Tag: homemade health

The Five Best Gifts to Give Your Family

The Five Best Gifts to Give Your Family

When we think of giving gifts, we usually think of things to buy for people. Yet if you think back on gifts you’ve been given, it might not be the material gifts you received that are foremost in your mind. It might be the kind of gifts that deeply touched your heart and soul. It might be various ways, other than material things, that people expressed their love in the family and to you. There are five gifts of love that we can give to our families that can make a huge difference in their lives.

The Gift of Caring and Compassion

When we have the courage to face conflict and tell the truth, we not only provide our family with a role model for courage, but we provide opportunities for our loved ones to step up to the plate in the face of our truth and learn to be courageous too. We all yearn to feel cared for, yet many of us withhold caring and compassion for others. A profound gift we can give to our loved ones is to listen with our heart, to understand and accept rather than to judge, and to stay open to learning rather than to protect against being hurt. Think about the last time someone actually listened to you and gave you understanding and acceptance. The feeling of being understood and accepted with caring and compassion is one of the best feelings in the world. Instead of focusing on getting this from others, why not focus on giving it to others? You might be surprised at how wonderful you feel in giving this gift to your family.

Full Potential Parenting summit
So many resources available for families at the Parenting Summit

The Gift of Courage

One of the best gifts we can give our loved ones is our own courage. This means having the courage to stand in our truth, to be honest about what we want and don’t want, what we will do and won’t do, what is and what is not acceptable to us. It means having the courage to take good care of ourselves, even if others don’t like it. It means not succumbing to our controlling behaviors that come from fear, anger, withdrawal, compliance, resistance; but instead being honest and above-board about ourselves. It means being willing to face conflict rather than give ourselves up to avoid it.

The Gift of Service

We are on this planet to learn to love ourselves and each other and to help each other. One of the best gifts we can give our family is to role model this by doing service. Helping others fills the heart and soul in ways that nothing else can. If children do not see their parents doing service and helping others, they may never learn the great joy and fulfillment that comes from giving. One of the best gifts we can give to our family is to provide ways of doing service.

The Gift of Creativity

All of us are born with various ways of expressing our creativity. Expressing creativity is a profound way of connecting with Spirit, since expressed creativity is a direct expression of Spirit. Providing your family with many ways of expressing their creativity is a great gift. Creativity can be expressed in so many ways – cooking, crafts, building things, music, art, movement, telling stories, writing, humor, photography, and video – the possibilities are endless! Creative family projects are especially wonderful in creating family closeness.

The Gift of Levity

A lightness of being – fun, joy, laughter, playfulness – is a great gift to give to others. Lightness of being is infectious – our laughter and playfulness can help others take life less seriously and “lighten up.” Lightness of being is one the results of all the other gifts – of caring, courage, service and creativity. When we give these gifts, we feel a wonderful lightness within, the lightness that is the result of fully giving from the heart. Our own lightness of being can bring lightness into our whole family. Children love it when their parents are playful, fun loving and joyful. Laughing together as a family is one of the most precious experiences in life.

We need to focus on giving these gifts each day, not just during a holiday season or special occasions. These gifts are far more important than any material thing we can buy for someone. In fact, we might not be so focused on material gifts if we frequently give the gift of love – of caring, compassion, courage, service, creativity, and lightness of being.

Toothache Tips with Natural Herbs and Remedies

Toothache Tips with Natural Herbs and Remedies

See the dentist as soon as you can and in the meantime you can try the following remedies to help with the aching tooth.

Cloves

Cloves can be found in the spice rack and are often used in apple dishes, but they are also one of the best-known home remedies for a toothache.

  • To relieve the pain of a mild toothache, chew two cloves on the affected tooth.
  • If chewing is too painful, you can use oil of cloves.
  • Mix 3 drops oil of cloves with a quarter teaspoon of olive oil.
  • Soak a cotton ball or gauze pad in this mixture and rub it over the painful tooth and gum.
  • Then keep it against the affected tooth by biting down on it.

 You should feel better within 10 minutes or less.

Health Related

Salt

Salt can be a very effective remedy for a toothache as well as any gum infection or sore in the mouth, especially where bacteria are at the root of the problem.

  • Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a small glass of lukewarm (body temperature) water.
  • Take a sip and swirl it around the mouth, working it through the gaps between the teeth where possible.
  • Do not swallow.
  • Just spit it out and then take another sip and repeat.
  • By the time you finish the glass your pain should be much less.
  • If it comes back later, just repeat.
  • Even if you stay pain-free, it is a good idea to do this after every meal for a few days.
  • It will help clear any bacteria that might be forming around food particles in the mouth and prevent the problem from recurring.

If you have salt crystals, then alternatively you can take one or two and press them against the painful place with your tongue until they dissolve.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that can be used to relieve the agony of a toothache in much the same way as oil of cloves. Alternatively, add a few drops to a small glass of water and swirl around the mouth before spitting out.

Ice

Ice can numb the pain and reduce swelling in the mouth as well as on joint sprains and strains. Either hold an ice cube against the painful tooth in the mouth or make an ice pack from ice wrapped in a cloth or a pack of frozen food and hold it against your cheek where you have pain.

If you use frozen food as an ice pack, you should throw it away when you are done. It will have partially thawed and it is not safe to refreeze and eat.

Lower The Head

Increase blood flow to the head by putting your head between your knees, as if you were feeling faint. Combined with other methods this will strengthen the body’s ability to fight the infection. See your dentist or doctor if home remedies for a toothache do not resolve your problem.

Just a suggestion

Swishing with hydrogen peroxide every day after you clean your teeth has been known to whiten teeth over time and keep the smile whiter, and at the same time works as a natural antiseptic and micro bug killer in your mouth. Do not swallow the hydrogen peroxide as most over the counter hydrogen peroxide is not food grade. So spit it out after.

