakes and waffles. Use it warm or cold to top vanilla ice cream. Rose hip syrup may be used to sweeten and flavor herbal or black teas, as well. Whispering Earth offer a delicious and simple jam recipe Simplest Rosehip Jam
*Caution: If you are gathering rose hips off your property be careful that they have not been treated with pesticides.
Metaphysical Properties:
Zodiac: Taurus
Gender: Female
Planet: Jupiter
Element: Water 
Deities: Venus, Hulda, Demeter, Isis, Eros, Aphrodite
Basic Powers: Healing, love, fertility. Used by young Native American braves to enhance strength and health. 

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Persistance Hunting forces us to reexamine our history and physiology

Running is one of our favorite pass times. There are dozens of magazines, websites and books dedicated to the subject. Yet is seems that modern society has barely scratched the surface of the human animal's running ability. 

In the 1990s an evolutionary biologist , Dennis Bramble, from the University of Utah, began wondering about the theories of his former grad student David Carrier. David Carrier was the first person to publish a connection between evolution, our unique human physiology and running. Carrier's theory was that our ancestors, the semisimian Australopithecus, became bipedal not to free their hands to carry weapons or to carry supplies but to open their lungs in order to breathe so they could run better. 

Bramble, being a runner, wanted to see if Carrier's theory meant that humans shared unique attributes with running mammals, like cheetahs, rather than with walkers, like chimps. As part of his research, he visited Harvard evolutionary anthropologist Dan Lieberman, who was in the midst of studying animals that run poorly. 

Bramble and Lieberman discovered that pigs and other nonrunning mammals lack what humans, horses and dogs have in their necks: the nuchal ligament that stabilizes the cranium at high speeds. They reveled that the human body has 26 unique morphological in a 2004 paper, "Endurance Running and the Evolution of Homo,". "From head to toe in humans, it all just works," says Lieberman. "We evolved to run."

According to the 2004 study published in Nature, elite human sprinters can run 10.2 m/s for about 15 s.  That is about 37km/h.  The same 2004 study found that, horses and antelopes can sustain 15-20 m/s for minutes.  Traveling 54-72 km/h for minutes, not seconds. While we lack the ability to run at high velocities, we excel at running slowly for a long durations of time. We not only excel over long distance running, but we can out endure our competitors when the conditions are harsh; hot and dry.

One of the adaptations that gives us a significant advantage over other members of the animal kingdom is our ability to control our body temperature.  Humans sweat, which allows for heat dissipation via evapotranspiration.  We are also relatively hairless, which decreases heat retention. Bramble and Lieberman explain that we have an additional cooling mechanism built into the distribution of our blood vessels.  They note that an intricate cranial venous system supplies, “blood that has been cooled by sweating in the face and scalp to cool, via counter current heat exchange in the cavernous sinus, hot arterial blood in the internal carotid artery before it reaches the brain.”  In other words, we are adapted to cool down hot blood before it reaches our brain.  Our prey may have been fast, but without this adaptation they were not able to sustain their running as effectively as the human animal.

Another unique adaptation is found in our anatomy. While humans still share 95 percent or more of our DNA with chimps, only human legs and feet are loaded with springlike ligaments and tendons that are essential for running. Chimps don't have much of a gluteus maximus either. Humans however have a  robust behind and it is not only our biggest muscle, it's also primarily used for running, firing at the moment of foot impact as a counterbalance to the chest that prevents us from falling on our faces. This system gives us a relative stride length that's longer than a galloping horse's. Our narrow waist allows us to swing our arms and run in a straight line. Even our short toes are perfect for running. 

Christopher McDougall wrote about this study in his best-selling book "Born to Run", challenging nearly everything we know about movement and the human body. "It's fascinating the way this is all connected," says Louis Liebenberg, one of the leading experts on persistence hunting. "By exploring our past, we are rediscovering new limits to our endurance that we were never fully aware of."

Louis Liebenberg a South African scientist studied persistence hunting firsthand for 25 years in the Kalahari. On one hunt in the late 1990s, Liebenberg saw men who ran down a kudu in three hours 35 minutes and traveling at 35km. As the hunt progressed, the trackers seemed to enter what the scientist calls a "trancelike state." The experience left Liebenberg certain that "the full picture of why we became human must include running, it absolutely must."

Liebenberg says, "When you take all this data in with an open mind, there's just no other explanation: We evolved as runners." Watching the predatory runners of the Xo San tribe in action makes for a moot debate about the existence and effectiveness of persistence hunting. The running men keep their pace effortlessly for hours, across one of the harshest climates on earth. When they see erratic tracks in the sand indicating that the kudu is tiring, they know the kudu's time is drawing to an end. They call themselves "sons of the first people". 

The hunt ends (and is included in the clip below) when Karoha walks up to the animal and plunges a wood spear into its chest. The act that is largely ceremonial as the kudu has already collapsed from exhaustion.  Karoha then kneels and quietly honors the kudu by ritualistically spreading sand over its body, placing a left in its mouth and transferring saliva from the antelope's mouth onto his legs. The reverence and respect Karoha shows the kudu for giving his life is humbling. The kudu's graphic death was feared would be a disturbing part of the documentary, yet it turned out to be touching moment. At the movie's debut, the scene with Karoha and the kudu left many audience members in tears. Foster believes that witnessing a persistence hunt evokes an undeniable connection to our primal, predatory running past. "People were overcome," he says, "because they were seeing a deep, important part of themselves that they never knew existed."

Persistence Hunting Africa - Clip

This is a clip about persistence hunting in Africa. This refers back to barefoot running info. that we covered a few weeks ago. Persistence hunting has far reaching implications to human evolution, the role of females as active hunters and the results of the sedentary lifestyle of modern man.
*Warning, an animal will die in this clip, but I find the respect this man has for this animal is inspiring. 

Wishing you health and harmony today and everyday. Thank you for visiting.

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Bramble, D.M., Lieberman, D.E. 2004.  Endurance running and the evolution of Homo. Nature. 423:345-352
Liebenberg, L. 2008. The relevance of persistence hunting to human evolution. Journal of Human Evolution 55:1156–1159 


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Born to Run" author, Christopher McDougall, challenges convention

In this 52 minute Google talk Christopher McDougall shares his insight, research and experience with "biomechanically efficient" running techniques. He is the author of "Born to Run" and a proponent of for change in the way modern society thinks about running. 

His book was a great read. It was entertaining, inspiring and informative. He sends his readers on a quest to find for themselves the truths hidden within their own bodies. "Born to Run" is a must read for anyone interested in prolonging their vitality and longevity of movement. 

This talk is well worth an hour commitment as it will change the way you not only look at running but also aging. Enjoy

Here is the "Born to Run" Google review from 2009:

Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world's greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong. Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence. With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder. With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultrarunners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to the climactic race in the Copper Canyons. Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

Wishing you harmony and balance in health, today and everyday. Thank you for visiting.