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Oct 11

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Latest News – For our clients and customers to keep up to date with current health and herbal medicine research and their conditions

  • The tell-tale signs of a stroke: How a crease in your EAR LOBES could show whether you are more at risk of suffering one Sunday May 28th, 2017

    Having diagonal creases across your ear lobes may mean you are at increased risk of suffering a stroke, according to new research.

    Scientists who examined 241 people who had experienced a stroke found more than three-quarters of them had the mark, known as Frank’s sign, on their ears.

    It’s thought that clogging of the arteries, which increases the risk of a stroke, also leads to poor blood supply to the ear lobes. This would cause a loss of elasticity and, in turn, the visible creasing.

    The Israeli researchers who uncovered the findings said doctors should consider adding the ear lobe crease to the list of ‘classic risk factors for the development of stroke’.

    But other observers think the feature could be little more than a sign of advancing years.

    A number of famous people are known to have creased ear lobes, including film director Steven Spielberg, 70, and actor Mel Gibson, 61.

    In the study, published in the American Journal of Medicine (AJM), the researchers said they found 78 of 88 patients who had suffered a full-blown stroke (88 per cent) had creased ear lobes.

    That also applied to 112 of 153 (73 per cent) of patients who had experienced a ‘mini-stroke’ – more formally called a transient ischaemic attack. Previous research has also linked the ear creases with a higher heart attack risk.

    In one study of 800 people, 77 per cent of those who had suffered an attack had the crease, compared to 40 per cent of those in a group of non-heart attack victims. Frank’s sign is named after the American doctor Sanders T Frank, who noticed in 1973 that the ear lobe crease was common in young patients with the heart condition angina. Besides the theory that the creases indicate clogged arteries, another possibility is that they are a sign of accelerated ageing.

    Creased earlobes are not the only visible indicator of potential health problems. Another sign that a person is at increased risk of heart disease or stroke is a receding hairline or bald patch. That holds true for both sexes, although it is much more common in men.

    A pot belly also indicates a raised risk, even if the person is otherwise quite slim.

    Last night, a British stroke expert said the Israeli researchers’ study into Frank’s sign should be treated with caution.

    Dr Yaqoob Bhat, clinical director for stroke medicine at the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board in South Wales, said: ‘The so-called Frank’s sign in the ear lobes has been recognised as having a possible association with advanced age, but some studies have shown its association with cardiovascular risk factors like diabetes, hypertension, ischaemic heart disease, and peripheral vascular disease.

    ‘This new study suggests an association with increased risk of stroke, but further studies are needed to assess its importance.’

    Source: Daily Mail

  • Top scientist says all you’ve been told about salt is WRONG: It won’t give you a heart attack – while having too little will make you fat and ruin your sex life Saturday May 27th, 2017

    Eating too little salt can cause insulin resistance and may even increase risk of diabetes, says leading cardiovascular research scientist

    Dangerous myth that salt raises blood pressure began more than 100 years ago

    Current daily guidelines limit you to 2.4g of sodium

    Average Korean, for instance, eats over 4g of sodium a day – yet they have some of world’s lowest rates for hypertension and coronary heart disease

    For more than 40 years, we’ve been told eating too much salt is killing us.

    Doctors say it’s as bad for our health as smoking or not exercising, and government guidelines limit us to just under a teaspoon a day.

    We’re told not to cook with it and not to sprinkle it on our meals. The white stuff is not just addictive, goes the message — it’s deadly. Too much of it causes high blood pressure, which in turn damages our hearts. We must learn to live — joylessly, flavourlessly but healthily — without it.

    Well, I’m here to tell you that all of that is wrong. As a leading cardiovascular research scientist — based at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute, Missouri — I’ve contributed extensively to health policy and medical literature.

    I am associate editor of the British Medical Journal’s Open Heart, published in partnership with the British Cardiovascular Society, and I sit on the editorial advisory board of several other medical journals.

