Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Treatment Tuesday - Oral Ulcer (Canker Sore)

A mouth ulcer is a very painful open sore inside the mouth, caused by a break in the mucus membrane. Don’t panic—these sores are not herpes.

They start with tingling and burning, then form a red bump, which opens up into an ulcer, also called a canker sore. The ulcer is light colored with a red border. They sometimes have a white circle around it. The ulcer may cause painful swelling below the jaw. 

Small oral ulcers heal on their own in a couple weeks. Even a group of very small ulcers will generally heal before a month is up, with no scars or other negative effects. Larger or more painful ulcers, however, usually take more than a month to heal and you may end up with scar. Natural treatments to reduce the swelling and inflammation are a good idea for these ulcers.

What Causes Oral Ulcers?

Oral ulcers are usually an overreaction by the body's own immune system, which can be caused by food allergies, stress, and exhaustion. You can also get them from injuries such as biting the lip or getting hit on the lip, wearing braces, and passionate kisses. Here are some other causes:
  • Hormonal imbalances including menstrual cycles and imbalances caused by coffee, prescription drugs, and stress
  • Deficiencies in B vitamins, particularly B2, and in iron
  • Candida infection
  • Gluten, which is found in wheat, oats, spelt, rye, or barley and can result in chronic mouth ulcers. Many products, even natural ones, include added gluten, so read the ingredients. Even beer is often made from wheat, and of course, most bread products include gluten.
  • Vitamin C products, especially ascorbic acid or citric acid
  • Chemotherapy
  • Illness can bring on the canker sores. If they occur often and you have avoided the known causes, your immune system is not functioning correctly.
Treatments for Oral Ulcers
  • Use a highly concentrated solution of sea salt in water as hot as you can stand to hold in your mouth. Keep swishing the solution around in your mouth and on the affected area until the water cools. The salt will sting, but it will clean the bacteria out and help your tissues contract and clot, then grow back together more efficiently. Remember, your body is nearly 1% salt (sodium chloride). This salt mouthwash first expands the tissue at the wound site, then shrinks it naturally.
  • Herbalists also recommend aloe vera gel and deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) chewable tablets for oral ulcers. Aloe vera gel soothes and heals the mouth’s delicate mucous membranes. Clinical research suggests that chewable DGL tablets are extremely effective oral ulcer cures. According to one study, chewing on DGL tablets completely healed oral ulcers in 15 out of 20 patients. Best of all, the healing was done within only three days. 
  • As with nearly all sores and ailments, you can best avoid them by keeping your body as healthy as possible by getting enough nutrition from whole food sources, getting plenty of rest and maintaining a healthy stress level. Doing all of these things will also keep your immune system in top condition.

Other Considerations:
Try Vitamin E oil on the scarred areas to make them disappear.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Treatment Tuesday - Sore Throat

Sore throats often mark the onset of colds and flu, so it’s important to eradicate them as soon as they appear. Left untreated, even for a just few hours, they can grow out of control and affect, even threaten, the tonsils. In many cases, they may develop into more serious throat conditions and coughs. Scratching or itching sensations in the back of the throat are generally signs of bacteria or viruses. Eating sugar and processed foods can feed them.

Thankfully, there are many natural solutions for eliminating a sore or itchy throat.

What Causes a Sore Throat?

A sore throat is a common first symptom of both colds and the flu. A number of germs, such as streptococcus, and several viruses cause sore throats. Sometimes, however, bacteria and viruses aren’t to blame. Basically, anything that inflames and dries out your throat’s mucous membranes can cause a sore throat. This means that living in an arid climate, smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, vomiting, acid reflux, screaming, and allergies can all give you a sore throat.

Sore Throat Remedies

Over-the-counter remedies for sore throat usually just cover up the symptoms of itching and irritation. Many natural remedies, however, can actually eliminate the sore throat. What’s important is that you do something right away before it develops into a more serious condition or illness.
  • Hit the throat itself with antibacterial and antiviral herbs or tinctures. Some good choices are St. John’s wort, liquid Echinacea with goldenseal, and propolis tincture. Use an eyedropper or spray to apply these to your throat.
  • Gargle with warm salt water or hydrogen peroxide (diluted in half with water).
  • Increase vitamin C intake by eating plenty of fresh, organic fruits and other foods high in vitamin C (plums, red peppers, rose hips, currants, etc.).
  • If your sore throat is not caused by virus or infection, you can sooth it with honey and anti-inflammatory herbs.  
 With sore throats, an ounce of prevention is often worth a pound of cure. Generally the best way to keep from getting a sore throat is to avoid things that cause them such as talking to loudly or excessively or smoking. For sore throats related to infections, its best to keep your body as healthy as possible by eating lots of nutritious whole foods, drinking plenty of water and getting adequate rest.

