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Saturday, May 31, 2008

How Microchipping Works

Although this article is about pets, the process is the same for human microchipping and it does include a segment called: Can a microchip cause cancer?

The answer is yes and Katherine Albrecht, who founded Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN), wants the microchipping of humans to end, so she has been pushing these types of studies into the public eye.

Another way to keep tabs on a straying dog is to purchase pet collars with a GPS device attached. Using measurements from satellites and cellular technology, these devices can send messages to your computer or cell phone to alert you that your pet is outside of their "virtual safe zone" as well as tell you exactly where your dog has strayed.

Read the entire article.

More cancer information at another site.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Stroke Warning Symptoms

Do you think sudden chest pain is a symptom of a stroke? If you answered yes, you're not only wrong, you're not alone.

A telephone survey of more than 71,000 adults has revealed that shockingly few people know the warning signs of a stroke. The CDC found that only 16.4% of persons surveyed correctly recognized all five stroke warning symptoms, knew to call 911, and could identify an incorrect symptom of stroke.

According to the CDC, the five warning symptoms of a stroke are:

Sudden weakness or numbness of the arms, legs, or face, especially on one side.
Sudden vision problem in one or both eyes.
Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, or difficulty walking.
Sudden confusion or trouble speaking.
Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Read the entire article.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

ADHD and Additives Revisited

The notion that artificial colors and preservatives in foods may play a role in hyperactivity has been largely dismissed within conventional medicine, but there are signs that this is beginning to change.

A recent controlled trial showed an increase in hyperactivity among children without ADHD who were fed a diet high in food colorings and the preservative sodium benzoate.

Last February, editors of the American Academy of Pediatrics publication AAP Grand Rounds cited the same study as evidence that it is time to revisit the issue.

Read the entire article.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rosemary, Dementia and Stroke

Rosemary is an herb with a distinctly woody taste and fragrant evergreen needle-like leaves that can deliciously transform our food.

In addition to its food enhancing properties, rosemary is a potent brain protector. Ancient Greeks believed it profoundly improved memory. Greek students used to wear a wreath while sitting examinations for potent brain power.
Researchers led by Dr. Stuart Lipton of Burnham Institute in La Jolla, CA, and Dr. Takumi Satoh of Iwate University, Japan, say rosemary contains fights off free radical damage in the brain.

The active ingredient, known as carnosic acid, can protect the brain from stroke and degeneration due to free radical damage that not only contribute to stroke andneurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, but also to the ill effects of normal aging on the brain.

Rosemary is one of my favorite bushes in the garden. I use it's branches to make flower arrangements as you can see from the photo. In the winter when everything seems so bleak and bare, I continually cut rosemary branches for my kitchen table and they bloom beautiful purple flowers. Matter of fact, the bush seems to bloom best when I cut branches.

Rosemary essential oil can be purchased to make skin conditioners and it's especially good for circulation which means it can be used in shampoos to guard against hair loss and also on the joints and extremities for better circulation. Essential oils should be used in a carrier oil. I like the properties of this massage oil best. With no chemicals it makes a wonderful totally natural moisturizer for use anywhere on the body.

Source: UPI.com

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New Disease In Pig Processing Workers

We now have a new horrible disease brought by the same insane meat-raising industry that brought Mad Cow Disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, both implicated from the brains of sheep and cattle. It's known by two terms, Progressive Inflammatory Neuropathy and Immune Polyradiculoneuropathy (IPR). Neither is really a name, but more of a description. They indicate that the disease involves inflammation of the spinal cord, has multiple neurological symptoms, gets worse, and affects the immune system.

Symptoms are remarkably similar to multiple sclerosis and arachnoiditis. They include pain, especially in the legs, weakness, fatigue, and sensory disturbances.

All of the victims are employees in pork slaughtering plants. It's believed that aerosolized pig brains, which are breathed in by the workers, are the cause. At this point, there is no explanation of what it is in pig's brains that cause such symptoms. In Mad Cow Disease, the cause is likely prions, which are protein particles that have no material associated with cell nuclei. There is no known treatment for prion-caused diseases, and they are consistently degenerative and fatal.

