Friday, July 27, 2012



The only thing that stands between a person and their own perfect health (pH) is information. Empowered with the right intelligent information, anyone can improve their health, reduce their dependence on prescription drugs, enhance their quality of life, expand their mental awareness and creativity and live longer and happier.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Natural BUG-OFF Spray

Herbal BUG-OFF spray.  This spray works on mosquitoes, ticks, black flies, no-see-ums, fleas, and lice.  The spray acts as an insecticide, too, and its safe and effective for humans and other mammals.


Homemade Bug-Off Spray

Use the spritzer top from a cleaning solution spray bottle (use a new one) as the applicator for you Bug-Off spray, and the spray mechanism will last all season. The little sprayers that are common on essential oil bottles get bunged-up with the essential oils and break after a week or so of use. These bigger sprayers are more effective and last longer.

This recipe makes 500 ml of herbal mosquito repellent:

1 –  500 ml (pint) amber glass bottle (you can upcycle a bottle that essential oils came in or use an olive oil bottle)
2 tbsp (30ml) Organic Tea Tree E.O.
2 tbsp (30 ml) Lemon Verbena E.O.
2 tsp (10ml) Cedarwood E.O.
2 tsp. (10 ml) Peppermint E.O.
2 tsp. (10 ml) Lavender E.O.
1 tbsp. (15 ml) Eucalyptus E.O.
2 tsp. (10ml) Rose Geranium E.O.
Fill up remaining space in bottle with Olive Oil or Sweet Almond Oil

By using an oil base for your bug-off spray, you preserve the essential oils, you make the repellent water proof, and you avoid rancidity.


If you don’t have some of the essential oils you can substitute or use more of one and less of another.  As it is, it works perfectly, for the bugs we have around here.  Lemon and tea tree are the basis.  Its not just a repellent.  It will actually kill the bug, if it bites you, so the bugs avoid it.  It works for ticks and fleas, too.

You can use it to spray pets, livestock, and its safe for babies.  (Omit the tea tree e.o. if you are using it on cats or rabbits)  Reapply as often as necessary.

Adapting a commercial spray mechanism to the glass bottle for more effective application:

The spray mechanism is the spritzer top from a spray bottle, sold for cleaning solutions.  It fits perfectly on the 500 ml amber bottles.  It will also fit the screw-top olive oil green glass bottles.  To make it fit, you simply detach the plastic tube from the sprayer-top.  Measure the tube against the bottle that you want to use to hold your bug-off repellent.  Cut off the excess tube at the top (not the bottom).  Reinsert the cut edge into the sprayer top.  And screw onto the top of your bottle.  You can shut off the spray, so the bottle doesn’t dribble during transport.  And you can control the fineness of the spray for application.

