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245 articles in health

Sacred Truth Ep. 58: White Powder Changes Lives

Sacred Truth Ep. 58: White Powder Changes Lives

Sodium bicarbonate—commonly known as baking soda—is derived from naturally occurring mineral deposits. It’s something most of us keep around the house for cleaning or, as its name suggests, baking purposes. It’s been used in this way for more than 150 years. This humble powder has many more applications than you might imagine. It can be a common cure for simple maladies, ranging from removing nasty splinters to clearing a common cold. In this day and age, where drugs of questionable safety are thrust upon us for just about every ailment, it’s a relief to know you can call on an inexpensive, old-fashioned natural product for help when you need it.    Chances are that you’re familiar with taking a little baking soda in water to clear a sudden case of indigestion. Its alkalinity lends itself well to this purpose when used occasionally. You can also use it to take the fire out of minor burns and sunburns, as its heat-absorbing nature means it can draw heat from the skin. But here’s a less common use for this humble powder. Did you know that it can even be used to fight—as well as prevent—colds and flu? Many attest to its efficiency, though it’s not yet known for sure how it works to ward off ills and chills. One theory is that it stabilizes the pH balance in the bloodstream, strengthening the immune system in the process. A Dr. Volney S. Cheney used it as far back as the late 1910s. With the help of plain old baking soda, the good doctor helped many of his patients fight off the dreaded swine flu—with great success. He then went on to publish his discovery in 1924. You might like to try it for yourself next time you feel you’re coming down with something, and see what happens. It certainly won’t do you any harm. For, unlike pharmaceuticals, Dr Cheney’s treatment carries no nasty side effects. The recommended dosages based on Cheney’s findings are as follows. Day 1: Take six doses of ½ a teaspoon baking soda in a glass of cool water, with two-hour intervals in between. Day 2: Take four doses of ½ a teaspoon baking soda in a glass of cool water, with the same intervals in between. Day 3: Take two doses of ½ a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of cool water, morning, and evening. Thereafter, ½ a teaspoon each morning in a glass of cool water until cold symptoms have cleared. Baking soda’s marvelous healing abilities don’t end there. Got a troublesome splinter? Try making a paste with a tablespoon of soda and a small amount of water, and apply it to the affected area twice daily until the splinter emerges. Alternatively, you can put the paste onto a bandage and leave it on for 24 hours. This should encourage the splinter to the surface; it may even fall out on its own. Stop an itch. You can also apply this type of paste to insect bites to soothe itching, or to itchy or painful rashes such as from poison ivy. Natural deodorant. Try using it as a natural deodorant—you’ll avoid the nasty parabens and aluminum found in most commercial types.   Great foot soak. Add a few tablespoons to a tub of warm to hot water and enjoy a foot soak. Or make a paste of 3:1 ratio of baking soda to water and use as an all-over body exfoliant. We continue to find new uses for this stuff like freshening carpets with baking soda and some essential oils; mixing it with white vinegar, a bit of dish soap and warm water to create a heavy duty floor cleaner; and mixing a dash of the powder with shampoo to clear any buildup of impurities, so your hair becomes soft and manageable. It will even remove crayon marks from walls and painted furniture when you apply it to a damp sponge and rub lightly. And it will clear the inside of a porcelain cup. Just wet the inside, pour some into the bottom, and scrub. Coffee and tea stains will disappear.  Give a few of these things a try. You may become as enthusiastic about this humble powder as we are.

