What Are Some Causes Of Heartburn And Diarrhea Issues?

The number of people suffering from frequent bouts of heartburn is on the rise. We are now aware that it is our lifestyle that is causing the pain behind the chest bone and unpleasant feeling of burning in the esophagus and throat. Heartburn and diarrhea is a perfect example of how eating the wrong kinds of foods can bring about a variety of problems which keeps the body imbalanced.

Heartburn is created by acid reflux. The foods we eat, mixed with stomach acid, goes up to the esophagus and creates pain in the chest and burning in the throat. It’s because of a weaken muscle between the esophagus and stomach that is the cause of heartburn. The muscle between the stomach and esophagus is softened when it comes into contact any food that irritates it. This muscle won’t function right and acid escapes into the esophagus,

The increased production of acid in the stomach, caused by different types of food, can cause heartburn to be intensified. Some of the excess acid can back up into esophagus, but it also often causes acute diarrhea. Since diarrhea occurs at the same time as heartburn, we feel like they are causing each other.

Food moving slowly through the stomach may also trigger heartburn because more stomach acid is needed for digestion and this extra acid could wind up in the esophagus. What we eat could cause diarrhea as well as slow movement of food in the stomach.

If you plan to take any drugs to battle your heartburn, be careful because some of them have aluminum hydroxide in them which has been known to cause diarrhea in some people.

Diarrhea can also be caused proton pump inhibitors. A proton pump inhibitor job is to slow down the production of stomach acid but one possible side effect that may occur is the possibility of developing a case of diarrhea.

While diarrhea happens in the lower part of stomach and heartburn in the esophagus. The issue can be felt throughout the entire digestive system. Multiple health issues can be traced to an inability of vitamins being absorbed in the body because of an imbalance in stomach acid production.

When heartburn and diarrhea occur at the same time, we might be looking at two completely different health issues. For instance, a person could be experiencing Irritable Bowel Syndrome and heartburn at the same time. It’s very important to go see a doctor if heartburn and diarrhea happens regularly. A proper diagnosis and treatment are necessary. There are many health issues that can be the result of prolonged diarrhea.

Heartburn can come with a wide variety of other digestive conditions. While these other conditions may not be directly linked to acid reflux, poor eating habits and bad nutrition will still bring about problem to the digestive system. Before resorting to strong drugs, it is best to try to regain digestive system balance by switching to a healthier diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole wheat grains, lean meats and a lot of water. Caution with regard to eating is the best rule of thumb.

Diet Concept in Ayurveda

Agni is the chief protector of the body.Food is the fuel for internal fire (Agni). Food and drinks if taken in proper manner promote growth, life, intelligence and health.There are seven factors which should be considered for selecting and eating the food.

A. FACTORS RELATED TO FOOD

1.Svabhava (Natural Quality)

2.Samyoga (Combination)

3.Samskara (Processing)

4.Matra (Quantity)

5.Desa (includes the habitat of the food article and the user)

6.Kala (Season)

7.Upayoga Vyavastha (Mode of using)

Svabhava – PropertyAssess the nature of the food like whether it is heavy or light etc.Eg. Meat and wheat are heavy to digest whereas gruel (kanji) is light.

Samyoga – Combination.Certain combinations enhance the health, eg. Wheat and milk. Certain combinations become incompatible, eg. Milk with fish, honey and ghee in equal quantity

Samskara – Processing. Denotes processing which produces the transformation of inherent qualities.Eg. Rice when cooked becomes lighter to digest

Matra-Quantity. Denotes the quantity which depends upon the nature of the food materials, its quality etc.Eg. Heavy food should be consumed in less quantity and light food in large quantity.

Desa-Region or Place. Refers to the region in which the article of the food is grown and the user lives.

Kala-Season. Denotes time for intake and digestion of food.Also denotes season of the year and time of the day for using certain food articles.Eg. Curd should not be taken at night time

Upayoga Vyavastha Denotes the manner of taking food.

Procedure to take food

Pay attention to calls of nature before eating.

Bath or at least wash your hands, face & feet before you eat.

Sit in an isolated and clean area.

Face the direction of the sun.

Pray and thank nature for providing you food.

Feed others.

Consider eating as a yagna (a vedic fire ritual) and that you are offering havis to the internal fire who is Bhagavan (God).

Concentrate and eat with confidence. Avoid watching TV, conversation during eating.

Approach each items with reverence and love and chew them well.

See that all the six tastes are present in the menu.

Eat sweet, oily food first, sour, spicy in the middle and bitter, astringent at last.

The food should be warm.

Always eat accustomed food (in relation to body, age, season, dosa & disease).

Half of the stomach should be filled with solid food, one quarter by liquids and the other quarter should be kept vacant for air.

Use rice, wheat, barley, tender radish, grapes, green gram, jaggery, ghee, milk, honey, pomegranate,triphala daily.

Foods which are preserved from the previous day should not be taken except curd, ghee, honey, butter milk.

Avoid curd at night.

Avoid overeating and untimely eating

Anupana – the drink which is taken after meals gives satisfaction, aids easy digestion and provides a sense of contentment.

Activities after meals.

Take tambulam (betel leaves), walk about hundred steps and lie on the left side.Avoid bathing, driving, swimming and exertion immediately after meals.

Health-promoting components of a plant based diet.

One of the key aspects of a predominantly plant-based diet is its high content of dietary fibre. Generally, the term “dietary fibre” refers to plant cell walls and non-nutritive residues. In adition, a plant-based diet is low in saturated fat, high in essential fatty acids and high in antioxidant nutrients and phyto-chemicals. These important plant compounds offer significant protection against diseases like heart disease, cancer and arthritis.

Beneficial effects of dietary fibre 1.Decreased intestinal transit time. 2.Delayed gastric emptying, resulting in reduced post-prandial (after meal) hyperglycaemia. 3.Increased safety. 4.Increased pancreatic secretion. 5.Increased stoll weight. 6.More advantageous intestinal microflora. 7.Increased production of short-chain fatty acids. 8.Decreased serum lipid levels. 9.More soluble bile.

A good goal for dietary fibre intake is 25 to 35 grams daily. This can be easily achieved if the dietary focus is on whole, unprocessed plant foods. Vegetables are excellent sources of fibre. In fact, 1 cup of cooked carrots has almost the same amount of fibre as 3 slices of whole wheat bread or 2 cups of oats. A diet high in fibre is important in the prevention and treatment of a number of diseases.

Diseases highly associated with a low-fibre diet- Metabolic Obesity, gout, diabetes, kidney stones, gallstones,Dental caries, autoimmune disorders, pernicious anaemia, Multiple sclerosis, thyrotoxicosis, dermatological conditions,Hypertension, Cerebro vascular disease, Ischemic heart disease, varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, Colonic Constipation, diverticulitis, haemorrhoids, Colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitas, Crohn’s disease.

Balanced Diet One should take a balanced diet comprising of such articles of diet, which are wholesome to the individual for maintaining health and prevention of diseases. A diet comprising of preferably red variety of rice, barely or wheat, green gram (Mudga), rock salt, fruit of amalaki , milk, ghee, honey and sterilized water is considered as a balanced diet, good for health.

Eight factors of Dietary Habit The eight factors, which should be considered while deciding a diet for a particular person include Prakriti (Nature), karana (processing),samyoga (combination),rashi (quantum),desha(habitat), kala(time), upayogasans (rules of use) and Upayokta (the user). They are known as Ashta Ahara Vidhi Vishesha ayatana.

Prakriti (nature) : the nature of the substance is due to its inherent properties. For example by nature black gram is heavy while green gram is light. Similarly by nature port meat is heavy while meat of deer is light.Karana (Processing): process is that which modifies radically the properties of substances. The processes like churning, cooking, environmental factors like humidity, season, place, container and period of preservation may affect properties of a substance. For example a solid substance may be softened or liquefied by adding water or cooked on fire. The curd or yogurt by nature induces edema, but on churning it becomes buttermilk (Takra) which relieves edema. Poison may be used as drug after its proper purification and processing.

Samyoga (Combination): Combination of two or more substances may also alter the natural properties of individual substances. For example individually honey and ghee are good for health, but taking their mixture in equal proportion becomes harmful. Similarly honey, milk and fish individually have no adverse effect, but when taken in combination become harmful. Thus some substances exhibit peculiarities on combination, which are not seen in the case of individual substances.

Rashi (Quantum) the quantity of food to be taken is known as Rashi. The quantity of individual articles of diet (Parigraha) as well as the total quantity of diet (Sarvagraha) is to be taken in to account while deciding a quantum of diet for a particular person. This will depend on the individual’s digestive power. The quantity of diet will also affect digestion. Even light diet in excess may become heavy for digestion.

Desha (Habitat): Desha refers to country and the diet and drug articles produced at different places differ in their qualities also. The substances produced in their natural habitat have better qualities than produced elsewhere and are better suited to persons of that region.

Kala (Time) : The contents of diet should be changed according with the season. For example in winter the digestion power is strong, so the heavy diet articles are good, while in summer and rainy seasons light articles are generally advised, as digestive power is compromised during these seasons. Furthermore in the diseased condition diet articles have to be selected according to Dosha involved in and the stage of the disease. Ghee for example is contraindicated in the first seven days of fever but if fever runs a chronic course then ghee is prescribed to increase the strength of patient as well as to alleviate the dryness caused by the heat of fever.

Upayogasanstha (Rules of Use): the rules for taking the diet are prescribed. The most important rule for taking diet is that it should be taken on digestion of the previous meal. The main symptoms of proper digestion of the ingested meal are, lightness, feeling of hunger and thirst, enthusiasm and timely appearance of natural urges.