Read the entire article.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

4 Ways To Freshen Air

By Sid Kirchheimer at AARP.com

Indoor plants: Place at least two tropical houseplants per 12-by-12-foot area to absorb airborne toxicants, including formaldehyde. Air-purifying plants such as areca and lady palms, bamboo, ferns and spider plants ideally should be placed close to your bed, favorite chair or other “breathing zone.”

Air purifiers: Whole-house air-cleaning systems with good filtration do a better job than stand-alone, portable room purifiers, says John Spengler, an environmental health researcher at Harvard. For even cleaner air, he recommends locating the newer air-to-air heat exchangers—either built in or as window units—in the bedroom, living room or wherever people spend most of their time.

Open windows: Opening windows and doors for about 10 minutes each day—with the heat or air conditioning turned off—will help circulate away indoor pollutants, says Catherine Zandonella, who writes about environmental health for the Green Guide. It’s best to open all doors and windows at once for maximum cross-ventilation.

Air out new purchases: “Televisions, computers and laminate or particleboard furniture give off hundreds of chemicals, and the newer they are, the more out-gassing you get,” says Bill Wolverton, president of Wolverton Environmental Services in Picayune, Miss. “Before you bring these items inside your house, remove all wrappings and let them sit outdoors or in your garage for a few days to reduce your exposure to these vapors.”

Strawberries: Anti-inflammatory

The fragrantly sweet juiciness and deep red color of strawberries can brighten up both the taste and aesthetics of any meal; it is no wonder they are the most popular berry fruit in the world. Although strawberries have become increasingly available year-round, they are at the peak of their season from April through July when they are the most delicious and most abundant.

Strawberries, like other berries, are famous in the phytonutrient world as a rich surce of phenols. They serve as potent antioxidants that have repeatedly been shown to help protect cell structures in the body and to prevent oxygen damage in all of the body's organ systems.

Strawberries' unique phenol content makes them a heart-protective fruit, an anti-cancer fruit, and an anti-inflammatory fruit, all rolled into one. The anti-inflammatory properties of strawberry include the ability of phenols in this fruit to lessen activity of the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase, or COX.

Non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen block pain by blocking this enzyme, whose overactivity has been shown to contribute to unwanted inflammation, such as that which is involved in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, and cancer. Unlike drugs that are COX-inhibitors, however, strawberries do not cause intestinal bleeding.

Read the entire article.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Snack Ban Gets Kids Eating Healthy

Banning all unhealthy snacks in schools is the best way to get pupils to eat healthy, according to a study from Cardiff University in the UK. They say the findings highlight the need for schools to put policies in place to back up healthy eating.

Read the entire article.

Foods With Most Pesticides

In 2006, the Environmental Working Group released an updated report that identified foods in the conventional, non-organic food supply that contained the highest number of pesticide residues.

The following 12 produce items have the highest pesticide residue.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Bell peppers (green and red)
  3. Spinach (tied with number 2)
  4. Cherries (grown in the United States)
  5. Peaches (grown in Chile)
  6. Cantaloupe (grown in Mexico)
  7. Celery
  8. Apples
  9. Apricots
  10. Green beans
  11. Grapes
  12. Cucumbers
Here's the list of worst and best so you can choose wisely on what you want to buy organic.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Don't Cook With Olive Oil

All types of olive oil (including extra virgin) contain a large amount of monounsaturated fat. In fact, 70-80% of the total fat found in olive oil is monounsaturated. This monounsaturated fat comes from the monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) called oleic acid.

In general, monounsaturated fat increases the stability of a vegetable oil in comparison to polyunsaturated fat. Even though the high-MUFA composition of extra virgin olive oil increases its chemical stability, it does not protect this wonderful oil from most stovetop or oven cooking temperatures.

It is worth noting in this discussion of MUFAs that the oleic acid found in olive oil has been the subject of expanding research interest when it comes to insulin resistance, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Recent studies have made it clear that oleic acid can directly alter the activity of certain cancer genes and appears to have anti-cancer effects that may be part of the Mediterranean diet's health benefits.