Take Only The Best Vitamin Supplements

Take Only The Best Vitamin Supplements

Many years ago, impeccable research in reputable scientific journals confirmed that every one of us benefits from taking the right kind of vitamin supplements. One excellent study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who take over-the-counter multivitamins in the first months of pregnancy dramatically reduce their risk of giving birth to a neurologically damaged child. Neural tube defects are amongst the most horrible and most common birth defects. They cause everything from death to paralysis in the child, and they affect between 1 and 2 babies in every 1000 births. The study was carried out under the direction of Aubrey Milunsky, director of Boston University's prestigious Center for Human Genetics. It involved 23,000 women, half of whom took multivitamin pills containing folic acid—a B-group vitamin in particularly high demand during pregnancy. The results were astonishing. The incidence of neural tube defects in babies born to the women who took the supplements was less than a quarter of what it was amongst those women who took no supplements. So remarkable were these results that they shook to the core FDA officials, who had insisted for generations that taking nutritional supplements is not only unnecessary but, can cause damage our health. Nevertheless, the FDA and CODEX continue to propagandize the ridiculous idea that “nutrition has no significance for health”. The notion that if vitamins and minerals are allowed on the market, they should only be permitted in ultra-low doses. As a result, month-by-month, clinically effective nutrients are being treated as “toxins”. The levels of nutrients they contain are being reduced. Many are being removed from public access in one country after another. There’s a wonderful way around all this which I strongly urge you to explore. Shun chemically made vitamins—which over 90% on the market are—and take food-state nutrients instead. Most vitamins you buy in shops or online are made from synthetic chemicals. They’ve been manufactured in a laboratory in a futile effort to match the molecular structure of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals found in our foods. As a result, they are chock full of chemically-made nutrients. Your body has been designed to absorb vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. Manmade synthetics can never match natural molecular structures. In no way are they the same. Our bodies do not handle synthetics well. You can be taking a high-potency, man-made synthetic that somebody’s recommended, yet not effectively absorbing the vitamins and minerals it contains. This is a major reason why I am passionate about whole-food natural vitamins and minerals. Good manufacturers of whole-food vitamins usually grow most botanicals themselves that go into their food-state formulas. Using state-of-the-art scientific instrumentation, they test, validate and document the potencies of the raw materials that make up their products with high performance liquid chromatography for testing potency. They are careful in the way they handle other plant extracts which they add to their supplements. They use a specific system of drying which transfers heat gently and efficiently, removing moisture from delicate foods and botanicals in order to prevent oxidation of raw materials. This protects the integrity of the ingredients against any degradation of their nutrient content, and helps maintain the color and the flavor. Since food-state vitamins are biologically natural, you’ll often find that the recommended daily serving of some of these products can sometimes be as high as six to eight capsules a day for you to get the full benefit of what they have to offer. In addition to the common vitamins, such as vitamin A, C, D3, E, K2, folate, and so forth, many food- state multis offer a broad spectrum of bioavailable minerals—calcium, iodine, magnesium, selenium, chromium, molybdenum, manganese; as well as extracts taken from plants also beneficial to your body—extract of barley grass, for example; green papaya; Ayurvedic herbs such as astragalus, foti and kudzu root; and those used in Chinese medicine like reishi and shitake mushrooms. These are often the kind of supplements you may well benefit most from using. Read labels when looking for a good food-state supplement, and choose carefully. But beware. There are many vitamins on the market that claim to be food-state or “whole-food vitamins” that are not top quality. Always make sure that whatever vitamin/mineral complex you choose, it is free of corn, soy, yeast, wheat and dairy products, and that it has been formulated without the use of preservatives, artificial flavors or coloring. See below for some food state products I have personally tested and recommend. Dr. Mercola, Premium Supplements, Whole Food Multivitamin Plus As a dietary supplement, adults take 4 tablets two times daily with food or as directed by your healthcare professional. This product is best taken once in the morning and once at night. Order Whole Food Multivitamin Plus from iherb MegaFood, One Daily, 180 Tablets MegaFood cares about doing things the right way - we refuse to take shortcuts, and we never compromise on quality or the things that matter. Order MegaFood, One Daily from iherb MegaFood, Men Over 55 Since 1973, we have been going out of our way to source fresh and local foods from trusted farmers. We then make our wholesome supplements using our one-of-a-kind process to deliver the most authentic nutrition - much more than vitamins alone. Order MegaFood, Men Over 55 from iherb MegaFood, Women Over 40 One Daily FoodState Nutrients are made with fresh and local foods. Crafted with our Slo-Food Process, they deliver the most authentic nourishment available, which we believe the body recognizes as 100% whole food. Order MegaFood, Women Over 40 One Daily from iherb

