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.

Bundesanzeiger (BAnz). 1998. Monographien der Kommission E (Zulassungs- und Aufbereitungskommission am BGA f r den humanmed. Bereich, phytotherapeutische Therapierichtung und Stoffgruppe). Kln: Bundesgesundheitsamt (BGA).

But, P.P.H. et al. (eds.). 1997. International Collation of Traditional and Folk Medicine. Singapore: World Scientific. 1516.

Deutsches Arzneibuch (DAB 1997). 1997. Stuttgart: Deutscher Apotheker Verlag.

Grieve, M. 1979. A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

Koelling, M.R. 1999. History and CharacteristicsScotch PinePinus sylvestris L. Okemos, MI: National Christmas Tree Association Internet Committee. Available at: www.christree.org/treetype/scotch.html

Lacey, L. 1993. Micmac MedicinesRemedies and Recollections. Halifax, NS: Nimbus Publishing Ltd. 29, 36, 99, 115.

Leung, A.Y. and S. Foster. 1996. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2nd ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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.

Pine Needle

Pine Needle (Pinus sylvestris)

A few of the health benefits of pine needles are the high levels of vitamin A which makes it wonderful for the skin and its extremely high levels of vitamin C (in fact several times more than that of a lemon or a glass of orange juice). Pine needles and their high vitamin C levels help to boost the immune system which in turn helps to fight off infections.

The benefits of pine needle tea include maximizing the immune system, improving vision, preventing respiratory infections, stimulating circulation, avoiding chronic disease, increasing cognitive performance, strengthening heart health, and speeding healing. With more than a hundred varieties of pine trees in North America alone, you must use the correct pine needles, as some varieties may contain toxins or cause negative side effects.

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And although pine needles may not be FDA approved, they have been successfully used by indigenous people of northern regions of the Americas and Europe for centuries (or likely even longer) to combat symptoms of scurvy, which becomes present with low levels of vitamin C.

Other ailments pine is known to help:

  • chest congestion
  • sore throat
  • fights depression/ anxiety
  • improves mental clarity
  • improves adrenal function
  • calms the nervous system
  • lowers blood pressure
  • aids in preventing weight gain
  • powerful insecticidal to help keep bed bugs, fleas or lice away

Cognitive Function: Early studies on the effect of this potent tea on neurodegenerative diseases have shown promising results. An animal study showed that it can be very effective against memory impairment or amnesia. The antioxidants in this tea can help repair neural connections and improve memory.

Heart health: Pine needle tea may be good for your heart. Research has shown that it protects against LDL oxidation, a condition that can threaten your cardiovascular health. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties which further help in minimizing any damage on your heart due to pollutants or other factors.

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May Aid Weight Loss: Pine needle tea shows some of the same potentials as green and black tea. Research shows that it may help in weight loss. A Korean study on rats and overweight humans found that pine needle extract along with green and black tea reduced body weight gain and visceral fat mass.

Respiratory Conditions: Pine needle tea was often used by indigenous cultures for treating respiratory problems. The Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World records how the Native Americans used white pine for its expectorant and decongestant qualities.

Rich in Antioxidants: Pine needle tea could be a very rich source of antioxidants, essential for fighting free radicals, chronic conditions, and preventing diseases. According to research published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, a water extract from pine needles showed a high level of antioxidants and DNA-protective properties.

Vision health: Pine needle tea is also believed to contain vitamin A. Together with vitamin C, it can improve our vision. Vitamin C is good for aging eyes, giving it antioxidant protection against normal pollutants. Vitamin A is essential for our cornea and in improving vision.

Recipes

DIY PINE HOUSEHOLD CLEANER

Pack a jar half to two thirds full of pine needles and cover them with white vinegar. Let this sit and infuse for 4-6 weeks. If you want a stronger pine smell, stain the pine needles out and compost while packing the jar full again and repeat the infusion process again. You will have a very strong pine vinegar.

Using a spray bottle use your pine infused vinegar as an all-purpose cleaning solution diluted down with water. Great for cleaning windows, surfaces anything. If you would like an antibacterial cleaner add 5-10 drops of tea tree oil as well.

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PINE & CALENDULA FACE AND BODY OIL

The fact that pine needles are packed so full of vitamins and minerals makes them a great plant to use in beauty and skincare. High amounts of vitamins both A and C make it wonderful for anti-aging and overall skin health.

To make Pine oil, pack a jar half to two thirds full of cleaned and dry pine needles. Fill the jar full of your choice of oil. Olive oil make s a great oil for dry or mature skin, grapeseed or almond oil make great options for sensitive skin. With a lid on the jar place in a sunny place for 4-6 weeks then strain out pine needles.

