There are more than 90 essential oils and each one provides unique and amazing benefits. So where do you start? Below I have provided a starter list for your aromatherapy journey.
Tea Tree Oil: Of the 300 varieties of tea trees that grow in Australia only one variety, Melaleuca alternifolia, produces the actual tea tree oil. For centuries the aborigines have applied poultices of tea tree leaves to cuts, wounds, and skin infections. You can inhale crushed tea tree leaves to treat respiratory problems. Australians call tea tree oil a "first-aid kit in a bottle" due to its multiple healing benefits. Tea tree is antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antiviral. This oil is effective for the treatment of abscesses, acne, bites, blisters, burns, cuts, dandruff, skin disorders, and scalp problems. It aids respiratory ailments and relieves symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, colds, congestion, coughs, earaches, fevers, laryngitis, sinusitis, sore throats, tonsillitis, and whooping cough. Tea tree is also a great immune booster and can reduce the incidence of colds, fevers, the flu, and other infectious illnesses. It is excellent for fighting fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, candida infections, and jock itch. It helps heal cold sores and prevent herpes outbreaks. Tea tree improves oral hygiene and relieves gingivitis, mouth ulcers, periodontal disease, and toothaches. With all of these amazing benefits tea tree oil is one of the essential oils that should be in everyone’s collection.
Frankincense Oil: Since the beginning of recorded history frankincense has been associated with healing and spirituality. Frankincense, also known as the "king of oils", comes from the gum resin of the Boswellia carteri tree that is native to the Middle East. Traditional Chinese Medicine used frankincense for centuries to treat leprosy and tuberculosis. Medical professionals in Europe and England today prescribe frankincense oil to treat many of the same disorders. Frankincense has a soothing and healing effect on mucous membranes, wounds, and inflammation. It can clear congestion in the lungs, soothe respiratory problems such as colds, coughs, bronchitis, the flu and laryngitis, and can even help avert asthma attacks. Medical practitioners say that frankincense alleviates the discomforts of cystitis, genital infections, and kidney complaints. Frankincense is a great essential oil for the skin. Combined with lavender essential oil and coconut oil is a very effective treatment for psoriasis. Frankincense can also smooth lines and wrinkles on the face. Frankincense accelerates the healing of blemishes, inflammations, sores, scars, skin ulcers, and wounds. This oil not only revitalizes the body but also the mind. Frankincense can help sever ties with the past that contribute to depression and hamper personal growth. This is a must have oil in the aromatherapists cabinet.
Lavender Oil: The ancient Greeks and Romans prized this oil, for its perfume and cleansing properties. The word lavender comes from the Latin word lavare, which means "to wash". In the early 1900s a French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse was working in his lab and burned his hand severely. He stuck his hand in a nearby container of lavender oil thinking it was water. He discovered his hand not only stopped hurting, it healed faster and didn't scar. Lavender is a powerful oil. It is used for an array of different ailments such as digestive disorders, earaches, respiratory illnesses, and skin disorders. This oil clears congestion and stuffiness of sinusitis and it soothes sore throats, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. Lavender oil is a great pain reliever. It eases the pain and discomfort of muscular aches, spasms, and injuries, and can even help to heal bruises, cuts, and insect bites. It relieves pain associated with migraines and tension headaches. Lavender is amazing for skin disorders such as burns, psoriasis, eczema, facial candida, cold sores and herpes. Research has shown that lavender oil helps reduce anxiety and insomnia. It can be a powerful sleep aid. Scientific evidence suggests that the use of lavender oil may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve quality of sleep, promote relaxation, and lift the mood of people that are suffering from sleep disorders. In one study on lavender oil by Britain’s University of Southampton, researchers tracked the sleep patterns of 10 adults for a week. Half of the participants slept in a room where lavender essential oil was diffused into the air throughout the night. The rest of the participants slept in another room that was diffused with a placebo. At the end of the study the volunteers ranked that lavender increased the quality of sleep and the ability to sleep by 20%. Lavender has also been found to increase slow wave sleep; the deep slumber where the heartbeat slows and muscles relax. This is the time when the brain is thought to organize memory. The mildness of lavender makes it a safe essential oil for infants and children.
Sweet Orange Oil: From early times, the orange has been associated with generosity and gratitude. Once called "golden apples", oranges symbolized innocence and fertility. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners prescribe oranges for digestion, but sweet orange oil has many more uses. Sweet orange oil relieves the discomfort of bronchitis and flu symptoms. It boosts the immune system by aiding the body absorb vitamin C. Orange oil can heal mouth ulcers and gingivitis. This oil can calm an upset stomach, especially if it is nerve or stress related, and can aid in digestion and restore appetite. It regulates the bowels and relieves diarrhea and constipation. Orange oil encourages the elimination of wastes and promotes urination, making it quite helpful in treating obesity, fluid retention, and PMS. This oil is also very beneficial for the skin. It restores balance to dry or oily skin, and can clear blemishes and improve acne-prone skin. Orange oil stimulates circulation of lymphatic fluids, helping relieve tissue swelling. It can also improve the appearance of cellulite. Orange is a great oil for depression because it can brighten gloomy feelings, and has a warm, happy, and light influence. Sweet orange smells amazing, treats multiple ailments, and is a great oil to blend with your other essential oils.
Sweet orange oil is not bitter orange oil. Sweet orange oil is extracted from the species of orange tree called Citrus sinensis where bitter orange oil is extracted from the species Citrus aurantium. Bitter orange oil does have the same uses as sweet orange, but bitter orange is more phototoxic (rendering the skin susceptible to damage upon exposure to light and especially ultraviolet light) and is irritating to sensitive skin. The scent of bitter orange is a cross between sweet orange and the slight bitterness of grapefruit oil.
Patchouli Oil: For centuries the people of China, India, Japan, and Malaysia have relied on patchouli for various medicinal purposes. It is used to fight infection, cool fevers, and to tone the skin. Patchouli oil is antifungal and is helpful in treating athletes’ foot, jock itch, vaginitis, and fungal infections of the skin such as candida. This oil reduces the inflammation in skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis, sunburns, skin allergies, eczema, and other forms of dermatitis. Patchouli oil speeds up the healing of sores and wounds and helps fade scars. This oil is a great weight loss aid. It curbs the appetite and tones and tightens skin to prevent sagging after weight is lost. Patchouli also regulates the oiliness of skin and hair, and helps scalp disorders such as dandruff and seborrhea (excessive discharge of sebum from sweat glands). One unique characteristic about patchouli is that as it ages the scent gets sweeter. Patchouli is a well-known aphrodisiac and expands sensuality, inspires creativity, and encourages freedom of expression of the imagination. It cools and calms during physically or emotionally hot situations. This is a great oil to have on hand, and is an effective oil to blend with other citrus or herbal essential oils.
Although green tea originated in China, it is grown all over the world including Japan, India, New Zealand, and Hawaii. The different types of green tea are determined by many factors such as where they are grown, differing climate locations, and how they are cultivated. The finishing methods of green tea result in an array of flavors and aromas, from toasty to sweet.
Pan Fired Green Teas from China:
Chinese green teas are produced by pan firing tea leaves in a basket or pan to halt the oxidation process. Green teas can be fired more than once and can be fired in wicker, steel, metal and over charcoal, gas, electric heat or hot air. Any of these choices made during the processing of the green tea helps to create unique and desired flavors.
