Frankincense Oil Kills Cancer and Boosts Immunity

8 Feb

Get yourself some clarity with <b>Frankincense</b>

 

The gifts of the Magi – goldfrankincense, and myrrh – were carried a great distance specifically for the new King that their star-watching indicated. In the past, scholars and health researchers have mused and debated over them. Who were the Magi? What was the significance of the gifts? Were they for the infant Jesus or for a much bigger purpose?

In 2013, the University of Leicester conveniently published just before Christmas that has rekindled this theory. According to their press release, the Omani government-funded research has (for the first time) uncovered that frankincense has the ability to target cancer cells in late-stage ovarian cancer patients. And this all appeared to be due to AKBA (acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid).(1) According to lead researcher Kamla Al-Salmani,

“After a year of studying the AKBA compound with ovarian cancer cell lines in vitro, we have been able to show it is effective at killing the cancer cells. Frankincense is taken by many people with no known side effects. This finding has enormous potential to be taken to a clinical trial in the future and developed into an additional treatment for ovarian cancer.”

Boswellic Acid and Beta-Elemene

 

It has become glaringly obvious that boswellic acid (BA) is a compound fit to kill cancer cells, and researchers have tested frankincense essential oil to determine if it should role to play in oncology.

Although there is some debate whether or not BA is too large a compound to survive conventional essential oil filtration systems, there are studies in the literature that claim they are indeed part of frankincense oil; as we will see below. Subsequently, the jury is still out as to the exact mechanism(s) explaining why frankincense essential oil is so beneficial to cancer patients. However, advances in recent research suggest that Beta-elemene – a cancer fighting terpene found in frankincense and myrrh with the ability to cross the blood brain barrier – may be partly responsible.

As stated by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center,

“Beta-elemene is a compound found in plants such as celery, mint, and in many others used in traditional medicine. Although the pure form is not used as dietary supplement, some cancer patients use herbs high in beta-elemene as treatment. Beta-elemene was shown to prevent growth of cancer cells in laboratory cells by different mechanisms. A few poorly designed studies done in humans showed that it may improve quality of life in cancer patients. It is unclear if raw herbs containing beta-elemene have the same effects in humans. More research is needed.” (2)

Some even suggest that the amount of β-elemene that frankincense and myrrh contain could very well explain why so many people claim that both oils have been instrumental to them beating cancer God’s way. (3) At the end of the day, once we know the basic properties of an herb, root and resin we are able to determine the best ways to utilize it. Let’s take a closer look at what the components of frankincense mean for our daily lives…

Frankincense Cancer Research

Used because of its anti-inflammatory properties, the various Boswellia species have been a “go-to” or natural healers for centuries because of its ability to help with a myriad of health concerns like learning disorders, gastrointestinal dysfunction and skin conditions. New cancer research, has uncovered that the medicinal uses of frankincense can reach well beyond this.

While we do know that the various forms of frankincense (essential oils, extracts, pure resin, etc.) have the potential to fight cancer, much is left to be understood, making this a controversial topic in the natural health and research world.

Current research demonstrates anti-mutagenic and apoptotic (programmed cell death) abilities. Though the results have occurred in lab tests and we have yet to see how to best replicate these results in active cancer in humans, the demonstrated results remain. Researchers found that boswellic acids are “cytotoxic to ovarian cancer cells at pharmacologically achievable concentrations” and “may form the basis of a novel anticancer treatment for ovarian cancer, perhaps alongside conventional chemotherapy.” (4)

Studies continue to emerge, demonstrating similar effects on bladder (5), breast (6), colon (7), skin (8), stomach (9), and pancreatic cancers. (10)

For those who have added frankincense essential oil to their cancer care plan, the benefits may go beyond anti-tumor effects. Conventional treatment is often still required, but can be more painful and difficult than the symptoms of cancer itself. Brain cancer patients, for example, sometimes experience swelling in the head called cerebral edema after their tumors have been removed. Steroid treatment is common but also associated with difficult side effects and complications.

Frankincense, on the other hand, has shown remarkable effects against this particular problem. In 2011, a clinical trial evaluating 44 individuals monitored frankincense as a remedy for cerebral edema. In 60% of the patients, the swelling was reduced by 75% or more. The concluding remarks called for frankincense to be prescribed for cerebral edema in these circumstances, avoiding the struggles of steroid therapy. (11)

Overshadowed the past several hundred years by its role in the “Christmas Story,” frankincense is finally getting the attention it deserves as one of the most viable healing agents on the planet. The journal Oncology Letters published an article late last year that highlights the ability of this Biblical tree to kill cancer cells; specifically the MCF-7 and HS-1 cell lines, which cause breast and other tumors. (12) The essential oil has also been used with much success to treat issues related to digestion, the immune system, oral health, respiratory concerns and stress/anxiety.

Another promising property of frankincense is its potential to fight cancer. In several studies, frankincense has demonstrated anti-cancer properties and the ability to mitigate many different kinds of cancer cells. (13) As more studies are conducted, the implications of this ability will be exciting to watch unfold!

Arguably the most potent medicinal EO out there, recent research studies suggest that frankincense not only kills cancer cells, but it also promotes health and vitality in neighboring non-cancerous cells! To help prevent getting sick and boost your immune system, simply follow the advice below and take some frankincense with a carrier oil!

An Important Note

Essential oils are transdermal and work at the cellular level, and each species has distinct properties that can help cancer patients. Also, please recognize that specific species that a given company sells will NOT be addressed in this protocol, and we cannot correlate these data to species that your favorite brand(s) may cell. However, the chemical constituents in various species are so similar, that it is quite possible that all of the species will contain similar properties. 

Also, let’s remember peer-reviewed articles discuss the success clinical researchers have experienced in using various essentials oils to prevent, stop and even reverse the growth of various cancer lines in animal and human cell studies. It is important to keep in mind that a vast majority of these studies are based off of cells in a petri dish. Subsequently, many experts and critics of using essential oils for cancer therapy insist that we cannot extrapolate the data from these studies to live, in vivo cancer patients. Even though there is merit to what these people say, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. The burden of proof is on the critic in this case. Thousands of thousands of testimonials and case studies alone should awaken us to the realization that Essential Oils can be quite effective in helping people prevent and treat cancer. 

