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Mon, 17 Feb 2020
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Life Preserver

Indian authorities propose use of homeopathy to prevent coronavirus

homeopathy
The Indian government's Ministry of AYUSH, which promotes alternative medicine systems in the country, released a health advisory on January 29 that advocates the use of homeopathy and traditional remedies, such as Indian systems of medicine, to ward off infections of the newly circulating 2019-nCoV coronavirus. This includes the use of a homeopathic preparation called Arsenicum album 30C and two drops of sesame oil in each nostril each morning for prevention, and Unani medicines (treatments based on the teachings of Hippocrates and Galen) to mitigate symptoms of coronavirus infection. While AYUSH cites centuries of practitioners' experiences with these products as evidence behind its advice, the media and the scientific community criticized the guidance as being counterproductive in dealing with a serious health emergency.

"It is profoundly irresponsible of the Ministry of AYUSH to endorse homeopathy as this entirely undermines public understanding of science and medicine, and elevates pseudoscience with potentially dangerous consequences," says David Robert Grimes, an Irish science writer who has published research showing homeopathy to be ineffective, in an email to The Scientist. Grimes has argued that the proposed mechanisms of homeopathy are implausible when analyzed from a physical and chemical perspective, and says that it is not surprising, therefore, that the biological effects of homeopathy cannot be measured in large-scale clinical trials.

Comment: What the critics seem to fail to realize is that homeopathy is widespread and extremely successful in India, and has been for decades. It's an amazing story of how the system of medicine can treat the ills of a poor population with no hope of affording expensive pharmaceuticals. And they're likely better off for it.

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Health

Strung-out population: 70% of Americans' donated blood found to contain Xanax


Comment: And what is Xanax? A mind-altering, highly addictive, yet commonly prescribed drug to 'induce feelings of calmness that counter feelings of anxiety and panic'.


blood donations
© DESIREE MARTIN / AFP/Getty
Scientists found concentrations of Xanax in seven out of ten blood batches tested.
Scientists testing a small but random sample of donated blood ready for transfusion have discovered that 70 percent contained traces of Xanax.

Writing in the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical earlier this month, researchers were surprised by the level of pharmaceuticals detected in supposedly clean blood batches — in particular, the concentrations of cough medicine and anti-anxiety medication.

The testing also revealed that all 18 batches of blood contained caffeine, suggesting America's love of coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages runs deep.

The purpose of the exercise was to find out the purity of the blood samples before they were used to test a method for examining the effect of botanicals on drug metabolization. Botanicals are plants or plant extracts taken for medical or therapeutic reasons, such as echinacea, CBD oil and ginko.

"From a 'contamination' standpoint, caffeine is not a big worry for patients, though it may be a commentary on current society," co-author Luying Chen, a PhD student at Oregon State University (OSU), said in a statement.

Comment: Americans talk about freedom a lot, especially individual freedom.

But how free can they really be when so many of them are effectively dependent on external aids - and the pharmacological industry that produces them - to regulate, process and deal with their own emotions?


Microscope 2

People are dying needlessly: Orthomolecular treatments for coronavirus

IV needle

Why "needless" deaths from this threatening virus? Because doctors, health authorities, hospital administrators and politicians have not read history. Not even the Chinese! This week several members of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service (OMNS) were asked, "How would you treat the coronavirus?" Here are opinions of experts who study the potential of nutrients to fight disease.

Dr. Andrew W. Saul, an international expert on vitamin therapy, says, "The coronavirus can be dramatically slowed or stopped completely with the immediate widespread use of high doses of vitamin C. Bowel tolerance levels of C taken in divided doses throughout the day, is a clinically proven antiviral, without equal."

Saul adds, "Dr. Robert F. Cathcart, who had extensive experience treating viral diseases remarked, 'I have not seen any flu yet that was not cured or markedly ameliorated by massive doses of vitamin."

Comment: See also:


Life Preserver

Five therapeutic effects of honey in treating wounds and infections

Honey
Natural remedies can do wonders in treating painful mouth ulcers, stomach inflammation, wounds and infections. When it comes to dealing with these cases, honey is a time-tested treatment to alleviate symptoms and provide relief for patients, whether young or old

Consuming honey often has a soothing effect and this sweet treat also has several notable health benefits. Its medicinal properties include being used as an antiseptic and antibacterial agent, as well as acting as a natural cough remedy.[i] At the same time, this celebrated ingredient is applied for chronic wound management and as a therapy for certain infections.

1. Honey for Painful Mouth Blisters and Ulcers

Research suggests that honey can help reduce painful mouth blisters among children with herpes simplex gingivostomatitis.[ii] Caused by the herpes virus, herpes simplex gingivostomatitis is an inflammation of the gums and lips, damaging the skin and resulting in mouth ulcers.

One of the earliest signs of herpes simplex gingivostomatitis is when your child refuses to eat because chewing has become too painful. While this disease is common among kids, there is a risk of dehydration since the patient often will not drink or eat.

Attention

Sperm counts continue to drastically drop in Western men

sperm illustration
A team of international researchers studied men in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand and found that Western men were having a decline in their sperm count. They looked at the semen samples of 42,935 men from 50 countries from 1973 to 2011. Their findings revealed that sperm concentration, as in the total number of sperm per millilitre of semen had declined each year. Over time this has amounted to a 52.4 percent total decline.

The total sperm count among the same group of continued to drop each year for a total decline of 59.3 percent over an almost 40-year period.

A male fertility startup called Legacy has raised $3.5 million from Bill Maris's venture firm, Section 32, Y Combinator and Bain Capital Ventures. Bain Capital Ventures had previously led a seed round up worth $1.5 million last year for Legacy.

