Natural Cures Not Medicine: 07/23/13

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5 Million Farmers Sue Monsanto for 7.7 Billion

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Launching a lawsuit against the very company that is responsible for a farmer suicide every 30 minutes, 5 million farmers are now suing Monsanto for as much as 6.2 billion euros (around 7.7 billion US dollars). The reason? As with many other cases, such as the ones that led certain farming regions to be known as the ‘suicide belt’, Monsanto has been reportedly taxing the farmers to financial shambles with ridiculous royalty charges. The farmers state that Monsanto has been unfairly gathering exorbitant profits each year on a global scale from “renewal” seed harvests, which are crops planted using seed from the previous year’s harvest.

The practice of using renewal seeds dates back to ancient times, but Monsanto seeks to collect massive royalties and put an end to the practice. Why? Because Monsanto owns the very patent to the genetically modified seed, and is charging the farmers not only for the original crops, but the later harvests as well. Eventually, the royalties compound and many farmers begin to struggle with even keeping their farm afloat. It is for this reason that India slammed Monsanto with groundbreaking ‘biopiracy’ charges in an effort to stop Monsanto from ‘patenting life’.

Jane Berwanger, a lawyer for the farmers who went on record regarding the case,
told the Associated Press:

“Monsanto gets paid when it sell the seeds. The law gives producers the right to multiply the seeds they buy and nowhere in the world is there a requirement to pay (again). Producers are in effect paying a private tax on production.”

The findings echo what thousands of farmers have experienced in particularly poor nations, where many of the farmers are unable to stand up to Monsanto. Back in 2008, the Daily Mail covered what is known as the ‘GM Genocide’, which is responsible for taking the lives of over 17,683 Indian farmers in 2009 alone. After finding that their harvests were failing and they started to enter economic turmoil, the farmers began ending their own lives — oftentimes drinking the very same insecticide that Monsanto provided them with.
As the information continues to surface on Monsanto’s crimes, further lawsuits will begin to take effect. After it was ousted in January that Monsanto was running illegal 'slave-like' working rings, more individuals became aware of just how seriously Monsanto seems to disregard their workers — so why would they care for the health of their consumers? In April, another group of farmers sued Monsanto for ‘knowingly poisoning’ workers and causing ‘devastating birth defects’.

Will endless lawsuits from millions of seriously affected individuals be the end of Monsanto?

Do your part to end the madness and join a March Against Monsanto near you on 10/12/13

Source: Raw For Beauty

Natural Society

Connecting With Nature Boosts Creativity and Health

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"I've been arguing for a while that connection to nature should be thought of as a human right," Richard Louv told the crowd assembled in the courtyard of National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Louv was there to inspire the staff about the benefits of spending time outdoors.
Louv, the author of the bestsellers Last Child in the Woods (2005) and The Nature Principle (2011)-coined the term "nature-deficit disorder" to describe the loss of connection children increasingly feel with the natural world. Nature-deficit disorder is not a clinically recognized condition, he explains, but rather a term to evoke a loss of communion with other living things. Nevertheless, he argues, nature-deficit disorder affects "health, spiritual well-being, and many other areas, including [people's] ability to feel ultimately alive." (See "The Nature-Deficit Disorder and How It Is Impacting Our Natural World.")
The causes of the disorder include loss of open space, increasingly busy schedules, an emphasis on team sports over individualized play and exploration, competition from electronic media, and what Louv and others call a "culture of fear," in which people are afraid to visit natural areas or even go outside due to heavy media coverage of violent events.
To dive deeper into Louv's ideas, National Geographic sat down with him for a few questions.
It has been a few years since you published Last Child in the Woods in 2005. What has changed since then?
Quite a bit. I wrote another book, called The Nature Principle, extending the idea [of nature-deficit disorder] to adults. That's because I kept hearing from adults, who said, "It affects us too." At the time there were a lot of great people doing great work around nature, but in the media that issue was nowhere near the stove, let alone the front burner.
I didn't know it would have the impact it has. I never claim Last Child in the Woods started anything, but it proved to be a very useful tool, and things took off. Today, if you look at [the website of the Children & Nature Network, a group Louv founded], you'll see all kinds of good news from all over the country, and it's increasingly international. Nature preschools are beginning to take off. There are 112 regional, provincial, or state campaigns in the U.S. and Canada that are working on getting kids outdoors, many of which didn't exist before.
It doesn't seem to matter what someone's politics or religion is, they want to tell me about the treehouse they had as a kid, if they are old enough—for the younger people that is less likely to be true. This is the only issue I've seen that brings people together, because nobody wants to be in the last generation where it's considered normal for kids to go outdoors.
This week you spoke at an event with Sally Jewell, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, at the Center for American Progress in Washington, on the importance of getting children and adults outside. How did that go?
Sally Jewell is a former head of REI, and she is one of the people who stepped forward when Last Child came out. She took an REI daypack filled with copies of the book, went to the White House, and handed them out to staff and the president.
She will be the third Secretary of the Interior in a row to be fully committed to this issue. The first was Dirk Kempthorne, a conservative Republican under President [George W.] Bush, who was very committed to this. So was Ken Salazar [under Obama], and now Sally, who probably has the most experience with this issue. [Tuesday's] event illustrates that this issue is growing.
Can you share some specific examples of how a connection to nature improved someone's life?
[National Geographic Emerging Explorer] Juan Martinez is one example. He grew up in South Central Los Angeles, where he was headed for gangs and trouble. A principal told him he'd have to go to detention or join the eco club. He thought the club sounded like a bunch of nerds, but he joined. He resented it at first, but then had an assignment to grow something.
He had seen his mother break up concrete behind their house to grow chilis to eat. So he grew a jalapeno chili plant and took it home to show her that he could nurture life too. That plant, and later an eco club trip to the Grand Tetons, changed his life. He is now an environmentalist and head of the Natural Leaders Network, which is part of the Children &  Nature Network. He is also a National Geographic explorer and has spoken at the White House twice.
So nature can transform your life. He found not only nature, he found people through nature. He reconnected to South Central in a new way. (See video of Juan Martinez.)
How can city dwellers connect with nature?
As of 2008 more people lived in cities than the countryside. That marked a huge moment in human history, and it means one of two things: Either the human connection to nature will continue to fade, or it means the beginning of a new kind of city.
One way is through "biophilic design" [nature-inspired design], which is the incorporation of nature where we live, work, learn, and play, not only as something we drive an hour to visit. Not only parks, but also in the way we design our neighborhoods, our backyards, and our buildings.
I believe cities can become engines of biodiversity. It starts with planting a lot of native plants, which revive the food chain and bring back butterfly and bird migration routes.
The word "sustainability" is problematic, because to most people it means stasis, survival, and energy efficiency. We have to do those things, but that only goes so far in igniting the imagination. Increasingly, I talk about a "nature-rich society," a different way to look at the future that is not just about survival, but about something much better.
How do we get to a greener future?
I visited the Martin Luther King memorial yesterday. King demonstrated and said that any movement will fail if it can't paint a picture of a world people will want to go to. That world has to be more than energy efficient, it must be a better civilization.
I think we're in a cultural depression. The number one young adult literature genre today is something called dystopic fiction, which portrays a post-apocalyptic world in which vampires aren't even having a good time. I have a theory that most Americans carry images of the far future that look a lot likeBlade Runner and Mad Max. If those are the dominating images, and we don't have a balancing set of images of a great future, then we better be careful what we imagine.
You have written about the impacts of "nature time" on problems like anxiety, depression, ADD, and obesity. How important is that?
If you look at a new body of research on depression, ADD, physical health, child obesity, and the epidemic of inactivity, nature is a good antidote to all of that. I didn't coin it, but I like the phrase "sitting is the new smoking," because new evidence shows that sitting long hours every day can have serious health risks similar to those caused by smoking.
Researchers at the University of Illinois are investigating whether time in the woods could be used to supplement treatment of ADD. A study at the University of Kansas found that young people who backpacked for three days showed higher creativity and cognitive abilities. People in hospitals who can see a natural landscape have been shown to get better faster.
As an antidote, we need to figure out ways to increase nature time even as technology increases. It has to be a conscious decision.
Speaking of technology, how much are "screens" like TV, the Internet, video games, and smartphones to blame for keeping kids indoors?
I always resist demonizing technology and video games, specifically, partly because when people write about this issue they go immediately to that. But then they ignore these other things, like "stranger danger" [Louv has argued that sensationalist media has made parents fearful of letting children go outside] and bad urban design, the fact that our education system needs a lot of work, the fact that we are canceling recess and field trips—there are a lot of other reasons out there.
Having said that, there's no doubt that electronics have something to do with this. The Kaiser Foundation found that kids spend 53 hours a week plugged in to some kind of electronic medium, and I imagine that's true of adults too. I have an iPhone and iPad, I spend a lot of time with screens, but I think the more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need as a balancing agent.
How can parents know if their kids might suffer from nature-deficit disorder? Are there warning signs?
I don't think this is something that can be reduced to individual symptoms in individual children. I've always felt it was a more generalized issue, a disorder of society that has implications for all of us.
This interview has been edited and condensed.