Health Benefits of Frankincense Essential Oil | Organic Facts

REO Foundation & H.K. Lin, PhD

In addition to being an Associate Professor Department of Urology (University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center), Dr. Lin is quickly becoming the essential oil research guru of the 21st century. He’s actually a pretty big deal. His research on frankincense essential oil is unparalleled and he’s been able to uncover some pretty profound findings such as:

  • Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia carteri induces bladder tumor cell and Boswellia sacra does the same with breast cancer cells; meaning that they target cancerous cells by killing them and leave the healthy cells alone.
  • Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia sacra represses signaling pathways and cell cycle regulators that have been proposed as therapeutic targets for cancer.
  • Suppression of cellular network formation and disruption of spheroid development of cancer cells, suggests that frankincense oil derived from Boswellia sacra may be effective for advanced breast cancers as well as for cancer prevention.

Having already published several articles supporting the cancer-fighting characteristics of essential oils, Dr. Lin has set out to change the course of healthcare by developing scientific evidence to support the use of essential oils to fight cancer and other diseases. He has started a non-profit organization named REO Foundation with the help of President Julie Dahl and a team of volunteers and, because government grant monies are not focused on supporting “alternative” therapies, Dr. Lin’s vision is to raise $25 million dollars to build a center to help his team conduct more life-saving research.

More Than Just Cancer

People who have added Boswellia into their natural health cancer care plan may find themselves experiencing double-benefits from this miracle essential oil.

For many cancer patients, there’s a time when the treatment becomes worse than the cancer itself. It is as this point that quality of life and symptom suppression is the focal point for many diagnosed with this deadly disease. Debilitating in-and-of itself, these cancer treatment side effect can make having cancer absolutely miserable.

Take, for instance, brain cancer patients who experience cerebral edema (swelling in the head) after having their tumors irradiated. Typically, these people are treated with dexamethasone and other corticosteroids to control the swelling, but this is done at a great cost because the deadly complications of steroids are limitless. Unfortunately, these people suffer toxic overload from the drugs that are supposed to help them in the first place and get headaches, migraines, and may even deal with blurred vision because of the steroid treatments.

Thankfully, frankincense offers a natural, viable solution to this horrible issue. Back in 2011, the journal Cancer published the results of a 44 person clinical trial evaluating how brain edema fared in brain cancer patients that were randomly assigned to radiotherapy. Astoundingly, 60% of the patients displayed 75% reduction or greater in cerebral swelling after being treated with 4200 mg/day of frankincense! These results are so significant that scientists are urging the medical community to consider prescribing this potent essential oil instead of steroids for cancer patients assigned to radiotherapy.

We hope this spreads like wildfire within cancer treatment circles. Who knows what could happen if more people utilized this approach. As we’ve seen above, if Boswellia serrata can kill cancer cells and prevent tumors from growing, the sky’s the limit for folks who follow natural health guidelines.

Frankincense and Immune Function

A growing body of research has recently unlocked the doors to our understanding of why frankincense is so beneficial to our health. In a study published by Phytotherapy Research, for instance, when mice took 1-10 mg of Boswellia serrata orally it was discovered that multiple levels of their immune systems were stimulated including:

  • Cytokines (interferon gamma, interleukin-4, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha)
  • Delayed hypersensitivity reaction (early 24 hours, delayed 48 hours)
  • Immunoglobulins (IgG and IgM)
  • T-cell interactions (i.e. CD4/CD8, which are generally low in AIDS patients)

In layman’s terms, frankincense can boost the immune system like no other! Two fundamental ways this is accomplished is by proliferating lymphocytes (white blood cells, which are the body’s primary defense team) and by keeping inflammation at bay (which is arguably the primary risk factor for most chronic diseases). This may also explain why Boswellia serrata is so effective in treating autoimmune conditions like bronchial asthma, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis.

Implement frankincense into your natural health regimen today. The essential oil can be used in vaporizers with ease to treat respiratory conditions. A salve is effective for skin issues. And, an all-natural, organic supplement is fantastic for everything in between!

Recommendations

To help boost immunity and as a cancer prevention technique:

To address tumor and malignant growths consider:

 

Morning Immune Booster

Add 1 drop of frankincense to a tsp of honey, maple syrup, or coconut oil. Take first thing in the morning. You can also add 1 drop to 4 oz of water and drink.
Dr Eric Z

10 Essential Oils for Healing

29 Jan

Essential oils are extracted directly from the bark, flower fruit, leaves, nut, resin or root of a plant or tree, and just one drop can provide the amazing health benefits that each oil provides. Used medicinally for thousands of years, the potency behind these oils is their ability to support your natural healing systems.

Essential oils are comprised of a complex network of molecules that each carry different effects to the body. Scientists can analyze the structure of an essential oil using gas chromatography/mass spectronomy (GC/MS) methods that reveal each molecular component.

Their power to heal and cure disease is so effective that, under the supervision of a natural health expert and herbalist, you’ll be able to avoid the need to use a plethora of drugs or have various types of surgeries.

Dr-Eric-Z-Essential-Oil-Database.fw_

 

History of Essential Oils

 

Truth be told, essential oils as we know them today are very new on the scene of plant-based therapies. To be fair, ancient civilizations did employ crude distillations techniques, but the essential oils that were extracted centuries ago were a far cry from the potent, filtered, and pure compounds that we see on the market currently. The same is true with extracts, salves and poultices that were made from healing plants. They all contained essential oils and were, thus, very effective at preventing and managing disease. However, they definitely lacked the medicinal strength of oils that we use today.

Be that as it may, a vital component of ancient culture spanning at least 3,000 years, it appears that essential oils were enjoyed by those in ancient Cyprus, Egypt and Pompeii who first made extensive use of herbs with distillation methods dating back 3,500 B.C. This wisdom sailed across the Mediterranean and evidently reached Hippocrates, who utilized aromatherapy to enhance massage techniques a few centuries before the coming of Christ. Somewhere in the midst of this knowledge transfer, China and India also started to employ herbal remedies, and Ayurvedic medicine embraced essential oils extensively.

As civilizations transferred world power, the essential oil techniques from Greece travelled to Rome, who favored aromatherapy and fragrances. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Persia picked up these healing techniques and perfected the essential oil distillation process.

Sadly, the Dark Ages brought with it a disdain for Hippocrates’ holistic approach. However, because the Catholic Church viewed bathing as sin, high esteem was given to aromatics – which coincidently are also antibacterial – to keep foul odor at bay. Little did they know that their perfume was also helping stave off sickness and disease! During this era, it is believed that Monks continued the healing tradition of essential oils and secretly kept herbal medicine alive in the halls of their monasteries. Unfortunately, folk medicine was viewed as “witchcraft,” and many herbalists were either burned at the stake or persecuted. Thankfully, the Renaissance resurrected herbal medicine, and physicians such as Paracelsus challenged his medical colleagues with testimonials of successful treating life-threatening concerns like leprosy.

