Friday, August 17, 2007

Allergy Control: Reducing Airborne Allergens in Your Home

Those who are plagued by allergies are always struggling to diminish those irritants that cause watery eyes, runny noses and rashes that sometimes translate into full-blown hives. These and other symptoms can be brought about by a number of contaminants that infiltrate the very air that people breathe within their own homes. If you're among those who are constantly being attacked by airborne allergens, there are some positive steps that you can take in order to reduce or eliminate the elements that are the catalysts to allergy attacks.

Dust mites are the cause of many allergic reactions, and must be eliminated from their most common breeding areas in order to find relief. Since they tend to live in warm and humid places, items such as beds, carpets and upholstered furniture are prime breeding grounds for those miniscule insects. Living on the skin cells that people and their pets shed, they deposit their waste in all of the areas that they gather, wreaking havoc with allergies.

In order to control dust mites and eliminate the allergies that they trigger, wash bedclothes each week and dry on high heat; use anti-allergen casings for mattresses and bedclothes; clean furniture and carpets with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner; dehumidify the air; filter the air with a HEPA air purifier; perform regular housecleaning at least once a week, using equipment that traps dust; and keep only hypo-allergenic toys in the house that can be washed in hot water, rather than the more commonly used stuffed animals.

With over 35 million people who suffer from pollen-induced allergies, it's critical that steps are taken to remove the allergens that can trigger adverse reactions, such as sneezing, wheezing, rashes and watery eyes or nose. Large quantities of pollen can enter your home by traveling in through open doors or windows, on clothing and hair ? and on the family pet.

As much as we seem to love dry, breezy days, those are the weather conditions that are just right for pollen to circulate. Avoid being outdoors when possible or, at least, be sure to exercise indoors, if you would normally do so outside. When driving, be sure to keep the windows raised and employ the air conditioning. In addition, you should also keep your windows at home closed and use air conditioning or window screens with filters; remember to remove shoes before entering the house; wash your hair each night; avoid hanging laundry outdoors; engage someone else to mow the lawn; and use HEPA filters on heating and air conditioning units.

Those who own pets often have allergic reactions to their dander and need to take precautions in order to eliminate airborne allergens. Keep the pet outdoors as often as is reasonable and wipe down the surfaces of the home's interior; vacuum frequently using a HEPA vacuum; wash your pet weekly with dander-reducing shampoo and use anti-dander spray; wash your hands after handling your pet; wear a dust mask while cleaning; and use vent filters on air conditioners and heaters.

While it may seem like a great deal of work in order to eliminate these airborne allergens from your home, the amount of work will be significantly reduced if you perform these cleaning rituals regularly.

Jonathan Chase (a lifelone allergy sufferer) is the creator of, which provides free information to individuals interested in air purification and reducing their allergy symptoms.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

10 Simple Ways to Naturally Increase Your Energy

1. Eat protein at every meal: One of the most important ways to keep your blood sugar balanced and energy levels high is to include protein at every meal, breakfast and snacks included. The best protein sources include fish, organic meat, chicken, eggs, yogurt, and whey protein powder. Consider making a healthy smoothie for breakfast or snacks using Paleomeal or other healthy organic whey protein, frozen fruit, and some almond milk.

2. Limit sugar and caffeine intake: Might sound bizarre but sugar and caffeine give you instant energy, but a few hours later, and in the long term, they will only make you more tired. Sugar, fructose corn syrup, and caffeine weaken your adrenal glands, which in turn are responsible for your energy levels. So, by consuming sugar and caffeine, you are weakening your body's natural energy system. You must wean yourself off of these! Try having one cup of green tea instead, and if you must sweeten your food or beverage, try using Xylitol.

3. Take nutritional supplements. Eating a "perfect" diet does not give us enough key nutrients, such as Carnitine, CoQ10, magnesium, B-complex, and Omega 3s, for optimal energy levels. Taking supplements is necessary to ensure adequate amounts in your system and to cover any deficiencies. On my site you can see in more detail what each nutrient provides.

4. Check for food intolerances or allergies: Most people with low grade food allergies and sensitivities are unaware that they have them because the symptoms are as subtle as low energy and difficulty losing weight. Some of the most common food sensitivities are to wheat (gluten) and dairy (casein). If there is a food you love and eat single every day, try eliminating it for two weeks and see if your energy increases.

5. Check for yeast overgrowth in the intestines: Gas, bloating, and carbohydrate or sugar cravings are often caused by yeast overgrowth which in turn causes low energy levels. A nutritionist can help you determine whether this may be the case, or you can take a Candida questionnaire assessment. Limiting refined carbohydrates and taking supplements to combat Candida can remedy this problem and renew your energy.