This primary MUFA in extra virgin olive oil may also help to lower a person's risk of insulin resistance as well as favorably altering some of the blood fat patterns that can be associated with risk of cardiovascular disease. Yet, to get these benefits it's important to enjoy extra virgin olive oil when its MUFAs are best protected, which means at heats below 250˚F (121˚C).


Read the entire article.

Formaldehyde In Diet Soda

Now that you've learned about all the health risks associated with formaldehyde in the news, would you be surprised to learn that millions of consumers are actually drinking it? It's true:

Formaldehyde is one of the chemical byproducts of aspartame breakdown in soft drinks. When diet sodas are stored at higher temperature (generally over 95 degrees F), the chemical sweetener aspartame begins to break down, forming small amounts of formaldehyde right in the soda can. When this chemical is swallowed by consumers, it becomes a potent neurotoxin.

This explains why aspartame is currently responsible for 75% of all consumer complaints to the FDA. It also explains why diet sodas are linked to seizures, blindness, fuzzy vision, headaches and other neurological disorders.

Read more about formaldehyde.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

5 Natural Pest Repellents

By Sid Kirchheimer, at AARP.com

Here are safer alternatives to commercial pesticides:

Ants: Sprinkle cinnamon, bay leaves, cayenne pepper or baby powder in problem areas and along baseboards and windowsills.

Cockroaches: Sprinkle equal parts of baking soda and confectioners’ sugar in problem areas.

Mice: Place cotton dipped in peppermint oil near problem areas. Used kitty litter is another repellent.

Mosquitoes: Mix 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water placed on your deck or balcony or dab lavender oil on your wrists and elbows.

Flies: Small sachets of crushed mint placed around the home will discourage flies. So will a potted sweet basil plant.

Prayer for ADD & ADHD Children

I dedicate this post to our son, Benjamin, and to all the generations of our family that come after him. If it were not for prayer and our faith in God, we would not have made it through the difficult challenge we had as a family. My prayer for each of you is that you could look beyond the mundane tasks of the day that need to be accomplished, to the more important issues of life, and be able to discern between the two.
An ADD/ADHD child in your home will certainly demand much attention and time, but it is time well spent. A grandmother said, "There's nothing wrong with ADHD kids, it's just that the world doesn't move fast enough for them."
They were created by God for a special purpose and to that we must assign our own focus.
If you'd like to get to the spiritual/emotional roots of this disease, I'd recommend a book entitled, "A More Excellent Way" by Henry Wright.
These Prayers Are Adapted From "Prayers That Avail Much" by Word Ministries, Inc.

Prayer for the Parents/Caregiver
Caregivers of ADD/ADHD children often find themselves in situations that far exceed their parenting skills. Much prayer and faith are required to see the ADD/ADHD child as God sees him/her. The emotional turmoil and disruption to the household often become overwhelming and caregivers sometimes discover that the challenges are greater than themselves.

Responsible adults involved in the life of an ADD/ADHD child need godly wisdom, spiritual discernment, and mental and emotional alertness to overcome weariness, bewilderment, and anxiety. Words spoken to the child and over him/her can comfort, giving him/her hope - or they can reinforce his/her belief that he/she is bad and that something terrible is wrong with him/her. Words can heal or words can wound.

The prayers of the ADD/ADHD child must be reinforced by those who love him/her. Often, our image of another individual - even our children - can only be changed as we pray according to God's will and purpose for him/her. Remember that through it all, God is faithful!

The Prayer:
Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank You for this very special child. You see my confusion, anxiety, frustration, and bewilderment as I attempt to rear him/her in the training, discipline, counsel and admonition of the Lord. Forgive me for times when I knowingly or unknowingly irritate and provoke him/her to anger.

You see my intense pain when I observe the rejection this child suffers by adults who speak harsh words against him/her and our family. Children refuse to play with him/her, and it hurts even though I understand. I know that those who have never walked in our shoes cannot fully understand.

But, Lord, where others are unmericiful and unkind, You are merciful and kind. Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives, and we shall dwell in Your house forever. Hide us in the secret place of Your presence and keep us secretly in Your pavilion from the strife of tongues.