Comment: Anyone who regularly reads the Health and Wellness section of Sott could probably come up with a dozen or more theories of why Western men's sperm counts are dropping. And the answer isn't to freeze your sperm - it's to take control of your health, avoid the toxins and pollutants in the environment and feed yourself truly nutritious foods. This, at least, is the right way to start.

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Bacon n Eggs

Federal dietary guidelines need to cut carbohydrates

myplate dietary guidelines
This year, as they do every five years, federal officials will publish a new version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These periodic updates to federal nutrition guidelines influence everything from school lunches and military meals to public health initiatives and products developed by the food industry.

In theory, these guidelines reflect the latest, most rigorous nutrition research, but, in reality, they tend to peddle lousy and unscientific advice. Most shockingly, recent studies suggest that the guidelines' central recommendation, that people consume lots of carbohydrates but limit fat intake, has probably fueled the chronic disease epidemic.

Responding to new research showing that low-carb, high-fat diets help people stay healthy, the committee that drafts the guidelines is now considering recommending a low-carb dietary pattern. However, at the end of October, committee members announced that the supposedly "low-carb" pattern they were debating would still encourage people to consume almost half of their calories from carbohydrates.

Comment: See also:


Bacon

I had to start eating meat again for medical reasons, and now I'm questioning everything

BBQ burgers and dogs
"White rice and water," my doctor clarified, after I asked what, exactly, he meant by elimination diet, "nothing else. For three days."

My reason for seeing Dr. Schwartz that day was the same as it had been the past three visits: constipation and abdominal bloating that left me feeling (and sometimes looking) as if I was in my second trimester of pregnancy. I had long identified with the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (which I had Googled no less than two hundred times), but Dr. Schwartz insisted on ruling out other gastrointestinal disorders before corroborating my diagnosis.

If the symptoms persisted while I followed the elimination diet, he would refer me to a specialist; if not, and I began to feel better, we would slowly begin adding food groups back to find out how much of each I could tolerate.

Comment: It just goes to show, vegetarianism (and veganism) are often more about group identification and tribalism than health or animal rights. That even when staring down the barrel of serious health complications due to diet has one thinking "but what will my friends think if I change my diet?" is quite telling. If they actually care, it might be time for some new friends.

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Health

Chaga mushroom: This unusual tree fungus is a medicinal powerhouse

Chaga Mushrooms
The mysterious Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) is a non-toxic, medicinal mycelium with a propensity for birch bark. If you were to spot it while roaming through a birch forest in the Northern hemisphere, you'd probably assume (based on its rather unappealing appearance), that it was some kind of tree infection. But Chaga is a whole lot more than just an unsightly forest blemish.

The chaga mushroom is actually a treasure trove of science-backed healing potential that's been a prominent feature in folk medicine for thousands of years.

Chaga's reputation as a powerful natural remedy for everything from gastrointestinal disease to tuberculosis to cancer spans at least as far back as the 16th century when botanical artisans are said to have figured out that it could be steeped as a tea for a variety of therapeutic purposes.1

The historical record suggests that, even prior to this, natural healers in Asia were likely among the first to document Chaga's medicinal potential more than 4,600 years ago. They observed that the strange fungus has a unique ability to extract nutrients from its hosts and concentrate them into itself. Hence the chaga mushroom's incredible density of B vitamins, antioxidants, trace minerals, enzymes, and more.

Since these ancient times, science has taken our understanding of Chaga to a whole new level, and the West is finally catching on to what this amazing mushroom is capable of. Just in the last century the Chaga mushroom's antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, cardio-protective, anti-hyperglycemic, and anti-cancer properties have become more widely known.

Comment: See also: Chaga mushroom tea: The many benefits of this health-boosting beverage


Beaker

How to make thieves oil and why you should be using it daily

Thieves oil ingredient
Most of you probably know what Thieves Oil is, but if not have I got a story for you?! The name and recipe for Thieves Oil have an interesting backstory and explains why this blend of oils is so good for you.

The recipe varies and dates back to the Middle Ages where Thieves Oil kept a group of merchants safe from the Black Plague. The mixtures of antiseptic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties were able to stave off the Plague and keep these merchants safe.

The Thieves Story

In the early 1990s, Gary Young studied essential oils and recreated a blend he had been researching. According to Gary, there are 17 different versions of the "Story of Thieves" and each contains different amounts of different oils. This intrigued Gary to research essential oils and make the perfect Thieves Oil blend for everyday use.

He researched the properties of the different oils in the multiple ingredient lists he found. His research lead to a proprietary oil blend called Young Living Thieves Essential Oil. His research also lead him to the historical story of the "Thieves" this blend is named after.

Health

Electronic health records prioritize insurance billing over patients and doctors hate them

hospital
© Adobe Stock
The House of God, my first novel, was about the abuses of medical internships. After it was published in 1978, it started a conversation that led to significant real-world reform in the way that first year doctors are treated. Our schedules had been 36 hours on call, every third night — sometimes, every other night. The fatigue was hellish. We had no real life outside our job. Medical interns now are prohibited from working such schedules.

Yet somehow the medical profession is worse now. We doctors face an epidemic of burnout. It is estimated that a doctor commits suicide almost every day in the US. More than half of physicians reported symptoms of burnout in a 2014 study, and while that rate dropped to 43 percent in a 2017 follow-up, it is still much higher than the rate for all US workers, which stayed essentially flat in those years. What has gone wrong with our once beloved profession?

Comment: See also: