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Black Seed - Key to Asthma Control?

Black Seed - Key to Asthma Control?

I have suffered from asthma in the past, and it is no surprise since asthma runs in my family. I developed asthma as an adult and was diagnosed during my first year at Graduate School about 18 years ago.

I know I am not alone, for the Global Asthma Report from 2018 stated that 339 million people are affected by asthma globally.

Asthma is caused by inflammation in our airways and respiratory system that causes one or a combination of symptoms including wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and coughing, all of which work together to limit airflow into our body (Global Asthma Network, 2018).

I am blessed that I no longer suffer from asthma.  I healed it through natural means, including the use of aromatherapy, other natural remedies, and lifestyle changes.

However, I didn’t realize that black seed is something I could have used as well.  Evidence shows that black seed or Nigella sativa provides great benefits for asthma sufferers.

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The Little-Known Power of Dynamic Phytotherapy

The Little-Known Power of Dynamic Phytotherapy

I first learned about Dynamic Phytotherapy (DP) when I was attending the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS).  I could take a few elective courses as part of my Master’s in Complementary Alternative Medicine.  I signed up for the course on DP because I was interested in Herbal Studies and anything relating to plant therapy or Phytotherapy.  This class was about Phytotherapy of the Dynamic kind, which I found particularly intriguing.

It turns out that there is not a lot of information available on DP, apart from what ACHS provides. They are not well known outside of New Zealand, where the approach was developed, and perhaps Australia.  They are gaining popularity in the United States and the United Kingdom, but are still not commonly found.  And, DP remedies were originally known as Homeobotanical (Hb) remedies, which complicates matters even more.

But these remedies deserve more attention, and I am going to share with you some of what I know.

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How a Great Herb Got a Bad Rap: Benefits of Comfrey

How a Great Herb Got a Bad Rap: Benefits of Comfrey

The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of people around the world use herbal medicine (Null & Gale, 2018).  In fact, most of us turn to herbal options before opting for conventional drugs.

Despite these trends, herbal and alternative healing options are quickly reported when someone has an adverse effect.  Comfrey, Symphytum officinale, is one of these herbs, despite its great benefits to our health.

The name comfrey comes from the Latin word “confirma,” which means to heal or to unite.  It can be used as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, demulcent, emollient, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, and tonic (Petersen, 2014).

It also can cause harm when it is over-consumed or over-used and should thus be used with caution. Believe it or not, this is the case with most things we consume.  Take alcohol for example.  It is readily available, but if we over-consume it, it can have dire negative consequences on our health.  That is why proper use is cautioned for alcohol and other such substances.

Natural medicines are not given the same treatment.  In fact, natural medicines are often vilified to make us wary of them and to instead lead us to commercially available medical options.  This is what has happened with comfrey.

Please read this article in its entirety to make sure you understand the full effects of using comfrey.

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More Reasons to Stop Consuming GMOs

More Reasons to Stop Consuming GMOs

Earlier this summer, Monsanto was ordered to pay over $250 million in damages to a groundskeeper who developed terminal cancer. He used Roundup weed killer an estimated 30 times a year, and the defense team was able to prove that his cancer was not just linked to its use but could have also been prevented if Monsanto had proper warnings on the product label (Robbins, 2018).

Why does this matter and what does it have to do with consuming GMOs?  One of the main reasons GMOs or genetically modified organisms have been created in agriculture is for them to be resistant to Roundup type products.

Roundup is sprayed over crops to prevent weeds, insects, and other pests and diseases to develop in the crop.  But, they are so effective they can also kill the crop. Crops from GMO seeds are able to withstand the onslaught from Roundup.

The problem is that we then consume produce and food that is laden with Roundup and other pesticides.  The journal Environmental Sciences Europe predicted that 1.8 million tons of chemicals similar to Roundup were used in 1974 compared to 9.8 million in 2016 (Main, 2016). This chemical is named glyphosate.

Glyphosate is sprayed on 89% of corn and 94% of soybeans grown in the United States (Robbins, 2018).  It is so prevalent in our food, that in a recent test conducted by the Environmental Working Group, the chemical was found in 31 out of 45 breakfast cereals (Robbins, 2018).

One of the most effective ways to avoid consuming glyphosate is to avoid consuming GMOs.  Here I list the most important foods to avoid.

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4 Worthwhile Books on Wellness

4 Worthwhile Books on Wellness

A couple of weeks ago I provided a list of five books that could transform you.  Those books were about self-development.

