Thursday, December 31, 2015

Magnesium – The Missing Link To Better Health

Magnesium - The Missing Link To Better Health  
Magnesium is regarded by scientists as essential to life, playing a fundamental role in living cells. Magnesium is a crucially important mineral for optimal health throughout the body. A surprisingly large proportion of people do not get enough magnesium: At least 57% (some say 80%!) of the US population does not meet the US RDA for dietary magnesium intake!
Calcium tends to be taken in high quantities – which can cause more harm than good, as it’s very important to have a proper balance between these two minerals. This is the reason why they are sometimes seen paired together in “cal-mag” supplements. Magnesium is critical for heart health and excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium can lead to a heart attack and sudden death. [1]
Early signals of magnesium deficiency include: Appetite loss, headaches, nausea, tiredness and weakness. Ongoing or more severe magnesium deficiency can lead to more serious symptoms, such as numbness and tingling, cramps, seizures, behavioral changes, abnormal heart rhythm and coronary spasm.
One of the great challenges of testing your own body’s magnesium levels is that only around 1% of the body’s magnesium is in the blood, making the magnesium readings from a serum magnesium blood test inaccurate.
One of the best food sources of magnesium is pumpkin seeds – of which a quarter cup contains almost 50% of the RDA of magnesium! I would suggest to go for the organic ones – typically darker in color because of their higher mineral content. There are numerous other food sources of magnesium and we have listed them here.
Note that calcium and magnesium also need to be balanced with vitamin D and vitamin K2. In other words, any time you’re taking any of magnesium, calcium, vitamin D3, or vitamin K2, you need to take all four into consideration, since they all work synergistically. [1]
Magnesium Links For Further Study:
[1] Full Report On Magnesium and Health From Eat Local Grown:
20 Mind Blowing Reasons Why Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) Should Be In Every Home
How To Make Your Own Magnesium Oil To Improve Sleep And Reduce Stress
Important Facts About Magnesium And Your Health (Infographic)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Clove Oil Works Just As Well As Orajel For Dental Pain Relief

48 image – Wikipedia (PD)
Most people use conventional OTC meeds such as Anbesol and Orajel when they have toothache. These conventional products’ active ingredient is benzocaine, an anesthetic – however this is known to cause allergic reactions and other side effects.
A 2006 human trial published in the Journal of Dentistry discovered that homemade clove essential oil gel works as effectively as benzocaine 20% gel for helping toothache and chronic tooth pain.
The maximum strength OTC products on the market, such as Anbesol and Orajel, use 20% benzocaine as the active ingredient.
Clove Oil’s “Double Action”
Clove essential oil has a “double action”: First it is strongly antibacterial (as well as antifungal) and the secret to its potent antibacterial effect lies on its phenolic compound content, principally eugenol.
Clove oil also acts as a painkiller and it’s interesting to note that it has a history of centuries of use for tooth and gum pain. Whole cloves were an old folk-remedy for toothache, being applied to or stuffed into the painful area of the tooth, or even chewed with the affected tooth if this is possible. Whole clove is a further option if you have neither the EO nor any other medications available. Some dentists and toothache kits still use pure eugenol for emergency treatment of toothaches and clove oil was once standard in this application!
Clove Oil Safety
Important safety notes on using clove essential oil:
1) Use clove oil only as a temporarily pain relief and not a permanent solution. You should make an appointment with a dental professional as soon as possible – however if toothache strikes “after hours” (or if you happen to find yourself “Off the Grid” / in a survival situation) clove oil may help.
2) Pure clove oil is very powerful and it could burn your skin or cause nausea if you use it full strength. Dilute with olive oil (one part clove, 2 parts olive oil). Then, do a skin test to find out if you are allergic to cloves – apply a small amount to your skin i.e. inside of the forearm and wait. If any rash appears, it would be advisable to seek an alternative.
3) Be sure to use a high quality pure essential oil.
Further reading: Read our full essential oil report to learn more about Clove Essential Oil