A warm unctuous meal with no antagonistic articles is advised. The food should be in proper quantity taken on digestion of the previous meal and in a favourable place. One should eat neither too fast nor too slow, without talking or laughing and with full concentration.

Bad habits of eating may lead to many disease and therefore should be avoided. Taking wholesome and unwholesome diet articles together is known as Samashana. It is bad for health. Eating before the digestion of previous meal is known as Adhyashana. It leads to Ama formation and is the cause of many diseases.

Eating at irregular times, some times in less quantity and at other times in increased quantity are known as Vishama-Ashanta. It leads to the vitiation of Vata. Therefore it is advisable to eat at regular time and in appropriate quantity.

Upayokta (User): It refers to the person taking the food. He should consider what is specially wholesome and unwholesome to him. Accordingly he may select and avoid some of the diet article.

Side Effects Of Blood Pressure Medications

All blood pressure medication should lower blood pressure but in addition they can produce some undesirable side effects. Type of medication alter basic body functions not only in the blood vessels but in the nervous system and kidneys as well. Because all of the systems in the body are interconnected even drugs that effect only one type of molecule in the body will produce some type of side effect.

Beta Blockers:

A common type of blood pressure medication like beta blockers are used to control cardiac arrhythmia or irregular heart beat. Beta blockers limit the ability of the heart to beat faster and as a result they reduce the ability of a person to exercise. Fatigue and the ability to react to the basic flight or fight response during an emergency situation is severely reduced. In June of 2006 the United Kingdom downgraded the use of beta-blockers for the elderly because of the increased risk of provoking type 2 diabetes. Other drugs were found to be much better in controlling high blood pressure.

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors:

Lisinopril is in a class of drugs called angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. It is used to lower blood pressure by decreasing certain chemicals in the blood that tighten the blood vessels. In other words, lisinopril will dilate the blood vessels so blood flows more smoothly and the heart can pump blood more efficiently using less pressure. It is also used to treat congestive heart failure and to improve the survival rate after a heart attack. The most common side effect of Lisinopril is a violent, non-productive cough, dizziness, fatigue and flue like symptoms. Another side effect, though not very common but it is dangerous is a pounding or uneven heartbeat.

Diuretics:

Diuretics are used to treat blood pressure problems by stimulating the kidneys to flush excess fluid and sodium from the human body. Less blood volume allows the heart to move the blood easier throughout the body. Loss of potassium, dry mouth and dehydration are the most common side effects of diuretics.

Calcium Channel Blockers:

Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) keeps the blood vessels and heart from absorbing calcium which causes the blood vessels to relax. Calcium causes the heart to contract and the blood vessels to contract. CCBs are also used to slow the heart rate and are used for treating an abnormally rapid heart rate. The most common side effect of calcium channel blockers are headache, nausea, constipation, rash, dizziness and fluid retention.

Alpha Blockers:

Alpha blockers stop certain nerve impulses to the blood vessels causing the vessels to relax. Alpha blockers stop a natural hormone called nor-epinephrine from stimulating the muscles in the walls of the of the smaller blood vessels. The most common side effect of alpha blockers is low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, pounding heart beat, nausea, fatigue, fluid retention and an increase of the cholesterol levels in the blood. Some alpha blockers can increase the risk of heart failure with long term use.

Vasodilators:

Vasodilators directly cause the muscles in the blood vessels walls to relax thus preventing the muscles from tightening and the walls of the blood vessels from narrowing. Side effects of vasodilators are headache, nasal congestion, chest pain, rapid hear beat, pounding heart beat, fluid retention and dizziness. Long term use increase the risk of developing a connective tissue disease called lupus.

Common Vitamins and over the counter products can help with high blood pressure such as diuretics, copper, vitamin B, vitamin A, Quercitin, Potassium, Lecithin and Iron.

Natural diuretics are contained in cranberries, anything that has caffeine and apple cider vinegar. Fruits and vegetables such as watermelon and cucumbers contain a lot of water and will help increase urination. If you are taking COUMADIN then check with your doctor before using cranberry.

There is strong evidence that trace mineral Copper is vital to the tensile strength of the coronary blood vessels.

Vitamin B taken together as a team perform vital biological processes including aiding in the healing process for congestive heart failure and reduces fluid retention. It is required for the development of red blood cells.

Vitamin C has show to reduce cholesterol levels and lowers high blood pressure.

Quercitin is a well known flavonoid. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants and can reduce inflammation boost the immune system and strengthen blood vessels and improve circulation. Quercitin is also known for its ability to block the release of histamines, thus reducing or preventing allergy symptoms. Take 500 mg twice daily.

Potassium may help prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis and reduce the risk of stroke.

Lecithin has the potential to protect against fat clogged arteries when take daily.

Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying substance in red blood cells. Iron is vital for the production of blood by the bone marrow. The single most common cause of anemia is the lack of Iron.

Lifestyle changes can also lower the risk of medical emergencies do to arteriosclerosis. Quit smoking, eat healthy foods, weight loss and get regular exercise. This treatment is often problematic for many to achieve and continue for the long term.

This report is nutritional in nature and not to be construed as medical advice.

Always consult your doctor before using this information.

Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment for Congestive Cardiac Failure (CCF)

Congestive cardiac or heart failure, also known in short as CCF, is a condition in which disorders of the heart render it unable to deliver adequate oxygenated blood supply to the body. This condition can be caused due to coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, long standing alcohol abuse, and chronic disorders of the valves of the heart. The symptoms of this condition include swelling of the feet and abdomen, breathlessness, fatigue, increased urination, nausea, abdominal pain, and decreased appetite. CCF is a serious condition and invariably causes serious mortality, if not aggressively treated and controlled. The modern management of this condition includes treating the known cause for the condition, giving medication to improve the contractile capacity of the heart, diuretics to reduce the resulting oedema, and other symptomatic treatment. Salt and fluid intake needs to be restricted, and appropriate lifestyle modifications need to be made in order to control this condition. It is equally important to abstain completely from alcohol and smoking, while stress needs to be adequately controlled.

Modern management is usually successfully in maintaining individuals affected with CCF for a few months to a few years. However, over time, this condition gradually deteriorates and symptoms become unmanageable. The main reason for this is that most of the causes for CCF invariably prove to be incurable, by the time full fledged CCF sets in. However, CCF can be adequately controlled by a judicious combination of modern treatment and Ayurvedic herbal treatment, so as to provide maximum therapeutic long-term benefit to the affected individual, a significant increase in life span, improved quality of life, and a possible cure for the disease.

Ayurvedic herbal treatment for CCF basically focuses on treating the known cause for the condition and providing medication to improve the overall functioning of the heart. Ayurvedic medicines which have a specific action on the heart muscles and improve muscular tone as well as the capacity for contraction are used in the successful management of this condition. Long-term use of such medicines provides a dramatic and significant improvement in cardiac functioning, improves the blood circulation and reduces oedema in the body.

Specific Ayurvedic treatment needs to be given for coronary artery disease, so as to reduce inflammation, swelling and blockage in the coronary arteries. Long standing hypertension also needs to be controlled aggressively with a combination of medicines which reduce blood pressure directly as well as provide relaxation and reduction of stress. Disorders of the valves of the heart also need to be specifically treated to the maximum extent possible so that the heart can function properly. Chronic alcoholism needs to be treated aggressively, and adverse effects of long-term alcohol ingestion on the heart need to be treated and reversed.

With aggressive and regular treatment of CCF with Ayurvedic medicines, there is a substantial improvement in the symptoms of this condition as well as the known causes in affected individuals. Most individuals affected with CCF require Ayurvedic herbal treatment for periods ranging from 6 to 12 months, depending upon the known cause for the condition and its severity. Ayurvedic treatment thus has a significant role to play in the management and treatment of CCF.

Ozone Autohemotherapy – Hype Or Hope?

Ozone Therapy

Have you ever noticed the peculiar smell of a thunderstorm? The cause of that smell is ozone.

Even though it was discovered a long time ago — in 1840, it remains the subject of multiple arguments and disagreements. It protects us as an ozone layer around the Earth from ultraviolet radiation. We would be dead without ozone over there. On the other hand ozone as a component of smog is damaging to human’s lungs. It is like people: there is no absolutely good or absolutely bad person. Each individual has his own good and bad features.

Even though ozone is not endorsed for medical use by any of the English speaking medical societies or official agencies, it is believed to be beneficial in many countries by many doctors and this is why: Soon after its discovery in 1956 in Europe they started using ozone to sterilize surgical instruments because of its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Later, Europeans began using it to sterilize drinking water.

What about US? Was it behind Europe? Not at that time.

1885 – Jacksonville, Florida. A local Florida medical association published “Ozone” by Charles J. Kenworthy, M. D., M.R.S.V.. What it meant was this: At the time, doctors in the US had been widely using ozone medically without any restrictions. What was once the subject of publication in prestigious medical journals, and what was being used to treat people a mere 60 miles from Florida in almost every Cuban hospital, is now cause for arrest in the state of Florida. In 1999, Kenneth R. Thiefault and his wife, Mardel Barber (formerly of Jupiter Florida) were sent to jail for a total of 8 years for marketing and selling ozone generators. But it was in 1999. Fortunately or unfortunately doctors a hundred years earlier did not know about it and continued to treat people with ozone.

1892 – England. The prestigious medical journal Lancet publishes an article about using Ozone as a tuberculosis treatment.