Lord, perfect the fruit of my lips that I may offer to You effective praise and thanksgiving for this child who is a blessing from You. His/her intellect astounds me, and his/her wit is a delight. I ask You for divine intervention and guidance as I train him/her up in the way that he/she should go. I thank You for the awesomeness of Your handiwork, and the techniques that You have given him/her to survive, to overcome emotional turmoil - and the ability to function in this world around us. Truly, this child is fearfully and wonderfully made. I plead the blood of Jesus over him/her to protect him/her in every situation.

You have a divine purpose for this child. You have foreordained steps that he/she is to walk in, works that he/she is to do. Help me to look at his/her strengths and weaknesses realistically, that I may know how to help him/her develop and demonstrate self-control techniques. Forgive me for times when I lose patience and berate him/her for his/her behavior. Sometimes, I lose sight of who he/she really is. Anoint my eyes to see him/her as You see him/her.

Father, help me to speak words of grace; anoint my lips to speak excellent and princely things about and to him/her. May the opening of my lips be for right things. Help me to give him/her healthy doses of unconditional love, appropriate discipline for misbehavior, and rewards for his/her good behavior. Anoint my lips with coals of fire from Your altar that I may speak words that comfort, encourage, strengthen, and honor him/her. Keep watch at the door of my lips, and forgive me when my patience has come to an end.

Father, You are my Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, and Strengthener. Whatever comes my way, help me to consider it joyful, allowing endurance and steadfastness and patience to have full play and do a thorough work, so that I may be perfectly and fully developed, lacking in nothing. When I am deficient in wisdom, I will ask of You, and You will give wisdom to me liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or finding fault in me.

I pray that I may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of Your glory, and every kind of endurance and patience with joy.

Father, You have seen the tears in the night season, and I know that I shall experience the joy that comes in the morning. You are my Exceeding Joy! You are my wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Thank You for being my constant Companion.

Lord, I see my child, ___________, growing and becoming strong in spirit, increasing in wisdom and in stature and years, and in favor with You and with man. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen!

Coming Against ADD/ADHD
Father, in the name of Jesus, I come against ADD/ADHD and say that I have the mind of Christ and hold the thoughts of His heart. I am able to concentrate and stay focused on each task.
I am a disciple taught by You, Lord, and great is my peace and undisturbed composure. I do not have a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a calm, well-balanced mind with discipline and self-control.
In the name of Jesus, I come against my defiant behavior and tantrums and hyperactivity and speak peace and love to the situations in which I find myself. I cast down imaginations and every high thing that would exalt itself against the knowledge of You, Lord, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Father, I ask for Your wisdom to reside in me each day as I learn new techniques for handling stressful incidents.
Father, Your Word says not to worry about anything but to pray and ask You for everything I need and to give thanks when I pray, and Your peace will keep my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. The peace You give me is so great that I cannot understand it.
Thank You for keeping my mind quiet and at peace. I declare that I am an overcomer. I am in control. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Making New Friends
Father, I am asking You to supply me with good friends I can relate to, spend time with, and enjoy as You intended. I desire to develop relationships that will be lasting and helpful to both me and my friends.
Father, I will keep sound-minded, self-restrained, and alert. Above all things I purpose to have intense and unfailing love for others, for I know love covers a multitude of sins.
I ask You to help me manage my behavior and attitude so others will want to be around me. I purpose to bridle my tongue and speak words of kindness. I will not insist on having my own way, and I will not act badly. When someone is unkind and falsely accuses me, help me to maintain a cool spirit, and be slow to anger. I commit to plant seeds of love, and I thank You for preparing hearts ahead of time to receive me as a friend and as a blessing to their lives.
Father, than You for causing me to find favor, compassion, and loving kindness with others. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Having a Bad Day
Father, this was not a good day. My scores were low. It was a hard day for me at school and at home. I feel that I messed up a lot. Because I know that You love me unconditionally, and You are not holding anything against me, I come to talk with You.
Father, You expect me to be accountable to You, my teachers, and my parents for my behavior*. I ask Your forgiveness for acting mean and disrespectful to ________________. I acknowledge my misbehavior, and I ask You to forgive me for _________________.
Thank You, Lord, for helping me as I learn good social skills, and how to do unto others as I want them to do unto me.
Father, I release my disappointment to You, and believe that tomorrow will be a great day! In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
*Note to Parent: Effective reprimands should be brief and directed at the child's behavior, not at the character of the child. Direct him/her in assuming responsibility for his/her actions, acknowledging and asking forgiveness when appropriate.
More ADD/ADHD Information
Read about Focus Attention
Stewards of Our Children's Childhood

