Toxins & Vitality

Vitality

The state of being when you are full of life and energy. It is exuberant physical, mental and emotional vigor. It is also the capacity for survival or for the continuation of a meaningful or purposeful existence. Having vitality means you are energetic, lively or forceful. Being vital is essential to well-being. 

Physical vitality is having energy to do things. You have strength and stamina. This is not only important in athletic activities, but it is also valuable in work and day-to-day tasks. It is being able to do things with vigor. This vitality first requires that you are in good health and relatively free from disease or injury. Physical vitality means that your body parts are effectively supplied with nutrients and oxygen, and you have developed the strength and endurance to allow you to perform physical tasks easily.

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Mental vitality is having a mental energy to think clearly. It means that you are in good mental shape with sufficient mental powers and thinking stamina to handle problems. It is a state of mental alertness and effectiveness. Mental vitality first requires physical vitality, since effective flow of oxygen-laden blood and nutrients are important to the functioning of the brain and mental processes. It also requires that you are in good mental health such that your brain is functioning properly and your perceptions are clear.

Emotional vitality is having an up-beat attitude, such that you are happy, at peace, enthusiastic and joyful. You are then able to deal with various problems and stress that may hamper an average person. You can strengthen your emotions to cope with problems. You can increase your emotional endurance and stamina to be able to maintain a positive outlook over a long period. Emotional vitality first required that you are in good mental and emotional health, such that you are relatively free of mental toxins that can affect the way your think.

Toxicity

Mental toxins are opinions and criticisms that can affect your confidence, motivation, esteem and courage. They can make your angry, fearful or sad or to have other negative emotions. You gain emotional vitality from feeding your emotions positive thoughts. You also need a strong reinforcement system and a conditioned ego. Your ego is effectively supplied with positive comments, and you have developed the emotional strength and endurance to allow you to readily perform emotionally.

Toxicity is the degree to which a substance (a toxin or poison) can harm humans or animals. Acute toxicity involves harmful effects in an organism through a single or short-term exposure. Subchronic toxicity is the ability of a toxic substance to cause effects for more than one year but less than the lifetime of the exposed organism. Chronic toxicity is the ability of a substance or mixture of substances to cause harmful effects over an extended period, usually upon repeated or continuous exposure, sometimes lasting for the entire life of the exposed organism.

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Symptoms of Toxicity

Toxicology textbooks list the first symptoms of chronic poisoning as low energy, fatigue, muscle weakness, inability to concentrate and intestinal complaints.  These symptoms are virtually identical to those experienced by the chronically ill.

  • Bad breath and coated tongue – foul smelling breath caused by unhealthy/bad digestion from a backed-up colon or periodontal disease.
  • Hemorrhoids – varicose veins of the anus with pain, swelling and itching, often caused by constipation and lack of dietary fiber.  75 million Americans are suspected to suffer from hemorrhoids.
  • Constipation/Digestive complaints – irregular or insufficient bowel movements due to lack of dietary fiber, fast-paced lifestyle where our body’s urges are ignored, use of pharmaceutical drugs, and other causes.  This could indicate the need for cleansing and diet change.
  • Weight Gain – caused from sedentary lifestyle, inactivity, poor food choices, food additives, and disease.  This places strain on the heart, digestive and all systems of the body.
  • Acne – skin break-outs is often a sign of toxicity in the blood or the liver.
  • Excessive Body Odor, belching and bad gas – sometimes caused by poor hygiene, zinc deficiency, diabetes or liver disease or chronic constipation.
  • Lack of Energy – could be environmental toxicity, allergies, sluggish liver.
  • Inflammation and Pain/fibromyalgia – joint pain, may be an over-acid body, indicating the need for cleansing and diet change.
  • Mental Fog, poor concentration and/or lack of sexual desire – brain feels foggy and not as clear as usual, sometimes due to allergies, toxic body products, lack of exercise, and the need for improved circulation.
  • Depression – see mental fog, often helped with cleansing, exercise, and diet change.
  • Headaches – includes sinus congestion, some causes are lack of water, exercise, toxic environment, lack of circulation, or allergies.
  • General nausea or lack of wanting to eat – other than pregnancy, look at the possibility of environmental toxicity, look at a liver cleanse, blood cleansing, extra fluids, diet change to include digestive enzymes in your food.
  • Allergies and Food sensitivities

Causes of Toxicity: Three Main Sources

Indoor air pollution can affect you at home, work, or even places you visit. It is a common source of respiratory diseases, including asthma, allergies, and lung cancer. It can be worse in winter, when windows are shut tight and less fresh air can circulate.

Toxins from Food: Plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic-lined cans — it’s tough to find a food that isn’t packaged in plastic. Yet, what leaches out of the packaging and into our food is often an overlooked component of food safety.

Toxic Thoughts & Actions: 75% to 95% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life. What we think about affects us physically and emotionally. It’s an epidemic of toxic emotions.

Rosemary Leaf & Oil

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

The rosemary plant, Rosmarinus officinalis L (family Lamiaceae), is an aromatic evergreen shrub originating in the Mediterranean region and now growing widely in Europe, Asia, and Africa. This plant has been used extensively as a culinary spice in a variety of contexts. Rosemary and its extracts also are used as food preservatives and enhancers of sensory and functional properties. Today, research attention is focusing more closely on whether this herb may have potential to alleviate complications of obesity and diabetes, inflammation-associated conditions, and neurological deficits.

Recent research has shown that whether consumed as an essential oil, tea or seasoning, rosemary benefits can include promoting digestive health, mental clarity, hair and skin health, relaxation and more.

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Rosemary Nutrition

According to USDA, fresh rosemary has a high reserve of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamin, and folate. It contains minerals like magnesium, calcium, and iron. Moreover, it has abundant antioxidants in the form of phenolic compounds like diterpene, carnosol, and rosmarinic acid. The essential oils in it contain powerful ingredients such as cineol, camphene, borneol, bornyl acetate, α-terpineol, and α-pinene.

Benefits of Consuming Rosemary Leaf

Antimicrobial. Within rosemary there are compounds that can help defend against proliferation of certain types of harmful bacteria, including those that contribute to infections. Rosemary extracts are even used as food preservatives in some cases because they can help stop bacteria from growing. The smell of rosemary also acts as a natural bug repellent and may help prevent certain insect bites, including from ticks and other bugs that can spread illnesses and viruses.

Antioxidants. Because of its rich supply of antioxidants and bioactive chemicals (including phenolic diterpenes, such as carnosol and caffeoyl derivatives), consuming rosemary can help fight oxidative stress and support the immune system. It is also known to promote healthy circulation and to defend against inflammation, which can lead to pain. Another way that rosemary’s antioxidants can be beneficial is due to the ability to promote skin health by fighting free radical damage that leads to signs of aging.

Cancer. Rosemary contains carnosic acid, a compound known for its powerful antioxidant properties. Studies have found that carnosic acid can slow the growth of cancer cells in the body and even lower the risk of developing tumors.

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Gut Health. Rosemary has traditionally been used as a natural remedy for upset stomach, constipation, gas, bloating as it helps in relaxing the muscles of the intestine. Adding it to your diet can help you regulate your bowel movements and your gastrointestinal system. One study showed that in test subjects with colitis, treatment with rosemary extract was effective to reduce colon tissue lesions and colitis. This, in turn, helps maintain gut health and fight gut diseases like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colitis.

Immune Support. Studies have shown that the carnosic and rosmarinic acids in rosemary have powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Consuming rosemary regularly can potentially help lower the risk of infection and help the immune system fight any infections that do occur.

Indigestion. This herb, whether cooked with or steeped in herbal tea, has long been a natural remedy for digestive issues, including loss of appetite, heart burn/acid reflux, gas, bloating and abdominal pains. It seems capable of stimulating the release of digestive fluids including bile, which assists in digestion and can support normal nutrient absorption.

