Five Functions of Tea Tree Oil

In trying to live a healthy lifestyle, there’s much to consider besides diet. Many cosmetic and domestic products include a long list of synthetic ingredients that, as synthetic ingredients often do, pose a risk to health. But fret not! There are many natural alternatives for many cosmetic and household products. Tea tree oil is a good natural alternative to many different topical medicines.

  1. Acne. Acne is often caused by a greasy or oily diet and poor hygiene, but is strongly linked to a genetic predisposition as well, and can cause severe grief and embarrassment, and leave behind unsightly scars. Tea tree oil can help diminish blemishes associated with acne, and doesn’t irritate the skin like most conventional topical acne medicines do.
  2. Athlete’s Foot. Athlete’s foot is oh so irritating, as there are few worse places to have an itch than the bottom of your foot. Also, it’s personally frustrating to suffer through something that probably could have been prevented as simply as wearing flip flops in the locker room. Tea tree oil is an effective anti-fungal, and works wonders in the treatment of Athlete’s foot.
  3. Nail Fungus. Nail fungus is a common condition, though it may indicate a more serious fungal problem. Tea tree oil can help suppress the discomfort and appearance of nail fungus.
  4. Dandruff. Tea tree oil is a common ingredient among shampoo, and has been effective for many in the treatment of dandruff, not to mention it leaves your scalp feeling clean and tingly.
  5. Yeast infections. Tea tree oil is as effective against yeast infections as it is against fungus.

These are but a few of the many applications tea tree oil is handy for. As research continues to develop our knowledge of the uses of tea tree oil, it’s a useful item to have at your convenience at home.


All About Cinnamon

Many of us carelessly stir a spoonful into our coffee, drop a pinch into our stewed apples, or sprinkle a dash atop a bright, orange slice of pumpkin pie without a passing thought. Though this delightfully robust spice is rarely considered beneath the surface level, it’s implications on our health may be more significant than expected, and it’s history spans back to ancient times.

Today, cinnamon is widely cultivated and distributed at relatively low cost, but there was a time when cinnamon was highly coveted. Cinnamon has been used by humans since as early as 2000 BC, was toted along treacherous trade routes for the famed and wealthy Europeans of the Middle Ages, and battled over fiercely by the Dutch and Portuguese in the 16th and 17th Centuries. After the cultivation of Chinese cinnamon, our bold and fragrant spice was made accessible to a much broader consumer market, and today there are four varieties commonly available, including Ceylon, Chinese, Saigon, and Korintje. Chinese, Saigon, and Korintje Cinnamon are all grouped under the same umbrella of Cassia Cinnamon. Cassia differs from Ceylon Cinnamon in that it is stronger in taste and cheaper to produce. Though there is contention over the health benefits of the more refined Ceylon Cinnamon trumping those of the more cheaply produced Cassia Cinnamon, there’s also evidence that the nutrition of these two major varieties are virtually the same.

Cinnamon has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for several millennia, and is known to treat headaches, inflammation, loss of appetite, nausea and indigestion, diarrhea, sinus blockage, and more. Also, it is known to aid in glycemic control for those with type II diabetes. However, to reap the full benefit of cinnamon, it’s of chief importance to be sure your supply is kept fresh. Otherwise, cinnamon is prone to go stale and lose much of it’s medicinal and aesthetic properties. To take full advantage of what cinnamon has to offer, buy fresh bark and use a cinnamon or coffee grinder in your home. As with most things, there’s much more to cinnamon than meets the eye. Since eating tree bark isn’t exactly a common practice, It’s strange to imagine the first person to try cinnamon. Maybe they shaved a bit off and masticated in delight, or maybe they just dug their teeth right into that tree. Whatever the case, we should all consider ourselves fortunate to now have convenient access to such a plant as cinnamon.  Read more here.


For those of you who struggle with some diseases or have loved ones who suffer, I strongly recommend learning about GAPS. The book, “Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD has a ton of information worth learning, even for the consumer with no issues.  Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride coined GAPS, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, when she successfully healed her son of autism.

The GAPS condition establishes a connection between the gut and the brain. The root of many mental and physical problems is the digestive systems. Mental problems include autism, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorders, eating disorders, and many more. Dr. Campbell-McBride’s book teaches how this syndrome develops and how to effectively treat the condition with what is referred to as the GAPS Protocol.

Some of these symptoms manifest in physical illness as well. For example, the patient may develop allergies, asthma, eczema, chronic cystitis, digestive disorders and malnourishment.