Secrets Of The Moon Goddess

Secrets Of The Moon Goddess

A woman's average menstrual cycle is 29 1/2 days—exactly the length of the moon's passage from new to full and back to new again. In tribal cultures, where women live in close physical proximity to each other and their natural menstrual cycles are not disrupted by such things as alterations in exposure to natural light, electromagnetic fields, drugs and hormones, not only do they menstruate at the same time, ovulation tends to occur when light is brightest at the full moon, and menstruation begins during the moon's dark phase—at new moon. There is by no means anything pathological in any woman in the modern world not cycling in this particular natural rhythm. However, it has also been demonstrated that the menstrual cycle can be regulated according to the exposure to varying degrees of light, which mimic the waxing and waning of the moon's phases. Under such circumstances the three phases of the moon—waxing, full and waning—correlate exactly with the monthly cycle of ebb and flow of female hormones—the oestrogen dominated proliferative phase, ovulation, the secretory luteal phase, and menstruation itself. SPLENDID PASSAGES In the realm of myth and symbols, these phases are superbly mirrored in the three phases of every woman's life—childhood, before the sex hormones begin to flow, the childbearing years, which begin at the menarche, and the postmenopausal years of the Moon Goddess in her Crone guise. In ancient cultures, the moon was considered the source of fertility and birth. She ruled destiny and time, the secrets of the unseen world, transformation, death and regeneration. It was the moon's power that quickened all of life. Sowing and harvesting were done in harmony with her ebbs and flows. It was the moon which grew bright then darkened and disappeared altogether each month that taught people that nothing in life is constant. The only thing on which you can rely is change. The moon became a symbol of the cycle of transformation that makes its home in a woman's body, while woman came to rule all things that involved change. Archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, professor Emerita at UCLA, is the acknowledged world expert on Neolithic goddess-centered cultures in pre-patriarchal Europe. Author of more than twenty books, she paints a richly detailed picture of their social structure, agriculture, customs, rituals, religion and art. Much has been learned in recent years about the nature of the goddess-centered cultures, which existed for literally tens of thousands of years in Europe and Asia. The miniature sculptures that have been unearthed in the past twenty years give insight into the great variety of female manifestation of the divine which appeared as long ago as 27,000 to 25,000 years BC. Three thousand of these have been found in Siberia alone. In The Civilization of the Goddess, a monumental encyclopedic book which has already changed history, Gimbutas writes, "According to myriad images that have survived from the great span of human prehistory on the Eurasian continents, it was the sovereign mystery and creative power of the female as the source of life that developed into the earliest religious experiences. The Great Mother Goddess who gives birth to all creation out of the holy darkness of her womb became a metaphor for Nature herself, the cosmic giver and taker of life, ever able to renew Herself within the eternal cycle of life, death and rebirth." WOMAN’S MANY FACES We learn from ancient sources that, like woman herself, the Moon Goddess has many faces. At the new moon, she is the Virgin Goddess, wrapped in enthusiasm for new beginnings as seeds sprout and first shoots appear. When her second phase begins, so does puberty. Buds turn into flowers and flowers to fruits as virgin becomes transformed into Divine Mother in charge of procreation and sexuality. She is the pregnant goddess, mistress of animals, bringer of life, the Madonna. As the moon begins to wane, woman passes through her next initiation to a time of harvest and a time of death, during which all that is old becomes compost for her new life. It is the Dark Goddess who rules the darkness of the moon, death and rebirth. Ancient statues of the Dark Goddess carved in bone, marble, alabaster or clay are often white—for white is the color of death. Bones are turned white by the elements. The big breasts and hips you find on statues of the Divine Mother become replaced by stiff nudes. The Dark Goddess is often depicted without breasts, her hands either on her chest or extended along her sides. She is shown with an enlarged pubic triangle, for the Dark Goddess of the waning moon is not only goddess of death but of regeneration. She rules the time in a woman's life when everything that has run its course, everything which has become outmoded or no longer has meaning in a woman’s life, must be destroyed to make way for a more authentic life. THE GIFTS OF MENOPAUSE Menopause is the initiation of the Dark Goddess. It is the passage during which a woman is asked to confront the possibility of her own death and probe the mysteries of decay, dismemberment, and regeneration. For only through the death of the old can the exciting new birth that awaits us take place. As menopause approaches, often a woman wants to spend more time in nature and to feel her spirit fed by the earth. The fear of menopause and the fear of the Crone, so widespread in our society, are nothing more than a reflection of our misguided fear of death itself. For, in today’s world, we have forgotten the great cyclic flow of birth, flowering, death and regeneration that is hidden within the circle of the moon—as it is within all life—and reflected in the circle of our own souls. Little wonder, since our patriarchal culture denies cyclical time and views events as linear. In linear time, the end is not connected with the beginning. Birth and death are not viewed as two vital passages in a continuing cycle of life, but as opposites—the one to be celebrated the other to be resisted at all costs until the bitter end. It is no wonder our society wants to black out menopause and to reject the older female. In the fearful fragmented world we live in, this appears to be the only way that human beings can deny for a time their own mortality. This is why the Dark Goddess remains a focus of fear and loathing in stereotypical male-dominated linear thinking. BANISH FEAR AND CELEBRATE Any woman who does not break through the limitations of such thinking and move beyond it risks becoming so paralyzed by fear that she looks upon The Dark Goddess (and menopause itself) as an enemy to be resisted. In truth, she is the archetype-medium by which the internal split that took place thousands of years ago between woman and her feminine nature can be healed forever. She is death's priestess. It is she that wipes out outmoded patterns of thinking and living. Then, acting the role of the midwife, she brings new forms of living to birth. The Dark Goddess—often called the Crone— can seem a terrifying figure to the uninformed women approaching menopause. She has so long remained repressed within our psyches that, when at last her energy rises and she makes her presence known, it can sometimes feel like an earthquake, a volcano, or some eruption of Nature that occurs to us as when pressures held too long within the earth are released. Yet the Crone has always been present in our lives: She has appeared each month as the moon grows dark and menstrual blood—the source of all creation—flows. Now, as menopause approaches, the Dark Goddess comes at last to rest within a woman's being. For instead of being released each month, the dark blood of creative power is retained within a woman's body and made available for her use. MONUMENTAL TRANSFORMATIONS The presence of the Dark Goddess in a woman's life is easy to spot. She arises whenever we experience dramatic changes—the death of a loved one, loss of a job, disfiguration. She is our teacher who guides us through the transformation that is being asked of us onto a new level of being. She is there in our deepest despair and at times when we connect most powerfully with our own creative fire. She is the hand-maiden that nurtures us through dark nights once we are willing to make the descent into our own psyche, and connect with whatever forms are sleeping there, so we can begin to live our own power. When these connections are made she is present too. She teaches us by her presence alone to become deeply and spontaneously sexual, assertive, straight, incorruptible, prophetic, intuitive and free. All of these qualities arise at menopause. These are the most precious gifts of the Crone. They herald the beginning of what is potentially the most creative part of any woman’s life... This time in which her biological creativity is let go of to be replaced by creativity of the highest order in any woman’s life. It must be said—it is these powerful gifts of the Dark Goddess which are still the most terrifying threats to the linear patriarchal culture of control in which most of us still live. More to come next week...