The Courage to be Healthy

The Courage to be Healthy

Health is the basis for every human achievement, and when health is poor, it provides a lot less vitality and longevity than when it is good. We should do everything possible to be healthy and to maximize our potential to live and love.

In fact, health is not just a matter of vitality and longevity; it is also a matter of sanity. A sound mind is a complement to a sound body. Also, the one is dependent on the other. Study many health books. They help you to define and meet your nutritional requirements much more wisely.

The body needs a balanced and moderate amount of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, minerals, and vitamins to function well. The foods containing these nutrients have to be properly chewed to assist in digestion and absorption (this does not apply to fiber: a type of carbohydrate that the body can neither digest nor absorb). Proper chewing reduces foods to mush and proportionally increases the effect of the digestive juices on them or the availability of the nutrients that are ready for absorption. Chewing is at the center of life.

Carbohydrates are simple or complex sugars generally obtained from fruit, honey, milk products, beets, rutabagas, potatoes, legumes (beans, lentils, or peas), nuts, seeds, whole grains, and the bread, cereal, or pasta made from these grains. Simple sugars and digestible complex sugars serve as an energy source and participate in the synthesis of DNA and RNA molecules, which are the genetic information and the genetic messengers that enable the body to regenerate and reproduce.

Indigestible complex sugars, better known as dietary fiber, are capable of promoting the elimination of waste through the intestine. Refined foods are deplete of this fiber, and constipation can result when we eat these depleted foods that are not good for health. So, except on the occasional celebration, determine to avoid refined foods.

Lipids include two main subdivisions: saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated fats (with a phosphoric component in some of them – i.e., in phospholipids versus triglycerides that are pure fats) and cholesterol, which is a singular fatty compound.

Like simple sugars and digestible complex sugars, saturated fats and monounsaturated fats serve as an energy source. In addition, they contribute to the integrity of the body tissues. Polyunsaturated fats and cholesterol also contribute to this integrity and are used for a variety of vital functions involving the cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, and immune system.

A distinctive feature of polyunsaturated fats is their instability. When exposed to heat, light, or air, such as in processing, intense cooking, or prolonged everyday use, they can suffer damage and become harmful. In view of this fact, be careful to eat the foods that contain them – for example, walnuts and seeds, and the oil extracted from either – in their most natural (unprocessed and if possible uncooked) form and fresh (unspoiled) state. When cooking is necessary, as in the case of fish or tofu, you can steam or bake rather than fry and avoid undercooking.

Apply the same basic principles to the foods that contain monounsaturated fats, like peanuts, almonds, olives, and avocado, and the oil extracted from any of them, though these fats are less unstable than their polyunsaturated counterparts. As for cholesterol, found exclusively in animal products, and saturated fats, found mostly in land animal products, they have a reputation for causing arterial blockage and organ dysfunction if consumed without restraint. Limit the intake of them by following a largely vegetarian diet where animal flesh is the exception, not the rule. Exercise restraint in the consumption of polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats as well. The opposite, like any lack of moderation, is a health hazard.

Proteins are various macromolecules that comprise a large number of amino acids (nitrogenous molecules that occur in twenty-two different forms). In the course of digestion, these macromolecules are broken down into these molecular components, which then act as raw material or building blocks to produce new molecules or new macromolecules or polypeptides, which are smaller than proteins, or proteins, that suit our body’s needs in many areas: the metabolism, the blood, the mucous membranes, the skin and the tendons, the muscles, plus the endocrine, immune, and nervous systems.

The main sources of protein – namely, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and the bread, cereal, or pasta made from these grains, together with milk products and eggs – are also rich in carbohydrates or fats. Here the fats that matter are saturated or monounsaturated, whereas the polyunsaturated ones are not a favorable means of satisfying energy requirements, given the many other important roles they play.

Minerals and vitamins are a group of some thirty substances that complement carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. A deficiency in one of them can hamper a bodily function and jeopardize your health. Refining is a terrible process that depletes fibers and nutrients in foods. So, to make sure there is enough minerals and vitamins, add vegetables: carrots, radishes, cauliflower, red cabbage, green vegetables, leafy or non-leafy, garlic, and onions.

Drink plenty of water, though not during or immediately after meals lest it interferes with digestion by flooding the stomach. Drinking water typically contains a minute quantity of minerals. Much more importantly, it has the ability to replenish the bodily fluids and cleanse the system of undesirable substances.

In the effort to be healthy, a reasonable diet is not everything. Fresh air and regular exercise ought to form part of this effort. There are two types of exercise; both require stretching, before and after, plus warm-up and cool-down periods, to avoid injuries.

Anaerobic Exercise

The first type of exercise is anaerobic, not dependent on the intake of oxygen. An example of anaerobic exercise is weightlifting. Done frequently, in vigorous workouts, it strengthens muscles and bones.

Aerobic Exercise

The second and most beneficial type of exercise is aerobic, dependent on the intake of oxygen. An example of aerobic exercise is jogging. Done every day or a few times a week, for at least fifteen minutes (enough to markedly and sustainedly increase the activity of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, responsible for delivering oxygen to the body tissues), it yields numerous health benefits. Besides strengthening muscles and bones, it raises endurance, improves the handling of stress, promotes good mood, boosts the immune function, reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke, and helps to prevent obesity together with disorders like diabetes and hypertension that often accompany this condition.

In a nutshell, fresh air and regular exercise are important aspects of a wholesome lifestyle. They result in someone being stronger, feeling better, and probably living longer.

Share the Herbal Love

Share the Herbal Love

Do you know anyone who knows how to use herbs and natural cures?

It’s easy to build up your knowledge of the wonderful life-giving properties of herbs, even their very smells are used in aromatherapy. Our bodies are very sensitive to the altering effects of herbs. Learn to use them. They are good like a medicine.