    A diet low in salt reduces the sex-drive, inhibits the chances of getting pregnant and affects the birth weight of infants

    In my work, I’ve examined data from more than 500 medical papers and studies about salt. And this is what I’ve learned: there was never any sound scientific evidence to support this low salt idea. What’s more, as I explain in my new book, eating too little of it can cause insulin resistance, increased fat storage and may even increase the risk of diabetes — not to mention decreasing our sex drive.

    Current daily guidelines limit you to 2.4g of sodium, which translates to 6g of salt (or sodium chloride) or slightly less than a teaspoonful.

    If you have high blood pressure, or belong to a group considered to be at greater risk of developing it — such as being over 60 or Afro-Caribbean — doctors even advise you to cut your intake to two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt per day.

    Yet salt is an essential nutrient that our bodies depend on to live. And those limits go against all our natural instincts. When people are allowed as much salt as they fancy, they tend to settle at about a teaspoon-and-a-half a day. This is true all over the world, across all cultures, climates and social backgrounds.

    If you’ve been struggling to cut your intake, it may come as a relief to learn your salt cravings are normal, a biological need akin to our thirst for water.

    We are essentially salty people. We cry salt, we sweat salt and the cells in our bodies are bathed in salty fluids. Without salt we’d not be able to live. And it’s not only our bodies that work this way.

    A yen for salt drives the elephants of Kenya to walk into the pitch-black caves of Mount Elgon to lick sodium sulphate salt crystals off the walls. Gorillas have been known to follow elephants to eat the salt-rich droppings, while monkeys that groom one another don’t do so to eat fleas, but to enjoy their salty skin secretions.
    Salt is so fundamental to life that a deficiency of it acts as a natural contraceptive in all sorts of animals, including us.

    A diet low in salt reduces the sex-drive, inhibits the chances of getting pregnant and affects the birth weight of infants. Clinical studies show that low-salt diets can increase the risk of erectile dysfunction, fatigue and the age at which females become fertile.

    Salt helps the body withstand accidents and other traumas. Besides excessive bleeding, we experience a loss of other fluids in states of shock — for example, from burns. As the injured areas soak up fluids to speed healing, the body needs its salt reserves to keep the blood circulating and fend off vascular collapse.

    So why do almost all doctors tell us that salt is bad for us?

    The orthodox medical view on salt is based on a straightforward hypothesis, which says eating higher levels of salt leads to higher levels of blood pressure — end of story.
    But as with so many simplistic health theories, this is based on a fundamental misunderstanding, compounded by faulty science.

    The faulty hypothesis goes like this: when we eat salt, we get thirsty, so we drink more water.

    The dangerous myth that salt raises blood pressure began more than 100 years ago

    The excess salt causes the body to hold on to that water to dilute the saltiness of the blood.

    That water retention increases blood volume, which leads to higher blood pressure, and thus to heart disease, strokes and other serious conditions.

    Although this makes sense in theory, there’s a problem: the facts don’t back it up.

    Evidence in medical literature suggests approximately 80 per cent of people with normal blood pressure (that is, a reading of below 120 over 80) do not suffer any signs of raised blood pressure — none at all — when they increase their salt intake.

    Among those with prehypertension, or higher blood pressure, three quarters are not sensitive to salt. And even among those with full-blown high blood pressure, more than half — about 55 per cent — are totally immune to salt’s effects.

    The dangerous myth that salt raises blood pressure began more than 100 years ago, with French scientists Ambard and Beauchard. They based their findings on studies of just six patients.

    Successive researchers misinterpreted and misused their data, building on a theory that earned media attention without any solid foundation in fact.

    In the early Fifties, at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, Dr Lewis Dahl was determined to make science fit his own preconceptions.

    A man of ‘strong convictions’, he was a proponent of racial theories that claimed Japanese people had high levels of hypertension while Inuit tribes did not — and that this was due to the amount of salt in their diets.

