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Clean Up Your Cleaning Products – Top 8 Nontoxic Cleaners You Can Use at Home

By Dr. Joseph Mercola

non toxic cleaning products

With household cleaner use being as dangerous for your lung health as long-term smoking, clearing out your cleaning cabinet could be a really simple way of safeguarding your family’s health. It’s true, research1 from the University of Bergen in Norway has demonstrated that once-weekly use of cleaning products for 20 years may be equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes a day for 10 to 20 years.

The authors postulate the damage could be attributed to the irritation most chemicals cause on the mucous membranes lining your lungs. Over time, this can result in persistent changes and airway remodeling. As noted by senior author Cecilie Svanes, Ph.D., professor at the University of Bergen Center for International Health:2

“[W]hen you think of inhaling small particles from cleaning agents that are meant for cleaning the floor and not your lungs, maybe it is not so surprising …

The take-home message of this study is that in the long run cleaning chemicals very likely cause rather substantial damage to your lungs. These chemicals are usually unnecessary; microfiber cloths and water are more than enough for most purposes.”

Household cleaning agents and personal care products are also the second and third most frequent cause for calls to poison control in the U.S., beating out both antipsychotics and antidepressants.3

Household Products Create as Much Air Pollution as Cars

Other recent research4 confirmed that many consumer products release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as they evaporate, and once these chemicals migrate outside your home, they react with nitrogen oxides and heat, transforming into ozone. When exposed to sunlight, the VOCs transform into fine particulate matter.

In this way, common household products contribute to air pollution, not just inside the home but also outdoors. In fact, according to an air quality evaluation in the Los Angeles area, the amount of VOCs released by consumer products is two to three times greater than previously estimated.5,6

While the list of VOCs is exceedingly long, study team member Jessica Gilman, a research chemist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), notes that the easiest way to identify VOC-containing products is to look for the word “fragrances” on the label, as up to 2,000 different VOCs can be listed simply as “fragrance.”7

Two popular ones are limonene and beta-Pinene, frequently used in cleaning products and air fresheners as they smell like lemon and pine trees. The investigation was inspired by earlier measurements in Los Angeles demonstrating concentrations of VOCs were higher than could be predicted by burning fossil-fuels alone.8

Previous estimates by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had found 75 percent of VOC emissions were from vehicles, but this study places the split closer to 50 percent, suggesting new air quality models may have to be adopted in order to reduce air pollution originating from consumer products.9

These findings also highlight the importance of addressing your indoor air quality, as VOCs are typically seven times higher indoors than outdoors.10 For a list of strategies you can use to lower and remediate indoor air pollution, see “Reduce Indoor Air Pollution.” A key strategy, however, is to stop introducing toxic chemicals into your home, and cleaning products are a major source.

Exposure to Cleaning Agents Has Both Acute and Long-Term Health Ramifications

While exposure to cleaning products in the long term may be equivalent to smoking, you may also suffer more immediate health consequences. A 2015 study11 evaluating exposure to cleaning products against short-term respiratory effects in women with asthma found the use of specific products at work exacerbated the participants’ condition. Long-term or chronic exposure to household cleaners and disinfectants has also been linked to:

  • Nervous system damage14
  • Low sperm count15
  • Irregularities in menstruation16
  • Miscarriage17
  • An increase in asthmatic symptoms, increasing your risk of long-term effects associated with asthma, including chronic obstructive pulmonary diseaselung infections and scarred lung tissue.12 Individuals who suffer from diseases that fall under the umbrella of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may also experience frequent wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and increasing breathlessness13

The most acutely dangerous cleaning products are corrosive drain cleaners, acidic toilet bowl cleaners and oven cleaners.18 Corrosive chemicals can cause severe burns, while chlorine bleach and ammonia-containing products produce fumes that are irritating to your eyes, throat and lungs.

Additionally, chlorine and ammonia pose a further threat as they react with other chemicals to form damaging gases. Fragrances added to many cleaning solutions can also trigger headaches and migraines.19

Mixing Cleaning Products Can Have Lethal Effects

Your cleaning products may also have lethal effects if you mix them together. For instance, mixing bleach with an ammonia-based product produces a toxic gas called chloramines, exposure to which may trigger chest pain, wheezing, shortness of breath and pneumonia.20

Ammonia is commonly found in glass and window cleaners or interior and exterior paints, making bleach a poor choice for cleanup after painting.21 Combining bleach with an acid-based cleaner produces chlorine gas, which when combined with water will make hydrochloric and hypochlorous acids.22

Even low levels of exposure for a short time will result in eye, nose and throat irritation. Higher-level exposure will result in chest pain, vomiting, breathing difficulty and chemical-induced pneumonia. Vinegar is a mild acid, and mixing bleach with this common household liquid can result in chemical burns of your eyes and lungs.23 Other acid-based products include drain cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner and automatic dishwasher detergents.24

Bleach will also react with oven cleaners, hydrogen peroxide and some insecticides to produce toxic gas. Mixing bleach with products that contain isopropyl alcohol, such as rubbing alcohol, can produce gasses that have the potential to damage your nervous system, eyes, lungs, kidneys and liver.25

Ultimately, mixing any two commercial cleaners or drain cleaners together is a dangerous proposition, and the hazard inherent in the use of these cleaners is significant enough without the additional risks associated with mixing unknown chemicals.

8 Nontoxic Household Cleaning Products You Can Use at Home

One of the primary reasons for cleaning your home regularly is to clear out many of the toxic chemicals accumulating in your dust. Flame-retardant chemicals and phthalates are among them, along with thousands of species of bacteria and fungi.26

A clean and decluttered home is a sanctuary from the outside world, but if you use rubber gloves and spray harsh chemicals to get the job done, you’re likely doing more harm than good. Research shows even products labeled green, natural and organic emit hazardous air pollutants.27

The good news is you really don’t need to buy chemical cleansers to keep your home spick-and-span. Keeping a few natural and nontoxic staples on hand will allow you to clean your home from top to bottom, saving you money to boot. Core staples to consider include the following. In the sections that follow, I’ll provide guidance on how to use them all.

  1. Baking soda
  2. White vinegar
  3. Lemons (both juice and peel)
  4. Castile soap
  5. Coconut oil
  6. Essential oils (citrus essential oil being a good overall choice)
  7. Hydrogen peroxide
  8. Rubbing alcohol or vodka

Baking Soda and White Vinegar — Two Powerful Multi-Use Cleaning Agents

In preparation for the Statue of Liberty’s 100th anniversary in 1986, 99 years’ worth of coal tar had to be removed from its inner copper walls, without causing damage. Baking soda — more than 100 tons — was the cleaner of choice,28 so there’s a good chance it can remove dirt and grime around your home too. Here are a few examples of how it can be used:

  • Nonscratch scrub for metals and porcelain.
  • Nontoxic oven cleaner — Sprinkle 1 cup or more of baking soda over the bottom of the oven, then cover the baking soda with enough water to make a thick paste. Let the mixture set overnight. The next morning, the grease will be easy to wipe off. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge and wash the remaining residue from the oven.
  • Drain cleaner — To unclog a drain, pour one-half to 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, then slowly pour one-half to 1 cup of vinegar in after it. Cover the drain and let sit for 15 minutes. If it bubbles like a volcano, it means it’s working as planned. Flush with a gallon of boiling water.
  • Carpet deodorizer — Liberally sprinkle baking soda over the carpet. Wait at least 15 minutes, then vacuum thoroughly.

Distilled white vinegar is another cleaning staple that has a long history of use. Depending on your age, you may recall your grandmother washing windows with a mixture of white vinegar and water. Indeed, it makes for a great window cleaner, but it also has disinfectant properties, with research showing white vinegar is useful for disinfection against Escherichia coli (E. coli), provided it’s a freshly prepared solution of at least 50 percent vinegar.29

For disinfecting purposes, one study found spraying vinegar, followed by hydrogen peroxide, was effective for killing a variety of bacteria, including E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella.30 You can also spray white vinegar onto a dusting of baking soda to clean your tubs and tile floors.

A vinegar and water mixture makes a great all-purpose countertop cleaner as well, but for stone counters, use rubbing alcohol or vodka with water instead, as the acidity of the vinegar may harm surfaces such as marble and granite. For heavier-duty cleaning, like mildew on your bathroom grout, spray vinegar straight onto the area, let set for 30 minutes, then scrub with a sponge and warm water.

15 Ways to Clean With Lemons

Lemons, both the juice and peel, can be used throughout your home for cleaning and deodorizing. For example, you can use them to clean and freshen your:

Garbage disposal — Freeze lemon slices and vinegar in ice cube trays. Place a few frozen cubes down your disposal for cleaning and freshening. Alternatively, simply run some lemon peel through your disposal.
Refrigerator — Soak a sponge in lemon juice and let it set in your fridge for a few hours; it works better than baking soda to remove odors.
Room freshener — Simmer a pot of water with lemon peels, cloves and cinnamon sticks on your stove.
Humidifier — Add lemon juice to the water in your humidifier, then let the machine run for deodorizing.
Fireplace — Dried citrus peels can act as kindling in your fireplace, adding a wonderful smell and acting as a flame starter. Simply set the peels out to dry for a few days before using.
Trash cans — A few lemon peels added to your garbage can will help with odors.
Cutting boards — Sprinkle coarse salt on your cutting board then rub with a cut lemon to freshen and remove grease. This trick also works for wooden salad bowls and rolling pins.
Coffee maker — Run a cycle with plain water, then add a mixture of lemon juice and water to the water tank. Let it sit for several minutes, then run the cycle through. Repeat this process once more, then run another plain water cycle (you’ll want to wash the coffee pot and filter afterward to remove any lemon taste).
Furniture polish — Combine lemon oil, lemon juice and olive or jojoba oil to make a homemade furniture polish. Simply buff with a cloth.
Hardwood floors — Combine lemon and vinegar for a grime-fighting nontoxic floor cleaner.
Cat box — Place lemon slices in a bowl near your cat box to help freshen the air.
Windows — Lemon juice cuts through grease and grime on windows and glass. Try combining it with one-fourth cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 cups of warm water31 for a phenomenal window cleaner.
All-purpose cleaner — Combine water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and lemon essential oil for a wonderful kitchen or bathroom cleaner.
Hands — Add lemon juice while washing your hands with soap to help remove stubborn odors like garlic.
Breath — Drinking lemon water helps freshen your breath (rinse your mouth with plain water afterward since lemon juice may erode your teeth).

All-Natural Antibacterial Cleaning Suggestions Using Castile Soap, Hydrogen Peroxide and Coconut Oil

Castile soap is natural, biodegradable, chemical-free and incredibly versatile. You can use it for personal care, laundry and cleaning around your home. For instance, mixing baking soda with a small amount of liquid castile soap makes an excellent paste for cleaning your tub and shower.

For a homemade antibacterial solution, mix 2 cups of water with 3 tablespoons of castile soap and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil. Spray onto the surface (such as toilet seat or sink), then wipe off. You can even make a homemade dishwasher detergent by mixing equal parts of liquid castile soap and water.

Hydrogen peroxide is another antibacterial option. For general cleaning around the house, simply add 20 to 30 drops of citrus essential oil to a spritzer bottle filled with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Spray surface and wipe off. It’s great on greasy surfaces such as your kitchen counters.

Coconut oil also has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal compounds that have been shown to inactivate microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast and fungi. Around the home, coconut oil is particularly useful for cleaning, sanitizing and conditioning wood items, such as cutting boards and furniture, but you can also use it for lubricating squeaky hinges and sticky mechanisms instead of WD-40.

It also works well for moisturizing and softening leather goods in lieu of leather conditioners and for removing chewing gum from virtually any area, including carpets and hair.

Essential Oils Have Countless Uses

Essential oils deserve a category of their own, as their uses for household cleaning are only limited by your imagination. Many essential oils have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity and can be added as a boost to your homemade cleaners.

For instance, to make a homemade cleaning scrub with antibacterial activity, simply add a few drops of lavender oil to baking soda. Some of the most popular essential oils for cleaning include lemon, peppermint and tea tree, with tea tree showing antiviral activity against viruses like influenza A.32Sweet orange is another option, which has been shown to work against E. coli and Salmonella.33

Essential oils can also be diffused around your home for a natural, therapeutic air freshener. Ditch the toxic sprays, candles and plug-ins for an essential oil diffuser instead. They not only smell wonderful but can have beneficial effects on your mood and stress levels.

Unlike synthetic fragrances, which pollute your air, essential oils may actually help to improve indoor air quality. In the case of fungi and mold, for instance, essential oils from heartwood, marjoram, cinnamon, lemon basil, caraway, bay tree, fir, peppermint, pine, cedar leaf and manuka may be helpful, as they all have antifungal properties.34

In addition, you can easily freshen your laundry without risking your family’s health simply by spritzing your wet laundry with a mix of water and a few drops of essential oil before placing it in the dryer. Alternatively, add a dozen or so drops to an old wool sock, and put it in the dryer with your laundry. For more information on the properties of individual essential oils, be sure to check out our “Ultimate Guide to Herbal Oils.”

Homemade Laundry Detergent and Bleach Alternative

Once you dip your toe into the world of natural cleaning, you’ll realize there’s virtually no reason to resort to toxic chemical sprays and powders. You can reach a superior level of clean using simple ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now. And feel free to be creative, as some of the best combinations are found through experimentation.

You can even make your own laundry detergent, adding in any essential oils you like for a natural scent. Here’s a recipe from Mommypotamus to get you started.35 Happy natural cleaning!

Homemade Natural Laundry Detergent

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups washing soda
  • 3 bars coconut oil soap (4.5 to 5 ounces each)
  • Lemon essential oil (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Cut soap into small chunks. Add to a food processor along with the washing soda.
  2. Blend until you have a fine powder. You may want to lay a dish towel over the top of your food processor to prevent a fine mist of powder from floating into the air.
  3. Also, let it settle a bit before opening the container or the powder will float onto your kitchen counter.
  4. Pour the powder into a clean container. Keep the essential oil next to the jar and add 5 drops with each load.

For whites, consider this recipe for a bleach alternative, courtesy of Beyond Toxics.36

Bleach Alternative Formula

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Basic Liquid Formula (see below)
  • 1/4 cup borax
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or vinegar
  • 6 drops lemon essential oil

Basic Liquid Formula

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups liquid castile soap
  • 1 tablespoon glycerin
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 10 to 15 drops lemon essential oil (or other essential oil of your choice)

Instructions:

  1. This recipe makes enough for one load of laundry. Keep lemon juice separate until ready to use. Combine all ingredients into a plastic container, and shake once or twice before adding to the wash.
Sources and References:

13 Reasons to Replace Dangerous Oils With Healthy Fats

healthy fats

While partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are now recognized as harmful due to their trans fat content, and are being largely eliminated, trans fat-free vegetable oils still pose worrisome health problems. In contrast, black seed oil has at least 20 different beneficial pharmacological actions.

