California water infrastructure on verge of historic collapse
(NaturalNews) Water is increasingly hard to come by in drought-stricken California, where many farmers are struggling to get enough water just to pay the bills. But the situation in the Golden State is far worse than many people realize, according to new reports, as underground aquifers...
Author of 'The GMO Deception' explains the dangers behind genetically modified foods
(NaturalNews) Sheldon Krimsky is no stranger to the evolution of genetic testing and manipulation. In fact, he's authored and co-authored dozens of books on a range of topics including industrial genetics, hormone mimickers, corrupt biomedical research and why the public needs a ...
Three foods that can treat kidney disease and boost renal function
(NaturalNews) Every year, more than 100,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with kidney disease, a serious, life-threatening condition in which the kidneys can no longer filter waste products from the blood. (1) The National Kidney Foundation estimates that one in three...
Chemicals used in common household disinfectants significantly impair reproductive health
(NaturalNews) Two chemicals in a class of compounds commonly added to household cleaning and disinfectant products have been determined to cause reproductive damage in laboratory animals, according to a new study. Researchers from Virginia Tech found that mice handled by laboratory...
Drought in Spain means massive olive oil shortage in months ahead
(NaturalNews) Futures investors are making an already difficult situation worse in Spain, where unrelenting drought conditions in the world's largest olive-producing country threaten to spike the price of olive oil globally. Reports indicate that this year's olive crop could be down...
Drinking tea reduces non-cardiovascular mortality by 24 percent, study finds
Drinking tea reduces non-cardiovascular mortality by 24 percent, reveals a study in 131,000 people. "Tea has antioxidants which may provide survival benefits. Tea drinkers also have healthier lifestyles so does tea drinking reflect a particular person profile or is it tea, per se, that improves outcomes -- for me that remains an open question. Pending the answer to that question, I think that you could fairly honestly recommend tea drinking rather than coffee drinking and even rather than not drinking anything at all," one researcher said.
Deadly remedy: Warning issued about Chinese herbal medicine
A herbal preparation prescribed by a Chinese herbal medication practitioner in Melbourne for back pain resulted in life-threatening heart changes, prompting a team of intensive care and emergency physicians to call for appropriate patient education by practitioners who prescribe complementary medications.
Experts denounce clinical trials of unscientific, 'alternative' medicines
Experts call for an end to clinical trials of 'highly implausible treatments' such as homeopathy and reiki. Over the last two decades, such complementary and alternative medicine treatments have been embraced in medical academia despite budget constraints and the fact that they rest on dubious science, they say.
Plastic handles on disposable acupuncture needles would curb risk of needle buckling
Replacing copper coil handles on all disposable acupuncture needles with plastic stick handles would not only substantially curb the risk of needle buckling, but would also save tonnes of copper wire and millions of meters of medical grade stainless steel, concludes research.
Computation, collaboration lead to significant advance in malaria
A new computational method has been developed to study the function of disease-causing genes, starting with an important new discovery about a gene associated with malaria -- one of the biggest global health burdens. The researchers came up with a computational method that allows biological information to literally flow from gene to gene across a massive network across many genomes, known as the "supergenomic" network.
Do You Really Want to Eat Hot Dogs After Knowing This?
By Dr. Mercola
The hot dog is one of America's most popular foods, with the average person consuming 50 of them per year. Hot dogs are one of the most nutritionally bankrupt foods.
Yet for decades, they've been given a free pass, granted one pardon after another thanks to their towering status in American culture. But when you look at what they are giving you in return, you will want to seriously reconsider their status.
The hot dog's gustatory glow took a significant hit in 2009 when the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) issued its landmark report1 about hot dogs and cancer risk, based on more than 7,000 scientific studies.
AICR determined that every 50 gram serving of processed meat you consume daily?for example, just ONE hot dog?raises your risk for colorectal cancer by 21 percent. Despite these health warnings, frankfurters have been unstoppable.
In 2013, Americans spent $2.5 billion on hot dogs in US supermarkets, which amounts to more than one billion packages of wieners. During peak hot dog season?which is from Memorial Day to Labor Day?Americans belt down seven billion dogs.
On the Fourth of July alone, Americans consume 150 million hot dogs?enough to stretch from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles more than five times! Hot dogs pose another danger for your child that you may not be aware of?they are responsible for 17?percent of all choking cases among children, killing about 80 kids per year.2
Transformation of Slaughter By-Products Into Hot Dogs
Many blame the hot dog's carcinogenic effects on nitrates and nitrites, but I would argue that this is an overly simplistic view. When you look at what goes into hot dogs and how they are made, there is plenty of blame to go around.
Between the type and grade of "meat" used and its sources, as well as the torrent of chemicals added to make the dogs safe and palatable?of which nitrates are only one?it's easy to understand how serious health problems could arise.
Most of the meat and meat by-products come from Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) where animals are tortured in crowded, unhealthy, unsanitary, and cruel conditions, as the primary goal is cheap food, not quality food.
The video at the top of the article about how hot dogs are made provides a somewhat glorified view of the process, but it does succeed in portraying just how far from natural this food really is. And when you boil it down, it's rather disgusting.
Here is the not-glorified version. They start with an animal carcass that's been stripped of all desirable cuts, boil the heck out of it, force it through a metal sieve, add water, grind it up into a slimy carcass paste ("meat emulsion" or "meat batter"), add a bunch of chemicals to make it taste good and binders to make it stick together, then extrude it into links.3,4
'And ALL the Trimmings'
Once desirable meat cuts are removed from beef, pork, and poultry (steaks, chops, ribs, thighs, breasts, briskets, etc.), what remains is a carcass consisting mostly of gristle, fat, and offal. The meat industry refers to this as "trimmings." According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO):5
"The raw meat materials used for precooked-cooked products are lower-grade muscle trimmings, fatty tissues, head meat, animal feet, animal skin, blood, liver and other edible slaughter by-products."
The butchering process imparts a considerable amount of bacteria to these carcasses, but because hot dogs are pre-cooked, manufacturers can get away with using these pieces and parts even if they are teeming with bacteria.
Cooking helps kill them, as well as separating the remaining muscle, fat, and connective tissues from the head and feet bones. The slimy paste that results from this rendering brew is what's referred to as "mechanically-recovered" meat. The process of manufacturing hot dogs is colorfully summarized in the Daily Mail:6
"In vast metal vats, tons of pork trimmings are mixed with the pink slurry formed when chicken carcasses are squeezed through metal grates and blasted with water. The mush is mixed with powdered preservatives, flavorings, red coloring and drenched in water before being squeezed into plastic tubes to be cooked and packaged."
Where's the Beef?