    He proposed to prove this with experiments on rodents. However, as even Dr Dahl was obliged to concede, normal rats are not sensitive to salt. It does nothing to their blood pressure.

    So he decided to selectively modify them through in-breeding over several generations to create what are now known as ‘Dahl salt-sensitive rats’.

    That’s right: Dahl created salt-sensitive rats in a lab and then used them to prove his hypothesis that salt affected blood pressure.

    Dahl popularised the notion that salt is nothing but a flavouring we add to food. He cited medical studies that, he claimed, were proof humans could survive on a quarter of the recommended levels.

    But a closer look at the papers he promoted is alarming: one 1945 experiment into a low-salt diet may have killed people.

    One patient placed on a restricted salt regime died soon afterwards, and another sustained circulatory collapse, due to inadequate supplies of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues — a classic symptom of salt deprivation.

    One of Dahl’s most dramatic experiments involved giving human baby food with high salt content to his special salt-sensitive rats. It killed them, which Dahl proclaimed as proof that baby food could be lethal for human infants, too.

    Of course, human babies are much larger than rats, and the salt-sensitive rats had been genetically engineered to suffer from hypertension.
    But based partly on this research, the Committee on Nutrition at the American Academy of Paediatrics concluded that infants were consuming too much sodium, and manufacturers began to lower the salt content in all kinds of food.

    The link between high blood pressure and salt was established in the public mind, on the most spurious of pretexts.
    But this misinformation did not take hold worldwide. The average Korean, for instance, eats over 4g of sodium a day. They feast on tteokguk, a broth-based soup full of salt, and bulgogi, grilled meat marinated in a sea of sodium-packed soy sauce. They eat kimchi — cabbage preserved in salt — with every meal.

    Yet Koreans have some of the world’s lowest rates for hypertension, coronary heart disease and death due to cardiovascular disease. This is known as the ‘Korean Paradox’. South Korea also has one of the lowest death rates from coronaries in the world, along with Japan and France.

    What do people from these three countries have in common? They all eat a very high-salt diet.

    The Mediterranean diet, too, widely recommended as heart-healthy, is not exactly low in salt — think of all those anchovies and sardines. Even where blood pressure does increase, the benefits of a higher salt intake — a lower heart rate, reduced insulin levels, more balanced adrenal hormones and better kidney function — are likely to outweigh any risks.

    Low salt intake has several side-effects that magnify our risk of heart disease, such as increased heart rate, compromised kidney function, underactive thyroid glands, heightened insulin levels — a risk factor for diabetes — as well as heightened cholesterol.

    If you slash salt intake dramatically, you could also develop an iodine deficiency, since salt is our best source of iodine

    All through lack of salt. This white crystal that has been unfairly demonised for many decades is diverting blame from the real culprit of these illnesses.

    High blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease can all be caused by the real health hazard, excessive consumption of sugar.

    We all need salt to live. But you could go the rest of your life, and probably extend its span, if you never ingested another gram of added sugar.

    It is extraordinary that no food advertisement or leaflet in your GP’s surgery ever tells you that a low-salt diet doesn’t just increase your risk of an elevated heart rate, it practically guarantees it. This harmful effect occurs in nearly everyone who restricts salt intake.

    The damage done by an average increase of four heartbeats a minute is compounded by other salt-related stresses inflicted on our bodies by modern life.

    We lose salt by following fashionable diets such as low-carb regimes. Some medications cause salt loss. Intestinal problems including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and leaky gut also decrease salt absorption.
    And kidney damage from refined carbs and sugar will reduce those organs’ capacity to retain salt.

    We may discover that low-salt guidelines have created more heart disease than they ever prevented.

    They may even have been a contributing factor in the greatest public health challenge of our time: the rising epidemic of diabetes, caused in part by an increasingly common, yet little-known, phenomenon called ‘internal starvation’.

    To understand this, we need to begin by looking at the obesity epidemic. The conventional explanation for this is an imbalance between the consumption of calories and our expenditure of energy — in other words, we eat more than we burn off. We’re told to eat less and move more, though it’s obvious this strategy isn’t working for everyone.