Low blood pressure. Early research shows that taking rosemary oil three times per day increases the top number in a blood pressure reading (systolic blood pressure) and the bottom number (diastolic blood pressure) in people with low blood pressure. Blood pressure seems to return to pretreatment values once rosemary use is stopped.

Memory. Taking rosemary by mouth may mildly improve memory in young adults. Using rosemary aromatherapy seems to improve some measures of memory. Rosemary aromatherapy also seems to increase alertness.

Decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age. Early research shows that taking powdered rosemary leaves might improve memory speed in healthy, older adults. But higher doses seem worsen memory. Other early research shows that taking a product containing rosemary, lemon balm, and sage improves memory in healthy adults 62 years or younger. But it does not seem to improve memory in adults 63 years or older.

Metabolic Health. Rosemary has been associated with metabolic benefits including helping to treat high blood sugar and poor insulin sensitivity. While it likely will not be enough to prevent diabetes on its own, it is recommended for people who wish to improve their high blood sugar levels.

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Withdrawal from heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs. Early research suggests that taking rosemary leaves along with methadone, improves opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Benefits of Using Rosemary Oil

Hair Growth. Rosemary oil helps to promote hair growth, prevent baldness, slow graying, and treat dandruff. A comparative study published in 2015 shows that rosemary oil is effective in treating alopecia by boosting hair growth. At six months, a significant increase in hair count was noted for the group treated with rosemary oil. It also promotes healing by increasing microcirculation of the scalp and decreases hair loss after shampooing.

Male-pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia). Early research suggests that applying rosemary oil to the scalp is as effective as minoxidil for increasing hair count in people with male-pattern baldness.

Mental Activity. Rosemary essential oil is an excellent brain and nerve tonic. It is often used by students during exam times because it increases concentration and helps in studying efficiently. It stimulates mental activity and is a good remedy for depression, mental fatigue and forgetfulness. Inhaling rosemary oil seems lift your spirits immediately. Whenever your brain is tired, try inhaling a little rosemary oil to remove boredom and renew your mental energy.

Pain Relief. The ability of rosemary essential oil to relieve pain has resulted in its extensive use in treating headaches, muscle pains, rheumatism and even arthritis. Massaging the affected area that is in pain with rosemary essential oil can give quickly relieve the pain. Vapor baths with rosemary oil are also found to be effective in the treatment of rheumatism. It has certain anti-inflammatory qualities as well, which makes it perfect for relieving the pain from sprains and joint aches. Furthermore, it is known to stimulate blood circulation, which can relieve pain and aid in coagulation of wounds for faster healing.

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Respiratory Problems. The benefits of rosemary essential oil in treating respiratory problems are well-researched and supported. The scent of the oil has been shown to give relief from throat congestion, and it is also used in the treatment of respiratory allergies, colds, sore throats and the flu. Since rosemary oil also has antiseptic qualities, it is also effective for respiratory infections. The oil is antispasmodic and is therefore used in some treatment programs for bronchial asthma.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Recent research suggests that the use of rosemary essential oil’s antimicrobial qualities can help reduce the effects and recurring inflammation of the herpes virus. The herpes virus can quickly develop immunity to normal antiviral medication, so alternative methods are always being explored. Several studies have now shown the essential oil of rosemary to be an effective option for reducing the symptoms of the Herpes virus in test subjects, and even affects the level of contagiousness of the virus.

Skin care. Rosemary essential oil is not used in skin care as extensively as it is used in hair care, but it does have antimicrobial and antiseptic qualities that make it beneficial in efforts to eliminate eczema, dermatitis, oily skin, and acne. Topical application of the essential oil, or regular massage with the oil helps in toning your skin and removing dryness. It can also give your skin a healthy, even glow when applied regularly, or when it is a main component of your moisturizers and other creams.

Stress. Some early research suggests that rosemary and lavender oil aromatherapy may reduce pulse rates, but not blood pressure, in people taking tests. Rosemary may have a calming effect on those who suffer from anxiety and depression. An animal study conducted on the antidepressant effects of rosemary concluded that the herb is effective in improving the symptoms of depression. These beneficial effects were observed even with repeated administration two weeks later. Furthermore, it may also reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, which helps ease tension in the body.

Dosing of Rosemary

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH: For memory: 500 milligrams of rosemary extract twice daily for one month has been used.

INHALED AS AROMATHERAPY: For memory: Four drops of pure rosemary essential oil (Tisserand Aromatherapy) has been applied to an aromatherapy diffuser pad 5 minutes before testing.

Ways to Eat Rosemary

  • It is made into herbal tea to promote digestive health and relaxation.
  • It helps season meats in the cuisines of Europe and the Middle East.
  • It is often found in marinades for lamb, pork, turkey and chicken dishes.
  • Rosemary leaves are added to soups and beverages in India for their flavor and nutrient content.
  • Whether dried or fresh, it is added to stews, casseroles, fish, potatoes, salads, pastas, and breads in many European countries.
  • The Spruce Eats recommends also pairing it with grains, mushrooms, onions, peas and spinach.

Rosemary Tea

  1. To make rosemary herbal tea, combine 1 teaspoon of chopped herbs (preferably fresh) with 8 ounces of water.
  2. Steep the herbs for 5 minutes or longer, depending on the strength you’re looking for.
  3. You can also add other herbs and flavor enhancers, including lavender, thyme, parsley, lemon juice or raw honey.
  4. Consuming about 1–2 cups daily is safe for most, although use caution if you take any medications

Side Effects of Consuming Rosemary

Consuming large amounts of Rosemary leaf or essential oil can cause vomiting, uterine bleeding, kidney irritation, increased sun sensitivity, skin redness, and allergic reactions.

Rosemary might stimulate menstruation or affect the uterus, causing a miscarriage. There is not enough reliable information to know if rosemary is safe when applied to the skin when pregnant. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Aspirin allergy. Rosemary contains a chemical that is like aspirin. This chemical may cause a reaction in people who are allergic to aspirin.

Bleeding disorders. Rosemary might increase the risk of bleeding and bruising in people with bleeding disorders. Use cautiously.

Seizure disorders. Rosemary might make seizure disorders worse. Do not use it.

Medication Interactions

Rosemary has the potential to alter urination, blood clotting and blood pressure levels, which means it can potentially interact with certain medications and should be avoided in these cases. Speak with your doctor before adding large amounts or rosemary or this essential oil to your diet if you take these drugs:

  • Anticoagulants/blood thinners
  • ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure
  • Diuretics
  • Lithium for mental health disorders

References

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-154/rosemary

https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-rosemary

https://draxe.com/nutrition/rosemary-benefits/

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/rosemary.html

https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/fulltext/2016/03000/rosemary__an_overview_of_potential_health_benefits.9.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4749867/

https://www.indigo-herbs.co.uk/natural-health-guide/benefits/rosemary

https://organic.org/health-benefits-of-rosemary-oil/

If You Must Diet, Try These

Finding it hard to change the foods that you eat? Here are some ideas that can help you improve your diet. We’ll cover the basics like Atkins, Keto, Paleo, DASH, and Mediterranean diets. These ‘diets’ have demonstrated their effectiveness at improving physical health outcomes in clinical settings. They should be considered more as lifestyle modifications than diets simply because of long term health outcomes. Although, there are risks to long term application of the Atkins and Keto diets.

When compared to the ‘shake’, ‘pill’ or ‘juice’ diet these options provide more nutrition and less expense. These options can also teach you how to prepare healthier food for yourself and your family by helping you create nutrient dense meals everyone can eat. Much more fun than blending a shake for one.