Now that you know the basics of the process, let's take a closer look at the ingredients. Meat makes up a relatively small proportion of the average commercial hot dog. And it's typically low-quality meat and meat by-products?which technically are not meat at all.7
Turkey, chicken, beef, pork, and others
Pork must be 20 percent or less due to risk of pathogens
Paprika and other spices, artificial flavorings, msg, carmine (a dye from the shells of small beetles, boiled in ammonia or sodium carbonate), and any number of other additives
USDA does not require manufacturers to list these on labels, so just about anything goes when it comes to "flavorings"
Water thins the meat batter so that it can be extruded into the desired form
No more than 10 percent, per regulations
Derived from beef, pork, lamb, fibers, wood pulp, or plastic
Many hot dog casings are removed prior to packaging so they don't have to be edible; others are made from plant or animal-derived cellulose, dissolved cowhides, or the intestinal tracts of farmed animals9
At least the above list of ingredients "belong" in hot dogs... what's far worse are the extras. According to reports begrudgingly released by the USDA under the Freedom of Information Act, foreign objects recently found in hot dogs include Band-Aids, glass shards, razor blades, metal fragments, maggots, rat legs, and pieces of eyeballs.10
Large hot dog factories can blast out 300,000 of these dogs per hour. It takes only 30 seconds to build a chain of hot dogs that would span a soccer field twice. When a commercial operation is THIS massive, you can get some rather revolting contaminants.
The Truth About Nitrates and Nitrites
Many are confused about nitrates and nitrites, so let me clear up the confusion. Nitrates are present in many vegetables, such as beets, celery, lettuce, spinach, and most other leafy green vegetables. When you eat nitrates, your body converts a small percentage of them into nitrites. Nitrites and nitrates are not inherently bad for you?in fact, they are the precursor to nitric oxide (NO), which lowers your blood pressure and exerts mild anti-inflammatory effects.
Sodium nitrite is a synthetic preservative added to meats like hot dogs to help them maintain that nice pink color. The problem is, in the presence of heat?especially high heat?nitrites can combine with amines in processed meat to form nitrosamines, and it's these that are carcinogenic. Nitrosamines inflict cellular damage and have been linked to cancer, typically in your colon, bladder, stomach, or pancreas. Processed meats are far more prone to nitrosamine formation than vegetables, due to being higher in amines and intensively heat processed.11,12,13,14
Vitamin C inhibits some of the nitrosamine formation, which is why 550 ppm ascorbic acid is now required added to all processed meats in the US.15 Vegetables contain more vitamin C, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants, which is another reason why the nitrates in vegetables don't cause a problem.
According to the University of Minnesota Extension, around 90 percent of the nitrite in your body comes from vegetables, while just 10 percent comes from processed meats.16 When meat or fish is cooked at high temperatures, other potent carcinogens are also created, such as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). If your processed meat is smoked, you can add Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) to the list.
What About Nitrates in Organic Hot Dogs?
Natural or organic hot dogs may not be much lower in nitrite?and some may even be higher than conventional hot dogs. Companies that label their products natural or organic must use natural sources of the preservatives, which usually come in the form of celery powder or celery juice, as celery is naturally high in nitrate.
A 2011 study published in The Journal of Food Protection found that natural hot dogs had anywhere from one-half to 10 times the amount of nitrite of conventional hot dogs.17 A similar scenario exists for bacon. So, buying organic hot dogs is not necessarily going to reduce your nitrate exposure?although it will likely result in a higher quality food product in many other respects.
Brainwashing Kids Into Loving Junk Food
Unacceptable rates of childhood obesity and disease are evidence of the damage being done to our children by hot dogs, sodas, and other unhealthy foods. With such grave health dangers, the earlier that fast food habits can be nipped in the bud, the better. Kids are extremely vulnerable to and under constant bombardment by junk food marketing.
If you want to see evidence of how powerful this brainwashing can be, take a look at the eye-opening video of Jamie Oliver's experiment, where he attempts to educate a group of elementary schoolers about what really goes into chicken nuggets. Of course, he COULD have used hot dogs for the example and the outcome would have probably been the same. Despite his success in disgusting them with what really goes into a chicken nugget, they STILL want the nuggets! This experiment reveals the depth of children's emotional attachment to fast food?which also shows just how effective fast food marketing is to children.
An even more powerful marketing strategy has emerged for brainwashing your child, which takes advantage of smartphones and other mobile devices. The "advergame" is a game that promotes a particular brand, product or message by integrating it into play. The game IS the advertisement, engaging children to such as extent that they form strong relationships with the product or brand, so they consume more of it?and research proves it works. For example, KFC's "Snack in the Face," which mimics the massively popular game Angry Birds, is described as "the future of junk food advertising."18
The Best of the Wurst
If you are going to eat hot dogs or other processed meats once in awhile, there are a few considerations that may help you reduce your risk of adverse health affects. Again, these options are not ideal as these meats are stillprocessed, but the following guidelines will ensure you are consuming a product that is better for you than the vast majority of processed meats on the market:
Look for "uncured" varieties that contain NO nitrates
Choose varieties that say 100 percent beef, 100 percent chicken, etc. This is the only way to know that the meat is from a single species and does not include byproducts
Avoid any meat that contains MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavor, or artificial color
Ideally, purchase sausages and other processed meats from a small, local farmer that makes those products right on the farm, whom you can ask about the ingredients
Truly Healthy Meats Are a Much Better Option
In contrast to eating products that are little more than a heat-processed slurry of reassembled slaughterhouse remains, real meat is a different story altogether. Make sure the meat you consume is grass-fed, organically and humanely raised, preferably from a local farmer you know and trust. Grass-fed beef tends to be leaner and have higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and cancer-fighting CLA. It also has a healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. Organic farms tend to provide far more sanitary conditions, so the animals are less likely to harbor dangerous pathogens.
Organic, grass-fed standards do not permit non-medical use of antibiotics, and with antibiotic-resistant infections being a major public health hazard today, this is an important consideration. To counteract some of the harmful effects of cooking, add homemade spice rubs, herb-enhanced marinades, or even fresh blueberries to your meat prior to cooking. This will not only augment its nutritional value, but also reduce the harmful substances like heterocyclic amines that are formed during the cooking process. Consume plenty of fresh vegetables along with it, which will further enhance its nutritional value.
Before there was modern-day medicine and its pharmacopeia of synthetic drugs, there were plants, and ancient civilizations knew how to use them strategically to treat common ailments and even life-threatening diseases.
The ancient Egyptian Ebers Papyrus, a scroll from 1550 BC that?s over 100 pages long, details 700 medicinal herbs and how to use them. The Greek Corpus Hippocraticum from the 16th century BC also details the use of herbal medicine.1
Later, during the 1800s and early 1900s, the knowledge of herbal medicine was passed down from one generation to the next. Typically, the woman of the house was well versed in the use of herbs for healing, and would act as the family?s physician not only to treat illnesses but also to prepare various herbal wellness tonics and other remedies.
Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 percent of the world?s population still uses traditional remedies, including plants, as their primary health care tools.2 Meanwhile, the majority of new drugs (70 percent) introduced in the US are derived from natural products, primarily plants.3
Unfortunately, the reverence for the use of medicinal plants in everyday life has largely been lost in the US. But if you are interested in using natural remedies to support your health, you should know that there are many right at your fingertips.
7 Medicinal Plants You Can Use to Benefit Your Health
Below is an excellent starting point to learn how to harness the power of medicinal plants. This is only a small sample, of course, and once you get your feet wet, you?ll likely be inspired to explore more and more uses for these healing wonders.
Ginger is one spice that I recommend keeping on hand in your kitchen at all times. Not only is it a wonderful addition to your cooking (especially paired with garlic) but it also has enough medicinal properties to fill several books.