1916 – World War I. Multiple people are injured and in need of treatment. Doctors used ozone because of itsantibacterial properties to help heal wounds and treat infections. At that time, a prestigious Lancet report by Major George Stoker, MRCS was published stating the following: “The accompanying tabulation statement of the results of the first 21 cases treated by ozone at the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital “England” cannot be regarded as anything but satisfactory from every standpoint, be it humanitarian, scientific or economic. The cases were, for the most part, those of cavities and sinuses in the femur and tibia. It is the great experience of those who have seen a great deal of war surgery that such cases obstinately resist treatment and are apt to remain unhealed for months and years… I have failed in only one case… the properties of ozone which have a wonderful healing effect are… an increased flow of blood to the affected part… as a germicide it destroys all hostile micro-organic growth… as the French chemist Hennocque has shown it has great powers in the formation of oxyhaemoglobin… at present our knowledge of the effects of ozone is but small, but later I hope to bring before the medical public further satisfactory facts with reference to its working and results”.

Wait a second, the FDA claims: “Ozone is a toxic gas with no known useful medical application in specific, adjunctive, or preventive therapy. In order for ozone to be effective as a germicide, it must be present in a concentration far greater than that which can be safely tolerated by man and animals.”

Really?

1991 – Canada. The HIV epidemic was raging and no effective treatment was available. Inspired by German reports about ozone autohemotherapy about successful treatment of HIV, the Canadian hospital is given the green light to go ahead with zone autohemotherapy. Unfortunately it was never actually proven effective against HIV. However, it was proven to be safe by multiple European studies. Maybe ozone from Europe is safer than that from America? Does not look like it.

2000 – US. The International Society of Hematology Published the research group report from the Scripps Research Institute, California, USA: “Ozone autohemotherapy has been considered a form of alternative medicine and has not yet been subjected to the rigors of well-designed clinical trials. Despite encouraging anecdotal reports regarding the use of ozone in various disorders, there has been a concern that ozone per se may adversely affect red cell membranes and metabolites. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the effect of ozone administration at a concentration commonly used in autohemotherapy on a panel of red cell enzymes and intermediates, as well as its effect on red cell integrity. Since these parameters were unaffected by ozone, we suggest that clinical trials for the use of ozone autohemotherapy should be encouraged.”. The same conclusions were made by Japanese, Israeli, Polish and Italian studies.

But where are more studies besides Scripps from the US? They do not exist. Maybe they have better equipment in Europe and Japan? Or maybe they are better funded? Or maybe ozone is very cheap and readily available in contrast with pharmaceuticals?

It would appear that there were two groups of experts: pro and contra. The first group thinks, that ozone is a poison and cannot be used as a drug. The second group believes, that ozone can be used as a drug. Like Angiotensin Converting Enzyme blockers — lisinopril, enalapril, captopril, etc. These originally controversial medications were all inspired by snake venom, but now it would be next to impossible for medical practitioners to imagine life without them. Or not have accessibility the blood thinner Coumadin, inspired by rat poison, that is now saving lives.

The war between those two groups became even crueler because of the successful union between ozone therapy and autohemotherapy, which European doctors were using successfully for more than 50 years. The main problem was that nobody wanted to pay money for controlled studies over the gas, which is very cheap and cannot be patented.

May 2005 – Department of Physiology at the University of Siena, Italy. A physiology professor by the name of Dr. Velio Bocci is sitting at his desk. However, the paper he is writing is not about physiology per se. The subject of his paper is ozone therapy because in addition to his work in physiology, Dr. Velio Bocci is the world a recognized expert in it’s uses. He decided “to dispel misconceptions and skepticism regarding ozone therapy and to clarify the biochemical and pharmacological mechanisms of action of ozone…”. According to his review article ozone, given in small doses, does not cause damage by generating free radicals. Instead it stimulates our body’s response, giving us protection against them. Moreover, it stimulates our immune system by cytokines release. Also ozone promotes generation of nitric oxide, which is indispensable for circulation improvement because it opens up our vessels. This is how nitroglycerin or Viagra works. Those facts support that almost no side effects were reported after using ozone autohemotherapy and gives us the scientific basis to explain why it is beneficial for the human body.

As per Professor Velio Bocci, MD ozone autohemotherapy can be beneficial in treating the following:

1. Acute and chronic infectious diseases not responding to conventional treatments such as parasites, herpes, infected wounds, osteomyelitis etc.

2. Living with ischemic diseases that cause poor circulation in the brain or in the heart like coronary artery disease etc.

3. Auto immune diseases like multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid otitis etc.

4. Degenerative disorders like dementia.

5. Certain lung diseases.

6. Chronic fatigue syndrome.

7. Dentistry to treat infectious lesions.

Etc.

Of course Ozone autohemotherapy is not for everyone. It is not a magic pill, but it might be considered when traditional treatments have failed.

DISCLAIMER: Opinions here do not reflect the opinion of American Boards of Medical Professions, FDA or other government agencies. This article is not intended to medically advise individuals and should only be used for informational purposes. In addition, this article is not intended to make any health statements. Please consult your primary physician before making any medical decisions.

The Protea Family (Proteaceae)

The protea family (Proteaceae) includes a wide range of ground covers, trees and shrubs that often make superb garden plants. While some of the species are frost-tender, they are in all other respects remarkably resilient plants that often thrive in situations where others would rapidly succumb. Poor soils and hot dry positions that scarcely seem capable of supporting life are often ideal for Proteaceae. If any plants could be said to thrive on neglect the proteas can.

Proteas (the term is often used collectively as well as for the genus itself) are a variable group. Indeed, the family was named after Proteus, a Greek god capable of changing his shape at will. It includes some 60 genera and 1400 species of Southern Hemisphere plants, the bulk of which are native to southern Africa and Australia with the remainder coming from South America and many of the Pacific islands, including two species (Knightia excelsa and Toronia toru) from New Zealand.

There is an enormous variety of foliage among the proteas. It is almost always evergreen, but may be needle-like, as with many grevilleas; long, narrow and serrated like that of Dryandra formosa; or rounded and leathery like the leaves of Protea cynaroides. Some genera, particularly Leucadendron, include species with brightly coloured foliage, the intensity of which varies with the season. Leucadendron stems retain their colour for weeks when cut and are an important part of the cut flower industry.

Protea flowers are composed of clusters of narrow tubes that are often curved. These ‘spider’ flowers are seen at their simplest in the two native species and some of the grevilleas. In many cases what appears to be the flower is actually a bract of brightly coloured leaves surrounding the true flowers. The most impressive example of this is the dinner plate-sized flower head of Protea cynaroides. The flowering season also varies; many proteas and grevilleas flower in winter, while leucospermums tend to flower in summer. With careful selection it is possible to plants in flower all year round.

The flowers often contain large quantities of nectar that many birds relish. Some species have very sticky flowers that will trap visiting insects, especially bees an this slightly sinister side of the flower appears to serve no particular purpose.

The South African and Australian Proteaceae tend to be at their best in warm, dry conditions and often thrive in coastal areas. Inland, unseasonable early and late frosts often kill all but the hardiest specimens. The South American genera tend to be hardier and prefer somewhat damper conditions. Embothrium in particular, can withstand hard frosts and is grown over most of the country. But where winter temperatures regularly drop to -6°C or lower, most proteas require frost protection.

Cultivation

Other than a suitable climate, the key to success with proteas is establishing the right soil conditions. The protea family is mainly adapted to mineral based soils that drain very quickly and which often have low nutrient levels. These soils tend to be moderately acid and are often especially low in phosphates.

Good drainage is absolutely essential. Rich loams and heavy clays do not make good protea soils. If you have a heavy soil do not try to improve it by adding sand or shingle as this will often make the problem worse; the soil binds with the sand and shingle and sets like concrete. Instead add more humus. Proteas would not appreciate the rapid burst of nutrients from a rich compost so the humus used should be fairly low in nutrients. Natural leaf mould and rotted pine needles work well. To avoid these materials compacting down into a poor draining thatch, incorporate about 50% fine shingle grit by volume and combine the mix with the existing soil.

Most proteaceous plants come from areas with low rainfall or where the rains are strictly seasonal. Many are coastal plants although most of the South African genera include alpine or sub-alpine species. Knightia from New Zealand and Embothrium from Chile are exceptions; they usually occur away from the coast, in areas where rainfall is quite high and not seasonal. Nevertheless, they still demand excellent drainage.

Although proteas are remarkably resilient and not difficult to grow there seems to be some common myths regarding their cultivation. Like most myths these have some basis in fact, but they can be misleading.

Myth 1: feeding proteas will kill them.

That’s not strictly true. Proteas need nutrients just like any other plant, but their are a little more exacting than some. It’s not fertiliser that does the damage but high phosphate levels and intense bursts of nutrients that lead to overly rapid growth. Avoid most general garden fertilisers, fresh animal manures and anything with added superphosphate. Because proteas will tolerate poor soils, it is often easier not to feed them rather than risk damage, but you’ll certainly get better results if you apply a slow release, low phosphate fertiliser in late winter and mid summer. This will keep the plants growing slowly but steadily; any bolting into growth tends to weaken them.

Myth 2: proteas only grow near the coast.

Not true. Many proteaceous plants come from inland areas. They will tolerate salt breezes but there is no general preference for coastal conditions.

Myth 3: proteas like wind.

That’s also not entirely true. Proteaceous plants do not tolerate wet foliage or high humidity for long periods and in areas prone to these conditions extra ventilation will help reduce the incidence of fungal diseases. However, most proteas have brittle branches that snap or split in strong winds so there’s no reason to presume that they prefer windy locations.

Myth 4: proteas need a hot sunny position.

Yes, most Proteaceae prefer full sun or something near to it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the hottest, most baked position you can find. Although they will survive severe conditions once established, extreme heat and drought will cause damage, especially to young plants. Shade from the hottest sun will prolong the flower display and, provided the drainage is good, occasional deep watering is also recommended.