ŸGunpowder: By far one of the most popular types of Chinese green tea, it is primarily grown in the Zhejian Province. The leaves are hand rolled into the shape of pinhead pellets that resemble gunpowder and open up during the brewing process. It has a bold and slightly smoky flavor. The compressed form of the tea leaf helps keep it fresh longer than any other green tea. With 35-40 mg of caffeine per 8 oz serving, it is higher in caffeine and is said to improve endurance over periods of 3-6 hours. It is the go to drink for many athletes. Gunpowder green tea is rich in catechins.
ŸDragonwell (Long Jing): This tea is grown on the high peaks of the Tieh Mu mountains in the Zhejian Province. The flat tea leaves have a beautiful jade color. It has a mellow, soft, and delicious taste combined with a sweet aroma. It is produced by being dried under a wood-fired wok, which removes the green, grassy taste. Dragonwell has a cooling effect making it a popular tea in the spring and summer seasons. It is high in vitamin C, amino acids, and has one of the highest concentrations of catechins. It has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, boost the immune system, and to reduce the signs of aging.
Steamed Green Teas from Japan:
Japanese green teas are produced by briefly steaming freshly picked tea leaves to not only halt the oxidation process, but to bring out the dark, rich green color of the tea leaves. Japanese brewed green tea retains that beautiful color. Steaming also produces a flavor profile that is described as slightly sweet and vegetal or seaweed-like.
ŸSencha: More than 80% of the green tea produced in Japan is Sencha tea, making it the most popular green tea throughout the country and the world. After steaming the leaves are rolled in long, skinny strands. It has a delicately sweet and herbaceous aroma. The flavor profile is traditionally described as grassy and lush, or salty and sweet-reminiscent of fresh cut grass and seaweed. Quality Sencha green tea can be steeped three times giving it extra value. It is rich in vitamin C. The antioxidants in Sencha help to prevent coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis while eliminating excess cholesterol from the body. Sencha is also known to help retain a youthful apperance and reduce wrinkles by hydrating the skin. Sencha can also be roasted over high heat to produce Hojicha tea. This green tea has a roasted, nutty flavor. Roasting at a high heat reduces the amount of caffeine in Hojicha tea.
ŸGenmaicha: This green tea is a blend of Sencha and rice and that has been roasted and popped. It was developed by Zen monks who mixed their green tea into cauldrons that were stuck with brown rice. The toasty, nutty tasting Genmaicha green tea is often served with food and is said to have the same soothing effects as chicken noodle soup. Studies done in China show that men and women who consumed at least a cup of Genmaicha tea once a week for six months decreased their risk of colon, pancreatic and rectal cancer. The selenium in Genmaicha helps maintain thyroid function and regulates hormones and metabolism.
ŸGyokoro: This is considered to be Japan’s most treasured tea, the fine wine of Japanese green tea. Gyokoro green tea possesses the most unique of all flavors-umami. The tea leaves are grown in the shade the last weeks before being picked to help deepen the color and flavor. Growing in the shade also produces higher levels of L-Theanine and chlorophyll. This tea has very specific brewing instructions, beginning with a cold brew infusion that produces the most intense umami flavor.
ŸMatcha: The tea leaves that make Matcha green tea are also shade-grown, and are ground into a powder instead of being shaped and rolled. It takes up to one hour to grind 30 grams of Matcha tea. One serving of Matcha is equal to ten cups of regularly brewed green tea and you receive 100% of the nutrients from the leaf. Matcha is an antioxidant powerhouse, with an ORAC value of 1573, dramatically more than any other superfood. It is rich in EGCG, decreases cortisol levels throughout the body, enhances mood, improves concentration, and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Matcha is mixed with a special whisk and bowl into a hot tea, can be added to protein drinks and smoothies, or is used in cooking to add amazing depth of flavor.
ŸBancha: This tea is a lower grade than Sencha tea, as it is harvested at later times in the year. It has less caffeine and is less bitter than most green teas. It does however retain all the powerful antioxidants as nutrients are released in differing amounts throughout the growing period.
ŸKukicha Twig: This tea is not made from the leaves but from the stems and young twigs of the camellia tree. It is rich in vitamins and minerals and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat heart conditions, sluggish digestion, fatigue, infections, and support weight loss. It is rich in vitamin C and has six times more calcium that milk. It helps treat headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue and anemia.
Benefits of Green Tea
Green tea has been shown to contain the most concentrated amount of polyphenols, making this tea excellent for fighting free radical damage and slowing the aging process. Green tea is the best food source of catechins, making it a more powerful antioxidant than vitamin C or E; thus lowering your risk for several types of cancer. Green tea has been shown to specifically reduce the risk of bladder cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, and inhibit breast cancer cells, lung and esophageal cancer cells. Japan has the lowest cancer rate worldwide and this is attributed to their large consumption of green tea. Drinking green tea can reduce your risk of a heart attack as they prevent atherosclerosis and reduce cholesterol. Drinking green tea reduces the inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Green tea helps regulate glucose in the body making it extremely beneficial for those with Type 2 Diabetes. Green tea protects the liver from the damaging effects of toxic substances that are filtered through this vital organ every day. Green tea helps boost metabolism to support energy levels and weight loss. The catechins in green tea are said to have the highest fat burning effects on the body. There is enough fluoride found in green tea to protect against plaque and other oral bacteria.
How much green tea you should drink per day depends on your personal health and wellness goals. The University of Maryland Medical Center created a dosage of three cups per day to maintain optimal health, based on the amount of active antioxidant compounds retained in each cup of green tea. Studies done relating the heart health benefits of green tea had participants drinking five or more cups of green tea per day. To prevent the risk of cancer you should also drink a minimum of five cups of green tea per day. To reduce inflammation you should drink at least three to five cups per day, although studies have shown that supplementing with green tea in a concentrated capsule or tincture form to be just as effective. To obtain the 270 mg of EGCG (from catechins) from green tea to support weight loss you would need to drink ten to twelve cups of green tea per day. That amount of caffeine can be overwhelming for the majority of people. Taking a green tea supplement that is standardized to give you higher amounts of EGCG is the best way to utilize the weight loss benefits.
Brewing Gunpowder Green Tea:
The best way to brew Gunpowder green tea is in a glass teapot. Boil water and pour into glass teapot. Wait two minutes for water to cool before adding the tea to brew. You will use 1 teaspoon of Gunpowder tea for every 4 ounces of water. If this is the first infusion, you need to pour the tea after 45-60 seconds regardless of whether the pellets have finished opening. Most Gunpowder pellets are good for up to five infusions. Add 30 seconds to your steeping time for each successive brew.
Brewing Matcha Green Tea:
Using a Bamboo Whisk and Bowl: Sift 1-2 teaspoons matcha into a porcelain or glass bowl. Add 2 oz hot water that is just under a boil. Whisk vigorously in a zig zag motion until the tea is frothy. Enjoy!
Why Am I Here & What Is Juicing?
Why Should You Juice?
How Is Juicing Different Than Eating Fruits & Vegetables?
How Is Juicing Different Than Smoothies (Vitamix, Nutribullet)?
Types of Juicers
*Make sure you buy a juicer that is easy to clean – otherwise you will NEVER use it!
What Kind Of Juicer Are You?
WON Juicing Tips
Guidelines For Good Washing:
*Each recipe makes 16-20oz depending on the produce and juicer you use
Benefits of Red
Red Fruits & Veggies
*A little difficult to juice, but it can be done if your juicer can handle it and you cut up the fibrous stalks. Toss the rhubarb leaves - they're toxic!
