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The most underrated medicinal plants

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There are thousands, if not millions, of plants which boast amazing medicinal uses for almost any ailment that you can think of. Before reaching out for that prescription drug or cream, do your body a favour and look into some of these amazing natural alternatives first!

The best part about healing in this natural way is that many plants and herbs can be grown yourself, or can be purchased in a higher potency essential oil form. There is also a much lower risk for potential side effects, provided you are not allergic to the plant in question. Here are the top 5 most underrated medicinal plants!

Comment: Learn more about The Hidden Benefits of Herbs and Spices:


Health

Researchers find yeast sugars can bind to fungus and activate T-cells to make inflammatory proteins

© Wikimedia Commons
Healthy human T cell.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine have unraveled one of the mysteries of how a small group of immune cells work: That some inflammation-fighting immune cells may actually convert into cells that trigger disease.

Their findings, recently reported in the journal Pathogens, could lead to advances in fighting diseases, said the project's lead researcher Pushpa Pandiyan, an assistant professor at the dental school.

The cells at work

A type of white blood cell, called T-cells, is one of the body's critical disease fighters. Regulatory immune cells, called "Tregs," direct T-cells and control unwanted immune reactions that cause inflammation. They are known to produce only anti-inflammatory proteins to keep inflammation caused by disease in check.

But using mouse models, the researchers studied how the body fights off a common oral fungus that causes thrush. They found that these harmful invaders activate a mechanism in Tregs that could transform the inflammation-fighting cells into cells that allow the disease to flourish.

Pills

Psychiatric drugs put 49 million Americans at risk for cancer

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© Contributing Source: "Stilnoct2″ by Entheta – Greenmedinfo work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
With 1 in 5 Americans taking a psychiatric medication, most of whom, long term, we should probably start to learn a bit more about them. In fact, it would have been in the service of true informed consent to have investigated long-term risks before the deluge of these meds seized our population over the past thirty years.

You may be unaware of a literature that suggests long-term treatment with all psychiatric medications is more likely to leave you with a lesser quality of life. Here's one more reason to reconsider life partnership with your psychiatric medication - it may contribute to your cancer risk.

What if I told you that this cancer data came from pre-clinical trials conducted for FDA licensure of these medications? That these trials are documented in the package inserts themselves.

Because of the inherent challenge of studying cancer at the population level, using these rodent studies was felt to be important by Amerio et al because they are not subject to publication bias - a major issue in psychiatry - and the methods are consistent across drug class.

Magic Wand

Halotherapy: Taking a mound of salt for what ails you

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© lexey Swall/ Wall Street Journal
Spending time in salt caves has long been considered therapeutic in Eastern Europe. And now, in the U.S., indoor "salt rooms" or "salt caves" have been popping up from New York to Los Angeles.
Sink into a chair, relax and breathe in the salt air. You aren't at the beach, but rather in one of a growing number of indoor salt roomswhose owners say small salt particles can soothe respiratory and skin conditions. Scientific evidence in English-language publications is scant and some doctors urge caution for asthmatics.

Across the U.S., salt rooms have been popping up in cities such as New York, Orlando, Naples, Fla., Boulder, Colo., Chicago and Los Angeles.

While most of us associate salt air with the beach, from a medical standpoint, the experience is designed to mimic salt caves, which have long been considered therapeutic in Eastern Europe. Salt room owners say salt can help skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema and a range of respiratory ailments, including colds, asthma, allergies and bronchitis.

Syringe

Ignite the Truth: Andrew Wakefield conference

© Land Destroyer Report
Recently, Dr. Andrew Wakefield spoke at a Moms In Charge event to introduce a new documentary about CDC and vaccine whistleblowers and the consequences of repeated disregard. No one knows how better to handle blowing the whistle than Wakefield himself.

His name is synonymous with "discredited" and "debunked" - an oft repeated line that lets you know when a mainstream journalist is either incredibly lazy and obtuse or is knowingly following lockstep with orders like a good corporate sycophant. Such adjectives are nothing compared to the ones leveled at vaccine skeptics of all walks and stations. When a man like Wakefield is stripped of everything for unwittingly questioning a connection - not going to "war on vaccines" like the media regurgitates - he now has nothing to lose by igniting the truth.

Fire

Researchers and firefighters say flame retardants linked to serious health risks and don't work as expected

Common household items such as couch cushions, carpeting, mattresses, and electronics can be a source of exposure to toxic flame retardant chemicals in your day-to-day life.

Many of these chemicals have been linked to serious health risks, including infertility, birth defects, neurodevelopmental delays,1 reduced IQ and behavioral problems in children, hormone disruptions,2 and cancer.

In fact, flame retardant chemicals have been identified as one of 17 "high priority" chemical groups that should be avoided to reduce breast cancer.3,4 These chemicals are also poisoning both pets and wildlife, according to recent tests.

Yet, despite their wide-ranging health risks, they continue being used—ostensibly because they save lives in case of fire. But is the accumulated cost to human and environmental health really worth it?