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The Atkins & Keto Diets

Atkins and keto are two of the best-known low-carb diets. Both stipulate a drastic reduction in high-carb foods, including sweets, sugary drinks, breads, grains, fruits, legumes, and potatoes. Yet they have differences as well.

Atkins Diet

Though Atkins has evolved to offer a variety of plans, the original version (now called Atkins 20) is still the most popular. It’s broken down into four phases, which are based on your daily net carb (total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols) allowance:

  • Phase 1 (Induction). This phase allows for 20–25 grams of net carbs per day until you are 15 pounds (7 kg) from your goal weight.
  • Phase 2. During this phase, you consume 25–50 grams of net carbs per day until you are 10 pounds (5 kg) from your goal weight.
  • Phase 3. Your net carb allowance is raised to 50–80 grams per day until you have met your goal weight and maintained it for 1 month.
  • Phase 4. During the final phase, you consume 80–100 grams of net carbs per day for ongoing weight maintenance.

Most Americans get about 50% of their daily calories from carbs, which equates to about 250 grams of carbs if you eat 2,000 calories per day.

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Keto Diet

The keto, or ketogenic, diet is a very-low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet plan. Originally used to treat children who experienced seizures, but researchers discovered that it may benefit other people as well. The goal of the keto diet is to get your body into the metabolic state of ketosis, during which it uses fat rather than sugar from carbs as its main energy source.

In ketosis, your body runs on ketones, which are compounds that are formed upon the breakdown of the fat in your food or the fat stored in your body. To achieve and maintain ketosis, most people need to limit their total carb intake to 20–50 grams per day. Macronutrient ranges for the keto diet are typically under 5% of calories from carbs, 10-30% from protein, and 65-90% from fat.

Side Effects of Ketosis

Any diet that involves ketosis can cause adverse effects, such as keto breath, keto skin rashes, and keto flu. Staying in a state of ketosis for long periods can be harmful.

Following either diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies due to food restrictions. For many, carbohydrate sources are also key sources of fiber. When reducing carbohydrates, people should be sure to get enough daily fiber from other sources, such as vegetables.

These diets may increase the risk of deficiencies in electrolytes and many water-soluble nutrients that come from fruits and vegetables.

Ketosis may help burn fat, but it may also burn muscle to use for energy. Following a very low carb diet can result in a loss of muscle mass.

People with chronic kidney disease (CKD) should avoid keto, as weakened kidneys may be unable to remove the acid buildup in your blood that results from these animal foods. This can lead to a state of acidosis, which can worsen the progression of CKD.  Lower protein diets are often recommended for individuals with CKD, while the keto diet is moderate to high in protein.

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Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet, also known as caveman diet, is a diet based on the food humans’ ancient ancestors might likely have eaten, such as lean meat, nuts, herbs and berries. The diet is based on several premises. Proponents of the diet posit that during the Paleolithic era — a period lasting around 2.5 million years that ended about 10,000 years ago with the advent of agriculture and domestication of animals — humans evolved nutritional needs specific to the foods available at that time, and that the nutritional needs of modern humans remain best adapted to the diet of their Paleolithic ancestors.

Modern humans are said to be maladapted to eating foods such as grain, legumes, and dairy, and in particular the high-calorie processed foods that are a staple part of most modern diets. Modern humans’ inability to properly metabolize these comparatively new types of food led to modern-day problems like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

  • More protein and meat: Meat, seafood, and other animal products represent the staple foods of modern-day Paleo diets, since advocates claim protein comprises 19-35% of the calories in hunter-gatherer diets.
  • Fewer carbohydrates: Non-starchy vegetables. The diet recommends the consumption of non-starchy fresh fruits and vegetables to provide 35-45 % daily calories and be the main source of carbohydrates. 
  • High fiber: High fiber intake not via grains, but via non-starchy vegetables and fruits.

The problem with the Paleo Diet is that it is misleading. The majority of plants and animals alive during the Paleolithic Era are now extinct. The herbs, flowers, vegetables and fruits we have today are nothing like those people were eating 10,000 years ago. Simply because the environment has changed and people have interfered with plant evolution through cultivation.

DASH Diet

The DASH diet is especially recommended for people with hypertension (high blood pressure) or prehypertension. In addition to being a low salt (or low sodium) plan, this diet provides additional benefits to reduce blood pressure. It is based on an eating plan rich in fruits and vegetables, and low-fat or non-fat dairy, with whole grains. It is a high fiber, low to moderate fat diet, rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

The DASH eating plan has been proven to lower blood pressure in just 14 days, even without lowering sodium intake. Best response came in people whose blood pressure was only moderately high, including those with prehypertension. For people with more severe hypertension, who may not be able to eliminate medication, it can help improve response to medication, and help lower blood pressure.

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It can help lower cholesterol, and with weight loss and exercise, can reduce insulin resistance and reduce the risk of developing diabetes. It is a healthy plan, designed for the whole family. You fill up on delicious fruits and vegetables, paired up with protein-rich foods to quench your hunger.

Dash Diet Tips

  • Add a serving of vegetables at lunch and at dinner.
  • Add a serving of fruit to your meals or as a snack. Canned and dried fruits are easy to use, check for added sugar.
  • Use only half your typical serving of butter, margarine, or salad dressing; one to two tablespoons at most.
  • Don’t trust low-fat or fat-free condiments because they have added artificial sweeteners and salt.
  • Drink low-fat or skim dairy products any time you would normally use full-fat or cream.
  • Limit meat to 6 ounces a day. Make some meals vegetarian by getting protein from nuts, seeds, and legumes.
  • Add dry beans and lentils to your diet; high in fiber
  • Instead of snacking on chips or sweets, eat unsalted pretzels or nuts, raisins, low-fat and fat-free yogurt, frozen yogurt, unsalted plain popcorn with no butter, and raw vegetables.
  • Read food labels to choose products that are lower in sodium.

The Mediterranean Diet

A way of eating based on the traditional foods (and drinks) of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean Diet is not a diet, as in “go on a diet,” even though it is a great way to lose weight or improve your health. Rather, it is a lifestyle – including foods, activities, meals with friends and family, and wine in moderation with meals. It has been studied and noted by scores of leading scientists as one of the healthiest in the world. Just as important, the Mediterranean Diet is full of wonderfully delicious, flavor-filled dishes and meals.

Benefits of the Mediterranean diet

Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. In fact, an analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the Mediterranean diet as an eating plan that can help promote health and prevent disease. And the Mediterranean diet is one your whole family can follow for good health.

Key components of the Mediterranean diet:

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
  • The diet also recognizes the importance of being physically active, and enjoying meals with family and friends.

Eating Right, Not Dieting

Consider the prospect of never having to diet again. Simply by eating nutritious foods and avoiding counting calories. Consider some nutrition facts below.

Nutrition

The process of breaking down food and substances taken in by the mouth to use for energy in the body. Now more focused on the steps of biochemical sequences through which substances inside us and other living organisms are transformed from one form to another – metabolism and metabolic pathways.  Nutrition also focuses on how diseases, conditions and problems can be prevented or lessened with a healthy diet. In addition, nutrition involves identifying how certain diseases, conditions or problems may be caused by dietary factors, such as poor diet (malnutrition), food allergies, metabolic diseases, etc.  The human body consists of elements and compounds (nutrients) ingested, digested, absorbed, and circulated through the bloodstream to feed the cells of the body.

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Nutrients

There are six major classes of nutrients: carbohydrates, fats, minerals, protein, vitamins, and water. These nutrient classes can be categorized as either macro-nutrients (needed in relatively large amounts) or micronutrients (needed in smaller quantities).