Benefits Of Orange & Yellow
Orange & Yellow Foods
Benefits Of White
Benefits Of Greens
Green Fruits & Veggies
Benefits Of Blue & Purple
Blue & Purple Foods
Supplements for a Healthy Heart
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
There is more scientific based evidence on the cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 fatty acids than any other nutritional supplement. Omega-3 fatty acids can lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL). They can lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the best ways to prevent heart disease and reduce the chance of a second heart disease incident (heart attack, stroke, abnormal rhythms, or death). Eating just two servings of fish per week (think salmon or tuna) can reduce the risk of a stroke by as much as 50%. Omega-3 fatty acids encourage healthy blood vessel function and reduce inflammation around the heart.
CoQ10 is an antioxidant that is found in nearly every cell in the body. Antioxidants fight free radical damage in the cells and DNA of the body. Free radicals contribute heavily to the aging process and many health problems like heart disease. CoQ10 has the ability to improve the amount of energy in cells and prevent blood clots from forming. Clinical studies have shown that people who took CoQ10 within three day of having a heart attack were less likely to have following heart attacks and further chest pains. It reduces the risk of death associated with heart disease. For those with congestive heart failure, CoQ10 reduces swelling in the legs, fluid in the lungs, and makes it easier for you to breathe, which results in higher levels of energy. There have been clinical studies that have shown CoQ10 may lower blood pressure over an extended period of time. Pharmaceuticals to treat high cholesterol deplete the body of CoQ10 and so it is extremely important to supplement this antioxidant. If you are on statins for high cholesterol, CoQ10 can help ease the side effects of this medication such as muscle pain and fatigue. Research has also shown that taking CoQ10 prior to heart surgery can help strengthen your heart as it recovers and lower your risk for irregular heart beats. (University of Maryland Medical Center, 2011) Ubiquinol is the active antioxidant form of CoQ10 and is needed by oxidized CoQ10 to achieve all of its important functions. Ubiquinol absorbed at least 2 times greater than CoQ10. As you age it becomes more difficult for your body to covert oxidized CoQ10 to Ubiquinol, making this form the best choice for a healthy heart.
Garlic is full of antioxidants. Garlic has been clinically shown to reduce plaque, lower blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, and lower levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is converted into cysteine with the help of vitamins B6, B12 and folate. Homocysteine that is not converted elevates homocysteine levels throughout the body and has been associated with heart attacks, stroke, and the formation of blood clots. Garlic can also act as an anticoagulant, or blood thinner, which helps prevent blood clots that lead to heart attacks and strokes. The most recent studies show aged garlic supplements can be taken with prescription blood thinners safely. Breakthrough research done at UCLA by Dr. Matthew Budoff demonstrated the powerful benefits of aged garlic. Patients received 1200 mg of aged garlic extract daily for one year, which reduced the growth of plaque by 66%, making garlic more effective than statin drugs and aspirin.
Reishi mushrooms have unique and complex elements such as triterpenes, alkaloids, sterols, and polysaccharides that support heart health. Reishi mushrooms have been studied intensively for their proven ability to improve blood flow to the heart and lower blood pressure. Reishi helps the heart muscle use less oxygen, making more available for the rest of the body to support health. Extracts from reishi reduce LDL cholesterol helping to prevent strokes and heart attacks.
Policosanol are derived from the waxes of plants such as sugar cane and yams. They are long chain alcohols that are soluble in water and are most commonly known as fatty alcohols. The key alcohol in Policosanol is called Octacosonal. It prevents the liver from creating an excess of cholesterol, resulting in lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol. It may also reduce the amount of plaque that is stored in the arteries. Policosanol and Octacosonal work together and it is not recommended to take Octacosonal by itself. Policosanol can be as effective as taking 100 milligrams of aspirin a day. It has also been shown to increase exercise performance in those with coronary heart disease.
Niacin is Vitamin B3. Studies have shown that Niacin can significantly improve HDL cholesterol levels by 15% to 30% with better success than statin drugs. It also can improve LDL levels by reducing triglycerides 20% to 50%. Hot flushes can occur with Niacin so start with small doses and increase over time.
Hawthorn is a shrub in the rose family which berries, leaves and flowers contain antioxidant flavonoids, including OPC’s. These antioxidants help dilate blood vessels, improve blood flow, and protect blood vessels from damage. Human clinical studies propose that hawthorn protects against heart disease by increasing coronary artery blood flow, improving circulations and lowering blood pressure. A large study done using over 900 patients with heart failure found taking a standardized hawthorn supplement significantly decreased the clinical symptoms of heart failure including palpitations, problems breathing and fatigue. Hawthorn was shown to be as effective as the prescription medication captopril for improving symptoms of heart failure. Hawthorn is effective for increasing blood flow to the heart, reducing angina (chest pain) and increasing the amount of time patients could work out without chest pain.
Nattokinase is extracted from fermented soy and is a strong proteolytic enzyme that helps break down proteins causing inflammation. Nattokinase supports heart health by significantly reducing blood clots, normalizing blood pressure, and breaking down fibrin, the adhesive substance that makes plaque around the heart sticky.
Sytrinol contains compounds called flavones found in oranges, tangerines, and palm fruit extracts that support total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels naturally. These flavones block enzymes in the liver that manufacture cholesterol and triglycerides. Clinical studies who sytrinol to be as effective as statin drugs, but without the side effects. Results show a 30% decrease in total cholesterol levels and up to a 27% decrease in LDL cholesterol within four to twelve weeks.
Red Yeast Rice Extract
Red Yeast Rice (RYR) is an extract from a centuries old Chinese Spice and is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to support blood circulation. Numerous studies have shown RYR lowers your Total Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides while also having the ability to raise your good HDL Cholesterol. One of the major contributors to heart disease is widespread inflammation in the body. RYR has demonstrated the capacity to reduce inflammation that affects the heart. A large clinical study followed patients over a four year period and those taking RYR were at a lower risk for heart attack and death. The majority of cholesterol medications affect your liver, and have debilitating side effects like muscle ache, fatigue, changes in mental function and damage to muscle tissues. These side effects are the result of these drugs severely lowering levels of CoQ10 in the body. These prescription drugs are actually derived from Red Yeast Rice. However, RYR is more tolerated in the body. It is still recommended to supplement with CoQ10 when taking RYR.
It is important to understand the role fats play in supporting heart health. Cholesterol is very misunderstood and in fact does NOT cause heart disease. Please take time to read the following information to learn more fats, how they work in your body, and what changes you can make in your diet to support your heart.
Understanding Fats & Heart Health
95% of the fats we eat from plant and animal sources come in triglyceride form. Triglycerides are three single fatty acid molecules linked together by a glycerol molecule. There are several different types of fatty acids that fall under three categories: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. A fatty acid molecule is chained together with carbon atoms, which can hold up to two hydrogen atoms creating a Saturated fat. A fatty acid chain that is missing a pair of hydrogen atoms is called Monounsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fats are missing more than two pairs of hydrogen atoms. A missing pair of hydrogen atoms creates a weak link in the carbon chain which impacts health. The other key component to how a fatty acid affects health is the length of the carbon chain: long chain triglyceride (LCT), medium chain triglyceride (MCT), and short train triglycerides (SCT).
Each fatty acid, saturated or not, is going to have a different effect on the health of your body, for better or for worse. All naturally occurring fats contain a mixture of all three groups of fatty acids. Animal fats are usually the highest in saturated fats while plant oils contain low amounts. Coconut oil contains the highest amount of saturated fat reaching 92%. Coconut oil is also composed of 64% MCTs, the highest dietary source, and it contains small chain triglycerides. When fat is not used immediately for energy it gets stored in our body as fat tissue. The typical LCTs found in meat and vegetable oil are the biggest culprit. MCTs are quickly broken down and are utilized by the body as the primary energy source. The fats from coconut oil rarely become stored as fat, or build up deposits in the arteries. Thus they do not have a harmful effect on cholesterol and they in fact protect the heart from disease and inflammation.