Diets That Work - Escape Fat's Straight Jacket

Diets That Work - Escape Fat's Straight Jacket

Within each one of us, thin or fat, there lives a joyous creative spirit. It is the spirit of the child - of life itself - a completely individual nature which is constantly seeking freedom simply to be what it is and to do what it wants to do. The world we live in as we grow up seldom leaves space for that unique spirit to develop fully. Our parents, our education, our culture is continually feeding us with rules about what we should and shouldn't do - should and shouldn't be. It is a little like getting up each morning and having to put on your straightjacket before you begin the day. For many people—both men and women—weight control has become part of that straightjacket. They worry constantly about how or what to eat or not to eat. They agonize over one or two pounds - or fifteen - gained or lost and they treat themselves like naughty children who need controlling lest they get out of hand and eat something they shouldn't. A person in any kind of straightjacket is a person disempowered. It is a person who does not trust himself or herself and who to a greater or lesser degree lives in fear - fear of food, fear of what he or she might do, fear of disapproval from a society impassioned by notions of thinness. I have known that struggle. I have lived it myself and I see evidence of it all around me in women caught in the jaws of bulimia, anorexia or compulsive eating, and in men who overindulge in alcohol or fatty foods, struck down by a heart attack in the prime of life. This has always seemed a terrible waste. POWER TO TRANSFORM Thirty years ago I began to ask questions like: Why do so many people struggle with weight in our society when the vast majority in other cultures never even seem to grow fat? What causes the distortions to our bodies not only in body size and fat deposits, but in the degenerative conditions, from heart disease to rheumatoid arthritis that come in their wake? Is it really weakness of character or lack of willpower that makes us all eat too much and gain weight? And - most important of all - is there a way of eating and living that enables someone who is carrying too much fat around to eat and live so that whatever distortions have already appeared will disappear quite naturally as part of the process of regenerating the body through food and exercise? MY SEARCH FOR ANSWERS So I read many books and papers, listened to dozens of lectures from physicians and scientists and interviewed a number of doctors personally who claimed to have found answers. Some of their answers were useful, but not until I was introduced to the work of ATW Simeons did I come to understand that even the most genuinely helpful discoveries about why we get fat—and why every slimming diet we follow—almost invariably lead sooner or later back to our regaining weight we have lost. Why? Because each and every one of them, no matter how sincere or well meaning, ignored the most important truth of all: Simeons’ work stands alone even amongst the findings of many brilliant and sincere scientists and doctors—from Atkins to Sir Robert McCarrison who have contributed so much to sound dietary practice. What makes Simeons unique is that he alone discovered that overweight, obesity and all the anguish that accompanies them is in no way caused by a lack of willpower or simple greed. Neither can it be permanently cleared by putting people on a slimming regime. These conditions represent a significant metabolic disorder. Until this metabolic disorder is dealt with we will simply go on forever taking diet pills, shedding fat and then regaining it, along with all the inner grief, disappointment and shame we suffer each time this happens. Even better, Simeons discovered where the locus of overweight lay in the body, and how to create a protocol that would give a man or woman’s overweight body a kind of permission to restore normal balanced functioning to that area in the brain, thereby clearing not only unwanted fat but enhancing a person’s overall health in life-changing ways. THIN FOR WHAT? In the Western world we have long been possessed by an obsession with changing the shape of our bodies, especially trying to make it thinner, using one diet after another. Yet making a body thinner is not always the best thing to do - either for its health or its good looks. A thin body is a wimpish body. It is a body depleted of energy and of power. When you are lean you are strong, you have sleek muscles, good tone, and you can feast heartily on wholesome, natural foods in keeping with your body’s unique food needs, enabling you to stay that way. You are also highly resistant to illness and early ageing as the years pass and you feel comfortable and at ease in your body. This is a very different experience from the anxiety over thinness which disempowers so many men and women. Leanness, created by restoring healthy balance and functioning to the body’s fat and appetite control center, brings a sense of power with it - a sense of being in control of your own life which is a far cry from the inadequacy many feel as they continue to battle against weight gain with conventional slimming diets. I believe it is time we forgot about thin and choose instead to go lean from inside out. This calls for revolution. COME THE REVOLUTION - Diets That Work To revolutionize means to change completely and fundamentally - your body and your life. It is not a word chosen lightly but because it most accurately describes the powerful positive transformation that takes place in how you look and feel when you transform your appetite and fat control center so it works again, throw out convenience foods loaded with bad carbs, hidden sugar, junk fats and chemicals, and begin to feed heartily on the kind of foods your individual body loves, drink large quantities of pure water and strengthen your muscle mass through simple exercise that your body loves, be it dancing, yoga, swimming or what-have-you. The word lean means `muscular...containing little or no fat.' Being lean is as different from being thin as Cura Romana is from all the quick fix slimming diets you may have tried over the years which have slowly but inexorably eroded your energy and increased the sense of disenchantment with your body.

Body, Mind And Bliss

Body, Mind And Bliss

The emotional and spiritual transformations that take place on CURA ROMANA JOURNEY weightloss program begin as simple, physiological shifts in the way the diencephalic area of the brain and the autonomic nervous system function. Quite apart from the health-enhancing and weightloss benefits they have, these shifts give us greater access to bliss. They encourage the body to let go of wastes, rapidly decreasing the toxic burden a body has been carrying. As toxicity diminishes, our living matrix—that is our physiological, biochemical and energetic body—is enlivened. Our senses become heightened. CURA ROMANA JOURNEY also brings a calming, centering effect to the mind and emotions, quieting habitual thought patterns so that many of the inner conflicts and confusions which all of us carry can be quelled. As human beings our capacity for bliss, as well as our need to experience it, is inscribed on the primitive brain—almost as deeply as our need for air, water and food. Bliss is the medium through which mind, spirit and emotions weave a tapestry of meaning. Bliss renews. Bliss cleanses. It makes us feel whole, solid, stable and alive. Bliss tells us: ‘This is something I want to try,’ then brings us the courage to go for it. Physical illness often develops out of unresolved conflicts between our primitive, instinctual, nature—which is centered in the diencephalon, autonomic nervous system and limbic system—and our intellectual cerebral cortex—from which we have been virtually brainwashed to believe we should be living our lives. A T W Simeons, who created the original Cura Romana, writes about this at length in his book Man’s Presumptuous Brain. He says, and I quote: “An instinct is a very old impulse which is generated in the diencephalon by a combination of hormonal and sensory stimuli. In this process the cortex is involved only to the extent that it censors the raw incoming messages from the senses. An emotion, on the other hand, is the conscious or subconscious elaboration of a diencephalic instinct by the cortical processes of memory, association and reasoning. Emotions are thus generated in the cortex out of crude instincts. In primitive man many raw instincts were still consciously acceptable but in urban man this is no longer so. When a raw instinct . . . breaks through all cortical barriers, it is usually interpreted as insanity . . . raw instincts threaten the cortical authority with which man runs his artificial world.’ Simeons describes the cortex as a “censor of instinctual expression and action.” Once the cortex changes instincts into emotion, it usually censors any expression of that emotion. And, because our culture is built on cortical control and demeans the value of instinct, illness often occurs. As a result of these and other restrictions—both conscious and unconscious—directing our lives, we begin to lose touch with our bodies, our instincts and our essential self at the core of our being. So important is bliss to becoming who you really are and to helping you realize your goals—whatever they may be—that when we deny our need for it, we are forced to look for artificial substitutes. Addictions arise: to food, drugs, alcohol, sex, even ambition. These addictions disempower us, leading us further from the authentic freedom that is our birthright. That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news: The more bliss we can learn to allow in our lives the more true balance between instinct and intellect is created within us harmonizing mind, body and spirit. This is why I urge you to let more bliss into your own life. Find out what brings you bliss day by day and make space for it in your life. It is a powerful force for transformation and will help you forge your own individual path to authentic freedom and greater creativity.

