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The 221 B.C. Drink for Modern Times

So, lately we’ve been seriously addicted to drinking Kombucha because it makes us feel really, really good! The other day a person even remarked that the whole office had glowing skin (not in a freaky radioactive way, but in a healthy, vibrant way). Plus, when we drink Kombucha we feel more energized to complete our work during the day.

Turns out that there’s good reason for our newfound “glow.” Kombucha contains beneficial probiotics that help the digestive and immune systems (take that flu!), contains live active enzymes that help recharge the body’s cells, and contains polyphenols that help fight free radicals. So where do you get this magical drink? Our favorite is GT’s Kombucha that can be purchased at health food stores around town including Whole Foods.

Here are some more interesting facts about Kombucha from one of the first and best to hit the market GT’s Kombucha.

o    Kombucha has been a health-promoting and life-enhancing wonder food since as early as the Tsin Chinese Dynasty of 221 BC. Its popularity has been documented throughout history in all corners of the world, from Russia to India, Germany to Japan.

o    In his autobiography, Nobel Prize winner Alexandr Solzhenitsyn wrote that drinking Kombucha helped him survive the Siberian slave camps of the former Soviet Union.

o    Kombucha may be known by many different names in other parts of the world, including Manchurian Tea, Manchu Fungus, Tea Kvass, Mo-Gu Fungus japonicus, Kwassan, and many others.

o    A report on NBC’s Dateline stated that over three million people regularly drink Kombucha.

Now that’s something to toast to! Cheers!…Now drink up!

How to Get Rid of Parasites

While we tend to accept that our pets can contract parasites that disrupt their overall health, the notion that humans can also get parasites tends to be a foreign one. The truth is that most of us will have unfriendly parasites in our bodies at one point in our lives.  Also, the truth is that anyone can get parasites—even those that don’t travel far from home. For some time many believed that people only got parasites if they traveled to exotic countries, but that just isn’t true.

Types of parasites include roundworms, protozoa (one-cell parasites), flukes and tapeworms. Before you start to imagine huge worms crawling around your body, keep in mind it is estimated that 70 percent of all human parasites are microscopic—which means that they can’t be seen with the naked eye. Despite the type of parasite, the good news is that there are lots of things that we can do to get rid of them and we don’t have to feel “creeped-out” by their existence.

So how do you know if you have parasites and if they are affecting your overall health?  While the symptoms vary widely, some more common signs include nervousness, stomach bloating, fatigue, fuzzy thinking, itchy anus, sinus trouble and feeling hungry, tired and malnourished—even after eating a large meal. And while you should always consult your health care provider if you believe you might have parasites and need advice on a course of treatment, below are some more common tools people have used to rid their bodies of unfriendly critters.

Garlic—Perhaps the easiest thing to do to help get rid of parasites is to add more garlic to your diet. Garlic contains Allicin and Ajoene—two components that work to kill parasites.

Wormwood –One of the most well-known herbs for parasites, Wormwood contains the components thujone and isothujone, which help to dispel parasites from the body. Looking for a parasite cleansing kit that features Wormwood? Check out Hanna Kroeger’s Wormwood Kit, which features Wormwood and other products that work in synergy to help rid the body of parasites.

Colon Cleanse—Diets heavy in processed and fast foods can clog up the body. And just like garbage attracts unwanted bugs when left outdoors for longer periods of times, so can waste that sits in a backed-up colon (You get the picture). Thus, a gentle colon cleanse can help dispel waste and parasites from the system.  Some of the most well-known products for colon cleansing include Sonne’s Organic Food— a highly regarded line of products which has been around since 1946. Whatever path you choose to rid your body of parasites, remember to talk to your health care provider before starting any supplement or cleansing program.

Deadly Staph Infection Cured by Pesky Tree

Lots of people know the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria as the “scary staph” that is resistant to most forms of medications—and the bad news is that this dangerous bacteria infection is on the rise. According to the Center of Disease Control, thirty years ago only 2 percent of all staph infections in the US were MRSA, but by 2003 that number climbed to a whopping 64 percent. By 2005, 94,000 people developed life-threatening MRSA with nearly 19,000 dying from it.

However, a simple tree could be the key to fighting MRSA and stopping its threat in its tracks. Researchers have discovered a staph-fighting chemical compound in the needles of Red Cedar trees. Initial tests have shown promise that this chemical compound can thwart the deadly MRSA bacterium.