Plant oils, with the exception of olive oil, are high in polyunsaturated fats. These fats become rancid and toxic when oxidized by exposure to heat, light or air resulting in the formation of free radicals. The oxidation process begins immediately when the oil is extracted from seeds, and the higher level of processing the more toxic an oil will become. The best types of oils for consumption are cold-pressed or expeller-pressed, which retain their natural antioxidants. Trans fatty acids were created with technology and are found in vegetable oils that have been hydrogenated to form a solid product like margarine and shortening. Trans fatty acids have been shown to have a direct impact on the development of heart disease, negatively affect heart health more than any other type of fat. Trans fatty acids also affect the ability of insulin to bind with red blood cells, linking it to complications with diabetes. Saturated fats are not vulnerable to oxidation because their chains are strong and complete with hydrogen atoms. Saturated fats even remain stable when exposed to normal cooking temperatures, making coconut oil the absolute best choice for cooking and baking.
The liver easily converts saturated fats into cholesterol. This can raise blood cholesterol levels and is a reason many Americans avoid using coconut oil. Fat researchers and medical professionals know for a fact that neither saturated fat nor cholesterol causes heart disease. Not all people with high blood cholesterol level develop heart disease, and not all of those with heart disease have high blood cholesterol levels. High blood cholesterol levels are one risk factor of many (high blood pressure, age, diabetes, obesity, stress, tobacco use) for heart disease. Other carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables and grains also get converted by the liver into cholesterol, so it has been misleading to believe only saturated fats raise blood cholesterol levels and contribute to heart disease.
Cholesterol doesn’t always play a role in atherosclerosis or formation of plague in the arteries. Cholesterol is actually needed by your body to repair damage to arterial walls. Atherosclerosis begins from injuries caused by toxins, free radicals, virus or bacteria. If these wounds aren’t healed properly, further damage, irritation, inflammation and scar tissue build up and attract platelets that stick to the site of injury as a protectant. Calcium, triglycerides and more cholesterol are drawn to these sites for additional healing. It is this mass of tissue that creates plaque, and the calcium causes the material to harden.
Years of research and study demonstrate that people consuming coconut oil full of healthy MCT saturated fats actually have a reduced risk of heart disease, lower body fat composition, reduced risk of blood clots, lower levels of free radicals and higher levels of antioxidants, lower liver cholesterol levels, higher survival rate and fewer rates of heart disease.
The Essentials of Essential Oils
From Egyptian hieroglyphics to Chinese manuscripts essential oils have been used for thousands of years. Essential oils were a part of mankind’s first medicine. Essential oils are the regenerating and oxygenating properties of plants, found in each living plant cell. They are known as the “life force” of the plant because they are an essential part of their immune system and defense against any threat. Essential oils are distilled from different parts of herbs and plants including seeds, bark, leaves, stems, roots, flowers, and fruits. Their molecular size is so small that they quickly penetrate the tissues of the skin and the cellular membrane. Producing pure oils requires extractions from hundreds to thousands of pounds of plant material to produce one pound of pure essential oil. It takes 60,000 roses to produce just 1 ounce of rose absolute oil! Due to the distillation process essential oils are filled with powerful antioxidants and healing properties from each individual plant. This is one of the reasons why they are so effective in treating an array of conditions whether mental or physical. Essential oils have powerful healing properties and are highly concentrated.
Essential oils enter and leave the body with great efficiency, and can last from 3-6 hours. They help to stimulate the body’s healing mechanism and boost the immune system. Essential oils have the ability to increase blood circulation, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and organs. They also help to remove toxins from your body. Essential Oils can be adaptogens, meaning they can affect your autonomic nervous system, endocrine system, and blood pressure. Essential oils can have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-septic, and anti-inflammatory properties to help bring your body back to homeostasis, so you are functioning at the most optimal levels. You can create a synergy or powerful, essential oil blend by combining two or more compounds. This can increase the potency of the essential oil without having to increase the dose.
The sense of smell goes beyond the sensation of odors, to include the experiences and emotions associated with smells. Smells can evoke strong emotions. Whether or not you like how something smells is almost always based on an emotional association. Your olfactory (sense of smell) and limbic systems are directly connected. The limbic is the most primitive part of the brain and is the base for emotions. Every time you smell something, you have a cognitive or emotional response. Think about what your favorite smells are and what emotions or memories are associated with those aromas…this is where aromatherapy has its benefits. Scientific studies using placebos have shown that essential oils can greatly increase our mood and sense of well being and can create an attitude of optimism. This can sometimes work to your disadvantage though! A study done in Las Vegas showed that when exposed to a pleasant aroma, the amount of money gambled in slot machines increased by 45%!
You can use essential oils in perfume, on a tissue or handkerchief, inhaled as a vapor, in massage oil, in your baths, Jacuzzis, or saunas, in the shower, in candles, humidifiers, room sprays, water bowls, wood fires, bath salts, or potpourri. They can be added to shampoos and conditioners and lotions.
Safely Using Essential Oils
According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) there are different factors that influence the safety of essentials oils.
Quality: Adulterated essential oils significantly increase the chances of adverse reactions. Always buy essential oils from a trusted source and ask about the distillation process used by the manufacturer.
Chemical Composition: Essential oils that are rich in aldehydes and phenols are more likely to cause skin reactions and must be properly diluted.
Method of Application: Essential oils can be applied to the skin, inhaled, or diffused. Inhalation proposes the least amount of risk to most people. However, prolonged exposures to high levels of essential oils can cause headaches, vertigo, nausea, and lethargy. The safety of ingesting essential oils is unknown, and the NAHA has adopted the safety guidelines set forth by the Alliance of International Aromatherapists, a non profit professional memberships organization who’s members include aromatherapy professionals, medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, nurses, reflexologists, massage therapists, Reiki masters, and other health care practitioners.
“AIA does not endorse internal therapeutic use (oral, vaginal or rectal) of essential oils unless recommended by a health care practitioner trained at an appropriate clinical level. An appropriate level of training must include chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal or rectal).”
Dilution: The majority of aromatherapy blends are between 1 and 5 percent dilutions and do not typically pose any risks. With any increase in dilution beyond 5 percent there are safety concerns for all types of application.
Integrity of Skin: Damaged, diseased, burned, infected or inflamed skin is considerably more permeable and sensitive to essential oils. It is dangerous to put undiluted essential oils directly onto skin that is damaged in any way.
Age of Client: Infants, toddlers and young children are more sensitive to essential oils and safe dilutions are between .5-2.5%. Birch and wintergreen are rich in methyl salicylate and should not used on children. Peppermint should also not be used on children. Elderly people may also have more sensitivity due to thinning and bruised skin.
Pregnancy: The use of essential oils during pregnancy is a controversial topic and is not truly understood due to the lack of evidence and ability to do scientific testing on pregnant women. The most respected aromatherapists recommend avoiding essential oils during the first three months of pregnancy and never using them undiluted or internally throughout the entire pregnancy. There are essential oils that affect hormones and the central nervous system and they should be avoided completely during pregnancy. These oils are basil, cinnamon, aniseed, fennel, juniper, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, clary sage, oregano, clove, nutmeg, pimento berry, cistus, hops, sage, valerian, spikenard, tarragon, hyssop, myrrh, mace, cumin, parsley seed, wintergreen and birch.
