Inhale the Rainbow
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Photo by Mathilde Langevin/Unsplash
Soul + Body, Breathe In

Inhale the Rainbow

An Autumn Breathing Exercise
Dominika Bok
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time 1 minute

This simple breathing exercise will help you relax and survive the monotonous autumn evenings.

Lie comfortably on your back – on a mat, a blanket on the floor, or

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A Craving for Cranberries
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Photo by liz west/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Good Food, Soul + Body

A Craving for Cranberries

Harness the Fruit’s Healing Power
Dominika Bok

There are two varieties of cranberry. There’s the bog cranberry, otherwise known as Vaccinium oxycoccos, which has smaller fruits (about ½ inch in size) and grows in northern and central Europe. Then there’s Vaccinium macrocarpon, which bears fruits as large as one inch in diameter. The latter is native to North America. Indigenous inhabitants applied cranberries to wounds because it speeds up the healing process. In Europe, the local variety is valued for its antiseptic, antioxidant, and medicinal properties, e.g., in urinary tract and bladder infections. It is also used as a supportive agent in cancer treatment and protects the cardiovascular system. The merits of cranberries are rather universally known, yet few choose their fresh fruit or make preserves. It’s a pity because dried, store-bought cranberries are usually sweetened, while ready-made juices contain very little fruit. It is better to prepare them yourself. It’s worth remembering, however, that when cooked, cranberries lose their antibacterial properties, whereas freezing them will retain their most important vitamins and ingredients but will lose their qi—i.e., the so-called “vital energy” of Chinese medicine. In order to benefit from the full advantage of the healing powers of cranberries, it’s best to make juice from the raw fruit. Due to their wax layer and natural benzoic and citric acid content, cranberries will keep for several months. To prevent them from withering, it is enough to submerge them in cold water with salt. Cranberries contain the aforementioned benzoic and citric acids, as well as gallic and quinic acids, vitamin C, provitamin A, anthocyanins, carotenoids, pectins, tannins, sugars, and mineral substances, including copper, molybdenum, manganese, and cobalt—even iodine. The bigger the fruits, the higher the content of active substances. Apart from juice, a very healthy concoction is a cranberry tincture made from ⅔ cup of fruit per approximately every ½ quart of forty percent alcohol. Add 3 cloves or several cardamom seeds if preferred. After three weeks, pour the resulting tinctured solution into a bottle. If you want a sweeter liqueur, add some honey or sugar syrup— ½ cup dissolved in  ½ cup of water. Take this strengthening elixir to prevent urinary tract infections in 2 teaspoon doses. It also helps with inflammation of the bladder and kidney, as well as blocking the growth of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria responsible for gastric and duodenal ulcers. Finally, an interesting fact—the North American species of our protagonist owes its name to sandhill cranes, whose shape resembles that of cranberry flowers. Our Polish cranes will fly away in October at the latest, but the medicine will stay with us for the winter.   Translated from the Polish by Adam Zdrodowski This translation was re-edited for context and accuracy on June 9, 2022

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