You don’t want to store the product in plastic, though, as the essential oils will leach from the plastic and degrade the plastic bottle.  Always use glass or another inert container to store products that contain volatile essential oils.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Genetically altered to withstand heavy applications of toxic chemicals, resist disease or contain more nutrients, so-called “Frankenfoods” are appearing on supermarket shelves at a rapid rate. Currently, genetically modified (GM) corn and soy can be found in many processed foods, and the produce section may contain GM zucchini, corn on the cob and papaya. But beyond those that have already been approved for human consumption, many more GMOs are on the way – and they probably won’t be labeled. These 20 crops and animal products include both those that are already available (whether we like it or not) and some that are still in development, like cows that produce human breast milk.
If you eat any kind of processed food on a regular basis – tortilla chips, cereal, granola bars – chances are, you consume genetically modified corn. The Center for Food Safety estimates that over 70% of the processed foods in American grocery stores contain genetically modified corn or soy. Corn is altered to contain proteins that kill insects that eat them, so they effectively produce their own pesticides.
Rice plants are often modified to be resistant to herbicides and pests, to increase grain size and to generate nutrients that don’t exist in the grain naturally. Varieties include Bayer’s herbicide-resistant “LibertyLink” rice, vitamin A-infused “golden rice” and the bizarre Ventria Bioscience “Express Tec” rice, which has been altered to contain human proteins naturally found in breast milk. The latter is used globally in infant formula.
Among the first foods to be genetically altered, GM tomatoes have been developed to be unnaturally high in anti-oxidants, to have more intense flavor and to stay fresh longer. While there are not currently any genetically modified tomatoes on store shelves, they’re being used extensively by scientists to study the function of genes that are naturally present in the plants.
The most common genetically engineered food of all is the soybean. Since 1996, scientists have been creating varieties of soybeans that are resistant to both pests and herbicides, and they wind up in places you’d least expect them, like candy bars. A new GM soybean with higher levels of healthy oils was approved by the USDA in 2010; chemical companies DuPont and Monsanto are both working on their own versions of the biotech bean.
We don’t think of cotton as a food, and technically it isn’t – but we still end up eating it. Cotton isn’t classified as a food crop, so farmers can use any chemicals they want when growing it. That means cottonseed oil, which is present in products like mayonnaise and salad dressing, can be packed full of pesticides. Along with soy, corn and canola, cotton grown for oil extraction is one of the most frequently genetically modified crops in the world.
Canola Oil
Canola, a cultivar of rapeseed, produces one of the most commonly consumed food oils, and it’s one of America’s biggest cash crops. What you may not know is that canola stands for “Canadian oil, low acid,” referring to a variety of rapeseed developed in the 1970s. 80% of the acres of canola sown in the U.S. are genetically modified, and a 2010 study in North Dakota found that the modified genes of these plants have spread to 80% of wild natural rapeseed plants.
Sugar Beets
Despite the fact that an environmental impact study has yet to be completed, the USDA has announced that farmers may now plant Monsanto’s Roundup Ready sugar beets, which have been altered to withstand the company’s herbicide. This decision comes despite a 2010 court order that prohibited planting the GMO beets until the study was performed. Sugar beets provide about half of America’s sugar.
Salmon may become the first genetically modified animal to be approved for direct human consumption. The FDA has decided that a variety of GM salmon that grow twice as fast as their natural, un-modified peers is both safe to eat and safe for the environment.
“We’re looking here at a scenario where the fish might wind up sooner or later in the ocean,” Brian Ellis, plant biotechnologist at the University of British Columbia Vancouver, told Discovery News. “I think if we go down this route, we have to be prepared to accept some potentially unknown consequences.”
Sugar Cane
Providing the other half of America’s precious sugar, sugar cane is set to debut on our shelves in genetically modified form sometime soon. Brazil’s state-owned agricultural research agency has been hard at work developing drought-resistant sugar cane that also bears increased yields for years now, and may have it certified for commercial use within five years. Australia is also working on its own version.
After the Ringspot Virus nearly destroyed all of Hawaii’s papaya crops, a new variety was engineered to resist the disease, and it now represents the majority of the papayas grown in the United States.
“Papaya would be unique in the sense where the industry in Hawaii is dependent on biotech,” says Kevin Richards, director of regulatory relations for the American Farm Bureau. “What you have in Hawaii is a very contained, isolated agro-eco system, which is vulnerable to diseases.”
The first genetically modified food to be approved for cultivation in Europe in over a decade, Amflora potatoes are currently being grown in Sweden. High in starch content, the potatoes are actually meant for use in paper, glues and other commercial products rather than as food, but that doesn’t mean they won’t end up affecting the food chain. Nearby farmers worry about their rabbits, deer, and especially their bees.
Could genetically modified crops have something to do with the mysterious ailments that are killing honeybee colonies by the billions? Some researchers believe so. A zoologist in Germany found that genes used to modify rapeseed crops had transferred to bacteria living inside bees. GMOs are currently considered to be among the possible causes of Colony Collapse Disorder. And if the genes are causing changes within the bees, they’re also likely to cause changes to the honey that the bees produce.
After banana crops in Uganda were affected by a bacterial disease that caused the plants to rot, scientists developed a genetically modified variety that could help alleviate the $500 million annual loss. The ban on GM crops was waived to make way for the GM version of Uganda’s staple food. A gene from sweet pepper was inserted into the bananas that make them resistant to the bacteria. Cultivated bananas have almost no genetic diversity, so supporters of this decision argue that introducing the GMO fruits will actually help bananas as a whole.
Zucchini Squash
Zucchini are among the foods currently on store shelves that are often genetically modified. The main threats to zucchini harvests are viruses and fungal infections, and GM zucchini eliminate those problems.
Pigs are currently being genetically modified for the possibility of producing human organs as early as 2013, but that’s not their only use. Another variety may eventually end up on our plates. A project called “Enviropig” has inserted genes from mice and E.coli bacteria into pigs to make them process their food more efficiently, potentially reducing their environmental impact. The modification allows the pigs to digest chemicals called phosphates which are present in cereal grains; these chemicals normally just pass right through a pig’s system where they can end up in waterways.
Genetic modification is making its way into the sprouts on your sandwiches and salads. The GMO industry demanded that the USDA allow unrestricted planting of genetically modified alfalfa, which makes up about 7 percent of U.S. crop fields. Alfalfa is a prolific pollinator, so it can easily spread to non-GMO alfalfa. USDA chief Tom Vilsack resisted the idea at first, but in January 2011, he gave in.
Meat and Eggs
The importance of that GMO alfalfa decision? It has a huge domino effect on the entire food chain. Alfalfa is not just grown for edible sprouts, of course – it’s mainly animal feed. Livestock have been fed genetically modified grains like corn and soy since 1996, when these crops were first introduced, and adding alfalfa to the mix will substantially increase the amount of GMOs that animals like cows, chickens and pigs take in. Of course, just like all of the other effects of GMOs, how all of this will pan out for the livestock and for us is not yet clear.
And direct genetic modification of food animals is in the works, too. Aside from the previously mentioned pigs, animals that are in “laboratory stage” include cows and goats that can produce milk containing drugs like antibiotics, and chickens that produce drugs in their egg whites. Under current FDA rules, GMO meat and dairy won’t need to have special labels on store shelves, making it extremely difficult to tell what is modified and what isn’t.
Aside from the contamination that may occur when dairy livestock consume genetically modified feed, GMOs can end up in your milk in other ways, too. The United States is currently the only nation in the world that allows milk containing the genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to be sold for human consumption. Milk from cows treated with these artificial hormones has been found to contain lower nutritional value, higher pus content (yes, you read that correctly) and increased levels of the cancer-causing hormone IGF-1.
And then there are the cows that are being genetically engineered to produce human breast milk. Scientists in China have bred a herd of 300 dairy cows with milk that resembles the balance of fats and nutrients that are best for human babies. The researchers believe that this modified cow milk is a possible substitute for human milk, and could be sold on store shelves in the future.
How can an artificial substance be genetically modified? Aspartame may seem like an odd addition to this list, but the fact is, Monsanto makes it using genetically modified bacteria. The bacteria produce the amino acid phenylalanine, which, when combined with aspartic acid, creates the faux sweetener.