6. Make sure you do not have any medical conditions that can cause fatigue. These include low thyroid function, low iron, high iron (hemochromatosis), and a range of other ailments which can be determined by blood tests.

7. Get enough sleep! We all need different amounts of sleep to wake up feeling rested. Figure out how much your body needs so that you are able to wake up without an alarm clock.

8. Don't exercise too much or too little. Either one can cause low energy levels. If you are a stressed, don't pick a stressful form of exercise such as running or aerobics. Instead, try Pilates, Tai Chi, yoga, lifting weights, or walking. Exercise should leave you refreshed, not wiped out. You must include exercise into your routine at least three times a week.

9. Maintain emotional stability. This is important to avoid sleepless nights, which stresses the body. Our emotional health is important in order to avoid the stress and worry that often leads to reduced sleep quality, and affect our energy each day.

10. Don't work too much. If you work long hours and have a stressful job, make sure to schedule leisure activity on the weekends rather than more work.

For more detailed information you may visit my website:

Annika is a Certified Nutritionist. She completed her B.A. at Swarthmore College, PA, in a Psychology Pre-Medical curriculum. She later attained her Nutrition Certification (CN®) through American Health Sciences University, CO. Since 1995, she has been working in the nutrition industry and as a nutritionist.

Since June 2000, Annika has owned and operated Rockwell Nutrition, Inc., offering top of the line, professional brand nutritional supplements, as well as private consultations to individuals requiring customized eating and supplement plans for their health concerns and goals. She has become skilled at using diagnostic tests including diet analysis, food allergy testing, blood tests, and hair analysis to help asses the best treatment options for women's health and conditions including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, low energy, and gastrointestinal ailments. Annika's specialty is her customized health programs which are unique for each client.

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Health in the Self

What is health?

Is health the absence of disease? Is health a birth right or simply luck? According to Ayuveda, India's ancient art of healing, the meaning of health is a single word: Swastha. Swa = self + Stha = established. Thus a person is healthy when '"established in the self." Immunity is much more than T-cells, B-cells and antibodies. Health depends upon a well-integrated core of identity. Thus, health is a birth right.

The Self as defined by Ayuveda is not identical to the western concept of ego. It is the power of individual identity that fosters one to have an existence apparently separate from all other beings. In Sanskrit this is called Ahamkara - literally, the "I-former." You are you and not he, she, we or they because of Ahamkara. It is the creative power that gives you your sense of "I am." Ahamkara consistently identifies with an individual body, mind, and spirit enabling them to exist together as a living being. It is the center of your awareness and from it come feelings of my: my body, my emotions, my thoughts, my personality, etc. Where there is my, there is I.

Each of the millions and millions of cells that make up you has a center of awareness. Ahamkara is that center. How well your self identifies with these cells determines your resistance to disease. Just as a strong central government protects its citizens, so too a strong central identity protects the body. Because the body and mind are intimately connected, (contrary to western thought) your self-esteem is your cells' self-esteem. Without sufficient self-esteem and self-love the cells become more vulnerable to the harmful effects of stress.


Stress is an insidious precursor to disease. In simple terms, stress occurs every time you adapt to a new situation. Consequently, every time your environment changes you must create a new equilibrium with it to stay healthy. 'Environment' includes not only your physical space, but also your mental, emotional, social, and spiritual surroundings. Only by being centered and stable in your self can you have the adaptability to roll with life's punches and face the innumerable challenges to your well-being.

It can be said, you have a body self, mind self, and spirit self. Health requires establishment in each of these selves. You need to have a sound mind, in a sound body and a healthy relationship with Universal Spirit. Vertically body, mind and spirit needs to flow in dynamic interplay. Horizontally you need to have a harmonious relationship with your family and society and your self needs to remember its debt to the one who created it.

Our Being

Health as defined by Ayurveda is not the mere absence of disease. Swastha is a positive state of multi-layered well-being. Each level of our being affects and reflects the others. A happy, contented mind projects health into the body. Love, trust, and compassion needs to be developed if you are to be healthy. Modern neuropsychiatry has discovered specific neuropeptides associated with joy and happiness that communicate with the body's trillions of cells. Likewise, the health of mind and emotions depend upon bodily health. Physical toxins and poor digestion impair mental digestion creating mental toxins like fear, anger, greed, attachment, envy, and judgment. The old saying 'the body is a temple of the spirit' is a factual reality. A firm (as in healthy) body 'firms-up' ahamkara and she reciprocated by projecting health into it.