Ginger is best known for its antinausea effects but also has broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-parasitic properties, to name just several of its more than 40 scientifically confirmed pharmacological actions. It is anti-inflammatory, making it valuable for pain relief for joint pain, menstrual pain, headaches, and more.
The pain-relieving potential of ginger appears to be far-reaching. Along with help for muscle and joint pain, ginger has been found to reduce the severity of migraine headaches as well as the migraine medication Sumatriptan ? with fewer side effects.4
Ginger also shows promise for fighting cancer, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, asthma, bacterial and fungal infections, and it is one of the best natural remedies available for motion sickness or nausea (from pregnancy or chemotherapy, for example).
Taking one gram of ginger daily may help reduce nausea and vomiting in pregnant women, or those with migraines and ginger has been shown to work better than a placebo in relieving morning sickness.5
Ginger is also a must-have if you struggle with indigestion, and it does more than simply relieve pain. Ginger contains powerful protein-digesting enzymes and helps to stimulate the emptying of your stomach without any negative effect, and it?s an antispasmodic agent, which may explain its beneficial effects on your intestinal tract.
Many people enjoy ginger tea on a regular basis, and this is one of the simplest ways to use it. Simply chop off a couple of inches of ginger root and let it steep in hot water for fresh ginger tea. I would advise against using it daily as it can lead to an allergy and is what happened to me about twenty years ago.
You can also peel the root using a paring knife and then slice it thinly (or grate it or mince it) to add to tea or cooked dishes. You can?t go wrong by adding ginger to stir fries or even your favorite homemade chicken soup. For serious issues, a natural health care provider can help you get the maximum therapeutic benefits of ginger.
Eating a clove or two of fresh garlic a day may indeed keep the doctor away, in part because it has immune-boosting, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal effects. Many of garlic?s therapeutic effects are derived from its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin, which are also what give it its characteristic smell. In general, garlic?s benefits fall into four main categories:
Reducing inflammation (reduces the risk of osteoarthritis and other disease associated with inflammation)
Boosting immune function (antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiparasitic properties)
Improving cardiovascular health and circulation (protects against clotting, retards plaque, improves lipids, and reduces blood pressure)
Toxic to at least 14 kinds of cancer cells (including brain, lung, breast, gastric, and pancreatic)
In addition, garlic may be effective against drug-resistant bacteria, and research has revealed that as allicin digests in your body, it produces sulfenic acid, a compound that reacts with dangerous free radicals faster than any other known compound.6 This is one of the reasons why I named garlic as one of the top seven anti-aging foods you can consume.
In order to get the health benefits, the fresh clove must be crushed or chopped in order to stimulate the release of an enzyme called alliinase, which in turn catalyzes the formation of allicin.
Allicin, in turn, rapidly breaks down to form a number of different organosulfur compounds. So to ?activate? garlic?s medicinal properties, compress a fresh clove with a spoon prior to swallowing it, or put it through your juicer to add to your vegetable juice.
A single medium-size clove or two is usually sufficient and is well-tolerated by most people. The active ingredient, allicin, is destroyed within one hour of smashing the garlic, so garlic pills are virtually worthless. Black garlic, which is basically fermented garlic, and sprouted garlic may contain even more antioxidants than regular garlic.
Peppermint offers benefits to the respiratory system, including for coughs, colds, asthma, allergies, and tuberculosis. In terms of digestive health, peppermint oil capsules have been described as "the drug of first choice" in IBS patients,7 and peppermint oil is an effective alternative to drugs like Buscopan for reducing colonic spasms.8
It may also relax the muscles of your intestines, allowing gas to pass and easing abdominal pain. Try peppermint oil or leaves added to tea for gas relief. Inhaling the peppermint aroma may offer memory enhancement and stress relief, and peppermint oil acts as an expectorant and decongestant, and may help clear your respiratory tract.
Use peppermint essential oil as a cold rub on your chest or inhale it through a vaporizer to help clear nasal congestion and relieve cough and cold symptoms. Peppermint oil may also help relieve tension headache pain. For headache pain, try dabbing a few drops on your wrist or sprinkling a few drops on a cloth, then inhaling the aroma. You can also massage the oil directly onto your temples and forehead. Peppermint essential oil is ideal for muscle and chest rubs, headache pain, dental care, and aromatherapy. You can even add it to your homemade cleaning supplies for extra antimicrobial power and natural fragrance.
When selecting peppermint for your own use, the fresh leaves will impart a superior flavor to dried leaves (such as for use in tea). Look for fresh leaves that are green in color without any dark spots or yellowing. In addition to using fresh mint leaves in tea, you can add them to soups, fruit salad, or gazpacho. Additionally, it is really easy to grow peppermint yourself and the plant works as a highly effective deterrent to many insects that might invade your garden or your home.
Lavender oil has a chemically complex structure with over 150 active constituents.9 This oil is rich in esters, which are aromatic molecules with antispasmodic (suppressing spasms and pain), calming, and stimulating properties. The chief botanical constituents of lavender oil are linalyl acetate, linalool (a non-toxic terpene alcohol that has natural germicidal properties), terpinen-4-ol, and camphor. Other constituents in lavender oil that are responsible for its antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties include cis-ocimene, lavandulyl acetate, 1,8-cineole, limonene, and geraniol.
Lavender oil is known for its calming and relaxing properties, and has been used aromatherapeutically for alleviating insomnia, anxiety, depression, restlessness, dental anxiety, and stress. It has also been proven effective for nearly all kinds of ailments, from pain to infections.
I am particularly fascinated by lavender oil's potential in fighting antifungal-resistant skin and nail infections. Scientists from the University of Coimbra found that lavender oil is lethal to skin-pathogenic strains known as dermatophytes, as well as various Candida species.10 Lavender oil can also be used to:
Relieve pain. It can ease sore or tense muscles, joint pain and rheumatism, sprains, backache, and lumbago. Simply massage a small amount of lavender oil onto the affected area. Lavender oil may also help lessen pain following needle insertion.
Treat various skin disorders like acne, psoriasis, eczema, and wrinkles. It also helps form scar tissues, which may be essential in healing wounds, cuts, and burns. Lavender can also help soothe insect bites and itchy skin (lavender oil can help ward off mosquitoes and moths. It is actually used as an ingredient in some mosquito repellents).
Keep your hair healthy. It helps kill lice, lice eggs, and nits. The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCB) says that lavender is possibly effective for treating alopecia areata (hair loss), boosting hair growth by up to 44 percent after just seven months of treatment.11
Improve your digestion. This oil helps stimulate the mobility of your intestine and stimulates the production of bile and gastric juices, which may help treat stomach pain, indigestion, flatulence, colic, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Relieve respiratory disorders. Lavender oil can help alleviate respiratory problems like colds and flu, throat infections, cough, asthma, whooping cough, sinus congestion, bronchitis, tonsillitis, and laryngitis. It can be applied on your neck, chest, or back, or inhaled via steam inhalation or through a vaporizer.
Stimulate urine production, which helps restore hormonal balance, prevent cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), and relieve cramps and other urinary disorders.
Improve your blood circulation. It helps lower elevated blood pressure levels and can be used for hypertension.