Monday, July 2, 2012


    Facts about Avocado:

1. Protein

Avocadoes provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, avocado protein is readily absor...bed by the body because avocadoes also contain fiber. If you are trying to cut down on animal sources of protein in your diet, or if you are a vegetarian, vegan or raw foodist seeking more protein, avocadoes are a great nutritional ally to include not merely as an occasional treat, but as a regular part of your diet.

2. Beneficial Fats

Avocadoes provide the healthy kind of fat that your body needs. Like olive oil, avocadoes boost levels of HDL (the "good" cholesterol). HDL cholesterol can help protect against the damage caused by free radicals. This type of cholesterol also helps regulate triglyceride levels, preventing diabetes. A study published early this year in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that a vegetarian diet, which includes HDL fats, can reduce levels of LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) as effectively as statin drugs.

3. Carotenoids

Avocadoes are an excellent source of carotenoids. Although many people associate carotenoids only with red and orange produce, avocadoes are also an excellent source of this phytonutrient. Avocadoes, also known as alligator pears, offer a diverse range of carotenoids including not only the better known ones such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lutein, but also lesser known varieties of this type of phytonutrient such as neoxanthin, zeaxanthin, chrysanthemaxanthin, neochrome, beta-cryptoxanthin and violaxanthin. Every time you consume foods rich in carotenoids, you deliver high quality vitamin A to your body, thereby protecting eye health. Carotenoids also enhance the functioning of the immune system and promote healthy functioning of the reproductive system. Since carotenoids are fat soluble, eating avocadoes optimizes the absorption of these nutrients.


The combined effect of the deluxe package of nutrients contained in avocadoes offers powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Avocadoes' unique combination of Vitamins C and E, carotenoids, selenium, zinc, phytosterols and omega-3 fatty acids helps guard against inflammation. This means avocadoes can help prevent or mitigate against both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis.

5. Heart Health

The fat content, which causes some uninformed health "experts" to deem avocadoes as unhealthy, actually provides protection against heart diseases. Studies have shown that oleic acid improves cardiovascular health. Oleic acid is the primary fatty acid in avocadoes. Many people now take supplements in order to consume more omega-3 fatty acids to lower their risk of heart disease. Avocadoes are rich in omega-3, delivering 160 milligrams per cup of alpha-linolenic acid.