Possible Dermal Reactions: Irritation, Sensitization, Phototoxicity/Photosensitization
Irritation: This will cause an immediate reaction on your skin and can be represented by blotchy, redness and pain. You should skin test any known irritants and always dilute properly. Essential oils that are known to commonly cause skin irritations are bay, cinnamon bark, clove, citronella, cumin, lemongrass, lemon verbena, oregano, tagetes, and thyme.
Sensitization: This is a type of allergic reaction that often does not manifest at first use but will eventually start to cause a skin reaction that will be red and painful. It will cause inflammation throughout your body, and will likely continue to do so if you continue to attempt to use the essential oil. Becoming sensitized to an essential oil is unpredictable, and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Common dermal sensitizers are cassia, cinnamon bark, Peru balsam, verbena absolute, tea absolute, turpentine oil, backhousia, and inula.
Phototoxicity: There are some essential oils that can cause your skin to burn when exposed to the sun or to similar light, such as from a tanning bed. These oils cannot be used if you are going to be out in the sun or if you have been in a tanning booth within the past 24 hours. Photosensitizers include angelica root, bergamot, cumin, distilled or expressed grapefruit, expressed lemon, expressed lime, bitter orange, and rue.
Additional Safety Precautions
Coconut oil is antimicrobial, antifungal, and contains anti-inflammatory properties. It is effortlessly absorbed into skin, provides much needed moisture to dry, rough and wrinkled skin, and revives elasticity. It is a natural exfoliant that removes dead skin cells, making the appearance of your skin shiny and smooth. Coconut oil can be used on your skin, hair, eyelashes, and for oil pulling (an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique). This oil also contains a natural SPF of 5 and is a great base for homemade sunscreens.
This is the premium carrier for essential oils. Jojoba acts as a natural preservative and because it is wax based it does not deteriorate or turn rancid. When jojoba is mixed with your essential oils it will enable them to last longer. Jojoba oil is the closest to our natural skins oil, and the proteins and minerals in this oil mimic our own collagen. It is great oil for all skin types, especially acne prone skin. Jojoba oil actually breaks down excess sebum (oily matter excreted from the sebaceous gland or oil gland) that can cause breakouts. Jojoba oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and can ease the redness and pain of eczema. It has a natural SPF of 8 and is a great companion to coconut oil for homemade sunscreens.
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil is light and easily absorbed into the skin. It is a great carrier oil for beginners due to its affordability and variety of uses. This oil contains vitamins A, B and E. Vitamin E gives this oil natural preservative capability. Sweet almond oil helps balance the moisture in your skin to improve your complexion and give your skin a youthful glow. Sweet almond oil is also known to provide instant relief from muscle pain and is the perfect carrier oil for massage blends. This oil has a shelf life of about 12 months. If you blend it with wheat germ oil you will gain even longer shelf life. If you are allergic to nuts than do not use this oil.
Other Great Carrier Oil Options
Avocado oil is great for dry and dehydrated skin. Use this oil in blends to treat skin that has been in the sun. Grapeseed oil is perfect for all skin types. Olive oil is the perfect carrier oil for skin and hair care blends. Borage seed oil is used in blends for pms, menopause, and treating prematurely aged skin. Borage oil is excellent for eczema and psoriasis.
Dilutions & Usage of Essential Oils
Excellent Uses for Aromatherapy Oil Based Blends:
Dilutions for Body Care/Massage Oils:
Infants & Young Children:
.5-1% dilution= 3-6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil
2.5% dilution= 15 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil
3% dilution= 20 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil
5% dilution=30 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil
10% dilution=60 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil
Facial Creams, Lotions & Oils
Sensitive skin: .5-1% dilution per ounce
Normal, healthy skin: 1-2.5% dilution per ounce
3-5 drops depending on the essential oil into 1/3 oz roller bottle with carrier oil. This application is great for utilizing pressure points or using as a perfume.
Add 2-12 drops depending on the essential oil into a teaspoon of honey, whole milk or oil and then add to bath.
Place 3-7 drops of essential oil into low boiling water, cover head with a towel and breathe through your nose. Keep your eyes closed!
You can inhale essential oils directly from the bottle, a cotton ball, or a piece of cotton or leather fabric. This type of inhalation is most effective for relief of emotional distress, respiratory congestion, or mental support.
ŸBottle: Use a combination of 3-5 essential oils. Take deep inhalations 3-4 times per day or as needed.
Smelling Salts: Use 20-30 drops of 3-5 essential oils and combine in a bottle with sea salts. Waft bottle under nose and take deep inhalations 3-4 times per day or as needed.
ŸCotton ball/Fabric: Use 2-4 drops of essential oil onto material of your choice. Take 2-3 deep inhalations as needed throughout the day.
ŸInhaler Tubes: Use 100% essential oils in inhaler tubes, as there is no need to dilute them for inhalation. Great for breathe and respiratory blends and to manage stress and anxiety.
A Little Bit about some Essential Oils we LOVE
In honor of Heart Health Month and Valentines Day!
Heart Health Blend
(Makes one 1/3 oz roller ball)
Black, Pu-erh, Green, Oolong, and White teas are all made from the leaves of the Camellia sinesis plant. The extraordinary benefits of tea are from their high content of plant-derived antioxidants. Legend has it that the second Emperor of China, Shen Nung, the Divine Healer, had a magical property of a transparent stomach with which he could determine the effects of medicine on the body. He is credited with identifying the medicinal properties of hundreds of ingredients that became the foundation of Chinese Medicine. One afternoon Shen Nung was boiling water as he rested underneath a wild tea tree. A breeze stirred the branches and caused a few leaves to drift into his simmering cauldron. Intrigued by the aroma he drank the liquid and felt revitalized and invigorated. Thus tea was born.
Black tea is picked early in the spring when the tree has a high ratio of bud to leaf. The leaves are then allowed to fully oxidize. Tea masters determine when the oxidation process is complete to provide the rich flavors and aromas. The different names of black tea such as Assam or Darjeeling refer to the region where it was grown. Regular consumption of black tea helps repair damaged coronary arteries and lowers bad cholesterol levels helping prevent several cardiovascular diseases. Theaflavins in black tea destroys abnormal cells in the body before they turn into breast cancer cells. Black tea is full of tannins and anti-inflammatory compounds that help heal and relax the digestive system. Black tea is beneficial for those with asthma, as it expands the air passage allowing people to breathe more easily.
Pu-erh tea is a fermented black tea from the Yunnan province in China. Pu-erh tea can also be aged for several years to allow beneficial bacteria and fungi to break down the tea leaf transforming the compounds and enzymes in the tea. Like wine, pu-erh tea ranges in quality and vintage, being anywhere from 3 months to 100 years old. It is best to either drink a young or old tea, as the middle years of the tea are not as palatable. Used in many Chinese elixirs, the fermentation process creates compounds different from those in green or black tea. Fermentation causes it to lose catechin antioxidants but it gains so much more. Research shows that pu-erh tea has high amounts of gallic acid (a potent anti-microbial), the compound theabrownin, several polysaccharides and enzymes. Theabrownin is found exclusively in pu-erh tea and recent clinical studies show it has cholesterol and fat lowering properties. The high content of gallic acid helps to significantly break down visceral fat after just 12 weeks. The best time to drink pu-erh tea for weight loss, and to lower cholesterol, is one hour after meals as it helps your body quickly digest and eliminate fats. The fermentation process also increases the content of digestive enzymes in pu-erh tea supporting the rapid digestion of food and reduction of gas and bloating.