Thyme is a fragrant herb that makes a wonderful addition to your cooking, in part because it is rich in antioxidants. Thyme contains health-boosting flavonoids including apigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymonin, and has been shown to protect and increase the percentage of healthy fats found in cell membranes. As reported by the George Mateljan Foundation:12?In particular, the amount of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid) in brain, kidney, and heart cell membranes was increased after dietary supplementation with thyme.?
Thyme is also nutrient dense, containing vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, manganese, copper, and dietary fiber. When used in cooked dishes, thyme may also help inhibit glycation and the formation of dangerous advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in your food, making thyme a potential preventer of heart disease and premature aging. Due to thyme oil?s antibacterial, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, expectorant, hypertensive, and calming properties, it also has a long list of topical uses, including:
Home remedy ? Thyme oil is used to relieve and treat problems like gout, arthritis, wounds, bites, and sores, water retention, menstrual and menopausal problems, nausea and fatigue, respiratory problems (like colds), skin conditions (oily skin and scars), athlete?s foot, hangovers, and even depression.
Aromatherapy oil ? The oil can be used to stimulate the mind, strengthen memory and concentration, and calm the nerves.
Hair product ? It is said that thyme oil can prevent hair loss. It is used as a treatment for the scalp and is added to shampoos and other hair products.
Skin product ? Thyme oil can help tone aged skin and prevent acne outbreaks.
Mouthwashes and herbal rinses ? Like peppermint, wintergreen, and eucalyptus oils, thyme oil is used to improve oral health.
Insecticide/insect repellent ? Thyme oil can keep insects and parasites like mosquitoes, fleas, lice, and moths away.
Chamomile is most popular in tea form for use to calm upset stomach and help support restful sleep. Germany?s Commission E (a government organization) has even approved the use of chamomile for reducing swelling on your skin and fighting bacteria. Chamomile is a powerful anti-inflammatory that also has antibacterial, anti-spasmodic, anti-allergenic, muscle relaxant, and sedative properties. It is used to treat psoriasis, eczema, chickenpox, diaper rash, slow-healing wounds, abscesses, and gum inflammation,13 and according to Herb Wisdom may also be useful for the following conditions:14
?The oil serves many medicinal purposes, but one of the best-documented uses is for relaxation. The oil has a calming effect on people, and can be used to help induce sleep, ease frayed nerves, and promote a general sense of calmness and well being. It is great for those with nervousness or anxiety problems. Aside from having mental calming properties, chamomile is also good at relaxing sore muscles and tight joints.
It can ease menstrual cramps and back aches, as well as relax the digestive system to ease upset stomach or indigestion issues. When applied topically to the skin, it soothes redness and irritation. For this reason, it is a common ingredient in skincare. It also eliminates itchiness and is good for those with allergic reactions. Sometimes chamomile is used on rashes. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it can work to take down swelling caused by rashes or skin irritants.?
This flowering plant has traditionally been used as a liver tonic, useful for detoxification and improving liver function. Dandelion is known as a stimulant that is typically used for kidney and liver disorders. It is also traditionally used to reduce the side effects of prescription drugs, as well as to treat infections, gallbladder problems, water retention and swelling.15 Dandelion greens, which you can prepare simply by blanching them in boiling water for 20 seconds to help remove their bitter flavor (they can also be added to vegetable juice), contain many nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron, potassium, and manganese. They are a particularly good source of vitamin A and may also have cancer-fighting properties.
Getting in Touch with Your Inner Healer: How to Use More Medicinal Plants
In the past, I have regarded herbs, in many cases, as a safer alternative to drugs, useful for treating various symptoms but not to treat the underlying cause. I have since revised my opinion on this quite significantly, and now realize that herbs can help support your health from a very basic level, just as foods do. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, you could walk into a drug store and find hundreds of herbal extracts for sale. Upwards of 90 percent of the population at that time knew how to use the medicinal plants growing in their backyards to treat common illnesses and injuries; they had too, as this was virtually the only ?medicine? available.
With the rise of what is now known as conventional allopathic medicine shortly before World War I, herbalism slowly fell out of favor and became to be thought of as folk medicine. Rather than viewing nature as the source of healing, as had been done for centuries, people began to view drugs and other ?modern? healing methods as superior. If you would like to start using medicinal plants more often, here are 9 tips to do so:16
Learn to identify three medicinal plants you don't already know that grow in your region and learn their uses.
Add at least one of these herbs to your garden or to pots on your windowsill.
Make a tincture, tea, syrup, or salve. Or make one of each!
Harvest and dry mint, lemon balm, calendula, nettles, or any other plant growing in your region.
Find a plant to sit with quietly each morning for a week; draw the plant.
Identify one healing skill you would like to have but don't, and find a way to learn it?perhaps by taking an herb or aromatherapy class.
Make an herbal first aid kit.
Organize local healers for emergency response in your community.
With medicinal plants grown in your region, learn how to treat one condition that you and/or someone in your family struggles with.
What Makes This Healthy Breakfast Recipe Good for You?
By Dr. Mercola
If you?re looking for a healthy breakfast, you?ll want to bypass much of the traditional fare in the US. Cereal, bagels, pancakes, waffles, muffins, and doughnuts all have one thing in common?
They?re refined carbohydrates that will quickly break down to sugar, increase your insulin levels, and cause insulin resistance, which is the number one underlying factor of nearly every chronic disease and condition known to man, including weight gain.
Highly processed carbohydrates stimulate brain regions involved in reward and cravings, promoting excess hunger, which means when you eat toast or cereal for breakfast you might be priming your body to overeat junk food for the rest of the day.
If you?re going to eat breakfast, you need to give your body the proper fuel, which means healthy fats, fiber, a moderate amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals ? all of which you?ll find in the irresistible recipe that follows?
Try This Spicy Avocado Egg Recipe
Free-range, pastured organic eggs are one of the best foods you can eat. Combine them with another superfood, avocado, plus healthy spices and salsa, and you?re on to something. This recipe, from Mountain Rose Blog,1 is described as a breakfast food, but you can eat it any time of day. If you don?t like spicy foods, you can adjust the seasoning accordingly.
Rise & Shine Baked Avocado
1 organic Hass avocado, cut in half with seed removed
2 organic pastured farm eggs
½ tsp. organic Mexican Seasoning or equal parts organic cumin powder, garlic powder, oregano, and chili powder
¼ cup shredded organic cheddar cheese
Fine sea salt and organic cracked black pepper to taste
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Place the avocado halves into a baking dish and stabilize them with a little foil if needed. Crack one egg into each empty pit of your avocado halves. You can scoop a bit of avocado out if you need more room for the egg.
Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Sprinkle ¼ tsp. of Mexican Seasoning on each egg filled avocado. Top each half with shredded cheese and pop into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, top with salsa, and enjoy!
What Makes This Recipe Good for You?
It?s comprised of whole foods that will give your body a boost of energy while offering multiple synergistic benefits, courtesy of its phenomenal ingredients:
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat that is easily burned for energy. They also provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including potassium, vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid.
Research has found that avocados can help optimize cholesterol levels within as little as one week, and contain compounds that appear to inhibit and destroy oral cancer cells, as well as, compounds that protect against liver damage.
Eggs are a phenomenal source of protein, fat, and other nutrients, including choline and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. The best way to consume eggs, provided they come from a high-quality source, is to not cook them at all, which is why my advanced nutrition plan recommends eating your eggs raw.