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hawthorn and Heart Health

I've taken supplements and herbs for my health since the late 70's to avoid the drugs that were causing me problems. Now and then something really feels good, like my mind and body knows I need it.

Hawthorn is one of those herbs. I need heart support from problems I had as a child, but mostly now due to the associated cardiovascular complications with rheumatoid arthritis, so I'm grateful to have something natural and effective.

With all the current research I've been reading, I've decided to triple what I was taking since I didn't know it did so much. I already notice a difference in the fatigue and endurance area, so I'm motivated to stick with the program. Hawthorn Berries is currently one of my favorite herbs.

Here's an article with some of the current research information:

Hawthorn is well-known as being a heart-healthy herb. New research supports the heart benefits of hawthorn.

Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata), a member of the rose family, has been used traditionally for various heart concerns. Leaves, flowers and berries are traditionally used. Hawthorn contains many substances that may benefit the heart.

Two groups of substances in particular - flavonoids and proanthocyanidins - are thought to be most responsible for hawthorn’s beneficial effects on the heart. Flavonoids help dilate blood vessels, improve blood flow and support a healthy heart rate.

Both flavonoids and proanthocyanidins have antioxidant properties. The antioxidant actions of hawthorn may help protect against heart disease and support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.1

A recent Cochrane Review study found that hawthorn may be beneficial in the treatment of chronic heart failure. In chronic heart failure, the heart is no longer able to pump enough blood throughout the body.

Researchers concluded, based on the literature review, that hawthorn extract showed “significant benefit” for patients with chronic heart failure, and it appeared to be safe.2

According to the Cochrane Review, “Hawthorn extract (made from the dried leaves, flowers and fruits of the hawthorn bush) may be used as an oral treatment option for chronic heart failure.”

The analysis of hawthorn studies “showed improvements in heart failure symptoms and in the function of the heart. The results, therefore, are suggestive of a benefit from hawthorn extract used in addition to conventional treatments for chronic heart failure.”2

Patients in the trials experienced improved maximal workload, increased exercise tolerance, reduced oxygen consumption by the heart, and reduced shortness of breath and fatigue. A few patients reported “infrequent, mild and transient” nausea, dizziness, and heart and stomach complaints.2

Overall, the review showed a “significant benefit in symptom control and physiologic outcomes” in patients who took hawthorn. According to the researchers, hawthorn appears to boost the strength of the heart muscle’s contractions, increase blood flow through the arteries and reduce irregular heartbeats.2

Authors of the review recommended that patients being treated for chronic heart failure use hawthorn only with physician supervision. People with this condition should be under a doctor’s care.

This promising review adds credence to the use of hawthorn to support heart health. Even those who do not suffer from chronic heart failure can enjoy the benefits that have been illustrated in this review.

1 Jellin J, Gregory P, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database 8th ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2007.
2 Pittler MH, Guo R, Ernst E. Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure. Cochrane Database System Review 2008, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD005312. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005312.pub2.

Nature's Sunshine Hawthorn Berries is the product that I use in capsule form. There is a non-alcohol extract that I have also used when I go on a trail hike or intend to walk long distances. I can take it along and take some as I hike. It's in glycerin so it tastes sweet and I enjoy the quick pick-up.

How to Quit Soda Pop

If you're someone who's drinking eight or more cups of soda pop a day, instead of eight cups of water, then it may be time for a change.

Sweetened drinks are one of the substances linked directly to weight gain, comprising a good portion of daily calorie intake. A possible explanation is that you're consuming calories without feeling full.