6. Choosing and Eating

To get the most nutritional value from avocadoes, avoid those which have become over-ripe. You can identify these at the store because they will have dents and feel overly soft when you hold them. A ripe avocado should have no dents in its skin and will feel slightly soft when squeezed. You can also buy unripe avocadoes, which feel very hard when gripped, and permit them to ripen at home. The portion of the avocado closest to the skin is the most dense in nutrients, so be sure to scrape the skin clean before discarding it.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


It’s been a while since I added to the benefits of herbal medicine series, so I thought I’d speak about cinnamon today. After a discussion with a friend on the wonders of cinnamon it brought me to a greater understanding of its healing powers. Here I thought sweet, spicy cinnamon was just good in regulating blood sugar levels in those with diabetes, but I was quite wrong. There is so much more to this simple and wonderful tasting kitchen staple and it does have a fascinating history as well.
benefits of herbal medicine cinnamon The benefits of herbal medicine,Cinnamon

Cinnamon, in case you didn’t know, comes from the relatively small growing tree, Cinnamonum verum, chiefly grown commercially in Southern Asia and other warm climate regions. It is the inner bark of the tree which is coveted. It is removed from 2-3 year old branches. That way the entire tree is not destroyed and it can continue sprouting more branches and giving more cinnamon. The bark is then cut into smaller pieces for the food trade and ground for easy use.

The cinnamon tree

The ancient Chinese circa 2,700 B.C. knew about the health benefits long before anyone else. They would. They had the stuff growing right in their own backyards, after all, with nary a visitor to steal away their secret. When people started traveling and far-reaching armies started going east to do their conquering, those spicy things growing half way around the world made their way to the west.

When cinnamon was introduced to ancient Egyptians it was an instant hit and their demand for this spicy new food additive and medicinal ingredient never waned. At first it was merely the pleasing taste which enamored most people to this spice, but soon it was discovered that it wasn’t just a treat for the culinary senses. They found it quite useful for all sorts of ailments. So, let’s see how cinnamon heals, shall we?

Infection prevention:
You might not know it, but many toothpastes have cinnamon as an ingredient and I suppose you would think it is just for flavoring, but you’d be wrong. Cinnamon is a great antiseptic useful in killing bacteria which cause decay. That would make it vital for preventing cavities and for keeping teeth and gums healthy. Fungi and viruses also have it hard when cinnamon is about. Back in the day a cut or scrape would be washed and then sprinkled with cinnamon to prevent infection.

benefits of herbal medicine cinnamon Cavities be gone with cinnamon!
Toothpaste isn’t the only toiletry which benefits from this spice. A German study has shown that cinnamon is quite effective against urinary tract (Escherichia coli bacteria) and vaginal yeast infections (Candida albicans). Will cinnamon now be impregnated into bathroom tissue? Might not be a bad idea!

Pain killer:
Sprinkling cinnamon on cuts and scrapes also helps dull the pain associated with minor injuries. Cinnamon contains eugenol, a natural anesthetic oil.

Digestion aid:
Can you imagine a rich, decadent dessert helping in digestion? If it is liberally sprinkled with cinnamon it can. Want to know why? Cinnamon helps boost enzyme activity which in turn breaks down fats in the digestive system. So, go ahead, have dessert, just make certain you add a bit of cinnamon.

benefits of herbal medicine cinnamon Yum! Tummy taming dessert
Cinnamon has been useful in taming all sorts of digestive trouble such as nausea, stomach cramps, flatulence, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion and infant colic.

Women’s health:
Historically, women used cinnamon to bring on menstruation, to stimulate contractions during childbirth and for post-partum care where excessive bleeding was a problem, but generally used it sparingly while pregnant. Cinnamon seems to stimulate the uterus, which might cause trouble in high-risk pregnancies.

Colds and flu:
In days gone by cinnamon was often used to make a soothing tea which had the effect of relieving cold and flu symptoms, relieving sinus pressure, soothing coughs and helped rid the body of excess phlegm.

benefits of herbal medicine cinnamon Apple-cinnamon tea so good for a cold
Sweet additive:
Because of its sweet, pleasing flavor, cinnamon is a great ingredient to add to bitter, less likable concoctions, such as Valerian which tastes horrible but works wonders. Cinnamon was first used for pleasing the taste buds, you may recall, but then was discovered to have health benefits of its own.

Good for the blood:
It seems now that using cinnamon to regulate blood sugar levels is the least of its health benefits. But how about if I told you it also helps reduce high blood pressure? Japanese researchers tell us this is the case. Cool, huh?

I’m telling you, cinnamon is no slouch when it comes to keeping us healthy. If you don’t have it in the kitchen already, then consider adding it to the spice rack. You should get some now that you know all of these amazing health benefits of cinnamon, one of the best tasting medicinal herbs.
Glory Lennon is a frugal homemaker, avid gardener and accomplished writer on the web and for print media. When she’s not at the keyboard writing a novel, creating a short story or writing an article about her favorite plant of the day, you can find her at Glory’s Garden or in the backyard where she grows trees, shrubs, vines, herbs and flowers of all kinds.