In the beginner plan, however, eggs are still included and you can prepare them anyway you like them. While less "well-done" eggs are still preferable (such as poached, soft-boiled, or over easy with very runny yolks), a hard-boiled egg makes a fine snack or source of protein for your meal.
If you follow the recipe above, your eggs will come out close to hard-boiled. For less well-done eggs, simply shorten the cooking time. It?s very important to choose free-range or "pastured" organic eggs, as they are far superior when it comes to nutrient content. Eggs from hens raised on pasture contain more vitamin A, omega-3 fats, vitamin E, and beta carotene than commercial eggs.
Conventionally raised eggs are also far more likely to be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria such as salmonella. The key to finding truly free-range, pastured eggs is to buy your eggs locally. This is typically even preferable to organic eggs from the grocery store.
Cumin, Oregano, and Chili Powder
These spices are rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals that may fight diseases like cancer, reduce inflammation, and even slow down the aging process. For instance, oregano has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal effects, and may kill MRSA, listeria, and other pathogens.
Cumin, meanwhile, has properties that may enhance your memory and reduce stress, while chili powder contains capsaicin, an anti-inflammatory compound linked to pain relief, weight loss, and the suppression of cancer cells.
Salsa is a wonderful condiment to add to your meals, full of antioxidant-rich tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices. It?s low in calories but heavy in vitamins and flavor, so you can use it generously in your diet.
Why You Might Want to Skip Breakfast
As mentioned, this recipe is ideal for morning, noon or night, and you might actually want to try it later in the day, as opposed to at breakfast time. Emerging research suggests that omitting breakfast, as part of an intermittent eating schedule, can actually have a number of phenomenal health benefits. These range from improving insulin sensitivity to shifting your body into burning more fat instead of sugar for fuel. The interesting aspect about eating first thing in the morning is that it coincides with your circadian cortisol peak, that is, the time of day when your cortisol (a stress hormone) levels rise and reach their peak.
The circadian cortisol peak impacts your insulin secretion, such that when you eat during this time it leads to a rapid and large insulin release and a corresponding rapid drop in blood sugar levels, more so than when you eat at other times of the day.
If you're healthy, your blood sugar levels won't drop to a dangerously low level (such as can occur with hypoglycemia) but they can drop low enough to make you feel hungry. So, although skipping breakfast goes against the conventional idea that you should not skip meals, omitting breakfast could actually make it easier for you to control food cravings and hunger throughout the day.
That said, there are also many other reasons to consider skipping breakfast, including its beneficial affect on your levels of human growth hormone (HGH). Personally, I revised my personal eating schedule to eliminate breakfast and restrict the time I eat to a period of about six to seven hours?typically from noon to 6 or 7 pm. I typically exercise in the morning, and most of the time I am fasting, as exercising while in a fasted state has been shown to produce many beneficial changes.
In the first few months of adopting this approach, I lost two inches from my waist size and gained three pounds, which means I lost body fat and gained muscle mass. The most amazing benefit that intermittent fasting produced is that it shifted me to fat-burning mode, which was one of the most amazing and radical health transformations I have ever experienced. Once you are truly shifted to primarily fat-burning mode your hunger dramatically decreases and your desire for unhealthy processed junk foods virtually disappears. You then don't have to have much discipline or will power to follow a healthy eating plan, as your hunger for unhealthy carbs is just not there.
However, it is important to remember that skipping breakfast is a process, not an action. You don't simply stop eating breakfast one day and reap all the benefits. It is a major commitment that may come with some discomfort, and it typically takes several weeks to successfully transition from being a primary carb burner to using fat as your primary fuel. Ultimately, it?s up to you if you want to eat breakfast or not, but if you do choose to eat it, remember that it should include fiber and healthy fats, making the avocado and egg recipe above an ideal option.
It received an enormous amount of attention, which eventually led to a contract for a book on trans fats. At the same time, she was working as a restaurant review critic, and the meals she received from the chef were foods she'd never eaten before.
"Liver, creamy sauces, cheeses, red meat ? and I found them to be delicious. Rich, earthy textured foods. I also found that I lost this stubborn 10 pounds I had been fighting for the most of my adult life, and my doctor said my cholesterol levels were fine."
These are the types of foods that are said to be really bad for your health, yet she had the complete opposite experience. As an investigative reporter, she felt cowestmpelled to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Along the way, she also discovered that while trans fats are now increasingly on the "outs," the vegetable oils replacing trans fats may be even more harmful...
How Trans Fats Became the Backbone of the Food Industry
Most edible oil chemists are men, Nina notes, but there was one woman in the field, Mary Enig PhD, who had been warning people about trans fats starting in the late 1970s.
No one was listening to her though, and she was widely regarded as a bit of a crackpot. An independent thinker, Dr. Enig was also a pioneer in educating people?myself included?about the health dangers of unfermented soy.
"Trans fats come about when vegetable oil is hardened," Nina explains. "Vegetable oils only entered the American food supply in the early 1900s.
Before 1900, American housewives cooked with lard and butter. Then vegetable oils, first in the form of cottonseed oils, came in. The very first hardened vegetable oil product was Crisco, introduced in 1911.
That's when trans fats, which are produced when you harden oil through hydrogenation, entered the US food supply."
Hydrogenated vegetable oils and margarine quickly became the backbone of the food industry. They ramped up from zero percent of the food supply to seven or eight percent today.
According to Nina, the increase in the amount of vegetable oils we eat is the single biggest increase in any kind of food nutrient over the course of the 20th century.
According to one calculation, we now eat more than 100,000 times more vegetable oils than we did at the beginning of the century. Vegetable oils were virtually nonexistent at the beginning of the century. Now, they make up about 7-8 percent of all calories consumed by the American public.
"Every packaged food?every cookie, cracker, microwave popcorn, frozen food?everything was made with trans fats. And our French fries were fried in them," she says.
"But it turns out that trans fats ? due to the work of Mary Enig (who signaled the alarm) and another researcher whom you've interviewed, Fred Kummerow ? they were found to have health problems. They interfered in the basic cellular membrane functioning."
Trans Fat Harm Was Identified in the 1930s
Indeed, Dr. Fred Kummerow?now nearly 100 years old? realized the hazards of trans fats in the 1950?s, and was the first researcher to publish a paper on it in 1957. He discovered that it's not cholesterol that causes heart disease, rather the trans fats are to blame.
Still, trans fats didn't become a major issue in the US until the early 2000s, when it was found that they slightly raise your LDL cholesterol. Since the expert community is so focused on cholesterol to the exclusion of everything else, they started banning trans fats based on that cholesterol effect.
"That was also the reason that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) used to finally decide to put trans fats on the food label. They wanted consumers to know that foods contained trans fats because by the late 2000s, they were considered really to be a dangerous kind of fat," Nina says.
"To me, it's definitely true that trans fats are not healthy for us. But I'm not sure that they were condemned based on the right reason."
The Cholesterol Fallacy
In the 1950s, saturated fats were condemned on the basis of them raising your cholesterol. At that time, we had only a primitive understanding of what causes heart disease. But we could measure HDL and LDL cholesterol, and the research community focused in on LDL, which became known as the "bad cholesterol."