Dietary fats are a crucial component of a healthy diet, but the devil’s in the details, and the type of fats you choose can make a world of difference. While the notion that saturated fats cause heart disease is a fallacy, some fats do cause cardiovascular problems and need to be avoided.

Replacing dangerous oils with healthy fats is one simple way to boost your health and reduce your risk of chronic disease. Here, I’ll review some of the key points to remember when adding more fat into your diet.

Trans Fat — A Hidden Culprit in Heart Disease for Decades

Before 1900, American housewives used lard and butter for cooking. It wasn’t until 1911 that our diets experienced a dramatic change with the introduction of trans fat in the form of Crisco, the first hydrogenated vegetable oil product to hit the market.

Hydrogenated vegetable oils and margarine quickly became the backbone of the food industry. In my new book “Superfuel: Ketogenic Keys to Unlock the Secrets of Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Great Health,” cowritten with James DiNicolantonio, Pharm.D, we take a deep dive into this topic. In fact, our book reveals how the consumption of soybean oil has increased over a thousand percent from 1909 to 1999.

Trans fats became a staple dietary fat with the introduction of processed foods, and could be found in everything from cookies and crackers to french fries and frozen food. Unfortunately, it would take more than a century for the truth about trans fat to be fully recognized.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) didn’t remove partially hydrogenated oils from the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) list until 2015,1 based on evidence suggesting their removal could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year.

In reality, research by Fred Kummerow, dating back to 1957, showed that trans fat interferes with the basic functioning of cellular membranes. Even small amounts of manufactured trans fat have been shown to have adverse effects on your heart, insulin sensitivity and neurological system.

Processed Vegetable Oils Do More Harm Than Good

In response to research and public opinion, many restaurants have since turned from partially hydrogenated oils to 100 percent vegetable oil. However, while these oils do not have trans fats, they’re just as bad, if not worse. There are three significant reasons for this:

  1. When heated, vegetable oils degrade to extremely toxic oxidation products, including cyclic aldehydes,2 which have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases and certain types of cancer. In her book, Teicholz cites research showing that aldehydes cause toxic shock in animals through gastric damage
  2. Vegetable oils are a concentrated source of omega-6 linoleic acid, which has led to a severe imbalance between the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in most people’s diets
  3. Many of the vegetable oils produced today — especially corn and soy — are products of genetic engineering (GE) and a significant source of glyphosate exposure, and glyphosate has also been linked to gut damage and other health problems

In addition, processed vegetable oils (polyunsaturated fat) harm health by:

4. Creating high amounts of oxidation products when used in cooking (as they are very susceptible to heat), including aldehydes, which are what cause oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) associated with heart disease. Aldehydes also crosslink tau protein and create neurofibrillary tangles, thereby contributing to the development of neurodegenerative diseases.
5. Damaging the endothelium (the cells lining your blood vessels) and causing an increase in penetration of LDL and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles into the subendothelium. In other words, these oils get integrated in your cell and mitochondrial membranes, and once these membranes are impaired, it sets the stage for all sorts of health problems.
6. Damaging your mitochondria and DNA by making your cell membranes more permeable, allowing things to enter that shouldn’t.
7. Making the cell membrane less fluid, which impacts hormone transporters in the cell membrane and slows your metabolic rate.
8. Inhibiting cardiolipin, an important component of the inner membrane of your mitochondria that needs to be saturated in DHA in order for it to function properly.Cardiolipin can be likened to a cellular alarm system that triggers apoptosis (cell death) by signaling caspase-3 when something goes wrong with the cell. If the cardiolipin is not saturated with DHA, it cannot signal caspase-3, and hence apoptosis does not occur. As a result, dysfunctional cells are allowed to continue to grow, which can turn into a cancerous cell.
9. Inhibiting the removal of senescent cells, i.e., aged, damaged or crippled cells that have lost the ability to reproduce and produce inflammatory cytokines that rapidly accelerate disease and aging.
10. Stripping your liver of glutathione (which produces antioxidant enzymes), thereby lowering your antioxidant defenses.3
11. Inhibiting delta-6 desaturase (delta-6), an enzyme involved in the conversion of short-chained omega-3s to longer chained omega-3s in your liver.4
12. Exposing you to toxic 4-hydroxynonenal (4HNE), which forms during the processing of most vegetable oils, even if the oil is obtained from organic crops. 4HNE is highly toxic, especially to your gut bacteria, and consumption of 4HNE has been correlated with having an obesogenic balance of gut flora. It also causes DNA damage and instigates free radical cascades that damage your mitochondrial membranes.5
13. Exposing you to glyphosate residues, as most vegetable oils are made with genetically engineered crops. Glyphosate has been shown to disrupt the tight junctions in your gut and increase penetration of foreign invaders, especially heated proteins, which can cause allergies.

Address Your Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio to Protect Your Health

Marine-based omega-3 is one of the most important fats in the human diet, as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are actually key structural elements of cells, including your brain cells, and not just simple fuel. If you don’t have enough DHA and EPA, your body’s ability to repair and maintain healthy cell structures is seriously impaired.

Unfortunately, in the past 100 years, our omega-6 intake has nearly tripled while our intake of omega-3 has decreased 10fold, and this imbalance has also likely played a significant role in our skyrocketing disease rates. Eating too much damaged omega-6 fat — found in abundance in processed vegetable oils — and too little animal-based omega-3 sets the stage for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, depression and Alzheimer’s, just to name a few.

Now, omega-6 fat in and of itself is not the problem. The problem is that most people get far too much of it, and insufficient amounts of omega-3, and that most of the omega-6 people eat has been damaged and oxidized through processing. Evidence implicating excessive consumption of omega-6-rich vegetable oils as a direct cause of heart disease include but is not limited to:6

The amount of linoleic acid in adipose tissue and platelets is positively associated with coronary artery disease, and studies7 measuring changes in linoleic acid concentrations in adipose tissue in Americans show concentrations increased from 9.1 percent in 1959 to 21.5 percent in 2008. This increase also paralleled increases in the prevalence of obesity, diabetes and asthma.Conversely, the long-chained omega-3s docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) have been shown to protect against coronary artery disease, which is why maintaining a healthy balance between omega-3 and omega-6 is so important.
Patients with atherosclerosis have higher amounts of linoleic acid oxidation products in their plasma, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and atherosclerotic plaques.
Oxidation of linoleic acid begins before any clinical signs of atherosclerosis become apparent.
When the endothelium (the interior lining of your blood vessels) is exposed to linoleic acid, LDL transfer across the endothelium is increased and this is an essential step in the atherosclerotic process.
Low linoleic acid diets reduce LDL oxidation.
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials in humans showed that when saturated fat and trans fat are replaced with omega-6 PUFAs, all-cause mortality, ischemic heart disease mortality and cardiovascular mortality increase.
Oxidation products of linoleic acid are found in infarcted tissue.
The linoleic acid metabolite 9-HODE is a strong promoter of inflammation, and may be both a marker for and inducer of atherosclerosis.

How to Balance Your Omega Fat Ratios

Ideally, you want to maintain a ratio somewhere in the range of (4-2)-to-1 of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. This, however, is nearly impossible if you’re regularly eating processed foods or restaurant fare, as these are loaded with omega-6 from industrial vegetable oils like corn oil and canola oil.

While you do need omega-6, it should be in its unprocessed form, not industrial vegetable oils. Good sources are whole, raw plant seeds and tree nuts. In summary, to correct your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, you typically need to do two things:

1. Significantly decrease intake of damaged omega-6 by avoiding processed foods and foods cooked in vegetable oil at high temperatures. A number of studies8,9 have found that people who regularly eat deep-fried foods have a significantly increased risk of stroke and death.

Common sources of harmful omega-6 to avoid include corn oil, canola oil, soy oil, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, margarine and shortening.

2. Increase your intake of marine-based omega-3 fats. Ideal sources include small fatty fish such as sardines, anchovies and herring, along with wild-caught Alaskan salmon, or a supplement such as krill oil.

Healthiest Fats for Cooking

Getting back to cooking oils, if vegetable oils are “out,” what should you use to cook with? Healthy alternatives include:

• Coconut oil — This is what I believe is the best cooking oil. It has a number of valuable health benefits, including a positive effect on your heart and antimicrobial properties. It’s also a great source of energy, thanks to its medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). When consumed, the MCFAs are digested and converted by your liver into energy that you can immediately use. Coconut oil also helps stimulate your metabolism to encourage a healthy weight profile.

 Olive oil — This oil contains healthy fatty acids that can help lower your risk of heart disease. While the standard recommendation has been to avoid using olive oil for cooking and to only use it cold, recent research10 in which 10 popular cooking oils were compared, contradicts this advice, showing extra-virgin olive oil actually scored best for both oxidative stability and lack of harmful compounds produced when heated.

• Grass fed butter — Raw, organic butter made from healthy grass fed cows’ milk contains many valuable nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E and K2. Furthermore, it contains various minerals and antioxidants that support good health.

• Organic ghee, which has been used for cooking for thousands of years, is another good choice.

A word of caution is warranted, however. Fake olive oil abounds, so it’s important to take the time to investigate your sources. Tests reveal anywhere from 60 to 90 percent of the olive oils sold in American grocery stores and restaurants are adulterated with cheap vegetable oils or nonhuman-grade olive oils, which are harmful to health in a number of ways.11

For tips on how to assess the quality of your olive oil, see the short video below. For more information, see “Is Your Olive Oil Fake?” where I cover this topic in-depth.

Peanut oil and sesame oil are two other healthy options. While both are high in omega-6, peanut oil is high in antioxidants, and sesame oil has been shown to benefit diabetics. The caveat with these two oils is that you need to consume them unheated and in moderation, so as not to throw off your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.

Black Seed Oil — The Forgotten Gem

Black seed (Nigella Sativa) oil is another exceptional fat with a long history of use in traditional systems of medicine, including Ayurveda and Siddha. The most abundant active plant chemical in black seed is thymoquinone; other bioactive compounds include ?-hederin, alkaloids, flavonoids, antioxidants and fatty acids.

As for its antioxidant activity, black cumin seed has been found to be far more potent than vitamin C.12In modern times, researchers have confirmed Nigella Sativa may be helpful for:

Type 2 diabetes — In one study, Nigella sativa improved glucose tolerance as efficiently as metformin.13 It’s also been shown to improve the performance of antidiabetic medication14
Reducing asthma symptoms — In one study,15 thymoquinone was found to be instrumental, by reducing two inflammatory mediators of asthma and other inflammatory processes.

Another study16 found black cumin seed also acts as a relaxant, and displays both anticholinergic (reducing spasms in smooth muscle) and antihistaminic (blocking allergic reactions) effects. Here, thymoquinone was found to be superiorto the asthma drug fluticasone (a synthetic glucocorticoid)

Enhancing memory and reducing stress — The results showed black cumin seed inhibited stress-induced biochemical changes in a dose-dependent manner. Memory and cognition was also dose-dependent17
Reducing damage caused by cadmium poisoning18 — May also serve as prophylactic against chemical warfare agents
Protecting against and attenuating aflatoxicosis19
Alleviating symptoms of allergic rhinitis20
Candidiasis21
Rheumatoid arthritis22
Cancer23,24,25

Black seed oil has at least 20 different pharmacological actions, which helps explain how it can be useful for so many different and varying ailments, including:26

Antidiabetic Anti-cancer
Immunomodulatory Analgesic (pain relief)
Antimicrobial Anti-inflammatory
Spasmolytic Bronchodilator27
Hepatoprotective Renal protective
Gastroprotective Antioxidant

How to Use Black Seed Oil

Black seed oil is a highly undervalued and oft-forgotten kitchen staple. When used in cooking, it imparts a warm, slightly bitter flavor that tastes something like a blend of thyme, oregano and nutmeg.

A mixture of black seed oil, honey and garlic also makes for a powerful tonic that can help soothe coughs and boost immunity, especially during cold and flu season or if you feel like you’re coming down with an infection.28

Like all seeds, black seed oil is high in polyunsaturated fats. So, when taken in excess, it could make your mitochondrial membranes more susceptible to oxidation.

For this reason, I suggest limiting your daily intake to 1 to 2 tablespoons or less. A simple way to get a small amount of black seed oil into your diet on a regular basis is to use it in your homemade dressing. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Mix apple cider vinegar, black seed oil, fresh lemon juice, cilantro and tahini. Experiment with the ratios to enhance the flavor you enjoy the most
  • A simple and yummy dressing that goes particularly well with broccoli, asparagus or salad greens includes: 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, one-half teaspoon minced garlic, a dash of ground black pepper and a few fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Alternatively, you can use apple cider vinegar and/or black seed oil as substitutes for other oils and vinegars in whatever dressing recipe you’re already using. Keep in mind that the black seed oil does have a spicy kick to it, so substituting the full amount may make it too spicy. Start by adding just a small amount, and experiment to find the ratio of vinegar, olive oil and black seed oil you enjoy

Optimize Your Health by Selecting the Right Fats

The list below, obtained from Dr. Cate Shanahan, author of “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food,” summarizes some of the best and worst fats found in our modern diet. Replacing the bad fats in your diet with ones from the “good” list is a simple way to safeguard your health without making any radical changes.

To learn more about the ins and outs of dietary fats, pick up a copy of my latest book, “Superfuel: Ketogenic Keys to Unlock the Secrets of Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Great Health,” cowritten with James DiNicolantonio, Pharm.D., which gives more in-depth specifics on how to discriminate between healthy and harmful dietary fats.

Recommended articles by Dr. Joseph Mercola:

About the author:

Born and raised in the inner city of Chicago, IL, Dr. Joseph Mercola is an osteopathic physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Mercola served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for five years, and in 2012 was granted fellowship status by the American College of Nutrition (ACN).

While in practice in the late 80s, Dr. Mercola realized the drugs he was prescribing to chronically ill patients were not working. By the early 90s, he began exploring the world of natural medicine, and soon changed the way he practiced medicine.

In 1997 Dr. Mercola founded Mercola.com, which is now routinely among the top 10 health sites on the internet. His passion is to transform the traditional medical paradigm in the United States. “The existing medical establishment is responsible for killing and permanently injuring millions of Americans… You want practical health solutions without the hype, and that’s what I offer.”

Visit Mercola.com for more information, or read Dr. Mercola’s full bio and resumé here.

Originally posted: https://wakeup-world.com/2019/01/18/13-reasons-to-replace-dangerous-oils-with-healthy-fats/

7 Ways to Cancer-Proof Your Home

cancer-proofWhen it comes to cancer, you probably want to do what you can to avoid it. But how do you do that when it seems like everything around you poses a cancer risk?

Here are seven important steps to removing the most pressing cancer risks from your home. They include checking for and removing: radon, nonstick-coated pots and pans, makeup and personal care products with toxic ingredients, BPA-lined cans and bottles, cleaning products and air fresheners, toxic building materials, furnishings and household cleaning supplies, as well as common pesticides and weed killers.

1. Check Your Home for Radon

Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that is formed from the natural breakdown of uranium in the earth. Though you can’t see it or smell it, radon can enter your home through cracks in your foundation, well water, building materials and other sources, where it can contaminate the air you breathe.