Myth 5: proteas are short-lived.

Some are and some aren’t. Old plants are normally removed long before the end of their natural lives because they tend to become rather woody and untidy. You can generally reckon on a useful lifetime of at least 8 years for Leucadendron and Leucospermum, and around 12 years for Protea. However, large species, such as Grevillea robusta and Banksia integrifolia, may continue to be effective garden plants for several decades.

Planting

Most proteaceous plants are sold in containers and are ready to plant right away. However, the best planting time depends on your climate. Autumn or winter is best in mild areas as this is when moisture requirements are at their lowest, while spring is the preferred time if regular frosts are expected as this allows the young plants to get well established before having to endure winter conditions.

Start by digging a hole at least twice the size of the plant’s container, this large volume of loose soil will encourage good root development.. Additional drainage material can be added to the hole if necessary, otherwise planting is just a matter of removing the plant from its container, loosening any spiralling roots before placing in the hole, then refilling the hole and firming the plant into position. Large specimens will require staking to prevent wind damage.

Cut flower use

Many proteaceous plants make excellent long-lasting cut flowers. Leucadendrons in particular are widely planted solely for the purpose of providing material for floral decorations. Protea, Leucospermum, Banksia and Serruria flowers can all be used to make impressive large arrangements while the less dramatic blooms of Grevillea and Isopogon are better suited to more dainty work.

Some flowers, particularly goblet-shaped Protea flowers dry well although they do tend to disintegrate rather suddenly after a few months. Other genera such as Banksia and Leucadendron produce seed heads or cones that can be used in dried arrangements.

Pruning

Most proteaceous plants need occasional trimming and tidying. This may be to improve their growth habit or to remove old flowers or seed heads that have become dry and unsightly.

How far to cut back is the usual question. This varies with the genera, although as a rule only light pruning is recommended as there is a general reluctance among proteas to reshoot from bare wood. Of the common genera Banksia and Grevillea will withstand hard trimming, as will Leucadendron, Telopea and Mimetes, but pruning of Dryandra, Leucospermum, Serruria, Paranomus and most Protea species should be restricted to a light annual trimming.

The best time to prune is usually immediately after flowering unless you want to leave a few seed heads to mature for use as dried decorations. In areas where there is the possibility of frost damage, it is advisable to leave pruning autumn and winter-flowering plants until spring.

Container Growing

Some proteaceae can make good container plants, but you will have to be careful with your choice of potting mixes and fertilisers. Potting mixes need to be very free draining and often benefit from added coarse material such as shingle chips or pumice. Bark based mixes seem to work well but some growers feel they produce too much ethylene, which may harm the plants in the long run. Many commercial growers use soil based mixes and they generally prefer relatively poor and gritty volcanic soils.

Even plants with low nutrient demands will eventually exhaust their potting mix, so you will have to apply fertiliser occasionally. Use mild liquid fertilisers or special low-phosphate slow release pellets. Provided you are cautious the plants should respond well.

Propagation

Proteas can be frustratingly difficult plants to propagate. Fresh seed often germinates well only for the seedlings to collapse after a few weeks. This is usually due to a fungal disease that blackens the foliage and eventually kills the young seedlings. Regular fungicide applications are important. Prick out the young seedlings into a coarse, free draining, unfertilised potting mix once they have their first true leaves.

Cultivars and selected forms must be propagated vegetatively. The usual method is firm semi-ripe cuttings in late summer and autumn. The success rate varies markedly; some cultivars, such as Leucadendron ‘Safari Sunset’, strike quite easily while many others may be virtually impossible without professional equipment.

Pests and Diseases

Grown under the right conditions proteaceous plants are relatively free of pests and diseases, or rather they’re not attacked by anything out of the ordinary. The most widespread problems are leaf roller caterpillars and scale insects, which can eventually lead to sooty mould.

When growing proteas from seed you will doubtless lose some to the fungal disease mentioned above. This disease, which appears to be a type of damping off, can sometimes also attack more mature plants. It appears to be far worse in excessively wet conditions or after long periods of high humidity. Good ventilation and avoidance of overcrowding are effective preventatives and regular spraying with fungicides may control the problem.

Common genera

Many of these plants are not widely available at garden centres, although specialist growers would consider them to be just the most common genera and are likely to stock others as well. All of the species and genera covered here are evergreen unless otherwise stated.

Aulax

This is a South African genus of small to medium sized shrubs. This genus and Leucadendron are the only dioecious (separate male and female plants) members of the Proteaceae. Seed of all three species, Aulax cancellata, Aulax pallasia and Aulax umbellata, is available but only Aulax cancellata is commonly planted. It grows to 1.5-2m × 1m and has fine needle-like leaves. In spring, female plants produce red edged yellow flowers that develop into red seed cones. The catkin-like male flowers are yellow, as are those of Aulax pallasia and Aulax umbellata, the female flowers of which are not very showy. Aulax pallasia grows to about 3 m and Aulax umbellata about 1.5m. All are hardy to about -5°C and are usually raised from seed.

Banksia

An Australian genus of about 60 species, ranging in size from ground covers to medium-sized trees. The flowering season is primarily from late winter to late spring and most species have cylindrical cone-like flower heads composed of densely packed filamentous styles radiating from a central core. Creamy yellow to light golden-yellow is the predominant colour range, although a few species, such as Banksia ericifolia and Banksia praemorsa, have golden-orange flowers and those of Banksia coccinea are red. Most species have narrow serrated leaves that are mid to deep green above and silvery grey on the undersides but Banksia ericifolia has fine needle-like leaves. Leaf size varies from very small up to the 50cm long leaves of Banksia grandis. Hardiness varies with the species, some are quite frost tender but some will tolerate -10°C.

Relatively few are seen in nurseries but the seed of most species can be obtained from Australia. Banksia ericifolia and Banksia integrifolia are the most widely grown and are also the hardiest of the common species, both withstanding -10°C once well established. There are hardly any cultivars or selected forms of Banksia in cultivation. Species may be raised from seed and most will also strike quite freely from semi-ripe cuttings.

Dryandra

An Australian genus of around 60 species of shrubs ranging in height from about 1-4 m. Most have narrow, mid to deep green leaves that are often very long and narrow with sharply toothed edges. The rounded flower heads, which appear from mid winter, are usually light to bright yellow. The most common species is Dryandra formosa, which grows to about 3m and is hardy to around -5°C once established (most of the other species are less hardy). Dryandras are superb long-lasting cut flowers and some will also dry well. They will grow on extremely poor soil and generally react badly to most fertilisers. Raise from seed or semi-ripe cuttings, which are often difficult to strike.

Embothrium

The Chilean Fire Bush (Embothrium coccineum) is a small tree around 5m × 2.5m. It has 100mm long, leathery, bright green leaves that may become somewhat sparse on older plants. In mid to late spring the tree turns vivid orange-red as the honeysuckle-like tubular flowers open – the flowering season is brief but spectacular. Two forms are grown: ‘Longifolium’ and ‘Lanceolatum’; ‘Longifolium’ is the more common cultivar. It is a vigorous upright plant that is quite drought tolerant and hardy to about -10°C. ‘Lanceolatum’ is a stockier grower with narrow leaves. It demands more moisture but withstands harder frosts, up to -15°C with some protection. However, in very cold winters it may lose up to two thirds of its foliage. Overall Embothrium requires more moisture than most Proteaceae but good drainage is still important. It may be grown from seed but is usually propagated by semi-ripe cuttings.

Grevillea

With some 250 species, this is the largest of the Australian proteaceous genera. Most of the common garden species and cultivars are ground covers to medium-sized shrubs (up to 3m) with needle-like foliage. However, some species are far larger. The silky oak (Grevillea robusta), which is often seen in mild area, can grow to 20m and in common with most of the larger species it has large pinnate leaves. Grevillea banksii has similar foliage but only grows to about 3.5m × 3m.

The more densely foliaged plants, especially Grevillea juniperina and Grevillea rosmarinifolia, are often used as hedging plants. These plants grow to at least 1.5m high.

Grevillea flowers are often describe as ‘spider flowers’. This refers to the styles of some species, which tend to radiate from the centre like a spider’s legs. Some species have ‘toothbrush’ flowers; the styles are all on one side like the bristles of a toothbrush. The best known example of this type of flower is the common red-flowered cultivar ‘Robin Hood’.

Many Grevillea cultivars are cultivated and they generally adapt well to garden conditions. Among the more popular are ‘Jenkinsii’ (a heavy flowering form of the red-flowered Grevillea rosmarinifolia), ‘Robyn Gordon’ (orange-red to red toothbrush flowers) ×gaudichaudii (deep red), ‘Austraflora Canterbury Gold’ (light golden yellow) and many of the Poorinda cultivars. Grevilleas are among the more widely available proteaceous plants and most nurseries stock a good selection.

The species and hybrids vary enormously in hardiness. Some will stand little or no frost but others, such as Grevillea rosmarinifolia, will tolerate frosts of -10°C or lower; all prefer full sun with good drainage. The species are easily raised from seed and most hybrids strike quite freely from semi-ripe cuttings taken in late summer or autumn.

Hakea

This Australian genus includes about 130 species, few of which are widely cultivated. The most common is probably Hakea laurina, the Pincushion Hakea. When not in flower, this species could easily be mistaken for a small eucalyptus. It has bluish-green narrow, oblong to sickle-shaped leaves and reddish-brown bark. It grows to about 6m × 4m and mature trees have a slightly weeping habit. The name pincushion refers to the flowers, which are spherical, with numerous radiating styles. They appear in late autumn and early winter, opening cream and turning to orange and red as they age. This shrub is hardy to about -5°C once well established and is easily grown in most well-drained soils.

