Eating Banana Peels Will Make You Extremely Healthy


by Dr. Paul Haider

1. Great for Depression – Did you know that ripe Banana Peels are great for depression? Banana Peels are packed full of serotonin which boost your mood and help you feel happy. Studies show that if you eat two Banana Peels a day for three days you have a net increase of 15% in your serotonin level – Wow!

2. Sleep Better – At the same time Banana Peels are full of lots of tryptophan that help you get a good nights rest.

3. Lower Cholesterol – And Banana Peels have more soluble and insoluble fiber than what you find in the banana it self, that means Banana Peels lower your cholesterol… thus helping to prevent cardiovascular disease, strokes, and cancer. Continue reading


Avocado Seed – Packed with health benefits

A Superfood Locked Within a Seedavocado

Eating a creamy slice or two of avocado a day will definitely keep the doctor away. This delicious fruit makes a great substitute for mayonnaise and butter.

If you are a regular Daily Superfood Love reader by now, you know that we have something of a love affair with the benefits of avocados it’s one of the best way to protect your cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation from arthritis, and rejuvenate your skin and hair.

But, did you know… that the seed of the avocado is one of the most nutritious and often thrown out parts of this superfood?

Before you say it, I know what you are thinking. How do you add avocado seed to your diet short of smashing it with a hammer?

The secret benefits of avocado seeds will surprise you. Historically, extracts of avocado seeds were used as ink for writing and as a food dye. A single avocado seed represents around 18% of the fruit and a waste issue for avocado processors. Continue reading

Back from too long a hiatus

It has been to long since I have added posts to the Verve.

During my hiatus I have been involved with many new & exciting things.

I have semi-retired from the 9-5 world. This has given me so much more time

to explore more of my passions.

Being said, cooking is one of them and film making / video making is another.

So, I have been putting in a lot of hours at BRIC ArTS MEdiA.

BRIC presents contemporary art, performing arts and community media programs that reflect Brooklyn’s creativity and diversity. BRIC also provides resources to launch, nurture and showcase artists and media makers. We advance access to and understanding of arts and media by presenting free and low-cost programming, and by offering education and other public programs to people of all ages.

I will have a portion of this blog dedicated to my work with videos / producing documentaries, interviews, food related videos,podcasts,  art & such.

So, please don’t be a stranger & visit often.



The Verve – pulse on life

Welcome to Verve the show with the pulse on community.

Produced by beryl benbow


vigor and spirit or enthusiasm.
synonyms: enthusiasm, vigor, energy, pep, dynamism, elan, vitality, vivacity, buoyancy, liveliness, animation, zest, sparkle, charisma, spirit, ebullience, exuberance, life, brio, gusto, eagerness, keenness, passion, zeal, relish, feeling, ardor, fire; More

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Homemade Cold Remedies

6 Cough remedies are easy to make and as effective as many store bought brands. Deals Natural expert Tamika Fletcher shares her favorite recipes.


Raw honey (Pure, Local honey works best)
Optional: Candy molds or parchment paper
Optional: Ginger, cinnamon , whiskey, vitamin C, lemon juice

Boil honey to 300 degrees. Drop on parchment paper or pour in molds. Let sit until hard.


1 cup raw honey

Chop 1 whole onion. Boil onion and 1 cup of honey for about 5 minutes. Strain the onions and take 1-2 tablespoons as needed.


Ginger tea
Half a lemon
Tablespoon of Jack Daniels
Optional cough drop for extra potency or peppermint pillow candy

For a kid friendly version substitute apple juice for tea and alcohol.


Boil ginger root
5 Dual Action Ricola

Boil in 2 cups of water with honey and lemon


Pour 2 ounces of almond or olive oil into a small bowl or cup. Add 20 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil. For a thicker consistency use solid coconut oil.

For more information visit

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Tilapia, Contains Potentially Dangerous Fatty Acid Combination

Popular Fish, Tilapia, Contains Potentially Dangerous Fatty Acid Combination

ScienceDaily (July 10, 2008) — Farm-raised tilapia, one of the most highly consumed fish in America, has very low levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and, perhaps worse, very high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, according to new research from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

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The researchers say the combination could be a potentially dangerous food source for some patients with heart disease, arthritis, asthma and other allergic and auto-immune diseases that are particularly vulnerable to an “exaggerated inflammatory response.” Inflammation is known to cause damage to blood vessels, the heart, lung and joint tissues, skin, and the digestive tract.