Because radon is radioactive, it’s also carcinogenic; radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, second only to smoking.

Any home, whether new or old, with a basement or without, well-insulated or drafty, can have a radon problem; the EPA estimates that nearly 1 out of every 15 homes has elevated levels. Radon is measured in “picocuries per liter of air,” or “pCi/L.” Outdoor air generally has radon levels of about 0.4 pCi/L, whereas the average radon level indoors is estimated to be about 1.3 pCi/L. While the U.S. Congress has set a long-term goal stating that indoor radon levels should be no higher than outdoor levels, the EPA recommends taking action only if your home’s levels exceed 4 pCi/L.

This does not necessarily mean that 4 pCi/L is “safe,” however, as there really is NO safe level for radiation. Even the EPA admits that lower levels can still pose a health risk, and you may want to take precautions to further reduce the amount of radon in your indoor space even if it’s at or below 4 pCi/L.

Radon Testing and Remediation

Fortunately, testing your home for radon is simple, and if levels are elevated there are ways to reduce them to protect your health. There are a number of resources for test kits:

  • If you’d like a certified technician to measure the radon levels in your home or other indoor environment, you can contact the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists.1 Testing costs from $100 to $300.
  • You can also obtain information on certified technicians and do-it-yourself testing from the EPA.2 State and regional information can be found there.
  • The National Radon Program Services at Kansas State University offers discounted test kits available to purchase online.3
  • Other do-it-yourself test kits for radon run between $20 and $30 and can be purchased online and at your local hardware store.

If your home has elevated radon levels, it’s important to find a qualified radon service professional to fix your home immediately. Some U.S. states maintain lists of contractors that have met certain qualifications for radon mitigation; your state radon coordinator will have this information.4 There are also two privately run national radon programs that can help you find a qualified radon service professional:

  • The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA)5
  • The National Radon Safety Board (NRSB)6

Finally, Kansas State University maintains national radon hotlines:

  • National Radon Hotline: Purchase radon test kits by phone.
    1-800-SOS-RADON (767-7236)
  • National Radon Helpline: Get live help for your radon questions.
    1-800-55RADON (557-2366)
  • National Radon Fix-It Line: For general information on fixing or reducing the radon level in your home.
    (800) 644-6999

The cost of radon reduction measures depends on the size and design of your home and the specific methods needed. Costs range from $800 to $2,500, with an average cost of $1,200. Radon reduction systems may be able to reduce your home’s radon levels by 99 percent. There are a variety of ways to reduce radon levels in your home, including:

  • Sealing cracks in floors and walls
  • Increasing ventilation through sub-slab depressurization with pipes and fans
  • Removing granite countertops if they are emitting high levels of radon
  • Replacing ionization smoke detectors with the photoelectric type

READ the rest of this article 

Author: Dr. Mercola

Black Seed Oil: Why This Ancient Remedy Has Stood the Test of Time

By Dr. Joseph Mercola

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

The use of medicinal plants to help treat various diseases is a practice that’s as old as mankind. For example, the Egyptian medical book known as the Ebers Papyrus, written in 1550 B.C., details the use of 700 different plant species for therapeutic purposes. Mentioned plants include pomegranate, garlic, willow, coriander, juniper and onion. During the seventh century, Slavic people used cucumber, nettle and yarrow to help fight against various insect bites.1

Another example that has stood the test of time is black seed, which comes from the Nigella sativa (N. sativa) plant. In Indian Ayurveda and Unani traditional medicine, black seed figures greatly in their practice. For Muslims, black seed is known as the “Habbatul barakah” or the blessed seed. In fact, it is believed that the prophet Mohammed considered it to be a “remedy for all diseases except death.”2 One of black seed’s most popular applications is as an herbal oil.

There is sometimes some confusion between the terms “black cumin,” “cumin,” and “black seed,” and there are instances when these are used interchangeably. But these are different plants. What makes it even more confusing is that black seed oil is sometimes called “black cumin seed oil.” But “black cumin” actually refers to Bunium bulbocastanum, and is not same as black seed or the N. sativa plant. To help you understand the difference between these terms, read my article “Cumin Versus Black Cumin — What’s the Difference?

Potential Benefits of Black Seed Oil

Plenty of research has been conducted regarding the potential benefit of black seed oil. Here are some of the most notable ones:

Helps fight fungal infections:

In a study published in the International Journal of Health Sciences, researchers studied the cytoprotective effect of black seed oil in male rats.

Results show that the group of rats treated with the oil showed reduced effects of AFB1 (aflatoxin-B1), a toxin produced by the Aspergillus flavus group of fungi.3, 4

Helps manage diabetes:

In a study published from Universiti Teknologi MARA in Malaysia, researchers tested the ability of black seed oil to manage diabetes in rats.

They discovered that upon administration of the oil, all immunological parameters (serum glucose, Pan T- and B-lymphocytes and innate cell marker) were reduced while simultaneously increasing serum insulin levels.5

Controls inflammation:

Black seed oil contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help manage certain conditions, an observation exhibited in a study published in the American Journal of Otolaryngology. Researchers noted that the oil was able to reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis in test subjects.6

Helps reduce cancer risk:

Various studies have been conducted regarding the potential anticancer benefits of black seed oil. Researchers have found that it may be helpful against these cancers:7

  • Colon
  • Pancreatic
  • Fibrosarcoma

Regular black seeds may also be helpful in preventing certain cancers. Studies have found that they may help reduce your risk of the following cancers:8

  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Breast
  • Blood
  • Cervical

Promotes healthy blood pressure:

N. sativa seeds have been traditionally used for helping relieve hypertension, and this hypothesis was tested out in a study published in Phytotherapy Research.

In a double-blind, randomized experiment, results showed that test subjects who were treated with black seed oil showed a decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to those who only took placebos.9

Helps ease skin infections:

Research has shown that N. sativa seeds contain strong antibacterial properties that may help fight Staphylococcus aureus, a common bacteria that can cause a variety of topical infections.10

Historical and Culinary Uses of Black Seed Oil

The N. sativa plant has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. According to the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, its seeds and the oil were historically used to treat various disorders pertaining to the following areas:11

  • Respiratory system
  • Digestive tract
  • Kidney function
  • Liver health
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Immune system

Culinary uses of black seed oil include drizzling over salads and adding to juices or shakes. It can be taken on its own by consuming a teaspoon of it. When used for eating, remember that you should not cook the oil because heat may damage the valuable compounds.12

Black seed oil can be diffused to help with asthma attacks. A study published in the Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal notes that black seeds contain anti-inflammatory properties that show promising results against asthma inflammation.13

The Composition of Black Seed Oil

Scientists have been able to isolate the various active compounds that make up black seed oil. Chief among them include:14

  • Thymoquinone (30 to 48 percent)
  • Thymohydroquinone
  • Dithymoquinone
  • P-cymene (7 to 15 percent)
  • Carvacrol (6 to 12 percent)
  • 4-terpineol (2 to 7 percent)
  • T-anethol (1 to 4 percent)
  • Sesquiterpene longifolene (1 to 8 percent)
  • alpha-Pinene
  • Thymol

According to published in vitro tests, thymoquinone (often shortened to TQ) is considered a potent antioxidant. A study in Drug and Chemical Toxicology notes that TQ may be helpful in eliminating superoxide anions.15 Another study indicates that alpha-hederin, a pentacyclic triterpene saponin, has been reported to have strong potential in fighting tumor growth.16 Black seeds are also rich in various unsaturated fatty acids, including:17

  • Linoleic acid (50 to 60 percent)
  • Oleic acid (20 percent)
  • Eicosadienoic acid (3 percent)
  • Dihomolinoleic acid (10 percent)

How to Make Black Seed Oil at Home

Making homemade black seed oil is a great way of obtaining the benefits while avoiding the problems that come with commercially made oils. This also means that your stock is always fresh, since you can always make the oil whenever the need arises. The only things you need are an oil press machine and organic black seeds. Once you have both, follow this procedure:18

Procedure:

1. Clean and dry the black seeds to ensure that you get a pure oil.

2. Clean the oil press machine thoroughly to prevent contaminants from getting into the final product.

3. Place the oil bottle in the receptacle, as well as a container to catch the waste from the seeds.

4. Heat up the machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then place the seeds into the funnel.

5. Turn on the machine, then allow it to extract the oil from the seeds.

6. Continue the process until your container is full.

7. Leave the oil to sit in a warm, dry place then allow the remnants to settle at the bottom of the bottle.

How Does Black Seed Oil Work?

Black seed oil contains different fatty acids, nutrients and active compounds that work together to benefit your health. Several studies have looked into how black seeds oil work and discovered that TQ plays a crucial role in its health benefits.

In one example published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, TQ was tested against 11 human pathogenic bacteria strains. Researchers were able to observe that TQ exhibited significant antibacterial activity, especially against Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923.19 In another study, TQ has been found to be effective in fighting against fungi, most notably Candida albicans strain.20

Other studies have examined the cancer-fighting abilities of TQ. Researchers found that it induced a growth inhibition and apoptosis in human osteosarcoma cells,21 as well as cytotoxicity in human cervical squamous carcinoma cells.22

Potential Side Effects of Black Seed Oil

While black seed oil may potentially benefit your health, it is not without its own side effects. A study published in Phytotherapy Research notes that topical application caused contact dermatitis in two persons. However, no adverse effects have been reported regarding internal use.23 Pregnant women may consume real black seeds as part of a healthy diet, but high doses for therapeutic applications are generally not recommended, as it may slow down or stop the uterus from contracting. Likewise, breastfeeding mothers are advised to avoid black seed oil, as there’s not much information about its effects on you and your child’s health.24

Go Ahead and Give Black Seed Oil a Try

Based on published studies, as well as thousands of years of history, it’s safe to say that black seed oil may potentially benefit your health in various ways. If you want to try it, remember that it should not be heated or you will risk damaging the beneficial compounds.

Black seed oil can be purchased online. However, what’s more important is to thoroughly review the product you’re buying and make sure it’s made from high-quality ingredients by a reputable company. Furthermore, try making your own black seed oil at home to ensure freshness at all times if you have the resources to do so.

Sources and References:

How to Boost Brain Health and Reverse Neurological Disease Without Drugs

By Dr. Joseph Mercola

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

The less inflammatory your diet is, the faster you’re going to get well, because inflammation is nearly always a contributor to neurological dysfunction.

Your brain is a really important part of your body. I’m sure no one would disagree with that. In this interview, Dr. Lee Cowden, cofounder of the Academy of Comprehensive Integrative Medicine (ACIM), discusses some really simple and inexpensive strategies that boost brain health and support neuroregeneration. This is also the topic of this year’s ACIM conference, which will be held in Orlando, Florida, in November.

The Academy of Comprehensive Integrative Medicine was founded in 2008 with the vision of educating integrative practitioners around the globe, for the most part online. “Many practitioners are so busy that they can never take the time to go to all of the meetings they need to go to, to learn what they need to learn,” Cowden says, “so we decided to start putting educational courses online.”

ACIM Offers Training Programs for Laypeople and Health Care Professionals Alike

In 2014, ACIM began offering a 300-hour online integrative medicine fellowship training program. Workshops are held in Dallas every few months to allow practitioners to get hands-on training. This year, there are hands-on conferences July 19 through 21, and September 20 through 22. Those are all preludes to the main conference in Orlando November 8 through 11.

 

“Everything we’re doing this year is focused on the brain [and] neuroregeneration,” Cowden says. “With integrative medicine, we look at the causation, and see if we can resolve the causation of the illness. Once the cause goes away, usually the illness goes away.”

If you’re a health care professional, I strongly encourage you to attend the November conference and get involved with ACIM. But you don’t have to be a health care professional to benefit from ACIM. Even laypeople can study with ACIM. The academy offers a core wellness coach program that includes 70 hours of training. “I think every integrative practitioner needs to have half a dozen or more wellness coaches working with them to hold the hands of the patients until they get well,” Cowden says.

ACIM Conference 2018: Neuroregeneration

The November conference will focus on strategies that can help regenerate all types of neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’sautismmultiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and other less severe conditions such as the neurological effects of fibromyalgia, and less common conditions such as reflex sympathetic dystrophy and peripheral neuropathy.

“We also are going to focus on what can be done to help people who are given no hope, who have chronic psychiatric conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, neurosis, insomnia and other conditions. We’re going to cover the gamut in the conference in November.

The tendency of the American public is to look for a magic bullet. But, really, for neurological diseases, I haven’t found a magic bullet. There’s a lot of very important pieces. I call those the foundational pieces: Diet, removing electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from the patient’s surroundings, physical activity, as well as brain games. There are a lot of other emotional issues that impact chronic neurological conditions that we need to address as well.”

Quenching Inflammation is a Key Fundamental Step

In regard to diet, the less inflammatory it is, the faster you’re going to get well, because inflammation is nearly always a contributor to neurological dysfunction. The most inflammatory of all foods is probably sugar, followed by damaged, oxidized omega-6 oils, trans fats and processed vegetable oils. These all need to be strictly avoided. In addition to an anti-inflammatory diet, nutritional and herbal supplements can offer targeted support.

“Eating a ketogenic diet with clean fats and oils, doing some [intermittent] fasting throughout the week and getting rid of the inflammation-creating things — sugars, omega-6 oils, peanut products that have high arachidonic acid and so on … can make a great start in getting a patient’s neurological condition improved,” Cowden says.

“In 1988, I had a colleague who had a father in a nursing home in Louisiana who had advanced Alzheimer’s. He was a full-care case. In the morning, the nurses would have to get him out of bed, dress him and feed him. He was always pooping and peeing in his pants. He couldn’t remember the names of the nurses, the family members or anybody. My colleague said, ‘Can you give me some ideas of things that will help my father?’

I said, the problem is that it’s going to take a lot of intervention, and getting that at a nursing home is not likely to happen. He said, ‘I’m pretty sure it will happen, because the head nurse of the nursing home has a mother, just like my dad, with severe dementia. She wants to see if what I try on my dad works, so that she can try it on her mom.’

I recommended a regimen: Dietary changes, supplemental nutrients and proteolytic enzymes 30 minutes before food, magnesium, vitamin D3, tocotrienols, tocopherols, bacopa monieri, other herbs, homeopathics and some things to get the metals out … chlorella … dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) and so on. I said, ‘You need to get your dad out of bed and walk him every day. Get the nurses to do this. Get them to play brain games with him.’

He called me back about four months later. He said, ‘I’ve got to give you an update on this … My dad now gets out of bed, dresses himself, feeds himself, does not poop or pee in his pants anymore. He walks around with the nurses and helps them take care of the other patients in the nursing home. Then he sits down and plays cards with the nurses, and sometimes wins.’ That’s a big shift in just four months’ time, [and] we’ve had lots of other cases like that with dementia.”

Can You Reverse Autism?

Cowden has also seen near-magical improvements in children with autism. A remarkable case is that of a young man named Bryan. Cowden first met Bryan’s dad when Bryan was just 7 years old. He had neither speech nor socialization skills.