Of the other species, the most common are Hakea salicifolia, Hakea prostrata and Hakea sericea. They are hardy to about -8°C or slightly lower and are easily grown in most soils. Hakea salicifolia has narrow, willow-like leaves, spidery, white flowers that are produced in spring. It grows up to 5m high and will tolerate poor drainage. Hakea prostrata and Hakea sericea have fine needle-like leaves and white or pale pink flowers in winter and early spring. It grows to about 3m × 2m. All member of this genus are usually raised from seed but some can be grown from cuttings. A few, such as H. franciscana, are weak growers that often perform better when grafted onto more vigorous stocks, such as Hakea salicifolia.

Isopogon

Drumsticks, which refers to the shape of the flower stems and unopened buds, is a name often used for Isopogon anemonifolius but it can also be applied to the genus as a whole. It is an Australian genus of 34 species of small to medium sized shrubs, most of which grow from 1-2m high and about as wide. They have a preference for poor but well-drained soil and will quickly collapse if over-watered or overfed. Most species have narrow lanceolate leaves about 75mm long and some, such as the common Isopogon anemonifolius, have finely cut foliage reminiscent of Marguerite daisy or Anemone leaves.

The flower heads, which open in spring and early summer, are composed of a central cone from which radiate numerous styles. Some species have short stiff styles but in others they are long and filamentous. The flower colours are mainly white, yellow or pink. The two most widely grown species, Isopogon anemonifolius and Isopogon anethifolius are hardy to about -5°C, but many species, such as Isopogon cuneatus and the temptingly beautiful pink and yellow-flowered Isopogon latifolius, are damaged at temperatures below -2°C. Isopogon species are usually raised from seed.

Knightia

The Rewa Rewa or New Zealand Honeysuckle (Knightia excelsa) is the best known of the two New Zealand proteaceous species. In the wild it can grow to be a tall narrow tree up to 25m high and it is one of the few proteaceous plants to have been harvested for its timber, which is very attractively marked. In gardens it is more restrained and seldom exceeds 8m × 3.5m. Rewa rewa has semi-glossy, deep green to bronze-green, narrow, lanceolate to oblong leaves that are very tough and leathery. In summer it produces tubular honeysuckle-like flowers that develop from buds covered in a reddish brown tomentum. As the flowers open the tomentum covered sepals and the petals curl back to form a congested mass in the centre of the flower head. The flowers, which can smell unpleasant, are followed by conspicuous brown, velvety seed pods. Rewa Rewa is easily grown in moist well-drained soil in sun or partial shade and is hardy to about -5°C or slightly lower once established. It may be grown in any coastal area if protected when young. New Zealand honeysuckle is usually raised from seed and garden centres often stock ready-grown plants.

Leucadendron

Species of this genus are the most widely grown of the South African Proteaceae and many are valued for the long-lasting qualities of their flower bracts once cut. Most are medium-sized shrubs around 1-2.5m high. However, one of the best known species, the silver tree (Leucadendron argenteum), can grow to 10m high and the less widely grown Leucadendron eucalyptifolium may reach 5m.

Many species and cultivars are grown, but probably the most widely planted is ‘Safari Sunset’. It is a hybrid between Leucadendron laureolum and Leucadendron salignum and is fairly typical of the genus. It has narrow, lanceolate leaves that are up to 100mm long. Some species, such as L. argenteum, have tomentose foliage but ‘Safari Sunset’ does not. The upward-facing foliage densely covers the narrow, upright branches and develops deep red tints at the flowering tips. Deep red leaf bracts enclose the flower cones. As the insignificant flowers near maturity, the bracts become intensely coloured. ‘Safari Sunset’ has red bracts but others develop cream, yellow, pink or orange tones. ‘Wilson’s Wonder’ (yellow and orange-red), ‘Maui Sunset’ (cream, yellow and red) and ‘Rewa Gold’ (yellow) are among the most spectacular. Leucadendrons generally develop their best colours from mid to late winter but ‘Jester’ a pink, cream and green variegated sport of ‘Safari Sunset’ is brightly coloured throughout the year.

The species and hybrids vary considerably in hardiness but most will tolerate frosts of at least -3°C provided they have good drainage and the humidity is not excessive. ‘Safari Sunset’ is hardy to about -8°C and most of the numerous Leucadendron salignum and Leucadendron laureolum hybrids are nearly as hardy. In the North Island leucadendrons generally thrive in all but the coldest central areas and they can be grown with varying degrees of success in all coastal areas of the South Island.

Leucadendrons can be tricky to propagate. Reasonably firm cuttings taken in early autumn are usually the easiest to strike but gardeners without specialised propagating facilities may experience problems and although seed germinates well, it is inclined to damp off. Garden centres often stock a good range of plants.

Leucospermum

A South African genus of about 50 species, most of which are medium to large shrubs that grow to about 1.5-3m high. Some, such as Leucospermum reflexum, have strongly upright growth habits but most, including the commonly cultivated species, Leucospermum cordifolium, are dense and bushy. Both of these species have tomentose greyish-green leaves that are usually broadly oval shaped, often with small red-tipped lobes. The leaves of Leucospermum reflexum are narrower and greyer than those of Leucospermum cordifolium. Leucospermum reflexum can grow to 3m × 3m but Leucospermum cordifolium is usually around 1.5m × 1.5m.

The flowers are variously described as Catherine wheels, pincushions and sky rockets, all of which refer to the numerous radiating styles. These are often incurved, creating a cupped effect. The flower heads of Leucospermum cordifolium are quite globular while those of Leucospermum reflexum have drooping styles at the base of the flower. The flowers usually appear in late spring and continue for about two months. They are attractive when fresh but often become unsightly once they die off.

Most garden leucospermums are cultivars of Leucospermum cordifolium and are hardy to occasional frosts of about -5°C, but they resent wet or humid winter conditions, which can often lead to tip die back. Good drainage is also very important. Cuttings taken in early autumn are the most likely to strike but without proper equipment they may prove difficult and seed often germinates well only to be killed by fungal diseases. Gritty well-drained soil, regular fungicide use and just enough water to keep the seedlings standing up are the keys to success. The orange-flowered ‘Harry Chittick’ is the plant most commonly stocked by nurseries and it is one that performs very well.

Mimetes

This South African genus includes 11 species, only one of which is widely grown. Mimetes cucullatus has 40mm long oblong leaves with small lobes at the tips, that densely cover the branches like upward facing scales. The small white flowers are enclosed within leaf bracts that change colour to a bright red as the flower buds mature. Mimetes may flower throughout the year but is usually at its best in late spring when the new growth appears, as this is also red. Mimetes cucullatus grows to about 1.5m × 1.5m and is hardy to around -3°C. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and is not very drought tolerant. This species is usually raised from seed.

Paranomus

The most common species of this 18-species genus, Paranomus reflexus, is an undemanding 1.5m × 1.8m bush with bright yellow bottle-brush-like flower heads in winter and spring. The foliage is anemone-like and very finely cut; the flower stems have small diamond shaped leaves just below the flower heads. It is easily grown in any well-drained soil in full sun. Although the plant is hardy to about -5°C, the flowers are damaged by frosts over -2°C. It is usually raised from seed.

Persoonia

An Australian genus of around 75 species of shrubs, mostly under 2 m tall and some quite small. Known as geebungs, by far the best-known species is the Pine-leaf Geebung (Persoonia pinifolia), an eastern Australian native that is one of the larger species, capable of reaching 3 m tall. It has a weeping habit, fine needle-like leaves and small yellow flowers. Most geebungs will tolerate about 2 to 5°C of frost.

Protea

Protea is a genus of about 80 species that is confined to southern Africa and concentrated around the Cape of Good Hope. The species range in size from less than 50cm high to over 4m. Most commonly grown proteas are small to medium sized shrubs in the 1-2.5m high range.

The best known species is Protea neriifolia. It has narrow leaves up to 150mm long that are covered with a fine tomentum when young. In autumn, winter and spring, upright, 125mm long × 75mm wide goblet-shaped flowers are carried at the tips of the branches. They are composed of a woolly central cone surrounded by overlapping, upward-facing, petal-like, deep reddish-pink bracts tipped with a fringe of black hairs. Many forms with varying colours of bract and tip hairs are grown. Several other species, such as Protea magnifica and Protea laurifolia, have similar flowers.

The central cone, often with many incurving styles, is common to all Protea species but the arrangement of the bracts varies. Many have them arranged in a stellate or star-shaped fashion. The King Protea (Protea cynaroides) is the best known of this type. Its flowers can be up to 300mm in diameter. The flowers of the king protea face upwards but others, such as greenish-yellow-flowered Protea sulphurea, have downward facing flowers.

The foliage is also variable. It may be needle-like, as in Protea nana, lanceolate, oblong or rounded. It can be silvery grey, glaucous or bright green depending on the species and it may or may not be tomentose.

Likewise, hardiness varies considerably. Most species will tolerate at least -3°C with good drainage and low humidity but many are considerably tougher. Protea neriifolia will withstand -5°C and Protea grandiceps will often survive -10°C when well established. Proteas do well over most of the North Island and many species can be grown as far south as Christchurch with a little winter protection.

Protea species are often raised from seed, which germinates well, but the seedlings may be difficult to keep alive. Hybrids and cultivars must be propagated vegetatively. The usual method is firm semi-ripe cuttings taken in late summer and autumn. Specialist growers stock many species and cultivars while garden centres seldom have anything other than the most common plants.