“In the United States, tilapia has shown the biggest gains in popularity among seafood, and this trend is expected to continue as consumption is projected to increase from 1.5 million tons in 2003 to 2.5 million tons by 2010,” write the Wake Forest researchers in an article published this month in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Continue reading

Cooking with Herbs

For many centuries, European and Asian societies used the concept of humoral medicine to explain health and wellness as the delicate balance between ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ spheres in the body. Disease was defined as an imbalance between these spheres, with associated excessive ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ conditions. Although modern evidence-based medicine has effectively replaced humoral medicine in the Western world, remnants of humoral medicine (pertaining to body fluids) and its practice remain alive and well in many parts of the developing world, including Trinidad.

In most instances ‘cooling’ is used traditionally as preventative medicine (prophylactic) to bring the ‘body back in balance’ in ‘hot’ conditions. ‘Hot’ diseases appear to be associated with fever, infectious skin manifestations (such as rash and ringworm) and inflammatory conditions such as hives. Traditionally, ‘hot’ states required ‘cooling’ treatments, which included medicinal plant preparations that supposedly restored the body’s balance. We hypothesized that humoral medicine was still being actively practised in rural Trinidadian communities and undertook to conduct an ethnobotanical survey to document the use of ‘cooling’ medicinal plants, as well as plants used for the treatment of fever, a ‘hot’ humoral state.

A survey was conducted in 50 rural communities to include 450 households by face-to-face interviews over the period October 2007 to July 2008. This was done as part of the larger Caribbean-wide TRAMIL (Traditional Medicine in the Islands) network. We restricted our survey to rural agrarian communities where we assumed that there would be a higher incidence of use of local herbal remedies from the garden or backyard and preservation of traditional knowledge.

A simple pilot-tested qualitative survey questionnaire was used to collect details, such as the plants being used, the part or parts being used, and forms in which remedies were made. Samples of live plant specimens were collected and placed in a plant press for preservation. These specimens were subsequently taken to the National Herbarium of Trinidad and Tobago where they were dried, identified and accessioned to be filed with the main collections. Global positioning system (GPS) coordinates were also collected at the interview sites to locate respondents and plant specimens.

Twenty households from each of the 50 communities were conveniently selected and the most knowledgeable person in the household was interviewed on the use of herbal medicines. In most instances, respondents were the eldest female in the household who was often responsible for the healthcare of the family. This is the first extensive ethnobotanical study done in Trinidad, and to our knowledge, the English-speaking Caribbean, that quantifies the extent of traditional use of medicinal plants as ‘cooling’ and for the treatment of fever in rural communities.

The survey found that 44 plant species belonging to 31 families were used for ‘cooling’ in 48 out of the 50 communities with 238 citations. Cat’s Claw, Verven, Candle Bush, Caraile and Shiny Bush accounted for a significant proportion of the citations (142 out of 238 or 40.9%). There were 109 citations for the treatment of fever from 41 out of 50 communities. A total of 28 plant species belonging to 19 families were identified, with Lemon Grass (Fever Grass) and Jackass-Bitters (sepi) accounting for 75 or 68.8 % of all citations.

These findings confirm that humoral medicine remains popular in rural communities throughout Trinidad.

The indigenous flora of Trinidad is mainly neotropical. However, during the colonial period, numerous plant species of economic and horticultural importance were introduced into the island, some of which become major plantation crops. It is therefore not surprising that almost half of the species found in this survey are also exotic species, such as Aloe vera or Citrus sp. It is uncertain to what extent the Amerindians’ use of the indigenous flora for medicine influenced the use of the indigenous species for medicine found on this survey by the transplanted population from mainly Africa and Asia. Albeit all the species are mainly common roadside weeds or forest species which are not threatened or endangered. It would be difficult to trace with certainty the routes whereby humoral medicine reached the island of Trinidad.

Although there are limited studies in humans to support the use of these plants as ‘cooling’ or any of the associated conditions, we conducted a review of published research to determine whether medicinal plants identified in our survey showed antibacterial properties and could be used to treat fever, pain and inflammation in laboratory and animal-based studies.

