Friday, September 10, 2010


Every day someone will ask "do you have a diet tea?" At first I cringe remembering the pain from drinking diet teas in the past. Most were purchased in oriental markets, and most contained very strong laxatives. The little bit of weight loss was mostly fluid and at a very painful price.

So, I have done some research and come up with my first diet blend. It used herbs that have mild diuretic and laxative properties. It is called Thin Lizzy and contains green tea, nettles, astragulus, bladder wrack, uva ursi, butchers broom hibiscus, stevia, orange peel, ginger root, and citrus flavor.

The information presented herein by ZAHARA'S GYPSY TEA is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider. This tea should not be consumed by women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. If you have a medical condition or take medication, always check with your physician before using these herbs or any other herbal supplements,

Here is some of my research on the herbs in in my diet tonic.


Is any other food or drink reported to have as many health benefits as green tea? The Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea since ancient times, using it to treat everything from headaches to depression. In her book Green Tea: The Natural Secret for a Healthier Life, Nadine Taylor states that green tea has been used as a medicine in China for at least 4,000 years.

Today, scientific research in both Asia and the west is providing hard evidence for the health benefits long associated with drinking green tea. For example, in 1994 the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of an epidemiological study indicating that drinking green tea reduced the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly sixty percent. University of Purdue researchers recently concluded that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells. There is also research indicating that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol.

Green tea and its extract have been shown to fight obesity and lower LDL "bad" cholesterol -- two risk factors for heart disease and diabetes -- but in very limited studies. One study in the Netherlands and a study in Japan showed that green tea did both.

In the Dutch study, participants who drank caffeinated green tea lost more weight, but even those who typically drank the decaf variety saw a decrease in their waistlines and body weight. Researchers speculated that the caffeine helps with fat oxidation.

In the Japanese study, 240 men and women were given varying amounts of green tea extract for three months. Those who got the highest amount lost fat and weight and had lower blood pressure and lower LDL "bad" cholesterol.

But the best way to get the most out of green tea -- even if your main goal is losing weight -- is to drink it.

"Taken altogether, the evidence certainly suggests that incorporating at least a few cups of green tea every day will positively affect your health," says Diane McKay, PhD, a Tufts University scientist who studies antioxidants. "It's not going to cure anything and it shouldn't be consumed as a drug, but it can complement the rest of the diet."

The caffeine in great tea is most likely to increase alertness and increase activity. The less sluggish we feel the more active we a likely to be.


Due to my belief tha many food issues are due to allergies. Because manufactures are putting corn syrup in almost every refined food many people have developed allergies. With food allergies, you actually crave the foods to which you are allergic.

Nettles have been used for centuries to treat allergy symptoms, particularly hayfever which is the most common allergy problem. It contains biologically active compounds that reduce inflammation. Dr. Andrew Wiel M.D. author of Natural Health/ Natural Medicine says he knows of nothing more effective than nettle for allergy relief. And his statement is backed up by studies at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Decongestants, antihistamines, allergy shots and even prescription medications such as Allegra and Claritin treat only the symptoms of allergies and tend to lose effectiveness over a period of time. They can also cause drowsiness, dry sinuses, insomnia and high blood pressure. Nettle has none of these side effects. It can be used on a regular basis and has an impressive number of other benefits most notably as a treatment for prostate enlargement.

Nettle has been studied extensively and has shown promise in treating Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, asthma, bladder infections, bronchitis, bursitis, gingivitis, gout, hives, kidney stones, laryngitis, multiple sclerosis, PMS, prostate enlargement, sciatica, and tendinitis! Externally it has been used to improve the appearance of the hair, and is said to be a remedy against oily hair and dandruff.

In Germany today stinging nettle is sold as an herbal drug for prostate diseases and as a diuretic. It is a common ingredient in other herbal drugs produced in Germany for rheumatic complaints and inflammatory conditions (especially for the lower urinary tract and prostate). In the United States many remarkable healing properties are attributed to nettle and the leaf is utilized for different problems than the root. The leaf is used here as a diuretic, for arthritis, prostatitis, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure and allergic rhinitis.

The root is recommended as a diuretic, for relief of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and other prostate problems, and as a natural remedy to treat or prevent baldness

An infusion of the plant is very valuable in stemming internal bleeding. It is also used to treat anemia, excessive menstruation, hemorrhoids, arthritis, rheumatism and skin complaints, especially eczema. Externally, the plant is used to treat skin complaints, arthritic pain, gout, sciatica, neuralgia, hemorrhoids and hair problems.

Taken orally, products made from nettle's aerial parts may interfere with the body's production of prostaglandins and other inflammation-causing chemicals. Consequently, nettle may have an anti-inflammatory effect. It may also enhance responses of the immune system. Chemicals in nettle's aerial parts are also thought to reduce the feeling of pain or interfere with the way that nerves send pain signals. All of these effects may reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis and other similar conditions. And may reduce feelings of hunger.

In addition, nettle's aerial parts may reduce the amount of histamine that is produced by the body in response to an allergen. An allergen is a substance such as pollen that may provoke an exaggerated immune response in individuals who are sensitive to it. Through this potential action, the aerial parts of nettle may help to reduce allergy symptoms. Results from one human study are promising, but more research is needed to be conclusive.


Astragulus is a herbaceous perennial plant of the pea family and is most commonly used for immune enhancement. Most research on astragalus has focused on its immunostimulatory activity and its seemingly remarkable ability to restore the activity of a suppressed immune system. Clinical trials as well as pharmacological data provide evidence for its usefulness in the prevention of the common cold and as an adjunct to cancer therapies. It is may be useful as a complementary treatment during chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immune deficiency syndromes. Astragalus is used to strengthen the immune system over time, building resistance to illness and disease. Echinacea may be used in conjunction with astragalus to provide an extra short term boost in immunity.

There is also evidence for cardiovascular system improvement, particularly in clinical parameters associated with angina, congestive heart failure and acute myocardial infarct. This may be due to the herb's antioxidant activity. Its use in the treatment of hepatitis in modern Chinese medicine is supported by the demonstration of hepatoprotective activity in animal studies.

Astragalus is often used in combination with other botanicals and is very seldom used as a single agent. Pharmacological research of astragalus in combination with ligustrum (Ligustrum lucidum) provides evidence for activity against cancers of the breast, cervix and lung.

Astragalus is a natural dietary supplement that's used for various health conditions. For instance, it's used to treat the common cold, upper respiratory infections, fibromyalgia, and diabetes. Some proponents of astragalus use it for its heart benefits. They claim it may protect against heart disease. By lowering blood sugar, astragulus helps with weight loss becuase there is less insulin and therefore less fat stored. It's also used to help improve overall weakness.

Proponents also say astragalus stimulates the spleen, liver, lungs, circulatory, and urinary system. It's also used to treat arthritis, asthma, and nervous conditions as well as to lower blood sugar and blood pressure.

A number of clinical studies have been reported regarding the use of astragalus for colds and upper respiratory infections.


Bladder wrack is a form of kelp that has been used medicinally for centuries. The main use of the herb has been for the stimulation of the thyroid gland as a treatment for obesity and cellulite. The high iodine content of the herb stimulates thyroid function which boosts metabolism.

It has a reputation in the relief of rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis and may be used both internally and as an external application for inflamed joints. The main phytotherapeutic use of Fucus is during debility and convalescence, and also to remineralise the body.

Fucus also appears to assist in the problem of lipid balance associated with obesity, and where obesity is associated with thyroid dysfunction, this herb may help to reduce excess weight.

Bladderwrack is rich in iodine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, sulfur, silicon and iron and high in some B-complex vitamins. It contains moderate amounts of phosphorus, selenium, manganese and zinc and small amounts of vitamins A, C, E and G. It also contains anti-sterility vitamin S as well as vitamin K. It is rich in algin and mannitol, carotene and zeaxantin with traces of bromine.

A nourishing tonic. Obesity with tiredness and dry skin. Cellulite, chronic dry skin and stubborn constipation. Regular use delays the progress of arthritis and hardening of the arteries. A good tonic for old age. For children with slow mental and physical development.


Butcher's broom has been known for 2,000 years for its healing properties, especially for its benefits to the circulatory system. Theophrastus (c 325 BC.), Pliny (60 AD.) describe its healing of the lame by reducing swellings, and flattening varicose veins in some patients.