  1. The macronutrients include carbohydrates (including fiber), fats, protein, and water. The micronutrients are minerals and vitamins. The macronutrients (excluding fiber and water) provide structural material (amino acids from which proteins are built, and lipids from which cell membranes and some signaling molecules are built) and energy. Some of the structural material can be used to generate energy internally, and in either case it is measured in Joules or kilocalories.
  2. Other micronutrients include antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are said to influence (or protect) some body systems.

Nutrient Dense Foods

These are fresh, unprocessed foods that were grown or raised in the best, most natural conditions.  They possess and provide the most nutrients per ounce of food; the nutrients are combined within in a way to promote proper utilization within the human body.  In other words, they contain a variety of nutrients in specific combinations necessary for proper digestion, absorption, and use within the body.  When foods are processed, their molecular structure is broken down and certain components are lost, especially delicate vitamins and minerals, thus making processed foods empty calories that have little nutritional value. 

Diet and Physical Health

A nutritious diet is essential to promote and maintain overall physical health for any age.  The body needs nutrients in their naturally occurring forms to function and heal appropriately.  A diet full of nutrient dense foods provides the most effective nutrient combinations for promoting optimal physical health and helping the body to maintain its strength and integrity, defeat infection, and deter cancer development.  The best diet for health is one composed of wholesome and fresh foods that are prepared by hand and not processed for ease of consumption.  Avoiding white flour and high fructose corn syrup as much as possible can help to greatly decrease inflammation and promote joint health. 

Guidelines for Healthy Eating:

  • Aiming for regular, balanced meals and snacks, every day.
  • Hitting most of the major food groups each day to meet your needs for growth and health. 
  • Balancing nutrition-rich foods with small to moderate amounts of other foods like sweets or fast foods. 
  • Eating when hungry and stopping when full.
  • Learning about nutrition, but keeping your food as just one important part of your life, not obsessing over what you eat. 

Healthy eating habits are essential to maintaining a healthy weight and a person’s weight is the result of several factors:

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  • How much and what kinds of foods you eat.
  • Your physiologic and genetic make-up.
  • Your age and health status.
  • Whether your lifestyle includes regular physical activity.
  • Whether you use food to respond to stress and other situations in your life.

Reading Labels

A big part of healthy eating is understanding what is in the packaged foods you’re buying.  Understanding labels and product contents is very useful for planning a healthy menu.  Reading product labels is a simple habit to establish that can ensure you are purchasing the least processed foods containing the least amount of chemical additives possible.  If you cannot pronounce what is on the label then you should not be eating it. 

Rose Water

Rose Water

Rose water, derived from its petals, is good for rejuvenating skin and fighting skin problems like allergies and acne.

Therapeutic Compounds Found in Rose Water

  • Geraniol, which has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-cancer effects
  • Citronellyl acetate, which gives rose its pleasant flavor and aroma
  • Citronellol (also found in citronella)
  • Eugenol, a powerful antioxidant that fights oxidative stress
  • Methyl eugenol, a natural antiseptic and anesthetic
  • Nerol, a natural antibiotic compound
  • Citral, which has antimicrobial properties
  • Carvone, which acts as a digestive aid
composition of cosmetic bottle with pink rose petals and wooden plate
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Benefits of Using Rose Water

Acne: rose water is anti-inflammatory and astringent. A few drops on a cotton ball and clean your face with it.

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Dandruff: using rose water on hair makes it stronger, shiner and less prone to dandruff. Its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties can also help defend against dermatitis on the scalp and ingrown hairs.

Eye Strain: rose water is healing and cooling. Dip a cotton ball in rose water and place over closed eye for 15 minutes.

Skin Allergies: the anti-inflammatory and healing properties of rose water calm and sooth irritated skin.

Sore Throat: using water as a gargle can relieve inflammation and heal irritated tissues.

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Stress: the fragrance of rose is a mood enhancer it helps to calm the nerves and bring relaxation for better sleep.

References:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/rose-water

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_water

Rose Buds, Petals & Hips

Rose Buds, Petals & Hips

Rose (Rosa centifolia) is used in the traditional Ayurvedic system of medicine for managing various diseases.

Rose powder or petal jam is useful in managing digestive problems like hyperacidity and diarrhea due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

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Rose tea is useful for soothing digestive tract, calming the mind and reducing internal inflammation.

Rose oil in a diffuser can help calm and soothe the senses as its fragrance is a powerful mood enhancer.

Benefits of Consuming Roses

Chronic Disease due to oxidative stress. This is caused by free radicals, which are natural byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause healthy cells to mutate. By increasing the number of antioxidants in our body, including myrcene, quercetin, and myrcene from rose tea, it is possible to lower your risk of experiencing some chronic health conditions.

Diarrhea is due to the consumption of contaminated food and water. Apart from this, weak digestive fire is also one of the reasons behind diarrhea. All these factors are responsible for irritating the digestive tract and increasing peristalsis.

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Hyperacidity means an increased level of acid in the stomach. An aggravated Pitta impairs the digestive fire, leading to improper digestion of food. Regular intake of Rose powder helps to reduce the acid level in the stomach.

Low Mood due to stress or depression. The naturally uplifting quality of rose tea makes this an excellent choice for those who are feeling down, depressed, or overly stressed.

Menorrhagia: Heavy menstrual bleeding due to hormonal aggravation or imbalance. Rose helps to bring balance to hormonal secretions and reduce menstrual bleeding.

Respiratory Distress: Commonly prescribed or recommended for soothing the respiratory tract, lungs, and throat rose tea is an excellent choice if you are struggling with a cold or flu. It also helps to expel mucus and phlegm, which is where bacteria and other pathogens can live and thrive.

Sexual Dysfunction: in men can be in the form of loss of libido i.e. having no inclination towards a sexual act. There can also be a low erection time or semen expelled soon after a sexual activity. This is also referred to as ‘early discharge’ or premature ejaculation. Intake of Rose products helps in proper functioning of male sexual performance.

Sleep Disorders: The natural sedative property of rose tea makes it a wonderful beverage to finish a night, allowing it to reduce stress, and regulate sleep patterns and Circadian rhythm. If you suffer from insomnia, or regularly have disturbed or interrupted sleep, try this tea before going to bed.

Benefits of Consuming Rose Hips

Aging skin: Early research shows that taking rose hip powder helps to reduce wrinkles and improve skin quality in aging adults.

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Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea): Early research shows that taking rose hip extract might help to reduce pain from menstrual cramps.

Osteoarthritis: Most research shows that taking rose hip by mouth can reduce pain and stiffness and improve function in people with osteoarthritis.

Pain after surgery: Some research shows that taking a single dose of rose hip extract immediately prior to a C-section helps to reduce pain and the need for pain medications after surgery.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): Early research shows that taking rose hip by mouth improves some symptoms of RA.

Urinary tract infections or UTIs: Early research shows that taking rose hip powder after a C-section might lower the chance of having bacteria in the urinary tract.

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Recommended Dosage of Rose Products

Rose Powder – ¼ to ½ teaspoon twice a day. Add to milk or water and have it on an empty stomach. Use it once or twice a day to get rid of acidity.

Rose Capsule – 1-2 capsules twice a day. Take 1-2 Rose capsules. Swallow it with water or milk after taking food twice a day.

Rose Jam – ¼ to ½ teaspoon twice a day

Rose Juice – 2-3 teaspoons twice a day.

Rose Leaves – Take 2-4 leaves of Rose. Chew them preferably in the morning to get rid of mouth ulcers.

Rose Tea – 1 tsp rose powder or 1 tbsp rose petals/buds boiled in 8oz water for 3 min.

Rose Water – 2-3 teaspoons twice a day.

Medication Interactions with Roses

Aluminum interacts with ROSE HIP: Aluminum is found in most antacids. Rose hips contain vitamin C. Vitamin C can increase how much aluminum the body absorbs. But it is not clear if this interaction is a big concern. Take rose hip two hours before or four hours after antacids.

Estrogens interacts with ROSE HIP: Rose hip contains a large amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C can increase how much estrogen the body absorbs. Taking rose hip along with estrogen can increase the effects and side effects of estrogens. Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.

Fluphenazine (Prolixin) interacts with ROSE HIP: Rose hip contains vitamin C. Large amounts of vitamin C might increase how quickly the body gets rid of fluphenazine (Prolixin). Taking rose hip along with fluphenazine (Prolixin) might decrease the effectiveness of fluphenazine (Prolixin).

Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with ROSE HIP: Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Rose hip contains vitamin C. Large amounts of vitamin C might decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Decreasing the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the risk of clotting. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Lithium interacts with ROSE HIP: Rose hip might have an effect like a water pill or “diuretic.” Taking rose hip might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.

Aspirin interacts with ROSE HIP: The body breaks down aspirin to get rid of it. Rose hip contains large amounts of vitamin C. Large amounts of vitamin C might decrease the breakdown of aspirin. Taking large amount of rose hip along with aspirin might increase the effects and side effects of aspirin. Do not take large amounts of vitamin C if you take large amounts of aspirin.

Choline Magnesium Trisalicylate (Trilisate) interacts with ROSE HIP: Rose hip contains vitamin C. Vitamin C might decrease how quickly the body gets rid of choline magnesium trisalicylate (Trilisate). But it is not clear if this interaction is a big concern.

Salsalate (Disalcid) interacts with ROSE HIP: Rose hip contains vitamin C. Vitamin C might decrease how quickly the body gets rid of salsalate (Disalcid). Taking rose hip along with salsalate (Disalcid) might increase the effects and side effects of salsalate.

References:

https://www.webmd.com/diet/rose-tea-good-for-you

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-76146/rose-water/

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-839/rose-hip

https://www.livestrong.com/article/412805-what-are-the-benefits-of-eating-rose-petals/

https://www.1mg.com/ayurveda/rose-105

https://www.baldwins.co.uk/blog/5-benefits-of-rose-petals-for-natural-health-beauty

https://www.healthline.com/health/rose-water-benefits

https://draxe.com/beauty/rose-water/

https://healthyfocus.org/8-benefits-of-rose-tea/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3586833/

Rose Essential Oil

Rose Otto & Absolute

Rose oil (rose otto, attar of rose, attar of roses or rose essence), this fragrant essential oil is known for its wonderful, classic floral scent that is comforting and timeless. Rose Otto can be helpful during times of duress and extreme sadness. It is also gentle to the skin and helps heal dry, reddened patches.

The petals of the rose bush are harvested at sunrise when the fragrance of the flower is at its most powerful. Steam distillation is applied to the petals, releasing a clear liquid with an exquisite, rosy aroma. It takes over 200 flowers to make a single drop of essential oil, making this a truly luxurious oil to use in home aromatherapy blends.

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Rose Otto is hydro-distilled from the petals of the rose flower, creating a clear, thin liquid that can solidify at a temperature of 68 degrees F. If solid, put in a bag and insert into warm water. The oil will quickly return to a liquid state. This occurs with Rose Otto because of the distillation process and is completely normal. A little of this oil goes a long way, so only a drop is necessary to utilize its benefits.

Two major species of rose are cultivated for the production of rose oil:

Rosa damascena, the damask rose, which is widely grown in Bulgaria, Syria, Turkey, Russia, Pakistan, India, Uzbekistan, Iran and China

Rosa centifolia, the cabbage rose, which is more commonly grown in Morocco, France and Egypt.

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Rose absolute (Rosa damascena): This has a deep, rich color and a scent to match. Not especially sweet, nor indeed anything like the rose aroma that is associated with many rose-scented toiletry products. Rounded and persistent, a little goes a long way. The lowest price of all the rose oils due to the higher production yield. Great if you need a strong rose aroma for a blend however the use of a solvent to extract the oil brings its own dilemmas when it comes to using on the skin.

Persian Rose essential oil (Rosa damascena): Solid at room temperature, this oil has a high level of plant waxes which slow its movement down a little in comparison to the other distilled rose oils. The Persian Rose has a slightly softer, sweeter scent than the classic Bulgarian Rose. At around two-thirds the cost of Bulgarian Rose this oil makes a good introduction to the distilled rose oils.

Bulgarian Rose essential oil (Rosa damascena): The classic rose, deep, rich and inviting. There are two varieties, the organic oil and the traditionally farmed oil. They share the same base scent however the organic version is a little deeper and more complex (and costs more due to the increased costs associated with organic farming).

White Rose essential oil (Rosa alba): Not a Rosa damascena but a Rosa alba. A dusky and mysterious fragrance.

Turkish Rose essential oil (Rosa damascena): Similar to the Bulgarian Rose in terms of scent but perhaps a little more grounding and earthy. Previously this oil cost less than its Bulgarian counterpart but more recently it has been the other way round.

Types of Rose Extracts

Rose Otto Essential Oil is lighter in color and thinner in viscosity than Rose CO2 Extract or Rose Absolute. It is made directly by steam distilling fresh rose petals. Two tons of rose petals to make two ounces of essential oil.

Rose CO2 Extract is a bit thicker to work with, even at room temperature because the CO2 extraction process can extract more of the heavier aromatic molecules, natural plant waxes and resins than can steam distillation. Aromatically, Rose CO2 Extract has a beautiful aroma that is more complete and more closely represents the natural fragrance of fresh roses (Rosa damascena).

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Rose Absolute is often favored by fragrance formulators and perfumists for its fragrance, aromatic strength and lower cost than Rose Otto Essential Oil or Rose CO2 Extract.

Chemical Composition of Rose Otto

  • Citronellol – effective mosquito repellant (also found in citronella).
  • Citral – strong antimicrobial that is necessary for vitamin A synthesis (also found in lemon myrtle and lemongrass).
  • Carvone – effective digestive aid (also found in caraway and dill).
  • Citronellyl Acetate – responsible for the pleasant flavor and aroma of roses, which is why it is in many skin and beauty products.
  • Eugenol – also the powerhouse behind clove, the richest antioxidant in the world.
  • Farnesol – natural pesticide (also found in orange blossom, jasmine and ylang-ylang).
  • Methyl Eugenol – local antiseptic and anesthetic (also found in cinnamon and lemon balm).
  • Nerol – sweet-smelling aromatic antibiotic compound (also found in lemongrass and hops).
  • Phenyl Acetaldehyde – another sweet-smelling and aromatic compound (also found in chocolate).
  • Phenyl Geraniol – natural form of geraniol, which is commonly in perfumes and fruit flavorings.

Blends Well With: Bergamot, Chamomile Roman, Clove Bud, Geranium (All Types), Helichrysum Italicum, Jasmine Absolute, Lemon, Neroli, Palmarosa, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Sandalwood, Vetiver, and Ylang Ylang

Benefits of Using Rose Otto, CO2 Extract or Absolute

The most therapeutic effects of R. damascena in ancient medicine are including treatment of abdominal and chest pain, strengthening the heart, treatment of menstrual bleeding and digestive problems, and reduction of inflammation, especially of the neck. North American Indian tribes used a decoction of the root of R. damascena plant as a cough remedy to ease children’s cough. Rose oil heals depression, grief, nervous stress and tension. It helps in the reduction of thirst, healing old cough, special complaints of women, wound healing, and skin health. Vapor therapy of rose oil is helpful for some allergies (unless you are allergic to roses), headaches, and migraine.

Acne: able to completely destroy Propionibacterium acnes (the bacteria responsible for acne) after only five minutes of a 0.25 percent dilution!

Depression: women experienced significant decrease in depression scores, they also reported marked improvement in general anxiety disorder.

