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The Secret Health Benefits of Stinging Nettles

For the longest time, stinging nettles had earned themselves a reputation for being nothing more than pests; whether you were having to pull the weeds out of your garden, or if you were unlucky enough to brush up against them when you were out and about, there’s probably little reason for you to have thought positively about the plant.

That is, however, until now; because today we’re going to take a look at the secret health benefits of stinging nettles that have got people around the globe excited about this affordable and widely-available little pest.

What Exactly IS The Stinging Nettle?

Sometimes known by its latin plant name, “urtica dioica”, the stinging nettle has actually been used for longer than you might think. Throughout the medieval times—and going as far back in history as Ancient Greece—it’s been applied for its numerous medicinal properties. Growing to lengths of up to four feet, the heart-shaped leaves of the plant tend to be either a light shade of fuschia or yellow.

These leaves possess a large number of tiny hairs which you can see if you examine one closely (but not too closely!). When these hairs come into contact with any area of your skin, they tend to break off from the leave and stick into it, causing a stinging reaction to occur. However, the plant also has a wide number of properties which are beneficial to human health when consumed in the right way.

An All-Natural Hay-Fever Medication

One of nettle’s best qualities is its ability to reduce hayfever symptoms. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, it can manage the states of several important receptors and enzymes within your body. If taken when your symptoms first appear, the herb is especially effective.

This is because the plant contains histamine (which, funnily enough, is also one of the chemicals which causes allergic reactions in the first place). However, there are many cases when using histamines can actually reduce allergic symptoms.

Treating Eczema

Those of you who suffer from eczema will already know what a pain it can be. Having dry patches of itchy, scaly skin appear on your body can be quite disconcerting, and so either using nettle tea (or capsules), or applying a topical cream produced from the plant, can help to reduce the symptom of the condition quite significantly.

This is, again, thanks to the histamine within the plant, which acts as an antihistamine in this case. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help in this regard.

Other Benefits of Stinging Nettles

While additional research is most certainly required, there’s also anecdotal evidence to suggest that the herb can be used to treat conditions like joint pain, urinary issues, hemorrhoids, insect bites, and to heal wounds as well, among others.

How to Use Stinging Nettles

Nettle tea is a great way to take the plant internally, and provides an enjoyable warm beverage to relax with at night. Likewise, there exist skin creams, capsules, and tablets which can also help you to incorporate its fantastic benefits into your life.

For those of you who feel more adventurous, you can cook the plant and use it in your meals, but we’d strongly suggest doing further research beforehand to ensure that you do this properly!

So, there you have it. Far from being just a run-of-the-mill pest, stinging nettles can actually provide fantastic health benefits at a very low cost. They’re well worth experimenting with if you feel that you could benefit from them, but always remember to consult a doctor before beginning to use any new medications!

The laws of meetings: How to maximise your business efficiency

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a large or small company; views on meetings are largely universal. They’re often overused, inefficient, and generally a waste of time.

Of course, there are plenty of exceptions, but in a nutshell, meeting dynamics across the world can be reformed.

Taking this into account, when it comes to your own company’s meetings, how should you approach matters? Should you go with the flow and “become one of them”, or should you challenge the norm and take matters into your own hands? Suffice to say, today’s post is on how to achieve the latter.

Tread carefully with recurrent meetings

The software companies gave themselves a huge pat on the back when they allowed recurrent meetings to be scheduled at the quick of a button. In truth, this is a worthwhile feature for many meetings – but not all.

After all, while you might build a case for a weekly performance meeting, many other recurrent ones aren’t perhaps needed.

Now, before you suggest that you can simply “play it by ear” and decide when you get to the meeting, this is one of the easiest mistakes to make. After all, by the time everyone has arrived and discussed the matter at hand, regardless of how briefly, valuable time has been eaten away.

The moral of the story? Carefully decide whether your recurrent meetings really need to be recurrent.

Get the agenda out there – and make it actionable

There’s nothing worse than being called into a meeting only to find that there is no structure or agenda. In these cases, it often leads to a free-for-all where people can talk about anything and everything, regardless of how important it actually is.

Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rule, but in general, an agenda is key. Not only does it give the meeting some much-needed structure, but it also allows you to assign actions to specific people. This, in turn, makes the meeting far more actionable and less of a time waster.

Stop people from going off on tangents

There’s always one person in every meeting that just can’t help themselves. They see the meeting as an opportunity to show off their knowledge, regardless of how relevant it is to the discussion.

While it’s important to allow some level of creativity, you also need to rein people in when they start to go off on tangents. After all, if everyone in the meeting starts to do this, it quickly descends into a free-for-all where nothing gets done.

Could a remote meeting do the trick?

It would be fair to say that we’re now well and truly in the age of remote meetings. Most of us are used to them now and like them due to how much time they can save us.

However, they don’t always work. This is particularly true if you want to impress new clients or perhaps need a whiteboarding session. In these instances, nothing quite beats the dynamics of a face-to-face affair. If you decide to go down this route, the obvious caveat is the knock-on effects. Whether booking that dreaded meeting room or ensuring your insurance obligations are up to scratch ahead of receiving external visitors, make sure you’re prepared for in-person meetings.

Keep it short and sweet

There’s no need to drag out meetings unnecessarily. If you can achieve everything you need to in 30 minutes, there’s no need to make it an hour-long affair.

How to Use Poker as a Mindfulness Practice

Most common mindfulness practices are fundamentally simple. Things like deep breathing, counted breaths, and short breaks and walks can help to calm us, clear our minds, and generate simultaneous states of relaxation and awareness. As much purpose as these small, simple practices have though, there are also some more involved activities that can assist with the development of greater mindfulness. And it may surprise some to learn that the game of poker is among them.

Gaming and Meditation

It is first important to understand that a link has been established between gaming and meditation in general. For a long time there were a lot of misconceptions about gaming as an active, almost violent practice meant solely for young people. But perceptions have changed over time. We now understand that people in all age groups play games of all kinds, and we further accept that a lot of these games have meditative qualities. Gamer testaments and a few scientific studies alike have indicated that the right game can have a soothing effect on one’s mental state.

This is the case with poker as well. A passion for many around the world, it’s a unique game that doesn’t necessarily fall under the umbrella of traditional “gaming” as we tend to think of the term. It is nonetheless similar with regard to mindfulness, however. Approached with intention, it can be a calming, almost meditative hobby for players.

Mental and Emotional Calm

When considering the game of poker specifically, one tends to think first of strategy, luck, and mathematics. In some sense, these are the building blocks of any given game of poker, and it will of course be important for any aspiring player to learn how they all factor in. However, what really helps successful players to win at poker is a sound mindset. The manifestation of a sound overall poker game requires that players learn to accept defeat and to avoid getting too high from a win. It demands reasonable approaches to betting and competition, clear-eyed social interaction, and the ability to operate without ego.

Add those factors up, and what success in poker really demands is mental and emotional calm. Players need skill and strategy to be sure, but above all else they need to be able to clear their minds of various pressures and shut out hasty impulses. This in and of itself is nearly a form of meditation, and certainly serves as a sort of training for mindfulness practice.

Focused Meditation

Beyond helping players to establish a general sense of mental and emotional calm, poker also leads to an ability to focus that, in its own way, is meditative. Generally, a focused meditation is described as the practice of focusing on something intently as a way of staying in the present moment and slowing down inner dialogue. It more or less means zeroing in on one subject to the exclusion of all else for the purpose of clearing one’s head — which is pretty much exactly what one has to do in poker! Even the slightest distraction can be a problem, and while the game demands a lot of attention it still makes for such narrow focus that one can clear one’s mind in a useful and soothing way.

Even given all of these benefits, poker does not comprise an entire mindfulness or meditation routine. For those interested in working on these aspects of personal wellness though, it’s always good to have one more option! Some will find this simple, popular card game to be legitimately beneficial.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our piece on how to boost your energy, especially useful as we enter a new year and search for fresh motivations!