My Love Affair With Plants

My Love Affair With Plants

For more than a million years, our ancestors lived with herbs. They cooked with them, healed with them, used them to scent their bodies and sanctify their prayers. On a molecular level, the human body recognizes herbs when we take them. Get to know the nature of a few specific plants and they will enhance your life immeasurably. In a very real sense, we can come to know an herb the way a woman knows her lover. The spirit of a plant meets the spirit of a human. Expect magic. You won’t be disappointed. A FINE ROMANCE My own passion for herbs began when I discovered the help they could bring me and my family. Simple plants such as nettle or golden rod (Solidago virgauria) have a natural cleansing and diuretic effect on my body. Traveling on airplanes, my ankles used to swell up. I discovered when I got home and made a cup of golden rod or nettle tea, the swelling would vanish. Fascinated, I began to read about what herbs can do for the immune system. I began to experiment with other plants—goldenseal and echinacea, burdock and shiitake mushrooms. I began to give herbs to my whole family whenever any of us threatened to come down with flu or a cold. I discovered that, provided we took them in time, one or a combination of plants would clear the problem before the full force of any illness hit. A doctor friend, Gordon Latto, taught me that gargling with red sage and sticking a clove of garlic in its paper shell in between the teeth and the inside of the mouth for a few hours a day would clear a sore throat and nip throat infections in the bud. I began to wonder just how many other remarkable things plants could do for us. THE SUPERB ADAPTOGENS I was lucky enough to meet with the famous Russian scientist I.I. Brekhman, expert in adaptogenic herbs, who won the Lenin Prize for Science. From him I learned that the adaptogens such as ginseng, eluthrococcus or Siberian Ginseng, and Suma from South America strengthen a person’s ability to resist illness as well as making it possible for us to work and play longer and harder without experiencing the negative effects of prolonged stress. That was thirty years ago. Since then I have come to use herbs and flowers, fresh raw juices and vegetables, water and tender loving care to help the body protect itself from illness, heal a sickness when it struck, calm an agitated mind, induce slumber when unable to sleep, clear depression, and care for my skin. I have also learned to use herbs to decorate my house and sanctify my working space. I also fell in love with photographing them. Meanwhile, I raised four children without antibiotics or over-the-counter drugs thanks to the blessings of herbs. DAZZLING POWER The classic definition of an herb is ‘a non-woody plant which dies down to its roots each winter’. This definition is far too limiting. It was probably made up by 19th century European botanists who had never seen the rainforest in which, of course, there is no winter to die back in. Neither had they ever heard of woody trees and shrubs such as hawthorn, ginkgo and elder, which provide us with some of the best-selling herbs on the market these days. My own definition of an herb is simply a medicinal plant. It can come from any climate and be a leaf, a bark, a flower or a root. It can be home-grown or wild—a weed, a spice, a plant which is used for its healing, culinary or beautifying properties. So powerful are the health-enhancing capacities of herbs that a vast number of common prescription drugs have been derived from a mere 90 species of plants. According to Professor Norman Farnsworth—leading American expert in pharmacognosy at University of Illinois —74% of common drugs have been developed directly out of traditional native herb folklore. In the United States alone, the annual sales of prescription drugs developed from plant products used by tribal cultures is already in excess of $6 billion. Unlike prescription drugs, whose side-effects can be devastating, most herbs are both safe and simple to use. Most carry no side-effects at all. MEDICAL FAILURE The way we have thought about health and healing for the past century—what the experts call our biomedical model—has come to the limits of its usefulness. Conventional medical practices view the body as a collections of structures—bones and blood, cells and tissues. Common medical treatment consists of acting on these structures in a symptomatic way. Doctors give one drug to lower blood pressure or cholesterol, another to get rid of headaches or put you to sleep. Whether these drugs are medically prescribed or over-the-counter products, virtually all carry negative side effects. Most have no concern with genuine healing. They instead focus on ‘managing’ illness by suppressing symptoms. Herbal treatment, like all of the great natural approaches to health through history, looks at things differently. It insists that at every level of biological organisation—from chromosomes in our DNA all the way up to our eyes and toes, stomach and liver—the body has a stunning capacity for self-treatment. It is capable of removing damaged structures and renewing them on its own. The natural capacity of living organisms as complex as ours to regenerate themselves is something that symptomatic drug-based medicine ignores altogether. Yet self-regeneration lies at the very core of using natural foods, water, air and movement therapies, and of course herbs, to strengthen, balance or heal. Chinese medicine is functional medicine; it did not develop along structural lines as Western 20th century medicine did. So is Ayurvedic and Unani medicine from India, and nature-cure in the West. The Chinese pharmacopoeia is the richest in the world. Chinese doctors value plants for their ability to strengthen the body’s functioning, heighten its own defences and improve immunity. They use herbs, as we are only now beginning to in the West, to extend longevity, to increase resistance to illness, to heighten energy, and to calm disturbed emotions. BRING MAGIC INTO YOUR LIFE There is an endless parade of different ways you can use herbs. In the health food store and mail order catalogue you can find a confusing array of capsules, pills, tablets, extracts, tinctures and ‘whole herbs’ or ‘bulk herbs’, none of which seem to relate to the ‘infusion’ you have decided you would like to take. And what about the herbs you have growing in your garden? Here is a rough guide to finding your way through the confusion. First, find yourself a reputable supplier. I have a passion for iHerb.com, since the variety of herbal products they offer are the best and cheapest anywhere, and they ship worldwide. Personally, I’m wary of buying herbs in health food stores or pharmacies unless they come from a manufacturer or supplier I know. With a supplier you trust and with whom you can discuss your needs, you can be sure you are getting a good potency and that the herbs have not been sitting in a cupboard somewhere for months. BULK/DRIED/WHOLE HERBS What you are buying is a bag or box of a specific weight of dried herb, either in its whole form, crushed or powdered. This is the best way to purchase herbs if you want to make teas (infusions), decoctions, or your own capsules, or if you want to use them in potpourris and sachets. It is also about the cheapest way to buy dried herbs. TINCTURES A tincture uses alcohol diluted in water to draw out the plant’s chemical constituents and preserve them. You can buy tinctures by the bottle and they are pretty potent. You take from several drops to 1 teaspoon or more of a tincture in a little water several times a day if needed. Tinctures are best bought from a reputable supplier. You can make them yourself, but the process is less accurate than when they are professionally produced. I buy many herbs in tincture form as I find them so convenient. You will sometimes find a figure such as 1:4 on a bottle of tincture. This gives you the ratio of the weight of the herb—in this instance 1 part of herb—to alcohol/water mix. An herbalist may suggest you take a specific ratio in which case your supplier can advise, but for general usage you don’t need to know the ratio. EXTRACTS Extracts are easy to confuse with tinctures. They are far more concentrated. They aim to contain all the active chemicals of the plant, not only those that will dissolve in alcohol. Extraction processes vary from pressure rolling to heat treatment to vacuum extraction. These are best left to the experts. Extracts have a limited shelf life. They should be kept in the fridge. Herbalists often prescribe extracts during an illness, rather than using them for prevention. Extracts can also be useful to add to a cream or salve for external use: ¼ extract to ¾ base. They are pretty strong in their action. TABLETS, PILLS & CAPSULES Tablets, pills and capsules are often more readily than the loose dried herbs themselves. Tablets, pills and capsules usually contain the whole herb, not just the constituents extracted in a tincture or infusion. Therefore, in taking them, you are making use of the synergy in action between all the constituents of each plant. Choose those from a reputable manufacturer/supplier. Tablets are made from dried plant material—leaves, roots, bark and/or flowers—mixed with a base, sometimes lactose, both to help you hold them in your hand to take them and to aid absorption in the stomach. Pills are, basically, tablets with a coating. If the plant is sticky, smelly, or tastes dreadful—or all three—it is more likely to come in pill form than tablet form as the protein or sugar coating disguises less pleasant aspects of the plant. Usually I avoid these, since sugar in any form is far from beneficial. Capsules, made of gelatine or a vegetarian equivalent, are filled with dried herbs—even the stickier, smellier ones. They need to be stored in a cool, dry place, but they preserve herbs well. You can buy gelatine capsules from a chemist and fill them yourself, either with herbs you have dried yourself or with dried herbs you have bought in bulk. The standard 00 size capsule holds about ½ gram (500mg) of herb. Make sure the herb is ground into as fine a powder as possible before filling, so that it can be easily absorbed by the body. A WONDROUS WORLD Plants speak volumes when you know how to listen. One of the great joys of our herbal tradition has been the love affair that takes place when the spirit of an herb meets the spirit of the person using it. It is an old art by which, using your intuition and trusting your instinct, you can move towards an awareness of the central nature of a plant and how best it can be used. For example—the herb Leonurus cardiaca is a powerful strengthener of the heart, reducing tachycardia and hypertension and promoting normal heart action. The essence of its personality, however, is better expressed in its common name—motherwort. This herb has the ability to bring a sense of absolute security—the way a baby feels lying in the arms of its mother—during periods of deep and unsettling change. Every plant has secret wisdom and power. It will tell you its tales and offer its richness to you as you open your heart to it.