The finishing methods of green tea result in an array of flavors and aromas, from toasty to sweet. Green tea has been shown to contain the most concentrated amount of polyphenols, making this tea excellent for fighting free radical damage and slowing the aging process. Green tea is the best food source of catechins, making it a more powerful antioxidant than vitamin C or E; thus lowering your risk for several types of cancer. Green tea has been shown to specifically reduce the risk of bladder cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, and inhibit breast cancer cells, lung and esophageal cancer cells. Drinking three cups of green or black tea can reduce your risk of a heart attack as they prevent atherosclerosis and reduce cholesterol. Drinking green tea reduces the inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Green tea helps regulate glucose in the body making it extremely beneficial for those with Type 2 Diabetes. Green tea protects the liver from the damaging effects of toxic substances that are filtered through this vital organ every day. Green and black tea also help boost metabolism to support energy levels and weight loss. The catechins in green tea are said to have the highest fat burning effects on the body.
Oolong teas are semi-oxidized, and are often thought as a bridge between green and black teas. Although it is not quite as high in polyphenols as green tea, it provides many unique and powerful health benefits for chronic conditions like heart disease, and inflammatory diseases. Some of the most positive benefits of oolong tea include promoting bone structure health, skin health, and dental health. Oolong tea prevents tooth decay and strengthens the structure of your bones. It has a high mineral content and is a good source of vitamin A, B, C, E and K. It is great at helping the body detoxify and remove harmful free radicals. Oolong tea is very effective at controlling how your body metabolizes fat. Activating enzymes, it enhances the function of the fat cells in your body, meaning you use more fat cells for energy reducing the amount of stored fat. If you have been diagnosed with eczema, drinking just three cups of oolong tea, three times a week, can quickly show a significant improvement in the appearance of skin. Oolong tea helps manage the damaging side effects stress has on your body and the aroma of Oolong tea has a relaxing effect on your mind and mood. Tea estates each have their own way of creating oolong tea, producing the widest selection of flavors and aromas, from a flowery to a citrusy finish. Oolong teas can be steeped numerous times, and each infusion will have its own distinctive taste and fragrance.
White tea shoots are allowed to slowly wither and then are dried naturally to prevent oxidation, making it the least processed of all teas. White tea has all the same healthy antioxidant benefits of green and black tea. It is great for strengthening the immune system and fighting off harmful bacteria and viruses. Drinking white tea will help prevent you from getting common colds and flu’s during the winter season. The free radicals in white tea have the most significant effect on the skin. It protects the skin from aging due to sun exposure. It also helps to break down the toxins in your skin that cause acne.
Yerba Mate is actually an herbal tisane or tea; however the Yerba Mate plant is high in caffeine. Yerba Mate teas will have the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. The components of yerba mate meet and then surpass those of green tea. It provides the body with energy and nutrition. It is high in vitamins, minerals, Carotene, Chlorophyll, Inositol, trace minerals, Pantothenic Acid and contains 15 amino acids. The Pantothenic Acid in Yerba Mate supports the Adrenal glands, enhancing hormone production and sustained energy. Yerba mate helps you use carbohydrates more effectively, enhancing physical endurance. Another benefit for those who exercise, Yerba Mate cuts down the amount of lactic acid produced during a workout, decreasing soreness and speeding up recovery time. While containing a high amount of caffeine, it is metabolized in the body slowly and provides focus throughout the day.
Red Rooibos is a fermented tea that is actually a caffeine free herbal tisane. It is extremely high in antioxidants and the US Department of Agriculture has affirmed red rooibos tea is capable of reducing cancer, heart disease, premature aging, and other serious health conditions. Having no oxalic acid, it can be enjoyed by those who are prone to kidney. It is rich in essential minerals like iron, calcium, potassium and zinc. Rooibos is also reach in manganese which supports bone health. Manganese stimulates enzymes to build new bones and repair damage. Rooibos helps relieve infants of stomachaches and colic from its anti-spasmodic agents that ease severe stomach pain and cramps. The antioxidant aspalathin found in rooibos tea helps balances blood sugar, improve insulin resistance and protect the body from developing type II Diabetes.
The caffeine in each of these teas varies due to the size of the leaf, the location in which the tea bush is grown, and the time you steep the tea. The longer you steep a tea the more caffeine it will have. The smaller the tea leaf, the most caffeine it will have. The longer a tea is fermented, the more caffeine it has. Black teas are always fermented for the longest period of time, thus having the most caffeine content, approximately 20% of the caffeine in a cup of coffee. Oolong tea contains 10-15%, green tea contains 5%, and white tea contains 1% of the caffeine in a cup of coffee. With the exception of Yerba Mate tea, herbal teas or tisanes are caffeine free. Tea caffeine has the same effect on the body as any other caffeine, although at one point this was thought to be different. However, because tea contains polyphenols, the caffeine is absorbed at a slower rate in your body, and doesn’t hit you fast and hard. Tea caffeine will last for a longer amount of time in your body and you won’t experience the sudden drop in energy you get from other caffeine sources. Tea absorbs everything around it. It is recommended that you store it in an airtight container and place in a dry cool area away from light and other strong scented items like coffee or spices. Tea stored in the manner can remain fresh for about 6-9 months.
Always use freshly drawn, cold water to prepare tea. Purified and spring water are best because they are relatively free from pollutants and other substances that can dramatically alter tea's taste. On the other hand, it is preferable for the water to have some natural minerals content, as they may enhance the tea's flavor. For this reason, distilled water should be avoided since the lack of minerals will leave the tea tasting flat. Similarly, one should never use pre-heated water-as from the faucet, for instance. This kind of water has mostly likely been overheated, thereby losing oxygen content while picking up possibly harmful substances from the water pipes. Traditionally, in Asia, water is always brought to gentle boil before one prepares tea. Boiling water eliminates many harmful germs and bacteria. Though water quality has improved vastly, boiling in the water in this fashion can help to bring out tea's flavor. The water should be heated until a steady stream of air bubbles gently rise to the surface. At this point, the water is sufficiently heated and also has preferable oxygen content. In contrast, using water that has been held at a fierce, rolling boil can leave tea tasting dull and flat.
Temperature is critical in making good tea. The popular conception that boiling water can be used on any kind of tea is actually incorrect. In fact, each variety of tea, from green to black, needs to be prepared at a different range of temperature. Because of its more delicate processing, green tea often needs a cooler temperature to bring out the right flavor. Conversely, black tea, which has been fully oxidized, needs much hotter water to bring out its characteristic baked sweetness.
Duration Of Infusion
Similar to water temperature, different kinds of tea need to be brewed for different lengths of time. Generally, delicate teas such as green tea need to be brewed for shorter times, while heartier black teas and earthy, fermented pu-erh teas benefit from longer infusions. Of course, the duration of the infusion varies with culture and personal preference.
Material Of Teapot
While seemingly unimportant at first, the material of the teapot being used also affects the quality of the infusion. When considering a teapot, it is important to consider the variety of tea and the temperature at which it is prepared. Materials like iron or Chinese Yixing ware are excellent at retaining heat over long periods of time, while glass or porcelain are more likely to release that heat. Yixing is a country in Southern China where a certain type of clay exists which is not found anywhere else in the world. The clay has a unique mineral composition that makes it porous and able to hold heat exceptionally well. Therefore, iron and similarly heavy materials are better for teas that need to be prepared at high temperatures, such as black tea or pu-erh. A teapot made from iron would keep the water hot enough to extract the teas full flavor. Green and white teas, on the other hand, need a vessel that stays cooler, such as porcelain.