Sources: Higher Health

Build a Raised Bed Garden and Greenhouse On A Budget

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This video is a useful introduction on starting a raised bad garden for growing all year round. In the winter you may need to keep your plants warm and an easy way to do that is to build a simple hoop house greenhouse. You can also use the greenhouse in aquaponics set ups.

7 year-old leading the charge against GMOs

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At just seven years old, Alicia Serratos has collected nearly 10,000 signatures from people who want to get genetically modified organisms (GMOs) out of Girl Scout cookies. She's also using proceeds from a cookbook to help get healthier lunches in schools. Sign her GMO petition here:

Watch her video below:

Amazing Health Benefits of Mango

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Mango (Mangifera indica) is one of the most cultivated fruits in the tropics and has become a staple in the households of many. The fruit is generally sweet although you will find that different varieties supply your taste buds with very different flavours. The texture of mango also varies across different species. Some have a soft, pulpy texture, which others have a more firm, fibrous texture. Mangos contain many phytochemicals and nutrients, and is high in prebiotic dietary fibber, vitamin C, beta-carotene (responsible for producing vitamin A) and a diverse array of polyphenols. Please continue reading to discover the miraculous benefits of our fruity friend, the Mango!

Cancer Prevention:
Mango (Mangifera indica) possess antioxidants that help protect against disease such as cancer, diabetes, liver disorders and oxidative stress (1). One study found that mango has hepatoprotective properties (ability to prevent liver damage) in human hepatocarcinoma cells (cancer cells of the liver). The mango extracts demonstrated significant antioxidant property and efficient scavenging of free radicals. They also protected liver cells from chemical-induced damage (1).

Another study found that the flesh and peel of mango fruit and the bioactive compounds found within these areas of the fruit were effective in inhibiting human breast cancer cell proliferation in vitro (2).

In addition, researchers from Texas A&M University (3) looked into the anticarcinogenic effects of polyphenolics from different mango varieties (Francis, Kent, Ataulfo, Tommy Atkins, and Haden). They studied mango’s effects on cell cancer lines including leukemia, lung, breast, prostate, and colon cancer cell lines as well as a non-cancerous colon cell line.

The extracts of all mango varieties exhibited efficient inhibition of cell growth in the colon cancer cell lines, where Ataulfo and Haden demonstrated the greatest antioxidant capacities followed by Kent, Francis and Tommy Atkins. Leukemia cells were most efficiently eradicated by Ataulfo and Haden, followed by breast, lung, and prostate cancer cells in decreasing efficacy.

In fact, Ataulfo inhibited colon cancer cell growth by up to 72%! As well, the growth of non-cancerous colon cancer cells was not inhibited, suggesting that mango can efficiently select and destroy cancerous cells and will not interfere with normal cellular growth.

These mango extracts inhibited cancerous growth mainly due to their ability to increase mRNA expression of pro-apoptotic biomarkers and cell cycle regulators, cell cycle arrest, and by reducing the generation of reactive oxygen species.

Improves Vision:
Mango’s are excellent for our vision! Why? Mainly because they contain Vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency can cause nyctalopia (night blindness), hemeralopia (day-light blindness), xerophthalmia (eyes fail to produce tears), and even blindness itself (4).

The carotenoid pigments in mango, specifically, beta-carotene provides the highest vitamin A activity (5). Haden and Tommy Atkins have lower beta-carotene levels than Palmer and Uba, however they still provide our bodies with the vitamin A we need (regardless of which variety you choose – if you had a choice, I would go for Palmer and Uba, however, the most common mango varieties in store are Tommy Atkins – this also depends on time of year too).