It’s also easy to learn to grow your own herbs to use in cooking, salves, teas, tinctures, etc. Or you can buy dried cut herbs and powders from wholesalers. Talk to others. You will discover gems of knowledge from the most unexpected persons. Share your knowledge too. Elderly folk have a wealth of information about herbs and natural cures. Natural cures can be fun and can help you make friends!

I love lavender.

Lavender is so easy to plant and look after. It flourishes year after year, has a lovely, soothing scent, is known to induce relaxation, and keeps the moths away. Put a lavender plant on your kitchen windowsill and fill sachets of lavender blossoms to put in your cupboards.

An elderly friend saw that my hair had been losing its luster. And she said to take one egg yolk, olive oil, juice of one lemon, mix it together in a bowl, and use my fingers or a basting brush, to rub or brush the mixture thoroughly onto my scalp, around the hair roots, and onto the hair. Then wrap a towel around my hair for two hours, then rinse with lukewarm water and shampoo as usual. I followed her instructions and sure enough, my hair shiny and had more body than it has had in a long time.

You can learn about natural cures by improvising with things found at home. Did your face ever feel like an elastic mask? I needed something to soothe and moisturize my skin. – I found that yogurt was the perfect solution. After rubbing some on my face and letting it soak in, I felt and looked twenty years younger.

Turmeric is a golden herbal remedy that fights inflammation

Turmeric is a golden herbal remedy that fights inflammation

Herbal remedies are based on the principle of strengthening wellness and preventing diseases rather than curing sickness. It directs us to resist the diseases through our food habits and life styles and herbal remedy use. Hippocrates stressed,

“Let your food be your medicine”

Over the last several years, there has been increasing interest in Turmeric and its medicinal properties. The rhizomes or roots of this plant look like ginger but are smaller and an orange color and are used as medicine and in natural remedies. The rhizomes are boiled, dried and then powdered.

turmeric-homemade herbals

This powder is used for medicinal and culinary purposes. This turmeric herb has occupied the shelves of every Indian kitchen for 6000 years and is considered the king of the kitchen. It has a pungent and bitter taste. It is used daily in cooking. Apart from cooking, it is also used as a beauty aid and as a dye.

turmeric-homemade herbals

Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) belongs to Zingiberaceae Family and is a perennial plant that grows 3 to 5 feet high in the tropical regions. Ayurveda appreciates the medicinal qualities and yellow color of Turmeric.

We can particularly praise the medicinal qualities of Turmeric, which finds its place in many herbal preparations related to aiding inflammation, liver and skin disorders. The active chemical component of Turmeric is Curcumin.

Curcumin is a strong antioxidant and reduces inflammation by reducing histamine levels.

  1. Curcumin protects the liver,
  2. reduces cholesterol,
  3. prevents internal blood clotting,
  4. prevents heart attacks,
  5. protects from liver tissue damages and disorders,
  6. widely used in skin treatments,
  7. treats respiratory issues,
  8. purifies the blood,
  9. enhances the complexion

Turmeric is very safe. But special precautions should be taken in persons who have gallstones, hyperacidity, stomach ulcers and obstructive jaundice.

Turmeric powder

Effects of Turmeric—-

On The Liver

  • It is recommended that this golden herb can purify blood and prevent it from clotting.
  • It is used extensively to protect the liver from toxins and microbes.
  • Turmeric increases the secretion of bile, promotes the free flow of bile.
  • This herb can be used to overcome toxic effects of alcohol on the liver.
  • This reduces cholesterol and protects the heart.
  • 1 teaspoon of Turmeric with warm water should rejuvenate the liver and expel toxins out of it.

On The Respiratory System

  • Turmeric is very effective in bronchitis, productive cough and asthma.
  • One spoon of turmeric boiled in milk should be taken with a spoon of pure ghee for conditions like bronchitis, asthma and productive cough.
  • This gives very good relief and as an expectorant for excessively produced mucous in the lungs.

On Ageing

  • The antioxidant properties of turmeric give us young looks and make us feel young.
  • It reduces inflammation in joints, protects the heart, reduces cholesterol and keeps us very healthy.

On Diabetes

  • It is widely used in Ayurvedic preparations for Diabetes.
  • It lowers the blood sugar and increases glucose metabolism.

On the Uterus

  • It initiates a regular menstrual cycle and reduces menstrual cramps.

On the Skin

  • Blood nourishes the skin and it is known fact that pure blood always keeps the skin glowing and radiant.
  • Turmeric purifies the blood, nourishes skin and gives it a healthy natural glow and radiance.
  • A traditional face pack used in India consists of gram flour, pure turmeric powder, milk, and honey.
  • This reduces inflammation of the skin, smoothens it and prevents many skin ailments.

On Stomach and Intestines

  • Turmeric enhances digestion, normalizes metabolism and expels intestinal parasites

On Wounds

  • Turmeric accelerates the healing process and readily reduces pain and inflammation.
  • A thick paste of Turmeric applied on wounds acts as an excellent antibiotic and anti inflammatory.

On Health

  • Turmeric purifies and cleans the body.
  • It is a tailor made herb for those who are health conscious.
  • It increases the flexibility of muscles, reduces inflammation in muscles and joints and helps to perform exercise with confidence and ease.

This is a wonderful treasure that nature has provided for us in this golden Turmeric root?

Natural Remedies and Herbs for Arthritis and Inflammation

Natural Remedies and Herbs for Arthritis and Inflammation

Arthritis is a general term which is commonly associated with a number of painful conditions affecting the joints and bones. The term “arthritis” literally translates to “joint inflammation.”

There are approximately 100 different forms of this condition, and it affects millions of people throughout the world. Symptoms can include joint pain, stiffness, inflammation, and limited movement of joints. When a joint is inflamed, it may be swollen, tender, red, or warm to the touch.