Since the weight loss benefits of diet soda have come into question more and more people are considering giving up their precious pop completely. Read on if you would like to take a step into becoming a healthier person by banning soda from your life.

Read the entire article.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Stop Testing For Mad Cow Disease?

The Bush administration urged a federal appeals court to stop meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease, but a skeptical judge questioned whether the government has that authority.

The government seeks to reverse a lower court ruling that allowed Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef to conduct more comprehensive testing to satisfy demand from overseas customers in Japan and elsewhere.

Less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows are currently tested for the disease under Agriculture Department guidelines.

Creekstone attorney Russell Frye contended the Agriculture Department's regulations covering the treatment of domestic animals contain no prohibition against an individual company testing for mad cow disease, since the test is conducted only after a cow is slaughtered.

He said the agency has no authority to prevent companies from using the test to reassure customers.

Larger meatpackers have opposed Creekstone's push to allow wider testing out of fear that consumer pressure would force them to begin testing all animals too. Increased testing would raise the price of meat by a few cents per pound.

Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. Three cases of mad cow disease have been discovered in the U.S. since 2003.

Read the entire article.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ginseng and Schizophrenia

A form of Asian ginseng shows promise for relieving schizophrenia symptoms that are difficult to treat.

In a small study, patients had fewer negative symptoms -- such as lack of motivation and a severe reduction in emotional expression known as "flat affect" -- when they took Panax ginseng than when they took a placebo.

Schizophrenia afflicts 3.2 million Americans. Though there is no cure, antipsychotic medications are very effective at reducing what doctors call the "positive" symptoms of schizophrenia -- hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking.

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Obesity Increases Alzheimer's

Older adults who maintain a healthy weight may be preserving their mind and memory at the same time.

A study published in the May 2008 issue of Obesity Reviews shows that weight matters when it comes to warding off dementia. Researchers with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore have found that obese people have an 80% increased risk for Alzheimer's disease compared to those with normal weight.

Being underweight makes you 36% more likely to develop such cognitive disorders.

Read the entire article

Passing Gallstones

Being into natural health methods for almost 30 years, I've heard a lot. The gallbladder cleanse is one of those things that has popped up now and then over the years as I've heard stories of people passing stones during and after the cleanse.

This is the most recent story I've seen. It's certainly nice to know that people are still using simple ways of doing things. Of course, I'm not making any recommendations on whether or not to do surgery, but you can certainly learn a lot by researching on the internet.

I've always heard that the apple juice you need to use must be natural, not the common water-thin stuff from the grocery store. "Real" apple juice has some of the fiber still in it and might be called "unfiltered." I've read there are more antioxidants in this type of apple juice, so I'm sure there are other properties that are important also.

Here's a great place to begin.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Surgery Videos Online

I happened upon a site that allows you to view surgical procedures in webcast format. These are actual operations performed at medical centers in the United States. The videos last an hour.

I don't consider surgery part of the "natural health" philosophy but they have certainly saved lives at times and none of us can determine what will be the best method to wellness until you're faced with the need to choose.

There are so many types I can't begin to list and even transplant surgeries. Make your choice here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Canada Bans Use of Pesticides

Something big has happened in Canada. Ontario and Quebec have both banned the use of cosmetic pesticides. That would be the pesticides you use on your lawn or spray on rose bushes. Those used to "make things look better."

Home Depot announced on April 22, 2008 that they would voluntarily phase out pesticides across all of Canada by the end of this year and provide consumers with over 50 options in natural lawn care. Read about Home Depot's commitment.

My question is, "What about the USA?"

The reason for the ban is to protect pregnant women and children. Research shows that children exposed to pesticides and herbicides have a higher risk of leukemia, among other things. More on Pesticides and Children

Find alternatives to health-destroying chemicals with these articles at Care2.com:
Five Steps to a Lush Lawn
Beautiful Alternatives to Lawns
Flowering Lawns
Keep off the Grass

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Laughter As Medicine

This past weekend we ushered at our local community theater and heard Brett Leake turn the challenges and problems in life into humor. We really do need more laughter in our lives. I remembered an article I had written six (6) years ago and realized we all need a reminder, so here it is:

Laughter As Medicine
by Donna L. Watkins

God's Word says: "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones." (Proverbs 17:22)

The original Hebrew definitions:

merry = blithe, gleeful, be glad, joyful, making merry
medicine = a cure

The word for medicine is used only once in Hebrew in the entire Old Testament. I thought that was very interesting. We see that a joyful heart cures, while a broken spirit kills. Did you know that the marrow in our bones has a lot to do with our immune system functioning to keep us alive? You've heard of "bone marrow transplants" for some diseases of the immune system. They are learning more about the Truth of Scripture every day in the field of medicine.