I must have flowers

I must have flowers

Whatever else happens in my life, I must have flowers. These gifts from Nature nourish the soul. We scatter their petals when we marry. We send bouquets of them to celebrate the birth of a child. We decorate our homes and our places of worship with them. We use flowers to comfort the lonely and the ill. We even honour the end of a person’s life by laying floral wreathes on a grave. Not only do flowers play a central role in the rituals of life, they bless our ordinary daily existence by blossoming in our gardens, waste ground and hedgerows – and gracing our windowsills by protruding gaily from a cracked teapot. Perhaps it is the velvet softness of their petals and their luminous colours that make these affirmations from nature so precious to us. Maybe it is the uplifting energy they carry – an energy you sense lying in a field of poppies or when you go into a florist’s shop. It could be the fragrance of flowers, or the transient nature of their coming and going. I don’t know. Ancient Wreaths Our passion for flowers and the awareness that they carry deep healing and sanctifying energies are both as old as history itself. Not long ago, archaeologists digging in the Cave of Shanidar within the Zagros Mountains of Iran unearthed nine bodies of primitive people and discovered that, at least 60,000 years ago, men and women were carrying out flower rituals similar to those we use today. The archaeologists found soil samples in which clusters of pollen from twenty-eight different species of flower lay in a circle forming a wreath which had been laid to rest with human remains. One of the interesting things about the find was that the flowers these primitive people chose to use as a sacred and healing offering to their dead were not the most beautiful, nor were they the most readily available in that area. The flowers from which these wreathes had been made were chosen from plants that are specifically known for their healing properties - hollyhock, grape hyacinth and horsetail - all of which we still use today for medicinal purposes. Precious Offerings The Ancient Greeks and the Egyptians used aromatic oils and flowers for healing too, as they did for embalming, expanding consciousness and for sanctifying space. The Bible is riddled with words of praise for flowers and what they have to teach us, both about the realms of Spirit and about the ordinary world in which we live most of our lives. It tells us “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Mathew 6:28-29). In Song of Solomon 2:12 “The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is at hand…” Soul Healers Not only does humanity have a passion for flowers. Flowers have a passion for us. They love to share with us their beauty, their healing powers – their very life force. “When I touch a flower, I am touching infinity,” said the American botanist George Washington Carver: “Through the flower I talk to the Infinite… a silent force… that still small voice.” American clairvoyant and healer Edgar Cayce celebrated the healing power of flowers again and again. He insisted that flowers bring companionship to those of us who are lonely, that they speak to the “shut in”, and that they bring Divine grace and upliftment to everyone. That is certainly my own experience of flowers. The Time Is Now Despite our longstanding love affair with flowers - despite the way for thousands of years we have used them for healing and to mark life’s passages, never in recorded history have we experienced a greater need for their healing and their blessings than right now. For we who live in the post-modern world often feel ourselves to be alienated, isolated, suspended, caught somewhere between the magnificent technology we have created and a longing to bond with the earth and with our own souls. Flowers can help bridge this gap. I think they do this better than anything else in nature. Flowers delight us, bless us and heal us. They clear the spiritual anorexia so widespread in urban life and help fill up our starving souls. They remind us of our own simple humanity as well as our essentially divine nature: They whisper to us of the splendour in the world around us—a world of which we humans are the guardians. Most important of all our relationship with flowers helps realign our ordinary day-to day lives with the authenticity of our unique soul energies. A big statement to make? Yes, but having worked with flower meditation for many years, having explored the potential flower essences have to build bridges for us between our inner truth and our outer lives I have come to believed with all my being that this is so. How Do Flowers Heal? No-one knows for sure. There are so many of their elements which carry healing potential that it would be hard to list them all: Their colours influence our mind, our energy levels, our clarity of thought. Colourful flowers and the plants they come from often carry health-enhancing nutrients within them - anti-oxidants such as flavinoids, which give plants their wonderful colours and help protect from degeneration, and other phyto-chemicals that help to strengthen immunity, improve circulation or delay ageing. Then there are the more recently discovered vibrational energies which Dr Bach called on when he fashioned flower essences and, of course, essential oil treats and treatments for person and place. Last, but by no means least, is the power of flower meditation. Here is where the soul of a human being meets the soul of a flower to bring healing, friendship and blessings to both. To Each His Own Flowers are as individual in their personalities as they are in their looks and fragrance. Some love the night. They only display their beauty and emit their fragrance once the sun goes down. Like night-owl people, at their best in the wee small hours of the morning, these blossoms have a passionate nature. They often carry exotic names like