In a healthy joint, the ends of the bones are covered by cartilage, a spongy material that allows almost frictionless motion between bones. The joints are enclosed in a capsule and lined with tissue called the synovium. This lining releases a slippery, lubricating fluid that helps the joint move smoothly and easily.

With arthritis, the cartilage may be damaged or worn away by degenerative processes or by inflammation, making movement painful and difficult. If left undiagnosed and untreated, arthritis may progress to cause irreversible damage to the joints.

Contrary to popular belief, arthritis affects all age groups. It’s more common in those over forty-five, and in the case of osteoarthritis, three-fourths of the cases occur in women.

The foundational causes of arthritis are dependent upon the form of arthritis.

For instance, in some cases arthritis is the result of injury. A tweaked knee, a dislocated elbow, a damaged shoulder could all potentially result in an arthritic condition in the following years. In forms of arthritis such as gout and pseudo-gout, which are caused by deposits of crystals called calcium pyrophosphate, the cause is considered to be a metabolic abnormality. There are also hereditary factors and infections that can cause arthritis. And finally, there are some forms of arthritis in which we simply haven’t been able to identify a cause.

Traditional arthritis treatment has been through the use of drugs that are designed to minimize the symptoms. For example, joint inflammation and swelling can often be reduced, and pain can often be controlled. Of course, these are not cures. There really isn’t a cure for the arthritic condition at this time.

Arthritis Joint Pain

Arthritis pain can be intense and unrelenting.

While pain is generally considered the worse symptom of arthritis, some forms of arthritis are more painful than others. Pain can be the result of joint fatigue and/or inflammation of the membrane around the joints, tendons and ligaments.

Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout are the three most common forms. So let’s take a quick look at each of these:

Osteoarthritis (OA) is believed to be caused by the gradual wear on the body’s joints. It tends to affect the weight bearing joints. These include the knees, ankles, hands, arms, and hips. Generally it goes undetected until the later stages, when much of the joint cartilage is already gone. It’s the rubbing of bone against bone that creates the pain. The cushion provided by the cartilage is either worn down to a point where it’s no long effective, or it no longer exists.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is different in that the body’s own immune system attacks the joint tissue. Why this happens is still largely unknown in medical circles. Symptoms include inflammation, pain, stiffness, weakness, and often a deforming of the joints. It begins in the hands, wrists and feet, and advances to the shoulders, elbows and hips. This is a chronic disease that can potentially cause complete debility of the joints.

Gout is identifiable by the high level of pain affecting a single joint. It generally occurs in the big toe, with symptoms that include intense pain, swelling, stiffness, and a warm feeling. The exact cause is unknown; although deposits of crystals are believe to be involved.

While cartilage itself does not cause pain – it has no nerve endings to transmit pain signals — the irritation of other tissues in and around the affected joints does. This is particularly true in the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Unfortunately, pain and stiffness similar to the symptoms of Rheumatoid

Arthritis can be caused by many other conditions, such as injury or infection.

Only a medical professional can identify the true source of joint pain.

So what is arthritis pain all about? Why does it happen?

The purpose of pain is to let you know that something’s wrong in your body. It does this by releasing a chemical signal to the brain from the area that’s injured or not functioning correctly. The brain receives this signal as a pain response. The classic example is when you place your hand on a hot stove.

The nerves in your hand send a message to the brain alerting it that damage is being done, and your brain responds by encouraging you to pull your hand away from the hot surface. It’s a safety mechanism, designed to protect your body.

Arthritic pain is different in the sense that it’s long lasting and you can’t simply pull your hand away to bring about relief. Those who are afflicted with arthritis may experience little pain for a period of time, and then experience sudden flare ups without any apparent reason.

The secret to living with arthritis is learning to manage the pain.

This can be done in a number of ways. There are medications for arthritis.

There are alternative approaches to managing your arthritis pain, as well. In fact, we’ll explore some of these in this report. And then there are the little day-to-day factors that help relieve pain.

For instance, arthritis pain can be aggravated by fatigue, stress, and/or too much physical exertion, depending on the form of arthritis and the level of fatigue. By being in tune with your body and aware of your limits, you can avoid additional pain simply by reducing these factors in your life.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways people deal with arthritis joint pain.

Traditional Arthritis Pain Management

Medications, physiotherapy, exercise programs, and surgery are all traditional treatments for arthritis, depending on the form of the arthritis and the extent of damage it’s already done. The more serious the condition, the more likely you’ll have several doctors involved in your treatment, including an arthritis specialist and a physiotherapist.

Generally, the goal is to reduce the inflammation and swelling of the affected joint, thereby preventing further damage and reducing the pain.

Most arthritis medications fall into three categories:

  • Those that relieve pain.
  • Those that reduce inflammation or the body process that causes swelling, warmth, and redness.
  • Those that slow the disease process and limit further damage to the joints.

For a fortunate few, an over the counter painkiller such as Tylenol, Datril, or Anacin-3 is all they need to control their arthritis pain. The cheapest of your choices for pain relief, these drugs are ideal for mild to moderate pain.

However, they do not relieve inflammation and may increase the risk of liver problems, especially in heavy alcohol drinkers.

For the vast majority of arthritis sufferers, however, the pain is simply too intense and too debilitating.

The most commonly prescribed category of drugs for arthritis is known as and NSAIDS. NSAIDS stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs used for moderate to severe arthritis pain and keep the inflammation of the area affected by arthritis to a minimum, allowing for a decrease in pain and stiffness, and possibly giving the joint a slightly greater range of motion.

Side effects include nausea, diarrhea, and dyspepsia. Some NSAIDs may interfere with other medications or aggravate existing conditions, so consult your doctor before taking any.