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Improves Dysmenorrhea (Painful Period): a nonpharmacologic treatment method, as an adjuvant to conventional treatment methods may be beneficial for pain relief in individuals with primary dysmenorrhea.

Eczema: the soothing effects of rose oil, when diluted in a lotion or carrier oil, helps to relieve dry, red patches of skin

Frigidity: as an anti-anxiety agent, rose essential oil can greatly help men with sexual dysfunction related to performance anxiety and stress. It may also help to balance sex hormones, which can contribute to increased sex drive.

Mature Skin: it has potent anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, it contains antioxidants that fight off free radicals which encourage skin damage and skin aging. Free radicals can cause damage to skin tissue, which results in wrinkles, lines and dehydration.

Stress: the uplifting and calming effects of rose oil can help you deal with life’s stressors more effectively.

Rose Essential Oil Safety Information

Essential Oil Safety forewarns that Rose Otto may contain methyeugenol and states: “We recommend a dermal maximum of 0.6% and a maximum oral dose of 21mg, based on 3.3% methyleugenol content, with dermal and oral limits of 0.02% and 0.01mg/kg for methyleugenol).

For external use only. Do not use undiluted on the skin. Avoid contact with sensitive areas, such as eyes. Keep out of reach of children. Do not use essential oils on children under 5 years old. Consult your healthcare professional before using essential oils during pregnancy. Best kept in a cool dry place. Naturally occurring allergens: Citral, Citronellol, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol and Linalool.

References:

https://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/rose-oil.asp

https://www.tisserand.com/essential-oils/rose-otto-essential-oil/

https://www.planttherapy.com/rose-otto-essential-oil

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-76921/rose-oil-emollient-topical/detai

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3586833/

https://oshadhi.co.uk/articles/essential-oil-profiles-how-to-choose-a-rose-oil

Dealing with Stress

Stress: Your response to an event or situation that calls for a change, threatens the order or safety of your life, or otherwise places an unusual demand on your physical, mental and emotional resources.

What does stress feel like in the moment?

  • Adrenaline starts pumping
  • Breathing quickens
  • Heart starts pounding
  • Blood pressure increases
  • Blood vessels constrict
  • Blood rushes to the muscles

Physical Symptoms of Stress

  • Insomnia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Headache
  • Grinding teeth
  • Muscle tics
  • Stomach aches
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Back aches
  • Neck pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin problems such as hives
  • High blood pressure
  • Reduced sexual pleasure

Emotional & Behavioral Symptoms of Stress

  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Over eating
  • Not eating
  • Gaining or losing weight
  • Difficulty concentrating Impaired short-term memory
  • Decrease in productivity
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Short temper or anger
  • Sadness, anxiety, or depression
  • Isolation from positive relationships
  • Unproductive worry

Type of Stressors

  1. Physical: increase your body’s need for energy; insufficient energy leads to sore muscles, fatigue, and worsening of disease/illness
  2. Mental & Emotional: include both good and bad events; includes emotional events like joy, surprise, worry, and frustration.
  3. Environmental: includes both good and bad exposure; sunshine is a stressor to the skin causing it to react, second hand smoke is a stressor causing damage you did not choose, and loud noises cause stress reactions whether they are kids playing or fire engines roaring.

Stress and Wellness

To protect your health, stress should be kept to a minimum and other precautions should also be taken. Mind and body affect and feed on one another, and stress strongly affects your overall physical wellness. Long-term stress can bring about significant changes in your body, and even extreme, short-term stress can temporarily decrease overall health. To increase your odds of wellness here are some important steps you can take:

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  1. Practice Stress Management Techniques. Certain techniques, like journaling, yoga and even laughter have all been found to increase immunity. Practicing stress-reducing activities, can keep your body from going into chronic stress mode, maintaining increased health and wellness.
  2. Take Care of Your Body. Eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly to keep your body running smoothly. Taking better care of your body will keep it functioning properly and increase your ability to fight off the latest bug that’s being passed around.
  3. Maintain a Supportive Network. Social support boosts immunity and helps you manage stress in your life, both of which will keep you healthier. By keeping several healthy relationships in your life, you’ll have friends to help you through the difficult times and increase your enjoyment of the good times, helping everyone stay healthy and enjoy life more.
  4. Stay Organized and Maintain Balance in Your Life. Keep your home uncluttered. Become proficient at saying no to requests that aren’t in line with your priorities. Staying organized and balanced will help you keep from overtaxing yourself, and can help reduce the level of stress you experience in your life, helping you stay healthier in the long run.

Reducing and Relieving Stress

Each of us can live healthier- if we make a concentrated effort to invest in our health by learning to identify bad stress and choosing healthy strategies to overcome a lot of the negative side effects. Stress management can really promote better health.

What are some of the benefits of stress reduction?

  • Better immune function
  • Less illnesses and physical complaints
  • More energy
  • More focused, more positive
  • Sleeping better
  • Better digestion
  • Calmer mood
  • Feeling more relaxed

Stress Reduction Techniques

Identify Your Stressors: make a list of all the things that cause even some stress in your life. Identifying them helps you to recognize them to effectively deal with them. Don’t forget to analyze food and habit stressors like eating junk food, drinking, and smoking.

Sort Your Stressors: categorize them by importance to determine if they are worthy of your concern or ‘stress’ and what actions you may need to take to reduce the stress being caused.

  1. Important and changeable: these are managed by taking action to change the situation and reduce the stress associated with it.
  2. Important and unchangeable: these can feel hopeless when they are cannot be changed yet are a part of everyday life. Best dealt with by changing the way you think about it. Reassess and reclassify the stressor to make it easier to deal with.
  3. Unimportant and changeable: if it’s really not important, not a part of your daily life, then let it go. If it is important and can be controlled the do it. Solving these smaller problems helps you build confidence and skills for larger problems.
  4. Unimportant and unchangeable: these are not worth your stress, so the best suggestion is to ignore them. Do not give them your attention or energy and they will not cause you stress.

Use Problem Solving: determine what the stressor is and figure out ways to alleviate the causes by determining solutions to the problems and changing the situation. Evaluate the results of your actions for future use with other stressors.

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Be Present: Stop and slow down. Take 5 minutes to focus intently on your activity, observing the behavior with awareness. Notice how the air feels on your face as your walking, enjoy the taste of the food you are eating, or marvel at the beauty of the sunrise. Spending time in the moment focused on your senses allows time for stress to leave your body.

Reach Out: Having a good support system of friends and family provides outlets for pent up stress.  Talking to others is a great way to manage whatever is causing you stress.

Tune In to Your Body: Pay attention to how it feels, not analyzing or trying to change anything, but simply taking stock of how the body is functioning.  The more you pay attention to your body the fewer surprises you will have when you visit the doctor.  You will also begin to learn the best ways to treat yourself with minor ailments, you will feel more in control of your health, and you will recover faster.

Eat Real Food: nutrient rich foods like whole fruits, vegetables, grains, and fresh meats provide the nutrients needed by the body to fight damage caused by stress hormones and reduce toxin build-up and cellular oxidation that occurs with stress.

Decompress: Sitting up straight, wrap a warm heat wrap, blanket, or neck pillow around your shoulders or neck. The close your eyes and allow your face, neck, shoulders, and back relax and go slack, your mouth may even hang open.  Breathing softly and calmly, feeling the tension melt away as your muscles relax.

Laugh Out Loud:  A good belly laugh not only lightens the mental load it also lowers cortisol levels and increases endorphin levels.  Cortisol is the stress hormone that when in excess causes weight gain and inflammation throughout the body.  Endorphins are the feel-good hormones that uplift your mood and calm the nervous system.