How does vitamin A improve our vision? Vitamin A is a molecule in the retina that helps to transform light energy into nerve impulses inside the retinal matrix. It helps maintain the health and repair of the mucous membranes in the eye, and thus helps protect the cornea and eye surface, and prevents dry eye.

100 grams of mango provides 765mg or 25% of our daily vitamin A! If you ate four mangoes, you would have your daily vitamin A intake at around 100% – and eating four mangoes is incredibly easy – they just taste so amazing, and the benefits you get are incredible.

High in Copper:
Did you know that mangoes are high in copper? Micronutrients such as copper are often paid very little attention even though they have excellent benefits to our health and wellness. Of course, mangoes grown in soils that are more copper rich will contain higher levels of copper, but in general, mangoes do contain sufficient amounts of copper to have an impact on human health.

Copper is essential in supporting many biochemical processes of life such as cellular respiration, utilization and transport of oxygen via the blood, DNA and RNA reproduction, maintaining integrity of cell membranes, and eradicating free radicals via cascading enzyme systems like cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (6) which helps to reduce the risk of cancer and slows the aging process. Red blood cell production is also dependent on the presence of copper.

Improves Sex Life:
Eating mango will provide you with supple amounts of vitamin E – just one cup of mango provides us with over 2mg of vitamin E – multiply this by four cups (which can easily fit in a salad) and you get up to 8mg vitamin E. It is recommended that you consume 15mg of vitamin E daily, so eating mango will ensure you increase your vitamin E levels.

Aside from keeping our skin soft and supple, how does vitamin E help improve one’s sex life? Vitamin E regulates the body’s sex hormones and helps to boost sex drive, all of which increase attraction, mood and desire. Most men and women who get adequate vitamin E levels notice more sexual energy and pleasure when touched and more powerful and frequent orgasms. The root cause of female sexual dysfunction is an excess of estrogen – interestingly, vitamin E (600 to 800 IU daily) helps the woman’s body produce estriol and progesterone which help balance estrogen, and thus bring high estrogen levels back to their normal levels.

Alkalizes the Body:
Acid-producing foods that are highly acidic (such as meat, dairy & eggs, processed foods, coffee, white sugar, and alcohol) can cause the body to not function at its prime state, resulting in disease and illness (7). Numerous studies over the years have correlated acidic environments to perfect cancer-thriving conditions (8, 9, 10), thus is it crucial that we maintain an alkaline state in the body through a diet rich in foods that promote an alkaline effect on the body (namely, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds).

The mango is a perfect example of a fruit that alkalizes the body. It is considered an alkaline-forming food, so that when you eat it, the end products of digestion and nutrient assimilation will result in alkaline ash which gets buffered. Since mango is so alkaline, our buffering system doesn’t need to work as hard as if we ate a steak, which can over burden our buffer systems, and turn to other areas of the body such as our bones to draw upon calcium reserves which can result in osteoporosis. Muscle also has the ability to break down in an acidic body, so that alkalizing amino acids from the muscle can help support our buffer system and bring our pH back to normal levels. This results in muscle wasting.

Thus, consuming alkaline fruits and vegetables (all fruits and vegetables this includes, in fact, the most alkaline is the lemon! The effect it has in the body is the opposite from it’s label – acidic fruits does not mean that they have acidic effects in the body).

Improves Digestion:
Mangoes contain 25 grams of fibre per fruit, which accounts for around 20% of our daily fibre intake. Fibre helps to fill the stomach and intestines and stimulates healthy muscle contractions which moves food smoothly through the GI tract. Fibre absorbs water in the intestine and gathers waste which helps to create smooth and regular bowel movements. It helps to prevent constipation and diarrhea.

Digestive enzymes are crucial for a healthy GI tract – and mangoes contain just that. They contain a similar digestive enzyme as the papaya, called papain, which soothes the digestive tract and helps break down proteins and fats. Mangoes also contain enzymes such as mangiferin, katechol oxidase, and lactase, all of which stimulate our metabolism and purify the intestines.

 Lowers Cholesterol:
Plant stanol esters (such as those in the mango) are very efficient in reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. They inhibit cholesterol absorption from the intestine in humans. Plant stanol esters at around 2-3 grams per day are efficient in reducing LDL cholesterol by 10-15% (11).