Modern Era

What we know as modern “aromatherapy” was not introduced formally until French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse first coined the phrase in 1937. Although he wasn’t necessarily a natural health advocate, he became interested in essential oils after a 1910 accident where he badly burned his hand, and used the first available salve in his laboratory: a pure, undiluted lavender oil compound that not only immediately eased the pain, but healed his injury without infection or scar. Because of Gattefosse’s work, Dr. Jean Valet used essential oils to treat injured soldiers in the second world war, and this led to Marguerite Maury being the first person to “individually prescribe” essential oil combinations using a Tibetan technique for back massage that treated nerve endings along the spine. Since then, essential oils have become a staple in alternative medicine across the world.

10 Essential Oils for Healing

The list is long, but after careful research Dr. Eric Z narrowed the top 10 essential oils for healing.

1. Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata)

Clove essential oil is commonly used as an antiseptic for oral infections and to kill a wide spectrum of microbes to keep disease at bay. To evaluate the effectiveness clove has as an antimicrobial agent, researchers from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, took a look at which bacteria are most sensitive to clove’s potency. According to their study, clove has the greatest anti-microbial ability over E. coli and also exerted considerable control over Staph aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, two bacteria that oftentimes lead to pneumonia and skin infections.

2. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Globulus)

Used copiously by the Aborigines for most maladies in their villages, eucalyptus is a potent antibacterial, antispasmodic, and antiviral agent. Like clove essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil has a profound effect over Staph infections. Quite amazingly, recent research from VIT University in India showed (real-time) that when Staph aureus comes into contact with eucalyptus oil, the deadly bacterial completely lost viability within just 15 minutes of interaction!

3. Frankincense (Boswellia Carteri)

Overshadowed the past several hundred years by its role in the “Christmas Story,” frankincense is finally getting the attention it deserves as one of the most viable healing agents on the planet. The journal Oncology Letters published an article late last year that highlights the ability of this Biblical tree to kill cancer cells; specifically the MCF-7 and HS-1 cell lines, which cause breast and other tumors.  Frankincense essential oil has also been used with much success to treat issues related to digestion, the immune system, oral health, respiratory concerns and stress/anxiety.

4. Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia)

Well-known for its soothing, calming properties, lavender is wonderful for accelerating healing time for burns, cuts, stings, and other wounds. It is jam-packed with antioxidant power, which is why researchers from Tunisia evaluated its ability to treat diabetes and oxidative stress in rats. Published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease, the article tells us that lavender essential oils “significantly protected against the increase of blood glucose as well as the decrease of antioxidant enzyme activities.” Ultimately, scientists discovered that lavender essential oil treatment helped induce a decrease in oxidative stress, which is known to cause heart disease and a slew of other health concerns, as well as increase antioxidant enzyme activities.

Can this be the new diabetes and heart disease treatment? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, it’ll be fun to watch the research come out on this topic!

5. Lemon (Citrus limon)

Various citrus essential oils are widely used to stimulate lymph drainage, to rejuvenate sluggish, dull skin and as a bug repellant. Lemon oil stands out, however, as research has recently discovered that it carries useful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.  Lemon, along with a number of other widely used oils, is now being praised for its ability to combat food-born pathogens!

6. Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Several research studies have demonstrated the improving effect on performance, changes in blood count, antibacterial, anti-fungal and immunomodulating abilities of oregano oil. It’s actually quite amazing – the health benefits of oregano seem limitless. To give you a sample of its wide-spread potency, WebMD reports,

Oregano is used for respiratory tract disorders such as coughs, asthma, croup, and bronchitis. It is also used for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as heartburn and bloating. Other uses include treating menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis, urinary tract disorders including urinary tract infections (UTIs), headaches, and heart conditions. The oil of oregano is taken by mouth for intestinal parasites, allergies, sinus pain, arthritis, cold and flu, swine flu, earaches, and fatigue. It is applied to the skin for skin  conditions including  acne,  athlete’s  foot,  oily skin, dandruff, canker sores, warts, ringworm, rosacea, and psoriasis; as well as for insect and spider bites, gum disease, toothaches, muscle pain, and varicose veins. Oregano oil is also used topically as an insect repellent. 

7. Peppermint (Mentha Piperita)

Pleasantly suitable for an abundance of oral and topical uses, peppermint may be the most versatile essential oil in the world. Literally, there are few issues that it can’t help. Possibly the most fascinating aspect of peppermint is that recent research suggests that it is literally antibiotic resistant. According to an article published in the journal Phytomedicine in 2013, “Reduced usage of antibiotics could be employed as a treatment strategy to decrease the adverse effects and possibly to reverse the beta-lactam antibiotic resistance,” due to the powerful effects of peppermint oil.

This is absolutely groundbreaking because antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been a major cause of concern for many Americans who are simply ruining their health by taking too many of these dangerous drugs. Can you imagine a world where your doctor prescribes peppermint essential oil for the common cold and flu instead of antibiotics? We can! And we hope that more research like this reaches mainstream media to get the word out!

8. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

One amazing healing effect of rosemary that many people are unaware of is its ability to normalize blood pressure. Used for centuries to improve everything from memory and brain function to relieving common aches and pains, rosemary even has a history of stimulating hair growth. But most people don’t think of rosemary mimicking their blood pressure pills!

In one of the few human studies evaluating this phenomenon, researchers from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid took 32 hypotensive patients and measured how their dangerously low blood pressure fared under rosemary essential oil treatments for 72 weeks. The results? Simply astounding! In addition to observing that rosemary could raise blood pressure to normal limits in a vast majority of the volunteers, it was discovered that overall mental and physical quality of life was drastically improved, which highlights the far-reaching healing effects that this ancient oil has on health and wellness.

9. Sandalwood (Santalum album)

Oftentimes used to soothe and heal sore throats, sandalwood is a gentle bactericide that is more potent than most give it credit for. According to research published last year, sandalwood essential oil also has an uncanny ability to inhibit both tyrosinase and cholinesterase, which affects several physiological processes from melanin production to proper nervous system function. The results were so significant that scientists concluded that, “There is a great potential of [sandalwood] essential oil for use in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease!”

10. Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Last, but certainly not least, tea tree is a wound healer with a rich history of use as a local antiseptic for burns and cuts as well to treat a wide spectrum of bacterial and fungal infections (including athletes foot and jock itch). Known in the science community as “volatile” because of its sheer power in killing microbes, a study was actually conducted to determine whether it could be damage your DNA. Don’t worry, thousands of years of use wasn’t done in vain. According to the study published in The Journal of Ethnopharmacology, researchers finally put this criticism to rest last year by proving that tea tree oil is not toxic and is completely safe for use.