Natural Ways To Keep Fleas out Of Your Home


Fleas, as pestilent as they are, are actually fascinating creatures. One of their best known “super powers” is their ability to jump hundreds of times their own body length. If we could perform a similar feat, we would be able to jump over buildings with ease. Looking up the flea on Wikipedia, I learned that their jump is not caused by muscular action, but by “energy stored in a protein named resilin”.  Fleas also have very tough little bodies, which are amazingly crush-resistant for their size.
Another thing I did not know about fleas was they only spend around 25% of their time on a host animal. Thus, when working to prevent or eradicate them, much of the work involves getting rid of them not only from pets, but from bedding, carpets and other fabrics.
We found a great post over at Nature Hacks describing some ways to keep fleas out of your home. These are some great tips. However when researching in depth, I also found a few more ideas, so I decided to compile these resources and add them to the list! :)
Baking soda is reported by Wikipedia to be effective against fleas. It dehydrates and kills larvae and eggs. The idea is to sprinkle it into carpets and work it down into the fibers, then vacuumed up afterwards. Table salt can also be added to the baking soda. Overall, this method is a nice inexpensive remedy – and it is advised to perform once per week until no further signs of infestation remain.
Dried Pennyroyal has been suggested as a herbal flea treatment – but owing to toxicity to animals, should never be used around pets.
The use of dehumidifiers, together with frequent vacuuming of carpets can interrupt the flea life cycle. Humidity is essential to flea survival. Flea eggs require relative humidity of at least 70–75% to hatch, and larvae need at least 50% humidity to survive.

Essential Oils vs. Fleas

One further avenue that was not explored was that of essential oils – so I decided to do a little research! :)
A component of grapefruit essential oil (nootkatone) was found effective against fleas.  Nootkatone is also found significantly in essential oils of vetiver (thus supporting its traditional use in this regard!) and alaskan yellow cedar (cedar chips too have been used as an anti-flea remedy in pet bedding!) Nootkatone has also been found effective against ants, termites, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and ticks, including Ixodes scapularis (blacklegged tick) – a tick that can transmit the dreaded Lyme disease.
Nootkatone is interesting stuff and showing tremendous potential as an insect repellant.  If you can’t get hold of it, you could simply try grapefruit essential oil! (I’m also of the view that whole extracts, rather than single molecules, are better form the point of view that it is more difficult for the critters to develop tolerance).
Here’s a link to a high quality (and amazingly priced! – $3.20 plus shipping at the time of writing) grapefruit essential oil on
Carvacrol also has demonstrated biocidal activity against ticks, fleas and mosquitos – though around 50% as effective by dose as nootkatone. Does the name carvacrol ring any bells? It’s one of the main components of (genuine) oregano leaf (Origanum vulgare) essential oil and is also strongly antibiotic. Carvacrol is also found significantly in essential oils of thyme, pepperwort and wild bergamot. Marjoram (Origanum majorana) essential oil is approximately 50% carvacrol, and Dittany of Crete (Origanum dictamnus) is around 60-80%.
PLEASE NOTE – I do not know which, if any, of these essential oils will be safe for use around pets. Please assume that they are NOT safe until you are sure otherwise!
Now all that is needed is a full safety report on which of these oils is ok to use around pets – and we have the potential for an all-natural anti-flea remedy that avoids the use of toxic chemicals! And standard flea medicine for pets is very toxic stuff! Can we be done with it?
Ok, here is the link to the original list of ways to keep fleas out of your home:
You might be interested also in another post we ran recently – from EveryDay Roots – 6 Natural Ways To Ged Rid Of Fleas On Dogs – which has several other remedies – and mentions cedarwood and lavender essential oils.


How to Clean and Care for Your Mattress

Americans sleep an average of 7.7 hours a day, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor. That’s a lot of mattress time. And the caliber of that sleep depends a lot on your mattress — mainly its quality and how well you take care of it. Once you’ve bought the right mattress, you’ll want to know how to properly maintain it. “Taking proper care of your mattress will help you to protect your investment and promote better sleep,” says Lin Enilk, a representative of the American Sleep Association. Here’s what experts say about cleaning and caring for your mattress. 
4. Flip and spin. The beginning and end of daylight saving time is a great way to remember when to give your mattress a little extra attention by flipping and-or rotating it. “This process helps to offset the normal settling that occurs by placing body weight on a compressible surface,” Enilk says.

“It’s the perfect time because it’s not something that needs to be done monthly,” Uusimaki says.

This is also a good time to consider using the handheld brush attachment on your vacuum if it has one and gently go over the mattress to eliminate any dust that might have collected.