His dad was a restaurant owner who went back to school to become a naturopathic doctor in a desperate attempt to help his son after all of his allopathic doctors told him there was no hope for Bryan — he’d never graduate high school, go to college, hold a job, get married or have children of his own.

Cowden worked with Bryan’s father, and not only did Bryan start speaking within a year or two, he graduated high school at 18, played football in college on a scholarship and got B’s in school. After college, he became a massage therapist; fell in love, married and had two children. He is now helping autistic children and adult patients with neurological disease to recover. I’ve met Bryan, and this story is all the more remarkable by the fact that he’s one of the healthiest people I have ever met.

There is a very objective heart rate variability test that measures the fitness of your autonomic nervous system and a variety of other variables called HeartQuest. Bryan scored virtually a perfect score on this test. From being an autistic child at age 7 to someone who’s one of the healthiest people around is a rather dramatic example showing that if you apply these principles, they really can work.

“After his dad helped him get to the point where he was able to do a lot of things for himself, Bryan became highly motivated to eat a clean diet, to do a physical activity, to drink enough water, to get enough sleep and so on,” Cowden notes. “He lives right.”

A Simple Stress Reduction Technique That Pays Dividends

The beauty of integrative medicine is that there are literally hundreds if not thousands of tools available, and sometimes the simplest, least expensive ones are among the most effective. One fundamental aspect of good health is stress reduction. A stress reduction technique I learned from Cowden that has helped me decrease my sleep latency, allowing me to fall asleep really quickly when done before bed, is performed as follows:

  • Place your left index finger and thumb together, then grasp a hold of these two fingers with your right hand (see video demonstration starting around 29:55). It’s important to use your left fingers, as the left side of your body entrains the right side of your body rather quickly, whereas the right side entrains the left very slowly.
  • Place your hands on your lap and breathe deeply in through your nose. Hold your breath for one second before breathing out through your mouth. Keep breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth while visualizing yourself in the most relaxing place you have ever been. Be sure to include sound, taste, touch and smell in your visualization and not just the visual component. Really remember that place with all of your senses.

Doing this for four to five minutes before each meal will help improve your digestion and absorption of nutrients, boost your immune function and relax your body. Done before bedtime, it’ll improve how fast you fall asleep, how deeply you fall asleep, and the amount of healing your body can get while asleep as it boosts your immune function. For very little time, energy and effort, at no cost, you can get a lot of improvement. Cowden explains the rationale for these specific finger holds:

“On the index finger, on the middle-finger finger side, the dorsal surface, is the energy pathway for your nervous system. On the palm-side surface of the index finger is the energy pathway for your neurotransmitter system. On the thumb, on the outer aspect, is the pathway for your lymphatic system. Everybody who is chronically stressed has a stressed-out nervous system, stressed-out neurotransmitters and a clogged lymphatic system.

When you hold [your left index finger and thumb] with your right hand, you’re taking the excess energy that’s usually in these other pathways and dissipating that into the pathways that run on the palm surface of your right hand. If there are areas or pathways that are deficient in energy, then energy comes out of the pathways in your right hand and goes into the pathways in your left hand.

The principle is balancing the energy pathways. The Chinese have said for 3,000 years that disease develops whenever energy stagnates. If you stagnate energy, then you’re going to have all kinds of problems, including maldigestion and insomnia … This helps, probably more than anything I’ve found, to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

The sympathetic is what causes the fight-or-flight. The parasympathetic, which is to balance out the sympathetic, is responsible for digestion, relaxation, sleep and the calming parts of our nervous system. So many people have almost exclusively, sympathetic and almost no parasympathetic function.”

5-HTP Boosts Melatonin and Helps Optimize Sleep

Another gem I learned from Cowden during a visit to my home was the use of 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). My deep sleep measured at zero minutes, despite spending time at the beach daily to expose myself to bright sunshine and using blackout drapes to sleep in the dark. I also turned off the electricity to my bedroom. I thought that’s all you needed to optimize melatonin. It turns out that’s not the case when you get older. Cowden explains:

“Tryptophan, which you find in turkey and pumpkin seeds, gets converted to 5-HTP. 5-HTP is converted to 5-hydroxytryptamine, also called serotonin. 5-hydroxytryptamine finally gets converted into melatonin. However, as we age, toxins pile up in the enzymes [responsible for these conversions] and prevent those enzymes from performing the work they need to do.

You have, over time, lower and lower levels of 5-HTP, serotonin and melatonin, even though you’re doing everything else right. So, yes, we have to continually detoxify, and also, sometimes, support those enzyme systems by what we call excessive precursor supply. You boost the building blocks to make the final product.

Melatonin is not very well absorbed out the gut. Some people take melatonin, but some people have kind of a paradoxical response from that. But if they take 5-HTP, they can actually make as much 5-hydroxytryptamine as they need to fairly easily, and then they have the serotonin and melatonin.”

Low Serotonin Will Impede Melatonin Production

Once I began taking 100 milligrams of 5-HTP about 20 minutes before bed, my deep sleep rapidly increased to about 30 minutes a night. Since then I’ve also painted my bedroom with grounded shielding paint that provides an ultra-low EMF environment. Turning off the electricity wasn’t enough, as assessed by measuring the electric field’s influence on my body voltage. Hopefully that’ll improve my deep sleep further.

Many are aware that serotonin is important for mood, but if you don’t have enough of it, you can’t make melatonin either, and melatonin is the most important antioxidant nutrient in the brain. As noted by Cowden, melatonin is far more important than the oral antioxidants you may take. It’s even more important than glutathione and superoxide dismutase, because it’s fat-soluble.

Melatonin provides the best protection for your neurons against free radical damage, and you need a healthy release of melatonin through the night to calm and heal your brain. The enzyme that converts 5-HTP to serotonin requires vitamin B6 as a cofactor, so if you’re taking 5-HTP and not seeing results, that means you probably need to take some coenzymated B6 (pyridoxal 5′-phosphate) sublingually to get enough of the active form of B6 to enable the conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin.

The Many Benefits of Magnesium

Another supplement that is helpful for sleep is magnesium. Cowden prefers magnesium malate, which is what I use, but you can also use magnesium threonate. There are literally dozens of different types of magnesium supplements. Magnesium threonate has the added benefit of providing some antiretroviral activity, and retroviruses tend to be a challenge inherent with many neurodegenerative diseases. Threonate is also a neurotransmitter, in addition to being an amino acid.

To avoid creating an imbalance, it’s wise to alternate between different forms of magnesium. Cowden prefers magnesium malate because malic acid is a Krebs citric acid cycle intermediate and actually helps generate more ATP energy. If you’re deficient in malic acid inside the cell and you take a magnesium malate, the malic acid is drawn into the interior of the mitochondria and will drag the magnesium in with it.

Without a doubt, magnesium is essential for mitochondrial ATP production. About 50 percent of the metabolic enzymes in your body require magnesium as a cofactor, so it’s a really important nutrient. It’s also required for conduction of nerve impulses and the contraction-relaxation cycle of muscles, including your heart muscle.

There’s also compelling evidence suggesting magnesium may reduce the impacts and side effects of EMF exposure. Importantly, if you don’t have enough magnesium, your body also cannot absorb potassium. Cowden explains:

“If a person is deficient in magnesium and potassium both, you can give them potassium in large amounts on an ongoing basis, and their potassium levels never come up. But if you give them magnesium and get it repleted, and then give them potassium, then their potassium levels come up.

That’s because the kidney tubules selectively hold on to magnesium and waste potassium into the toilet in order to retain the magnesium. Because, apparently, the body sees the magnesium as being a more vital nutrient than potassium.

One more thing. A lot of people in the United States are on some form of diuretic medication, either for blood pressure, swelling of their legs or for some other reason. When you take a diuretic, it has a magnesium- and potassium-wasting effect on the kidneys. They’re wasting both magnesium and potassium into the toilet. But most doctors only give potassium. They don’t give the magnesium.”

Alternatives to Diuretics

Diuretics are frequently prescribed for high blood pressure and/or swelling in the extremities. As in most cases, drugs are not necessary for treating these conditions. Swelling of the legs is often due to congestion in your lymphatic system, or kidney toxicity preventing your kidneys from properly processing water. Hence the water is retained in your tissues. Sometimes, it’s just severe toxicity in the tissues.

“One of the ways the body protects itself from toxic overload is to allow water to go out into the tissues where the toxins are, to dilute the toxins. If you have enough toxicity in your legs, then you’re going to have fluid accumulation there to try to dilute those toxins,” Cowden explains. “The lymphatic system can get clogged up for lots of different reasons.

The lymphatic system is commonly clogged up in people in the United States, because they have a love affair with dairy products and wheat products, both of which produce thick sticky mucoid material in the lymphatic system, which clogs it up. If they’ll get rid of the dairy and wheat products, then the lymphatic system becomes more fluid and able to clear toxins from the tissues through the lymphatic system.”

If you have an extremely weak heart, you may not be able to pump blood properly. This is also known as right-sided congestive heart failure. A very common cause of that is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) deficiency. According to Cowden, taking CoQ10, addressing any emotional issues and eliminating heavy metals will help the swelling to go away even in these more serious cases.

Why Diuretics are Not Ideal for Treatment of Hypertension

Hypertension is a more complex issue. The first line of treatment and the No. 1 recommended drug for treating hypertension is thiazide diuretic. However, thiazide diuretics cause chromium wasting, which then creates insulin resistance, which in turn raises your blood pressure. As noted by Cowden:

“That seems to be a pretty oxymoronic way to do that. We really need to try to find a better solution. Most people who have hypertension emotionally feel under pressure to do something or not do something. If they can recognize what that is and resolve that emotional conflict, their blood pressure usually goes down quite a bit …

If you get the plaque reversed in the arteries, then the [arteries] are no longer stiff, so then you don’t have a systolic hypertension. You don’t need the drug, because your blood pressure comes down just by getting rid of the plaque in the arteries.

How do you do that? In the early ’90s, I was giving patients with advanced atherosclerotic disease proteolytic enzymes 30 minutes before food, a clean diet, supplements, nutrients, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E, etc., and reversing 80 to 90 percent plaque in the arteries down to 20 and 30 percent plaque in just three or four months.

We proved that with the ultrasound Doppler duplex imaging. If we can do that, then why are we doing open heart surgeries, carotid endarterectomies and all that other stuff? It’s because people are not educated about what’s possible. If they haven’t been told that this could be done by their medical doctor, then they don’t believe that it’s possible. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things the medical doctor doesn’t know, because they weren’t taught it in medical school.”

The Benefits of Proteolytic Enzymes

Proteolytic enzymes are an effective strategy not only for decreasing atherosclerotic plaque but also for thinning your blood, lowering your risk of a blood clot. Cowden’s father was placed on Coumadin by his doctor, which caused him to bleed profusely whenever he hurt himself working outside. Cowden suggested proteolytic enzymes instead, which his father was eager to try.

He started that when he was about 60. He lived to be 80. He was on proteolytic enzymes 30 minutes before food twice a day for 20 years, without any more clots, without any more of the symptoms for which he was being treated with the sodium warfarin or the Coumadin.

Since then, I’ve treated several dozen other patients with the same strategy. As far as I know, there’s no peer-reviewed literature proving that this is so, but we have lots of anecdotal evidence … As far as I know, everybody has remained plaque-free.”

The enzymes Cowden uses for this purpose, in order of effectiveness are:

  1. Lumbrokinase, made from bacteria that live in the gut of the earthworm
  2. Nattokinase, a fermented soy product
  3. Serrapeptase, made from bacteria that grow in the gut of the silkworm
  4. Bromelain, obtained from pineapple stems
  5. Papaya leaf enzyme

“A person can be energetically tested for several of these enzymes to see which pair is the best pair and just rotate back and forth. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, one; Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday the other. If they do enough of those, then usually they’ll have no clot formation,” he says. Proteolytic enzymes also combat tiny clots, frequently caused by chronic infections. The infection, wherever it is located, causes your body to produce excessive amounts of fibrin, a clot-producing agent.

This fibrin can plaster itself up against the capillary walls, restricting the delivery of oxygen from red blood cells through the capillary wall into the tissues.

The above-mentioned enzymes will strip away fibrin, allowing oxygen delivery through the capillary walls into tissues. Once the tissues are no longer starved of oxygen, they can go into aerobic metabolism instead of anaerobic metabolism, and when you’re in anaerobic metabolism, you don’t stimulate cancer growth and microbial growth. So, there are many related health benefits.

Come and See Me and Drs. Cowden, Klinghardt and Bush Speak in November

If you’re a clinician, consider attending the ACIM conference in Orlando November 8 through 11. It is by far my favorite professional event to attend as there is just a stellar group of clinicians sharing their insights on how to optimize health with natural strategies that are typically ignored by conventional medicine.

Both Dr. Cowden and I will be speaking along with a list of many other outstanding clinicians, including Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, Dr. Zach Bush and many others that you can see here. If you are an interested lay person, there will be a two-day event for you November 9 and 10, at which I will also be sharing my latest strategies on how to improve your health.

Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Lee Cowden on Strategies to Support Neuroregeneration

Recommended articles by Dr. Joseph Mercola:

About the author:

Born and raised in the inner city of Chicago, IL, Dr. Joseph Mercola is an osteopathic physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Mercola served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for five years, and in 2012 was granted fellowship status by the American College of Nutrition (ACN).

While in practice in the late 80s, Dr. Mercola realized the drugs he was prescribing to chronically ill patients were not working. By the early 90s, he began exploring the world of natural medicine, and soon changed the way he practiced medicine.

In 1997 Dr. Mercola founded Mercola.com, which is now routinely among the top 10 health sites on the internet. His passion is to transform the traditional medical paradigm in the United States. “The existing medical establishment is responsible for killing and permanently injuring millions of Americans… You want practical health solutions without the hype, and that’s what I offer.”

Visit Mercola.com for more information, or read Dr. Mercola’s full bio and resumé here.
Originally posted:

 

Anxiety Overtakes Depression as No. 1 Mental Health Problem

By Dr. Joseph Mercola

Anxiety is the New Depression

Anxiety is the new depression, with more than half of all American college students reporting anxiety.[1] Recent research shows anxiety — characterized by constant and overwhelming worry and fear — is now 800 percent more prevalent than all forms of cancer.[2]

A 2016 report by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State[3] confirmed the trend, finding anxiety and depression are the most common concerns among college students who seek counseling.[4] Data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) suggests the prevalence of anxiety disorders in the U.S. may be as high as 40 million, or about 18 percent of the population over the age of 18, making it the most common mental illness in the nation.[5],[6]

Fortunately, there are many treatment options available, and some of the most effective treatments are also among the safest and least expensive and don’t involve drugs.

Anxiety — A Medical Condition Driven by Sociological Conditions?