The way I see it, if an essential oil is so powerful that scientists need to test if it can cause damage to your genes, it has got to be doing something that is turning heads! And it’s not just tea tree oil. All of these oils are super-healers and should be in medicine cabinets all over the world.

Uses & Applications

Because they are so potent, you must also dilute essential oils in one way or another. The following are some common ways to use them appropriately:

  • Baths: 10 drops mixed with 1 cup of salt makes a fantastic aromatherapy for circulatory, muscular, respiratory, skin and sleep problems in addition to calming your nerves. Generally, it is advisable to avoid potent oils that could irritate the skin such as lemon, oregano or tea tree; instead, use soothing oils like eucalyptus, lavender, and sandalwood.
  • Compresses: 5 drops per 4 oz. of water. Soak cloth and apply for bruises, infections, aches and pains.
  • Inhalations: 5 drops in a diffuser or in hot water for sinus or headache relief.
  • Salves: A 2.5% dilution is recommended, which is 10 drops per 1 ounce of oil, for relaxation and to alleviate joint/muscle soreness.

Dr. Eric Z

11 Tips for Improving Your Digestive Health

28 Jan

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The digestive system is crucial to good health and if we want to stay healthy in the long term, we need to focus on our current digestive state. But if your digestive system could do with a little tweaking, then it’s important to assess what’s happening so you know how to improve digestion. This is possible with the right know how…

  1. Limit high sugar fruits and stick to dark skinned fruits. Fruits such as bananas and pineapples are high in sugar and this can trigger inflammation especially during the digestive process.
  2. Avoid all grains, cereals, potatoes and high sugar root vegetables such as parsnips. All of these convert into sugar in the bloodstream and can promote inflammation within the body.
  3. Never eat meats with the above carbs, or processed smoked meats. These type of ‘foods’ are carcinogenic and acid forming within the body.
  4. Avoid fried and burnt foods and vegetables as these can be carcinogenic in the body. They also promote inflammatory processes and make the digestive process much more difficult.
  5. Never eat hydrogenated fats or fats cooked at high temperatures. These fats are difficult to digest in the system for even if they taste good, they can play havoc with your digestive processes.
  6. Take a probiotic. Healthy probiotics can improve your digestive system and the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream. By breaking down fats and lactose, it can improve the immune system.
  7. Eat a diverse array of foods including nuts. Nuts may be helpful to digestion as as they contain Omega 3’s. This can be found in almonds and walnuts as these are high in fiber and can improve the digestive process. It’s recommended to eat a wide variety of foods as this ensures a steady supply of nutrients within the diet.
  8. Choose oily fish. Salmon, trout and tuna are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and this is vital for improving the digestive system. Omega 3 fatty acids also serve many important functions within the body and these include brain function, improved bowel movements and reduced inflammation in the digestive tract.
  9. Get your Fiber from Vegetables or Legumes. Foods high in insoluble fiber can make it easier for the body’s digestive processes to kick=start into action. It’s important to get a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber as this adds bulk to your stool. When you focus on getting enough dietary fiber, you will notice that the elimination process runs more smoothly too.
  10. Chew your food thoroughly. When you chew your food slowly you will make the digestive process easier. Chewing is really the first stage of the digestive process and helps with the absorption of nutrients into the body.
  11. Try Enzymes. Proteolytic enzymes such as Serrapeptase in the form of can help to support the digestive process while certain herbs and enzymes can support normal digestive tract health.

The key to improve your digestive health is to take the above nutrients on a regular basis alongside following a healthy diet and lifestyle for best results.

Vitamin D Could Help to Prevent Shortsightedness in Children

25 Jan

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Many children and young people are affected by myopia or shortsightedness. The condition has more than doubled in the West over the past 50 years. Researchers from Ulster University have discovered that environmental factors may be involved such as the time children spend playing outdoors.

Researchers suggest that the effect of outdoor light on the eyes could be involved but there is also a need to factor in the less time spent outdoors with a higher chance of developing myopia. Being outside in the light can affect Vitamin D and hormones while being outside in the light can change these levels within the body.

The data looked at more than 1,000 children over six years and this brought about crucial information as to how children’s eyes are growing and changing in the 21st century.

The Northern Ireland Childhood Errors of Refraction (NICER) study was jointly funded by the College of Optometrists and Ulster University and published in PLOS One.

Optometrists agree that the research can provide crucial information that early intervention will slow down the further increases in myopia. The tests in children showed those who were most at risk of myopia.

What are the causes of poor eyesight in children?

One of the biggest causes of poor eyesight and children needing glasses is created in pregnancy. Studies show that the mother’s diet plays a crucial role in the developing fetus and it is created by the mother eating a high starch diet (grains, cereals, breads, potatoes, pasta etc) that can increase the blood glucose levels to dangerous levels.

Eating the Standard Western diet that includes many starches, high sugary foods and other processed junk can all contribute towards inflammation in the body, including the eyes. A lack of essential nutrients within your diet and making poor lifestyle choices can also increase inflammation and exacerbate eye diseases, increasing the risk of developing conditions such as myopia.

The importance of Vitamin D in your diet for good eye health can not be underplayed. Vitamin D also plays an essential role in supporting the immune system, healthy hormonal balance and normal cell production. Vitamin D3 is a nutrient that can support eye health and even prevent it from deteriorating according to various studies.

A recent study published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases discovered that vitamin D deficiency is strongly associated with dry eye and its severity.

Dry eye is a common condition in which the eyes do not have adequate moisture. Symptoms of dry eye typically include discomfort, stinging, redness and fatigue in the eyes, along with blurred vision and sensitivity to light. The etiology of dry eye is complex, but research suggests that inflammatory factors play a key role.

Researchers recently hypothesized that vitamin D plays a role in dry eyes due to its anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, researchers have proposed that vitamin D may help prevent dry eyes by inducing cathelicidin, an anti-microbial protein that can be produced by cells in the eyes and heal eye wounds.

In order to test this hypothesis, researchers recently compared the prevalence and symptom severity of dry eyes between 50 vitamin D deficient (levels less than 20 ng/ml or 50 nmol/l) women and 48 vitamin D sufficient (levels greater than or equal to 20 ng/ml or 50 nmol/l) women. The researchers only included pre-menopausal women, since postmenopausal hormonal changes have been found to be associated with dry eye.

The researchers used three different tests to diagnose dry eyes: Schirmer’s test, tear break-up time test (TBUT) and ocular surface disease index (OSDI). They also evaluated the functional status, pain severity and fatigue severity of the women by using the Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), Visual analogue scale-pain (VAS-pain) and the Fatigue severity scale (FSS), respectively.