In the Middle Ages, it was highly valued food.The young shoots have been cooked like asparagus. The "Aculeatus"were butcher's broom eaters, who farmed the plant for its sprouts.They appeared to remain remarkably free of circulatory disorders.

The plant appeared in the medical literature of France, Germany and Italy until around 1910, when herbs began to fall into disuse, but is now making a comeback due to recent research showing its benefits in circulatory disorders.

Different parts of the plant have been used for various complaints or conditions. The root is used in modern medicine to clean the veins. Poultices have been made of the berries and leaves to help knit broken bones and parts of the joint.

Recent tests by German and French doctors indicated that butcher's broom root lessens post-operative thrombosis; showed definite and measurable relief for hemorrhoid and varicose vein sufferers; and prevented or corrected the development of phlebitis in some patients.

It has been suggested that a poultice of Butcher’s Broom could be used to help knit together broken bones, but this claim has not been tested recently. However, while the diuretic effects are credited with helping women with menstrual cramping and testiness, some non-scientific reports suggest that Butcher’s Broom has a gentle hormone-leveling affect that works on teenagers during adolescence to calm the worst of the mood swings of puberty. Some studies indicate that curbing mood swings increases weight loss.

Some of the other uses that Butcher’s Broom may be employed for include as a treatment to produce poison immunity. One of the steroidal saponins – sparteine – has shown to inhibit the proteins in snake venom. Studies in Europe, the US, and Japan have and are continuing to find more and more potentially beneficial functions, including slowing the growth of leukemia cells, reducing cholesterol, and reducing plaque build-up in blood vessel


There is history of healing with Hibiscus Flowers. In Africa it has been used topically to sooth skin from bites, stings, and wounds. It has been used as a mild diuretic and laxative and for weight loss. In Egypt is has long been a folk remedy for heart disease. In Iran it has long been used to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, help weigh loss, improve kidney function, reduces free radicals and decreases stress. Scientific studies have recently proved that it strengthens your immune system. In some parts of the world Hibiscus is used to treat cancer, especially b rain and skin cancer.

In addition to controlling blood pressure, boosting the immune system, and guarding against cellular damage, hibiscus tea may also reduce cholesterol by dilating blood vessels. Plus, hibiscus tea contains an enzyme inhibitor that impedes the production of amylase, which is an enzyme that breaks down sugar and starches. That means drinking a cup of hibiscus tea after eating may reduce the absorption of carbohydrates and thus, promote weight loss. It has also been suggested that hibiscus tea can prevent bladder infections and constipation.


The leaves of this small shrub have been used as an herbal folk medicine for centuries as a mild diuretic and astringent, and in the treatment of urinary tract infections such as cystitis, urethritis and nephritis, pyelitis and in pyelonephritis. Uva-ursi can help to reduce accumulations of uric acid and relieve the pain of bladder stones. Uva Ursi is also helpful for chronic diarrhea. As a nutritional supplement and muscle relaxant, Uva Ursi soothes, strengthens, and tightens irritated and inflamed tissues.

Uva ursi has a history of medicinal use dating back to the 2nd century. It has been widely used as a diuretic, astringent, and antiseptic. Folk medicine around the world has recommended Uva Ursi for nephritis, kidney stones, and chronic cystitis. The herb has also been used as a general tonic for weakened kidneys, liver or pancreas. Native Americans used it as a remedy for headaches, to prevent and cure scurvy and to treat urinary tract infections. In fact, until the discovery of sulfa drugs and anti-biotics, Uva Ursi was the treatment of choice for such bladder and related infections. Through modern day scientific research in test tubes and animals, Uva Ursi's antimicrobial properties, which can help fight infection, and diuretic effects have been demonstrated.

Usa Ursi helps promote the growth of healthy new cells and has been used to treat incontinence.

Usa Ursi can increase heart rate, thus speed up the metabolism.


The herb, Stevia rebaudiana, has been used for centuries by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay, who had several names for the plant, several of which are Kaa'-he-E, Caa'-ehe, or Ca-a-yupe- all. referring to the sweet leaf or honey leaf. It is commonly known in South America as yerba dulce meaning sweet herb. The Guarani used stevia nutritionally and medicinally.