Mix half and half with a freshly infused Calendula Oil. Using Calendula together with pine infused oils will have amazing anti-aging, skin cell repairing, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and healing effects. Use this super-rich potion of pine and calendula oil for almost everything face and body! Oil method make-up removal, after bath face & body oil, put in the bath as a bath oil. Or use as the base of a healing salve or face cream!

STOVE TOP DIFFUSED PINE

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All you really need is your plant material in this case pine needles, along with any other plants you wish to use. Fill a small pot 3/4 full of water, toss in your plants or herbs, and put it on a burner over low.

Some of the plant combos that are useful:

Immune boosting- pine, clove & cinnamon (decongestant, anti-viral, circulatory stimulant)

Winter friendly- pine, sage & bay (refreshing, antidepressant, uplifting)

Tranquility- pine, juniper berries & lavender (refreshing, healing, calming)

This method of diffusing plant power into the air uses much less plant material than traditional essential oils and it puts a little extra humidity into the air which is always helpful when feeling under the weather.

Beware of the Wrong Pine Needle

There are 20 known toxic varieties of pine trees, so do thorough research or acquire pine needles from a trained herbalist or natural medicine practitioner. Some of the most well known toxic varieties include the ponderosa pine, balsam fir, lodgepole, and Monterey pines. There are also quite a few trees that are commonly called “pine trees”, but are in fact toxic imitators, such as the English Yew, Norfolk island pine, and the Yew pine.  Avoid using any these when brewing your tea.

For pregnant women: The USDA cautioned against the ingestion of ponderosa pine needles. Given the toxicity of some pine species, it is best to avoid drinking this tea if you are pregnant.

Allergy: You should also be aware of any potential allergies to pine trees. Pine oil that is released when brewing the tea, can have inflammatory effects on the skin and stomach, resulting in stomach upset in some people. Given these possible side-effects, it is recommended that you only try about half a cup in the beginning.

References:

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-101/pine

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/pine-needle-tea.html

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8826003/

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jo00070a014

https://www.google.co.in/books/edition/Encyclopedia_of_Folk_Medicine/2GGz6708nqgC?hl=en&gbpv=0

https://www.google.co.in/books/edition/Encyclopedia_of_American_Indian_Contribu/QIFTVWJH3doC?hl

http://www.koreascience.or.kr/article/ArticleFullRecord.jsp?cn=OOSMBK_2005_v48n4_375

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027869150900266X

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691507002621

https://www.ars.usda.gov/pacific-west-area/logan-ut/poisonous-plant-research/docs/ponderosa-pine-pinus-ponderosa/

https://www.ars.usda.gov/pacific-west-area/logan-ut/poisonous-plant-research/docs/ponderosa-pine-pinus-ponderosa/#:~:text=The%20needles%20of%20ponderosa%20pine,changes%20in%20feed%2C%20or%20hunger.

https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=6626&context=etd

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4431316/

https://doi.org/10.4162/nrp.2011.5.4.281

https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S45399

https://doi.org/10.1001/archophthalmol.2010.32

Reversing Diabetes

As a teenager I ate, drank and smoked whatever I wanted. My parents would caution me about using six packets of sugar in one cup of coffee. I had a sweet tooth to say the least. On top of that I loved junk food, especially ‘Mountain Dew’ and ‘Funions’. I was smoking cigarettes at age 12, I could steal them anytime from my grandmothers, father and stepmothers.

All of this time I never considered my kidney damage from birth defects or the chronic kidney infections I developed because of my diet and lifestyle choices. I simply continued to take the antibiotics with each infection. The damage was insidious and even though I felt great for years it did eventually catch up with me.

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By the time I was pregnant with my third child I was already diabetic. The doctors informed me of that later. I had no clue yet I was feeling very bad and I had gained a lot of weight. I had no health insurance so I was on my own in dealing with the symptoms. Of course I ignored them as much as I could like any person would who was raising a family while working and going to college.

Throughout the rest of the pregnancy they had me testing my blood and injecting insulin six times a day. My blood sugar would rise very high even when eating a carrot. The Gestational Diabetes was well established by the second trimester.

So I went to a Diabetic Nutritionist on a weekly basis. She helped me track what I was eating and begin to understand the fluctuations in blood sugar due to certain foods. I began to understand what I needed to do to help control my blood sugar. I was able to maintain my weight and keep my blood sugar balanced through the end. Even while working, going to college and taking care of my family.