How To Make Amazing Naturally Flavored Water

Amazing All-Natural Fruit Water 
 24K+ Photo –
Finally – a way to drink something that has tons of flavor as well as super health qualities! Although I say “finally” – aficionados of the natural way will not be surprised that these “ancient recipes” beat all comers. Because as they say, “There’s nothing new under the sun”! We think this is infinitely better than some trademarked artificial-additive drink in a plastic bottle. The link to the full recipe is at the foot of the article, after our commentary (as usual).
These easy-to-make natural waters are made with just water, fruit (organic please!), ice and herbs. They are full of nutrition, healthful qualities, delicious flavor and look fantastic as you can see! Imagine the reaction you are going to get from your guests! These drinks could also be amazingly perfect if you are detoxing or simply if you are seeking something that is refreshing and delicious without containing any artificial sugars or other chemical additives.
Another great benefit of this refreshing “DIY” fruit water, in addition to the amazing nutritional content: You are completely eliminating the use of evil plastic bottles.
Plastic bottles are reported to leach toxic chemicals such as BPA into their contents. Also, plastic garbage is spreading far and wide across the world… slowly breaking down and entering the food chain. This is horrendous and needs to stop! I think it’s time to start thinking seriously about banning plastic and using natural alternatives.
If you’re truly committed to caring about life and future generations, you will be doing all that you can to limit your use of single-use plastic bottles. Use (and re-use!) high quality food-grade glass containers. They don’t leach anything into your food, don’t contribute to the hideous mountain of discarded plastic.. .and they look cool as well. Speaking of which, did you know that you can get Ball Mason Jars on Amazon?
Here, then, is the link to the Five Amazing Recipes For Healthy Naturally Flavored Water
Note – it’s mentioned in the recipes at the link but we think it expedient to say it again – be sure to wash fruit thoroughly, especially if you are planning on leaving the drinks overnight before drinking them. You don’t want bad bacteria or even pesticides messing up your drinks.


How Reflexology Works

How Reflexology Works 834
Photo (under license) – © adrenalinapura –
Reflexology is one of the most popular alternative therapies used for a variety of conditions – from back pain to stomach disorders. Reflexology practitioners (aptly named reflexologists) believe that by applying pressure to certain areas of the foot or hand, it can promote healing and homeostasis . History shows that reflexology was used in Egypt hundreds of years ago, during the time of the pharaohs, and is still being used today as part of CAM or complementary and alternative medicine.
Why The Foot Or Hand?
While reflexology typically refers to the foot, hand reflexology is also slowly gaining popularity. Reflexology operates on the concept that the soles of the feet and the palms of the hand are divided into areas that correspond to other areas of the body – like the heart, lungs, and other organs. By applying pressure to these areas, reflexologists believe it can cause changes in those organs and systems.  Similarly, disease or damage to certain areas of the body would manifest as changes in the hands or feet.
The Power Of Touch
More research still has to be done to make the mechanism of reflexology clear, and for this reason it is considered pseudoscientific by some orthodox practitioners. However, a number of studies have shown how effective it can be.  One of the important components is actually the therapeutic effect of touch.  Skin–to-skin contact has been shown to promote comfort and decrease stress, which can cause improvement in symptoms of insomnia, pain, and discomfort.
Impulses From The Feet
The feet are very sensitive to touch and pressure, meaning the massage in reflexology easily stimulates the nerve endings in the feet. The nerve endings are less than a millimeter under the skin, and though objectively measuring the impulses generated by touching is difficult, experiments by Asamura suggest high possibility that they can be recorded in the future.  Because of these generated impulses that travel through the body to affected areas, it could be said that reflexology has a measurable therapeutic effect.
A complimentary theory on how Reflexology works deals with an exchange of energy between the reflexologist and the patient, called “sympathetic resonance”, which opens “blocked” energy channels in the sick person, promoting wellness.
Reflexology And Pain
By far, the most studies on reflexology are on its effects on pain. In 2003, reflexology was used on cancer patients experiencing metastasis. The results of the study revealed significantly reduced pain levels, immediately within 24 hours after reflexology was performed.  A more recent study in 2014 was published by Cardiff Metropolitan University, where reflexology was used to treat lower back pain and showed positive results.
Numerous people have testified to the ability for reflexology to ease headaches. This technique is simple and the method that has been used is to pinch and massage the muscular area between thumb and forefinger. It really does seem to work and it’s time this was evaluated with a scientific study.
A lot of work still has to be done on reflexology claims of being able (for example) to promote blood flow to certain organs, when it comes to pain and stress, a lot of medical studies do support its therapeutic claims. Reflexology might be something to consider the next time you have back pain (or another similar condition)!