Mangoes are also rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C controls the transformation of cholesterol into bile acids in the liver, and helps reduce cholesterol accumulation in blood serum as well as the liver (12). Vitamin C also works to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease via higher plasma HDL- and HDL2 cholesterol (13), thus it helps to increase our good cholesterol while lowering our bad cholesterol.

Pectin also helps reduce cholesterol levels, and mangoes contain significant amounts of this fibre type. Pectin is a form of soluble fibre and has been shown to provide cholesterol-lowering benefits. One study found that mean serum-cholesterol levels fell significantly when participants consumed up to 36 grams of pectin over a two-week period (14). Pectin can reduce cholesterol levels by preventing glucose absorption in the gut, and thereby prevent blood sugar spikes and elevated triglyceride levels. It’s gel-like consistency also acts as a physical barrier in the intestines to prevent absorption and movement of cholesterol in the GI tract.

Improves Memory & Concentration:
Mangoes contain glutamine which converts into glutamic acid in the brain and becomes an important excitatory neurotransmitter which has numerous benefits for our memory and concentration. Glutamic acid stimulates glutamate receptors in the brain which helps in hippocampal long-term potentiation and memory processing (15). Glutamic acid is also thought to play a role in mental alertness, which is beneficial for children in school who have a hard time concentrating, or for individuals with the inability to concentrate and/or focus on projects/work for long periods of time.

In addition, mango extracts and their antioxidants called mangiferin, have the ability to prevent glutamate-induced excitotoxicity of cerebral cortex neurones (16). In general, mangiferin is a neuroprotector that has therapeutic potential to treat neurogenerative disorders such as dementia which can develop into Alzheimer’s disease.

Mangana Smoothie Recipe:
3 Mangoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
3 Bananas, peeled
1 Cup fresh young thai coconut water
2 sprigs of mint leaves
3-4 stalks of kale (stalks removed, with leaves left over)

Place kale, mint leaves and fresh young thai coconut water into a blender and blend until smooth (it is okay if your blender is not incredibly strong and there are some tiny pieces left over). Next, place in the fruit (mango & banana) and pulse blend (to reduce oxidation) until uniformly mixed. Pour into a glass and enjoy!


(1) Hiraganahalli, B., Chinampudur, V., Dethe, S., Mundkinajeddu, D., Pandre, M., Balachandran, J., & Agarwal, A. (2012) Hepatoprotective and antioxidant activity of standardized herbal extracts. Pharmacogn Mag., 8, 116-123.

(2) Wilkinson, A., Flanagan, B., Pierson, J., Hewavitharana, A., Dietzgen, R., Shaw, P., Robers-Thomson, S., Monteith, G., & Gidley, M. (2011) Bioactivity of mango flesh and peel extracts on peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARy) activation and MCF-7 cell proliferation: fraction and fruit variability. Journal of Food Science, 76, H11-8.

(3) Noratto, G., Bertoldi, M., Krenek, K., Talcott, S., Stringheta, P., & Mertens-Talcott, S. (2010) Anticarcinogenic effects of polyphenolics from mango (Mangifera indica) varieties. Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, 58, 4104-4112.

(4) Meda, N., Chevalier, P., & Mathieu-Daude, C. (2000) Ocular manifestations associated with vitamin A deficiency in a rural area of Burkina Faso. Med Trop (Mars)., 60, 57-60.

(5) Ribeiro, S., Queiroz, J., Queiroz, M., Campos, F., & Sant’Ana, H. (2007) Antioxidant in mango (Mangifera indica L.) pulp. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 62, 12-17.

(6) Chan, S., Gerson, B., & Subramaniam, S. (1998) The role of copper, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc in nutrition and health. Clinics in Laboratory Medicine, 18, 673-685.

(7) The University of California at San Diego: Acid and Alkaline foods.

(8) Park, H., Lyons, J., Ohtsubo, T., & Song, C. (1999) Acidic environment causes apoptosis by increasing caspase activity. Cancer Research Campaign, 80, 1892-1897.

(9) Gatenby, R., & Gillies, R. (2007) Glycolysis in cancer: A potential target for therapy. The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, 39, 1358-1366.

(10) Xu, L., & Fidler, I. (2000) Acidic pH-induced elevation in interleukin 8 expression by human ovarian carcinoma cells. Cancer Research, 60, 4610.

(11) Nguyen, T. (1999) The cholesterol-lowering action of plant stanol esters. The American Society for Nutritional Sciences, 129, 2109-2112.