What makes this more intriguing is that the Red Cedar tree has often been considered a “trash tree” and has been thought of as a nuisance because of the way it invades fertile farmlands. Also, the Red Cedar is available in large numbers year around so there is plenty of supply—an estimated 500 million grow in Missouri alone.

“I wanted to find a use for a tree species that is considered a nuisance,” said Chung-Ho Lin, research assistant professor in the MU Center for Agroforestry at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. “This discovery could help people fight the bacteria as well as give farmers another cash crop.”

Protect your kids from overlooked health risk

A leading health risk often overlooked as a possible cause for disruptive and irritable behavior in children, lead poisoning is a serious condition that if left untreated can cause various health threats. In fact, according to the CDC, lead poisoning can damage the kidneys, the nervous system, the reproductive system, cause elevated blood pressure and is especially harmful to the developing brains of young children and fetuses.

So how does a child end up with too much lead in his or her system? Most people know about the dangers of lead paint found covering walls of many older houses and apartment buildings. However, not too many people consider their child’s exposure to water run through lead pipes or the massive amount of environmental lead residue. The EPA estimates that more than 12 million children primarily living in urban areas are exposed to around 10 million metric tons of lead residue resulting from the use of leaded gasoline and paint. Even juice boxes can be a source of lead!

According to the Mayo Clinic the signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in children may include:

• Irritability

• Loss of appetite

• Weight loss

• Sluggishness and fatigue

• Abdominal pain

• Vomiting

• Constipation

• Unusual paleness from anemia

• Learning difficulties

You can get your child tested for lead poisoning, often for free. Start by checking with your local health department regarding lead screening guidelines specific to the risks in your area.  If your child does indeed have lead poisoning, you’ll want to talk to your health care provider before starting any treatment, but there are a number of natural remedies that might help.

Natural Strategies for combating lead poisoning  include utilizing homeopathic remedies specifically for lead accumulation. For instance, Hanna Kroeger Herbs makes a Plumbum (Latin for lead) remedy specifically to help dispel lead from the body. Helpful herbs for combating lead poisoning and heavy metal toxicity include Alfalfa and Dandelion. Make sure to always buy organic or wild herbs that haven’t been treated with pesticides. And of course, it is important to identify the source of lead so that your child isn’t exposed again. Finally, don’t forget to test yourself and other family members for lead poisoning if your child tests positive! Other people in your family could also be at risk!

Looking for natural product reviewers

The Natural Products Network is currently seeking people who are interested in trying natural products and then sharing their reviews. Participants will receive natural products each month to check out and share their thoughts about them. No hidden cost or pyramid scheme! Just looking for good folks who love natural products.

To learn more, please get in touch!

 

Use Positive Thinking to Heal

When it comes to illness, sometimes people equate positive thinking to “praying to be healed,” but using positive thinking to feel better doesn’t have to be a religious experience. We were inspired to write this post after reading a comment from a reader who claimed that prayer and positive thinking does not contribute to healing. However, it has been scientifically proven otherwise. Let us explain.

First we need to make a distinction between “prayer” and “religion.”  Religion is something people believe, prayer is something that people do. And no matter what your religion (or even if you don’t have one) all prayer consists of the same underlying components. When someone prays, they are reaching within themselves and focusing positive intentions to come their way. Sometimes this means praying to a religious figure, sometimes this means praying for strength from within. But no matter how one prays or how their prayer is directed, the focus remains on a positive outcome.

Thus at the heart of every prayer is a positive thought, or a request for something good to happen. And when you focus positive thoughts toward healing—whether in a prayer, mantra, meditation or any other positive thought form— it can make a big difference. In fact studies show that positive thinking can have the same benefits as painkillers and can help fight disease. Best of all, positive thinking and prayer is free, easy to do and doesn’t require a prescription.

So why not give it a try? If you are wondering how to develop more positive thoughts check out the amazing book, The Power of Positive Thinking. With this book you can learn how to focus your thoughts more effectively. Basically the entire premise of the book is that every moment, day and event starts with an intention and if we are conscious of our thoughts we can learn how to best direct our energy. Aaaahhhh, we feel better already!

One in Seven Starting Puberty at AGE SEVEN!