Here is what the researchers found:

  • The average vitamin D levels were 13.45 ng/ml (33.63 nmol/l) and 47.64 ng/ml (119 nmol/l) of vitamin D deficient women and vitamin D sufficient women, respectively.
  • 52% of the vitamin D deficient women had dry eyes according to Schirmer’s test compared to only 4% of the controls (p = 0.001).
  • 74% of the vitamin D deficient women had dry eyes according to TBUT scores compared to 12% of the controls (p = 0.001).
  • 70% of the vitamin D deficient women had dry eyes according to OSDI compared to 19% of the controls (p = 0.003).
  • VAS-pain, HAQ and FSS scores were higher in the vitamin D deficient group than the control group (p < 0.005), indicating that those considered vitamin D deficient experienced increased pain, fatigue and functional impairment of the eye.

The researchers summarized the findings of the study,

“To our knowledge, our study is the first to demonstrate the association between dry eye and clinical parameters of hypovitaminosis D such as fatigue, functional impairment and pain.”

They went on to state the implications of their study,

“We are of the opinion that vitamin D plays a protective role in the development of dry eye, probably by enhancing tear film parameters and reducing ocular surface inflammation…Vitamin D supplementation may be useful for dry eye symptoms, including ocular discomfort, soreness, redness, ocular fatigue, sensitivity to light and blurred vision.”

As always, it’s important to critically evaluate the study. The primary limitation was the small sample size. The sample population was limited to pre-menopausal women, which limits the study’s generalizability. In addition, the study followed a case-control design, meaning that it was not capable of proving causality. Therefore, larger clinical trials are warranted.

However, it seems possible that if you keep your vitamin D level around 50 ng/ml (125 nmol/L), it is much less likely you will be bothered by dry eye.

Citation of article

Tovey, A. & Cannell, J. New study suggests vitamin D deficiency is related to dry eye. The Vitamin D Council Blog & Newsletter, 2015.

Robert Redern

5 Essential Winter Health Tips

15 Jan

5 Essential Winter Health Tips

Winter brings with it a unique set of health challenges. From dry, cracked skin and chapped lips to colds and flu and seasonal “blues,” there’s a lot to deal with this time of year. Fortunately, there are several winter health tips that can help you and your family stay healthy this season—and year round.

Winter Health Tip #1: Don’t Let Dry Winter Air Get You Down

One common winter problem is harsh, dry air. It can lead to cracked lips, parched skin, and dry sinuses and mucous membranes. Humidifiers can certainly help. Just make sure you clean them often, as water reservoirs and filters are breeding grounds for mold and bacteria. A good lip balm and moisturizer are also beneficial, and omega-3 fatty acid supplements (at least 1,000 mg DHA/EPA per day) have been shown to improve dry and sensitive skin.

Another winter health tip? Drink plenty of water and other fluids to stay hydrated, and use a saline or xylitol nasal spray to keep passages moistened and flush out allergens and pathogens.

Winter Health Tip #2: Say No to “SAD”

Other common winter problems my patients and readers regularly bring up are depression, fatigue, weight gain, and decreased desire to exercise. There’s an explanation for this. Human beings and other animals thrive on sunlight, and wintertime light deprivation can have serious repercussions. You may be familiar with seasonal affective disorder (SAD): depression that appears only in winter and is cured with exposure to bright light. There is another less obvious but far more significant consequence of inadequate exposure to sunlight—vitamin D deficiency—which is an underlying factor in conditions as diverse as osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, and cancer.

Fortunately, the “winter blues” respond extremely well to supplemental vitamin D3. Take enough to bring your blood level up into the 50–80 ng/mL range. For most people this requires about 2,000–5,000 IU of vitamin D per day. It will boost your mood, bolster your immune system, and help you stay healthy all winter long.

Winter Health Tip #3: Stay Active

Though you may feel like cozying up and hibernating for the winter, don’t do it. It’s imperative that you get active if you want to stay healthy during this time of year. A multitude of studies—and personal experience—have underscored the fact that people who are physically active are healthier, happier, and sharper than those who are sedentary. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do it! I understand exercise can be difficult with the cold weather and short, dark days. However, don’t use that as an excuse. You just have to be creative.

You can still exercise outdoors, but aim for the daylight hours and dress warmly in layers. Look into local health clubs, indoor public pools, and yoga, Pilates, and dance classes. Consider walking in malls or other indoor areas. You can also do indoor exercise at home. Check online or at your local library for exercise videos or tutorials, and rather than purchasing high-powered equipment, get some inexpensive hand weights, a jump rope, an exercise ball, or a mini-trampoline. If you can get in just three or four 30-minute sessions a week, I guarantee you’ll get through this winter with less stress, more energy, a sunnier mood, and better overall health.

Winter Health Tip #4: Take Immune-Boosting Supplements

Here’s another helpful winter wellness tip for you. Remember that for sidestepping seasonal infections, the best defense is a good offense. To ensure you stay healthy this season, shore up your nutritional foundation. Start with a broad-spectrum multivitamin to fill in any nutritional gaps in your diet. Next, focus on supplements that help boost your immune system. A strong immune system starts in your gut. Taking a high-quality probiotic daily will help crowd out bad bacteria and populate your digestive tract with beneficial flora. Other proven immune enhancers include vitamin D (see dosage above), zinc (30–50 mg daily in supplement form or 12 mg in lozenge form dissolved in the mouth every two to three hours), and vitamin C (a minimum of 1,000 mg per day).

Winter Health Tip #5: Clean Up Indoor Air

The final winter problem I want to discuss is a subtle one, but it affects many of us, and it stems from being cooped up indoors all day. If you’re going to stay healthy spending all that time inside, you’ll need to clean up your indoor air. Believe it or not, household plants make wonderful natural air purifiers. Their leaves absorb airborne toxins and impurities and transfer them to the soil where they are broken down. Some of the most “cleansing” plants include philodendrons, aloe vera, Chinese evergreen, and English ivy.

I also recommend air purifiers or air treatment systems with HEPA filters, especially if you have allergies or are prone to respiratory infections. In addition to removing particulate matter like soot, smoke, dust, pollen, and pet dander, a good purification system should include a carbon filter to help soak up chemicals and other gasses made up of fine particles. The best systems also incorporate ultraviolet light to kill airborne pathogens and other bacteria.

Share Your Winter Wellness Tips!

I hope these five winter health tips will help you and your family stay healthy this season. If you have winter wellness tips of your own, please share them.

Now it’s your turn: What are you and your family doing to stay healthy this winter?