Commenting on the video featured below, Huffington Post writes:[7]

“A person with high functioning anxiety can look calm on the surface, but underneath that practiced veneer, their thoughts are churning. That’s the message behind a new video from ‘The Mighty,’ in which a young woman describes the experience of living with the condition, which is characterized by persistent negative thoughts, restlessness and even physical symptoms like muscle tension …”

But what is at the heart of all this anxiety? What’s causing all these persistent negative thoughts? Why the chronic restlessness? The New York Times addressed the rising prevalence of anxiety in a recent article, noting:[8]

“While to epidemiologists the disorder is a medical condition, anxiety is starting to seem like a sociological condition, too: a shared cultural experience that feeds on alarmist CNN graphics and metastasizes through social media …

‘If you’re a human being living in 2017 and you’re not anxious,’ [Sarah Fader, who has generalized anxiety disorder] said on the telephone, ‘there’s something wrong with you’ … [I]t seems we have entered a new Age of Anxiety. Monitoring our heart rates. Swiping ceaselessly at our iPhones …

Consider the fidget spinner: endlessly whirring between the fingertips of ‘Generation Alpha,’ annoying teachers, baffling parents … According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health, some 38 percent of girls ages 13 through 17, and 26 percent of boys, have an anxiety disorder …  Meanwhile, the number of web searches involving the term has nearly doubled over the last five years …”

What It’s Like to Have ‘High-Functioning’ Anxiety

This is what it’s like to live with ‘high-functioning’ anxiety. Can you relate?

The United States of Anxiety

Kai Wright, host of the political podcast “The United States of Anxiety,” attributes the current trend to the fact that we’ve been at war for over a decade and a half, have faced two recessions in that same time frame and have had to adjust to a swiftly changing digital landscape, which in turn has changed how we work and interact.[9]

“Everything we consider to be normal has changed. And nobody seems to trust the people in charge to tell them where they fit into the future,” he says.[10] Andrea Petersen, author of “On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety,” interviewed students at University of Michigan for her book, some of whom revealed the internal pressure cooker was turned on far earlier than you might expect. In his Times article, Alex Williams writes:[11]

“One student, who has ADHD, anxiety and depression, said the pressure began building in middle school when she realized she had to be at the top of her class to get into high school honors classes, which she needed to get into Advanced Placement classes, which she needed to get into college. ‘In sixth grade,’ she said, ‘kids were freaking out.’ This was not the stereotypical experience of Generation X …

‘In addition to the normal chaos of being a human being, there is what almost feels like weaponized uncertainty thrown at us on a daily basis,’ said Kat Kinsman, the ‘Hi, Anxiety’ author. ‘It’s coming so quickly and messily, some of it straight from the president’s own fingers.’

Indeed, Mr. Trump is the first politician in world history whose preferred mode of communication is the 3 a.m. tweet … ‘We live in a country where we can’t even agree on a basic set of facts,’ said Dan Harris, an ABC news correspondent and ‘Nightline’ anchor …”

Beware of Microwave Exposure

We have had nearly an exponential increase in electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure from devices like our cellphones and cordless phones, Wi-Fi routers, baby monitors, smart meters and cellphone towers, which may turn out to be a primary driver for this increase in anxiety and depression. How you say?

Good question. Due to the pioneering work of Dr. Martin Pall, we know that voltage gated calcium channels are over 7 million times more sensitive to microwave radiation than the charged particles inside and outside our cells. This means that the safety standards for this exposure are off by a factor of 7 million.

When the EMF from the above listed devices hit your voltage gated calcium channels, nearly 1 million calcium ions per second are released into the cell, which then causes the cell to release excessive nitric oxide that then combines with superoxide to form peroxynitrate, which then forms the dangerous hydroxyl free radical that causes massive mitochondrial dysfunction.

Guess which tissues have the greatest density of voltage gated calcium channels? Your nerves and tissues, like the pacemaker in your heart and, of course, your brain. When the channels in the brain are activated, it causes a major disruption in neurotransmitter and hormonal balance that can radically increase the risk for not only anxiety and depression but arrhythmias, autism and Alzheimer’s.

I am going to be massively expanding on this in future articles and interviews, but in the meantime, please watch or re-watch my video below to help start you on the process of protecting you from microwaves. You can learn more about the dangers of microwave radiation here.

Do Fidget Spinners Work?

In his article, Williams touches on the popularity of so-called fidget spinners, originally devised as a focusing aid primarily for autistic children and kids with attention deficit or sensory sensitivity disorders. The toy is now being used by all sorts of people of varying ages. But do they really help reduce anxiety? According to psychiatrist Pilar Trelles at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, the spinners can be quite helpful.

Health Magazine quotes her as saying, “When someone is hypersensitive to the environment they might bite their nails, pull out their cuticles or pinch their skin. Fidget spinners offer a less harmful way to expend that nervous energy.”[12] The fidget spinner falls under a stress management category called rapid stress management technique, recommended for use in conjunction with other forms of therapy.

That said, some schools have banned use of fidget spinners, on account that they distract teachers and other students. Medicine Net has also issued a warning that fidget spinners pose a choking hazard,[13] as the round metal bearings could come dislodged. A 10-year-old girl had to have a bearing surgically removed from her esophagus after she accidentally swallowed it.

Other Common Causes of Anxiety

While genetics, brain chemistry, personality and life events play a role in the development of anxiety disorders, stress is a common trigger. Anxiety is a normal response to stress, but in some people the anxiety becomes overwhelming and difficult to cope with, to the point that it affects their day-to-day living. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) explains how your brain reacts to stress, and how the anxiety response is triggered:[14]

“Several parts of the brain are key actors in the production of fear and anxiety … scientists have discovered that the amygdala and the hippocampus play significant roles in most anxiety disorders.

The amygdala … is believed to be a communications hub between the parts of the brain that process incoming sensory signals and the parts that interpret these signals. It can alert the rest of the brain that a threat is present and trigger a fear or anxiety response.

The emotional memories stored in the central part of the amygdala may play a role in anxiety disorders involving very distinct fears, such as fears of dogs, spiders or flying. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that encodes threatening events into memories.”

A number of other situations and underlying issues can also contribute to the problem. This includes but is not limited to the following, and addressing these issues may be what’s needed to resolve your anxiety disorder. For more information about each, please follow the links provided:

Exposure to microwave radiation from devices like cellphones, Wi-Fi routers, portable phones, smart meters, baby monitors and cellphone towers.

Food additives, food dyes, GMOs and glyphosate. Food dyes of particular concern include Blue #1 and #2 food coloring; Green #3; Orange B; Red #3 and #40; Yellow #5 and #6; and the preservative sodium benzoate.

Breathing Has a Direct Influence on Anxiety

The way you breathe is intricately connected to your mental state. I’ve previously published interviews with Patrick McKeown, a leading expert on the Buteyko Breathing Method, where he explains how breathing affects your mind, body and health. Here, I’ve chosen a video featuring Robert Litman, where he specifically addresses the relationship between breathing and anxiety.

According to Buteyko, the founder of the method, anxiety is triggered by an imbalance between gases in your body, specifically the ratio between carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen. In this video, Litman explains how your breathing affects the ratio of these gases, and demonstrates how you can literally breathe your way into a calmer state of mind.

A Buteyko breathing exercise that can help quell anxiety is summarized below. This sequence helps retain and gently accumulate CO2, leading to calmer breathing and reduced anxiety. In other words, the urge to breathe will decline as you go into a more relaxed state.

  • Take a small breath into your nose, a small breath out; hold your nose for five seconds in order to hold your breath, and then release to resume breathing.
  • Breathe normally for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat the sequence several more times: small breath in through your nose, small breath out; hold your breath for five seconds, then let go and breathe normally for 10 seconds.

You can learn more about the Buteyko Method here.

McKeown has also written a book specifically aimed at the treatment of anxiety through optimal breathing, called “Anxiety Free: Stop Worrying and Quieten Your Mind – Featuring the Buteyko Breathing Method and Mindfulness,” which can be found here on Amazon.com.[17] In addition to the book, ButeykoClinic.com also offers a one-hour online course and an audio version of the book, along with several free chapters[18] and accompanying videos.[19]

Belisa Vranich, a clinical psychologist, has also written an excellent book called “Breathe.” In it, she details a program that can help improve your physical and mental health. You can learn more about her breathing program in this recent interview.

Nature Sounds Calm the Mind and Quell Anxiety

In addition to addressing your breathing, consider spending more time in natural environments. Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School found that nature sounds have a distinct and powerful effect on your brain, lowering fight-or-flight instincts and activating your rest-and-digest autonomic nervous system.[20],[21],[22]

Nature sounds produce brain activity associated with outward-directed focus, whereas artificial sounds create brain activity associated with inward-directed focus. The latter, which can express itself as worry and rumination about things related to your own self, is a trait associated with anxiety and depression. Nature sounds also produce higher rest-digest nervous system activity, which occurs when your body is in a relaxed state.

Previous research has also demonstrated that listening to nature sounds help you recover faster after a stressful event. So, seek out parks, or create a natural sanctuary on your balcony, or indoors using plants and an environmental sound machine. YouTube also has a number of very long videos of natural sounds, such as the one featured above. You could simply turn it on and leave it on while you’re indoors.

EFT — A Potent Non-Drug Treatment Alternative

Another potent treatment alternative that does not involve drugs is the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), one of the most well-established forms of energy psychology. It’s akin to acupuncture, which is based on the concept that a vital energy flows through your body along invisible pathways known as meridians. EFT stimulates specific energy meridian points in your body by tapping them with your fingertips, while simultaneously using custom-made verbal affirmations.

This can be done alone or under the supervision of a qualified therapist. By doing this, you reprogram the way your body responds to emotional stressors, effectively “short-circuiting” the event chain that leads to an anxiety or panic attack. Research confirms EFT can be a powerful intervention for stress and anxiety,[23],[24],[25] in part because it specifically targets your amygdala and hippocampus, which are the parts of your brain that help you decide whether or not something is a threat.[26]

If you recall the NIMH’s explanation above about how your amygdala and hippocampus are involved in anxiety disorders, you can see why tapping is such a powerful tool. In the video above, EFT therapist Julie Schiffman demonstrates how to tap for panic attacks and anxiety relief.

For serious or complex issues, you may need a qualified EFT therapist to guide you through the process. That said, the more you tap, the more skilled you’ll become. You can also try acupuncture,[27]which like EFT bridges the gap between your mind and body.

Other Treatment Options for Anxiety

Considering the risks of psychiatric drugs, I would urge you to view them as a last resort rather than a first-line of treatment. In addition to the breathing exercises, nature sound therapy and EFT already mentioned, other far safer strategies to explore include:

Regular exercise and daily movement.
Mindfulness training and/or a spiritual practice. Research suggests psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms, may be a game changer in the treatment for severe depression and anxiety, and the spiritual intensity of the experience appears to be a key component of the healing.Magic mushrooms are not legal, so this is not a viable treatment as of yet, but it highlights the importance and relationship between having a spiritual foundation that can provide hope and meaning to your life.
Optimizing your gut microbiome. Gastrointestinal abnormalities have been linked to a variety of psychological problems, including anxiety and depression. It is now well-established that the vagus nerve is the primary route your gut bacteria use to transmit information to your brain,[28]which helps explain why mental health can be so intricately connected to your gut microbiome.[29]For example, fermented foods have been shown to curb social anxiety disorder in young adults.[30],[31] To learn more about this, please see “Poor Diet, Lack of Sunshine and Spiritual Anemia — Three Potent Contributors to Depression and Anxiety.”
Lowering your sugar and processed food intake. Research shows your diet can have a profound effect on your mental health.[32],[33] Pay particular attention to nutritional imbalances known to contribute to mental health problems, such as lack of magnesium, vitamin D, B vitamins and animal-based omega-3
Getting plenty of restorative sleep.
Being mindful of your exposure to EMFs and use of wireless technologies. At bare minimum, avoid keeping any of these gadgets next to you while sleeping
Evaluating your toxic exposures. A common symptom of toxic mold exposure is anxiety, so ask yourself if there’s any kind of pattern; do your symptoms improve when you spend time away from your home or office, for example?
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). They even offer CBT for young children these days.[34] A number of universities offer Tao Connect[35] to their students, but even if you’re not a student, there are free online programs available that you can use. Some examples include MoodGYM,[36]e-couch,[37] Learn to Live[38] and CBT Online.[39]

Anxiety can significantly reduce your quality of life, so it’s well worth it to keep going until you find a proper long-term solution. Last but not least, don’t underestimate the value of social interactions — face-to-face, that is, not via social media. Lack of social interaction has become so widespread, some establishments have taken to turning off their Wi-Fi in an effort to encourage human interaction.

Jimson Bienenstock, president of HotBlack Coffee in Toronto, explained his decision to turn the café into a cellphone-free zone to The New York Times, saying,[40] “It’s about creating a social vibe. We’re a vehicle for human interaction, otherwise it’s just a commodity.” Indeed, like mindfulness and spiritual pursuits, social interaction helps foster meaning and purpose in life, thereby protecting and improving your mental health.

Originally Posted: https://wakeup-world.com/2017/07/21/anxiety-overtakes-depression-as-no-1-mental-health-problem/

13 Mind-Body Techniques That Can Help Ease Pain and Depression

By Dr. Joseph Mercola

Many aches and pains are rooted in brain processes that can be affected by your mental attitude and emotions. While the mechanics of these mind-body links are still being unraveled, what is known is that your brain, and consequently your thoughts and emotions, do play a role in your experience of physical pain.

For instance, meditation appears to work for pain relief because it reduces brain activity in your primary somatosensory cortex, an area that helps create the feeling of where and how intense a painful stimulus is. Laughter is also known to relieve pain because it releases endorphins that activate brain receptors that produce pain-killing and euphoria-producing effects.

This line of communication between mind and body runs both ways though, and physical pain, especially if it’s chronic, is a well-known trigger for depression. According to psychologist Rex Schmidt at the Nebraska Medical Center Pain Management:[1] “Depression and pain happen to share a part of the brain that’s involved in both conditions, which means that mind-body techniques that affect those areas can be efficacious for both.”

Meditation and laughter are just two examples of a burgeoning new field of science that looks at mind-body therapies to address depression and chronic pain. Here are 13 such strategies…

#1: Add EFT to Your Self-Help Toolkit

The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a form of psychological acupressure based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for over 5,000 years, but without the invasiveness of needles.

Instead, simple tapping with the fingertips is used to transfer kinetic energy onto specific meridians on your head and chest while you think about your specific problem — whether it is a traumatic event, an addiction, pain, anxiety, etc. — and voice positive affirmations.

This combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the “short-circuit” — the emotional block — from your body’s bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body’s balance, which is essential for optimal health and the healing of physical disease.

Some people are initially wary of these principles that EFT is based on — the electromagnetic energy that flows through the body and regulates our health is only recently becoming recognized in the West. Others are initially taken aback by (and sometimes amused by) the EFT tapping and affirmation methodology.

But believe me when I say that, more than any traditional or alternative method I have used or researched, EFT has the most potential to literally work magic. Clinical trials have shown that EFT is able to rapidly reduce the emotional impact of memories and incidents that trigger emotional distress. Once the distress is reduced or removed, the body can often rebalance itself, and accelerate healing.