(12) Ginter, E. (1973) Cholesterol: vitamin c controls its transformation to bile acids. Science, 179, 702-704.

(13) Hallfrisch, J., Singh, V., Muller, D., Baldwin, H., Bannon, M., & Andres, R. (1994) High plasma vitamin C associated with high plasma HDL- and HDL2 cholesterol. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 60, 100-105.

(14) Jenkins, D., Newton, C., Leeds, A., & Cummings, J. (1975) Effect of pectin, guar gum, and wheat fibre on serum-cholesterol. The Lancet, 305, 1116-1117.

(15) Flood, J., Baker, M., & Davis, J. (1990) Modulation of memory processing by glutamic acid receptor agonists and antagonists. Brain Research, 521, 197-202.

(16) Lemus-Molina, Y., Sanchez-Gomez, M., Delgado-Hernandez, R., & Matute, C. (2009) Mangifera indica L. extract attenuates glutamate-induced neurotoxicity on rat cortical neurons. Neurotoxicology, 30, 1053-1058.

Additional Sources:

Create a Honeybee Haven with Native Plants and Flowering Herbs

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Nowadays it’s pretty well-known that honey bees around the world are in decline. Even Monsanto and other companies that churn out pesticides are acknowledging the problem with a grand charade called a “Honey Bee Health Summit.” While we have little sway over the chemical corporatists, we can do other things to help the honey bee.
The best way to go about this in our own yards is to plant flowering trees, shrubs, and perennials native to your region. At PlantNative you can select your state and get a list of native landscaping plants. The red maple tree attracts honey bees in droves in the early spring. Perennials like purple coneflower, blanket flower, and beebalm are beautiful bee-attracting plants. Set aside a space in the yard for a mini prairie garden, which is low maintenance and full of year-round color.
Native Plant Wildlife Gardening has a great list of native plants for attracting honey bees. Use a variety of plants with different flowering times to provide year-round food. Plant flowers in large patches rather than a single one here and there, which will make it easier for bees to find.
Clover is not the nuisance plant that herbicide companies proclaim on their bags of product. Let clover grow and flower for the bees; it will die back as the grass starts to grow in late spring. Lawns can be seeded in the fall with red clover, which will bloom in the spring and provide a bounty for the bees while you enjoy the beautiful blooms.
Flowering herbs are honey bee magnets. Basil, borage, oregano, mints, and salvias are all great choices. Oregano can serve as a groundcover in a wildlife garden. Let basil flower and reseed for a continuous supply of leaves for yourself and food for the bees.
Many vegetable plants are attractive to honey bees, especially the cucurbit flowers (cucumbers, squash, melons). Broccoli makes lots of small yellow flowers that really bring in the bees, so let some broccoli go to flower after you get a few good harvests. What a joy it is to know that our pollinator friends are having a feast on the flowers after we have feasted on the vegetables. Mustard greens also make good flowers for bees and other beneficial insects.
Just as important as planting bee-friendly plants is to avoid the use of chemical pesticides. In a well managed garden using the principles of Integrated Pest Management, pesticides are rarely needed. And most problems can be dealt with using organic products like Neem oil that do not harm honey bees or other beneficial insects. Chemical pesticides leave a residue on pollen, which the bees pick up and bring back to the hive.

Source: Justin Gardener,

What Happens When You Are Asleep

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We spend about one-third of our lives asleep. But far from being wasted time, from the moment we slide into unconsciousness, a whole raft of functions takes place to make sure that we get optimal benefit from our nightly rest. >Sleep is the time the body can undergo repair and detoxification. Poor sleep patterns are linkedto poor health - and those who sleep less than six hours a night have a shorter life expectancy than those who sleep for longer. So sleep has a profound effect on our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. 
Here, Daily Mail writer Angela Epstein explains how the body works on when we drift off. 

The brain 

Sleep may seem to be a passive and dormant state, but even though activity in the cortex - the surface of the brain - drops by about 40 per cent while we are in the first phases of sleep, the brain remains highly active during later stages of the night.

A typical night's sleep comprises five different sleep cycles, each lasting about 90 minutes. The first four stages of each cycle are regarded as quiet sleep or non-rapid eye move-ment (NREM). The final stage is denoted by rapid eye movement (REM).