Dr. Whitaker

5 New Healthy Breakfast Rules for 2016

13 Jan

breakfast

 

Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day and it’s integral to set yourself up right so you can feel your best both emotionally and physically. A healthy breakfast can make the world of difference to how you feel and give you the energy and sustenance you need to get through the day.

Below are some tips to help you get the most from your breakfasts…

    1. Look at the nutritional value of foods. Certain foods such as oatmeal (porridge) can help you to feel fuller for longer so you don’t feel as hungry. While other foods such as starchy carbs (like toast, cereal, etc) will not fill you up in the same way and may leave you craving even more of these same foods. A balanced breakfast will include a source of good fat such as avocado, nuts or a protein source like oily fish. Smoothies with chia seeds added in or hot cereal and coconut oil are also excellent sources of protein.
    2. Choose to eat more at breakfast time. Eating a bigger meal at breakfast can help you to feel fuller for longer. Choosing a healthy            protein source is recommended as it can prevent you from snacking on the wrong things later on.
    3. Explore new recipe ideas. There is a world of recipes out there waiting to be discovered so it’s up to you to go out and find them! Breakfast inspiration comes in many shapes and forms from smoothies to oatmeal, nuts, seeds and much more. Check places such as Pinterest and Instagram for recipe ideas, or consult recipe sites like Really Healthy Foods.
    4. Prepare food in advance. This can make it easy to have healthy breakfasts, especially if you are always on the go and live a very active lifestyle. Prepare fresh fruit and nuts/seeds, make your own oatmeal and save in a container or have some apple slices and high-protein nut butter readily available so you can snack on these should you be feeling hungry. Preparing food in advance is ideal if you are work a lot or aren’t around to enjoy a simple and healthy breakfast at home.
    5. Discover unusual ingredients. There are so many foods waiting to be discovered, so take the time to explore and find new and exciting ingredients such as chia, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, amaranth and tahini among others. You may be able to find many healthy and nutritious alternatives to some of your favorite dishes that will keep you satiated.

Robert Redfern

 

6 Ways to Achieve Optimal Health

11 Jan

arms wide

Chronic disease is an epidemic and the number of cases is growing, despite any advances within medical technology. Yet research is showing that fundamentally, following the right nutrition, forming good lifestyle habits and monitoring your environmental exposure can have an enormous impact on your health. In the long term it can also play a key role in preventing diabetes, cancer, dementia, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and even accelerated aging.

Our environments plays an important role in influencing our genetic disposition however, by around 80% and is a concept known as “epigenetics”. Each of our everyday choices have an impact on our health and these include diet, sleep, exercise, supplementation and exposure to environmental toxins. The purpose of functional medicine is to study these effects at a cellular level while incorporating the latest within genetic science and systems biology to determine how environmental and lifestyle factors affect the emergence and progression and of the disease.

The 80% window that you can control through lifestyle factors is therefore worth investigating if you want to improve your health in the long term. Below are the six factors worth considering if you want to stay healthy…

 

    1. Nutrition. One of the core elements of good health is good nutrition. A diet that’s rich in fresh and natural foods that includes a wide array of colorful fruits and vegetables, along with a source of lean protein is ideal. Drinking water can help to prevent dehydration and is good for cellular function.
    2. Supplements. Getting a balance of essential oils such as Omega 3 and 6 found in Krill Oil or Hemp Seed Oil. Two good choices are from Good Health Naturally. Taking an optimal amount of Vitamin D3/K2 along with a phyto-nutrient supplement can help to enhance nutrition and any chronic illness can be improved with short term use of high dose intravenous nutrient therapy to “jump start” any cells that are relatively dysfunctional and/or nutrient depleted.
    3. Exercise. Strength training and cardiovascular exercise can benefit our immune system, endocrine, heart, metabolic and respiratory health. While cognitive ability, moods and our overall sense of well-being can all benefit from regular exercise. Try rebounding on a mini trampoline or walking at a brisk and steady pace for 30 minutes daily for best result.
    4. Inflammation. Reducing your levels of inflammation through regular diet, exercise, sleep and taking care of your mind-body-health will all reduce your chances of advanced aging and chronic illness. Consuming sugars and starches are a major source of inflammation and are best avoided. Taking anti-inflammatory substances on a regular basis can help.  Examples of these natural anti-inflammatory substances include curcumin and fish oil.
    5. Sleep. Poor sleep can lead to stress and this has been linked to hormonal problems, increased inflammation, gastric problems and advanced aging. There are a variety of techniques that can be used to improve sleep and these include behavioral techniques, natural supplements and even electrotherapy devices. 5-HTP, Melatonin and Valerian Root can all help with this process.
    6. Emotional Health. 50% of chronic ailments are thought to be caused by anxiety and depression. They are silent killers and many people live with severe stress, anxiety and depression on a daily basis and don’t know how to cope. Taking care of your mental and emotional issues by talking to a friend or relative, doing therapy or counseling can all benefit you emotionally and are worth pursuing.

Robert Redfern

11 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

6 Jan

The immune system is incredibly complex, but supporting it doesn’t have to be!

A lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise goes a long way in supporting this intricate system. To compliment those, here are 12 more ways to boost your immune system.

1. Reduce simple sugars

Simple sugars (think sweets/desserts), including table sugar, jam, jelly, syrup, molasses, corn syrup and artificial sugars impair the immune system for 5 hours after consumption. If you eat sugary breakfast cereal in the morning, drink soda or juice at lunch and eat a dessert after dinner, your immune system will be impaired most of the day.

“Oral 100-g portions of carbohydrate from glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, or orange juice all significantly decreased the capacity of neutrophils to engulf bacteria as measured by the slide technique. Starch ingestion did not have this effect. The decrease in phagocytic index was rapid following the ingestion of simple carbohydrates. The greatest effects occurred between 1 and 2 hr postprandial, but the values were still significantly below the fasting control values 5 hr after feeding (P < 0.001). ” (source)

2. Get more magnesium in your diet

Magnesium plays an important role in a healthy immune sytstem. Magnesium can be found in pumpkin seeds, swiss chard, spinach, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds and cashews. Here’s a recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Seeds and Nuts. You can also take a magnesium supplement. Find it here.

“Mg participates in immune responses in numerous ways…Mg deficiency in rodents impairs IgG synthesis and cell-mediated immunity; complications include thymus atrophy, elevated IgE, hypereosinophilia, histaminosis and lymphoma.” (source)

“A few days of experimental magnesium deficiency produces a clinical inflammatory syndrome characterized by leukocyte and macrophage activation, release of inflammatory cytokines, appearance of the acute phase proteins and excessive production of free radicals.” (source)

3. Cut down on caffeine

Caffeine can elevate cortisol in the body. Elevated cortisol levels impair the immune system. Instead of coffee or tea, try hot water with lemon instead (this helps flush the liver too!).