    Consuming too little salt can set into motion an unfortunate cascade of changes that result in insulin resistance, an increase in sugar cravings, an out-of-control appetite and ultimately internal starvation, sometimes known as hidden cellular semi-starvation, which promotes weight gain.

    Someone who appears massively overweight on the outside may be literally starving on the inside.
    When you start restricting your salt intake, your body will do anything to try to hold on to it.

    Unfortunately, one of its main defence mechanisms is to increase insulin levels, which it does by becoming more resistant to insulin itself. The body is then less able to shuttle glucose into cells.

    That means more and more insulin is secreted to control blood glucose. This keeps the body’s stored fat and protein reserves locked away. The fat cannot be converted into energy. To make matters worse, salt restriction also stimulates hormones such as renin, angiotensin and aldosterone. They help retain the ebbing salt levels, but they also increase the absorption of fat.

    So a low-salt diet doesn’t just force the body to pile on fat, but prevents it from being burned off. No wonder ‘Eat Less Move More’ can make no difference for some.

    It gets worse. If you slash salt intake dramatically, you could also develop an iodine deficiency, since salt is our best source of iodine. We need iodine for proper thyroid function, without which the metabolic rate may slow down.

    A slower metabolic rate results in the body storing more fat, particularly in the organs, which in turn promotes insulin resistance. Once again, weight gain results.

    Plus, low-salt diets increase the risk of overall dehydration. That’s a problem because well-hydrated cells consume less energy.

    Dehydrated cells leave you feeling exhausted, which encourages you to consume more calories — which are immediately translated into weight gain.

    Exercise now seems unappealing. Your body cannot access its stored energy and so the brain switches into conservation mode, trying to hang on to every calorie.

    Even though weight is piling on, every function in the body is behaving as though it’s fighting to survive a full-scale famine.

    So how much salt should you be eating? Many healthy people needn’t worry about overloading. The body takes care of any excess. Research suggests the optimal range for healthy adults is between 3g and 6g of sodium a day — about one-and-a-third to two-and-two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt.

    Listen to your body. It has a built-in ‘salt thermostat’, an interconnected set of brain sensors that monitor sodium supplies in an effort to avoid activating those starvation hormones.
    And your brain would much prefer that you simply eat salt rather than having to scavenge it from vulnerable parts of the body.

    So next time you feel a craving for salt, do yourself a favour and give in to it. Your body says these things for a reason.

    Drop the guilt — not the salt.
    Adapted from The Salt Fix by Dr James DiNicolantonio, to be published by Piatkus Books on June 6 at £13.99. © Dr James DiNicolantonio 2017. To order this book for £10.49 (a 25 per cent discount) until June 3, go to mailbookshop.co.uk or call 0844 571 0640, p&p is free on orders over £15. thesaltfix.com

    Source: Daily Mail

  • Sandalwood Essential Oil: Facts, Health Benefits, and Uses Thursday May 25th, 2017

    Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

    For instance, most people are stressed out and become overwhelmed from the pressures of everyday life. Sandalwood essential oil is known for its calming effect on mental health and overall well-being. It is also quite the impressive natural aphrodisiac, memory booster, and anti-inflammatory. Read on to learn more about sandalwood oil and its many other therapeutic benefits.

    Facts and History of Sandalwood Essential Oil

    Sandalwood essential oil has traditionally been used for meditation, religious rituals, and for embalming purposes in Ancient Egypt. Sandalwood oil is made from sandalwood trees, which are considered holy and used for certain religious ceremonies, such the birth of a baby or decorations at weddings.

    The highest quality sandalwood is from India, and it’s called Santalum album. Australia and Hawaii also produce varieties of sandalwood, but the purity and quality are not thought to be the same as the one from India, which is also the most expensive essential oil on the market due to the high demand of the oil. As a result of the high demand, many immature trees are being cut and harvested, which has led to a reduction in the sandalwood tree population. Australian sandalwood is, therefore, a more environmentally-friendly alternative.