More and more researchers say no, it's not. Even firefighters are now speaking out against the use of fire retardant chemicals in everyday household products, noting that they don't even work as expected.5

Tests show not only do they not work, but they actually release toxic fumes when they burn—toxins that may be more far more likely to kill you than the fire itself.

Comment:


Book 2

The truth about poo: We're doing it wrong

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© Sciepro/Science Photo Library/Corbis
The gut is not designed to ‘open the hatch completely’ when we’re sitting.
Who knew sitting on the toilet was bad for you? In her best-selling book Charming Bowels, microbiologist Giulia Enders explains how to go to the loo.

In my large Italian family, I grew up with the subject of poo, bottoms and constipation readily - and far too frequently - discussed at the dinner table. I'd be about to raise a ravioli to my mouth, only to hear how someone's piles had popped, just that morning.

This doesn't mean I'm anal (sorry) about the subject. It's fascinating away from the lunch table. Late last year, I read that we are pooing all wrong: we should be squatting, not sitting, on a toilet bowl. Then a book called Charming Bowels by Giulia Enders caused something of a storm in its native Germany and I got fully immersed in the subject.

Enders is studying in Frankfurt for her medical doctorate in microbiology. She is utterly, charmingly obsessed with the gut, gut bacteria and poo. She writes and talks about her subject matter with such child-like enthusiasm, it's infectious. And, yes, we have been pooing all wrong. Enders tells me about various studies that show that we do it more efficiently if we squat. This is because the closure mechanism of the gut is not designed to "open the hatch completely" when we're sitting down or standing up: it's like a kinked hose. Squatting is far more natural and puts less pressure on our bottoms. She says: "1.2 billion people around the world who squat have almost no incidence of diverticulosis and fewer problems with piles. We in the west, on the other hand, squeeze our gut tissue until it comes out of our bottoms." Lovely.

Comment: Listen to The Health and Wellness Show - 13 April 2015 for more important information about the gut and poo.


Health

Joint pain, from the gut

Scientists don't know what causes rheumatoid arthritis, but many suspect that the microbiome—the bacteria that live in our gastrointestinal tracts—may be to blame.
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Doctors aren't entirely sure what triggers rheumatoid arthritis, a disease in which the body turns on itself to attack the joints, but an emerging body of research is focusing on a potential culprit: the bacteria that live in our intestines.

Several recent studies have found intriguing links between gut microbes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases in which the body's immune system goes awry and attacks its own tissue.

A study published in 2013 by Jose Scher, a rheumatologist at New York University, found that people with rheumatoid arthritis were much more likely to have a bug called Prevotella copri in their intestines than people that did not have the disease. In another study published in October, Scher found that patients with psoriatic arthritis, another kind of autoimmune joint disease, had significantly lower levels of other types of intestinal bacteria.

Comment: Parasites are another suspect.


Map

Centers for Disease Control maps 'most distinctive' causes of death by state

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© CDC
Heart disease and cancer can be easily branded as the two most notorious and common killers in the United States. However, there are other causes of death which are less common with the nation as a whole but are actually much more typical in specific states.

A new color-coded map has been created by the CDC in order to categorize the most likely causes of death for each of the 50 U.S. states.

According to Francis Boscoe, a research scientist at New York State Cancer Registry the most distinctive causes of death in majority of cases is not so surprising. In several northern states, including Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming the flu is considered as the most distinctive cause of death. In Alaska and Idaho the most distinctive causes of death is considered to be plane crashes or boat accidents. In mining states such as Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky pneumoconiosis, a group of lung diseases caused by inhaling dusts, are branded as the most distinctive causes of death.

There were however, some unexpected findings. In New Jersey, Sepsis is categorized as the most distinctive cause of death and deaths by legal intervention. Surprisingly the most distinctive cause of death in New Mexico, Nevada and Oregon is that caused by law enforcement officers, excluding legal executions.

Snowflake Cold

Nutritional news suggesting pigs can fly and hell hath frozen over

The proverbial brick wall of bad dietary advice is a-crumblin'. This week brings truly world-changing news in the field of nutrition.

On May 8, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) made its official comments on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and recommend dropping saturated fat from nutrients of concern due to the lack of evidence connecting it with cardiovascular disease.

However, because past advice from the Academy and others has caused issues with ALL of our body systems, I would also argue that this is actually earth-shattering news in the world of cardiology, nephrology, lipidology, endocrinology, pulmonology, orthopedics.... you get the point.


Comment: See also:

"Evidence from randomized controlled trials did not support the introduction of dietary fat guidelines in 1977 and 1983: a systemic review and meta-analysis," The BMJ Open Heart

"Are some diets mass murder?" an editorial by Dr. Richard Smith, from The BMJ (formerly The British Medical Journal)

"Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis," from Annals of Internal Medicine

"The evidence base for fat guidelines: a balanced diet," from The BMJ's Open Heart

"Relationship of Insulin Resistance and Related Metabolic Variables to Coronary Artery Disease: A Mathematical Analysis," from the journal Diabetes Care