Recently, a report hit online stating that as many as 15% of American girls are going through puberty as early as seven years of age. Now, parents are scrambling to figure out what they can do to prevent this growing trend. Studies have found a number of risks associated with early puberty including an increase risk of pregnancy, lower IQ, aggression, drug and alcohol abuse and even suicide! Although researchers don’t have a clear picture of the exact cause, there is solid evidence that points in a few directions.

Obesity
Various studies here and abroad have shown a connection between obesity and early development. One of the most cited studies was conducted by Joyce Lee of the University of Michigan who followed 354 girls from age 3 to age 12. In the study, Lee discovered a strong association between high body weight and the early onset of puberty. It seems that high levels of peripheral fat cause excess estrogen production, which in turn could lead to early puberty. However, researchers caution that more information is needed to confirm this theory.

Hormones in Food
Hormones in our food supply may also be to blame. Starting in 1995, the USDA has allowed meat suppliers to use implanted hormonal agents such as female hormones oestradiol and progesterone, the synthetic progesterone norgestomet, the male hormone testosterone and the synthetic anabolic steroids trenbolene and Zeranol. And the FDA does NOT require that meat providers list the hormones used in their operations—or share the potential negative side effects. You may be surprised to learn that there are FDA studies that confirm the harmful effects of cattle raising hormones, yet they are still legal. The best that consumers can do is to purchase meats that are hormone free. Don’t count on your local fast food joint, or even your favorite high-priced restaurant to invest in high-quality, hormone-free meat.

Soy is another problem because it contains plant-based chemicals that mimic oestrogen. A 1997 Lancet study showed the daily exposure in infants who consumed soy formulas was 6 to 11 times higher than in adults. The blood concentrations of these hormones in the children were 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than normal oestrogen levels.

Plastics and Chemicals
Despite how much easier plastics have made our lives they can contain problematic chemicals called Phthalates. Research has indicated that Phthalates are a hormone distributor that can impact young children and even those in the womb! Thankfully, there is a crop of Phthalate free products popping up to choose from!

French Fries Can Cause ADHD

Recently a landmark study was released that links pesticides to ADHD in children. In the study, performed by the Journal of Pediatrics, more than 1,000 kids were tested and of those 119 had ADHD. The children that had ADHD were found to have high levels of pesticides in their systems, particularly organophosphates, which were first developed for chemical warfare.

So what does this mean? Obviously, we need to be more mindful of pesticides and how these common chemicals affect our health. But, more so than that, we need to look at our exposure to ALL toxins and how this exposure might be affecting us and our children. In the case of ADHD, there are many potential factors that may be causing the symptoms related to this condition.

Specifically, many of us eat highly dangerous toxins every single day and don’t even know it. These toxins are additives and preservatives called excitotoxins, which can cause a host of problems including  headaches, nerve problems, anxiety,  hyperactivity, depression, mental illness, seizures and brain damage. Check out this amazing book, Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills, to find out the truth about the dangers of common preservatives and food additives. What you’ll find is that there is concrete scientific evidence against common substances like MSG found in a variety of foods (not just Chinese Food!!). These harmful substances are put into food to make it taste better and represent a billion dollar business. The problem is that they are also making us sick.

The good news is that we can do something about this by choosing foods that are free of these common chemicals. Check the labels of foods and stay away from packaged foods that contain an abundance of chemicals. Also, be careful because seemingly harmless ingredients such as “enzymes,” “hydrolyzed vegetable protein,” “natural flavors” and “spices” are really MSG in disguise! Two of the biggest culprits that you would never suspect are diet foods and Campbell Soups which are loaded with excitotoxins. Also, just because foods are labeled as “natural” or “organic” does not mean that they are safe! Get informed and take control of your health and the health of your family! Try making wholesome meals at home completely from scratch for a month and see how you feel. Our guess is much, much better.

For more information, please read the informative article by our friend Jaime Ann about Treating Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) Naturally.

Think Beyond Your Facewash: Check Out These Innovative Natural Acne Fighters for Your Best Skin!

Chances are this morning you utilized regular skin care products to keep blemishes at bay, but surely there must be more that you can do to promote clear, glowing skin? Check out these innovative natural acne fighters that work in new ways to help you get great skin.

Hyland’s Calendulated Oil – Introduced to US settlers as early as the 1600’s, Calendula boasts a long history of effectiveness for its healing power on the skin. Hyland’s Calendula Oil is used as a local application for simple skin irritations and blemishes causes by dryness. Also great for dry hands, chapped wind-blown faces and rough elbows!

Dessert Essence Tee Tree Oil – Continued scientific testing has revealed tea tree oil to contain over 100 different chemical compounds, making this singular leaf-derived oil an effective antiseptic and detoxifying agent. Studies have shown that tea tree oil has similar effectiveness to treating acne as benzoyl peroxide but without burning, itching or drying the skin.

Mountain Rose Herbs Organic Strawberry Leaf TeaStrawberry leaf contains high levels of calcium and vitamin C and plenty of trace minerals. A favorite to help heal eczema and rashes, you can either use the loose herbs to make a delicious tea or apply it directly onto the face as a hot compress to get glowing skin.

Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple Cider vinegar contains alpha-hydroxy acids that help regulate the pH balance of the skin. To make a fabulous natural toner, simply put one tbs. of Apple Cider vinegar into one cup of filtered water, mix thoroughly and dab on skin with a cottonball. Works great to balance and nourish for super soft, clear skin!

Nobel Prize-winning scientist endorses homeopathic remedies

For years there has been on ongoing discussion in the medical community about homeopathy. Now, a prominent Nobel Prize-winning scientist has made a profound discovery that is rocking the medical and scientific communities. The scientist, Professor Luc Montagnier, has completed research that shows the scientific basis for homeopathy.

Professor Montagnier’s finding is important because it shows that water has a memory that continues after many dilutions—which is a driving principle of homeopathy. This may be hard for non-scientists to understand, but this finding is vital because it provides the scientific root for this hundred-year-old healing tool. With his new research, doctors and scientists can better understand how homeopathic remedies work.

Homeopathy was first discovered by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796 when he came up with the principle that “like cures like.” Thus, each homeopathic remedy is made from an extremely diluted substance that has similar qualities to the symptoms it is targeting. It is believed that when the body encounters the homeopathic, it responds and combats the corresponding symptoms to help the person feel better. Homeopathic remedies are used by England’s Royal Family and widely prescribed as a safe and natural healing tool by physicians in Europe and Asia. While homeopathy is more popular in Europe, it is also gaining a committed following in the United States and counts celebrities such as Cindy Crawford, Cher and David Beckham as fans.

Choosing a Homeopathic Remedy
Although homeopathic remedies have been around a long time, many people are not familiar with how to use them. You may be pleasantly surprised how many Western physicians are knowledgeable about homeopathy and can advise you accordingly. Some Western physicians within large networks, like Kaiser for instance, are both Naturopaths and MDs—just ask an advisor in your network to point you in the right direction. If your primary doctor isn’t knowledgeable, consider reaching out to a Naturopath or Homeopath for a recommendation.

A great resource for those who want to learn more about homeopathy is the Hyland Homeopathy Web site. Established in 1903, Hyland’s is FDA regulated and the largest domestic manufacturer of homeopathic medicines in North America. Some of their most popular products include Cold ’n Cough, Leg Cramps and Calms Forte. You can find Hyland’s products at many popular retailers like Whole Foods, Walgreens, Target and CVS.

Although homeopathic remedies vary, general guidelines for use include placing the remedies directly from the bottle into your mouth and taking them at least 20 minutes before or after meals. Check with your physician for any additional guidelines.

Homeopathy for Athletes

Whether you’re a professional racer zooming towards the finish line, or an amateur out on a Sunday afternoon, fitness goals remain a huge part of being an athlete at any level.

In order to reach goals, athletes train their bodies through sweat and perseverance and use their minds to focus on what they need to do to reach the next level. But with the majority of athletes who are training hard, injuries are bound to occur—from a simple bruise on up to strains and sprained muscles. Thus the focus shifts from training to healing.

Most often, healing an injury is approached purely from a physical perspective. Injuries are talked about in terms of painkillers, isolation, rest and rehabilitation, but hardly ever do we discuss the intricate relationship between our body’s physical, emotional and mental well being. Enter the practice of homeopathy.

Homeopathy is a form of medicine that takes the relationship between the body and mind and works to strengthen the vitality of the energetic field called “the body” to promote healing of injuries on multiple levels.

The system and practice of homeopathy was discovered by Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843) and has proved to be an effective form of medicine. Based on the principle of similars, patients take a very diluted-like substance, which produces a similar “vibration” to their illness.

According to The World Health Organization, homeopathy is currently the second most widely used medical modality for primary healthcare in the world, with a whopping 500 million people every year using homeopathic remedies. It’s an inexpensive form of medicine and produces very few side effects.

Dr. Steven Rissman is a naturopathic physician (Naturopath) who uses homeopathic remedies to treat patients at his Denver practice. He believes that homeopathy is effective because it works with the patient by treating the cause of the illness rather than merely treating the symptoms. In terms of common problems that plague athlete’s such as shin splits, knee problems or sudden injuries such as broken bones or torn ligaments, Rissman focuses on a number of areas on top of the injured part of the body.

“It’s important to look at the whole symptom picture including mental symptoms such as memory loss, poor concentration, emotional symptoms such as a restless mind, mood swings and anger along with the physical symptoms to get a complete idea of what needs to be cured,” he says.

Dr. Rissman illustrates the importance of looking beyond just the physical problem as he remembers a cyclist he treated.

“I saw a cyclist with chronic neck problems and she would say, ‘I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.’ She took on a huge amount of responsibility. It was important [for me] to look at the whole person so I could completely understand the case,” explains Rissman.

By looking at the whole picture, Rissman was able to prescribe a treatment plan that worked on both the mental and physical aspects of her injury. He describes this as a case where “her issues were in her tissues” because her neck problem was a reflection of not only her cycling but also of her feeling of overwhelming responsibility in her life.

Rissman recalls another recurrent injury case in which he helped a patient who suffered from chronic ligament injuries. He helped to prevent future injuries by treating her angry state of mind.

“A further expression of her tenseness and anger was in her ligaments and muscles so she was getting chronic sports injuries,” Rissman explains. He notes that the anger and tenseness caused her body to be rigid, “…so since there was no fluidity she would get an injury.” Thus, he treated her both at the physical level to heal her ligaments as well as the mental level to relax.

Rissman has also seen cases where mental illness drives athletes to push their physical bodies to the limit, which means that the mental problem must be treated to halt the physical punishment they are enduring.
“People who work out excessively I often find have extreme restlessness, a stressor that they are running from, or possibly a body image disorder,” Rissman says. “A history of emotional trauma where they are suppressing emotions so they are exercising pathologically. They need to address something on a deeper level.”

Not only does homeopathy work for recurrent injuries and exercising obsessions, but it also helps with sudden injuries and is an effective preventative tool. Thus, Rissman recommends patient’s to put together a first aid kit of homeopathic medicines geared towards their needs.

Following are some common homeopathic remedies that, according to Dr. Rissman, may prove helpful additions to your updated medicine cabinet.

Arnica—A must for any homeopathic first-aid kit. Useful for any trauma, especially with marked bruising or bruised pain sensation. Used after concussion or in postoperative patients for pain and to promote rapid healing.

Ruta—Mainly useful for horrible stiffness in the muscles and tendons. Injury to tendons, ligaments from strain or twisting of joint. Shin splints. Overuse.

Aconite—Good shock remedy after injury, exposure to cold/wind or accidents. Persons needing this remedy may have a fearful look of panic and a great thirst, often for cold drinks.

Belladonna—Helpful for sudden intense heat due to fever, heat/sun exposure. The patient will have a red, hot face, dilated pupils, cold hands and feet, lack of thirst and an aggravation from sunlight, jarring and motion.

Rhus tox—Helps with acute or chronic rheumatism. Aggravation from cold/wet. One who needs this remedy will be restless. The patient is worse with first motion but better after continued motion. Worse in the morning/on rising. Better after a hot bath or shower. Often left-sided symptoms, especially shoulder pain, bursitis, tendonitis.

Bryonia—This remedy is good for any inflammation that is worsened from the slightest motion or jarring. Distinguishing characteristics of those who need this remedy are an aversion to being disturbed, a desire to be alone and quiet, and thirstlessness.

Hypericum—Good for injuries to nerve-rich areas such as fingertips, toes, genitals, teeth, tongue. Shooting pains. Injury to spine, especially tailbone.

Ledum—Remedy for puncture wounds—nails, barbed-wire, including bites/stings with much swelling.

What to learn more about how homeopathy can help you? Find a Homeopath or Naturopath in your area.