Once the pregnancy was over they said I would have to continue to test my blood and inject insulin. Honestly I am terrified of shots and was not willing to continue injecting myself. Plus I still had no health insurance and Diabetic testing supplies and insulin are an enormous expense. There was no way we could afford it.

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So I did what I could and watched my diet somewhat. Eventually it all backfired and after splurging on a dinner of a fast food hamburger, french fries and soda I found myself on the floor. I had almost blacked out and slid to the floor. The room was spinning as if I was drunk. My family was watching, helpless.

I did some research after I regained my feet and found that I was on the verge of a diabetic coma. This is when the blood sugar is so high it affects the brain and nervous system causing damage and eventually shut down. This is the main cause of Diabetic Neuropathy. This scared me so much I immediately began looking in to what more I could do to stop this from happening again.

The first thing I found was Chromium Picolinate. Chromium is the main nutrient utilized by the pancreas to create insulin. With Type II Diabetes the pancreas becomes overloaded and slows production of insulin and other related hormones. I began taking it once a day while I worked to change my diet and develop a fitness routine.

I was not physically fit because of desk jobs and sitting for school. So I began with Yoga. Back then Oprah had the Fit Channel that had multiple exercise shows. I started watching Hatha Yoga. Through the videos I learned how to do the poses and proper breathing. This caused me to decide to change my major in college to Integrative Therapies.

From 2007 to 2012 I learned everything I could about holistic wellness and healthy living. Courses included Anatomy and Physiology, Aromatherapy, Ayurveda, Herbal Remedies, Homeopathy, Pathology of Disease, etc. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Integrative Therapies with a minor in Health Care.

During this time I also gained control of my blood sugar and lost eighty pounds. Using what I learned I was able to quit smoking and finally end that awful habit as well. All while continuing to work and take care of my family. I was fit and healthy again, like in my twenties.

Now I am in my forties and a grandmother. I do still have to work to maintain my weight and blood sugar. There are times I slip and I really regret it. Then it takes a little time to get back on track. I am grateful to have the tools and experience to know when I am slipping and how to take action to bring balance again.

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Now if you have been trying to find a way to improve your health and reduce your reliance on expensive medications I am here to help. I can help you make change using my process or I can help you to develop your own. I also offer a wide assortment of natural products to help reduce the chemicals in your environment.

Learn more about how Mother Jai can help you here.

Calcifications

Calcifications in the Body

Calcification is the accumulation of calcium salts in a body tissue. It normally occurs in the formation of bone, but calcium can be deposited abnormally in soft tissue, causing it to harden. Calcifications may be classified on whether there is mineral balance or not, and the location of the calcification.

Smoking is associated with increased calcifications in the heart and major arteries. As smoking is known to be a major risk factor for developing heart disease, these calcifications may also play a role. Overall, quitting smoking has both short- and long-term benefits, especially for your heart, blood vessels, and brain.

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There is no proven way to prevent calcifications, as they’re a result of a variety of biological processes. Quitting smoking and changing diet may impact formation of calcifications, depending on the location of the buildup. Kidney stones may form less often with certain dietary changes. Talk to your doctor about ways to incorporate a healthy diet into your lifestyle.

Calcific tendonitis symptoms and treatments: Calcific tendonitis is the unwanted buildup of calcium deposits in your muscles or tendons. Although this can happen anywhere in the body, it’s most common in the rotator cuff of your shoulder. This condition may also be described as calcium deposits in the shoulder.

Calcific tendonitis symptoms: The main symptom is severe, sometimes disabling, pain. It can occur without any apparent cause, especially in the morning. It may be accompanied by stiffness and a frozen shoulder. Among the possible causes of this condition are genetic predisposition, abnormal thyroid activity, and diabetes.

Calcinosis cutis symptoms and treatments: Calcinosis cutis is the deposit of calcium under the skin. This can happen anywhere on the body. One rare form of it can occur on the face or upper body after a case of acne. The deposits usually show up as whitish bumps on the skin’s surface. They may have no other symptoms, or they may become tender and discharge a chalk-colored creamy material that’s mainly calcium.

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Calcinosis under a microscope. – By Sergio Bertazzo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27113136

Causes of Calcinosis Cutis

The causes of calcinosis cutis are broken down into four major types:

  • Dystrophic calcinosis cutis refers to calcium deposits that result from trauma, acne, varicose veins, infections, and connective tissue disease.
  • Metastatic calcinosis cutis can be caused by hyperactive thyroid, an internal cancer, destructive bone disease, excessive vitamin D intake, sarcoidosis, and chronic renal failure.
  • Iatrogenic calcinosis is the name for calcium deposits that result from a medical procedure such as calcium injections or repeated heel sticks (pricking the heel to draw blood) with newborns.
  • Idiopathic calcinosis is the name given when there’s no known cause for the condition. It’s usually localized in one area.

