Flowers You Can Eat – Nasturtiums

Flowers, so bright and cheerful, raise your vibe without even trying. Edible flowers take that energy into the centre of your being, especially when they also have medicinal properties like the gorgeous nasturtium. Their flowers are bright trumpets, heralding sunny days. As children we used to pick the nasturtium flowers, bite off the point at the back of the flower and suck out the nectar, the merest fairy sized sip of sweetness.

The plants grow easily and prolifically from seed, tumbling out of planters with abandon, flowering all shades of fire colours from vermilion to ochre. All they need is moisture and not too rich a soil and you’re guaranteed a harvest. Anyone with a herb garden can find a space for a few seeds, though if space is limited confine them to a container or they will happily tumble over all your other herbs.

Nasturtium flowers make cheerful posies as a centrepiece for a lunch table, especially if you have planted a mixture of colours, ranging from gold through bright orange to deep fiery red. Arrange them with a few sprigs of other herbs such as rosemary and fennel to add some texture, lavender flowers for contrast and you have an edible, scented bouquet, perfect to take as a gift when you visit friends.

The nasturtium’s best kept secret though is that both the leaves and flowers are edible. Their sharp peppery tang lends a bite of interest to salads and can be a real boon to a jaded palate when the shops only offer bland varieties of lettuce. A few of the round green nasturtium leaves, that look like they could be parasols for mice or fairies, will lift a bland iceberg or butter lettuce into the realms of designer cooking, their bright flowers scattered over to delight the eye and bring an element of fun to your table.

Recipe for a Nasturtium Salad

1 lettuce – iceberg, butter or cos

small bunch of nasturtiums – leaves and flowers

ripe red tomatoes

1 tablespoon capers

feta cheese

Decide quantities to your own taste. The nasturtium leaves are peppery and the more you put in the hotter the salad gets. Wash and dry the lettuce and tear into the size pieces you prefer. Rinse the nasturtium leaves, and tear or chop into rough strips. If you’re using baby tomatoes halve them, chop bigger ones into cubes. Cube the feta cheese and sprinkle over the salad with the capers. Top with the whole flowers and maybe one or two whole leaves. This peppery, bright salad is just right to accompany pizza, cold meats or as a starter on its own.

The round leaves are a potent medicinal weapon against sore throats. At the first sign of a sore throat, chew on a nasturtium leaf every two hours. This can sometimes get rid of the sore throat altogether, at others it just prevents it getting too bad. The leaves have natural anti-bacterial properties and are rich in vitamin C. They can also be made into a tea by infusing a few leaves in a cup of boiling water for five minutes and sipped either straight or with the addition of a teaspoon of honey.

In ancient times in its native Peru the nasturtium was used as a wound disinfectant and taken onto battle fields to be used as a poultice and a disinfectant wash. Not bad for a pretty garden flower!

Copyright2007 Kit Heathcock

General Depression Information: Understanding Depression Symptoms and Treatments

The first thing to know about depression is that it is not just in your head. Depression is, in fact, a whole body disease that affects multiple systems.

In addition to feeling sad, hopeless, or helpless, a person may suffer from extreme fatigue, decreased motor (muscle) coordination, changes in appetite and weight, and a loss of interest in activities that are usually pleasurable–just to name a few of the more common symptoms.

Anxiety, which is commonly understood to consist of fear without any direct cause, is highly correlated with depression. Anxiety is an imbalance not just of brain chemicals, but of the entire nervous system, which is over-responding throughout the body as if a physical threat is impending. This can often cause the depressed person to feel very jittery, and some people experience extra clumsiness as they go about their day.

Only a doctor can diagnose depression, and if you are suffering from what you believe to be depression, you should make an appointment immediately. (If you need help sooner, please dial 9-1-1.) When you speak to a doctor during a formal assessment, he/she will ask you questions like the following, which are adapted from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV:

1. Are you experiencing a depressed mood?

2. Have you lost interest in most or all of your normal activities, including normally pleasurable ones?

3. Have you experienced a dramatic change in your appetite, leading to noticeable weight gain or weight loss in the last month?

4. Have your sleep habits changed? Do you sleep much more or much less than normal, or do you have trouble getting to sleep or waking up?

5. Do you feel agitated or jumpy, or have others noticed that you are more irritable than normal?

6. Have you had trouble concentrating or thinking clearly?

7. Do you feel abnormally tired throughout the day?

8. Do you have overwhelming feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness that things won’t improve?

9. Have you been thinking about death or suicide more than usual, or have you tried to commit suicide?

If you answered “yes” to questions 1 and/or 2, plus any four of the other questions, and these symptoms have persisted for at least two weeks with little change, you may be suffering from clinical depression.

Your doctor will also want to make sure that these symptoms are not due to what would be considered a normal reaction to a life situation, like a death in the family. It is completely normal to feel those things after a traumatic life event, unless those feelings persist for longer than two months without seeming to become easier to handle.

Additionally, the doctor will want to know whether these symptoms are causing you great difficulty in completing your normal daily activities. Depression is serious enough that it can cause a person to miss work and be unable to fulfill family obligations.

Risk Factors

People who suffer from depression are much more likely to suffer from other life threatening diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Much focus has been put on discovering why depressed patients are about four times as likely as their peers to suffer a heart attack within 14 years of their first depressive episode.

Underscoring the whole body effect of depression is the research finding that depressed patients have lower heart rate variability (HRV) than normal. HRV is lowered when the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system is not fully functioning, and people with low HRH are at high risk for suffering heart attacks.

The malfunctioning of the parasympathetic branch may be a key in understanding how mental perception of events that lead to depression affect the entire body.

Causes of Depression

Depression can be caused by any number of circumstances. For some, genetics may play a role (this is especially true for bipolar disorder, or manic depression, which is not covered in this article). For others, it could be the result of their life situation, such as an overly stressful stretch of time or a disease.

Many times, depression can be caused by “uncontrollable stress”. In this case, a person is going through a negative event in which they perceive their efforts will not affect the outcome. Caregivers are especially prone to this. With the advent of disease such as Alzheimer’s, a patient may need constant attention from a family member for years, causing great disruption in the caregiver’s life.