Be Grateful: Keep a grateful journal by your bed, at work, or in your purse to help you remember all the things that are good in your life.  Writing in it everything or some things that you consider being good experiences or celebrated accomplishments.  That way when things look bleak you can go back through it and remember the good things.  Being grateful for your blessings works to cancel out negative thoughts and worries.

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Scheduling Your Day: The best way to ensure that everything that is supposed to get done each day, gets done each day, is to create a schedule of daily activities and follow it every day.  Planned activities and doctor’s appointments should be worked into your schedule instead of working your schedule around them. This ensures you know what to expect each day and that you can feel confident in being able to get it all done.

Eat Something: When you get an anxiety attack, it may mean your blood sugar is dropping. The best thing to do is to have a quick sustaining snack, like a handful of walnuts, or a piece of dark chocolate, along with a glass of water or a nice cup of hot tea. People eat things like eggs, which are a satiating and filling protein, and are nature’s top source of choline. Low levels of choline are associated with increased anxiety.

Meditation: A few minutes of practice each day can help ease anxiety and make you more resilient to stress. It’s not difficult but it takes practice.  You must train yourself to clear your mind and keep it clear for a period of time in order to focus on one thing, giving the mind a break from everyday thoughts, hopes, worries, and dreams.

Deep Breathing: 5-minute break from a stressful activity or occurrence. Stop what you are doing and sit up straight with chin parallel to the floor.  Breathing slowly and deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Stop Catastrophizing. When you’re attacked by anxiety, it’s easy to get into a mindset known as “catastrophic thinking” or “catastrophizing.” Instead, take a few deep breaths, walk around the block, and consider the real probability that this problem will really spin out into catastrophe.

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Sauna or Steam Bath: Ever wonder why you feel so relaxed after a spell in the sauna or a steam room? Sensations of warmth may alter neural circuits that control mood, including those that affect the neurotransmitter serotonin. Warming up may be one of the ways that exercise—not to mention curling up by a fire with a cozy cup of tea—boosts mood. 

Forest Bath. You and I know it as a walk in the woods. The forest bathers had lower stress hormone levels after their walk than they did after a comparable walk in an urban area.

Crank Up the Tunes: Listening to soothing music, such as nature sounds or classical tunes, allow the mind to focus on individual instruments or sounds and causes a decrease in blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety.  Another good way to blow off some steam is to play rocking or upbeat tunes and sing along with them at the top of your lungs.

Get Moving: All forms of exercise, from yoga to walking, can ease depression and anxiety, by increasing the amount of endorphins released by the brain.  Exercise does not have to be strenuous to beneficial, 21 minutes is all it takes.

Reach for Soothing Scents: To calm nerves in an instant, try inhaling aromas of bergamot, lavender, or peppermint essential oils. Place a drop on your wrist or handkerchief to smell as you work, have an air diffuser available to permeate the room with aroma, or drop one drop onto an unscented candle to disperse the aroma throughout the room.

Take a Warm Bath: Relaxing in a warm bath with or without scented bath salts or oils.  Light a couple candles or use a night light to create a dim and relaxed atmosphere then lay in the tub and relax, allowing the water to wash away your tension.  As you drain the tub imagine all of your stress going down the drain with the dirty water.

Visualize Peacefulness: Take a few minutes to imagine your dream vacation or your perfect escape: Imagine being there, feeling the breeze on your face or the sand under your feet.  Imagine you are there in your perfect place enjoying the beauty of it.  Sit in your peaceful place for time forgetting your worries.

Utilize Crystal Energy: Turquoise colored crystals have a wide variety of uses. They temper excesses, restore calm after a storm, relieve stress, neutralize extremes, and provide a counter to tendencies to fly off in a single direction. They help you overcome conflict, and deal with rage. They moderate aggressiveness and help you deal with cruelty. The turquoise colored crystals help you relax, rewind, and build tolerance. When you seek to reestablish your equilibrium, and get your emotions under control, use a turquoise crystal.

Pine Needle Oil

Pine Needle Oil (Pinus sylvestris)

Pine needle oil is steam distilled from the fresh needles, branch tips, or the combined fresh branches with needles and branch tips of Pinus sylvestris L. (Scots pine or Norway pine) or other essential oil-containing species of Pinus. Scots pine is an evergreen conifer tree native to Eurasia, introduced to North America by European settlers, now cultivated extensively in the eastern United States and Canada.

In Germany, pine needle oil is official in the German Pharmacopoeia, the Standard Licenses for Finished Drugs Monographs, and it is also approved by Commission E. Drops of the essential oil are added to boiling water for inhalation of steam vapor as a supportive treatment for catarrhal diseases of the respiratory tract. The drops are also applied topically by carefully rubbing into the skin for rheumatic complaints. The Germans also prepare an aqueous infusion of pine shoots for oral ingestion for the same indications as the oil.

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Chemistry and Pharmacology

Constituents include 5097% monoterpene hydrocarbons, such as a-pinene, with lesser amounts of 3-carene, dipentene, b-pinen, Dlimonene, a-terpinene, g-terpinene, cis-b-ocimene, myrcene, camphene, sabinene, and terpinolene. Other constituents include bornyl acetate, borneol, 1,8-cineole, citral terpineol, T-cadinol, T-muurolol, a-cadinol, cayophyllene, chamazulen, butyric acid, valeric acid, caproic acid, and isocaproic acid.

The Commission E reported secretolytic, hyperemic, and slight antiseptic activity. The active principles of some pine needle essential oils responsible for the antiviral and antibacterial activities are thought to be limonene, dipentene, and bornyl acetate. Pine needle oil can cause a decongestant effect by stimulating reflex vasoconstriction.

The Commission E approved pine needle oil for catarrhal diseases of the respiratory tract, and externally only for rheumatic and neuralgic ailments. It has been used as a fragrance and flavor component in cough and cold medicines, vaporizer fluids, nasal decongestants, and analgesic ointments.

Benefits

The health benefits of pine essential oil include its ability to reduce inflammation and associated redness, protect against sinus infections, clear mucus and phlegm, treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, boost the immune system, fight fungal and viral infections, stimulate the mind and body, and protect your home and body from a variety of germs.

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Pine essential oil also increases metabolism and boosts your activity levels. It is also helpful in purifying the body due to its ability to treat intestinal problems. It is diuretic in nature and helps remove excess water from your body through urination. By stimulating the frequency and quantity of urine, you eliminate more uric acid, excess water, salt, and fat from your body. It also keeps the kidneys healthy, because they do not have to filter the toxins more than once.

Pine essential oil is considered an analgesic and is, therefore, a good remedy for people suffering from joint pain, arthritis, and rheumatic conditions. Besides being an analgesic, it is also an anti-inflammatory agent, meaning that it reduces inflammation and redness of the affected areas, simultaneously eliminating the pain.

The ability of pine essential oil to neutralize free radicals through its antioxidant capacity also represents a positive impact on eye health. Macular degeneration, cataracts, and several other vision-related conditions are due to the presence of free radicals in our system that cause degradation of our cells. Pine essential oil has related to improving eye health and protecting them from natural, age-related failure.

Pine essential oil is an antiseptic used to treat boils, cuts, sports injuries, and Athletes’ Foot. This is not only due to its antiseptic properties, but also its anti-fungal characteristics. Fungal infections are some of the most dangerous and difficult conditions to treat, and if they become internal, they can even be fatal. Therefore, using pine essential oil to cleanse your system of any fungal infections is a good idea.

Pine essential oil is helpful for curing respiratory problems and is commonly used as a remedy for cold and cough. This is due to its abilities as an expectorant, meaning that it loosens phlegm and mucus from the respiratory tracts and makes it easier to eliminate them. By reducing the amount of deposition in your respiratory tracts, your body can fight the initial infection faster and reduce your recovery time.