Friday, December 18, 2009

This is how you know when a product is good!

This was on the comapny's blog. You know something works when all the executives use it too!

Written by Jay Koh, Vice President of BōKU® International
This is my very UN scientific, but very practical real-world review of the new BōKU® Immune Tonic.
I was getting ready for a string of business trips which would take me to 3 different cities in 7days.  My starting point was Los Angeles, first destination was Seattle, then to Las Vegas, and finally San Francisco for their 2009 GREEN FESTIVAL.   My fear was that in the middle of the most feared flu season in decades, I was exposing myself to thousands of people and high-risk locations where epidemics usually break.  I felt pretty confident that my immune system was up to the challenge but I was happy to find a trial vial of the new BōKU® Immune Tonic in the office.  I decided it would be a good “test” to see how well it might perform in a “real world” situation.

Read the whole "test" here: http://bit.ly/567wDm

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Treatment Tuesdays - Stress

We all feel stress at some point, especially when the holidays are upon us. Sometimes stress is good  and sometimes it can make you downright sick!

Many experts believe that unhealthy stress is the number one cause of disease and poor health. Scientists agree that stress causes actual brain chemistry changes, and these changes can influence your health. Stress is or may be a contributing factor in everything from backaches and insomnia to cancer, heart disease, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Heart disease is the number one killer of American women. High blood pressure, heart attacks, heart palpitations, and stroke are often stress-related cardiovascular conditions.

Often, people feel the effects of stress as fatigue, various aches and pains, and headaches, or as emotional disorders such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. Stress affects others by causing gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcers, lower abdominal cramps, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Frequently, people under the effects of stress will have more colds and infections due to lowered immune system responses. Stress can also cause skin conditions such as itchy skin and rashes.

Why Are We So Stressed Out?

Physical stress may be the result of too much to do, not enough sleep, a poor diet, or effects of an illness. Stress can also be mental: when you worry about money, a loved one’s illness, or retirement; or experience an emotionally devastating event, such as the death of a spouse or being fired from work can add an enormous amount of stress to your life.

However, much of our stress comes from less dramatic, everyday responsibilities. Obligations and pressures, both physical and mental, are not always obvious to us. In response to these daily strains, your body automatically increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and blood flow to your muscles. This response is intended to help your body react quickly and effectively to a high-pressure situation.

This is why exercise is so vital. In nature, we are designed to be far more active than we are in modern life. The fight-or-flight response is meant to result in a physical activity, such as fighting or fleeing. When you are constantly reacting to stressful situations without making adjustments to counter the physical effects, you will feel stress—which can threaten your health and well-being. Stress significantly ages us, not only cosmetically, but throughout the body.

Stress and Hormones

Stress releases adrenaline into the bloodstream, which converts to cortisol. When there is an overabundance of cortisol in the bloodstream over long periods, it can lead to problems with thinking, raised blood pressure, weight gain in the belly, lowered immune response, muscle mass loss and connective tissue weakening, growth hormone level imbalances, blood sugar imbalances, and hypothyroidism. High cortisol from stress strongly affects memory, and even leaves the blood brain barrier open, allowing toxins to penetrate where they would not go otherwise. A life of stress leaves people more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

High cortisol can be reduced through sunshine, regular rest, exercise, and fun. If cortisol levels become too low, however, stress continues and adrenal depletion ensues. This leads to exhaustion, and is implicated in Chronic Fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.

The adrenals also produce too little DHEA when they are busy with cortisol, which can be rebalanced through joy and laughter. You be can be tested for your DHEA levels to see if you need supplementation for either low or high levels of cortisol phases, but careful supervision by a health care practitioner is suggested to make sure DHEA is being used to create the proper hormones in your body. Do NOT use DHEA if you suspect prostate cancer.

Treatments for Reducing Stress

Here are a few suggestions for stress management to help maintain a healthy lifestyle:
  • First and foremost, stop thriving on stress. If your lifestyle choices cause too much stress, ask yourself what you gain by continuing to make these choices (or by not changing). Perhaps a larger fear or avoidance pattern is behind the stress.
  • Remove caffeine from your diet—completely! Stress is severely worsened by stimulants like coffee, and sugar, even though you may be tempted to use them because your weakened adrenals may need extra stimulation if you are pushing yourself to keep going. Don’t, as that only perpetuates the cycle and you will feel even worse later.
  • Noise increases stress response, so find time in a quiet place. Better yet, create a quiet space and use it regularly for introspection, meditation, and relaxation.
Make sure you’re eating highly nutritious food if you have a high-stress lifestyle. You can help balance your system by adding super food nutrition from dark green, leafy vegetables, sea vegetables bee pollen, olive leaf extract, pine bark extract, and other nutrient-rich foods and botanicals.