Dystrophic calcinosis: Dystrophic calcinosis can occur in tissue that is damaged or inflamed or has become malignant or died. Conditions that can lead to dystrophic calcinosis cutis are:

  • skin injury
  • skin infections
  • connective tissue diseases
  • panniculitis
  • acne
  • tumors

Iatrogenic calcinosis: Iatrogenic calcinosis are typically attributed to certain medications and medical procedures such as repeated drawing of blood from an infant’s heel.

Metastatic calcinosis: Metastatic calcinosis can result from any medical condition associated with excess phosphorus (hyperphosphatemia) and calcium (hypercalcemia), including:

  • kidney failure
  • sarcoidosis
  • paraneoplastic hypercalcemia
  • hyperparathyroidism
  • milk-alkali syndrome
  • calciphylaxis
  • excess vitamin D

Idiopathic calcinosis: Idiopathic calcinosis cutis is calcinosis that can’t be attributed to a specific cause. The typical reasons have been ruled out: Phosphate and calcium levels in your body are normal. There is no evidence of previous tissue damage. You’re not taking medications that could trigger calcinosis. You haven’t had medical procedures recently that could trigger calcinosis.

Alternative Treatments

There are a few natural remedies you can try to treat calcium deposits on the skin:

Massage. Although not necessarily recommended by medical professionals, many people claim that massaging the affected area with aloe vera gel or olive oil eliminates the calcium deposits over time.

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Diet. Many advocates of natural healing suggest lowering your calcium intake and avoiding foods such as dairy products can help.

Apple cider vinegar. Some believe that drinking 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in 8 ounces of water every day will help break down calcium deposits.

Chanca piedra. Others suggest the herb chanca piedra can break down the buildup of calcium in the body.

Increase the amount of Vitamin K and magnesium in your diet. These nutrients may cause calcium deposits to occur in the body if you have a deficiency. Some dietary sources of Vitamin K and magnesium include collard greens, kale, green peas, seeds, spinach, beans, fish, carrots and lettuce.

Take warm soaks in the bathtub. Warm soaks can help treat and prevent calcium deposits from worsening. Fill up a tub with warm water and soak for a period of 20 to 30 minutes daily. If you have pain and inflammation as a result of calcium deposits, icing the area can help.

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Consumption connection? Except in certain rare metabolic disturbances that raise blood calcium, calcification of joints and tendons is a local process that’s not influenced by calcium intake.

How To Make Homemade Magnesium Oil

Ingredients

  • ½ cup magnesium chloride flakes
  • ½ cup distilled water (to extend the shelf life)
  • Glass spray bottles

Directions

  • Bring ½ cup of distilled water to a boil.
  • Add ½ cup magnesium flakes to a glass measuring cup or bowl.
  • Once water has boiled, pour it into the bowl of magnesium flakes and stir until the flakes completely dissolve.
  • Let this mixture cool and transfer to labeled spray bottles for daily use.
  • Store your homemade magnesium oil at room temperature for up to 6 months.

To Use:

Start by using just a few sprays on your skin; initially no more than five. Over the next few days, gradually work up to 10-20 sprays a day. I like to apply my homemade magnesium oil in the crook of my arms, back of my knees, and stomach for best absorption.

It is also wise to do a patch test on your skin (particularly if you have sensitive skin) before applying the spray all over your body. A lot of people may initially experience tingling or a slight itching sensation where the oil is applied. This can be relieved by applying aloe vera on the site or coconut oil about 20 minutes after applying the oil (to give it a chance to absorb properly).

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/calcium-beyond-the-bones

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579607/

https://medium.com/@nat.stringer92/magnesium-flakes-vs-epsom-salt-whats-the-difference-and-which-is-right-for-you-92d1ac5f0234

https://www.healthline.com/health/magnesium-oil-benefits

https://wellnessmama.com/5804/magnesium-oil/

https://www.scoi.com/patient-resources/education/calcium-deposits-shoulder

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/calcium-deposits-on-tendons

https://www.healthline.com/health/calcific-tendonitis

https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/aging-independence/calcium-deposits/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/70073-dissolve-calcium-deposits-body/

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-get-rid-of-calcium-deposits

https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/special/calcium-deposits-and-tendinitis-calcific-tendinitis/tw9144.html