This time I have decided to give you a list of four books on wellness that are worth your while.

Each book provides a plan or insight to improve health and wellbeing, and although each book presents different approaches, there are similarities.  They all involve some type of shift to habits and practices that involve more care- care for our health, ourselves, our communities, our tribe, our planet or other.

Read all four books on this list and take the parts that resonate from each.  Or go through my descriptions below and select the healing approach that you most identify with.

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Essential Oils for PMS Relief

Essential Oils for PMS Relief

PMS or premenstrual syndrome encompasses a group of symptoms that affect women in the days prior to and up to the beginning of their menstrual flow.  It can affect women starting on their menarche or first menstrual flow in adolescence, and symptoms can continue until menopause.  Although, typically PMS affects women between their 20s and 40s more significantly.

PMS affects women differently, and some have more distinct or severe symptoms than others. Symptoms include emotional distress, mood changes, depression, aggression, anxiety, stress, and mental state alteration, among others.  Physical symptoms of PMS include fatigue, bloating, cramps, breast tenderness, fluid retention, and headaches.

I have successfully used essential oils (EOs) to treat PMS, including some of the EOs listed here, such as lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, and clary sage, Salvia sclarea, although many other EOs can also provide relief of PMS symptoms.

Patience is key to any alternative form of healing.  Alternative healing, including aromatherapy, works to support the body by allowing the body to correct itself, and this requires time and patience.  But, if you’re willing to try, some of these EOs can significantly relieve PMS.

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Beyond Recycling: 5 Other Eco-Efforts We Can Practice

Beyond Recycling: 5 Other Eco-Efforts We Can Practice

The effects of global warming are clear.  There are an increasing number of forest fires, deadly flooding, and extreme weather temperatures and conditions.  These natural disasters and weather patterns have inspired me to take a more conscious look at my ecological efforts.

If you are like me, you probably already have some practices that help conserver our environment. Most of us already have a practice of recycling plastic, glass, paper, and cardboard; we carry our own cloth bags when we shop instead of using plastic bags from supermarkets and grocery stores; we have stopped buying plastic water bottles and carry our own refillable water containers; and we have stopped using to-go containers at coffee and tea shops and use our own re-usable to-go containers.

I wanted to see what else we could do and looked into other practices that allow us to make more of an impact.  Here are five.

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Practical Uses for Turmeric

Practical Uses for Turmeric

The benefits of turmeric are commonly touted, which is why we find them in lattes, teas, soups, spice blends, and supplements.

I use it readily in cooking- I add it to broths, stews, soups, lentils, curries, and on grilled or roasted vegetables.

Turmeric is a root that looks much like ginger but has thinner branches.  In fact, it comes from the same family as ginger and cardamom- the Zingiberaceae family.

Turmeric can be used fresh or as a dried spice.  It reduces inflammation, provides anti-oxidants effects, boosts the immune system, and can provide great support for those undergoing cancer treatments. I wrote an article about turmeric a few years ago, where I described some of the clinical evidence supporting the benefits of turmeric.

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5 Books That Can Transform You

5 Books That Can Transform You

I read.  A lot.  I’ve done it since I was a child, and I have continued this habit as an adult. I read all types of books including fiction, non-fiction, historical, reference, self-development, and spiritual.

Books offer an escape, a diversion, a learning tool, and a transformational vehicle.  I often encounter books that change my perspective and open my eyes in unexpected ways.

The books I have included in this list have done just that.  They may be classified under the self-development or self-help category, but they are not what you expect.  Some offer profanity, humor, and even cynicism, and others offer spirituality, but they all provide the possibility for transformation.

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3 Essential Oils That Aid High Blood Pressure

3 Essential Oils That Aid High Blood Pressure

Hypertension or high blood pressure (HBP) is a chronic condition in which blood pressure is elevated above its normal range of 120 mm Hg of systolic pressure or above 80 mm Hg of diastolic pressure.

HBP is often asymptomatic and requires blood pressure readings in order to be identified.  However, it can cause nose bleeding, headaches, a red or flushed face, dizziness, fatigue, nervousness, insomnia, blurred vision, fluid retention, and shortness of breath (Marieb & Hoehn, 2013).

 

Treatment for HBP involves lifestyle changes, although other types of support, such as the use of aromatherapy, can be beneficial.  Here are 3 essential oils that can aid with HBP.

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