Queen of the Night, Night-Blooming Silene, and Gilliflower. Other flowers, like goatsbeard, poppy and marigold, open their petals at the crack of dawn then close down each evening and drift away into sleep. The sunflower stretches itself boldly towards heaven, while the bright blue borage flower, worshiped by Celtic warriors for its ability to bring courage in battle, bows its tiny head towards the ground. A shy soul with a great power to heal, borage prefers to go unnoticed – despite its heart-rending beauty. I have learned much about the individual personalities and soul nature of flowers not only from meditating on them and using them for healing but also from photographing them. Some, like peony, love the spotlight. Put them in front of a camera and they upstage everything else. Many have very strong likes and dislikes about where you plant them and where you place a bouquet of them in a room. On one table a particular flower becomes recalcitrant. But move it to the top of a bookcase in front of a window and suddenly it surrenders its beauty to the camera the way a woman yields to the touch of her lover. Each flower has unique healing properties and each speaks its own silent language. Learning that language, listening to flower wisdom and opening your heart to a flower’s healing energy can be a joyous and often life-changing experience. Spotlight On Flower Essences Get to know half a dozen of the most useful essences. Choose them depending on where you are in your life now and as you change explore more of these wonderful floral friends. Here is my personal selection with some information about each essence. It can open up a whole new world for you of beauty, healing and joy. Here are a few flower essences you might like Bach Original Flower Essences, Vervain Vervain is essentially a plant of ease. It eases heartache, headache, stomach-ache, concern for the future and bad luck. Dr Bach made a flower essence from vervain to ease stress and tension. Vervain is an essence for those of us who tend to ‘live on our nerves’. These people are likely to take on tasks beyond their strength then force themselves onward through will-power alone. They are the martyrs of this world who will do anything for their cause. Vervain essence is calming. It helps you to slow down long enough to listen to your own needs, and to the opinions of others as well as to let you restore your strength. In all its forms vervain brings relief. Order Bach Original Flower Essences, Vervain from iherb Flower Essence Services, Lotus The lotus is no symbol of abstract perfection never to be achieved. All true lovers of the lotus will tell you that true spirituality grows out of the depths of material form. Step by step it reaches toward the light. The unique power nestled within the lotus’ genetic structure is this: Only this flower among all water plants is born from the muck with such strength of stem that, instead of floating on the water as do others, the power of its life force raises it a foot or more above the pond. Flower essence made from lotus can help when you find yourself knee deep in an endless swamp. Meditating on the lotus flower opens you to a pride-free experience of your soul’s divinity. I find both the essence and the meditation useful in blearing illusions and dissolving spiritual pride. Lotus reminds us that all true spirituality is deeply rooted in imperfection. Order Flower Essence Services, Lotus from iherb Flower Essence Services, Sunflower Sunflower essence helps those on a spiritual path, who tend to forget their bodily needs. It brings grounding and helps us manage times of dramatic change with ease. Its wisdom is a fine example of the Australian aboriginal idea of 'keeping your head in the stars and your feet on the ground'. Sunflower essence also helps strengthen self-esteem. It can improve the way you relate to people in authority by allowing you to maintain your sense of self in the face of someone else’s demands. Order Flower Essence Services, Sunflower from iherb Flower Essence Services, Mallow, Flower Essence The mallow is a flower of the heart. Its flower essence can help you to align the demands of your head with the intuition of the heart – in effect, to hear the whispers of your soul. Mallow is of great help to those who ‘lead from the head’ rather than from the heart and who often feel that life is a struggle although they are not sure why. This essence helps you to integrate your deepest beliefs and desires with your daily thinking and, in doing so, to live out more fully your true nature. Order Flower Essence Services, Mallow, Flower Essence from iherb Bach Original Flower Essences, Honeysuckle Honeysuckle flower essence was a favorite of Dr Bach – father of all flower essences. He prescribed it “to remove from the mind the regrets and sorrows of the past.” It is an essence which can help anyone who is stuck in the past, either through regret or nostalgia. As Dr Bach insisted, the important thing about any experience is that we learn from it, not continue to relive it. Honeysuckle flower essence helps put the events of the past where they belong – behind you – so that you can go forward into the future with the enthusiasm and innocence of the child reborn. Order Bach Original Flower Essences, Honeysuckle from iherb Flower Essence Services Calendula The flower essence of calendula is both warming and calming. It can help speakers, writers, teachers and leaders use words with clarity, compassion and creativity. The flower boasts a benign energy that makes it easier to express yourself and at the same time honor the opinions of others. Marigold can be especially useful for people who find their discussions too often end in arguments. This flower essence brings warmth and patience. It encourages you to listen as well as to make your point and furthers the cause of real communication. Order Flower Essence Services Calendula from iherb