Norman Cousins is best known for bringing these facts to light. He was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a degenerative auto-immune disease of the connective tissue. Cousins, former editor of the US Saturday Review, stopped taking drugs and self-prescribed a new regime of pain killers. When the pain became unbearable, Cousins would watch videos of Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers. Fifteen minutes of giggling could provide him with up to two hours of pain relief. This increase of pain threshold during and after laughing episodes has since been confirmed in studies.

People, doctors and health care workers are finding that laughter may indeed be the best medicine. Laughing removes stress hormones, and boosts immune function by raising levels of T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon, and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies.

Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain killers, and produces a general sense of well-being. Hospitals are incorporating laughter therapy programs into their therapeutic recommendations. The threshold of pain is raised during and for a short period of time after laughter.

Laughter engages various parts of the brain. Derks from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg showed that humor pulls the various parts of the brain together rather than activating a component in only one area. Perhaps this is one reason why people often find that a dose of lengthy laughter can be followed by a burst of creativity and group problem solving.

Laughter is also a good cardiovascular workout. It increases the activity of the heart and stimulates circulation. In addition, after the laughter subsides, the cardiovascular system goes into a state of relaxation.

In 1995, a new organization emerged in Bombay, India: Laughter Club International. This was the brain child of Dr. Madan Kataria, a Bombay physician who believes that laughter is good for the heart and soul. Participants gather in the morning for the sole purpose of laughing. Humor is a universal language. It's a contagious emotion and brings other people in to break down barriers. It's also free and has no known side reactions.

Being in the natural health industry for 20 years, I had heard of Norman Cousins before. I was recently reminded of him after an evening of laughter. Since rheumatoid arthritis is one of my health challenges, I'm familiar with pain. My husband and I had decided to give ballroom dancing another try. I have always loved dancing, but after getting married and trying many months of Arthur Murray lessons, I realized that dancing was something not to be placed on the list of benefits received from the marriage partnership. No great loss, considering the long list of other benefits I received.

We're going to be celebrating our 25th anniversary in April and there's a group of folks that get together in our community at the clubhouse to dance. The couple that began it all teaches for free and it's a very relaxed, fun group. I figured I'd give it another try. Although 24 years later, I didn't have much hope of really dancing, but decided that I would consider it great exercise as long as I didn't get my toes stepped on.

I was amazed to find that Randal picked up the steps as fast as the man could show them. I was giddy with laughter through the whole evening, just for the sheer humor of what God does in the little details of my life. My husband commented that it was a real workout since more muscles were hurting than when he played tennis. I expected to pay the price the next day, but knew it was worth it.

Much to my amazement, I slept great and awoke early with so much energy that by 9 AM I had accomplished what usually took me till noon to do. I knew I was having one of those "terrific days" that you'd like to can and spoon feed to yourself daily. They usually come for me in the early days of Spring when you feel so alive from everything bursting forth with life.

I didn't think about where it came from until I saw an article on "humor therapy," and then I realized what had happened from that event. My laughter had indeed stimulated all kinds of good things for my body and the effects were amazing! Needless to say, we will continue dancing, although I will probably have to find another source for laughter, since I can't laugh myself silly throughout each dance session.

Norman Cousins wrote a book: Anatomy Of An Illness

For more research and information on laughter as medicine, visit this website and look for the "Healing Laughter Series" section of articles near the bottom.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

MRSA Superbugs In Public Schools

MRSA superbugs have now escaped "into the wild" and invaded our public schools. Even as doctors and hospitals continue their rampant abuse of antibiotics and thereby encourage the breeding of yet more superbugs, they simultaneously refuse to even consider natural technologies that quite readily kill MRSA, such as colloidal silver.

