The health benefits of pine needle and rose hip tea are amazing. It’s a great midwinter tea to keep colds and flu at bay. Continue reading
Like any other muscle, sometimes our brains just need a break, but in this modern world of constant interconnections it can seem difficult to give our brains that break. Continue reading
Last summer I had a bit of a mishap. The rate at which I healed (much faster than any of the doctors expected) is a testament to the power of alternative medicine. Continue reading
Stress is unfortunately a large part of our lives. One of the things many of us struggle with is how to relieve stress from our daily lives. One of the best things we can do to relieve stress, is also one of the simplest. Continue reading
After having spent the last several months in and out of doctors offices, some alternative, some conventional, I’ve developed a little theory. I think if they ran doctors offices like acupuncturist (or other alternative healers) offices, people would be a lot healthier. Continue reading
In August I had the opportunity to experience my first session of Qi Gong. It was one of the strongest energies I’ve ever encountered. Continue reading
It’s the end of November and that means that cold and flu season will soon be arriving. Here are a few natural ways to boost your immune system before then. Continue reading
Acupuncture and holistic medicine aren’t just for people, they’re good for your pets too. Continue reading
While apple cider vinegar is not the miracle food that some companies make it out to be, there are indeed several excellent apple cider vinegar benefits. Continue reading
As children we often walk barefoot, but as we get older we tend to abandon it in favor of shoes. However, walking barefoot has some important physical and psychological benefits. Continue reading
Store-bought honey is usually pasteurized, which destroys many of the benefits of honey. However, home-grown or local farm market honey is loaded with raw honey benefits. Continue reading
There is a lot of debate about genetically modified food and the associated health risks. Continue reading
With the advent of factory farming, milk pasteurization became a necessity for health safety reasons, however, pasteurized milk is missing many of the raw milk benefits. Continue reading
Well they’ve done it again. They’ve taken yet another healthy food and defiled it in the name of “progress.” This time it’s GMO apples coming to a stand near you. Continue reading
Hemp foods have some excellent health benefits, and unlike its cousin marijuana, industrial hemp will not get a person high when they ingest it. Continue reading
Does acupuncture work? Is it really possible to find relief from pain and other ailments simply by having tiny needles stuck into different points on the body? Continue reading
Hybridization and GMO are not the same thing. When it comes to GMO vs hybrid, one is natural, one is definitely not… Continue reading
While almost any food can unfortunately be genetically modified these days, there are some foods that are more likely than others to be genetically modified. Here are 7 of the most commonly genetically modified foods: Continue reading
Color is not just something to make the world prettier, it can actually be used to alter mood or physical health. Continue reading
With the controversy surrounding the labeling of GMOs, a name that’s getting a lot of attention is Monsanto (the same company responsible for rbST). Monsanto is currently running a large ad campaign trying to discourage the labeling GMOs, touting them as safe. I will be following up this post next week with a post about GMOs themselves, but for now let’s take a closer look at the Monsanto company itself.
GMO labeling is not the first time Monsanto has tried to put profits before people. The following is an essay I wrote 14 years ago about the approval of rbST, and it still has very pertinent information concerning the sleazy Monsanto company.
rbST – really bad STuff
Monsanto would have you believe that bovine hormone rbST or rBGH is safe. It is a hormone that was developed to force cows to provide more milk. The truth, however, is that Monsanto bribed people to ignore certain studies so the public would buy products with rbST, believing it was safe. This hormone is actually dangerous and disease causing and was only approved because big companies like Monsanto have connections.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved rbST in 1993. Supposedly rbST had gone through all the necessary testing to prove it was safe. However, rbST is not quite as safe as Monsanto and the FDA claim. The European Union Scientific Committee found some serious health risks connected with products containing rbST, such as increase in certain cancers and tumor growth in people. The Health Canada study found that cows treated with rbST are prone to leg ailments, shorter lives, reproductive problems and mastitis.
To ensure approval of rbST, Monsanto concealed information and bribed people to withhold their knowledge of rbST’s dangers. Case in point, Monsanto had to perform a study on rats before the drug could be approved. A regulation cancer test mandates a drug be tested for two years on hundreds of rats. Monsanto’s hormone was tested on only thirty rats for ninety days.
The results of Monsanto’s rat study, as reported to the public, were fabricated, saying that rbST was safe. In actuality, Monsanto found that even during the short ninety-day test period, male rats developed thyroid cysts and showed prostate disorders. Monsanto never conducted the full, two-year cancer tests, but the FDA approved rbST anyway.