COX-2 Inhibitors. These are a new class of NSAIDs that cause fewer side effects. They are usually more expensive, but are generally considered safer than other NSAIDs. Celebrex is probably the best- known in this category of drugs.

The next most common arthritis treatment is the use of a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). This category includes several unrelated medications intended to slow or stop the progression of the disease and prevent disability and discomfort. DMARDs include Rheumatrex (methotrexate), Azulfidine (sulfasalazine), and Arava (leflunomide).

Corticosteroids do not relieve arthritis pain, but reduce the symptoms that aggravate it, such as heat and inflammation. They are commonly used for treating severe osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis pain. These work by reducing swelling and inflammation. Since corticosteroids are steroidal, and very similar to a compound produced in the adrenal glands, dosage varies fro case to case. If used over a long period of time or in too high of doses, corticosteroids have been determined to lead to long term problems such as brittle bones, cataracts, elevated blood sugar, and an increased susceptibility to infections throughout the body.

Opioids include strong analgesics such as morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and meperidine. They work well of severe, acute arthritis pain, but are seldom prescribed because they can be addictive.

Narcotic analgesics are either strong analgesics or a combination of weak and strong ones, such as acetaminophen and codeine. They are used to relieve severe pain, particularly when over-the-counter analgesics do not work. They are best used for short-term treatment, as they can cause serious side effects when taken regularly.

Topical analgesics refer to external applications such as creams, oils and ointments. Because they are applied only on the affected area, there is lower risk of side effects. However, the relief is usually short-lived. They work for specific types of arthritis pain, such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis attacks.

Biologic Arthritis Treatments

Biological products are a relatively new class of drugs for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. These treatments are derived from living sources, such as cell culture systems. Conventional drugs, on the other hand, are chemically synthesized. Currently licensed biologics reduce inflammation and structural damage of the joints by blocking a substance called tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a protein involved in immune system responses.

Enbrel (etanercept) was the first biologic to receive FDA approval for patients with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis. Enbrel decreases pain and morning stiffness and improves joint swelling and tenderness. The two other

TNF-blocking products approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis are Remicade (infliximab) and Humira (adalimumab). All three TNF blockers have been shown to improve physical function in two year studies

Natural Arthritis Pain Relief

There are a number of natural approaches to arthritis pain relief. Generally, these are for milder cases. However, they can still be used to take the edge off the more severe and insistent arthritis pain as well.

Let’s take a look at some of these.

Weight Management

A healthier diet and lifestyle can help reduce weight, which in turn takes some of the strain off the cartilage and joints. This is particularly the case in osteoarthritis. By dropping weight, overweight people can reduce the future risk of arthritis in the future. And for those who are already dealing with the condition, it can minimize some of the symptoms while improving mobility.

For Gout – Eliminate High Purine Foods

Gout can be agonizing. The pain is often so intense that simple sensations such as placing a blanket over your feet can cause extreme suffering.

There is controversy around the causes of gout. Many believe that it’s caused by years of alcohol consumption coupled with a lack of proper diet and exercise. Those with a diet that lacks purine-neutralizing substances such as cherries, strawberries, and celery may also be more at risk for gout development.

Purine is a substance that’s found within the body. When metabolized, purine becomes uric acid. A heightened level of uric acid production is commonly found in those with gout. Another factor that may play a role in developing gout is a lack of proper excretion of uric acid. Crystallization of the uric acid accounts for the swelling and intense pain experienced by those with the disease.

Foods that are high in purine should be avoided: meat, beans, sardines, anchovies, scallops, alcohol, and diet soda all have high levels of purine and should be avoided if you wish to decrease your risk of developing gout

Exercise Can Actually Help

If you’ve been diagnosed with some form of arthritis, chances are you’ve heard this advice before: exercise can be very beneficial to your joint and muscle health. Studies have shown that exercise can help reduce many of the often painful symptoms that are associated with the disease. Improved joint mobility, increased muscle strength, and overall better health are just some of the benefits of exercise.

Before you start any exercise regime, make sure to visit with your doctor. Over exercising can actually aggravate your arthritis pain.

In general, it’s recommended that arthritis sufferers focus on low impact exercises that tone the body, retain and increase flexibility, and improve posture. These exercises fall into three main categories: mobility exercises, aerobic exercises, and strength exercises.

Mobility exercises are those that seek to improve the patient’s ability to stay flexible and retain or improve their range of motion. Aerobic exercises are those that improve overall cardiovascular fitness. Strength exercises include weight-bearing exercises that help build muscle strength and improve joint flexibility and stability.

Remember that your exercise routine should be gentle enough so that it does not aggravate your arthritic symptoms. Even though some regular physical activity is key for arthritis patients, it is also important to integrate periods of rest into your schedule. Never exercise if one or more of your joints feels hot or pained. Any feelings of warmth or hotness means that your joints are inflamed and you should never exercise on inflamed joints or muscles.

What can you expect from your exercise routine?

After roughly six weeks of regular exercise you can expect to notice that your balance has improved. Your posture will also be improved, especially if you have integrated mobility exercises into your exercise routine. And you should experience a reduction in your pain level if your arthritis is on the mild end of the scale.

Acupuncture

A recent federal study found that acupuncture can provide substantial relief for some arthritis sufferers. As part of a whole treatment approach, acupuncture has been proven to help elderly patients lead fuller and healthier lives, despite the debilitating effects of arthritis. The study was directed by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

In the study, 570 elderly arthritis patients were treated with acupuncture for six months. At the end, they reported experiencing less pain and greater flexibility and mobility in the affected joints.

Acupuncture is now being touted as a safe and effective treatment for arthritis.

Specifically, this latest piece of research has demonstrated that acupuncture can help treat pain in the knees, which is often associated with osteoarthritis.