During the first stage of sleep, brain waves are small undulations. During stage two these intersperse with electrical signals called sleep spindles - small bursts of activity lasting a couple of seconds which keep us in a state of quiet readiness.

As stage two merges into stage three, the brain waves continue to deepen into large slow waves. The larger and slower the brain wave, the deeper the sleep. Stage four is reached when 50 per cent of the waves are slow.

At this point, we are not taxed mentally and 40 per cent of the usual blood flow to the brain is diverted to the muscles to restore energy. However, during the REM that follows there is a high level of brain activity.

This is the stage associated with dreaming and is triggered by the pons - the part of the brain stem that relays nerve impulses between the spinal cord and the brain - and neighbouring structures.

The pons sends signals to the thalamus and to the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for most thought processes. It also sends signals to turn off motor neurons in the spinal cord, causing temporary paralysis and so preventing us from acting upon our dreams.

REM sleep is thought to help consolidate memory and emotion, as at this point in sleep blood flow rises sharply in several brain areas linked to processing memories and emotional experiences. In areas involving complex reasoning and language, blood flow declines. 

The eyes 
Though covered by lids, the movement of the eyes denotes the different stages of sleep.

On first falling into semi-consciousness, the eyes roll. But as we move into deeper sleep, rapid eye movement (REM) occurs when the eyes twitch and dart about.

This REM occurs within about 90 minutes of falling asleep and recurs about every 90 minutes throughout the night. It denotes a time when most dreaming is done.

Although brain activity is high at this point, the muscles of the body are relaxed to a point of virtual paralysis. Some experts suggest that this is a device to allow the mind to explore the realms of subconscious without acting upon events occurring in dreams. 

During our waking hours, the body burns oxygen and food to provide energy. This is known as a catabolic state, in which more energy is spent than conserved, using up the body's resources.
This state is dominated by the work of stimulating hormones such as adrenaline and natural cortisteroids. However, when we sleep we move into an anabolic state - in which energy conservation, repair and growth take over. Levels of adrenaline and corticosteroids drop and the body starts to produce human growth hormone (HGH).
A protein hormone, HGH promotes the growth, maintenance and repair of muscles and bones by facilitating the use of amino acids (the essential building blocks of protein). Every tissue in the body is renewed faster during sleep than at any time when awake.

Melatonin is another hormone produced to help us sleep. Secreted by the pineal gland deep in the brain, it helps control body rhythms and sleep-wake cycles.

Levels of melatonin rise as the body temperature falls, to encourage feelings of sleepiness. The opposite occurs to wake us up.
It is mostly during sleep that the sex hormone testosterone and the fertility hormones, follicle-stimulating hormone and leuteinising hormone, are secreted.

Immune system 

Research suggests that sleeping more when fighting infectious illness aids recovery.

This may be due to the immune system's increased production of certain proteins during sleep, as the levels of certain agents which fight disease rise during sleep and drop when we are awake.
Getting enough sleep can also help resist infection, as some studies of healthy young adults have shown that moderate amounts of sleep deprivation reduce the levels of white blood cells which form part of the body's defence system.

A cancer killer called TNF - tumour necrosis factor - also pumps through our veins when we are asleep. Research has shown that people who stayed up until 3am had one-third fewer cells containing TNF the next day, and that the effectiveness of those remaining was greatly reduced. JUST as the world is governed by light and dark, human beings also have an inbuilt body clock called the circadian rhythm.

Housed in the hypothalamus at the base of the brain, it causes 24 hour fluctuations in many bodily activities. It also governs the body's daily alternation between sleep and wakefulness, and works on a 24-hour cycle to let the body 'know' when sleep is coming.
The circadian rhythm regulates all the processes of the body, from digestion to cell renewal. All these body rhythms are triggered by an action of a network of chemical messengers and nerves which are controlled by the circadian clock.

Ensuring regular periods of sleep at night lets the bodyclock regulate hormone production, so that you feel wakeful and alert during the day and ready to enjoy restorative sleep at night. 
Body temperature 

In the evening, body temperature, along with levels of wakeful hormones such as adrenaline, start to drop. Some sweating may occur, as the body is immobile and tries to combat losing heat.
Body temperature continues to fall throughout the night. By about 5am it has dropped to about one degree centigrade below the temperature it was in the evening. 

At the same time, our metabolic rate drops too. This is the time of day when you would feel most tired, as the low temperature coincides with adrenaline at its lowest level.