Serruria

Blushing Bride (Serruria florida) is very popular with florists because its Nigella-like papery white bracts are very delicate and last well as cut flowers. The bracts, which are surrounded with finely cut lacy leaves, are produced freely in winter and spring. Blushing Bride can be difficult to grow, because not only is it frost tender (it tolerates only occasional exposure to -2°C), it must also have full sun and absolutely perfect drainage. It is one of a genus of 44 species from South Africa, of which the only other species commonly grown is Serruria rosea. It is a densely foliaged 70cm × 90cm bush with small pink bracts and is slightly hardier and definitely easier to grow than Serruria florida. Serruria species should be raised from seed.

Stenocarpus

The Queensland Firewheel Tree (Stenocarpus sinuata) is a large tree (12m × 8m) that produces a magnificent display of orange to red flowers in summer. It has large, glossy, dark green leaves that are deeply lobed. The flowers are tubular and are carried in flattened clusters that radiate spoke-like from a central hub, hence the name firewheel tree. It is hardy to about -4°C once well established but is very tender when young and does best in moist well-drained soil in full sun. Stenocarpus salignus is a species with long, narrow leaves and cream flowers. It is smaller and hardier than Stenocarpus sinuata. Stenocarpus is usually raised from seed.

Telopea

Natives of Australia, the waratah genus includes just four species. The New South Wales waratah (Telopea speciosissima), which is the one most commonly grown has oblong, finely serrated leaves that are up to 125mm long with small notches or lobes at the tips. It develops into a large shrub or small tree up to 5m × 5m. The flowers, which are produced in spring and carried at the tips of the branches, are impressively large, bright red, and composed of numerous incurving styles surrounded by red foliage bracts. Several cultivars, such as the semi-dwarf ‘Forest Fire’ (2m × 2m) are reasonably commonly available. The ‘Victorian Waratah’ (Telopea oreades) is a similar plant with slightly lighter coloured leaves and flowers. Both of these species and the cultivars are hardy to around -8°C.

Waratahs prefer moist well-drained soil in full sun and once established they require little care. But many die during the initial establishment period. This is possibly due to essential mycorrhiza failing to establish. These minute fungi form a symbiotic relationship with the plants’ roots and are vital in the uptake of nutrients. It has been suggested that taking soil from around an established waratah and putting it around new plants may help lessen these establishment difficulties. Waratahs may be raised from seed or semi-ripe cuttings but they are difficult to raise. Some success has been achieved with tissue culture and this is how some of the new cultivars are produced.

Toronia

The sole species in this genus is the lesser known of the two New Zealand proteaceous species. Formerly listed as Persoonia toru, it is now known as Toronia toru. A small bushy tree that can grow to about 9m × 5m, it is usually far smaller in gardens. The narrow, lanceolate olive green to bronze leaves are about 100mm long but may grow to over 150mm on mature trees in sheltered sites. The buff coloured starry flowers, which appear in late winter and early spring, are carried in racemes and develop from golden brown felted buds. It is easily grown in any moist well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade and is hardy to about -8°C once established. Toronia toru is a relatively unspectacular plant but its flowers are pleasantly honey-scented and it is interesting because it is one of our more unusual natives. This species may be grown from cuttings, but as they are usually difficult to strike, seed is the preferred method.

Black Seed Oil Is a Remedy for Every Disease

Black Seed is medically referred to as Nigella Sativa, the herd grows about 16-24 inches tall. From this will come a little rectangle-shaped Black coloured Seed which is also called the Blessed Seed (Arab: Habbat ul Baraka, or Habbat ul Sauda). The ancient Egyptians recognized and utilized the habba sawda and described it as being a remedy (cure for problems/disease). The Romans as well understood this seed and named it Greek Coriander. Recorded by the Greek doctor from the 1st century, Dioscoredes, being an ailment for overall health problems for example tooth pains, severe headaches and was primarily applied being a health supplement.

Ibn Sina, the writer on the Canon of Medicine, probably the most famous books within the history of medicine writes that Blessed Seeds energizes the metabolic process and assist to cure dispiritedness and lethargy. Ayurvedic treatments understands its many characteristics and stimulant character. It’s used for numerous types of issues like hemorrhoids, hepatitis, fever, diarrhea, cough, tapeworm, and a lot more.

Since 1959 there has been over 200 different scientific tests at universities and laboratories around the globe. In the Cancer Research Laboratory of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA, among the largest experimental studies so far discovered that BlackSeed Oil enhanced the development rate of bone marrow cells with a staggering 250% plus it inhibited the rise tumor/tumor-like cells by 50%. It triggered immune cells and raised interferon production (which protects cells from viruses). They verified the strongly anti-bacterial and anti-mycotic effects understanding that it provides a positive effect in reducing blood sugar levels within the body, that is a vital part of the therapy for diabetes.

Recently released independent scientific studies have established which have been shown to increasing the ratio between helper T-cells and suppressor T-cells with a tremendous amount while also improving the natural killer cell activity. Experiences of doctors in Munich shown that 70% of patients with allergic problems, including pollen and dust allergies, asthma and neuro-dermatitis discovered very good success with the use of blessed seeds.

Black Seed Oil features a stabalising impact on a persons Immune System which fights illnesses which are a product of defective natural defenses. Therefore if the immune system is taken care of, then your total impact on the rest of the body can be felt.

A prophetic Medication as suggested 1400 years back by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). As part of his heavenly wisdom he explained – “Use the habba sawda it’s oil for without a doubt, it’s a remedy for all diseases except death. Sahih Bukari 7:591

Black seed oil consists of One hundred healing elements which work together in a synergetic result. Which means all of them supplement the other along the way of aiding our body’s capability to take care of itself.Numerous studies have discovered that there isn’t an additional herb recognized to work with this type of massive amount healing features.

Habba Sawda continues to be known and used throughout many cultures for more than 2000 years. If you want to know more about this, visit Black Seed Oil and get yours today!

Acid Reflux – Determining the Difference Between Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease and Achalasia

Gastro esophageal reflux disease, more commonly known as GERD, is a form of condition that is caused by a weakened lower esophageal sphincter. This causes the individual to have an acid reflux which is a result of the stomach acids going up the esophagus. Achalasia, on the other hand, is a condition where the nerves responsible for esophageal contractions become inanimate or malfunctions, which causes the sphincter not to relax in a normal manner. GERD, or gastro esophageal reflux disease, can result in a serious condition known as Barrett’s Esophagus, if the disease is not treated accordingly. Barrett’s Esophagus is a precancerous disease, which is why it should be taken seriously. Unlike GERD, Achalasia can lead to the regurgitation of undigested food while lying down or sleeping, if not treated. The regurgitation can be accidentally inhaled into the lungs, which can then cause pneumonia or lung abscess.

When it comes to distinguishing gastro esophageal reflux disease and achalasia, it is essential to learn about their respective symptoms. The symptom that is most likely to be associated with GERD is acid indigestion, more commonly known as heartburn. However, this symptom can sometimes be confusing. Just because you have an acid indigestion, it does not necessarily mean that you have GERD. Heartburn should be accompanied with frequent coughing, sore throat, hoarseness, wheezing, and other possible symptoms before it can be ruled as a gastro esophageal reflux disease. When it comes to achalasia, on the other hand, symptoms may include nighttime coughing, difficulty swallowing, and non-acidic regurgitation. Knowing these symptoms can help you distinguish between the two conditions. Although to accurately confirm whether you have gastro esophageal reflux disease, achalasia, or a garden variety acid indigestion, certain testes can be done to be sure. To confirm GERD, an endoscopic examination can be done. An x-ray of the esophagus while swallowing can confirm achalasia.

An important thing that one must consider is that a typical acid indigestion which is left untreated can cause serious damage to the lower esophageal sphincter and can then lead to gastro esophageal reflux disease. Sometimes GERD, or gastro esophageal reflux disease, as well as the more common acid indigestion can present similar symptoms as achalasia. To be more certain, an endoscopic examination must be performed in order to get the appropriate treatment. Speaking of treatments, the treatment for gastro esophageal reflux disease can vary from altering the individual’s diet, which means avoiding fatty and highly acidic foods and beverages, to antacids and other more potent medications. Treating achalasia, however, will require certain drugs that can help relax the lower esophageal sphincter. Mechanical dilation and botulism toxin injections can be employed as well.

Having accurate knowledge with regards to such conditions can be helpful. However, it should be noted that whenever certain symptoms like esophageal spasms and swallowing difficulties occur, you should never dismiss it as just plain old acid reflux or heartburn. Such symptoms could present an underlying condition that only a doctor or a physician is capable of determining. So when you experience some of the symptoms that you have read in this article, it would still be in your best interest to consult with your doctor.

How to Match Men’s Leather Gloves With Your Clothes

Hands are one of the most important parts of the human body. They are used to perform each and every task daily. Unlike your chest and legs, there aren’t many options for protecting them from unpleasant temperatures and bruises. You can either tuck them in your pockets or cover them with gloves. Gloves are special clothing for hands to protect them from dust, injuries and cold. They are made from a wide range of materials like cotton and silk. However, nothing stands out as prominently as leather.

Men’s leather gloves are more durable and stylish than the rest. Even though they aren’t very expensive, nobody can buy a few pairs of gloves to match them with each and every outfit in their closet. So, it is wiser to select the men’s leather gloves and match them with the right gear. Here are some suggestions you can try:

– Black gloves with dark colored jackets: Black gloves go perfectly with dark colored leather jackets. They can be worn with black, dark brown and dark blue jackets. They will look even better if you are wearing dark colored jackets with black trousers or jeans. This style was popularized in the Hollywood movie “The Matrix” with the main characters wearing full black attire with jet black leather coats, gloves, shirts boots and even sunglasses!