    The sandalwood tree will grow about 40 to 50 feet once mature. It takes a minimum of 40 to 80 years before sandalwood roots can be harvested. The aroma of sandalwood essential oil is stronger when the tree has the chance to properly mature. Steam distillation is the procedure used to extract the oil from the roots.

    Health Benefits of Sandalwood Essential Oil

    Sandalwood is one of the rare essential oils that are high in sesquiterpenes. In the brain, sesquiterpenes have the capability of passing the blood-brain barrier to help support cellular health. The two primary sesquiterpenes in sandalwood oil include alpha-santolol and beta-santolol, which both give sandalwood its strong fragrance. Alpha-santolol, in particular, has been found to reduce inflammation, improve blood glucose control, and decrease proliferation of skin cancer.

    What are other health benefits of sandalwood essential oil? As mentioned, the best-known benefit of sandalwood is its effect on mental health and memory. It has also used for sore throats, urinary and chest infections, and herpes simplex. It is also a natural antiviral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, astringent, aphrodisiac, hypotensive, diuretic, carminative, cicatrizant, tonic, emollient, disinfectant, and expectorant.

    The following are some of the health benefits of sandalwood essential oil in further detail.

    1. Promotes mental clarity and relaxation

    When used as a fragrance or incense, sandalwood oil can promote mental clarity, create peace and relaxation, and boost memory.

    A 2006 study found that sandalwood oil increases attention and cognitive clarity, while also promoting calm awareness. Another study published in the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice in 2006 found that palliative care patients felt more relaxed and less anxious when they received sandalwood oil through aromatherapy prior to receiving care, compared to patients not receiving sandalwood.

    2. Contains anti-inflammatory properties

    As a natural anti-inflammatory, the alpha-santalol and beta-santalol in sandalwood may provide mild inflammation relief in a similar way as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), but without the negative effects associated with the drugs.

    A study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research in 2014 found that the santalol reduces inflammatory markers in the body known as cytokines.

    3. Lowers blood pressure

    Some research shows that sandalwood essential oil can reduce blood pressure. One 2004 study found that sandalwood oil reduces systolic blood pressure better than control groups when applied directly to the skin.

    4. Benefits skin

    Sandalwood is very good at promoting healthy skin. It is used in many facial toners and aftershaves as a primary ingredient to help cleanse, soothe, and tighten skin. It can be applied to the skin to decrease inflammation from pimples, warts, boils, or wounds.

    Be sure to test the oil on a small area or mix it with a carrier oil before directly applying sandalwood oil to the skin.

    5. Balances hormones

    Sandalwood is very good at balancing levels of the testosterone hormone in both women and men. As a result, sandalwood is a natural aphrodisiac that has been used for years in certain perfumes and men’s colognes. Sandalwood may even help set the mood for date night!

    6. Treats endometriosis

    Sandalwood also helps treat endometriosis – a painful condition where skin from the uterus grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis may also cause fertility problems. Using three drops of sandalwood essential oil each day may help decrease inflammation and pain associated with endometriosis.

    How to Use Sandalwood Essential Oil

    Sandalwood oil is often used as a base for perfumes, cosmetics, incense, and aftershave. It also blends well with other oils, especially myrrh, cypress, frankincense, and lemon essential oils.

    Like most essential oils, you can inhale sandalwood with a diffuser, spray it in the air, or take it orally. You can also apply it to the skin with a carrier oil like coconut oil or jojoba oil. Also, since some are sensitive to certain oils, a skin patch test can help test your reaction to sandalwood oil.

    The following are a few specific ways you can use sandalwood oil.

    1. Hair

    Add several drops of sandalwood to coconut oil to help with hair dryness. Adding one or two drops can also help restore moisture to hair, and give it a healthy shine.