In cases of stress, it should be repeated that the effects will be on the whole body, not just the mind. Stress can cause the secretion of excess cortisol, which in turn can damage tissues in the brain and body. Stress hormones can also cause the nervous system to become overworked in trying to maintain balance, eventually causing it to shut down due to exhaustion.

Depression Treatment Options

Anti-Depressants

One of the great advances in pharmaceutical medicine was the advent of the SSRI class of anti-depressants. Depression can cause an imbalance in the brain chemical called serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps us feel calm and relaxed with a sense of wellbeing.

In people who are depressed, serotonin production may be lowered, or it may not be utilized most effectively in the brain.

Neurotransmitters are secreted into the spaces between the brain cells. SSRIs, or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, prevent the serotonin from being absorbed back into brain cells as quickly, and brain researchers believe that leaving more of the serotonin in between the cells has a mood-enhancing effect.

Examples of SSRI class anti-depressant drugs include Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. They have been shown to be highly effective for alleviating depression and anxiety in a wide range of people, though their safety in children has recently been questioned.

Counseling

In addition to medication, patients are usually also referred to a counselor for what is often referred to as “talk therapy”, or more formally as cognitive behavior therapy. With this type of counseling, the depressed person learns to notice their negative thinking patterns and challenge them. Over time, patients are able to prevent negative moods by intervening in their own to reflect a more positive outlook.

Exercise

Research has shown that consistent aerobic exercise in a specific heart rate zone has very beneficial effects in fighting depression in both the short- and long-term.

While it may be difficult for someone experiencing a major depressive episode to rally the energy necessary to exercise, most people who do experience at least some relief from depression within just 10 minutes of starting.

Though not widely publicized, the effects of exercise have been repeatedly shown to result in decreases in depression that are on par with both drug and counseling therapies. For more information on an exercise program that may help alleviate depression symptoms, please go to http://www.hrh-for-depression.com.

Herbal Therapies

Interest in herbal therapies for depression has always been high, and in some countries, such as Germany, herbal therapies are preferred over medicinal therapies, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Many people prefer herbal therapies in general, because they believe the side effects of anti-depressants may affect them negatively.

Herbs such as ginseng and gingko biloba have been used to treat depression, but the only herb to be tested in a large scale study is St. John’s wort. Patients who were followed for 26 weeks of St. John’s Wort use did experience a reduction in depression that was nearly comparable to sertraline, an SSRI.

Researchers warned, however, that St. John’s wort may utilize the same metabolic pathways as other drugs for depression, heart disease, seizures, and some cancers. As a result, patients need to be certain to consult their doctors on the use of St. John’s wort with other medications.

Getting Help

Nearly 10% of Americans will experience a depressive illness in any given year. If you feel you are in the throes of depression, please understand that there are very effective treatments available to you. Modern SSRI medications, which are the most commonly prescribed anti-depressants, can start working within 2 weeks of taking the first dose. By engaging in some moderate exercise, you might even feel somewhat better by the end of today.

Though doing anything while suffering from depression is difficult, please do make it a priority to seek some sort of help. If you need others to intervene on your behalf, please communicate that to them.

If you are feeling depressed, chances are that people around you have noticed, but they may not want to say anything about it to you. With a small overture on your part, they will likely jump at the opportunity to help you seek treatment.

If you would like more information on depression, you can go to the National Institute of Mental Health web site at [http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/depression.cfm]. There you can download information about depression and search for topics related to depression and depression treatment.

Type 2 Diabetes – Dark Velvety Skin Patches Called Acanthosis Nigricans

Certain skin conditions are directly associated with Type 2 diabetes. One condition in particular, is called acanthosis nigricans. The condition differs from most other diabetic skin conditions in that the individual does not have to be a full-blown diabetic to get it. It can also be found in those individuals who are predisposed to developing Type 2 diabetes.

Acanthosis nigricans is when there is a hyperpigmentation, or abundance of melanin, of the skin. As a result, the skin will appear darker in color, ranging from a grayish tint to brown. In individuals who naturally have darker skin, the skin color will be even more noticeably brown in contrast.

Sometimes acanthosis nigricans is congenital, but it is often found when people are obese and/or have a glandular problem. It is frequently found in people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and is extremely common among people of African descent.

The thickened dark skin that looks like velvet is often seen:

  • at the back of the neck,
  • on the forehead,
  • in the skin folds of armpits and groin, and can affect
  • pressure areas such as the elbows and knuckles.

When found in people with central or abdominal obesity, they usually carry a risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Skin tags are often found in the same people.

Ananthosis nigricans occurs because of a number of factors. Some believe it to be genetically inherited with the predominant cause being obesity and insulin resistance. The more blood sugar levels are allowed to run out of control, the worse the condition will appear.

When insulin resistance is present, the body produces more and more insulin. These high insulin levels collect in, among other places, the skin. However, the same results can be obtained from certain types of medications that raise insulin levels too high.

The more overweight the person is, the more skin there is to fold over and the worse the condition will appear. Although the condition is not painful, there are instances where it can produce itching.

A doctor will be able to identify aganthosis nigricans simply by a visual examination. In some instances, a skin biopsy might be ordered, but this is rare.

This condition itself is not fatal, nor are there usually residual complications arising from it. However, in some very extreme cases, the condition has been likened to malignant skin conditions so this is why a biopsy is sometimes ordered.

The best form of treatment for this condition is to treat the underlying cause. In most cases, it is due to insulin resistance. Therefore, getting the diabetic’s blood sugar levels under control is essential to recovery.

If the condition is present in someone who has not been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, they should see their doctor so the cause can be identified. The other causes of aganthosis nigricans include:

  • disorders of the pituitary gland in the brain,
  • Addisons disease,
  • drugs used in growth hormone therapy,
  • low levels of the thyroid hormone,
  • oral contraceptives.

In time, the darkened velvety patches will begin to fade on their own, simply by the appropriate lifestyle changes being made.

In the case of Type 2 diabetes, the best way is to…

  • lower and stabilize blood sugar levels,
  • start on a weight management plan, and
  • eat more whole foods and less processed foods.

This is the real cure.

The longer the Type 2 diabetic practices these steps, the more likely the darkened patches will continue to fade.

Where hyprothyroidism is concerned… medical treatment will improve both the condition and the appearance of the patches. Avoiding drugs such as oral contraceptives, will also help improve acanthosis nigricans.

MRSA Symptoms and Facts

The super-bug, MRSA, was first discovered in Britain in 1961, and spread quickly throughout the world. This bacterium, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a member of the staph family, is resistant to antibiotics, and is therefore dangerous to those with cystic fibrosis, deep wounds, extra-somatic equipment, or those with damaged immune systems.

Contraction of the skin disease usually occurs in hospitals and its symptoms most resemble those of staph. People with deep cuts or wounds experience topical pain. Redness and swelling usually accompany pain at the site if the cut or scrape. The wound appears to get worse instead of better. Healing does not progress as it should. Rashes are another symptom of MRSA. White headed pimples, called carbuncles often form around the hair follicles of patients with MSRA. Cysts, Boils or furuncles are also common to people with MRSA. Often, the rash begins by appearing like a spider bite, quickly spreading all over the body. Doctors often suggest draining the rash bumps, and keeping them clean.

Sometimes, patients with MRSA experience blistering. Young children and infants, especially, tend to show symptoms of skin blisters and peeling. Swollen nodes are another common symptom of MRSA. Lymph nodes in the groin, neck, and armpits swell as the nodes try to absorb the bacterium from the lymph. Redness, tenderness and soreness are associated with these collected colonies.

There are other very common symptoms of MRSA as well. Nausea, fever, and fatigue are widespread to those infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Headaches and loss of appetite are also frequent. The main difference between these and common cold symptoms are that those stricken with MRSA don’t ever seem to be getting any better.

If it’s possible that you or a member of your family have MRSA, you should consult a doctor. The cold like symptoms coupled with the skin rashes and swollen nodes should alert you to the possibility. The infection and accompanying symptoms will not go away on their own. You cannot cure yourself with over the counter medications. MRSA is caused by a bacterium that is bacterium resistant, and only your doctor can put you back on the road to good health. As always, it is important to act quickly ad consult a doctor. MRSA is a very dangerous problem and treatment needs to be started as soon as possible. Do not hesitate to seek medical care even if that means going to an emergency room.

Callus Removal From Feet: Myths and Facts

Calluses under the feet are common sources of pain and frustration There is often a misconception about these can be treated, as many people assume they can simply be cut out. This article will discuss what actually can be done to provide treatment, and dispel some of the myths surrounding their treatment.

Calluses on the bottom of the foot are from a natural process that is designed to protect the foot skin from excessive pressure. This excessive pressure can come from several sources. Externally, pressure can come from simply walking or standing on the ground, whether one is in shoes or not. The shoe itself can even be a source of external pressure, although this is usually seen resulting in corns on the top of the toes (which is the same type of condition as a callus). Internally, pressure can come from the bones that lie beneath the skin. If the bones are abnormally prominent due to a foot structure abnormality (like a bunion or flat feet), or if the skin and padding below the bone is abnormally thin, then pressure will increase on the overlying skin. The skin is usually irritated by both internal and external sources of pressure at the same time, where external pressure from walking combined with internal pressure from prominent bones or thin skin create a reaction in the skin tissue. This reaction causes the skin to form a thickening of the outer layer of keratin-based cells, which squish together to form multiple layers.

Over time, a callus (also called a hyperkeratosis) develops as the skin becomes excessively thick at the spot of pressure. This callus, if thick enough, can be painful as the original normal skin layer on the bottom of the callus is harmed by the pressure of the layer that covers it. What once was a simple protective measure by the skin can turn into a source of pain and damage for the skin if growth progresses far enough. Sometimes, the callus grows inward towards the base layer of the skin, leading to the formation of a thick, hard core that tunnels inward (but does not break the skin). This is also called an intractable plantar keratosis, and is often mistaken for a wart. Finally, sweat and other skin glands can fill with keratin material, forming a small pinpoint callus called a porokeratosis. This type of callus does not need to have a prominent bone underneath it for it to form, and is usually not painful.

Callus treatment is often misunderstood, and in reality can be somewhat complicated. The most common form of treatment is simple shaving of the callus by oneself, a pedicurist, or a podiatrist. The act of thinning the hard skin will make it more comfortable to walk on, and will reduce pain. However, the cause of the callus still will exist, and the callus will eventually return in a month or two. This causes great confusion for some people, who simply associate a callus with a temporary skin growth, and not something directly tied to their foot structure and activity. The use of special shoe padding or foot supports to reduce the pressure on the bottom of the foot can help to limit the growth of a callus, when used in combination with callus shaving and properly fitting shoes. Unfortunately, these will not eliminate the callus permanently, and will only serve to help reduce the overall thickness of the callus when it regrows. Even prescription shoe inserts (orthotics) will not permanently reduce calluses, although they do de-weight the callused area better than store-bought inserts by being custom made to a mold of the foot.

It should be noted that diabetics should never attempt to manage their calluses on their own. Due to poor sensation from diabetes, diabetics trimming their own calluses or having an unskilled family member try this at home could lead to a wound and an infection from an accidental cutting into normal skin.

Some people assume a callus can be burned off, like a wart or other skin growth. The use of chemicals, lasers, cold treatment, and electricity to destroy skin growths is very common, and often effective for other types of skin disorders. Unfortunately, these techniques do not work as well on callus tissue, because the growth of the callus is continuous, and not based on the simple presence of abnormal skin cells that can be removed. Callus tissue is normal tissue, and any destructive procedure against this tissue will only temporarily be successful until skin growth begins anew, and the callus reforms. The only exception to this is a porokeratosis, which can be removed if the underlying gland and gland duct is destroyed.

Surgical treatment is the next level of callus care. This is another area where there is great confusion, and treatment myths abound. In short, calluses cannot be cut out or otherwise surgically removed, with the expectation that the callus will not return. The new skin that grows following the surgery will continue to form a callus, and when combined with a surgical scar may be even more painful than the original callus. The only exception once again is the porokeratosis, which can be successfully removed with surgery. The only way to permanently get rid of a callus is to get rid of the underlying bone prominence, and to ensure shoes fit properly and are properly padded to account for any skin and tissue thinning over these bones. There are a multitude of bones in the foot that can cause enough of a prominence to irritate the skin, and as many ways to resolve the pressure through bone surgery. Procedures can include lifting of bones that steep too far towards the bottom of the foot, removal of extra bones that naturally form during development (very common), shaving or removal of bone spurs or loose bone fragments, or even full removal of the part of the bone causing the pressure. Procedures to correct the overall deformity causing the pressure, such as a bunion, or arch abnormality, may be needed. Healing times will vary, and is dependent on whether the bone was simply shaved or extracted, or whether the bone position was moved. These procedures are generally successful in eliminating callus formation if done properly, although there is a risk for the pressure point of the foot to simply move over to the next bone. Orthotics are often used following surgery to prevent this from occurring.

As one can see, callus care is not simply about shaving or cutting out the hard tissue. In reality, this myth does not work out well, and bone surgery is necessary to keep callus care from becoming an exercise in regular skin maintenance through regular shaving and shoe inserts. This may provide complete relief for some. For others, surgery is needed to break the ongoing pain cycle.

Penis Skin Rash – 5 Most Common Causes

Five of the most common penis problems are described here, along with their causes and options for treatment, from medication to the regular use of penis vitamins and minerals that may help to resolve penis problems and promote male intimate health.

Irritation

Reddened and irritated penis skin which occurs especially after sex, naturally enough raises concerns about the last sexual partner and the possibility of a sexually transmitted disease. While it is always advisable to use protection and to be selective in the choice of sexual partners, the explanation for irritation and penis skin rash is often more straightforward: friction caused by deep or vigorous penetration is often enough to cause redness, rash and soreness on the sensitive skin of the penis.

However, if irritated skin does not heal within a few days, becomes worse, or is accompanied by fever or other flu-like symptoms, men are always advised to seek medical treatment right away.

Thrush

Another common type of penis skin rash results from a condition called thrush, which is a form of yeast infection. Thrush is caused by an overgrowth of yeast on the skin which is in most cases due to a chemical imbalance. Thrush is easily passed between sexual partners and can affect women too, so when symptoms of a yeast infection are present, it is best to abstain from sex until the infection disappears.

Thrush is generally treated with over-the-counter anti-fungal medications (similar to those used to treat vaginal yeast infection). Men who are experiencing these symptoms for the first time should talk to a doctor to verify the diagnosis before self-medicating.

Jock Itch

Jock itch, known in medical terms as tinea cruris, is a type of fungal infection. It is caused by an overgrowth of the same type of fungus that is responsible for athlete’s foot and ringworm. Jock itch presents as a red, spreading rash which may be accompanied by severe itching and/or burning, and it can affect the entire groin area.

Jock itch is a stubborn infection. It can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal medications – these should be used for the recommended duration, even if the symptoms clear up quickly, or the infection can recur. Taking steps to prevent infection in the first place is the best way to avoid this infection. Men should avoid sharing towels and articles of clothing, keep the area clean and dry, and wash items such as athletic supports regularly. All fungal infections thrive in moist, warm areas and can live on in unwashed clothing and towels for an extended period of time.

Penile Psoriasis

A spreading, flaking penis skin rash with clearly defined edges and/or a scaly appearance may be an indication of psoriasis. While this condition is not contagious, it can cause social embarrassment and is often extremely off-putting to potential sexual partners.

Treating psoriasis often involves the application of vitamin A creams; steroid treatments may also be used in difficult cases. Because this condition is chronic, ongoing treatment may be necessary to promote smooth, healthy-looking penis skin.

Penis Papules

Whitish or pink bumps that resemble acne are common on the penis skin and may resemble a rash. However, these growths, which are usually found around the crown of the penis, are benign and generally don’t cause any other symptoms. Treating the skin with a conditioning and moisturizing cream may help to maintain smooth, attractive penis skin.

Maintaining Penis Health

The key to preventing many common penis problems or to promoting rapid healing of minor penis skin rashes lies in adequate attention to hygiene and nutrition. Bathing regularly and using mild cleansers, rather than soaps (which are often drying and can result in further irritation) is recommended. Wearing loose, comfortable clothing can allow the skin to breathe and discourage the growth of yeast and fungal infections in intimate areas.

Nourishing the penis skin with a male-specific penis health formula (most health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) containing skin nutrients such as vitamins A, C, D, and E, as well as antioxidants and all-natural moisturizers, may help to reduce the incidence of infection, soothe irritated skin, and leave the penis looking and feeling smooth, supple and healthy.

The Difference Between Candida and a Yeast Infection

What is a Yeast Infection & Candida?

A yeast infection is a symptom of a deeper underlying problem in your body called Candidiasis or Candida for short. Candida manifests from an internal overgrowth of the fungus in your body known as Candida Albicans. Unfortunately, when you have a yeast infection in a specific region it means that you have it elsewhere as well. This is why a full approach that deals with the entire body is crucial to full recovery. Aside from localized infections, Candida affects your mental/ emotional state, digestion, breathing, weight, and your skin among other things.

More on Candida

Candida overgrowth occurs in the intestinal tract where the majority of bacteria inside you thrive. It feeds on sugar and when you eat too much sugar, the Candida population is disrupted. When the healthy population of the fungus Candida Albicans is disrupted, it multiplies quickly and spreads out to other areas, including the vagina, which then causes a yeast infection.

The majority of the population has Candida and doesn’t even know it. Why do I say this? It’s because sugar is almost everywhere in the Standard American Diet (SAD); it’s in junk food, highly processed refined foods like white bread, colas, candy etcetera. Unless you are a highly conscious eater, I can guarantee you that you have Candida. Don’t believe me? I have provided a free link below where you can take a survey, whether you are male or female, after reading this article.

Healthy bacteria in your body under normal conditions can fight off pathogenic organisms such as Candida. But under certain conditions, such as a weak immune system, your body’s ability to defend itself is compromised. This allows Candida spiral out of control and overtake your body.

When women experience yeast infections and they only treat it locally. Candidiasis, the root of the problem is never addressed. As mentioned in Part 1, supplements alone cannot eliminate Candida either. The root cause of Candidiasis is what needs to be attacked to bring your body to a pristine state of health.

A Natural and Holistic Approach to the Treatment of Allergies

What are Allergies?

Allergies occur when antigens bind to IgE and this combined compound binds to Mast Cells within the body: Mast Cells then release Histamine and Serotonin in response to Antigens to try to defend the body against invading foreign substances.

Allergies are also caused by Eosinophils (specialized Cells of the Immune System) when they release Hydrogen Peroxidase at the site of the Allergy in an attempt to destroy what they “believe” to be Antigens.

Histamine is released during this process and is directly responsible for most of the unpleasant symptoms associated with allergies (such as itching, sneezing etc.).

Allergies can manifest in a variety of ways such as skin eruptions like hives, or nasal symptoms like hay fever, or migraines, or digestive allergies. The symptoms from allergies can sometimes be complex and not easily distinguishable as allergies. So blood testing should be performed to determine if you are allergic or not.

There are two forms of allergy tests, the first tests for immediate allergic reactions and measures IgE in the blood in response to allergens; this can be ordered from any medical laboratory. The second tests for the more insidious allergies and measures IgG in the blood in response to antigens, this usually requires more specialized laboratories to perform this test, such as Alcat. So if you are suffering from allergies it is best to have yourself tested so you know what foods and food additives you need to avoid.

It is interesting to note that Doctors are finally realizing that about 60% of the population has some degree of Celiac disease, or gluten-intolerance. And diabetes is becoming more and more prevalent, especially among children. Now doctors are also diagnosing both diseases in many people, finding a link between Celiac disease and type I Diabetes.

How to treat and deal with your allergies

It is best to directly treat the immune system when dealing with allergies. First and foremost the best is to avoid, if possible, the allergen you are allergic to.

If it is food based allergies you are suffering form, such as gluten intolerance, etc. and can’t find any creative recipes for your allergy diet then I would advise you get Fun with Gluten Free and Low Glycaemic Index Food! – by Debbie Johnson. Johnson is a very creative chef, who was the former owner and executive chef of the restaurant, The Golden Chalice Restaurant. Having read through her cookbook I can definitely say that Johnson knows what she is talking about. I highly recommend it.

Below is a list of nutrients available to help treat the body’s symptoms of allergies. You can try the following:

Nutraceuticals

Quercetin, stabilizes the Cell Membranes of Mast Cells. This strengthening of Cell Membranes of Mast Cells causes the Mast Cells to be less reactive to Antigens (that are involved in Allergies) and decreases the ease with which they release their stored Histamine.

A combination of Ester-C [a particular form of Vitamin C] (2 – 4 g/day) and Quercetin, (1.000 mg – 1.500 mg/day) both are good natural anti-histamine agents and are therefore important in the natural treatment of Allergies. Quercetin acts directly on the intestinal tract to reduce reactions to dietary allergens. It inhibits production of histamine by stabilizing basophils and mast cells. Bioflavonoids (such as Quercitin) may help reduce the body’s release of symptom-producing histamine, explains Elliott Middleton, Jr., M.D., Ph.D. at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Betaglucan and Resveratrol, ideal for chemical sensitive people: These patients get headaches, disorientation, muscle and joint pain, mood disturbances, short-term memory problems dizziness, difficulty concentrating, shortness of breath and stomach pains. These patients have reactions to pesticides, perfume, deodorant, household, cleaning products, toner, cigarette smoke etc.

With WGP Beta1,3/1,6-glucan, at least 75 % purified quality (1000 mg/day) and Resveratrol (produced by red grapes 20-60 mg/day or transresveratrol by Polygonum cuspidatum 100 mg); patients have little problems with perfume, toner, cigarette smoke, environmental pollutants and other toxins.

Vitamin C increases the oral bioavailability of Beta-D-Glucan

Resveratrol protects the brain from free radical attack and modulation of the activity the phase 1 and phase 2 enzymes also plays an important role in the detoxification effects of Resveratrol.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) helps to prevent and treat Allergies. This supplement should not be used by individuals suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity.

Rutin counteracts Allergies (by inhibiting the release of Histamine from Mast Cells).

Herbs

Redbush Tea with Stevia is an important basis in the treatment of allergies and other intolerances. Redbush Tea (at least 1 litre/day or more) has anti-allergic effects, because it contains Quercetin. Studies have shown that the average 150 ml cup of Redbush Tea contains about 1.4 mg – 1.7 mg Quercetin.

Mangosteen Extract provides the potent antioxidant benefits of xanthone flavonoids from mangosteen fruit. These flavonoids possess antioxidant properties that may help neutralize cell damage by free radicals (I.a. environmental pollutants), allowing for the maintenance of optimal cell function. The xanthone flavonoids also help to support a healthy immune system and inhibit the release of histamine.

Reishi Mushrooms and Maitake Mushrooms prevent and treat Allergies, due to their Beta-D-Glucan content. Reishi mushrooms also reduce high histamine levels.

Ginkgo biloba alleviates Allergies by inhibiting the activity of Eosinophils (due to the Ginkgolide B content of Ginkgo biloba).

The above recommended nutraceuticals and herbs are recommended for general allergies. When trying to treat more specific allergies, such as skin allergies, hay fever, etc. it is best to consult a practitioner for more specific treatment, such as that offered by Homeopathy.

Homeopathic treatment will target your individual specific symptoms and help you to overcome you allergy sensitivities. Homeopathic doctors may also use auto-sanguineous therapy to deal with allergies which has about an 80% success rate in dealing with allergies. It is best to consult a homeopath for this form of treatment. I homeopath may also prescribe herbs that are better suited to your specific allergies.

Laptops and Pregnancy – Safe to Use a Laptop During Pregnancy?

Laptops and pregnancy is a frequent concern for moms to be and it is not hard to understand why. The main concern of the great majority of pregnant women is typically the unborn baby. Everything from how to bath without harming the baby to what kind of appliances they can expose themselves to are causes for concern. While these are all valid concerns, it has led to so much criss crossing and debatable research that most mothers to be are more confused after reading the research than they were when it was just a question.

This does not in any way mean that they should not be researching, but when do you stop? When you are starting to get paranoid is a good indicator that it may be time to alter your research methods. Here is a short detailed version of the information concerning laptops and pregnancy that you were probably looking for.

• Laptop radiation (which researchers say comes from the laptops screen) is shown in some studies to cause birth defects that can represent themselves as irritability and colic to later behavioral problems or ADHD, while other studies have shown no defects. While this could be related to the amount of testing done and the length the results were taken at, the bottom line is that the results are still being debated.

o GOOD NEWS: none of the studies show extremely high rates of miscarriage. While pregnant it is never a good idea to put your laptop on your abdomen while you are working. This all studies, researchers, poll takers and doctors agreed on. The heat from the laptop is bad for the baby and goes along with the concept of not taking baths that are too hot or overheating yourself while you are pregnant.

o GOOD NEWS: You will not have as many annoying typos if you are not trying to do a balancing act, and your work will be done faster. Another bonus is that this could be a great reason to get that beautiful desk and ergonomic chair you were eyeing.

• The overall point is that if you are worried about the radiation from your laptop or even your desktop computer, but you have to work and are planning to limit your exposure, why not research for methods to protect yourself and your baby in another way? For example, purchasing an anti EMF radiation pendant, bracelet or even anklet will block you and your baby from any radiation produced by any appliance around you not just your laptop. EMF radiation is a concern for people in general, children to seniors so of course it is a serious concern during pregnancy.

Do not limit the safety search to just laptops, research beneficial non invasive ways to protect yourself and your little one. A lot of pregnancy woes can be addressed with an anti EMF jewelry item; they produce a natural energy that is good for the body and that will deflect harmful radiation from entering the body. Not only this but they fight inflammation, increase blood flow and circulation through un-clumping cells and can ease discomfort and effect better sleep. What if you could wear something daily that could reduce your EMF exposure, would you use it?

Depression Refractory Mix For The Backyard Foundry.

This old time foundry refractory mix for crucible or cupola

furnaces was adopted by financially strapped foundry owners during the great depression, everyone suffered financial hardships during those days, so there was a lot of improvisation going on, now the backyard founder can save money making a home brew just like the old timers did.

First off, you need to make up a mixture of grog, i.e. slag free old broken firebricks, break them up into 50%-pea size & 50 % Walnut size. Place the grog mix in a large bucket or drum, and fill the drum with water until the grog is well covered; leave to soak until there is no sign of air bubbles.

Follow the next few steps carefully, as the amounts are made up by volume& not weight.

Take “three volumes” of the now very wet 50/50-grog mix and add “two volumes” of good fire clay. (The measuring volumes can be made up of anything from a small tin to a large bucket, depending on the quantity you may need) Mix thoroughly and temper it like moulding sand with a water glass mix of 50% water glass & 50% water. Water glass is the old name given for sodium silicate.

The final grog and fireclay mix should have about 6% moisture, it should easily form into a ball in your hands, if it’s crumbly, it is too dry, and you may need to add more water. But watch carefully as you don’t want to let it become like mud. Finally put your mix under plastic, and let it sweat & age for about 72 hours, or about three days. Now comes the part where you can actually begin to install the mixture in your cupola or gas fired furnace.

With the inner metal or wooden former in place, the mix can now be placed around the furnace wall cavity and gently rammed into place until the lining is complete. Smooth it of on top and then leave to air dry for a day or so.

Before you start ramming the mixture, to help drainage and ventilation later on when you cure the refractory, drill a series of 1/4″ holes through the outer shell to help vent any moisture when the mixture is drying out. After a couple of days, you can light a small fire in the furnace and start to slowly dry & cure the refractory lining.

The drying stage is about the most important part of the whole process, and it needs to be printed bold. IF YOU DRY THE REFRACTORY OUT TOO FAST, IT WILL CRACK & SPALL, and ruin all your good work.

When the steam ceases from the vent holes, build a bigger fire up to where the melting bed or zone is. (10″ to 14″ from the bottom of the cupola Furnace) Turn the blower on, this will increase the heat and vitrify or glaze the rammed mix into a solid lining.

It is advisable to not use Borax while glazing the lining, borax is a flux and will have the effect of dissolving the lining, and you don’t want that to happen. This home brew refractory lining you’ve made and installed in your furnace should never need replacing, except for the area around where the melting zone takes place. In which you may have to replace a small ring after every melt session is complete.

In a gas fired furnace it will last for many, many years.

Good Luck.

Col Croucher.

The Top 3 Fears That Prevents Successful Relationships

Do you have a fear that prevents you from getting into – or maintaining a good relationship? Well it’s not as uncommon as you may think. There are actual terms for these conditions.

Such as…

1. Pistanthrophobia. Also known as the fear of trusting people. Common problems include: not opening up to someone because of experiencing hurt/betrayal in the past, suspicious thoughts which may turn into some type of action (which includes but not limited to: constant calling to check where a person is at- or what they’re doing, constantly starting unnecessary arguments, name calling, or at extreme, stalking behavior), and a feeling of losing that person. Many people who have trusted someone in the past only to feel regretful about it also complain of others who have in some way took advantage of their trust. So as a result they put all men or women into one bad category.

2. Philophobia. Also known as the fear of falling in love. Common problems include: been hurt in the past, and not knowing if the person they’re with really does love them back (or as much as they do). With this huge fear also comes the fear of rejection. Because they’ve been hurt in the past or their feeling were not well received, they’ve decided not to show their emotions (when it comes to relationships) ever again. Many also expect things to at some point take a turn for the worst. So they think…”why even try?”

3. Commitment-phobia. Also known as the fear of commitment. The Latin term for this is commitorum-metus. Common problems include: scared of taking things to next level, staying in a relationship too long, putting a title on ones-self (such as: boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, etc). Nervousness is the main problem for commitment-phobic people. So they usually act irrationally when it comes to relationships. They may lie, cheat, or hurt someone emotionally- just so they find some way to get out of the relationship before it gets too serious.

Here’s the solution…you have to understand that whatever it is that’s holding you back from meeting someone or potentially having a good relationship, it’s all within your control. Start loving, trusting, and committing to making yourself a better person first. And then start allowing others the chance to show you what they are about. There are many wonderful, loving, faithful people out there that are waiting for the opportunity to not only get to know you- but to show you how much they care. Allow yourself to be happy. You deserve it.

In addition you should also seek out the help of a therapist, relationship coach, positive family member, or friend that could help you through the difficult times. Just know that you’re worthy of love- and you have the potential to get into a loving, successful relationship. Just start by opening up now to the idea of it.

Holding Back Emotions Can Cause Anxiety, Depression And Insomnia – Journal Writing Can Help

Holding on to a nonexpressed emotion is the most common reason people suffer from anxiety, depression, addictions and somatic disorders. Unexpressed emotions and desires are truly poison for your mental, and ultimately physical, well-being. Your body has the ability to remove toxins from its systems automatically, without you doing anything beyond eating and drinking. With our minds, we’re not so fortunate. We do eliminate some of the toxic modes of thought and emotion by expressing them, but others we squirrel away like mice with cheese, tucking fears, resentments and grudges into dark corners of the mind where they fester for years, driving our behaviors and causing anxiety, depression, addictions and somatic disorders. Driving these poisons from the mind takes work. Just as with physical poisons, there’s a process: identify the toxin, develop a process for getting rid of it, and eliminate it from the psyche. Journal writing is a part of this vital process.

As you become more adept at it, you’ll use your journal writing to identify and express your most complex, intense emotions and thoughts. Journal writing is a surefire way of overcoming life’s obstacles, promoting self-awareness and of identifying and fulfilling your life’s goals. Speak to yourself in your journal, and you will hear the answers coming from your subconscious. Listen to the answers and let your voice guide you. One useful exercise is to imagine that you are lying on your deathbed. Think about the things you have accomplished in your life that have given you meaning. Listen to any regrets, keeping in mind we usually regret not the things we did, but the things we did not do.

Pay attention to these “deathbed” thoughts and let them lead you toward your goals, your true meaning in life. The intense yearnings and passionate ideas that keep arising over and over again in your journal – those are probably your goals, the things that will make you feel like a complete, fulfilled person. Once you embrace your life’s purpose and meaning, you must learn how to accomplish your goals. Daily journal writing is a powerful way of staying focused on your goals and of finding your path to achieving them.

Your journal can become your self-produced manual on goal achievement. As you write about the steps you take each day toward your goals, you will become skilled at troubleshooting your methods and choices, and at picking better ways of moving toward those goals.

Tips for Successful Journaling

Keeping a journal is a way of identifying yourself. It’s you saying,

“This is who I am. This is how I feel today. This is what life looks like to me.” Writing in a journal is also a way of introducing you to yourself. Follow these suggestions:

1. Be honest-and kind-with yourself about what is possible for you to accomplish within a certain time frame.

2. Don’t edit yourself. Some people want their journals to read just perfectly, as if they’re submitting them for publication.Others want to leave out material that seems embarrassing, childish or foolish. Don’t screen your writing.

3. Be honest with yourself. You can’t interpret and you can’t give yourself permission to lie, either. When you’re journaling, give yourself permission to make mistakes.

No one else is going to see your journal, so be completely candid.

If you don’t, you’ll be writing a script for your ideal life, not the life you’re leading today-the one you want to improve.

4. Keep your journal private, except for sharing it with a therapist. What’s going on in your mind at the time is no one else’s business, and you may censor yourself if you think someone else will be reading what you write.

Reading Your Journal

Do more than write in your journal; go back and read it about once a month. A journal’s greatest value is as a self-reflective tool, and you can’t reflect if you don’t look back.

5-HTP Benefits Explained

5-Hydroxytryptophan simply known as 5-HTP is one that indicates and precedes to the Neurotransmitter Serotonin a substance that transmits nerve impulses across the gap between neurons and an intermediate in the tryptophan metabolism.

5-HTP is an amino acid, a supplement that has been proposed to control serotonin levels in people who are suffering painful uneasiness of mind or people who are under pressure or strain. Continuous research has been proven to have this effect on serotonin in the central nervous system. Serotonin is the one responsible in the regulation of sleep, mood, temperature balance, appetite, sexual behaviors and pain sensation.

Another research has been shown useful in some conditions characterized in part by serotonin deficits, mostly psychological disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, and feelings of dejection.

5-HTP can be used as nutrient support. It helps regulate normal body function. In some cases like insomnia, obesity, chronic tension, headache and fibromyalgia, 5-HTP made some patients to feel better.

5-HTP’s Psychoactive Action

It is accepted to obtain from its effect on serotonin synthesis. To increase production, the brain’s serotonin producing neurons and it is believed that it is caused by an artificially high level of 5-HTP. Increase of serotonin production leads to increased release.

It is said that 5-HTP is suggested to be administered with a peripheral decarboxylase inhibitor by some clinicians. That is to prevent elevated serotonin levels in the bloodstream and the subsequent side effects.

5-HTP is generally used to aid disorders such as depression, anxiety problems, insomnia, migraines, weight loss, and fibromyalgia.

Recent studies are made trying to make a conclusion if whether or not 5-HTP is effective and the results are as follows:

Sixty three people were prescribed 100mg of 5-HTP during the six-week period and there appear to be an outcome similar to a prescribe serotonin increaser prescription drug or anti depressant medication. This concludes that 5-HTP indeed is a beneficial treatment for depression.

Though as much as 600mg of 5-HTP was given to participants and sufferers of migraines, 5-HTP showed small signs of helping to prevent migraines. After six months of continuous use, some claimed that it was as effective as their prescription medicines.

Over a four-week period, a double blind study using a placebo where 50 people suffering from fibromyalgia participated in the research and then afterwards, they noticed a small improvement with the help of 5-HTP. Fibromyalgia is a condition that includes fatigue, and enormous joint and muscle pain.

There is a limitation in taking 5-HTP. People who would like to use 5-HTP as a supplement should first consult their physicians if they would take it together with other prescribed drugs. It should also be noted that 5-HTP should not be taken together with carbidopa, dextromethorphan, or tramadol. Also, women should avoid using 5-HTP without consulting their physicians. Using 5-HTP while nursing or pregnant has not been studied.

How to Treat Athlete’s Foot Naturally

I’m not going to go into what athlete’s foot is and how you can ‘catch it’ here because that would just take too long, and if you’ve already got athlete’s foot then I’m pretty sure that you just want to get rid of it as soon as possible!

Out of all the athlete’s foot and fungus creams I’ve come across there has only ever been one natural skin care product I’ve witnessed that really works.

It’s an Aloe Vera product and it’s probably one of the best natural skin care products I’ve seen in a long while. Aloe Vera is one of the most powerful natural skin care products available and has been proven to kill germs, bacteria or fungi of just about every imaginable description. So, when I came across Aloe Liquid Soap, Aloe Propolis Creme and Aloe Vera Gelly, I began to use them and the results were amazing. The athlete’s foot has totally cleared up.

To begin your athlete’s foot treatment, follow these simple steps:

1. Wash or bathe your feet in a product called Aloe Liquid Soap. It comes in a plastic bottle with a pump dispensing top. Add 1 or 2 squirts of the aloe liquid soap to warm water. Make sure that you gently massage your feet whilst they are soaking so that the Aloe Vera can do its job using its natural properties to soothe, clean and heal your feet. Soak your feet for as long as you wish.

2. Next, dry your feet thoroughly, but make sure that you do not leave them to get ‘bone-dry’ because of the following step. Your feet must still feel hydrated.

3. Apply a liberal amount of Aloe Vera Propolis Crème all over your feet. This is where you are going to focus most of your attention now. Make sure that you really massage the crème between your toes. Applying this crème to ‘hydrated’ feet allows the healing properties of the Aloe Propolis to be grately absorbed. Get it into every little crack, especially if you have any weeping cracks in between your toes. Also, make sure that you also apply the propolis crème to your toe nails whether they are all infected or not.

Do this procedure as often as you can and in due course you will be rewarded with healthy feet. Take the time to really apply a good amount of the propolis creme all over your feet. Work it into the direction of the cracks and really try, but gently, to get the creme sort of under the cracks so the aloe can get to work. You’ll be glad you did.

The Aloe Propolis Crème is a natural antifungal product. If you are currently using any sort of antifungal medication, you have the choice of whether or not you wish to continue using it. But after experiencing the healing benefits of the Aloe Propolis Crème, you may not look back.

How To Treat Athlete’s Foot Naturally In Children

If you have ever wondered how to treat athlete’s foot naturally in children, then the above procedure applies to you also.

The Aloe Propolis Crème is a 100% totally natural skin care product and will treat and heal your child’s athlete’s foot naturally. There are absolutely no steroids or any other additives or preservatives here, which is good news because this means that you can use as much of this crème as you need.

Athlete’s Foot: How to Stop the Burning and Itching Cycle?

Another method used to treat athlete’s foot, especially to get rid of the burning and itching cycle, is to use Aloe Vera Gelly.

If you followed the procedure above, soaking your feet in warm water with the Aloe Liquid Soap added to it, then after you have dried your feet, you also have the option of using the Aloe Vera Gelly.

The Aloe Vera Gelly is a simple but very effective treatment for all stages of athlete’s foot. When applied, you will notice how cooling and soothing it is. The burning your were experiencing should start to ease off. Once again, massage the gelly all around your feet paying special attention to any cracks you may have. Rub the gelly in both clockwise and anticlockwise directions to make sure that you give your feet the treatment they need.

For maximum effect, you could use both the Aloe Propolis Crème and the Aloe Vera Gelly together, first thing in the morning and last thing at night. There is no right or wrong way to use both of these products. You could use them both together during the day as well, but if you’re going to use this method of treatment, it would be better if you didn’t walk around on your feet for a while. But instead, keep your feet up and just allow the Aloe Vera to do what it does best, which is to clean and heal. It doesn’t matter if you use the propolis before the aloe gelly or after. Just know that you have natural products that really do work.

Top 5 Homeopathic Pain Killers

Unfortunately pain is something that everyone will experience in life. While pain is uncomfortable, it can actually be a good thing and there are homeopathic pain killers that can be taken to provide you with safe natural pain relief that is non narcotic.

When you have pain, what you are really experiencing is your body sending you a signal that something is wrong. Imagine if you had a ruptured disc in your back (ok I’m feeling the pain just thinking about it!) and you were just walking around all day going about your every day responsibilities…working, exercising etc. If you didn’t have any pain, you would not know something was really wrong. Pain is your natural defense against being injured for the long haul.

Pharmaceutical drugs have a host of harmful side effects so opting to take homeopathic pain killers when you are hurting is a wise choice. I know after I had my foot surgery I decided against pharmaceutical drugs and chose the homeopathic route. Boy, I’m glad I did.

Below is a list of pain killers that are not new to homeopathic care and are effective for many interested in using homeopathic pain killers:

  1. Arnica is effective at treating arthritis, muscle sprains and strains, and bruises. Arnica is an herb that’s derived from a yellow flower grown in European mountains. Arnica can be applied topically in gel form or taken orally with another homeopathic treatment.
  2. Curcumin is a excellent because it helps to prevent and reduce inflammation. Curcumin should be taken in capsule form with an enzyme called bromelain because your body absorbs it better. Bromelain is also an anti-inflammatory agent and is used by many doctors to treat pain caused by arthritis. When I was experiencing signs of rheumatoid and I told my doctor that I didn’t want to take medicine, she recommended Bromelain.
  3. Devil’s claw fights pain and inflammation but you have to be careful with this one if you have stomach problems. Devil’s claw is actually a fruit that’s found in South Africa and has been used to help reduce back and arthritis pain.
  4. Feverfew is an age old homeopathic pain killer and works wonders at relieving headaches, arthritis pain and minor pain. Feverfew is not only a natural pain killer but it has also been proven to stop headaches and migraines from creeping up. Anyone with headaches should try this alternative pain reliever.
  5. Frankincense is known for its ability to treat chronic inflammatory pain in conditions such as arthritis. This herb helps to greatly reduce pain associated with minor injuries as well.

Homeopathic pain killers are your safe option for reducing and even eliminating mild to chronic pain because they are non narcotic. Even though taking certain herbs may have some side effects for different people, those side effects are much less harmful than those you get from taking pharmaceutical drugs. As with anything, you should exercise caution and do your homework when deciding to take homeopathic pain killers.