Although Macfedyena unguis-cati (Cat’s Claw) was the most commonly used plant for ‘cooling’ in Trinidad there is very little research done. In animal models for pain and inflammation an extract of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis (Verven) significantly reduced sensitivity to pain and experimentally-induced inflammation.

Senna alata (candlestick plant), native to tropical America, is commonly used to treat skin conditions such as fungal growth, pimples and ringworm. In Trinidad its use as ‘cooling’ in bush teas could be related to the preventative effects against skin conditions related to these ‘hot’ conditions. Human and laboratory studies support the traditional use of candlestick plant in the treatment of skin conditions caused by microbial organisms.

A study in humans demonstrated the effectiveness of ‘candlestick plant’ when applied directly to the skin as antifungal treatment for the flaky discoloured skin patches of pityriasis versicolor, caused by a yeast fungus. Other extracts of the bark of candlestick plant prevented the growth of the Candida albicans fungus, which causes thrush. It also prevented the growth of pus-forming bacteria responsible for triggering acne inflammation. These experiments were done in the laboratory.

In classical West Indian folkloric tradition a ‘purge’ is often given to ‘clean out the insides and purify the blood’ and to prevent the occurrence of disease which oftentimes manifest as ‘hot’ skin conditions. This purge often included bush teas which may include candlestick plant to cause diarrhea. A clinical study using people who complained of constipation for at least three days showed that a bush tea from candlestick plant produced significant relief after 24 hours.

Caraile (Momordica charantia) was also identified as a useful plant for ‘cooling’ in Trinidad and is traditionally used to treat skin conditions including rash, furuncles (boils) and hives. For skin conditions, the leaves are crushed and prepared as a poultice and applied directly to the skin; for preventative ‘cooling’ an infusion is used. Fevergrass was the most frequently cited plant in Trinidad for fever.

There is much laboratory and animal-based research to support the antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and related biological activities for most of the plants identified for ‘cooling’ and its associated indications. However, caution must be taken as most of this research was done in using laboratory experiments or animals which do not represent the ‘real’ situation in the human body. Clinical studies in humans must be done to determine whether these remedies are in fact safe and effective.

Our survey has identified medicinal plants for traditionally labeled conditions which could be partly explained by modern medical terminology. However, the preliminary support of laboratory and animal-based studies should be used as a platform from which clinical studies in humans could be done to determine the effectiveness and safety of herbal preparations used as ‘cooling’ and for fever. It is possible that these research efforts may provide alternative and/or complementary approaches for healthcare provision in the Caribbean.

Plant Species Common Name Traditional Use Citations for
traditional use
(frequency %)
Plant part(s) used Method of preparation
Macfadyena unguis-cati (L.) Cat’s claw ‘Cooling’ 41 (17.3) Vine Bush tea
Stachytarpheta jamaicensis (L.) Vahl Verven ‘Cooling’ 38 (16.0) Leaves Bush tea
Senna alata (L.) Roxb. Ringworm bush ‘Cooling’ 25 (10.6) Leaves, flower Bush tea
Momordica charantia L. Karaile ‘Cooling’ 22 (9.2) Leaves, vine Bush tea
Peperomia pellucida (L.) Kunth Shining bush ‘Cooling’ 16 (6.7) Whole plant, leaves Bush tea
Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf Fevergrass Fever 47 (43.1) Leaves, stem & roots Bush tea
Neurolaena lobata (L.) Cass. Zebapeek Fever 28 (25.7) Leaves Bush tea


This is an edited excerpt from a report on a survey done by Dr. Yuri Clement, Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Ms. Yasmin Baksh-Comeau and Mr. Rajesh Ragoo, Department of Life Sciences of The University of the West Indies, and Dr. Compton Seaforth, Herbal Institute, The University of Trinidad and Tobago. We acknowledge Mr. P. Mark, Ms. Alicia Halls, Mr. Steve Ramsaran (who conducted interviews and collected plant specimens) and Mr. Winston Johnson and Ms. Keisha Manaure of the National Herbarium of Trinidad and Tobago assigned scientific names, sorted and vouchered collected plant specimens. The report was presented at the International Year of Biodiversity Research Poster and Paper Symposium in November 2010, which was a collaborative event of The UWI and the Ministry of Housing and the Environment.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Herbals

Todd T. Brown, M.D, Ph.D. and Paul A. Pham, Pharm.D.