The plant came to the attention of the rest of the world when South American naturalist, Bertoni, "discovered" the plant in the late 1800's. After his report,. the herb became widely used by herbalists in Paraguay.

Stevia's most obvious and notable characteristic is its sweet taste. However, the sweet taste is not due to carbohydrate-based molecules, but to several non-caloric molecules called glycosides. Individuals who cannot tolerate sugar or other sweeteners can use stevia. The first glycoside molecule was isolated from stevia in 1931 by two French chemists named Bridel and Lavieille and called stevioside.

During WW II, sugar shortages prompted England to begin investigation of stevia for use as a sweetener. Cultivation began under the direction of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, but the project 'was abandoned in the aftermath of the war. Japan began cultivating stevia in hothouses in the 1950's. By the 1970's, Japan started using stevia commercially and today, they are the biggest users of the extract, which has captured 50% of Japan's sweetener industry.

Other aspects of stevia are capturing people's attention. The herb is sold in some South American countries to aid diabetics and hypoglycemics. Research has shown that a whole leaf concentrate has a regulating effect on the pancreas and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Stevia is therefore useful to people with diabetes, hypoglycemia, and Candidiasis.

Other traditional uses of stevia are: lowers elevated blood pressure (hypertension), digestive aid that also reduces gas and stomach acidity, and for obesity. The herb acts as general tonic which increases energy levels and mental acuity.

Stevia has been shown to inhibit the growth and reproduction of bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay, making it an excellent addition to tooth pastes and mouthwashes. Many people have reported improvement in their oral health after adding stevia concentrate to their tooth paste and using it, diluted in water, as a daily mouthwash.

Stevia is useful in healing a number of skin problems. Whole stevia concentrates may be applied as a facial mask to soften and tighten the skin and smooth cut wrinkles. Smooth the dark liquid over the entire face, allowing it to dry for at least 30-60 minutes. A drop of concentrate may be applied directly to any blemish, acne outbreak, lip or mouth sore. Stevia concentrate is also effective when used on seborrhea, dermatitis, and eczema. Reportedly, cuts and scratches heal more rapidly when stevia concentrate is applied.

Stevia concentrate added to soap eliminates dandruff and other scalp problems and improves the health and luster of the hair, also helping to retain natural hair color.

Refined sugar consumption continues to rise in the United States. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (Nov. 1998), sugar consumption rose by 25 pounds since 1986 to 152 pounds per person per year (calculated from sugar production figures). Sugar displaces nutritive calories leading to numerous health problems and. obesity. A major factor contributing to this high rate is the widespread and continually growing habit of drinking sugar-laden soda pops.


Orange Peel is a digestive aid. It is used for abdominal bloating, nausea and poor appetite. Orange peel moves stagnant energy and helps the digestion. Also used as an expectorant for Arguably, the most important flavanone in oranges, herperidin has been shown to lower high blood pressure as well as cholesterol, and to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Importantly, m

A class of compounds found in citrus fruit peels called polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs) have the potential to lower cholesterol more effectively than some prescription drugs, and without side effects. Using orange peel to flavor tea, salads, salad dressings, yogurt, soups, or hot oatmeal, buckwheat or rice every day may be a practical way of achieving some cholesterol-lowering benefits. Importantly, most of this phytonutrient is found in the peel and inner white pulp of the orange.

Studies show that carbohydrates in orange peel have health-promoting effects. One of them, pectin, has probiotic properties. Probiotics are nondigestible foods or nutrients that increase growth of beneficial, probiotic bacteria in the large intestine, where they stimulate health and help curb food borne pathogens


Historically, ginger root has been used to ease menstrual cramps, treat seasickness and food poisoning, and to eliminate body odor. When dieting, some people burn large amounts of keytones so ginger root helps eliminate order. It is now one of the most popular herbal remedies for nausea, morning sickness and digestive problems. Ginger root extract can help the digestive process by breaking down proteins. It alleviates nausea and morning sickness by relaxing stomach muscles, and pregnant women can use it safely for this purpose. Relaxing stomach muscles reduces feelings of hunger.


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