Since then, a large number of clinical trials have shown that LDL cholesterol levels, except in extreme cases, actually are very poor predictors of heart attack risk.
And, as our understanding of biomarkers has evolved over the last 15 years, it turns out there are other biomarkers that far more accurately predict heart risks, such as your LDL particle number.
"But going back to trans fat, it was condemned on the basis of LDL. It seems like the wrong piece of evidence against trans fats. There were plenty of other things that were worrisome about trans fats that make that perhaps not a bad decision, except for one big thing?nobody really thought about what would replace trans fats," Nina says.
On a side note, there's also the issue of glyphosate contamination and genetic engineering that make vegetable oils of today even more hazardous than the earlier varieties. That said, from the very beginning, vegetable oils always had the problem that they were unstable.
When heated, especially to high temperatures, they degrade into oxidation products. More than 100 dangerous oxidation products have been found in a single piece of chicken fried in vegetable oils, Nina says.
"That's the reason that vegetable oils were hardened to be able to be used in the first place," she says. "They couldn't be used simply as oil. Once there was a technology that figured out how to use them just as oils by actually changing the fatty acid structure in oils, vegetable oils in bottles like Wesson Oil and canola oils came to the market, in the 1940s.
But even back then, in a number of animal experiments that were done, there were tremendously worrying results. Animals would get cirrhosis of the liver or enlarged liver. And then when they were eating heated vegetable oils, they would die prematurely."
So, while trans fats are being recognized as harmful and are in the process of being completely eliminated, we?re still faced with a huge problem, because restaurants and food service operations are reverting back to using regular vegetable oils (such as peanut, corn, and soy oil) again for frying. But these oils still have the worrisome problem of degrading into toxic oxidation products when heated!
Trans Fats Are Being Replaced with Equally Worrisome Oil Products
The latest issue of Wise Traditions, the Weston Price journal, has a great article that is an excerpt from her book, in which she discusses this topic. Most of you reading this are now well aware of the dangers of trans fats, and that the FDA is in the process of banning them completely. That's great news, but the question is, what is trans fat being replaced with? The answer is that the oils they're currently using in lieu of trans fats create toxic oxidation products, which in fact may be more toxic than trans fat.
"I stumbled on this topic because a vice president of Loders Croklaan, a big fats and oils producer, said to me, 'I just heard this terrifying talk by a man in a company who does all the cleaning for fast food restaurants.'... He said they have been having problems since restaurants started getting rid of trans fats in their fryers around 2007... The new oils were building up gunk in the drains and on the walls.
This kind of gunk would harden, and workers would scrape for days and not be able to get it off. The conventional cleaners didn't work anymore. It's turning out to be these highly volatile airborne chemicals. When the restaurants' uniforms would be cleaned, the chemicals were so volatile that they would have problems of piles of uniforms spontaneously combusting in the back of trucks. And then they would go to the dryers. The heat of the dryers, even after the restaurant uniforms were cleaned, would cause fires." [Emphasis mine]
The cleaning company ended up producing a more potent chemical cleaner to scrub off the polymers off the walls and uniforms. Unfortunately, the nutrition community is not studying these volatile vegetable oils. Others, primarily in the molecular biology and genetics fields are, but the different fields are not communicating with each other.
Even Low Levels of Aldehydes Cause Massive Inflammation
One group in Taiwan is studying this issue because women have much higher rates of lung cancer than men. They think it may be related to the fact that women, particularly in Asian countries, stir-fry in unventilated spaces using vegetable oils. In Norway, there's another research group trying to assess the effects on worker health in restaurants.
?[These volatile compounds] are very hard to study because they are very ephemeral, literally changing from one second to the next...They?re very unstable. They?re hard to isolate,? Nina explains. ?One thing they did was simply to show that these products exist. There?s a whole category called aldehydes, which are particularly worrisome.
A group doing research on animals have found that at fairly low levels of exposure, these aldehydes in animals caused tremendous inflammation, which is related to heart disease. They oxidized LDL cholesterol, which is thought to be the LDL cholesterol that becomes dangerous. There's a link to heart disease. There's also some evidence that links these aldehydes in particular to Alzheimer's. They seem to have a very severe effect on the body."
One researcher has found that aldehydes cause toxic shock in animals through gastric damage. We now know a lot more about the role your gut plays in your health, and the idea that aldehydes from heated vegetable oils can damage your gastric system is frighteningly consistent with the rise we see in immune problems and gastrointestinal-related diseases.
"When the FDA got rid of trans fats... restaurants began to use these regular liquid oils instead... they were the cheapest possible option to use? The FDA really did not consider any of this literature about these oxidation products. When you implement a law, you're supposed to look at the risks. What will happen if you implement a new regulation? In this case, the FDA did not," Nina says.
In hearing this, it appears as though cooking with vegetable oil could be a "new" occupational hazard (having occurred within the last 10 years or so) for restaurant workers. If vegetable oils volatize and gum up into polymers that are nearly impossible to clean, and that are damaging fryers, equipment, and causing uniforms to spontaneously combust, what is it doing to the workers' lungs? Larger fast food chains are aware of this issue, and have implemented a number of fixes to address it. But smaller restaurants may be unaware of this problem, thereby placing workers at potential risk. The same applies if you're regularly cooking with vegetable oils in your home.
Saturated Fats Are Stable, and Therefore Ideal for Cooking
Tallow is a hard fat that comes from cows. Lard is a hard fat that comes from pigs. They're both animal fats, and used to be the main fats used in cooking. One of their benefits is that, since they're saturated fats, they do not oxidize when heated. And saturated fats do not have double bonds that can react with oxygen; therefore they cannot form dangerous aldehydes or other toxic oxidation products.
"They're solids at room temperature. That's why they make great cooking fats and have always made great cooking fats. But we don't think about that. This whole chain of events has happened because we demonized saturated fats," Nina notes.
Fortunately, we're now seeing cracks in the prevailing dogma about saturated fats. In March of this year, a groundbreaking meta-analysis reviewed the clinical trial evidence and the epidemiological evidence, and came to the conclusion that saturated fats really cannot be said to cause heart disease. Another meta-analysis three years earlier came to the same conclusion.
Saturated Fat?It Does a Body Good...
The benefits of saturated fat are many. Some appear to be uniquely traceable to saturated fat. For example, you need saturated fats for brain and immune system health. Another argument is that animal foods in general, including meat cheese, butter, dairy, and eggs, contain high amounts of vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, and you have to have the fat that comes naturally in animal foods along with the vitamins in order to absorb those vitamins.
"If you're drinking skim milk, you don't have the fat you need to absorb the vitamins in milk. Without absorbing the vitamins, you can't absorb the minerals. These are uniquely nutrient-dense foods. Vitamin B6 and B12, you can't get in plant foods. They're really nutrient-dense foods that come packaged in the fat that you need to absorb them, along with protein. They're kind of a perfect package of nutrient-dense food," Nina says.
Nina also points out that many clinical trials over the past decade have clearly showed that a diet higher in fat and restricted in carbohydrate results in health improvements such as weight loss and a reduction in risk factors for diabetes, and heart disease. A high-fat diet typically means eating animal foods. Of course, there are very healthy saturated plant fats as well?coconut oil and palm oil, specifically. (Avocado, another healthy fat, is unsaturated.)