Why would the FDA approve a drug that had not been properly tested? The answer is the old adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Monsanto was set to make a fortune from rbST, so they used their powerful connections to ensure its approval.
Monsanto’s influence with Tony Coehlo on the Democratic National Committee persuaded Mike Espy, the Agricultural Secretary at that time, to favor Monsanto. Also some Monsanto workers resigned from their jobs and commenced working for the FDA to help guarantee the approval of rbST. After rbST had been approved, those workers quit working for the FDA and resumed their jobs as Monsanto.
In effort to have rbST approved in Canada, Monsanto offered a bribe of two million dollars to Canadian government officials, but rbST was not approved. Furthermore, Monsanto even tried to “buy” veterinarians. Some veterinarians received “kickbacks” when they encouraged the used of rbST.
After all the dangers that had been found with rbST the FDA still approved the drug as safe. The FDA is a subsidiary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Could it also be a coincidence that the same USDA (a tax-funded agency) receives a five-percent kickback on sales Monsanto’s sterile seeds?
With all the covert information that was twisted, and considering all the people that used their positions or were bought, is rbST really safe?
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf
I’m always on the lookout for natural remedies, as I prefer to avoid synthetics as much as possible. It’s so much nicer when we can put natural things in and on our bodies as opposed to factory-produced synthetics. Continue reading
We all know that too much sun is a bad thing. Sunburns hurt, are very bad for the skin and can even lead to skin cancer, but getting too little sun is just as dangerous. Sunshine is a real life “miracle drug.” The natural source of vitamin D is something our bodies need, but very few people actually get enough of it. One of the biggest problems is sunscreen.
Naturally most people use sunscreen to avoid being sunburned, but sunscreen also blocks the rays needed for the body to create vitamin D. That means all the sun being absorbed isn’t providing the body with any benefit; in fact it can actually be harmful. Vitamin D helps prevent all types of cancers, but if sunscreen is blocking the vitamin D intake, then body is just absorbing sun rays (often a cause of skin cancer) with no vitamin D to counteract the effects. Sitting in a sunny window has the same consequences. The harmful rays that can burn your skin come through the glass, but the good vitamin D infused rays can’t get through the glass. Continue reading
Eucalyptus is familiar to many people as the green leaves that often end up as part of Christmas holiday décor. Eucalyptus itself tree, and the oil is derived from the leaves. The oil both cleansing and disinfectant.
Eucalyptus is an energizing oil and is a good one to use if you’ve been feeling a bit lethargic lately. A word of caution, eucalyptus oil is flammable. Also some people have been known to have an allergy to eucalyptus oil, so test it in small doses at first to be sure it does not give you a rash (this safety precaution should go for any essential oil).
Uses for Eucalyptus Oil: Continue reading
Hand sanitizer is one of the best ways to get sick. If you seek to be unhealthy, then by all means, purchase a bottle of hand sanitizer. I know that’s contrary to what the sanitizer companies will tell you, but considering they’re in business to sell their product, they’re not really going to tell you anything bad about it. The truth is, hand sanitizer is actually MORE likely to make you sick. Sure it may prevent against the seasonal cold for the moment, but it makes you more likely to get sick later on down the road, with something far more serious than a simple cold.
The same is true of antibacterial soaps. Hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps are exactly that: Antibacterial. Using them kills not only harmful bacteria, but beneficial bacterias as well. This can weaken your immune system and leave your body open to more sickness and infection later on. It is also responsible for creating stronger strains of medicine-resistant bacteria. Continue reading
With the taste of the Thanksgiving pumpkin pie still fresh in my mind and a few pieces of last week’s batch of pumpkin-seed brittle still floating around on the counter top, I suppose it’s no wonder that I’m still thinking pumpkins. Specifically I’m thinking about pumpkin seeds and the many tasty, yet very healthy benefits they provide. They’re really a little miracle snack.
Pumpkin seeds often mimic nuts in their nutrition content. Whereas nut allergies are common, however, allergies to pumpkin seeds are very rare. This makes them a great substitute for people who are sensitive to nuts but still want the health benefits. Continue reading
I’ve been making beeswax candles for quite a few years now using wax from my own hive (read how I caught my wild swarm here) and those of other local area beekeepers. I’ve always loved the fact that beeswax is such an eco-friendly and renewable resource. (The wax comes from the leftover cappings after honey is removed from the combs.) Once in a while I’ll add eco-friendly candle dyes to it, but I never scent it as beeswax has its pleasant honey scent. It now seems that scent can do more than just give the house a pleasant aroma.
Someone at the market recently told me about an article she’d read explaining how burning 100% pure local beeswax can ease seasonal allergies and asthma. It works in much the same way as eating local honey. The small bit of pollen in the beeswax help introduce it to the body in tiny amounts allowing the body to build up a tolerance for it. She was nice enough to send me the article which you can read here: Beeswax Candles and Allergies: An Effective Solution
One more reason to love beeswax candles!
I’ve always kinda thought of lavender as a miracle herb. The smell helps get rid of headaches (something I’m usually in dire need of), it’s great as a de-stresser, and the oil can be used to treat almost anything an essential oil can treat.
So last week at the Cheshire Farm Market, I found out one more use for those lovely purple flowers. Purple Dog Lavender Farm sells lavender (obviously, as the name would suggest) and wool. And I learned that apparently those two items go quite well together, because the smell of lavender will deter moths from destroying the wool. So not only will it save your sweaters, it also smells a lot better than moths balls or even cedar. If you wash your wool items with lavender water, it saturates them with lavender scent and keeps the moths out. In my case, I think I’ve finally found something to do with the lavender bottles I make every year!
The use of essential oils, a practice known as aromatherapy, is a centuries old method believed to have originated in Arabic countries. Essential oils are obtained by collecting the oil that seeps from flower blossoms. These oils are very concentrated and often take thousands of blossoms to create just a few teaspoons of essential oils. While essential oils could be used like an early form of perfume simply because they smell good, their more common use was in methods of healing, and are still vey popular today for that reason.
Our sense of smell, while often viewed as one of the lesser of the five senses, is in fact far more potent than many people realize. Our sense of smell is often responsible for imprinting memories on our brains, and many of deepest memories are triggered when we experience the scent of whatever we smelled when that memory occurred. Our sense of smell has a unique effect on our emotions and moods, and as much of the body’s physical well-being derives from the mind, essential oils help to balance out ones mind and thus heal ones body.
Different essential oils affect a person in different ways. You can achieve your desired outcome, whether it be more energy, treating depression, or easing the pain of a headache, simply by using an appropriate oil. The most common way of using essential oils is probably the bath method, in which a person runs a bath and put 4-5 drops of essential oil on the surface. The drops of oil spread across the top of the water and are absorbed by the person’s skin; the hot water aids in the absorption. Few things de-stress the body better after hard day than a hot bath bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil.
Candles made with essential oils are equally effective, as the scent of the oil is released while the candle burns. Be sure the candle is actually made with pure essential oil, however, and not a synthetic fragrance oil or it will not have the same effect. Soaps made with essential oils are also a safe way to experience their benefits.
Because essential oils are so concentrated, they should almost always be diluted in a bowl of water or “carrier oil” such as sweet almond or canola oil (in the case of a bar of soap, the soap itself is the diluting agent). Lavender oil is the exception, as it is gentle enough to use straight on the skin without diluting, but some other oils can burn the skin if used in large doses or directly on the skin. When in doubt, dilute. 2-3 drops of essential oil in a bowl of water or carrier oil with generally do the trick for most ailments. Use your fingers or a cloth to apply the diluted oil to the skin. Essential oils should never be taken internally.
Because the brain can only process so many smells at one time, do not use more than 3 or 4 different types of essential oil at once, or the brain may have trouble discerning which is which. Also, using the same oil for too many days in a row will desensitize the olfactory and make the oil less effective. It’s best not to use an oil for more than 10 days in a row without taking a break in between.
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf
Most people are familiar with the health benefits of yogurt. The live and active cultures (probiotics) are of course essentials for our health and well being. It’s a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin B-2, B-12, potassium, and magnesium. And for people who have trouble with dairy products, yogurt is often much easier to digest than other milk based foods and drinks.
Despite all the benefits, I’m usually not a big fan of yogurt myself, but my father recently started working for Chobani yogurt, and brought some home for us to try. After sampling some, I’m beginning to decide that perhaps I do like yogurt. To start with, the Chobani is a Greek yogurt, so it’s thicker than most yogurts which I like better, but the part that really peeked my interest was the company itself.
Chobani makes their yogurt with milk from cows not treated with rbST, something that can often be hard to find given that so many milk producers pump their cows up with the drug. Not only is the drug harmful to the cows (cows who are treated with rbST generally die of exhaustion, living only half as long as cows not treated with rbST), but it’s also harmful to people who consume dairy product from cows treated with the drug. This is due to the fact that the milk holds the drug residue.
The other part I liked about this particular yogurt was, in addition to being rbST free, the company also gives 10% of it’s profits to charity. It’s a win-win situation, yogurt that’s good for the consumer and good for the world.