Low body temperatures increase your likelihood of sleeping deeply and so give the body chance to rest and rebuild. As body temperature starts to rise, it remains more difficult to stay in a deep sleep. 

The skin 

The top layer of the skin is made of closely packed dead cells which are constantly shed during day. During deep sleep, the skin's metabolic rate speeds up and many of the body's cells show increased production and reduced breakdown of proteins. 
Since proteins are the building blocks needed for cell growth and for the repair of damage from factors like ultraviolet rays, deep sleep may indeed be beauty sleep.

Daytime sleep will not compensate for loss of nightly 'beauty sleep' as the energy needed for tissue repair is not available during daylight because it is being used elsewhere. 


When we fall asleep, throat muscles relax so that the throat gets narrower each time we inhale.
Snoring occurs when the throat is narrowed to a slit and parts of the airway vibrate because of a resistance to breathing. Air is forced through the narrow air passage, causing the soft palate and uvula to vibrate.

Those who snore are more likely to have poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat, which allows the tongue to fall backwards into the airways. Being overweight or having large tonsils and adenoids also contribute to snoring.

However, impaired breathing during sleep can cause a condition called sleep apnoea.

Often caused by fat build-up, poor muscle tone or ageing, sleep apnoea causes the windpipe to collapse when the muscles relax during sleep. This blocks the air flow for from ten seconds to a minute while the sleeping person struggles for breath. 
When the person's blood oxygen level falls, the brain responds by making the person tighten the upper airway muscles and open the windpipe. This will result in a snort or gasp before snoring is resumed. 

The mouth 

Saliva is needed to lubricate the mouth and for eating, but during sleep salivary flow is reduced, so causing a dry mouth in the morning.

However, the mouth can be very active during sleep, as one in 20 adults unconsciously grinds their teeth at night. 

This is known as bruxism and occurs mainly during stages one and two of sleep. It is caused by poor alignment of the teeth within the jaw but is also thought to be nocturnal relief for daytime stresses. 

Though a person can change their sleeping position about 35 times a night, the muscles of the body remain relaxed. This gives the chance for tissues to be repaired and restored.
However, studies indicate that muscles might receive just as much relaxation and repair during simple rest periods and that a state of unconsciousness is not needed for this to take place. 


The heart rate goes down by between 10 and 30 beats per minute when we sleep. This produces a decline in blood pressure, which occurs in restful sleep.

During rest, blood flows from the brain, distends arteries and makes the limbs bigger.

Some scientists believe that fatigue-induced sleep may be a mild form of blood detoxification.

This is because during the day debris from broken down tissues is thrown into the bloodstream. In the waking state, most of this waste will be eliminated through the lungs, kidneys, bowels and skin.

But there could be a saturation point. So nature warns us to reduce these waste products to replenish lost energy, and that causes us to get tired and sleep.

During sleep, the cells and tissues that break down to produce toxic waste then become less active. This gives the chance for broken-down tissue to be rebuilt. 

Digestive system 

The body requires a regular supply of energy and its key source is glucose. This is constantly burned up to release energy for muscle contraction, nerve impulses and regulating body temperature.
When we sleep, our need for these energy reserves is marginal so the digestive system slows down to a sluggish pace. The immobility of our bodies promotes this.

For this reason, eating late at night is not recommended as our inactive state will prevent enzymes and stomach acids from converting it to energy. This causes that telltale bloated feeling.

By Angel Epstein

Azodicarbonamide Banned in most European Countries BUT STILL Found In American Bread

Natural Cures Not Medicine on Facebook:

Azodicarbonamide is commonly found in frozen dinners and frozen potato and bread products. It is used to make things like bleach and foamed plastics (you know, the things they make yoga mats with, for instance).

Azodicarbonamide has been banned in most European countries because it has been found to induce asthma. It has been deemed so dangerous that in Singapore, if you are found to use Azodicarbonamide in your products, you will receive a hefty $450,000 fine and up to 15 YEARS IN PRISON.

According to the FDA, however, "Azodicarbonamide is approved to be a bleaching agent in cereal flour and is permitted for direct addition to food for human consumption."

Who are they kidding? Educate yourself, make your own, grow your own, eat whole foods, or suffer the consequences of consuming products that contain ingredients not even an ant would stand near. 


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