"[Coconut and palm oil] have been used for millennia in Asian cultures. They are making a big comeback in part because vegans who don't want to eat animal products have found that they still need a fat for cooking that doesn't oxidize when it's heated... Coconut oil fills that function. In the food industry, they've started to bring back palm oil, which has a lot of saturated fat in it and is a good way to make food that lasts long on a shelf, because again, saturated fats are more stable and long-lasting."
Healthy Eating Guidelines for the 21st Century
So, what's the general 21st century revised rule for healthy living and eating? One of the most important points is that you do not need to avoid saturated fats. Saturated fats were unfairly condemned in the 1950s based on very primitive evidence that has since been re-analyzed. The evidence now clearly shows that saturated fats do not cause heart disease. Moreover, your body needs saturated fats for proper function of your:
Bones (to assimilate calcium)
Satiety (reducing hunger)
"Another key piece of information is that a high-fat, carbohydrate-restricted diet looks healthier for losing weight, and making your heart disease biomarkers and diabetes biomarkers look better. There's a real range in how much carbohydrates people will tolerate," Nina says.
Many people need to increase the healthful fat in their diet to 50-85 percent of daily calories. This includes not only saturated fat but also monounsaturated fats (from avocados and nuts) and omega-3 fats. When it comes to cooking fats, few compare to tallow and lard in terms of health benefits and safety. These are the cooking fats that were originally used, and they're excellent frying fats. To learn more, I highly recommend reading Nina's book The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, which contains nine years' worth of research.
Acupuncture is an ancient holistic health care system still widely practiced in China. It falls under the wider umbrella, known in the West as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which also includes the use of herbs and other therapies. Diagnostic systems also include tongue and pulse diagnosis.
Contrary to allopathic, symptom-based medicine, TCM and acupuncture aims to eliminate the root cause of your problem, which is said to originate in a dysfunction in your body?s energetic meridian system.
Western vs. Eastern Mindset
Meridian-based energy therapies like acupuncture are quite useful for treating a number of health problems; pain in particular. In China, acupuncture may even be used in lieu of anesthetic drugs during surgery, as demonstrated in the BBC documentary above.
As unbelievable as it seems, a young woman actually undergoes open heart surgery with acupuncture instead of general anesthesia.
There are several advantages to using acupuncture during surgical procedures, the Chinese surgeon explains. For starters, it doesn?t have the health risks of general anesthesia. Recovery is also much quicker, and the cost is about one-third.
While most westerners would balk at undergoing invasive surgery with nothing but a few needles keeping pain at bay, each year, millions of Americans do turn to acupuncture to relieve chronic pain, high blood pressure, nausea, and much more.
Acupuncture is considered an alternative to conventional forms of medicine in the West and is actually one of the oldest healing practices in the world. In China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries, acupuncture has been used for thousands of years, and its staying power isn?t merely a matter of superstition or coincidence.
In modern-day China, some hospitals offer acupuncture and allopathic medicine side-by-side, allowing patients to choose. They can also opt for a combination of both. For example, if an adverse drug effect occurs, the patient can opt for a reduced dose in combination with acupuncture.
Basic Principles of Acupuncture
TCM views the body as a cohesive one?a complex system where everything within it is inter-connected?where each part affects all other parts. They teach that lack of balance within this biological system is the precursor to all illness. The body exhibits symptoms when suffering from inner disease, and if it?s not re-balanced these symptoms may lead to acute or chronic illnesses of all kinds.
There are 14 major energy channels called meridians that flow through your body. An energy called chi circulates along the meridians to all parts of your body, including the internal organs and every cell. This chi is the vital force that literally keeps us alive. Vibrant health is a result of balanced, unimpeded flow of energy through the body.
According to TCM, illness and pain is the byproduct of energy blockages somewhere along one or more meridians. Each acupuncture point along the meridian acts like a pass-through or gate. Energy can get ?bottle-necked? in these points, slowing down the flow; sometimes to the point of standstill. This is the precursor to pain and illness.
By inserting a thin needle into the congested or ?clogged? area, it opens the gate and allows the energy to flow again. With the life-energy flowing smoothly, the body can now re-regulate the flow of energy, repair itself, and maintain its own optimal level of health.
Herbs and other therapies such as guacha, cupping, and moxibustion?the burning of herbs on or over the skin?can be used to support the healing.
History of Acupuncture
The science and art of acupuncture is well documented and spans across centuries, all the way back to the Stone Age. Records of its use have been found in many parts of the world, not just the Orient, as most commonly thought.
The Chinese medical compendium, the Yellow Emperor?s Classic of Internal Medicine, is the oldest written record about acupuncture. It is thought to be the oldest medical book in the world, heralding from Emperor Huang Di who reigned between 2,696?2,598 B.C.
However, signs of acupuncture being used are found all over the ancient world. There?s evidence of its practice in ancient Egypt, Persia, India, Sri Lanka, parts of Europe, and South America. Even our North American Indians have used it.
The Eskimos, for example, are said to still use sharpened stones for treating illness. Written evidence of the use of acupuncture in Egypt and Saudi Arabia also exists. The Ebers papyrus of 1,550 B.C. describes a physical system of channels and vessels that is closely matched to the Chinese system of meridians.
Even older evidence than the examples above exist. In 1991, a 5,000-year-old mummified man was found along the Otz valley between Austria and Italy. Remarkably well preserved, a complex system of tattoos were discovered on his body, and verified to be directly on, or within six millimeters of, traditional acupuncture points and meridians.
Evidence Showing What Acupuncture ?Does?
Some research suggests that acupuncture stimulates your central nervous system to release natural chemicals that alter bodily systems, pain, and other biological processes. In 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted an extensive review and analysis of clinical trials involving acupuncture. According to this report,1 acupuncture impacts the body on multiple levels, including:
Stimulating the conduction of electromagnetic signals, which may release immune system cells or pain-killing chemicals
Activation of your body?s natural opioid system, which may help reduce pain or induce sleep
Stimulation of your hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which modulate numerous body systems
Change in the secretion of neurotransmitters and neurohormones, which may positively influence brain chemistry
In the featured video, a team of researchers, along with an acupuncturist, conduct an experiment that has never been done before. Using high tech MRI imaging, they were able to visually demonstrate that acupuncture has a very real effect on the brain.
Acupuncture, it turns out, does something completely unexpected?it deactivates certain parts of the brain, particularly in the limbic system, decreasing neuronal activity, opposed to having an activating impact. Their experiment also clearly showed that superficial sham needling did NOT have this effect. The limbic system is associated with our experience of pain, adding further evidence that something very unique happens during acupuncture?it quite literally alters your experience of pain by shutting down these deeper brain regions.
Acupuncture Proven Effective for Pain and Osteoarthritis
One of the most common uses of acupuncture is for the treatment of chronic pain. One analysis2 of the most robust studies available concluded that acupuncture has a clear effect in reducing chronic pain, more so than standard drug-based pain treatment. Study participants receiving acupuncture reported an average 50 percent reduction in pain, compared to a 28 percent pain reduction for standard pain treatment without acupuncture. Another large, well-designed study3,4 assessing whether acupuncture might work for osteoarthritis?a debilitating condition affecting more than 20 million Americans?also produced remarkably positive results.