    2. Relaxation

    Inhale a few drops of sandalwood oil before a yoga class to help set the mood. It is also a good idea to use it before journaling or prayer to help increase your focus.

    3. Bath or Steam

    Apply one to two drops of sandalwood oil to the face and cover it with a towel. Place the face above a large bowl with steaming water. Alternatively, you can add a few drops of sandalwood to a foot bath or hot tub.

    4. Vehicle

    Add two to three drops of sandalwood to your vehicle’s air conditioner to help with calmness during rush hour.

    5. Washing Machine

    Add 10 to 20 drops of sandalwood oil per load to help disinfect the washing machine.

    Here are a few of sandalwood essential oil recipes that you can benefit from as well:

    6. Uplifting Sandalwood Bath Blend Recipe


    • 1 tablespoon of almond oil

    • 4 drops of sandalwood essential oil

    • 4 drops of jasmine essential oil

    • 2 drops of grapefruit essential oil


    Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Use the blend immediately in the bath, and enjoy a soothing soak.

    7. Sensual Massage Blend for Men Recipe


    • 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil

    • 6 drops of ylang-ylang essential oil

    • 6 drops of sandalwood essential oil

    • 2 drops of nutmeg essential oil


    Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Transfer the mixture to a sterilized dark glass bottle, and seal with a dropper or cap. Store in a dark, cool place, for up to three months.

    This blend is emotionally grounding, and perfect for massaging your significant other.

    8. Sandalwood Throat and Chest Rub Recipe


    • 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil

    • 5 drops of sandalwood essential oil

    • 7 drops of frankincense essential oil

    • 3 drops of lavender essential oil


    Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Transfer to a sterilized dark glass bottle, and seal with a dropper or cap. Store in a dark, cool place, for up to three months.

    Gently massage the oil into the throat, chest, and upper back. Allow the oil blend to absorb before getting dressed.

    Possible Precautions with Sandalwood Oil

    Sandalwood essential oil benefits many people without any major side effects, but some people may experience minor skin irritation. As mentioned, a skin patch test can help you determine whether sandalwood essential is right for you before using it all over the skin.

    In general, sandalwood is often used in combination with carrier oil or lotion to dilute it for topical use. Common carrier oils include jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, and almond oil.

    Pregnant women or those with severe allergies should also use caution before trying any essential oil used in aromatherapy. It is also best to choose a high-quality, 100% pure therapeutic grade sandalwood essential oil from a reputable company such as Young Living, doTERRA, or Zayat Aroma.

    Axe, J., “Sandalwood Essential Oil Benefits & Uses,” Dr. Axe; https://draxe.com/sandalwood-essential-oil/, last accessed May 18, 2017.
    “15 Amazing Benefits of Sandalwood Essential Oil,” Organic Facts; https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/sandalwood-essential-oil.html, last accessed May 18, 2017.
    “The Many Wonders of Calming Sandalwood Oil,” Mercola, April 27, 2017; http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/sandalwood-oil.aspx.
    “Sandalwood Essential Oil: Uses, Benefits, and Precautions,” Sustainable Baby Steps; http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/sandalwood-essential-oil.html, last accessed May 18, 2017.
    Essential Oils: All-natural remedies and recipes for your mind, body, and home (New York: Penguin Random House, 2016), 131, 178, 220, 221, 238.
    Gentles Fite, V., Essential Oils for Healing: Over 400 All-Natural Recipes for Everyday Ailments (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2016), 12, 18, 40.
    Sharma, M. et al., “Suppression of lipopolysaccharide-stimulated cytokine/chemokine production in skin cells by sandalwood oils and purified alpha-santolol and beta-santolol,” Phytotherapy Research, June 2014; 28(6): 925-932, doi: 10.1002/ptr.5080.
    Kyle, G., “Evaluating the effectiveness of aromatherapy in reducing level of anxiety in palliative care patients: Results of a pilot study,” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, May 2006; 12(2): 148-156, doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2005.11.003.

    Source: Doctors Health Press

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