In the videos below, EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman shows how you can use EFT to relieve your physical pain and depression.

You can also learn more here: A Comprehensive Guide to the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

#2: Massage the Pain Away

Massage offers real health benefits, so much so that some conventional hospitals are making it a standard therapy for surgery patients and others. Along with promoting relaxation and improving your sense of well-being, getting a massage has been shown to:

  • Relieve pain (from migraines, labor, fibromyalgia and even cancer)
  • Reduce stress, anxiety and depression, and ease insomnia
  • Decrease symptoms of PMS
  • Relax and soften injured and overused muscles, reducing spasms and cramping.
  • Provide arthritis relief by increasing joint flexibility.

Massage affects your nervous system through nerve endings in your skin, stimulating the release of endorphins, which are natural “feel good” chemicals. Endorphins help induce relaxation and a sense of well-being, relieve pain and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline — reversing the damaging effects of stress by slowing heart rate, respiration and metabolism and lowering raised blood pressure.

Stronger massage stimulates blood circulation to improve the supply of oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and helps the lymphatic system to flush away waste products. It eases tense and knotted muscles and stiff joints, improving mobility and flexibility. Massage is said to increase activity of the vagus nerve, one of 10 cranial nerves, that affects the secretion of food absorption hormones, heart rate and respiration. It has proven to be an effective therapy for a variety of health conditions — particularly stress-related tension, which experts believe accounts for as much as 80 percent to 90 percent of disease.

As reported by iVillage.com:[2]

“[A] new study from Thailand suggests that traditional Thai massage can decrease pain intensity, muscle tension and anxiety among people with shoulder pain. Meanwhile, research from the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami in Florida found that when adults with hand pain had four weeks of massage therapy, they reported a lot less pain, anxiety and depression.

Another study at the Touch Research Institute found that when pregnant women who were depressed received massages from their partners twice a week, they had much less leg and back pain and fewer symptoms of depression during the second half of their pregnancies.”

#3: Remain in the Now…

Practicing “mindfulness” means that you’re actively paying attention to the moment you’re in right now. Rather than letting your mind wander, when you’re mindful you’re living in the moment and letting distracting thoughts pass through your mind without getting caught up in their emotional implications. Though it sounds simple, it often takes a concerted effort to remain in a mindful state, especially if it’s new to you. But doing so can offer some very significant benefits to both your mental and physical health.

For example, mindfulness training has been found to reduce levels of stress-induced inflammation, which could benefit people suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and asthma.

This makes sense, since chronic stress heightens the inflammatory response, and mindfulness is likely to help you relieve feelings of stress and anxiety. In one eight-week study,[3] people who received mindfulness training had smaller inflammatory responses than those who received a control intervention, which focused on healthy activities to reduce psychological stress but without particular instruction on mindfulness. Similarly, according to iVillage.com:[2]

“Mindfulness meditation — focusing on your breath and each present moment — can lessen cancer pain, low back pain and migraine headaches. Researchers at Brown University in Providence, R.I., found that when women with chronic pelvic pain participated in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program, their pain decreased and their mood improved.”

In many ways, mindfulness is similar to transcendental meditation, the idea of which is to reach a place of “restful” or “concentrated” alertness, which enables you to let negative thoughts and distractions pass by you without upsetting your calm and balance. This type of meditation is easy to try at home: simply sit quietly, perhaps with some soothing music, breathe rhythmically and focus on something such as your breathing, a flower, an image, a candle, a mantra or even just being there, fully aware, in the moment.

Researchers report that practicing mindfulness meditation for just four days affects pain responses in your brain. Brain activity decreases in areas devoted to monitoring a painful body part, and also in areas responsible for relaying sensory information.

For more information, please see: Why We Get Held Hostage by Our Emotions – and How Mindfulness Can Help

#4: Take Control with Biofeedback

In biofeedback, electrical sensors attached to your skin allow you to monitor your biological changes, such as heart rate, and this feedback can help you achieve a deeper state of relaxation. It can also teach you to control your heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension through your mind. According to psychologist Rex Schmidt:

“Through focus and mental strategies, biofeedback induces the relaxation response and gives you a greater sense of control.”

Biofeedback is often used for stress-related conditions, such as:

  • Migraines and tension-type headaches
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Back pain
  • Depression and anxiety

#5: Free Yourself from Tension with Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is achieved by tensing and relaxing all the major muscle groups, one at a time, from head to toe. By learning to feel the difference between tension and relaxation, you can more actively disengage your body’s fight-or-flight response, which underlies most pain, depression and stress. As reported by iVillage.com:[2]

“Studies show that whether PMR is used on its own or with guided imagery, it helps ease emotional distress and pain from cancer, osteoarthritis, surgery and other conditions.”

#6: Harness Relaxation with Tai Chi

The 2,000-year-old Chinese practice of tai chi is a branch of Qigong — exercises that harness the qi (life energy). It’s been linked to numerous health benefits, including improvements in the quality of life of breast cancer patients and Parkinson’s sufferers, and has shown promise in treating sleep problems and high blood pressure.

Often described as “meditation in motion” or “moving meditation,” the activity takes your body through a specific set of graceful movements. Your body is constantly in motion and each movement flows right into the next. While practicing tai chi, your mind is meant to stay focused on your movements, relaxation and deep breathing, while distracting thoughts are ignored.

Part of the allure is that it’s so gentle, it’s an ideal form of activity for people with pain or other conditions that prevent more vigorous exercise. You can even do tai chi if you’re confined to a wheelchair. Even respected conventional health institutions such as the Mayo Clinic[4] and Harvard Medical School[5] recommend tai chi for its health benefits, especially as a stress-reduction tool. However, there are more studies available than you might think; suggesting tai chi has an impressive range of health benefits. To browse through them, please see the WorldTaiChiDay.org[6] web site. According to the study, A Randomized Trial of Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia:

“In a recent study at the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, researchers found that when people with fibromyalgia participated in 60-minute tai chi sessions twice a week for 12 weeks, they had much less physical and mental discomfort. The researchers also reviewed the medical literature on tai chi’s effect on psychological well-being and concluded that it reduces depression, anxiety and stress.”

#7: Breathe Easy…

Deep breathing activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which induces the relaxation response. There are many different breathing practices that you can try, but here I’m going to share two that are both powerful and very easy to perform. The first one I learned when I attended a presentation by Dr. Andrew Weil at the 2009 Expo West in California. The key to this exercise is to remember the numbers 4, 7 and 8. It’s not important to focus on how much time you spend in each phase of the breathing activity, but rather that you get the ratio correct. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Sit up straight
  2. Place the tip of your tongue up against the back of your front teeth. Keep it there through the entire breathing process
  3. Breathe in silently through your nose to the count of four
  4. Hold your breath to the count of seven
  5. Exhale through your mouth to the count of eight, making an audible “woosh” sound
  6. That completes one full breath. Repeat the cycle another three times, for a total of four breaths

You can do this 4-7-8 exercise as frequently as you want throughout the day, but it’s recommended you don’t do more than four full breaths during the first month or so of practice. Later, you may work your way up to eight full breath cycles at a time. The benefits of this simple practice are enormous and work as a natural tranquilizer for your nervous system.

The second is known as the Buteyko Breathing Method, which is a powerful approach for reversing health problems associated with improper breathing, the most common of which are overbreathing and mouthbreathing. When you stop mouth breathing and learn to bring your breathing volume toward normal, you have better oxygenation of your tissues and organs, including your brain.

Factors of modern life, including stress and lack of exercise, all increase your everyday breathing. Typical characteristics of overbreathing include mouth breathing, upper chest breathing, sighing, noticeable breathing during rest, and taking large breaths prior to talking.

Controlling anxiety and quelling panic attacks is one of the areas where the Buteyko Method can be quite useful. If you’re experiencing anxiety or panic attacks, or if you feel very stressed and your mind can’t stop racing, try the following breathing technique. This sequence helps retain and gently accumulate carbon dioxide, leading to calmer breathing and reduces anxiety. In other words, the urge to breathe will decline as you go into a more relaxed state:

  1. Take a small breath into your nose, followed by a small breath out
  2. Then hold your nose for five seconds in order to hold your breath, and then release your nose to resume breathing
  3. Breathe normally for 10 seconds
  4. Repeat the sequence

To learn more, see: The Buteyko Method: How This Simple Breathing Technique Can Radically Transform Health

#8: Hypnosis for Pain Management

Hypnosis, which is a trance-like state in which you experience heightened focus and concentration, can help decrease pain by altering your emotional responses to your body’s pain signals and your thoughts about the pain. Contrary to popular belief, you do not relinquish control over your behavior while under hypnosis, but it does render you more open to suggestions from the hypnotherapist. As reported by iVillage.com:

“Studies show that hypnosis can help manage the pain from childbirth and metastatic breast cancer as well as chronic low back pain. What’s more, cognitive hypnotherapy can lead to less depression, anxiety and hopelessness among depressed people than cognitive behavioral therapy does, according to research from the University of Calgary in Canada.”

#9: Soothe Your Mind and Body Through the Power of Music

If you’re a music lover, you already know that turning on the tunes can help calm your nerves, make stress disappear, pump up your energy level during a workout, bring back old memories, as well as prompt countless other emotions. When you listen to music, much more is happening in your body than simple auditory processing.

Music triggers activity in the nucleus accumbens, a part of your brain that releases the feel-good chemical dopamine and is involved in forming expectations. At the same time, the amygdala, which is involved in processing emotion, and the prefrontal cortex, which makes possible abstract decision-making, are also activated, according to recent research published in the journal Science.[7] Other research[8]revealed listening to music resulted in less anxiety and lower cortisol levels among patients about to undergo surgery than taking anti-anxiety drugs. As reported by iVillage.com:

“…[R]esearchers in Cleveland found that when [burn] patients listened to music and used visual imagery as a distraction when their wound dressings were being changed, they experienced significantly less pain, anxiety and muscle tension. In a study in Norway, depressed people who had music therapy plus psychotherapy were less depressed and anxious and more functional than those who just did regular therapy.”

Musical preference varies widely between individuals, so only you can decide what will effectively put you in a particular mood. Overall, classical music tends to be among the most calming, so may be worth a try. To incorporate music into a busy schedule, try playing CDs while driving, or put on some tunes while you’re getting ready for work in the morning. You can also take portable music with you when walking the dog, or turn on the stereo instead of watching TV in the evening.

For more information, please see: How Music Benefits The Brain

#10: Take Up Yoga

Yoga has been proven to be particularly beneficial if you suffer with back pain, but recent research also suggests it can also be of tremendous benefit for your mental health. Duke University researchers recently published a review[9] of more than 100 studies looking at the effect of yoga on mental health, and according to lead author Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, a professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University Medical Center:[10]

“Most individuals already know that yoga produces some kind of a calming effect. Individually, people feel better after doing the physical exercise. Mentally, people feel calmer, sharper, maybe more content. We thought it’s time to see if we could pull all [the literature] together… to see if there’s enough evidence that the benefits individual people notice can be used to help people with mental illness.”

According to their findings, yoga appears to have a positive effect on:

  • Mild depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Schizophrenia (among patients using medication)
  • ADHD (among patients using medication)

Some of the studies suggest yoga can have a similar effect to antidepressants and psychotherapy, by influencing neurotransmitters and boosting serotonin. Yoga was also found to reduce levels of inflammation, oxidative stress, blood lipids and growth factors.

For more information, please see: Modern Science Confirms Yoga’s Many Health Benefits

#11: Visualization and Guided Imagery

According to iVillage.com, visualization techniques or guided imagery can serve as an important tool to combat both physical pain and depression by imagining being in “a better place.”

“Research shows it can help with pain from cancer, osteoarthritis and childbirth by providing distraction and promoting a state of relaxation. In addition, a study from Portugal found that when people hospitalized for depressive disorders listened to a guided imagery CD once a day for 10 days, they were less depressed, anxious and stressed over time, compared to peers who didn’t use visualization.”

Ideally, you’ll want to immerse yourself as fully as you possibly into your visualization, using all your senses: seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, and feeling. According to Dr. Schmidt:

“Using all your senses changes levels of brain chemicals such as serotonin, epinephrine and endorphins, and with regular practice you’ll gain more of a sense of control, which is often lacking when you’re in pain or depressed.”

#12: Repeat a Calming Mantra

The repeated incantation of a mantra — a soothing or uplifting word or phrase of your choice — in a rhythmic fashion can help you relax in a similar way as mindfulness training. The focused repetition, also called autogenic training, helps keep your mind from wandering and worrying, and engages your body’s relaxation response.

“A study at the University of Manchester in the U.K. found that autogenic training helped female migraine sufferers decrease the frequency and intensity of their headaches. And research from the University of Melbourne in Australia suggests that autogenic training may provide ‘helpful longer-term effects’ on symptoms of depression,” according to iVillage.com.

#13: Remove Pain and Dysfunctional Psychological Conditions with the Neurostructural Integration Technique

The Neurostructural Integration Technique (NST) is an amazing innovative technique developed in Australia. Using a series of gentle moves on specific muscles or at precise points on your body creates an energy flow and vibrations between these points. This allows your body to communicate better with itself and balance the other tissues, muscles and organs. The method of action is likely through your autonomic nervous system (ANS), allowing your body to better carry out its many functions the way it was designed to.

The main objective is to remove pain and dysfunctional physiological conditions by restoring the structural integrity of the body. In essence, NST provides the body with an opportunity to reintegrate on many levels, and thus return to and maintain normal homeostatic limits on a daily basis.

NST is done with a light touch and can be done through clothing. There are pauses between sets of moves to allow your body to assimilate the energy and vibrations. To learn more, please review the article, Gentle Hands Can Restore Your Health, by Micheal Nixon Levy who developed the technique.

Sources and References:

Big Pharma Channeled Opioids to Black Market

Big-PharmaBy Dr. Joseph Mercola

The opioid overdose epidemic in the U.S. killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, which is more than any other year on record, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the opioids referenced include both heroin and prescription opioids, nearly half of overdose deaths involve prescription drugs.1

Prescription opioids such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), morphine and methadone are widely prescribed for pain relief. Initially, they were intended to treat severe pain following surgery or injury or due to illnesses such as cancer. However, they’re now increasingly prescribed for many types of pain, including chronic back pain or pain from osteoarthritis.

Between 1999 and 2015, opioid prescriptions nearly quadrupled in the U.S. despite reported pain levels remaining stagnant. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids similarly quadrupled, killing more than 183,000 Americans. By 2014 nearly 2 million Americans were dependent on or had abused the drugs— and the situation is only getting worse, with reports that opioid maker Purdue Pharma knowingly allowed its drugs to be funneled into the black market.

Drug Maker Sued for Funneling Pills Into the Black Market

Purdue Pharma is being sued by the city of Everett, Washington, which has been hard-hit by deaths from opioid painkiller and heroin abuse.