Establishing one self into one's self is not an egotistical attempt to become bigger, better, or more important. Over investment in self is as dangerous as its opposite. Selfishness can only lead us further away from each other and our source in Spirit. Without empathy and compassion for all other living beings, we become destructive to them and ourselves. Invest in your self so that your health and harmony act as a harmonizing influence on those around you and contributes to the health of your environment. This is Swastha.

Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD specializes in: Mind, Body, Spirit healing for Individuals, Special Issues and Professional Coaching. As an inspirational leader, Dr. Neddermeyer empowers people to view life's challenges as an opportunity for Personal/Professional Growth and Spiritual Awakening.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Wild Medicine and Tansy Cakes

It started with the Tansy cakes. I had to ask myself 'Why would anyone eat anything so utterly disgusting in taste'? Chrysanthemum Vulgare is a common perennial in the British Isles and the name Tansy is said to be derived from the Greek 'athansia', meaning 'immortal'. Reasons suggested for this include the fact that the dried flower lasts forever or that it has a medicinal quality contributing to long life. Looking back to Greek literature, Tansy was given by the Gods to Ganymede to make him immortal. In the language of flowers the gift of Tansy means 'Rejected address' - " I am not interested in you". Its strange taste, not unlike the smell of 'mothballs' might have something to do with this.

Tansy certainly had a reputation as a vermicide and vermifuge (killing and dispelling intestinal worms) in the middle ages. John Gerard wrote in his 17th century Herball:

"In the Spring time are made with the leaves here of newly sprung up, and with eggs, cakes of Tansies, which be pleasant to taste, and good for the stomacke. For if any bad humours cleave there unto, it doth perfectly concoct them and scoure them downewards".

Tansy was a common kitchen garden herb for medicinal and culinary use, in place of expensive foreign spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. It was used to flavour custard, cakes, milk puddings, omlettes and freshwater fish. In Ireland it was included in sausages called 'Drisheens'. Its use as a springtime 'cleanser' became ritualised into a part of the Christian religious Easter traditions;

"On Easter Sunday be the pudding seen, To which the Tansy lends her sober green."

The consensus on this much written about herb is that it was used at Easter to purify the blood after lent. This consensus shows a problem though, in that in England the plant does not show leaves until the end of May - well after Easter. This is evidence of the assimilation of natural 'self-medicating' herbalism into a controlling religious patriarchy.

Observation of wild and domesticated animals shows that they regularly self-medicate with wild plants. Sick chimpanzees chew bitter leaves from a bush not normally part of their diet, and then recover. Research by Michael Hoffman shows that a particular nematode worm is common in the monkey's gut during the rainy season and that their chewing of the leaves coincided with the prevalence of this parasite, which it destroyed. This was the same bush that local tribes use to get rid of stomach parasites.

Dogs and cats self medicate by eating couch grass or cleavers. Parrots, chickens, camels, snow geese, starlings - all have been observed consuming substances normally alien to their diet to remedial effect. Bears particularly are venerated by North American Indian culture because they symbolise the powers of 'regeneration'. North American Indians discovered the use of a root called Osha from bears. It is so effective as an all round painkiller, antiviral, antipeptic that it is now on the endangered species list.

The Woolly Bear caterpillar has also been observed to change its diet according to whether it is infected by a particular parasite. Normally a Lupin eater, the caterpillar increases its chance of surviving a particular fly parasite by changing to a diet of Poison Hemlock. Self-medication is not therefore a 'rational choice' in other species, but a carefully integrated part of a survival mechanism against an invisible predator - disease. Humans seem to have lost this sense of their own health and are not usually informed as to the uses of plants growing around them.

Humans often self-medicate though - alcohol indulgence to deal with stress being an obvious example of this or the ready availability of pharmaceutical or street drugs. We often consume substances such as caffeine or sugar drinks for easy energy. The natural trait towards self-medicating may well be at the basis of many of our unconscious 'eating choices'. Potatoes contain a form of opiate and all foods to some extent can act as 'alteratives' to a unique physiology. We talk about comfort foods and rewarding ourselves with treats to eat. Often we might have a favourite food that can help if we feel too ill to eat, like scrambled egg. This is a unique food because it contains all of the amino acids we need to digest it. Chocolate is to many the ultimate comfort food treat.

An extreme example of what we do is shown in 'Pica' where a person gets uncontrollable desires to eat certain edible (and inedible) substances. This condition is occurs in pregnant women and is thought to express the need for particular minerals. Because our food sources are often limited to processed food, and because of the destruction of herbal folk-lore and access to wild medicine, many of us have lost touch with our 'health sense' or ability to use food or wild plants as preventative or curative self-medication.

But finally the wheel is turning and people want access to this more holistic and gentle sense of health that is prevalent in other medical philosophies such as Chinese or Tibetan. If you like the taste of mothballs you could even try Tansy cakes.