One important concept to consider is that mothers pass on their unique gut micro-flora to their children. An adult carries 2 kg of bacteria in the gut, on average. There are more cells in that microbial mass than there are cells in the entire human body. Certain species of bacteria are crucial to our health, both mentally and physically. A study of hundreds of cases of children with neurological and psychiatric conditions revealed an interesting point. Modern mothers were not breast fed as babies because it went out of fashion in 60s and 70s. Bottle fed babies develop completely different gut flora than breast fed babies. Bottle fed babies are exposed to compromised gut flora, which can predispose the babies to health problems. Then, antibiotics wipe out the good strains of bacteria in the gut. The combination of these things plus the woman taking a contraceptive pill at the age of 16 can result in damaging the good gut flora. Contraceptive pills have a terrible affect on the beneficial bacteria in the gut. The good bacteria controls about 500 different, known to science, species of pathogenic microbes. With no good bacteria, the opportunistic microbes can grow into large colonies and take up space in the digestive tract. Modern diets, which consist of processed and fast foods, provide nourishment for these pathogenic (bad) microbes. This is probably the diet that a modern mother has indulged in. All of these factors combined lead to compromised gut flora is most modern mothers. Abnormal gut flora is present in almost 100% of mothers of children with neurological and psychiatric conditions.

Probiotics Help Stomach Health

In the digestive system, there are over five hundred different bacterial species.  In a healthy stomach, approximately eighty five percent of these bacteria are beneficial; fifteen percent are pathogens, or bad bacteria.  A balance of both positive and negative bacteria is to be expected.  However, according to an article recently completed by The Healthy Home Economist, most people have an inverse of the healthy gut—a majority of pathogens, instead of beneficial bacteria.

This imbalance can be brought on by a variety of things.  The use of antibiotics, birth control pills and other various medications can introduce allow more negative bacteria into the stomach.  Consuming an excess of processed foods or items high in sugar also works to feed pathogens.

If stomachs have a higher amount of pathogens, many consequences can occur.  The individual can suffer from a variety of issues, including diarrhea, constipation, excessive gas, bloating, allergies, eczema, irritable bowl, inflammatory bowl, kidney stones, ear infections, strep throat, colds, yeast infections, Crohn’s disease, lactose intolerance and many other concerning conditions.

If an individual suffers from a negative imbalance, the first step in the solution is an easy one.  Introducing a probiotic throughout the course of the day can help introduce more positive bacteria and prevent growth of pathogens, yeast and fungi in the gut, along with many other benefits for various locations spread out across the body.

The most crucial and difficult part of introducing a probiotic is knowing when to take it.  To work towards implementing a better balance to the digestive system, the probiotic should be ingested immediately following a meal.  If taken on an empty stomach, the high levels of stomach acid could destroy some of the probiotic bacteria.

However, if the consumer wishes to seek the benefits of the probiotic somewhere else in the body—it can be very beneficial for clearing out the mouth, throat, nasal passages and ears as well—taking the bacteria on an empty stomach will direct the benefits elsewhere.  Specifically, if the consumer seeks to open up the nasal passages and clear out the mouth and throat, it is suggested that the capsule be emptied in the mouth and gurgled there before being swallowed.  Avoid water for some period after, as to allow the bacteria to sink in and set to work.

Cuban Pea Soup

Eating Conference Seeks to Study Psychology of Eating

According to an article recently completed by The Institute for the Psychology of Eating’s website, from the twenty first of July to the twenty sixth, the Second Annual Eating Psychology Online Conference was held.  The event is considered the world’s premier online event in the study of eating psychology.  Over forty experts gather to discuss cutting edge ideas, such as understand body image and ideal weight, the concepts of overeating and binge eating, the dangers and issues of endless dieting or emotional eating, and generally comprehending nutrition, health and undergoing a personal transformation.

Through these choice topics, the conference seeks to understand humans as a whole and the processes the race goes through when choosing what and when to eat.  The experts seek a holistic understanding of the process, through the individual’s body, mind, heart and soul; this is achieved through conversations that focus on a meeting of science and psychology.

Marc David, the host of the event, is well versed in the concept of eating psychology.  He is the founder of both the Institute for the Psychology of Eating and the Institute for Conscious Sexuality and Relationship.  His focus is on Nutritional Psychology and he has written and spoken extensively on the idea, including producing two novels on the concept and addressing the issue in appearances on several leading media outlets.  Through his books and addresses, he seeks to appeal to a wide audience of eaters who are searching for new ways to approach dieting, eating and healthy choices.

As for his Institute for the Psychology of Eating, it is the only organization in the world to seek to teach with a focus in forward thinking and holistic approaches towards nutritional psychology.  It applies these ideals to teaching students and professionals in the field how to work with their clients on common eating challenges.

Through this expertise, David is able to contribute and facilitate the conversations of the conference very effectively, to produce a large quantity of interviews that are helpful to those who seek answers in the psychology behind eating.  For the week of the conference, one new interview was posted at the start of every hour, featuring any combination of the forty invited experts.  The interviews were free to view for the first twenty-four hours after they were originally posted.  However, the entire archive of the conference could be purchased through the website, as to allow consumers to peruse the contents at their leisure.

Ginger Induces Leukemia Cell Suicide

Ginger has been known to help with nausea and upset stomachs.  A recent, milestone study has found that ginger fights several species of drug-resistant bacteria.  It has been documented for shrinking tumors in mice with hard-to-treat cancers.