The suit alleges that Purdue Pharma, which manufactures OxyContin, supplied the drug to “obviously suspicious pharmacies and physicians, and enabl[ed] the illegal diversion of OxyContin into the black market” in the city.3

Mayor Ray Stephanson told CBS News that the city has been significantly damaged and its resources, including first responders and even crews cleaning up syringes in public parks, have been significantly strained as a result of the drugs flowing into their community.

The case against Purdue Pharma is built around a 2016 investigation by the Los Angeles Times, which revealed OxyContin was being trafficked illegally from California to Washington, and suggested Purdue Pharma knew about it but did nothing to stop it.4

The drug maker is no stranger to litigation. CBS News reported:5

“In 2007, Purdue Pharma and its executives paid more than $630 million in legal penalties to the federal government for willfully misrepresenting the drug’s addiction risks.

“The same year, it also settled with Washington and other states that claimed the company aggressively marketed OxyContin to doctors while downplaying the addiction risk. As part of that settlement, it agreed to continue internal controls to identify potential diversion or abuse.”

Anyone Can Become Addicted to Opioids

Even when taken as directed, prescription opioids can lead to addiction as well as tolerance, which means you need an increasingly stronger dose to get the pain-relieving effects. Physical dependence, in which you suffer withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the drugs, can also result, along with other issues like increased sensitivity to pain, depression, low levels of testosterone and more.6

“Anyone who takes prescription opioids can become addicted to them. In fact, as many as [1] in [4] patients receiving long-term opioid therapy in a primary care setting struggles with opioid addiction. Once addicted, it can be hard to stop,” the CDC notes.7

According to the latest CDC statistics, 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Unfortunately, the opioid epidemic is spiraling out of control not only in the Everett region but across the U.S.

Seventy Percent of Businesses Affected by Drug-Addicted Employees

“Drug poisonings, largely from opioid painkillers, now eclipse car crashes as the leading cause of preventable death among adults. Nearly half of Americans are personally impacted by prescription drug addiction, with 44 percent knowing someone who is addicted to a prescription pain reliever.

“Seventy-five percent of those struggling with a substance use disorder are in the workforce, revealing a hidden epidemic that many employers are struggling to address.” 9

According to a new report from the National Safety Council (NSC):

  • A staggering 70 percent of U.S. businesses say they have workers affected by prescription drug abuse.
  • Seventy-one percent of the employers surveyed agreed that such drug abuse is a disease, but 65 percent still felt justified in firing an employee struggling with drug addiction.
  • Most employers said they felt unprepared to respond to prescription drug abuse in the workplace, with only 19 percent saying they feel “extremely prepared.”
  • Most companies lack training to help employees spot signs of misuse, and while about 57 percent said they conduct drug testing on employees, more than 40 percent do not screen for synthetic opioids.
  • In addition, 88 percent of employers reported interest in their insurer covering alternative treatments for pain relief to help people avoid taking opioids, although 30 percent said they would not take action to request such coverage from their insurance companies.10

West Virginia Struggles to Keep up With Demand for Funerals

West Virginia has a $2 million annual budget to provide funeral assistance for families who cannot afford them. For the last five years, however, the program has been overwhelmed with funerals, driven in part by the opioid epidemic. In 2017, the program is nearly out of money four months before the end of the fiscal year.11

West Virginia had the highest drug overdose death rate in the U.S. in 2015, with 41.5 deaths per 100,000 residents — nearly three times higher than the U.S. average.

Among white males aged 15 to 34, overdose fatalities account for more than 28 percent of deaths. West Virginia funeral director Robert C. Kimes told The Washington Post:12

“When you get an overdose, typically it’s going to be a younger individual who’s not financially in a great position … I’ve heard from several funeral directors that the majority of [overdose deaths they deal with] are addressed via the indigent burial program.”

In Connecticut, meanwhile, the chief medical examiner considered renting a refrigerated truck in 2016 to store bodies because the storage space at the medical examiner’s office is often maxed out.

The space shortage is attributed to rising drug overdose deaths, including opioid overdoses, which are pushing many medical examiner and coroner offices to their limits.

In areas like Cincinnati, Ohio, forensic pathologists responsible for conducting autopsies on many such victims conducted more than 325 autopsies in 2016. The National Association of Medical Examiners’ accrediting program puts the limit at 325 a year, and offices that conduct more risk losing accreditation.

Some coroners’ offices are also facing backlogs of DNA testing for drug investigations, again in large part due to overdose deaths.13

Drug Companies Ship 433 Pain Pills for Every Person in West Virginia

A Charleston Gazette-Mail investigation in 2016 revealed that drug companies shipped 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to West Virginia over a six-year period, during which more than 1,700 state residents died from overdoses of the drugs. That’s enough to provide 433 pills for every person (including children) in the state.

As occurred in Washington, drug makers seemingly looked the other way while shipping massive amounts of the drugs to small mom-and-pop pharmacies. The Gazette-Mail reported:14

“For more than a decade, the same distributors disregarded rules to report suspicious orders for controlled substances in West Virginia to the state Board of Pharmacy, the Gazette-Mail found.

“And the board failed to enforce the same regulations that were on the books since 2001, while giving spotless inspection reviews to small-town pharmacies in the southern counties that ordered more pills than could possibly be taken by people who really needed medicine for pain.

“As the fatalities mounted — hydrocodone and oxycodone overdose deaths increased 67 percent in West Virginia between 2007 and 2012 — the drug shippers’ CEOs collected salaries and bonuses in the tens of millions of dollars. Their companies made billions.”

State of Emergency Declared in Maryland

In Maryland, meanwhile, Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency due to opioid addiction and pledged to put another $50 million toward prevention, treatment and enforcement services.

In the first nine months of 2016, nearly 1,500 Maryland residents were killed due to heroin and fentanyl (a synthetic opioid) overdoses, many of whom initially became addicted to prescription painkillers, The Washington Post reported. This is a 62 percent increase from the previous year.15

While the state has yet to detail how the emergency declaration will help stop overdose deaths, it’s expected that law enforcement, social services and public health providers would be coordinated to help achieve the goal. To date, the governor rejected a proposal to create safe sites where heroin users can access clean needles and be monitored to prevent overdose.

A report from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recommended two “safe-drug consumption spaces” be opened in the city of Baltimore, citing similar programs that have been started in cities like Vancouver, which have seen a decrease in overdose deaths.16

Young Mothers Prescribed Poison

Addictive and potentially deadly opioid drugs are also being prescribed to women who have just given birth, putting them and their children at serious risk.

One study in Obstetrics and Gynecology revealed that more than 1 in 10 Medicaid-enrolled women filled a prescription for an opioid following vaginal delivery to treat post-delivery pain.17 Fourteen percent of them then went on to fill a second prescription within six to 60 days after delivery. Separate research has also shown that 1 in 300 women who fill a prescription for opioids following cesarean delivery go on to become persistent users.18

A second study revealed that young children of mothers prescribed opioids were at a significantly increased risk, by 2.5 times, of overdose.19 Among children, 1 in 10 of overdoses occurred in infants under 1 year, while half occurred in children 2 years or younger. Study co-author Dr. Yaron Finkelstein told Forbes:20

“One or two tablets of an opioid can be very risky and potentially fatal to a toddler … Obviously, pain needs to be addressed and properly managed. But when physicians prescribe, I think they should consider alternatives to opioids, alternatives that are less addictive, as well as dispensing smaller amounts so there’s none left over in the house that might be accessed by young children.”

Heroin Overdoses Quadrupled in 5 Years

From 2010 to 2015, the number of people who died from heroin overdoses quadrupled in the U.S., reaching nearly 13,000 overdose deaths in 2015. The data, from the National Center for Health Statistics, points to the growing severity of the prescription opioid epidemic as well, as people who use the prescription drugs are 40 times more likely to use heroin — a much cheaper stand-in for prescription pills.21

The state of Massachusetts also cited a 24 percent rise in opioid overdose deaths compared to last year, including from fentanyl, a drug that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. According to the CDC:22

“ … most recent cases of fentanyl-related harm, overdose and death in the U.S. are linked to illegally made fentanyl. It is sold through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect. It is often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine as a combination product — with or without the user’s knowledge — to increase its euphoric effects.”

Massachusetts now has a law in effect that is intended to help fight opioid addiction by putting a seven-day limit on first-time prescriptions for opioid pain relievers.23

Non-Drug Solutions for Pain Relief

Not everyone who takes a prescription opioid will wind up an addict, but the risk is real. This is why I strongly recommend exhausting other options before you resort to an opioid pain reliever, especially for mild to moderate pain. The health risks associated with these drugs are great and addiction and overdose happen far more often than you might think.

If you have chronic pain of any kind, please understand that there are many safe and effective alternatives to prescription and even over-the-counter painkillers. The pain remedies that follow are natural, providing excellent pain relief without any of the health hazards that pain medications often carry.

Astaxanthin: One of the most effective oil-soluble antioxidants known, astaxanthin has very potent anti-inflammatory properties. Higher doses are typically required and one may need 8 milligrams or more per day to achieve this benefit.
Ginger: This herb is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.
Curcumin: Curcumin is the primary therapeutic compound identified in the spice turmeric. In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added only 200 milligrams of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility.24 In fact, curcumin has been shown in over 50 clinical studies to have potent anti-inflammatory activity, as well as demonstrating the ability in four studies to reduce Tylenol-associated adverse health effects.
Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which have been prized for thousands of years. This is one of my personal favorites, as I have seen it work well with many rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Bromelain: This protein-digesting enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful. Keep in mind that most of the bromelain is found within the core of the pineapple, so consider leaving a little of the pulpy core intact when you consume the fruit.
Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a “joint lubricant” and an anti-inflammatory. I have used a topical preparation for myself to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild annoying carpal tunnel syndrome that pops up when I type too much on non-ergonomic keyboards.
Evening Primrose, Black Currant and Borage Oils: These contain the fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.
Cayenne Cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmit pain signals to your brain.

Dietary Changes and Additional Pain Relief Options

When physicians don’t know how to effectively treat chronic pain, they resort to the only treatment they know: prescription drugs, which will do nothing to solve the underlying reasons why you’re in pain. Toward that end, if you suffer from chronic pain, there’s a good chance you need to tweak your diet as follows:

  1. Start taking a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat like krill oil. Omega-3 fats are precursors to mediators of inflammation called prostaglandins. (In fact, that is how anti-inflammatory painkillers work: they positively influence prostaglandins.) The omega-3 fats EPA and DHA contained in krill oil have been found in many animal and clinical studies to have anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial for pain relief.
  2. Reduce your intake of most processed foods as not only do they contain sugar and additives, but also most are loaded with omega-6 fats that upset your delicate omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. This, in turn, will contribute to inflammation, a key factor in most pain.
  3. Eliminate or radically reduce most grains and sugars (especially fructose) from your diet. Avoiding grains and sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated insulin and leptin levels are one of the most profound stimulators of inflammatory prostaglandin production. That is why eliminating sugar and grains is so important to controlling your pain.
  4. Optimize your production of vitamin D by getting regular, appropriate sun exposure, which will work through a variety of different mechanisms to reduce your pain. This satisfies your body’s appetite for regular sun exposure.

Finally, the natural pain-relief methods that follow are useful for ongoing and lasting pain relief and management:

  • Chiropractic adjustments: According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), patients with neck pain who used a chiropractor and/or exercise were more than twice as likely to be pain-free in 12 weeks compared to those who took medication.25
  • Massage: Massage releases endorphins, which help induce relaxation, relieve pain and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline.
  • Acupuncture: Researchers concluded that acupuncture has a definite effect in reducing chronic pain such as back pain and headaches — more so than standard pain treatment.26

References: see below.

About the author:

Dr. Joseph MercolaBorn and raised in the inner city of Chicago, IL, Dr. Joseph Mercola is an osteopathic physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Mercola served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for five years, and in 2012 was granted fellowship status by the American College of Nutrition (ACN).

While in practice in the late 80s, Dr. Mercola realized the drugs he was prescribing to chronically ill patients were not working. By the early 90s, he began exploring the world of natural medicine, and soon changed the way he practiced medicine.

In 1997 Dr. Mercola founded Mercola.com, which is now routinely among the top 10 health sites on the internet. His passion is to transform the traditional medical paradigm in the United States. “The existing medical establishment is responsible for killing and permanently injuring millions of Americans… You want practical health solutions without the hype, and that’s what I offer.”

Originally Published: https://wakeup-world.com/2017/04/06/big-pharma-channeled-opioids-to-black-market/

Out-Snoped! Snopes Outed as Unfit to Discern Fake News from Truth

snopesBy Dr. Joseph Mercola

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or hiding beneath the covers in your bed for the past couple of months, you’ve undoubtedly heard the war cries against “fake news.” Facebook — being the largest social media site on which news is shared among millions — has vowed to take steps to limit the amount of “misinformation” that can be spread on its site by forwarding suspected fake news stories to fact-checkers like Snopes.1,2,3,4,So-called disputed stories would then be “buried” lower in people’s news feeds.

However, while verifying celebrity deaths or disputing urban legends — Snopes’ specialty — is a pretty easy task, debating matters about health and nutrition is an altogether different matter. So, if Snopes, whose office is reportedly filled with junk food,6 is now the arbiter of truth when it comes to health — you can expect to see massive censorship of natural health and general promotion of industry talking points.

 

Thomas Jefferson once wrote that if he were ever to decide between a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, he would not hesitate a moment to prefer the later. But today, 90 percent of U.S. media is controlled by six corporations, making it increasingly difficult to obtain information that is not consistent with their agenda — to maximize their profits and controls. The only bastion of truth is the uncensored internet.

But now it seems these corporations are taking advantage of the current sense of confusion in the community, and are using their existing control to silence disagreement with disinformation, in a manner that strongly reminds me of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s efforts in the 1950s to accuse many innocent people of being Communists…

The Murky War on Fake News

By definition, fake news stories are articles that are figments of someone’s imagination or which contain outright falsehoods. On the one end of clear-cut fake news you have The Onion, a well-known satire site. On the other, you have RealTrueNews.org, which claims to create intentionally fake stories “to make those who share fake right-wing news… more aware that they’re susceptible to stories written in [their] language that are complete, obvious [and] utter fabrications,” The Daily Beast reports.7 And in the middle, you have shoddy journalism in general, where bias, corporate and political influence, unreliable sources, malleable ethics and general laziness or plain lack of experience result in a wide array of news of questionable quality and accuracy.

The main difference is that everything in this middle gray-zone usually claims to be based in fact and truth. But is censoring or blacklisting the best way to address so-called “fake news” — especially when a vast majority of it falls in this gray zone? Of course, people are also allowed to express their opinions (ideally, journalists should make such statements clear), which cannot be arbitrated as true or false, per se.