The following instructions will allow you to make a good cup of any kind of tea. Also included are suggestions for amount of tea leaves, time of infusion, water temperature, and material of teapot for the general varieties of tea. Of course, there are more detailed instructions for any kind of tea.
Winter Immune Health
Bacteria and viruses are the major culprits of illness during the winter months, producing many common side effects like coughing, sneezing, fever, and vomiting. Bacteria are simple, single celled organisms that under the right conditions have the ability to reproduce and multiply at astonishing rates. Just one bacterium can divide itself into two separate parts in under 20 minutes, meaning within hours, millions of that bacterium is flourishing in your body.
Viruses are consistently misunderstood, as they are not live organisms. A virus is a sliver of DNA in a protective coat, which attaches itself to cell walls and injects DNA or enzymes in the cell. The DNA uses the inherent cell technology to reproduce new virus particles so when the cell dies and splits open, the new virus particles are free and can infect other healthy cells. Bacterial and viral infections are both spread through contact with contaminated people, surfaces, food, water, animals or insects. Most bacteria are harmless to people, with less than 1% causing diseases. Viruses do cause disease and are often very specific about the cells they target. There are certain types of virus that attack cells in the liver, respiratory system, lymph and blood.
The Immune System is an intricate, intelligent and hard working machine, dedicated to protecting your body from bacteria, microbes, viruses, toxins, and parasites. The immune system first uses your skin to create a barrier preventing bacteria and viruses from entering your body. Skin is usually impermeable as it secretes antibacterial substances. Tears, saliva and mucous contain enzymes that destroy bacterial cell walls. Mucous is able to trap germs and prevent them from invading your body further. Mast cells that are made to fight infections line the nasal passage, throat, lungs and skin. If a bacteria or virus is able to enter the body, the immune system will try to quickly detect, identify, and destroy it before it can invade cell walls and reproduce. Much of this work is done through the lymphatic system where cells and bloods are drained and filtered to remove bacteria. Antibodies, produced by the white blood cells, bind to virus particles or bacteria and prevent them from invading cell walls. The last way the immune system protects your body is by supporting detoxification of any virus or bacteria that have been able to reproduce. Leukocytes are white blood cells that move freely through the body capturing invaded and disease cells. Different types of leukocytes have specific immune boosting roles. Lymphocytes become T and B Cells found in the bloodstream, lymph tissue, and digestive system. B cells produce antibodies while T cells hunt down contaminated cells, bump up against them, killing them. Macrophages are critical to the immune system as they ingest foreign particles like bacteria and microbes.
Junk Food & Sugar: Junk foods are full of chemicals, processed sugars, and polyunsaturated fats. When you are malnourished, your immune system does not have the tools or energy it needs to function. Toxins, chemicals, and invading organisms are able to store or hide themselves in polyunsaturated fats preventing them from detection and detoxification by the immune system. Sugar significantly inhibits the process of phagocytosis, the process by which immune cells engulf, kill and digest invading microbes. Just 75-100 mg of sugar (the amount in two cans of soda) starts to suppress immune health within just 30 minutes and can continue to for at least five hours after ingestion.
Sedentary Lifestyle: People who are sedentary have a less efficient immune system and are far more likely to contract colds, flus and other illnesses. Walking just 30 minutes a day increases the amount of leukocytes in the body. The lymphatic system also relies on exercise to keep it moving, as it does not have a pump like the circulatory system. The lymphatic system is a major component of your immune system, as it transports lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body.
Stress: Stress significantly impacts the health of your immune system and its ability to fight off disease by elevating levels of the hormone cortisol. Chronic stress lowers the amount and function of T cells and macrophages, ultimately leaving you move vulnerable to disease and illness. Virus and bacteria thrive in a body wracked by stress, and spread and mutate more quickly throughout the body.
Lack of Sleep: Your body heals and repairs itself as you sleep. Keeping your body from sleep contributes to an increase in cortisol levels. Those who are sleep deprived have lower levels of killer cells. Your digestive system is also disrupted by a lack of sleep. Since your immune system lives in your gut, it is important to keep your digestive system healthy and replenished with good, healthy probiotics.
Isolation: People who are isolated or experience feelings of loneliness are more susceptible to viral and bacterial infections and illnesses. They also experience more reactivation of latent viruses in their systems and higher amounts of inflammation. Isolation has been shown to affect the immune system on a cellular level due to changes in DNA and gene expression. Incredible as our bodies are, laughter is truly the best remedy. Laughing provides a major boost to the immune system by increasing white blood cells, infection-fighting antibodies, and by lowering levels of cortisol.
Inappropriate Antibiotic Use: Antibiotics do not fight viral infections like colds, flus, the majority of sore throats (only about 10% of sore throats end up being Strep Throat), bronchitis, and many sinus and ear infections. They do not cure infections. They do not keep you from getting sick. They will not help you or your children feel better. Only take antibiotics to fight bacterial infections. Take them right away and for the entire course as they were prescribed. Do not use them as a prevention tool. Do not save or share your antibiotics. Do not use soaps or lotions that are antibacterial. The antiviral drugs created to help prevent and stop the spread of flu (influenza A) are no longer effective. According to the CDC at least 2 million people become infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria each year and that number is growing. The World Health Organization states that antimicrobial resistance threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi. WHO reports it is an increasingly serious threat to public health that requires action across all government sectors and society. This is why it more important than ever to protect you and your family from viral and bacterial infections by giving your body what is needs to naturally boost the immune system and stay well.
Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamin A: This fat-soluble vitamin is critical for immune health as it reduces the rate of viral infections, enhances white blood cell function, helps fight against bacterial infections and carcinogens, and supports the immunes defenses of your skin and mucous membranes.
B Vitamins: B6 helps to insure that white blood cells respond to bacterial and viral infections. B12 manages cell division and supports the growth of white blood cells. Folic acid supports the development and maintenance of the immune system.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is the master immune-boosting nutrient. Alone, it is anti-viral and anti-bacterial and is able to detox your body of toxins from bacteria. White blood cells rely heavily on vitamin C to fight infections and inflammation. Vitamin C helps immune cells mature. For strong immune support take 2-3 grams of Vitamin C per day.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D activates the immune system and is essential for signaling T cells to take action. Increased levels of vitamin D will help protect your body from colds, flus, and upper respiratory tract infections. Vitamin D will also boost your mood during the winter months, helping you stay active, happy and healthy.
Vitamin E: This vitamin is of particular importance to the elderly as most are deficient. Vitamin E reduces infections and helps the body heal more quickly. Vitamin E works even more efficiently when taken with selenium, a powerful antioxidant mineral. A deficiency in selenium permits viruses to mutate into more dangerous pathogens.
Chromium: This mineral optimizes the ability of macrophages and white blood cells to respond to infections and invaders. It is also crucial to cytokine production. Chromium also helps to suppress your immune system when it becomes hypersensitive or over-responsive.
Zinc: Zinc is essential for optimal T cell and natural killer cell function and is needed by the lymph system to properly rid the body of invading organisms. Zinc is directly involved in antibody production so you can fight infection. Taking more than 15-25 mg of zinc per day can inhibit the function of the immune system. Zinc lozenges reduce the duration and severity of the common cold.