Acupuncture is a traditional form of Chinese medicine in which very thin metal needles are inserted into specific areas of the body. The needles are then moved and manipulated by the therapist, and in some instances they’re stimulated using electricity.

So how does all this help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis? It’s unclear exactly how acupuncture works. Some scientists and researchers believe that acupuncture helps the body release the chemicals that cause pain and discomfort.

Heat Therapy

Therapists recommend applying heat to the affected area instead of the traditional ice packs. Superficial heat relieves arthritis pain by increasing circulation in the area. However, it only works for localized pains because the heat penetrates only a few millimeters below the skin. Common heat treatments include paraffin, hot packs, and hydrotherapy.

Epson Salt Bath

Baths are another natural way to treat the pain and discomfort often associated with arthritis. When using baths to seek relief, warm baths are advised. In fact, cold bathes can result in increased pain, which is not the goal. In addition to a traditional warm bath, many of those suffering from arthritis recommend adding about three or four tablespoons of Epson salt to the bathwater. Those diagnosed with arthritis should remain in a warm bath for at least thirty minutes.

Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate): Magnesium has both anti-inflammatory and anti- arthritic properties and it can be absorbed through the skin. Magnesium is one of the most important of the essential minerals in the body, and it is commonly deficient in the American diet. The heat of the bath can increase circulation and reduce the swelling of arthritis.

Dosage and Directions: Fill a bathtub with water as hot as you can stand. Add 2 cups of Epsom salts. Bathe for thirty minutes, adding hot water as necessary to keep the temperature warm. Do this daily, as often as you’d like.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is considered a complementary treatment for arthritis pain.

While it cannot cure your arthritis, massage therapy can provide some relief of your pain. You can experience increased flexibility and mobility, a reduction in pain and inflammation, fewer muscle aches and less stiffness, and an overall sense of comfort.

It’s wise to work with a therapist who has experience with arthritis patients.

The process is designed to strengthen and invigorate the muscles surrounding the joint. This is done with gentle stretching, vibration, and friction. Your therapist should not work directly on an inflamed joint, however, since this can actually aggravate your pain.

Some arthritis sufferers find that regular massage, which may mean weekly for some or monthly for other, offers them better relief than their medication. Of course, you should always consult with your doctor when you’re pursuing complementary therapies for your arthritis.

Hot And Cold Patches

You can also find temporary relief for arthritis using hot and cold patches.

These can be found in nearly any drug store and many department stores as well. Simply apply the patch directly to the joint when you’ve noticed some inflammation and swelling. Icy Hot would be an example.

Topical Creams

There are a number of topical arthritis creams that can be applied directly to the skin. Most of these can be purchased over-the-counter. These are designed to help with minor arthritis and muscle pain. You’ll find that some contain the active ingredient salicylate, while others are based on the painrelieving effect of capsaicin or menthol. Bengay Arthritis Cream would be an example.

Magnets

It’s referred to as static magnet therapy, and it’s rather controversial as far as relieving arthritis pain – or any other kind of pain for that matter. However, it’s also considered harmless, so for some, it’s definitely worth trying.

It’s believed that the magnet reduces pain by increasing circulation.

There haven’t been any studies, and at this point in time, there’s no evidence that magnets actually increase circulation. Once again, though, static magnet therapy is harmless.

Supplements

The reason so many people seek out alternatives to traditional arthritis pain medications is twofold. First, there is the expense involved with prescription medicine. Second, many of these medications come with side effects.

There are alternative supplements you can take. Generally, however, these will be helpful primary for milder forms of arthritic pain. And as with any alternative therapy, you should first consult with your doctor to make sure it’s appropriate for your specific condition and doesn’t interfere with any other medications you may be taking.

Here’s a quick overview of supplements you might want to consider for your arthritis pain. We’ll go into most of these in detail in this section.

  • Vitamin E – This antioxidant is used primarily for osteoarthritis.
  • Vitamin B – Said to be an effective pain reliever. It works best on the knee and can help stop degeneration that is caused by free-radical molecules, not only in the joints but in other areas of the body as well
  • Ginger – Ginger is an antioxidant that acts as an inflammatory with no major side effects.
  • Glucosamine sulfate – This builds cartilage with very few side effects.
  • Chondroitin – Helps draw fluid into cartilage, improving shock-absorbing ability.
  • MSM – This organic sulfur is used in the reduction of inflammation.
  • Fish Oil – Touted as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Suppresses inflammation.
  • Cherries – Contain a natural pigment called anthocyanin, which is known to have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is thought to act as an antioxidant and help clean up free radicals, as well as aid in the formation of red blood cells. It has long been considered to be helpful in reducing inflammation, especially for osteoarthritis. However, a recent study of 136 people with osteoarthritis found that Vitamin E did not demonstrate any positive effects on the condition or the pain. This is a very small study, it still remains to be seen if Vitamin E can be helpful or not. If you decide to add it to your diet, the recommended daily average is 15 mg for adults.

Vitamin B

Although Vitamin B is not considered to be an effective arthritis treatment, it has gained a following because there are connections between B and arthritis.

For example, those people with rheumatoid arthritis will often have low levels of Vitamin B in their blood.

At this point in time, however, there is no significant evidence that taking additional Vitamin B supplements will reduce your arthritis pain or influence your odds of getting arthritis in the future. We simply don’t understand enough yet about the effects of Vitamin B on this condition.

It shouldn’t hurt, however, to take a daily multivitamin that includes B vitamins to make sure that your body it getting what it needs.

Ginger

Resent research suggests ginger root can inhibit inflammation and pain. In an uncontrolled 1992 Danish study, 56 arthritis patients took powdered ginger.

Three-fourths reported varying degrees of pain relief and no side effects, even among those who took the ginger for more than two years. Another recent study, this is 2001, looked at 250 patients suffering with moderate to severe pain. Of those that were given 225 mg of ginger twice a day as a dietary supplement, over two-thirds reported reduced pain.