– Finger-less gloves with vests: If you analyze black gloves and black jackets a step further, you will see that finger-less gloves go nicely with vests, while full-fingered gloves look better with full-sleeve jackets. Even though finger-less gloves can be worn with full-sleeve jackets, vests rule this look.

– Winter gloves with coats: As their name suggests, these gloves are made for the cold season. They will look their best with winter coats or trench coats. As coats are heavy clothing, you can’t wear them in summer or even warm spring days. They are mostly worn in fall or winters and combining them with winter gloves keeps you warm and gives a nice look at the same time. Gauntlets can also be worn with coats. These gloves cover a part of the forearm as they have an extended cuff.

– Biker gloves with biker jackets: Even though biker gloves with biker jackets may seem to be an obvious match, many riders don’t consider wearing them together. They look even better if both the jacket and gloves are from the same brand. Popular brands for biker jackets and gloves are Harley-Davidson, Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki.

Wearing matching clothes tells a lot about your personality. The first thing noticed when meeting someone is his/her dressing sense. Some men get their entire outfit from the same brand, while others combine different brands. You have to be smart in selecting leather gloves to match your outfit. Even though gloves are small, they rarely go unnoticed. If you pick the wrong gloves to wear with your attire, they will give a ridiculous look to your entire outfit. So, take some time while choosing men’s leather gloves so that you can get the right pair of gloves to go with most of your clothes.

Could Dust Mites Be Preventing a Good Night’s Sleep?

Tiredness and fatigue is just a part of everyday life for many busy people. Between a busy job and a full family life it doesn’t always seem like there is enough time for sleep. What a lot of people who are feeling tired and run down don’t realize is that it may not be the amount of sleep they are getting that is leaving them tired, it may simply be the quality of sleep that is lacking.

In the average mattress there are anywhere between 100,000 and ten million dust mites. These microscopic insects thrive in the warm and humid conditions of our beds. They breed quickly and multiply to the point where up to half of the weight of your mattress could simply be made up of dust mites and their waste matter. Dust mites themselves are not the threat to quality sleep. Rather, their waste matter is.

The waste matter of dust mites contains a protein that many people are allergic too. It is also known to worsen asthma, eczema and bronchitis in those that suffer these illnesses. The allergic condition caused by dust mites is called perennial allergic rhinitis. It feels a bit like you have a cold all of the time. Symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, head aches and ear aches. Those who are allergic to dust mites will often wake up feeling terrible but by 10 or 11am the symptoms have disappeared. A lot don’t even realize that the dust mite allergy is the cause of the symptoms.

Other than feeling like you have the flu when you wake up every morning, this allergy can cause serious disturbance to sleep. Each night, as we drift deeper into sleep our brain goes through a cycle which includes many different types of sleep. We need to experience these types of sleep to be at our full mental capacity. An allergy can cause a sufferer to wake up ten or twenty times during the night. On most of these occasions they will fall straight back to sleep and not even be aware that they woke up, however the brain never reaches the deepest stages of sleep. The next day, the lack of quality sleep leaves them tired and irritable and unable to be at their best.

Perhaps the worst effect of dust mites is that most people do not even realize that they are being affected. They simply go about their lives trying to treat the symptoms instead of eliminating the cause. By getting rid of these microscopic bugs from your bedroom you could experience a massive increase in sleep quality.

There are many ways to get rid of dust mites. Subjecting your linen to freezing temperatures will kill them an air purifiers can eliminate floating particles. The majority of the dust mites will be found in your mattress and pillows. The most thorough and direct treatment is by having your mattress and pillow cleaned every year. A professional can eliminate dust mites and other bacteria, viruses, germs, and fungi with a chemical free system that utilizes UV-C rays and promises to rid you of dust mites, their eggs and their waste matter.

Hand Reflexology and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Every reflexologist needs to know about the carpal tunnel. It’s important because you’ll have clients that complain about it. Equally important – you want to avoid getting it yourself. And, if you already have it you need to be especially careful.

You’ve heard me over and over again – I say that we reflexologists don’t treat, don’t prescribe and don’t diagnose. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t know what’s going on.

Clients often hope that reflexology will be a magic bullet to their health woes. I can’t say it will be, and I can’t help but smiling too.

Why?

Because, most people will experience a reduction in pain and/or symptoms with Hand Reflexology. That’s true for local issues on the hands – even though they’re not the intended destination.

This is important – let me explain.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is pain or weakness in your forearm and hand caused by pressure on a nerve in your wrist. It is a medical condition in which the median nerve is compressed at the wrist, leading to paresthesias, numbness and muscle weakness in the hand.

The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers (although not the little finger), as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move.

The carpal tunnel – a narrow, rigid passage way of ligament and bones at the base of the hand – houses the median nerve and tendons.

Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome:

Symptoms most often occur in the parts of the hand supplied by the median nerve: the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger.

If your little finger is not affected, this may be a sign that the condition is carpal tunnel syndrome, because the little finger is usually controlled by a different nerve (the ulnar nerve) than the thumb and other fingers.

Symptoms usually start gradually, with frequent burning, tingling, or itching numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers (especially the thumb and the index and middle fingers).

Carpal tunnel syndrome is often the result of a combination of factors that increase pressure on the median nerve and tendons in the carpal tunnel, rather than a problem with the nerve itself.

Some other symptoms are:

o Tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain felt in the fingers or, less commonly, in the palm

o Pain in your forearm, wrist or palm

o More numbness or pain at night than during the day. The pain may be so bad

it wakes you up. You may shake or rub your hand to get relief

o More pain when you use your hand or wrist more

o Trouble gripping objects

o Weakness in your thumb

Fact: Women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, perhaps because the carpal tunnel itself may be smaller in women than in men.

Causes:

The Carpal Tunnel Syndrome causes might be due to work conditions or due to underlying medical problems.

Other causes that could lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are:

o Pregnancy

o Rheumatoid arthritis and other causes of inflammation of the wrist

o Endocrine disorders such as diabetes and hypothyroidism

o Wrist fracture

o Alcoholism

Risk associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

The following are risk factors associated with the development of carpal tunnel syndrome:

o Repetition

o High force

o Awkward joint posture

o Direct pressure

o Vibration, and

o Prolonged constrained posture

o Poor ergonomics

Diagnosis:

If you, or your client has some or all of these symptoms – unless you’re a medical professional you cannot diagnose it.

In fact, when a client tells me they have carpal tunnel syndrome I always ask who made the diagnosis. It makes a difference whether it was a doctor or a specialist – or their aunt Betty or someone at the local gym.

There are a few simple tests that can be done to check general function of the wrist (you’ll learn those in the Hand Reflexology Workshop and more). This will help emphasize the importance for your client to seek the appropriate medical help.

Of course, early diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid permanent damage to the median nerve.

A physical examination of the hands, arms, shoulders, and neck can help determine if the patient’s complaints are related to an underlying disorder or to daily activities.

The wrist is examined for tenderness, swelling, warmth, and discoloration.

Each finger should be tested for sensation, and the muscles at the base of the hand should be examined for strength and signs of atrophy.

Routine laboratory tests and X-rays can reveal diabetes, arthritis, and fractures.

Treatment:

Treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome vary and should begin as early as possible, under a doctor’s direction.

Underlying causes such as diabetes or arthritis should be treated first.

If there is inflammation, applying cool packs can help reduce swelling.

Non-surgical treatments:

There are a couple of homeopathic creams that might help the symptoms:

Brands like Traumeel (a calendula and arnica based ointment) and Topricin (with 11 homeopathic ingredients) have both shown effectiveness and are available in many health food stores.

In special circumstances, various drugs can ease the pain and swelling associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. NSAIDS such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonprescription pain relievers, may ease symptoms that have been present for a short time or have been caused by strenuous activity.

Alternative support therapies – Hand Reflexology, Acupuncture and chiropractic care have benefited some patients.

Exercise – Stretching and strengthening exercises can be helpful in people whose symptoms have abated.

Doctors will sometimes suggest that one wear a wrist splint (can be purchased at most drugstores) to keep the wrist in a neutral position at rest. Splinting is usually tried for a period of 4-6 weeks.

What can Reflexology Do?

As a reflexologist, why would I even care about carpal tunnel syndrome if it’s not my job to fix it?

Remember, if you or anyone you know even thinks they have this problem – it’s very important they get the appropriate medical attention.

And, I’m repeating myself here too – with any illness, stress is always a factor. Rest is important and the stress relief that Hand Reflexology brings is a wonderful component to any health maintenance regime.

If carpal tunnel is acute (meaning it hurts or it’s active now) you won’t want to work on the area directly.

There are a lot of things to know and even more to think about. Be very careful with any nerve impingement.

I’ve learned this from my own experience – nerves do not like to be irritated – because it just make them, well, crankier. Not good.

If you’re trained in Hand Reflexology you know that there are some very specific strategies to support the body in its own healing process.

And, what about the reflexes?

Good point. There are specific reflexes in the area and as a good reflexologist, you need to also be focused on the systems of the body.

Be curious about these reflex area – does the client also have sciatica? Do they have any reproductive or digestive issues?

Inherent in the Hand Reflexology techniques (I can’t say what others teach, usually – not this much), are techniques that will let you work safely to relax the hand.

And, what if you don’t have this specific training? – I suggest that you work the good hand and the opposite foot – or the ears.

The benefits of reflexology can be nothing short of amazing.

And, it’s never been more apparent than in the UK where an British media article from 2004 reports that; “According to a survey conducted on behalf of Yellow Pages…, the number of high street greengrocers has declined by almost 60 per cent in 10 years, while the number of reflexologists is up over 800 per cent.”