Article with thanks to Roger Phillips and Michael Hoffman

The Wild Herbal at:

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Natural Remedies For Treating a Cold

Sometimes it can be hard to escape that shivery feeling that happens when you get too cold. A good immediate remedy for this is to wrap yourself up in a douvet and stick a hairdryer up it, (making sure the air flow is not restricted) until you feel warmed up.

Colds are the body's escape mechanism. When the whole system is overloaded it crashes. The body stresses out and the immune system drops its threshold. The nose releases toxic wastes in the form of mucous and the body often aches and feels exhausted. Pay attention to what your body is saying because an unchecked cold can become far more serious if you keep it buried.

If you are one of those people who can tell when you have a cold coming on, then it can be stopped, or at least minimised, in several ways. Firstly, rest is essential. There is no way your body will self-heal in a stressful situation. If you have to work, take it easy or delegate a bit more. Lemon juice, rose hips, parsley (not if you're pregnant) and fresh orange all contain vitamin C, so take them.

Some colds can actually be completely stopped dead by gently sniffing a mixture of lemon juice and warm water up your nose, if you are brave enough. Pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds contain zinc which is important in cold prevention so take some of those. Otherwise its time to sweat those built up toxins right out through the skin. Start with a peppermint tea and take some garlic or garlic capsules. Then boil a large onion in milk for an hour, eat it, and drink the milk. Follow on with a steaming cup of lemon juice, honey, cinnamon and grated ginger which will stimulate circulation and sweating. Enjoy it in a mustard footbath which will also warm up the blood - use multiple and layered remedies and take them as an opportunity to treat yourself.

For a mustard footbath, take 1 tsp. yellow powder mustard and one of household soda (if you have hard water) and put them in a deep basin with some water as hot as you can stand. Keep your feet and lower legs in for about ten minutes, topping the bath up with fresh hot (not boling) water. Dry off, put on thick socks and climb into a freshly warmed bed, the earlier the better.

Nature's First Aid

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The Simplest Asthma Solution

During the Democratic convention the Reverend Al Sharpton quoted a shocking statistic: One third of the children in Harlem suffer from asthma. This shouldn't be completely surprising since asthma cases have been consistently increasing over the years, especially in the cities, escalating recently during the rollback of some key environmental laws, but it is a trend we must turn back.

While parents have only limited control over the environment where they raise their children, there is a personal environmental decision they can make that may dramatically reduce the symptoms their children experience. It all comes down to detergent, and not just any detergent. It is the detergent that they use to wash their children's clothes and sheets. The biggest selling detergents in the United States contain large amounts of irritating phosphates, which are not only a major irritant to the skin and respiratory system, but a source of serious pollution, and a component in global warming.

If you are wondering if your laundry detergent contains phosphates just read the label, it is listed there. In most industrialized countries phosphate detergents are outlawed for good reason, but in the United States the chemical industry has a strong lobby and cheap phosphates help manufacturers keep their costs low, so their use continues. The next time you walk though the laundry detergent section of your supermarket, take a deep breath and notice how much the smell irritates your nose and lungs.

What kinds of detergent contain low, or no phosphates? Baby detergent! No mother would dream of washing their newborn's clothes and sheets in the family's powdered detergent! That would give their baby's delicate skin rashes, not to mention an increase in crying and crankiness. There are many readily available natural detergents that are phosphate-free and it's worth the time to find them.

We have noticed tremendous improvements for both children and adults when their clothes and sheets are consistently washed in a phosphate-free detergent. By itself this change may not alleviate all of the symptoms of asthma and those related skin rashes, but it clearly removes an insidious irritant from the equation.

It might be helpful to explain why this simple change is so effective. Testing in Europe shows that, while sleeping, people are between two thousand and ten thousand times more sensitive to chemical and electromagnetic pollution than while they are awake. When a child's pajamas are washed with a chemical irritant and they sleep on bedclothes containing those same toxins, their immune system is challenged nightly, during a time when they are most vulnerable. Their body's nutritional reserves are consumed in that battle and they are less able to defend themselves from the pollutants they encounter during their day. Asthma and allergies are not produced by a single irritant, but by an accumulation of minor irritants that eventually overwhelm the body's ability to adapt. It is not a huge leap to imagine that removing a respiratory irritant from the sleeping environment, where a person spends one third of their time, is going to produce an improvement in a child's ability to breathe.

Drs. Ralph & Lahni DeAmicis are Naturopathic Physicians. Their educational program, The 10 Minute Herbalist, seeks to put the knowledge of everyday good health into everyone's hands. Information about their program and publications is available at

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