MRSA was first identified in the United States in 1968. The staph bacteria, which occurs naturally on human skin and in nasal passages, can cause minor infections of the skin or other soft tissue if it enters an open wound.

In rare cases, however, the bacteria becomes "invasive," colonizing another part of the body. In these cases, the staph bacteria can infect the bloodstream, urinary tract, lungs or other organs and lead to potentially fatal complications, including pneumonia or the state of whole-body inflammation known as sepsis. Even in less severe cases, a staph infection can lead to skin necrosis and the development of painful abscesses.

MRSA now killing more Americans than AIDS. Read the entire article.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Lead In Lipsticks - Toxic Cosmetics

Most of us probably worry more about the healthiness of our breakfast cereal or caffeinated eye-opener than we do about the safety of the other cornerstones of our morning routines. But the disturbing truth of the matter is that unless you're eating bacon, eggs, and donuts with abandon, what you're putting on your body every morning may be doing more long-term damage to your health than what you're putting in it.

If nothing else, you at least know a lot more about what's in your bacon, eggs and donuts than what's lurking in shampoo, shaving gel or make-up. That's because food and food ingredients are regulated and safety-tested before being sold, whereas cosmetic contents are not. And should your breakfast ingredients pose any risks-the potential salmonella in your eggs or the trans fats in those donuts, for example-the product label would indicate it.

But don't expect the cosmetic industry to give you much of a heads up if that "fragrance" in your moisturizer has been linked to reproductive birth defects or if that mascara contains mercury. Read the entire article.

View report on brands tested.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Lifecycle of a Tooth

Most parts of our body are pretty much formed at birth. As we get older, our organs develop and grow, but their physical form stays fairly constant. Not so for teeth.

From the earliest painful eruptions (that often bring the unforgettable screams of a teething baby), through the tooth fairy, wisdom teeth, root canals and, ultimately, rot, teeth have a lifecycle all of their own.

Here's a trip through the life of a tooth.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Medicinal Pawpaw Tree

From Creation Moments

The mechanism God designed to protect the fruit of the pawpaw tree from being eaten before its seeds are ripe may provide powerful, new anti-cancer drugs and a powerful, safe, insecticide. The pawpaw tree with its custard-like fruit, is common all over the eastern United States.

The twigs of the pawpaw contain powerful biological chemicals that make them toxic to insects. The pawpaw fruit is nearly as toxic as the twigs until it ripens. This discourages animals from eating the fruit until it is ripe and the seeds are ready to be spread. Scientists at Purdue University recently developed a simple and inexpensive test to see if natural substances are biologically active. If a plant extract is active, it means that it could have some use as a medicine.

As a result of these successful tests, scientists found at least seven chemicals that may prove useful against cancer. The most powerful is a million times more effective against cancer than the leading anti-cancer drug in use today. In addition, they discovered a powerful, natural, insecticide that is effective against a wide range of plant pests.

God's extraordinary care for the lowly pawpaw also appears to provide powerful help for some of man's ills. God often chooses to work through the lowly things of this world to bring blessings to us. Nothing or no one is unimportant to His plans if they will only allow Him to use them.

References:
Look What's Hidden in the Pawpaw. Science News, Feb. 29, 1992. P. 143.
Pawpaw Tree Yields New Cancer Drug, Pesticide. Sacramento Union, Feb. 8, 1992.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Positive Approach To Arthritis

Educate yourself. Read everything you can get your hands on. Learn about your disease. This is usually the first bit of advice offered to a newly-diagnosed arthritis patient.

Sound advice for sure. But that same kernel of advice can trip up some patients when they stumble across words like "crippling", "disabled", and "deformity". Scary words, which when combined with the uncertain and unpredictable prognosis associated with many types of arthritis, can leave a person feeling:

  • discouraged
  • defeated
  • hopeless
  • bound by limitations
  • consumed by negative thoughts
  • fearful of the future
There's something else to consider.

Read the entire article.