Using Pine Needle Oil

Pine oil blends well with many other essential oils depending on what you are using it for. Try combining it with oils including bergamot, cedarwood, clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus, frankincense, grapefruit essential oil, juniper, lavender oil, sage, sandalwood, tea tree and thyme.

Aromatically: You can use pine essential oil (or pine nut oil) for aromatherapy by diffusing it within your home using a diffuser. Adding some to firewood is a great way to create a scented fireplace that will travel throughout your home. Another good option is to inhale the oil directly from the bottle when symptoms strike.

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Topically: The oil should be diluted with a carrier oil like coconut oil in a 1:1 ratio before applying it directly to your skin. Note that some people react to pine oil by experiencing skin irritation, so perform a patch test first to be safe.

Interactions and Concerns of Pine Oil

Internal consumption of pine essential oil can be dangerous because there is a possibility of kidney damage. It should also not be given to people who are suffering from kidney disorders. Furthermore, pine essential oil can cause irritation to sensitive skin, so it must be used only in a diluted form. Children and elderly people should not be given pine essential oil as it may cause hypertension and irritation.

Some people with sensitive skin or even allergies might experience redness, itching or other skin irritation when using pine nut oil. So as with all essential oils, it is a good idea to first perform a small patch test to make sure you do not experience side effects. Apply one to two drops with a carrier oil to a part of your skin that is not overly sensitive, such as your feet or forearm, and wait for your reaction before beginning to use pine oil on your face, chest or other sensitive areas.

Always combine pine oil with a carrier oil, and never use them undiluted directly on your skin. Keep pine oil away from your eyes or inside of your nose, where it can encounter mucus membranes that can easily become irritated.

Remember that, as with all essential oils, you should never ingest pine needle oil.

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References

http://nopr.niscair.res.in/handle/123456789/16860

http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/PineNeedleoil.html

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf990146l

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10412905.2010.9700368

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874102002143

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.2129/abstract

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874111008543

http://www.acgpubs.org/RNP/2010/Volume%204/Issue%201/27-RNP-1008-297.pdf

https://www.fht.org.uk/therapies/aromatherapy

https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/essential-oils/index.cfm

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/pine-oil

https://acaai.org/allergies/types-allergies/pine-tree-allergy

Bown, D. 1995. Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses. New York: DK Publishing, Inc. 329.

Braun, R. et al. 1997. Standardzulassungen f r FertigarzneimittelText and Kommentar. Stuttgart: Deutscher Apotheker Verlag.

Budavari, S. (ed.). 1996. The Merck Index: An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals, 12th ed. Whitehouse Station, N.J.: Merck & Co, Inc.

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Dealing with Kidney Infections Naturally

I was born with a birth defect that caused permanent kidney damage. Doctors surgically re-implanted my ureters into my bladder, causing scar tissue to form. The scar tissue traps irritants and bacteria from the urine causing inflammation and infection. For twenty years I had 4 to 6 kidney infections every year. Antibiotics and sulfa drugs were the prescriptions of choice. No one ever discussed diet choices or natural therapies for support during that entire time.

Then one day it all came crashing down. I was extremely stressed out. I had taken on too much by working, going to school, taking care of a family and starting a business. I had a massive infection; the pain was excruciating. The doctors prescribed the strongest antibiotic I have ever had. By the time I was done with it I knew something was very wrong. The infection was not gone after 14 days of treatment and my skin had turned grey. I was extremely fatigued, my muscles were sore, my joints were stiff, I was deeply depressed and an emotional wreck.

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The antibiotics had killed all the bacteria, even the good ones. This allowed candida to overgrow everywhere, literally everywhere. That is when I learned what candidiasis is. That is a whole different story though. After a three day fast on vegetable juice I was able to start over.

As I was resting and healing, I learned as much as I could about the causes of kidney infections. I found that acids and caffeine in the diet were the two main culprits of kidney inflammation. Excess sugar (glucose) in the blood also causes kidney irritation, which is common in diabetics. Any irritation can lead to infection, especially with the damage I already had.

So, I began using the herbal remedies I learned about from books and in college. I also, almost completely, worked sugar, coffee, tea, soda and caffeine out of my diet. I made many changes that would help to prevent this from happening again. Instead of coffee, tea, and soda I drink a chicory root based chai tea that is caffeine free. I began using honey instead of sugar in my herbal teas. Eliminating most of the processed foods from my diet went a long way in reducing the inflammation.

To help prevent an infection I found a variety of herbal remedies that are great for keeping the inflammation down and reducing the chance for infection. Of course, there is chamomile, the best herbal anti-inflammatory, unless you are allergic to it. Adding lavender can be calming and pain relieving. Dandelion assists in liver and kidney function and works as a gentle diuretic. Nettles reduces mucolytic inflammation and helps balance hormones.

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To help stop an infection once it has started, I found herbal remedies that work much like antibiotics in the body. Except they do not kill all bacteria, instead they provide nutrients that support and improve immune function. This way the body can fight the infection in a natural process, instead of being forced to kill everything. Usnea is an amazing antibiotic that grows on trees in any moist area throughout North America, even in Colorado. Uva Ursi is a Native American remedy for blood in the urine. Thyme (Red or Spanish) as an oil or herb is a strong antibiotic that will kill just about anything that does not belong.

Every day I drink at least 120 ounces of water and 72 ounces of herbal tea with honey and milk. My herbal tea includes cinnamon, clove, cardamom, ginger, chicory, uva ursi, dandelion, passionflower, rose, jasmine and blessed thistle. I drink 8 ounces cranberry juice once a week. Just to keep my kidneys flowing and my bladder clear.

Every day I eat at least one raw salad of leaf lettuce, cabbage, kale, carrots, avocado and nuts or seeds with homemade or bottled dressing. Some days I eat sardines, tuna or salmon with one meal. I avoid packaged foods as much as possible, but I do eat fast food or restaurant food for two or three meals a week. Breakfast usually includes either bacon and eggs with whole grain organic toast or yogurt and walnuts, depending on how active I need to be for the day.

Every day I use my homemade body oil to moisturize and nourish my skin. This is simply a sunflower oil base with essential oils for healing inside and out. The essential oils I use include (in order of concentration) sweet orange, lavender, geranium, ylang ylang, myrtle, thyme, sage, nutmeg, rose and jasmine. This blends assists in balancing hormones, boosting immunity and preventing infection. I can make a blends just for you as I do for myself and my family. Contact me here.

Or shop for handmade products below.

Every day I use CBD to also assist in relieving inflammation and pain. Cannabidiol has shown, through scientific research, its ability to nourish tissues, alleviate inflammation and reduce pain. CBD drops nourish from the inside and CBD vape is perfect for immediate pain relief. CBD lotions and skin care add additional nutrients not found in every day natural products. Get your American made CBD here.

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I also use activity to help control my inflammation and reduce the pain. Yoga is huge for relieving pain by moving the fluids from the joints and tissues. Sweat producing weightlifting and aerobics are great for assisting the body in removing fluids and toxins. I use Tai Chi to help balance my emotions through self-control. Deep breathing and meditation practices help ease my mind and reduce mental inflammation.

Now whenever I have an infection, which are much fewer and farther apart thankfully, I take many different steps. First, I begin taking a two week regimen of Usnea and Uva Ursi capsules that I make at home and avoid any sugar. Then, I use specific yoga poses to tone the kidneys and assist in their function. I take warm mineral baths to assist in removing fluids and soothing pain. Much different than almost dying while taking antibiotics. I feel so much better, I have no words to describe how much better!

The cost difference is immense as well. I avoid costly doctors visits and expensive antibiotics, their side effects as well. Especially without health insurance. While maintaining improved health and wellness.

Ask me how I can help you here.