12 Signs You Are Vitamin D Deficient (And How To Get More)

Here’s an interesting report from our friends over at Eat Local Grown listing 12 symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. Link follows after our additional comments.
Approximately 36% of healthy young adults and approximately 57% of inpatients in the United States and Europe suffer from vitamin D deficiency – that’s a staggering figure! Vitamin D is essential to strong bones and also to optimal muscle function. It has also been connected to reduced risk of death from heart failure, various cancers, hypertension and diabetes. Yes, it’s that important.
Many of the people who are vitamin D deficient do not even know. You can always request lab testing from your doctor and this is a very good thing to do. I recently had very thorough lab work which checked everything from my thyroid function to kidney function, vitamins and minerals – and it really helps not only isolate potential issues but can also sometimes catch life threatening illnesses early!
Although we are warned against sun overexposure, the best way to get enough vitamin D is through sun exposure. How much sun you need a day depends on many factors such as age, skin color, time of the day, season, and…. the use of sunscreen. Yes, if you put sunscreen on it blocks the vitamin D production. 10 to 15 minutes of natural sun per day is considered optimal. You can even spread this out so as to reduce risk of overexposure.
It’s interesting to note that in some cultures (for example China) it is considered fashionable and chic for women to be pale, not tanned. In China women go to great lengths to preserve their alabaster complexions.
Sunscreen is controversial, with some saying that it contains cancer-causing chemicals. You might also want to cheek our report on making your own natural sunscreen here:
Aside from sunshine, the two other main sources of vitamin D are food and supplements. For those who – for whatever reason – wish not to expose their skin to the sun, vitamin D supplementation may be a good idea.
Ok here’s the link to the full list of 12 Signs You Are Vitamin D Deficient:
12 Signs You Are Vitamin D Deficient (And How To Get More)
If you are interested in learning about vitamin D rich foods we have a full, detailed report on that – check it out here:

Can Coconut Oil

Hi everyone,
I've found some VERY interesting studies on the relationship between coconut oil (or any type of coconut fat, including coconut milk and cream) and how it can affect your body fat. These findings may surprise you!
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Lipids consisted of testing the effects of either 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or 2 tablespoons of soybean on a group of 40 women over the span of 28 days.
Results showed that the group that ate the coconut oil had a decrease in abdominal fat, while the soybean oil group actually showed a slight increase in belly fat. Additionally, the group that ate the coconut oil showed increased HDL ‘good’ cholesterol levels, while the soybean oil group had decreased HDL cholesterol and increased LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol.
The Journal of Nutrition published a study where researchers investigated all studies relative to medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that are abundant in coconut fat and weight management. The studies showed that diets rich in fats such as those found in coconut oil prompted a boost in metabolism, increase in energy, decrease in food consumption, reduced body weight and lower body fat mass. The study authors highly recommend using oils that contain MCFAs, such as coconut oil, as a tool to drop extra abdominal fat, manage a healthy weight, and even as a way to treat obesity.
Yet another study that assessed body weight and fat storage relative to three different types of diets including a low-fat diet, high-fat diet with long chain fatty acids (LCFAs) and a high fat diet with MCFAs. In order to bring about weight gain, caloric intakes were adjusted for the diets. At the end of the research period (which lasted 44 days), the low-fat diet group stored an average of 0.47 grams of fat per day, the LCFA group stored 0.48 grams of fat per day, and the MCFA group only stored a mere 0.19 grams per day (despite purposely increasing calories). Those in the MCFA group (coconut fat) had a 60 percent reduction in body fat stored compared to the other diets.
If you thought from reading about how using coconut oil daily for helping to reduce abdominal fat is pretty incredible, you're going to be blown away by the powerful health benefits of coconut oil on the page below...
Check this out >> 9 MORE reasons to use DAILY coconut oil << (including benefits to thyroid, brain, skin, oral health, heart health, detoxing, cancer, and more)
To your health,
Alex, Herbs and Health.