So ginger appears to be a much better bet at easing arthritis pain than do Vitamin E and Vitamin B. 225 mg of ginger twice daily has been demonstrated to be beneficial when using ginger for arthritis pain. Or, if you don’t care for the idea of taking supplement pills, you can add ginger into your regular diet. Use it in your cooking. And if you can’t find fresh ginger, use dried ginger. Great with stews and soups.

Glucosamine And Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin are two dietary supplements that have become popular supplements for treating the symptoms of arthritis. Many faithful users have sung the praises of these two dietary supplements to the point that they’re often sold in combination.

Glucosamine (its full name is glucosamine sulfate) is a natural substance found in the joints. Beside your own joint fluid, glucosamine can also be found in certain sea creatures, including the shells of crabs, lobsters, and shrimps.

Scientists can also create glucosamine in the laboratory. Your body creates its own steady supply of glucosamine used to create and repair lost cartilage.

Like glucosamine, chondroitin (or chondroitin sulfate) can also be found in the fluid surrounding the joints. Chondroitin is believed to be helpful in drawing fluid into the cartilage, cushioning the joint against shocks and thereby relieving pain. It can also be found in cattle and sharks.

Recent research has found that both supplements contain anti-inflammatory properties, and provide anti-inflammatory protection in some animals.

MSM

While two small studies have implied that MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) may be helpful in relieving arthritis joint pain for those with osteoarthritis, much further study is needed. There currently is very little understanding about the long-term effects of MSM. It is, however, a supplement that is drawing interest, especially in treating arthritis. It’s just too early to be able to definitively pronounce it as effective for arthritis pain and harmless if taken over time.

Fish Oil

One of the latest trends that nutritionists and others are buzzing about is fish oil. Fish oil is high in two types of omega-3 fatty acids. These include eicosapentaenoic acid (or EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (or DHA). Both of these omega-3 fatty acids have been well documented for their ability to reduce inflammation.

Currently, there is insufficient research to conclude whether fish oil is truly effective in relieving the symptoms associated with arthritis. However, early research is encouraging. Recent clinical trials and laboratory studies have concluded that fish oil, because of its omega-3 structure, may be helpful in reducing the feelings of stiff morning muscles and tender joints that so many arthritis sufferers experience. Researchers have not yet concluded the appropriate dosage for maximum effectiveness, nor how long treatment should last.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids switch off the enzymes that break down joint cartilage, and are found mainly in oily fish such as sardines, salmon and cod liver oil.

But you can also find them in plant seed oils such as evening primrose and sunflower oil, canola oil, soybean oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, and the base plants of these oils.

Cherries

Cherries, bilberries and blueberries contain a natural pigment called anthocyanin, which is known to have an anti-inflammatory effect. Tart cherries boast a whopping 26.5 grams of anthocyanin – the highest level of all fruits. Extracts from these fruits are commonly used for arthritis relief, especially for acute gout attacks.

Studies at Michigan State University found that tart cherry compounds are at least 10 times more effective than aspirin in reducing inflammation without any side effects.

Drinking just one ounce, or two tablespoons, of tart concentrated cherry juice every day is suggested for relieving arthritis pain.

Please keep in mind that the FDA does not regulate dietary supplements. This is because plants, fats, proteins and animal organs and tissues as well as herbs, minerals and vitamins don’t require approval from FDA. However, it’s always advisable to consult a healthcare professional before starting any natural remedy that involves supplements for arthritis

Heavenly Honey as a Simple Homemade Health Remedy

Heavenly Honey as a Simple Homemade Health Remedy

Spring brings a picture-perfect day. You’re enjoying yourself on a well-deserved vacation. Then you fall, a victim of loose gravel. Your leg is a mess. At the local hospital, you’re given a cream to apply two times a day to keep infection at bay. Returning home after a week of pain and aches, your leg isn’t healing as it should. A call to the local herbalist or homeopath, and it’s suggested that you apply honey to the wound. That’s too simple. “How can honey do anything to help this?” you ask. The reply, “Honey not only can heal, it will improve your overall health.”

Sweeteners come in many forms, but no other has the health benefits of honey. It remains the one confection offering life-giving qualities. Sugar has more calories. Many artificial sweeteners ultimately do more harm than good. But honey is a natural choice, even for diabetics (in moderation). The bear in the woods knew what he was doing when he fought the bees to get to his favorite sweet stuff.

Native Americans learned from the animals around them. As they watched a bear walk through swarms of bees, pulled like a magnet to the hive despite being stung many times over, they had to observe the pain the animal endured to get the sticky stuff. When they finally got their own hands on honey, they discovered that it not only tasted great, but it healed their bee stings and other cuts, too. The women used it on their faces. Taken for colds, it soothed sore throats. Given to children in the evening, honey was found to keep many an animal skin dry by morning.

Modern creams and antibiotics may help heal, but they often have the disadvantage of killing tissue and causing scabs and scars. But not all of us think to put honey under that Band-Aid or bandage. Results of a three year clinical trial at the University Teaching Hospital in Calabar, Nigeria, showed that unprocessed honey can heal wounds when more modern dressings and antibiotic treatments fail. In 59 patients treated for wounds and external ulcers, honey was effective in all but one case. Topical applications kept sterile wounds sterile until they had time to heal, while infected wounds became sterile within a week. Honey was also shown to remove dead tissue from persistent wounds, helping some patients avoid skin grafts or amputations.

“Honey provides a moist healing environment yet prevents bacterial growth even when wounds are heavily infected,” notes Dr. Peter Molan of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. “It is a very effective means of quickly rendering heavily infected wounds sterile, without the side effects of antibiotics, and it is even effective against antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.”