Other Considerations

When you feel stress start to build, take a deep breath! Flood your body with life-giving oxygen and feel the difference immediately. There’s a reason Grandma always said take a deep breathe and settle down—because it works! One of the body’s responses to stress is to shorten the breath, which will deprive the body of oxygen. Again, in nature we would typically respond to stress in ways that would have us fighting, fleeing, or both. Physical activity (think exercise) following a stressful or threatening encounter will have us breathing deeply and more efficiently using the adrenaline and other hormones and chemicals released by our body. In modern life, we often deal with stress while we are sitting down. We continue the shallow breathing and often keep it all inside. A recipe for disaster!
  • Jin Shin Do is a method of working with acupressure points to help release core stresses and help you cope with everyday stressors.
  • A good massage will alleviate much stress and muscle tension.
  • For many, aromatic baths can do wonders. Fill a hot bath and add Epsom salts and 20 drops of lavender, chamomile, lilac, or neroli essential oils. Breathe deeply while you soak. The aromatic healing properties will melt away your stress.

Friday, December 11, 2009


The Amazing Cucumber This information was in The New York Times several weeks ago as part of their "Spotlight on the Home" series that highlighted creative and fanciful ways to solve common problems.

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber.  Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower?  Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds?  Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long.  The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool?  Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite.  Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache?  Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes?  Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge?  Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa?  Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber with react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints?  Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel?  Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won't leave streaks and won't harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake?  Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Healthy Recipes - Raw, Organic Bonbons

Yield: approximately 30-35 pieces

15 plump, moist, pitted medjool dates
2 cups raw, unsalted macadamia nuts
1/ teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
¼ cup Boku
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon raw honey or agave nectar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
¼ cup finely chopped candied ginger (dried apricots or golden raisins are good, too)

Shredded unsweetened coconut, cocoa powder or sesame seeds for coating – approx 12 cup of any.

Process the macadamia nuts with the sea salt until fine in a processor fitted with the steel blade – take care not to process to a paste. Add dates and process to combine well. Add cocoa powder, Boku, cardamom, cinnamon, honey or agave and vanilla. Process until a uniform mixture. Add in the ginger and pulse until just combined – nice to leave pieces for texture.

Turn mixture into a bowl. Form small bonbons (1/2 oz. size is perfect) by squeezing and rolling the mixture between your palms. Roll bonbons in the coconut, cocoa or sesame seeds to coat. Bonbons keep well one week refrigerated (great cold!), freeze up to three months.

Recipe & photo by Heidi Robb

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Treatment Tuesday - Chapped Lips

Anyone who has spent time skiing, hiking, or just relaxing outdoors has probably experienced chapped lips at some point. This condition, which ranges from slightly annoying to extremely painful, is associated with drying of the lips from weather exposure. Lip salves and balms can help prevent and even heal chapped lips.

If you suffer from painful, even bleeding cracks and splits in your lips, especially at the corners of the mouth, then you may have developed angular cheilitis, a condition brought on not by weather or dryness, but by a virus or fungus.

What Causes Chapped Lips?

Your lips are prone to chapping because they are covered with epithelial tissue, the same sensitive material that lines your intestines. Exposure to cold, windy weather can cause chapping, as can excessive moisture (licking the lips) and allergenic lipstick.
Angular cheilitis is usually caused by a fungal, viral or bacterial infection. It also can be brought on by biting or excessive licking of the lips.

Treating Chapped Lips

Stop putting petroleum-based products on your lips. They feel slick but actually dry your lips, which is why you need to keep applying them—which is a good way for the manufacturer to get more of your money. Instead, use lip balms or gloss made from shea butter, beeswax, and vegetable or nut oils. Also use vitamin A, D, and E oils or ointments (preferably the concentrated 32,000 IU/ounce variety of vitamin E). Use a generous amount and your damaged lips will heal in nearly an instant. Also, B vitamins can help prevent chapping.

Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial that can be an effective treatment against angular chelitis. It can be used in combination with vitamin E.

The best bet for treating and preventing chapped lips is to stay properly  hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Keep you whole body running in good condition by getting enough vitamins, minerals and all of the necessary nutrients from organic whole food sources.