“Caffeine elevates cortisol secretion. (source)”

“Cortisol’s ability to prevent the promulgation of the immune response can render individuals suffering from chronic stress highly vulnerable to infection.” (source)

4. Avoid synthetic perfumes and fragrances

Perfumes and fragrances are found in soaps, lotions, shampoos and conditioners, cosmetics, perfumes, household cleaning products, air fresheners and more. Use products that are fragrance-free or make your own. DIY Natural Beauty: Non-Toxic Recipes That Really Work Click here to view more details and also DIY: Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes Click here to view more details

“One in every 50 people may suffer immune system damage from fragrance and become sensitized, according to the EU’s Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-food Products.” (source)

5. Eat LOTS of colorful vegetables every day

Vegetables provide the body with the nutrients needed to produce healthy cells. Healthy cells are able to perform the jobs they were designed to do. This includes disease-fighting white blood cells! My Fire Cider: A DIY Cold and Flu tonic is full of healthy veggies and boosts the immune system.

“Epidemiologic data support the association between high intake of vegetables and fruits and low risk of chronic disease. There are several biologically plausible reasons why consumption of vegetables and fruit might slow or prevent the onset of chronic diseases. Vegetables and fruit are rich sources of a variety of nutrients, including vitamins, trace minerals, and dietary fiber, and many other classes of biologically active compounds. These phytochemicals can have complementary and overlapping mechanisms of action, including modulation of detoxification enzymes and stimulation of the immune system…” (source)

6. Get Vitamins A & D

Vitamins A&D are both vitally important to the immune system. Vitamin A is found in two basic forms, retenoids and carotenoids. High amounts of retenoids (the form found in animal products) are found in cow’s milk, eggs, liver and salmon. Good sources of carotenoids, found in plants, include sweet potato, carrots and dark leafy greens. Vitamin D can be obtained from sunlight, sardines, wild salmon, lard, and egg yolks (from pastured chickens). A great source of both A&D is Fermented Cod Liver Oil. You can find it here.

“Vitamins A and D have received particular attention in recent years as these vitamins have been shown to have an unexpected and crucial effect on the immune response.” (source)

7. Consume probiotic-rich foods and/or a probiotic supplement

“All disease begins in the gut”. Another way to put this is health starts in the gut! Having a healthy digestive system is important for a healthy immune system. Probiotics help promote good intestinal bacteria that play an essential role in the immune system. Probiotic foods include fermented vegetables like sauerkraut. Here is a recipe, or you can buy raw, fermented sauerkraut here. Also, find probiotics here.

“Gut bacteria play an essential role in the development and homeostasis of the immune system. It is important to underscore that the specialized lymphoid follicles of the gut mucosa are the major sites for induction and regulation of the immune system.” (source)

8. Consume high-quality protein

Studies have found an association of diets lacking in protein with impaired immunity. It’s important to consume protein from animals fed their natural diet and raised in their natural habitat (doing so decreases the animal’s exposure to toxins, making it healthier for you).

“Protein-energy malnutrition is associated with a significant impairment of cell-mediated immunity, phagocyte function, complement system, secretory immunoglobulin A antibody concentrations, and cytokine production.” (source)

9. Get plenty of sleep

Sleep and a healthy immune system go hand in hand. It is vital to get enough sleep required by your body. A typical range is 7-9 hours. If you have trouble sleeping, I suggest The Sleep Solution: End Insomnia Naturally. Click here to view more details

“There is increasing evidence that sleep deprivation has detrimental effects on the immune response, indicating that sleep should be considered a vital part of the immune system and that there is a reciprocal relationship between sleep and immunity.” (source)

 10. Reduce stress

In our fast-paced culture, it is very important to find time to rest and relax. Doing so enables your body to slow down and decreases the need for stress-induced hormones. Meditation, yoga, prayer, keeping a thankfulness journal (write down what you are thankful for), being in nature, and being in community with friends/loved ones are all proven stress-reducers.

“Cortisol is the primary hormone responsible for the stress response. Expressed at the highest levels in the early morning, cortisol’s main function is to restore homeostasis following exposure to stress.” (source)

“Cortisol’s ability to prevent the promulgation of the immune response can render individuals suffering from chronic stress highly vulnerable to infection.” (source)

 

11. Enjoy Simple Pleasures, Reduce Interpersonal Conflicts

One study found work stressors like being criticized by one’s boss impairs the immune system for an entire day. Pleasures like jogging, hobbies, and being surrounded by loved ones improved immune function for two days. Another study from Stanford found succeeding in a hobby and being surrounded by supportive people as the most effective antidote to stress and depressed immune function.

“Stresses like being criticized at work weakened immune function on the day they occurred. But events like a pleasant family celebration or having friends over enhanced the immune system for the next two days.” (source)

Allison

Aromatherapy Basics for Healthy Living

4 Jan

 

Smell is our most primitive sense, directly affecting the limbic system, the section of our brains involved with sex, motivation and emotion. According to proponents of aromatherapy, we can harness this connection by using scents we find calming, pleasing or uplifting. Yet mainstream physicians in North America debate the health benefits touted in the field of aromatherapy, largely citing a lack of rigorous, scientific study for the claims of aromatherapy, which are drawn mainly from anecdotal case studies and folklore.

However, good research on aromatherapy has been published, primarily in Germany and Japan. It probes the effects, on both mind and body, of inhaling essential oils or applying diluted forms of them to the skin. The research shows that, indeed, there is something to the practice of healing through aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy Recipes

Homemade Arthritis Rub Recipe
Cold Symptom Relief Massage Oil Recipe
Relaxing Honey Bath Recipe

The Science of Scent

Before describing some of the most intriguing studies (all of which involve human use of various aromatherapies, unless otherwise noted), a word of caution is in order: Plants vary. People vary. And any living organism will react according to both genetics and environmental factors. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that some people have strong reactions to some essential oils, while others have no reaction at all, and that sensitivities can vary over time. Also, just because an oil is natural doesn’t guarantee that it’s safe—imagine the consequences of giving a massage using “all-natural” poison ivy! Here’s a summary of some of the studies that have been conducted on aromatherapy’s benefits.

Researchers at the Toho University School of Medicine in Tokyo measured the shift of brain waves when inhaling jasmine oil, and found it produces a stimulating effect similar to that of coffee.

Based on computer measurements of subtle and rapid reactions, researchers at the University of Innsbruck in Austria concluded that inhaled lavender oil sedates the central nervous system.