Herbs & Phytonutrients
Mushrooms: One of the most studied foods for its health benefits, mushrooms are extremely beneficial to health, protecting your body from viruses, bacteria, pollution, chemicals, mold, and all toxins. They contain beta glucans, immunomodulator agents that activate and regulate the immune system making it more efficient. Mushrooms stimulate macrophages and lymphocytes, and are able to fight antibiotics resistant bacteria and viruses, and the aggressive viruses that cause upper respiratory infections. Mushrooms significantly alleviate symptoms of the common cold. Mushrooms have potent antiviral, anticancer, antitumor, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Probiotics: About 60% of your immune system is located in your digestive system; so maintaining a healthy environment for your immune system to thrive is critical. The healthy bacteria or microbiota living in your gut are responsible for helping you absorb and utilize vitamins, minerals and other nutrients essential to immune health. They aid in the breakdown of toxins and keep bad bacteria at levels your body can fight off. Microbiota help create the mucous that lines your digestive tract that captures foreign invaders. They also aid in the production of antibodies.
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE): Societies from South America, Europe and Asia have traditionally used Grapefruit Seed Extract for its immensely powerful antiviral and antibacterial components. It is rich in disease fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients like hesperidin, a well-studied natural immune system booster. A recent study from The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reported that GSE was effective at killing over 800 bacterial and viral strains, 100 strains of fungus, and a large number of single and multi-celled parasites. It is believed there is no other naturally occurring anti-microbial that compares. Research microbiologists from the University of Georgia found GSE was vastly effective as a non-toxic disinfectant and potent enough to use as pre-surgical soap. GSE promotes wound and scar tissue healing and topical skin infections.
Elderberry: Used for centuries to treat respiratory illnesses, elderberry also reduces swelling of the mucous membranes and sinuses relieving congestion. Elderberry has been shown to reduce the severity and length of influenza. Elderberry acts as an antiviral by attaching itself to the tiny protein spikes on the surface of a virus, preventing it from being able to penetrate healthy cells. It has also been shown to be effective against antibiotic resistant viruses.
Elderflower: Elderflower contains compelling antibacterial properties that have been shown to be the most effective way to combat pathogens like antibiotic resistant MRSA. It is also an antiviral, anticancer, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Elderflower is excellent for treating colds, flus, sinus infections and respiratory troubles. Dried Elderflower can be made into a tea, however the leaves, twigs and roots are toxic.
Monolauric Acid: It was originally discovered in human breast milk as researchers were looking for the antiviral properties that protect infants from infections. Viruses avoid detection from the immune system by hiding in body fat. Monolauric acid is able to burn the fat surrounding the virus away so your immune system can find and destroy them. It also has been shown to enhance all immune responses to fungus and viruses
Olive Leaf: The active ingredient in olive leaf, oleuropein, eliminates viruses, fungi, bacteria, and parasites that cause disease. It helps to alleviate symptoms of the common cold, sore throats, chronic sinusitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia. People with respiratory tract infections who take Olive Leaf extract can help prevent infection spreading expect a rapid recovery and prevent the infection from
Garlic: A potent antiobiotic containing 100 sulfuric compounds that are powerful enough to wipe out bacteria, parasites and infection. Garlic is excellent for reducing the time and severity of the common cold. Heating garlic destroys the sulfuric compounds that make it a potent immune booster so juice it! Aged garlic also lacks allicin, the most significant antiviral and healing component of garlic.
Astragalus: Long used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, this incredible antiviral strengthens and regulates the immune system to prevent upper respiratory infections and the common cold and flu. Astragalus encourages an increase in the production, activity and function of immune cells, often triggering them from a resting state. Astragalus supports the health of the lungs and lessens asthmatic symptoms and seasonal allergies. Astragalus is an adaptogen, helping to boost energy and protecting your body from the destructive side effects of stress.
Oregano: This commanding herb has antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiparasitic properties. It effectively treats upper respiratory infections. Oregano easily fight salmonella, E. coli and other harmful organisms found in undercooked meat or contaminated water. It also kills organisms that cause skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis and can be used directly on the skin to speed healing.
Echinacea: Taking Echinacea at the first signs of a cold or flu optimize its benefits to shorten the severity and duration of illness. It is commonly taken in Europe to prevent illness. Always take Echinacea containing both root and flowering parts as they work synergistically to support the immune system.
Cats Claw: This rainforest plant gets its antiviral and immune boosting powers from its root. The roots contain medicinal compounds called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POAs). POAs directly interact with white blood cells and support macrophages to work faster and engulf more bacteria and disease causing microbes. Cats Claw increases the production of interleukin, a chemical protein secreted by macrophages that stimulates dormant white blood cells into action. POAs also help increase the number of white blood cells that make antibodies, and the number of T cells including Killer T cells that destroy cancer cells.
Osha Root: A powerful herb used traditionally by Native Americans and the Pueblo and Taos living in New Mexico to treat upper respiratory and sinus infections. Native Americans also have relied on Osha Root to increase endurance and energy. Osha Root has antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties and helps to significantly reduce inflammation in the bronchial tubes. Osha root encourages your body to sweat, helping reduce fevers and detoxing your body of the flus, coughs, colds and other viral infections before symptoms worsen. The tubular end of Osha root can be chewed on by themselves in small pieces or cut and added to honey to make a cough syrup. The upper parts of the root are used to make teas or tinctures. Simmer Osha root for at least 30 minutes when making a tea, but is optimal was simmered on a low heat for 5-6 hours.
Yarrow: Scientific studies have shown yarrow to provide benefits to nearly every organ in the body. Yarrow is an excellent decongestant and expectorant. It helps your body to sweat out infections from flu, colds and fevers.
Yerba Santa: This herb works incredibly well at opening the lungs and sinuses to dissolve and remove accumulated phlegm. Yerba Santa supports your body against coughs, colds, flus, pneumonia, and chest congestion. Breathing in the smoke or steam from Yerba Santa leaves is particularly beneficial to those with asthma.
Baptisia: Baptisia is an antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory components that support the immune system by fighting infections in the mouth, gums and throat. Those with a weak immune system or are frequently ill experience major benefits from Baptisia, becoming better protected against colds, flus and respiratory illnesses.
Goldenseal: This herb has built a reputation as an herbal antibiotic and immune system booster. It has been used by Native Americans to treat whooping cough, respiratory infections, fever, and pneumonia. Goldenseal also has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties that soothe irritated mucous membranes around the eyes, ears, nose and throat. The alkaloid Berberine is found in Goldenseal and is effective against bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and Streptococci. Clinical studies have shown it to treat diarrhea caused by E.coli, giardia and salmonella.
Black & Green Tea: Rich in L-Theanine, these teas increase the antivirus properties of blood.
Oats & Barley: A good source of beta glucans.
Chicken Soup: Cooking chicken releases the amino acid cysteine, which helps to fight infection and inflammation in your bronchial tubes.
Fish: Rich in selenium and Omega 3 fatty acids that help protect your lungs from colds and respiratory infections.
Organic Grass Fed Beef: Contains ideal amounts of zinc and Omega 3 fatty acids.
Orange Fruits & Vegetables: Any orange fruit or vegetable (sweet potatoes, pumpkins, squash, carrots, cantaloupe) contains high levels of Vitamin A.
Citrus Fruits and Red Bell Peppers: Rich in Vitamin C.
Fermented Foods: Sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kefir, and kombucha are a great way to get probiotics.
Coconut Oil: Rich in lauric acid which converts to monolaurin in your body. The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil actually disrupt the lipid membranes of offending organisms, making them easier to be attacked or ingested by killer cells and macrophages.
Chlorella: A freshwater algae that is super efficient at detoxifying the body and increasing oxygen in your blood so you can heal and recover more quickly.