This landmark study is also discussed in the video above. A total of 570 patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee were enrolled for this 26-week long trial. It was the longest and largest randomized, controlled phase III clinical trial of acupuncture ever conducted. None of the participants had tried acupuncture before, and none had had knee surgery in the previous six months. Nor had they used steroid injections. The participants were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments: acupuncture, sham acupuncture, or self-help strategies recommended by the Arthritis Foundation (the latter served as a control group).
Significant differences in response was seen by week eight and 14, and at the end of the trial, the group receiving real acupuncture had a 40 percent decrease in pain and a nearly 40 percent improvement in function compared to baseline assessments?a 33 percent difference in improvement over the sham group. According to Stephen E. Straus, M.D., Director of National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), which is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH):5
"For the first time, a clinical trial with sufficient rigor, size, and duration has shown that acupuncture reduces the pain and functional impairment of osteoarthritis of the knee. These results also indicate that acupuncture can serve as an effective addition to a standard regimen of care and improve quality of life for knee osteoarthritis sufferers. NCCAM has been building a portfolio of basic and clinical research that is now revealing the power and promise of applying stringent research methods to ancient practices like acupuncture."
Other Science-Backed Uses for Acupuncture
However, chronic pain is only one of 30+ proven uses for this natural treatment. Chinese doctors assert that acupuncture can be used to treat virtually ANY illness, but for those looking for scientific validation, the World Health Organization?s analysis concluded that acupuncture is an effective treatment for the following diseases and conditions.
According to the WHO?s analysis: ?Some of these studies have provided incontrovertible scientific evidence that acupuncture is more successful than placebo treatments in certain conditions.? The report again confirmed its benefits for pain, saying: ?The proportion of chronic pain relieved by acupuncture is generally in the range 55?85 percent, which compares favorably with that of potent drugs (morphine helps in 70 percent of cases) and far outweighs the placebo effect (30?35 percent).?
Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
Dysentery, acute bacillary
Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
Checking Electronic Cigarettes Reviews to choose the Right Product
A huge amount of contention reigns in realms of deciding how bad smoking is for your health. The mental satisfaction notwithstanding, you need to put up with statistics and scientific studies deciding the ill-effects...
Today cellulite is seen as an esthetic problem, although it is definitely more. Unfortunately, cellulite is a serious health problem that occurs as a result of reduced ability to break down the fat. Estrogen also...
instead, try the health promoting ?bullet proof? turmeric drink. Yum!
from a colleague: For my bulletproof turmeric, I have used coconut oil, butter, honey, and spices to optimize digest and the absorption of curcumin. Curcumin is notoriously difficult to absorb, but fats and spices, particularly the black pepper in the garam masala, greatly increase our absorption of curcumin into the blood stream. 1 cup water […]
Finally, I now understand the appeal of the far right platform?
from self-proclaimed “Geek Tim” For years, I listened to Limbaugh on my way to work, and to “Air America” on my way from work, specifically so I could ‘compare and contrast’. In my opinion, the popularity difference is because they relate to their audience differently. Julia Sweeney has a great line that “listening to NPR […]
News Flash: 10 times more viruses than bacteria in the human biome
Here’s a link to the article on NPR (http://n.pr/1lrRnq3 Given, the current agreement is, that there is 10 : 1 ratio of bacteria in our microbiome to cells in our body. There appears to be 10 times more viruses (bacteriophages) in the microbiome than bacteria. This is in terms of genetic material. “In the […]
We all know our ?health care? system isn?t working. That?s because it?s actually a highly profitable disease management system. The industry makes money when you are chronically ill. I know that sounds cynical but observe how darned easy it is, 24/7, to buy poor quality food made of fluffed up GMO corn, soy or refined […]
Yet again, we learn that drugs are good for the pharmaceutical industry and not necessarily for patients. Even worse, these drugs are frequently prescribed to the most at-risk group: women in their 40s and 50s. Action Alert! You’ve heard before about the dangers of SSRIs, an incredibly popular class of antidepressants that can cause violent outbursts?both homicidal and […]
Fake autism charity escapes severe punishment from courts
Charities have provided valuable support for people with autism and their families, but there are fake organizations that mar the goals of legitimate programs. A recent scandal in Massachusetts involving a police dispatcher running a fake charity for autism has added to the frustration. Unfortunately, the people who wanted to see justice in this case may be surprised by the outcome.
Richard Greenaway Jr. was accused of running a fake charity under the name of Paintballers 4 Autism.
Several hundred symptoms have been linked to celiac disease, but joint pain is often near the top of complaints from patients. It is usually accompanied by stiffness and can continue after treatment for the disease begins. However, there are ways to help deal with this common problem before it becomes a bigger issue.
Joint pain may not be as common as bloating or cramping among people who have celiac disease symptoms, yet it should not be ignored.
The evidence is in that good nutrition appears to help prevent and control type 2 diabetes. There has been a surge of type 2 diabetes due to poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyles and the associated obesity epidemic over the years. An understanding of the value of good nutrition to help control this serious health problem is therefore very important.
The quality of dietary fats and carbohydrates consumed is a significant factory when it comes to type 2 diabetes.
Your young child will be much better able to pay attention in school if he or she is physically fit. Researchers at the University of Illinois have found that 9- and 10-year-olds who are more aerobically fit have more fibrous and compact white-matter tracts in their brains - both which are desirable qualities which are important for faster and more efficient nerve activity.
Past studies have focused on aerobic fitness and gray-matter regions important for memory and learning.
Simple blood could tell who will develop Crohn's disease and could mean new treatments
DNA changes found in the blood of children with Crohn's disease could mean a way to determine who will develop the inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD). Scotland scientists also say epigenetic changes could mean a better understanding of Crohn's disease and new treatments.
Researchers have found DNA changes associated with Crohn's disease that could lead to new treatments. A simple blood test could determine who would develop the disease.
Despite the fact that European legislation is increasingly restrictive on what we can say about food supplements and also what we can buy to keep ourselves healthy (along with the most important thing - good food), we can now legitimately show that food supplements are the safest substances to which...
Misinformation From Academic's Leaked Letter to the Health Minister
The Alliance of Natural Health decided to leak a Reading University academic's letter attempting to influence the Health Minister. Elizabeth Williamson, a professor in pharmacology, was trying to get Andrew Lansley, the UK Health Minister, to push his medicines agency to bank a wide range of food su...
ANH-Intl e-Alert: EU herb directive keeps consumers in the dark Press ReleaseFor immediate release16th February 2011 We have posted this directly from the ANH as it is so important that this gets as wide a coverage as possible as so many people are unaware of what we are about to lose after thousand...
Geopathic stress is a term used to denote adverse 'earth radiation" - ionizing or non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation emanating naturally from the planet's geophysiology. This gives rise to a network of energy patterns and lines of force that cover the surface of the aearth (Hartmann Net, Curry G...
What are Free Radicals and How do they Affect your Health?
We live in a world surrounded by free radicals. They are a natural part of life's systems. What are they? Well, they are unstable organic molecules with electrons missing. These unstable molecules are desperate to become stable, and as a result of this they steal electrons from other substances. The...