In a study at the University of Vienna, researchers focused on the effect of several oils on mice that had been overagitated by caffeine. The team found that the scents of lavender oil, lime blossom, neroli oil and East Indian sandalwood oil sedated the mice.

Japanese researchers have found that inhaling the odors of orange oil or Taiwan hinoki oil (Chamaecyparis taiwanensis) decreases blood pressure, and that inhaling the odors of peppermint and jasmine oils reduces peripheral blood pressure. Researchers at International Flavors & Fragrances in Union Beach, New Jersey, found that inhaling nutmeg oil odor reduces blood pressure in response to stress.

Researchers at Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University in Griefswald, Germany, found that essential oils in general are local anesthetics when inhaled in very low doses because of their fat-soluble nature, which means that they easily alter cell membranes.

At the neurological clinic of the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany, researchers found that a combination of peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil significantly relieves headache pain in humans.

Researchers in Japan found that bitter orange odor makes it easier to fall asleep while under stress (they linked it to an inhibition of the excitement of the central nervous system).

Researchers at the Free University of Berlin found that people who use hops pillows inhale the hop constituent 2-methylbut-3-en-2-ol from the pillow, which is a sleep-inducing agent in pharmacological trials.

People who inhale chamomile shift from describing images in negative terms to describing them in positive terms, according to researchers at the University Department of Experimental Psychology at Cambridge University.


Can Science Really Prove Aromatherapy’s Value?

The principles of aromatherapy are, scientifically, very hard to study and prove. Normally the goal in scientific studies is to remove all variables to account for only one effect. But massage, touch, music, lights, words and pleasant surroundings can all contribute to modify the mood in aromatherapy. Also, patients seeking aromatherapy are often psychologically predisposed to an effective treatment. Another fact to consider is that natural essential oils may consist of almost 300 different constituents, and these act in both a synergistic and antagonistic manner, yet scientific studies focus on only one constituent at a time. Add to this already- complicated equation the choice of parameters researchers choose to measure, namely, the metabolism of oils, the study participant’s body fat, the variation among individuals and so on, and you can see why a proper experiment is extremely difficult to design and execute.

As scientists, we know that psychological stress causes the release of adrenaline and cortisol, which, in turn, suppress immune responses. This leads to more infection and further emotional depression. So if a particular treatment makes us feel good, does it not then provide a positive influence on our immune systems? Whether the final results are a placebo effect or not, in the final analysis the question must be asked: If it improves a condition without doing harm—and at a reasonable price—is it not of value? Until science provides more answers about aromatherapy, we may do best to rely on both anecdotal findings and scientific research as it emerges.
—Arthur O. Tucker


The Scent-Body Connection

The effects below are supported by research. Please remember that using essential oils requires caution—some can irritate or do harm, especially if you are sensitive or allergic to constituents within these oils.

Stimulating: Jasmine, rosemary, dwarf pine
Calming: Lavender, East Indian sandalwood, chamomile, lemon balm, valerian, neroli
May reduce headache severity: Peppermint, eucalyptus
May improve test performance: Peppermint, vanilla
Sleep aids: Lavender, bitter orange, hops
May reduce blood pressure: Peppermint, jasmine, nutmeg


Aromatherapy While Sleeping

Some research focuses on the effects of inhaled essential oils on sleep. Researchers at Bowling Green State University in Ohio found that people are more responsive to odors when sleeping than when awake. Jasmine and peppermint odors both disrupt sleep; androstenone (a key component of human body odor) was by far the most disruptive of the odors tested.

Further, they found that androstenone, peppermint and ‘Grosso’ lavandin (hybrid lavender) odors affect dream content and brain-wave activity, and the odors are sometimes incorporated into dreams. German researchers found that inhaled orange oil not only produces a positive effect on dream content but also causes significant increases in heart and respiration rates. The latter study also incorporated skatole, a common odorant of feces, and human vaginal secretions in a pilot study involving seven men. Skatole produced very negative dreams; the reaction to the female odors varied by individual.


Advice: Essential Oil Safety

Wise use of essential oils means recognizing that they are highly concentrated, so they can irritate if not used properly.

Always keep essential oils out of the reach of children and pets, and wash your hands thoroughly after working with them.

Always mix an essential oil with a carrier oil, such as almond oil. Use 1 to 3 drops of essential oil for every teaspoon of carrier oil. Store any unused mixture in a dark glass container in a cool place.

Because essential oils are volatile and concentrated, they are also highly flammable. Keep them away from lit candles and other flames.


Essential Oils to Use with Caution

Essential oils are not inert. They change when isolated in the lab or when they come into contact with the body, either through inhalation or absorption by the skin. Lemon verbena oil, for example, contains two allergens formed during distillation. Safrole, the active ingredient of sassafras oil, is not carcinogenic by itself, but can quickly metabolize to become several compounds that quite definitely can cause liver cancer.

Scientific journals, including Contact Dermatitis, are full of documented reactions to many essential oils, but several fragrance ingredients stand out as the causes of repeated problems. The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) has issued warnings against the essential oils listed below.

Angelica root oil
Cassia oil
Chenopodium oil
Cinnamon oil
Citrus oils (especially bergamot, bitter orange, lemon and lime)
Costus root oil
Fig leaf absolute (absolutes are alcohol-soluble perfume materials)
Lemon verbena oil
Marigold oil and absolute
Oak moss absolute and resinoid
Opopanax oil
Peru balsam oil
Oils of pine, balsam fir and other members of the Pinaceae family
Sassafras oil
Savin oil
American and Asian styrax

Mother Earth Living Staff

Almonds May Increase Nutrient Up Take

30 Dec

almonds

Eating a number of almonds on a daily basis can help to enrich the diets of both children and adults alike according to a study by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The 14 week study published in the Nutrition Research journal involved UF/IAS nutrition scientists giving almonds on a daily basis to 29 pairs of parents and children. The majority of the adults were mothers with an average age of 35, while their children were aged between 3 and 6 years old. Children were encouraged to eat 0.5 ounces of almond butter daily, while the parents had 1.5 ounces daily.

The participants ate the almonds for a few weeks and then carried on their regular eating patterns including snacks. The research conclusions were based on the improved dietary intake and on participants Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores, the latter of which is a tool used to measure diet quality and adherence with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

When the parents and children ate the almonds, the HEI score increased from 53.7 to 61.4. The Healthy Eating Index works on the category’s weight and how much of the food group a person is currently consuming.

Almonds are a great source of protein, magnesium, essential fatty acids and Vitamin E which is why you should try including more of them into your diet on a regular basis. By eating a whole foods diet you can get all of these nutrients on a daily basis.

Robert Redfern

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