What gives honey its healing capacity? A combination, it seems, of several factors: Honey’s acidity, or pH, is low enough to hinder or prevent the growth of many species of bacteria, although this acidity may be neutralized as honey is diluted, with, for example, body fluids from a cut or wound. Then there’s honey’s osmolarity, or tendency to absorb water from a wound, which deprives bacteria of the moisture they need to thrive. Hydrogen peroxide plays another big part. When honey is diluted (again, say, with fluids from a wound) an enzyme is activated to produce hydrogen peroxide, which, as we know, is a potent antibacterial (who doesn’t have a brown bottle of this stuff in their medicine cabinet?). Honey has also been shown to reduce the inflammation and soothe the pain of deep wounds and burns. And honey dressings won’t stick to wounds, since what ends up in contact with the affected area is a solution of honey and fluid that can be easily lifted off or rinsed away. That means no pain when changing dressings, notes Molan, and no tearing away of newly formed tissue.

“Honey is an ideal first-aid dressing material,” he adds, “especially for patients in remote locations, where there could be time for infection to set in before medical treatment is obtained. It is readily available and simple to use.” 

But honey’s healing powers reach beyond wounds and burns. There’s also evidence (some scientific, much anecdotal) to suggest that the antibacterial powers of certain honeys, in particular New Zealand’s manuka honey, may be effective against the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, the main culprit in many stomach ulcers. Doctors have yet to prove this, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to give it a try in the meantime. Beginning and ending your day with a tablespoon of honey on a piece of toast may just calm the fire in your belly.

Some not-so-scientific research has also found that honey can speed alcohol metabolism to sober a person up. The high fructose content may help to relieve that morning-after hangover and the tired feeling that goes along with it. “Honey does not have to be digested before it is absorbed,” notes Dr. Susan Percival of the University of Florida’s Food Science and Human Nutrition Department. “It is already the two simple sugars, fructose and glucose,” which means, explains Percival, that the sugars from honey go directly to the bloodstream and can provide a quick boost when needed. Regular table sugar, on the other hand, is a disaccharide, which must be cleaved in two before digestion.

Along with fructose, honey enzymes enhance the digestive process to relieve indigestion. Daily use of honey creates heat and energy, wards off fatigue, and aids recuperative power.

Eating locally produced honey may also help to minimize the symptoms of hay fever and related pollen allergies, which leave so many of us sniffling and sneezing at this time of the year. John Heinerman, a noted medical anthropologist and author of Heinerman’s Encyclopedia of Healing Herbs and Spices (Prentice Hall, 1996), notes that the best course of treatment is to take one tablespoonful of local honey after each meal, beginning a month before pollen season starts. He also recommends chewing some of the comb between meals. Being a hay fever sufferer himself, Heinerman says, “Although [honey and honey comb] have never actually cured my hay fever as such, I can testify that they have reduced the misery and aggravation of watery eyes and runny nose by at least 80 percent during the allergy season.” 

Plagued by worrisome wrinkles? Honey softens and moisturizes for a healthy complexion. Beekeepers’ hands are often noted as being soft and smooth during honey season. To take advantage of honey’s skin softening potential, splash warm water on your face to open the pores. Then apply a thin honey mask, wash it off, and finish with a bit of cold water to the face. Dry skin cells plump up and wrinkles tend to smooth away. Dairy cream, whipped egg white, fresh lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or any fruit juice may be mixed into your honey mask.

Honey Facial

Add to all of the above the fact that honey is just plain good for you. It’s chock-full of nutrients, albeit at low levels. Honey is an excellent source of potassium. It also contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and ascorbic acid, not to mention calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and sodium, too. “Table sugar has no nutrients or antioxidants at all,” notes Percival. “So using honey as a sweetening agent has its advantages.”

Darker honeys contain higher amounts of minerals than lighter honeys. Enzymes also do their part to make honey far more nutritionally complex than other sweeteners. With so much going for honey, isn’t a teaspoonful on your breakfast toast or Band-Aid a simple solution to healing wounds inside and out?


Honey and Babies

The National Honey Board warns that honey may contain spores that can cause infant botulism in children aged one year and younger. Adults and older children are routinely exposed to botulism spores in dust, soil, honey and other uncooked foods, but are almost never affected by them. In immature infants’ digestive tracts, however, the spores are able to germinate and release a toxin. Symptoms of infant botulism include constipation, lethargy, poor feeding, weak cry, droopy eyelids and, occasionally, respiratory arrest. By the age of 12 months, infants develop a digestive tract mature enough to handle the toxin.


Easy Honey Uses

  • Antibacterial: Apply honey to cuts, scrapes or burns and cover with a clean bandage. Change dressings one to three times daily, as needed. Note: Excessive heat or prolonged exposure to light can rob honey of its antibacterial properties. Always store in a dark, cool place.
  • Disinfectant: Take several tablespoons of honey daily for internal disinfection.
  • Nursing salve: Nursing mothers, try covering cracked, sore nipples with honey-soaked gauze to prevent infection.
  • Sore throats: Many opera singers add honey to a glass of warm milk and sip slowly. This helps soothe the throat.
  • Insomnia: Mix a half glass of warm water with 2 tablespoons of honey and the juice of a lemon and an orange. The darker the honey, the better this works.
  • Honey pick-me-up: Combine 2 tablespoons honey, 2 teaspoons pollen, a teaspoon of ginseng, and dried orange peel. Take with a spoon. Asian healers believe that this creates a feeling of total rejuvenation.
  • Diarrhea: In 8 ounces of water, mix 4 large tablespoons of honey. This works well for bacterial diarrhea. Those with diabetes should be cautious about taking so much honey at one time.
  • Dieting: Honey’s double action (providing instant energy boost, while maintaining sugar levels for a long time) satisfies the hunger for sweets and may keep you feeling fuller longer. For some dieters, this may be good new