I rest my case.

Grow Taller at Any Age With the Correct Nutrition, Sleep and Exercise Plan

Believe it or not, it is possible to grow taller at any age. Recent Harvard University research has found that eating essential amino acids can lead to more growth hormone reproduction in the pituitary gland which ultimately leads to taller height.

There are some exceptional techniques to grow taller naturally without the need for expensive surgeries and magical overnight pills.

Sleep to Grow Taller

You need to lose mattresses and pillows, instead, lay a sheet of cloth and sleep on it. The ground is straight and hard which will straighten and strengthen your bones ten fold. When you wake up, studies have shown from the University of McGill that people who wake up from sleeping on mattresses and pillows are in average 1-2 inches taller for the first 30 minutes. Those same people sleeping on a mattress only and no pillow add up to half an inch more than the previous method. Sleeping on a hard floor with a pillow will add half an inch to an inch and a half. Removing pillow and mattress will help you gain up to 4.4 inches of total height. By sleeping correctly, you can gain an extra non permanent 4.4 inches of height the first 30 minutes from the time you wake from a long night of sleep. These studies were based on a 30 day treatment. After only thirty days you can gain up to 6 or more inches of height from sleeping alone. To keep the gained height from corrected sleep you must exercise and eat properly.

How to Keep Gained Height From Sleep?

Eat and Exercise

One must eat a large amount of vitamins and minerals each day to repair muscle, bone, nerve cells and tissues. Stretching on a hanging bar is the best way to gain more inches to your height permanently, plus those you gain in your sleep.

What Foods Are Good For Height Increase?

Amino Acids

Specifically L-Arginine, L-Orthinine and L-Methionine are the body’s most needed amino acids for growth in all major developmental areas of the human body.

Feeling short and being short is a thing of the past since there are so many techniques to grow taller. Eat meat and eggs as a very good source of amino acids to help you absorb the necessary proteins through this process. Nuts, seeds and milk are also essential in this diet to grow taller, even if they have much less of the nutrients than the meats and fish. Nonetheless, you can find these elements in a store where dietary supplements exist.

Which Other Types Of Activities Can Make You Grow Taller?

Jogging, running, sprinting, swimming, sports and all types of physical activities make your hormonal system work and produce the needed chemicals for growth. Unless you eat the right foods, the producing of growth hormones will avail nothing. The diet is the secret, the right amino acids(building blocks of proteins), and the exercise will deliver the pending elements produced(the growth hormones) to their very needed hosts. During sleep is the ideal time to produce hormones, so eat right, stay fit, sleep tough and stay tuned for the next article on how to grow taller naturally.

What is Botox and What’s the Use

Botox is an injectable substance that is a medical grade form of the botulinum toxin, most often used to soften and relax forehead/scowl lines as well as crows feet around the eye area.

Botulin toxin or botox is the toxic compound produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It is an enzyme that breaks down one of the fusion proteins that allow neurons to release acetylcholine at a neuromuscular junction. By interfering with nerve impulses in this way, it causes paralysis of muscles in botulism. The toxin is a two-chain polypeptide with a 100 kDa heavy chain joined by a disulphide bond to a 50-kD light chain. It is possibly the most toxic substance known, with a lethal do

Botox is most commonly used to smooth out wrinkles but can be used to help in many other cases. It’s been found that botox injections can help children with cerebral palsy from agravating and suffering some other side effects. Muscle tension that often occurs with cerebral palsy has been seen to ameliorate while using botox. A side effect is a dry mouth, but in the case of neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy, where excessive drooling is a problem, this is actually helpful.

It’s been found that BT, the botulinum toxin, injected into the prostate reduces the levels of prostate-specific antigen and the prostatic hyperplasia symptoms while being well tolerated. These results have been observed in a preliminary trial that was placebo controlled. The trial went great with no systemic adverse effects or any complications.

The botulinum toxin type A can be deadly, paralyzing muscles needed for breathing, but only very small doses are given in medical or cosmetic treatments.

Botox works by blocking the signal that nerves are trying to pass to the muscles.

History of the Tummy Tuck

The tummy tuck or abdominoplasty happens to be one of the newer procedures in the history of plastic surgery. The word plastic comes from the Greek word plastikos meaning to mold or shape something, but the history of plastic surgery goes back as far as 4000 years. Well before the time of the Greeks plastic surgery became common place in ancient India before it traveled among the Persians and Arabs to Egypt and then to the Greek and Roman empires respectively. Although the history of plastic surgery goes this far back, the abdominoplasty procedure came about in the late 19th century.

The first tummy tuck procedures were innovated to help with massive umbilical hernias which also involved an extremely large abdominal pannus or skin flap. The skin flap was removed to facilitate repairing of the umbilical hernias. The beneficial effects of the removal of the abdominal pannus to the appearance of the patient quickly caught on as did other forms of body contouring which became quite popular in the 1890s and the early 20th century.

The first tummy tuck was called a dermolipectomy and it was performed in 1890 by doctors Demars and Marx in France. The first abdominoplasty in the United States took place at John’s Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. A gynecologic surgeon named Kelly called the procedure a transverse abdominal lipectomy, but the transverse nature of the incisions followed by the complete removal of the abdominal pannus caused the patient to lose their belly button. By 1905 back in France, doctors Gaudet and Morestin succeeded in the first abdominal lipectomy that preserved the belly button. In 1909, a doctor Weinhold in Germany made use of vertical and horizontal flap incisions to completely avoid removal of the belly button during the tummy tuck procedure.

Following the two world wars of the 20th century, the field of plastic surgery, especially reconstructive, advanced considerably. This advancement also had an effect on the technology available to perform the abdominoplasty. The earlier advent of proper sterilization and anesthesia allowed patients in the 1970s and 1980s to take advantage of advanced cosmetic surgery technology to treat certain conditions such as a massive abdominal pannus resulting from being overweight or having a large pregnancy.

Today, the modern tummy tuck utilizes limited incisions to remove larger C-section scars, tighten the abdominal muscles, remove excess abdominal skin and place the belly button exactly where it should be.

How Scalene Muscle Trigger Points Can Cause Pain Right Down to Your Fingers

Trigger Points are a Pain in the Neck

If you experienced a severe pain in your hand, would it occur to you that the problem was actually in your neck? We all know the phrase ‘a pain in the neck’ but if you have myofascial trigger points in your neck muscles, that’s probably the last place you’re actually going to feel anything.

Because trigger points in the neck muscles refer pain to so many other parts of the body, they are very hard to diagnose, and many people continue to suffer agonizing pain or other symptoms because they can’t find the source of the problem.

The most common muscle group to experience neck triggers is the scalene group, three muscles known as the anterior scalene, middle scalene and posterior scalene. These muscles join the neck bones to the top of the ribcage and trigger points in any of them can cause pain in a variety of locations.

Impact of Triggers in the Neck

The pattern of pain caused by spasms in the scalene muscle group varies greatly from person to person, and can also change from one day to the next for the same person.

Generally pain from scalene triggers will spread down to chest, along the arms and into the hands, into the upper back, and up to the side of the head. Shooting pains in the arms and hands are common, but in the upper body stabbing pains are more likely. Scalene muscle tension can also cause a huge variety of other diverse symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Sinus problems
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Voice changes
  • Hearing issues
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tooth pain

Treating Neck Triggers

Stretching the scalene muscles can be very beneficial, especially for combating headaches, but before stretches are attempted it is a good idea to try to massage out existing trigger points so stretching doesn’t make them worse.

The scalene muscles can be found within a triangular area between the collar bone, the trapezius shoulder muscle and the v-shaped throat muscles. This area should be massaged very gently with the pads of the fingers rather than the tips. Use small circles to find the bands of muscle and ease off if you feel the pulse of the carotid artery or jugular vein.

Massaging this area can feel strange and a little uncomfortable to begin with, and pressing on a trigger point may initially feel hot and sharp. However, with gentle pressure you should eventually feel a warn ache spread throughout your arm, shoulder and head, showing that the massage is having an effect.

Once you’ve deactivated the triggers within the scalene muscles through massage, a daily stretch can be very effective at relieving symptoms. The best stretch for the scalene muscles is very simple:

  1. In a standing position clasp your hands behind your back.
  2. Lower your left shoulder and tilt your head to the right.
  3. Roll your head backwards until you feel a stretch in the scalene muscles.
  4. Hold for ten to fifteen seconds and repeat on the other side.

Preventing Neck Trigger Points

One of the main causes of myofascial points in the scalene muscle group is poor posture, especially sitting incorrectly at a desk all day. Continually tilting the head upwards or downwards, twisting to the side, or slumping the shoulders forward can all place excessive stress on the scalene muscles which contribute to trigger points.

These tips on correct posture at your desk should help to reduce pain caused by neck tension:

  • Make sure your computer screen is at the right height so you don’t need to look up or down. If you are using a laptop make sure you have a docking station or a separate monitor.
  • Make sure your computer screen is directly in front of you so you don’t have to twist your neck to see it and you can keep your head in a neutral position.
  • Use a lower back support which will automatically pull your shoulders back and prevent you slumping forward over your desk.
  • Alter the height of your seat so your feet are flat on the floor, or use a foot stool. If your feet are too far from the floor you will lean forward to compensate, throwing your upper body out of line and increasing pressure on your neck.

Pain and other problems caused by triggers in the scalene muscles can be very hard to diagnose because the one place that doesn’t seem to be affected is the neck. However, gentle massage of the scalene area and regular stretching, combined with great posture can work together to limit the impact of trigger points in the neck.