Trinidad and Tobago Specific Information

Trinidad and Tobago Information Author: Compton Seaforth, Ph.D.

                  Estimated prevalence of herbal use for diabetes in Trinidad ranked fifth — after herbal use for colds, cooling, hypertension and fevers based on ethnopharmacological survey from 2007-2008.

                  The following plants are commonly used to treat diabetes, based on survey of 30 adults in Trinidad from 1996-2006: Antigonon leptopus, Bidens alba, Bidens pilosa, Bixa orellana, Bontia daphnoides, Carica papaya, Catharanthus roseus, Cocos nucifera, Gomphrena globosa, Laportea aestuans, Momordica charantia, Morus alba, Phyllanthus urinaria and Spiranthes acaulis (Lans). Continue reading

The Health Benefits of Belgian Endive


Belgian endive was mistakenly discovered in the early 19th century by a man in Belgium who had forgotten he had left chicory roots in the dark warm cellar

Belgian endive was mistakenly discovered in the early 19th century by a man in Belgiumwho had forgotten he had left chicory roots in the dark warm cellar.  The chicory had sprouted fat, yellow leaves; the man tasted them and found they had a great deal of flavor thus he began growing them.    

Where is Belgian Endive Grown and How to Grow Belgian Endive?

Belgian endive can be grown just about anywhere; it grows quite well in California where the winters are mild and the climate is perfect to yield a nice crop of Belgian endive.  It is a cool weather green and is generally planted in the summer and then transplanted into wet sand and forced to sprout  during the cold months of the year.  

Belgian endive is grown in steps.  It begins by growing witloof chicory, by seed in the ground, in the middle of summer.  They should be thinned, weeded, and kept watered and grown until you are able to grasp them.  The chicory should be left in the ground through several frosts but dug up before the ground becomes too frozen.  The harvested plants should be placed in a box with a rich peat moss and left in a cool place until it is time to force the Belgian endive to grow.  To force the endive to grow the plants should be placed in pots of soil and then covered with sand or sawdust; the pots should be kept in an area that is between 50-60 degrees F to force the sprouts.  It generally takes two to three weeks to sprout the Belgian endive once they have been placed in the correct temperature to force the sprouting.  

Nutrients Found in Belgian Endive

Belgian endive is an excellent source for Vitamin A which is an essential vitamin to help with good eye health and vision and may protect the eyes from getting cataracts.  It is also a good source of folate, which is beneficial to pregnant women to help protect against birth defects.  Belgian endive is also high in Vitamin C which is an important vitamin in boosting the immune system and help fight off infections.  It is also a good source of calcium to help build strong teeth and bones.  Belgian endive is an excellent food to eat to help protect against heart related diseases as it is low in cholesterol and saturated fat.  It is also an excellent food to eat for dietary fiber which helps to maintain a healthy digestive system.

Healthy ways to Prepare Belgian Endive

Belgian endive can be served raw or cooked; certainly the most nutrients will be taken in if eaten raw by adding it to salads.  It has been used in stir fried meals as well as sautéed with chicken and mushrooms for a healthy and satisfying meal.  Belgian endive has a bit of a bitter taste that can be balanced by adding it to apples, beets, oranges, or grapefruit served with a dressing of choice.   

Health Benefits of Belgian Endive

Belgian endive is a good source of Vitamin E and in a Harvard Medical School publication states that Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to stabilize damaged molecules and is said that diets containing good sources of Vitamin E may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease as well as prostate cancer.

This is an excellent food to help lower and maintain the correct level of bad cholesterol which is beneficial for a healthy cardiovascular system. It is a very good source for folate which is beneficial in helping to protect against birth defects.  Belgian endive also contains a good amount of Vitamin C which is essential in having a strong and healthy immune system.  Because it is a good source of calcium, adding this food to your diet can help strengthen your bones and teeth.  Belgian endive is an excellent source for getting dietary fiber which is essential to keep a healthy digestive system and protect against constipation.  Belgian endive has been used medicinally to help dissolve kidney stones, has been used as a laxative, and is a natural diuretic.