When you’re getting started on your natural health journey, all of the information and names can become overwhelming. When making our list of natural health sources of information, there were six common and popular natural products that are crucial in helping you meet your health goals.
- Chaste tree.
- Blessed thistle.
- Essential oils.
- Cod liver oil.
You can read our brief introductions to astaxanthin, chaste tree, blessed thistle, turmeric, essential oils, and cod liver oil below. And if you want to learn even more, follow the link at the end of each section.
Carotenoids are a class of more than 750 naturally occurring pigments synthesized by plants, algae, and bacteria. One carotenoid that lends a bright pink pigment to flamingos is astaxanthin, but it does a lot more than provide a pretty shade of pink.
Astaxanthin, the “king of the carotenoids,” is so-called because it is chock-full of antioxidants. Studies suggest astaxanthin may support:
- The aging process.
- Muscle, nerve, skin, and eye health.
- Reproductive health.
- Gastric function.
- Exercise capacity.
- May protect the nervous and immune system from oxidative stress.
To add more astaxanthin to your diet, start with these food sources:
- Crustaceans, such as shrimp, crab, lobster, krill, and crawfish.
- Fish with pink flesh, such as salmon or trout.
- Green algae.
- Red yeast.
- Bee propolis.
Learn even more about all of the potential health benefits of astaxanthin here.
Gardeners know chaste tree for its spreading foliage and striking white, pink, and lavender flowers. But chaste tree’s appeal goes beyond its beautiful garden presence. It also offers many potential health benefits.
Know also as vitex, chasteberry, monk pepper, or Abraham’s balm, chaste tree has been used since the time of the Ancient Greeks and the Roman Empire for supporting women’s health, a healthy internal response, and bowel health.
Today, chaste tree is used in a wide variety of homeopathic preparations, particularly those aimed at supporting women’s health. Studies have found that the use of chaste tree fruit can support healthy lactation. Other potential benefits of chaste tree include:
- Supporting women’s health.
- Supporting a healthy monthly cycle.
- Supporting women with symptoms of PMS.
- Supporting healthy lactation.
- May support fertility.
- May support healthy hair, skin, and nails.
- Promoting healthy aging.
- Providing antioxidants.
Chaste tree isn’t only used in women’s natural health, though. Potential benefits for men include men’s prostate health.
Learn even more about the history, uses, and potential benefits of chaste tree here.
Don’t confuse Blessed Thistle with its relative milk thistle. While both have different potential positive health benefits, they are decidedly not the same.
Commonly prepared in tonics, teas, tinctures, extracts, and capsules, blessed thistle has been used for over 2,000 years in traditional medicine, primarily to stimulate appetite. All parts of blessed thistle, including the flowering tops, to the leaves, and upper stems, have been used as a “cure-all” since at least the Middle Ages, and particularly in Ayurvedic and traditional folk medicine.
Blessed thistle is still used in its many forms today for its many potential health benefits. These include:
- Promoting digestion.
- Supporting a healthy immune system.
- Supporting skin health.
- Promoting milk production for lactating women.
Learn more about blessed thistle, and where to purchase it safely, here.
If you’ve ever eaten curry, or enjoyed Indian cooking, you’ve probably encountered a dish cooked with turmeric. Turmeric pulls double duty both as a free radical scavenging herb and as the delicious spice that helps to add a warm, golden-orange color to so many delicious recipes.
Turmeric is widely used in natural medicine, largely because both the turmeric root and rhizome contain bioactive compounds such as oils, turmerone, and nutritional pigments, including curcuminoids.
Turmeric’s many potential health benefits include:
- Supporting healthy blood circulation.
- Supporting cognition and brain health.
- Promoting cellular, skin, tissue, and immune system health.
- Aiding in digestive system health.
- Supporting heart health, respiratory, and joint health.
- Supporting an improved mood.
Turmeric can be taken supplementally as an extract, tea, vegetable-based capsule, softgel, tablet, tincture, and much, much more.
You can learn more about this versatile spice and where to find it here.
While there’s a decent chance you’ve at least heard the term “essential oils” being thrown around, if you’re like a lot of people, you may not think much about what essential oils actually are.
The most basic definition is that essential oils are highly concentrated fragrant essences that are extracted from herbs, flowers, fruits, and other plants. If it feels like there are a million essential oils out there, that’s because there probably are!
Essential oils have a wide variety of uses. Most commonly, they’re used for their distinct aromas and various properties for many consumer products, including:
- Food flavoring.
- Massage therapy.
In natural health, essential oils are also often used for their potential supportive or curative effects on the mind, body, and spirit.
What potential benefits essential oils have depended entirely on what herbs, flower, or fruit’s oil is being used. No matter the oil, though, essential oils are typically applied and utilized in one of the following ways:
- Diffused into the air (as in aromatherapy).
- Applying topically to the skin using a carrier oil.
- Included as ingredients in lotions, soy wax candles, household cleaners, all-natural bug sprays, and beauty products.
You can learn more about the wide world of essential oils and how you might incorporate them into your daily health and wellness routine here.
Cod is a fish, but “cod liver oil” and “fish oil” are not used interchangeably. While fish oil comes from the entire body of a variety of fatty fish, cod liver oil comes specifically from the cod fish’s liver.
While fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids and at least trace amounts of vitamins A and D, research shows that cod liver oil contains comparably high amounts of these nutrients and vitamins. It is cod liver oil’s high naturally occurring omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin D that make it such a popular and important supplement.
Cod liver oil’s many potential health benefits include:
- Supporting breast health.
- Supporting healthy eyes.
- Supporting heart health.
- Promoting a healthy mood.
- Supporting skin health.
- Supporting kids’ health (particularly in growth and development).
You can learn more about the importance of omega fatty acids, vitamins A and D, and how cod liver oil may help you here.
That’s just the start. Does this help you feel like you have a better initial understanding of astaxanthin, chaste tree, blessed thistle, turmeric, essential oils, and cod liver oil?