As recently noted by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, the solution to fake news is teaching people critical thinking — not censoring what they read.8

“The problem of fake news isn’t solved by hoping for a referee but rather because we as participants, we as citizens, we as users of these services help each other. The answer to bad speech is not censorship. The answer to bad speech is more speech. We have to exercise and spread the idea that critical thinking matters now more than ever, given the fact that lies seem to be getting very popular,” Snowden told Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

Facebook Clamping Down on Fake News — Or So It Says…

Facebook has announced it will stem the tide of fake news stories — the magnitude of which is estimated to be a fraction of 1 percent of the network’s content — by allowing users to flag a post as fake news. Flagged posts would then be handed over to a coalition of fact-checkers. But who exactly are these fact-checkers, and do they have the appropriate qualifications to arbiter “truth?”

It’s difficult for any given individual to determine what is 100 percent accurate without significant personal insight into the topic at hand, and the ability to accurately sort through scientific research, should such a thing be necessary. Attention to detail, an inquiring mind and following a thorough process that includes looking at things from many sides would also be helpful. There’s also the issue of bias. A professional fact-checker can have none.

With all of that in mind, the coalition of fact-checkers selected by Facebook to police our news feeds — which include Snopes,9 PolitiFact, the Associated Press, FactCheck.org and ABC News — raises concerns. Most if not all of these organizations tend toward political bias, as does Facebook, if we’re to believe The Washington Post.10

When it comes to fake information, it is ironic that Facebook and Google relentlessly promote fake “information” in the form of advertisements for pharmaceuticals and other businesses — their primary form of revenue earnings. It seems nearly every ad they perpetuate contains fake information, yet while they claim concern over “fake news”, they have no concerns raking in the cash by promoting the perspectives of the pharmaceutical and other industries. Will Snopes also be verifying the validity of their promoted advertisements?

The Twisted People Facebook Entrusts with Controlling What You Read

The danger of giving certain entities the power to tag a news story as “fake” or “real” is clearly demonstrated by recent revelations about Snopes.11 After Facebook announced Snopes would be used to fact-check stories, The Daily Mail 12 questioned Snopes’ façade as a paragon of truth.

Snopes was created in 1995 by Barbara and David Mikkelson to explore the truth and fiction behind myths and urban legends (see video above.) According to the Daily Mail’s investigation into the company, the couple posed as “The San Fernardo Valley Folklore Society” when they first started — a society that, in fact, does not exist as a legal entity. David has admitted they created the fake society, with official-looking stationary and all, “to help make the inquiries seem more legit.”

The Mikkelsons divorced in 2015, but are still locked in a heated legal battle over corporate and private funds. Barbara claims David embezzled $98,000 of company money, allegedly spending it on “himself and prostitutes,” and used corporate funds for his personal use, including attorney’s fees, without consulting her. David, on the other hand, claims he’s been underpaid, and is demanding an “industry standard” rate of at least $360,000 per year. (He’s currently making $240,000 a year from Snopes.) He also accuses Barbara of taking millions of dollars from their joint bank accounts to buy property, and according to the Daily Mail, David’s attorneys have “blasted Barbara as ‘a loose cannon who simply must have her way.’”

Who Are Snopes’ Fact-Checkers?

According to the featured report, David’s new wife, Elyssa Young — a former escort, self-proclaimed “courtesan” and porn actress who ran for Congress in Hawaii as a Libertarian in 2004 — is now employed as a Snopes administrator. Despite that, David claims Snopes still has no political leanings. Young is also said to maintain a website that offers her escort services, although “it is unclear if she is still working as one,” the Daily Mail notes.

Another former sex-blogger known as “Vice Vixen” (real name Kimberly LaCapria) is one of Snopes’ main contributors. According to her blog — which she describes as being focused on “naughtiness, sin, carnal pursuits and general hedonism and bonne vivantery” —  she performs her Snopes duties while high on pot. In all, Snopes is said to have six employees “scattered across the U.S.”13

Snopes Unfit to Arbiter News

Ironically, as noted by the Daily Mail, “The two [Mikkelsons] also dispute what are basic facts of their case — despite Snopes.com saying its ‘ownership’ is committed to ‘accuracy and impartiality.’” They even had a fall-out over the arbiter they’d appointed to settle David’s income dispute… “[m]eaning that arbiter cannot even agree on its own arbiter,” the Daily Mail notes. The Daily Mail contacted both David and Barbara for comments and confirmation of their disputes. According to the article:

David said he was legally prohibited from discussing his ex-wife’s allegations. ‘I’d love to respond, but unfortunately the terms of a binding settlement agreement preclude me from publicly discussing the details of our divorce,’ he said. Barbara Mikkelson said: ‘No comment.’

Forbes contributor Kalev Leetaru got a similar response. He writes:14

“When I first read through the Daily Mail article I immediately suspected the story itself must certainly be ‘fake news’ … if any of the claims were true … companies like Facebook would not be partnering with them … Thus, when I reached out to David Mikkelson … for comment, I fully expected him to respond with a lengthy email in Snopes’ trademark point-by-point format, fully refuting each and every one of the claims in the Daily Mail’s article and writing the entire article off as ‘fake news.’

It was with incredible surprise therefore that I received David’s one-sentence response which read in its entirety ‘I’d be happy to speak with you, but I can only address some aspects in general because I’m precluded by the terms of a binding settlement agreement from discussing details of my divorce.’

This absolutely astounded me. Here was one of the world’s most respected fact checking organizations, soon to be an ultimate arbitrator of ‘truth’ on Facebook, saying that it cannot respond to a fact checking request because of a secrecy agreement. In short, when someone attempted to fact check the fact checker, the response was the equivalent of ‘it’s secret.’

It is impossible to understate how antithetical this is to the fact checking world, in which absolute openness and transparency are necessary prerequisites for trust. How can fact checking organizations like Snopes expect the public to place trust in them if when they themselves are called into question, their response is that they can’t respond?”

out-snoped-snopes-outed-as-unfit-to-arbiter-truth-ma-and-pa-snopes-aka-david-and-barbara-mikkelson

The final word on “truth’? Snopes, aka David and Barbara Mikkelson (and their part-time “fact-checker”, Fluffy the Cat.)

New York Times Shows Disappointing Lack of Care

Did you know that anyone, regardless of background, can be hired by Snopes? Indeed, the company does not have any set professional requirements for fact-checkers. Disturbingly, David has admitted they do not even have a standardized procedure for conducting the actual fact-checking.15,16

Surprisingly, not everyone appears to care about the integrity of fact-checkers. The New York Times 17 published a puff piece in Snopes’ defense, side-stepping any and all concerns raised by the Daily Mail and Forbes — a strange choice after the Times’ November 13 promise to:18

… rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism … to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you … to hold power to account, impartially and unflinchingly.

Snopes is about to be given the power to decide what’s true and what’s not, yet The New York Times doesn’t raise or answer a single question about its lack of professional requirements or fact-checking procedures. How can that be? Personally, I’m dismayed by it. If you agree, I suggest letting The New York Times know they’re already falling behind on their promise to “report … honestly, without fear or favor.”

Snopes is Just Another Voice for the Status Quo

A perfect example of why Snopes should have nothing to do with arbitrating health news is its “debunking” of safety concerns about aspartame.19 This case also demonstrates the insidious and dangerous effect of bias, which can come from the very highest levels.

 

Snopes bases its decision on the 1999 testimony of David Hattan, Ph.D., acting director of the Division of Health Effects Evaluation in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Clearly, he is a person of authority. And yet he’s wrong. Entire books have been written delineating the cover-up and political shenanigans that allowed aspartame on the market and has kept it there ever since, despite warnings from scientists both before and after its release. Reputable scientists have also refuted a number of Hattan’s comments, such as the idea that aspartame may only cause problems in individuals with a rare genetic disorder. At the very least, Snopes would need to read the books and review the aspartame research that shows harm, and there are many such studies. Instead, they took the easy way out. As a result, a lot of people are not properly forewarned and may be hurt.

Ditto for Monsanto’s Roundup. On November 16, 2016, Snopes looked into claims made by Food Babe that the FDA might have shut down its residue testing of glyphosate due to complaints from Monsanto. “False”, Snopes declared. Yet ironically, and raising further concerns about the Mikkelsons’ agenda, the Snopes page that declared no corporate influence played a role in the FDA’s actions AND which claimed that “the broad scientific consensus is that [glyphosate] is not a risk” contains a prominent advertisement for the recent Bayer-Monsanto merger.

This clearly demonstrates the danger of having advertisers: even if they don’t tell you what to say, their ad placed alongside your claims makes it appear as though they did.

But in this case, the nail in the proverbial coffin is a Twitter exchange 20 that clearly shows the fact-checker for Snopes, Alex H. Kasprak, got his information about glyphosate’s “safety” from Kevin Folta, Ph.D. Folta is a University of Florida professor and a vocal advocate of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) who vehemently denied ever receiving any money from Monsanto, but was caught lying about his financial ties to the company in 2015. In fact, the evidence suggests he purposely solicited the funds from Monsanto with intent to hide the source. Folta himself even promised Monsanto a “return on investment” in writing.

This just goes to show that part of fact-checking is background-checking your sources as well, and considering the many different angles available. Everyone knows that with money comes influence.

What About Mainstream Media Flubs?

A number of people have also questioned how mainstream media would be dealt with in this war on fake news, and rightfully so. As noted by The Daily Beast:21

Mike Cernovich, who popularized the #HillarysHealth hashtag during the presidential election, helping to spread various theories about her rumored ailments, told The Daily Beast that other news outlets, which have reported things that turned out to be false, should also perhaps be banned.

“Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Should The New York Times be banned from Facebook?”, Cernovich said in a direct Twitter message to The Daily Beast, referencing erroneous reporting about the lead-up to the Iraq War.

Rolling Stone created a nationwide hysteria surrounding the University of Virginia. Rolling Stone created a rape hoax. Should Rolling Stone be banned from Facebook? Should the so-called journalists who linked to the hoax article be banned from Facebook? …

Sometimes people are wrong. Being wrong is different from spreading fake news. If a person is legitimately trying to reason her way to the truth, even if misguided, then she is not spreading fake news — even if it seems ‘kooky’ to outsiders … The entire media enterprise has become dishonest. We define one another based on … a bad judgment call or two … In that regard, all of media is fake news.”

We Should Be More Concerned About Algorithms Filtering Our Reading Material

Forbes’ contributor Jordan Shapiro takes it a step further, calling the “fake news” scare a case of fake news. His excellent article, which I recommend reading in its entirety, reads in part:22

“Don’t worry about fake news. The whole scare is, itself, fake news. Don’t believe a word of it. Could it be that the news media is still trying to distract us from their own poor performance? After all, if inaccuracy makes a thing ‘fake,’ then all the pundits’ and pollsters’ pre-election day predictions were pretty bad offenders.

Or perhaps we should define fake news as the process of intentionally producing false stories for rhetorical reasons, in order to persuade people to shift perspectives. Which would make most of the advertising industry guilty …

While well-meaning people run around trying to protect children (and gullible adults) from so-called ‘fake news,’ anyone … who actually leans totalitarian must be ecstatic … Once the citizenry accepts the conceit that some news is ‘real’ (and therefore, good) while other news is ‘fake’ (and therefore, bad) they’ll voluntarily submit to censorship. Freedom of the press can easily be replaced by sanctioned propaganda …

[T]he real problem is not falsehoods or inaccuracies, but rather that everything about the popular landscape of digital media currently encourages us to see the world the way we want it to be. Combine that with an education system which pays little more than lip service to critical thinking … and you end up with a population that’s been encouraged to live with poor vision … Democracy’s biggest threat is not tyrants, but rather citizens who are satisfied with their own limited view of reality.”

We are all flawed individuals with our own perspectives and biases. To suggest that any person or group of people could be put in charge as “arbiters of truth” is a dangerous and inevitable path towards censorship.

Google and Facebook’s foundations were built upon crowd-sourcing free thoughts and actions. It now appears their creative beginnings are transforming into a censorship authority that controls what information may be viewed by the public. We all find our inner truths differently, and to allow Snopes and similar groups to become the internet’s watchdogs will result in biased censorship and will be a devastating mistake for Facebook and Google.

Sources and references:

About the author:

Dr. Joseph MercolaBorn and raised in the inner city of Chicago, IL, Dr. Joseph Mercola is an osteopathic physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Mercola served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for five years, and in 2012 was granted fellowship status by the American College of Nutrition (ACN).

While in practice in the late 80s, Dr. Mercola realized the drugs he was prescribing to chronically ill patients were not working. By the early 90s, he began exploring the world of natural medicine, and soon changed the way he practiced medicine.

In 1997 Dr. Mercola founded Mercola.com, which is now routinely among the top 10 health sites on the internet. His passion is to transform the traditional medical paradigm in the United States. “The existing medical establishment is responsible for killing and permanently injuring millions of Americans… You want practical health solutions without the hype, and that’s what I offer.”

Visit Mercola.com for more information, or read Dr. Mercola’s full bio and résumé here.

Originally Posted: http://wakeup-world.com/2017/01/12/out-snoped-snopes-outed-as-unfit-to-discern-fake-news-from-truth/

Mandarin Orange Oil: The Ancient Essential Oil

mandarin-orange-oil-300x200The Mandarin orange has been cultivated in China since the 12th century B.C. Its valuable oil is extracted directly from the peel and has been used for medicinal purposes in China, India and Europe since ancient times. It has a well-deserved reputation for effectively treating skin conditions and providing stress relief.

Good Oil Starts With Good Fruit

The key to making a quality mandarin orange oil is finding the right oranges. Ripe oranges should be carefully harvested by hand during the summertime because they are prone to damage.

The essential oil is extracted from the fresh peels using cold compression. Depending on the country of origin, species and maturity of the oranges when they were harvested, the resulting product can range from golden yellow, to red or even green.

The Benefits of Mandarin Orange Oil

Here are several well-known uses of mandarin orange oil:

  • May protect open wounds from potential fungal, bacterial or viral infections
  • Treats digestive conditions such as diarrhea, flatulence and constipation
  • Works to prevent spasms in the digestive, muscular and respiratory systems
  • Cleanses your blood and helping to remove toxic substances from your body
  • Potentially reduces inflammation and stress
  • Can stimulate a healthy appetite

The oil can also be massaged directly onto afflicted areas or mixed into a bath oil for a soothing and nourishing treatment.

Additionally, you can mix mandarin orange oil with a carrier oil such as juniper berry or cypress oil to help treat stretch marks, cellulites and fluid retention.

Mandarin orange oil is also known for its calming effects, which can help treat insomnia, convulsions, hysteria and epilepsy.

Remember These Precautions When Using Mandarin Oil

Similar to other essential oils, mandarin orange oil is generally safe but it is best to first consult with a doctor because of the potential for side effects, especially if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or have an existing medical condition.

Essential oils may irritate your skin if used alone, so mixing it with a carrier oil is recommended. The carrier oil will dilute the essential oil’s strength, reducing the potential for skin irritation. Direct exposure to sunlight after use should be avoided.

Before using mandarin orange oil, test it on a patch of skin first with a few drops to see if it causes irritation. If irritation persists, stop using it and call your doctor immediately.

Originally Published:  http://www.drmercola.com/essential-oils/mandarin-orange-oil-the-ancient-essential-oil/

Author: Dr. Mercola