In a Chinese Study in 2013, Shogaol, 6-Shogaol specifically, a compound in ginger was the focus of the study.  Shogaol not only inhibited leukemia growth but also caused leukemia cell apoptosis, which is cell suicide.  This is groundbreaking.

Cell apoptosis is extremely dangerous with healthy cells but is incredible if it means stopping cancer growth.  Somehow this Shogaol compound caused the leukemia cells to die but did not harm the healthy cells nor cause any side effects!

In the study, they used a 6-shogaol compound from ginger, also called Zingiber officinale.  Mice were randomized into two groups of 7 mice.  6-shogaol was dissolved in 0.1% DMSO and 10% polyoxyethylene castor oil.  After the tumor was inoculated, the treatment group received 6-shogaol and the control group received an equal volume of solvent control.  The tumor volume was measured every three days.   Unfortunately the mice were killed after 20 days but examination of the tumors of the mice with the 6-shogaol treatment revealed cancer apoptosis.

The study reveals that the 6-shogaol compound is a potential anti-tumor agent for hematologic malignancies.  There was another study in 2003 that had similar findings.  They found that gingerol, a component of ginger induced leukemia cell suicide. The end goal is to create a pharmacological drug that can be created and patented for treatment of leukemia.

If you have diabetes or take heart, or blood thinning medication, be mindful of how much ginger one ingests.  But if not, it has no side effects (unless one has an allergy).

Thank you Heather Callaghan for your summary.  Read more from Heather here:

Nutrition Showing to Play a Role in Survival Rates of Those Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

According to an article completed for the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center website, studies on the effect of diet and exercise on the survival rate of those diagnosed with breast cancer are growing in popularity.  The article summarizes several existing studies and produces a list of suggestions for those diagnosed in the early stages of the cancer.

The first study mentioned was conducted by Pierce, which showed that those who held a diet of five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day had a fifty percent reduction in mortality, no matter what the patient’s body mass index may have been—either obese or non-obese.  This study also found that thirty minutes of walking per day for six days a week could be influential in increasing survival rates.  In a review by Denmark-Wahnefried, a plant based diet rich in nutrient-dense and low-energy foods can be beneficial in working towards a healthy body mass index; having an appropriate BMI, according to the review, can increase chance of survival, when combined with an exercise regiment, which works to preserve bone and increase lean body mass.  Finally, a third study focused on the introduction and consistent use of multi-vitamins.  The study indicated that patients who have always regularly used multi-vitamins and continued to do so after diagnosis have an increased chance of survival.  Once again, this study also found that fruits, vegetables and regular exercise decreased rate of mortality associated with the cancer.

Finally, the article provides several general tips, as supplied by the American Cancer Society and the World Cancer Research Fund/the American Institute of Cancer Research.  A healthy body weight is a must, with a body mass index falling between eighteen and a half to just below twenty-five; this index must be achieved through diet and exercise to be considered truly healthy.  Be active and remain active, through at least thirty minutes of moderate to vigorous activity throughout the day; several suggested activities are as follows—walking, stair climbing, bicycling or swimming laps.  Diet should be more plant based, involving items such as fruits, vegetables, beans, peas and nuts; at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day is suggested and red and processed meat is discouraged, with a suggestion of less than eighteen ounces per week.  Finally, alcohol consumption should be limited; for females, this means no more than one serving per day and two servings per day for males.

Coco for Coconuts

“Super-foods” these days get a lot of hype.  Recently coconuts have been getting extra promotion and press as their popularity has been increasing.  But what are the real nutritional benefits of coconuts?  Some people claim that all oils should be replaced with coconut oil in your foods.  People say it’s good for your heart and it won’t turn to fat.  This is actually a myth.  There is not much evidence that coconut oil helps with weight loss and lowering cholesterol.  In fact, too much coconut oil (coconut fat) is 90% saturated fat, more likely to increase the bad kind of cholesterol, LDL.

What do other forms of coconut do for our bodies?

Coconut flour: Coconut flour is gluten-free, great for Celiacs or those with a gluten intolerance.  It’s also high in fiber so absorbs a lot of liquid.

Coconut sugar: Coconut sugar comes from the sap of a coconut palm.  The sugar has a low GI value, a value of 54.  It contains just as many calories as regular table sugar.

Dried coconut:  Dried coconut is great for baking because of the chewy texture it adds with a subtle flavor.

Coconut water: Coconut water has little natural sugar, low levels of electrolytes, minerals, and antioxidants.  It tastes different but still refreshing like water. Although it doesn’t live up to it’s hype that is marketed.  It is not significantly better for you than water.

Coconut milk: Coconut milk is lower in fat than coconut cream- milk at 24% and cream at about 35%.  Coconut milk is a great addition in Thai or Indian curry dishes.  Coconut milk in rice makes sticky rice, which is a great dessert!

Coconut milk yogurt is dairy free but much higher in fat then regular yogurt.

While coconut products are great for their small nutritional benefit, alternative nutritional options and different styles of cuisines, it is also important not to overestimate or blow the nutritional value out of proportion.