Look Great

Look Great

The word charisma literally means "talent, grace, a favor specially vouchsafed by God". The charisma approach to good looks focuses not so much on specifics as on the over-all impression you create - an expression of your personal and idiosyncratic feeling for who you are and what looks best on you. The charisma approach to good looks is bold, assertive and often witty. And, contrary to popular opinion, it is not the exclusive province of the special elect - women with perfect size 10 bodies and not a wrinkle on their faces. Far from it. Charisma is ageless. It exists in every culture. It is the icing on the cake - the external expression of your unique authenticity which gives you panache, boldness and humor, and transforms physical limitations like wide hips or giraffe necks into assets. It can make a wonderful statement out of a nose that by conventional standards is too big. Charisma makes you stand out in a crowd. Developing charisma of your own can not only be a lot of fun and have a dazzling effect on your outside world, it can even empower you to live more and more from your core. Charisma is something of far greater value than a docile conformity to conventional notions about fashion and beauty. affirming what's authentic What gives you charisma? The Chanel suit you wear? The car you drive? The way you have been taught to use your body or speak your words? Not really. For, stylish or charming as these things may be, they are more often than not chosen without any consideration of whether or not they have a connection with the individuality of the woman who wears them. It is rather like hanging Christmas baubles on a willow tree. As such, they offer little more than the appearance of charisma. And like pastiche, appearances never deceive a discerning eye. Developing your own charisma is first a question of acknowledging that how you look matters. Second, you need to make time to care for yourself and to explore who you are. Finally you have to rediscover the art of play. Your unique nature can be expressed in a myriad of ways, from the most simple and playful to the most profound: In the colors you like best, in the way you choose to wear your hair, the kind of make-up you wear, as well as how you think and talk, and in the deep values you embody; even in the dreams you dream and in the things you do and make - whether they be creations of art, intellectual or physical feats, or your simple day-to-day ways of being. That is why at its essence, charisma is both disarmingly simple and immeasurably complex - neither more nor less than living day by day from a full and honest outpouring of your individuality - that spirit which is unique to you.

Stress & You

Stress & You

Take a look at how you may be putting yourself under unnecessary stress. Try to identify unnecessary stressors in your life. By eliminating as many as you can, you free a lot of energy for more positive use, and for meeting important challenges. For instance, physical inactivity is a stressor - it decreases your body's ability to function at optimum levels, it encourages the storage of wastes in the muscles and skin, and makes you chronically fatigued. So instead of indulging in it, start some kind of exercise program, and follow it regularly. Many people who take up regular exercise report that they experience conceptual shifts so that things which appeared stressful before no longer bother them. Like cigarettes and drugs, various foods and drinks can be heavy stressors, too. They offer nothing in the way of positive health and vitality, but are a constant drain on the adaptive energy in your body. It is well established that caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, sugar and excess fat are stressors, which actively work against its normal healthy functioning.

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 19,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 14 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 26th of January 2023 (updated every 12 hours)

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for women
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for men
-0.68 lb
for women
-0.81 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 26th of January 2023 (updated every 12 hours)

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