Natural Cures Not Medicine: 12/17/13

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9 Herbal Foods That Naturally Lower Cholesterol And Keep Your Heart Healthy


Patricia BratianuOff The Grid News

Keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy prevents many serious illnesses and enhances longevity. Many factors influence the heart and the circulation. Unfortunately, the stresses of modern life, coupled with poor nutrition and inactivity, put us at risk for several heart and blood vessel problems. As a result, heart attacks, strokes and other life-threatening cardiovascular conditions abound. Herbs may be used as a very important part of a wellness plan to enhance the health of your heart and blood vessels.

Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Low density lipoprotein cholesterol, also known as LDL or bad cholesterol, begins as a sticky substance that builds inside the walls of blood vessels. It hardens over time, creating rough surfaces and inflexible blood vessels. As a result, blood vessels harden and contribute to high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. Blood flow throughout the entire body is impaired.

High density lipoprotein cholesterol, also known as HDL or good cholesterol, protects the heart and blood vessels from damage due to LDL buildup and other factors.

Triglycerides are other kinds of fats in the blood. Many experts believe that elevated triglyceride levels are a more important predictor of cardiovascular disease than elevated levels of LDL cholesterol.

Several herbs which are used to reduce harmful cholesterol and triglyceride levels are right in your own kitchen. Others may be grown easily or gathered from the wild.

Herbal Foods With Cardiovascular Benefits

1. Shiitake mushrooms reduce inflammation, and lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Many large grocery stores sell fresh shiitakes. I keep dried ones on hand, too. Several companies offer kits which provide you with opportunities to grow your own. Shiitakes are one of the most valuable herbal foods available, in my opinion.

2. Flax seed binds with excess cholesterol and aids in its elimination from the body. Flax seed may be obtained in large grocery stores. It is very inexpensive. Flax also reduces inflammation, a major contributor to heart and blood vessel disease. Simply grind two tablespoons of flax seed each day. Add it to cereals, smoothies or yogurt. Do not purchase ground flax meal. Flax loses its healing benefits quickly when ground or heated. It is easy to grind in a coffee grinder reserved for herbs.

3. Garlic has been studied extensively for its many healing benefits. Garlic’s relatives — onions, shallots, leeks and chives — offer healing benefits as well; however, the active compounds in garlic are the most potent. Researchers have discovered that while garlic reduces LDL and triglyceride levels, the herbal food does much more to ensure cardiovascular health. Garlic lowers blood pressure and even relieves leg cramps which are due to poor circulation. Garlic tablets and capsules are available for purchase, but I recommend eating at least one clove daily for maximum benefits and economy. Either eat the garlic raw or lightly sautéed. This way you will retain all of the healing powers of this wonderful herbal food.

4. All peppers are beneficial for the cardiovascular system as they contain fiber and high amounts of vitamin C, a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Cayenne pepper has been studied extensively. I believe that any other hot peppers likely offer similar benefits. Cayenne helps to increase the efficiency and strength of the heartbeat, without increasing the blood pressure. It prevents harmful blood clots from forming. Blood clots are responsible for several life threatening conditions, such as strokes, heart attacks and pulmonary emboli. Cayenne prevents hardening of the arteries and relaxes the blood vessels. This helps to decrease blood pressure and relieve leg pain due to poor circulation. Again, I believe that the best way to reap the healing benefits of this herbal food is to simply include cayenne in your diet. Be careful if you are preparing fresh peppers, as they can cause burns. Some people with digestive issues are unable to tolerate cayenne.

5. Did you realize that black pepper reduces cholesterol levels? It improves the circulation of the entire body and has been used to relieve hypertension, high blood pressure.  Like many other herbal remedies for cholesterol, black pepper is considered to be an herbal stimulant. It enhances the circulation of the entire body and improves blood pressure.

Wild Herbal Remedies for Heart Health

6. Hawthorn is an amazing herb. The berries may be gathered from the wild. Just be sure that you correctly identify the bush. I think of hawthorn as a kind of “miracle herb” If your blood pressure is too low and you consume a little bit of hawthorn, it will bring it up to a healthy range. On the other hand, if it is too high, you can lower high blood pressure by consuming a larger amount of the berries. Hawthorn reduces unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels, too.

7. Motherwort is an easy to grow herb which can sometimes be found in the wild. It is a relaxing herb that offers health benefits for the circulatory system and the entire body.

8. Kudzu may be “the vine that ate the south,” but it has some redeeming qualities. Kudzu root extract lowers blood pressure, unhealthy triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Kudzu reduces the pain of angina by improving the circulation within the heart itself. Historically, kudzu was used to relieve irregular heartbeats and reduce rapid heart rates.

9. Dandelion leaf reduces edema, excess swelling in the body, which can stress the heart. Unlike pharmaceutical diuretic drugs which rid the body of needed potassium, dandelion leaf is a great source of potassium and other nutrients.

These are just a few of the many herbal remedies which we have available to use to improve heart and blood vessel health. Include a wide array of culinary herbs in your diet, as many of them offer health benefits to the heart, circulation and entire body. By incorporating herbs as part of your wellness plan, you will feel better and prevent serious illnesses from impacting the life of you and your loved ones.


GMO linked to gluten disorders plaguing 18 Million Americans

Genetically modified foods such as soy and corn may be responsible for a number of gluten-related maladies including intestinal disorders now plaguing 18 million Americans, according to a new report released on Tuesday.

The report was released by the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), and cites authoritative data from the US Department of Agriculture, US Environmental Protection Agency records, medical journal reviews as well as international research.

“Gluten sensitivity can range in severity from mild discomfort, such as gas and bloating, to celiac disease, a serious autoimmune condition that can, if undiagnosed, result in a 4-fold increase in death,” said Jeffrey M. Smith, executive director of IRT in a statement released on their website.
Smith cited how a “possible environmental trigger may be the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to the American food supply, which occurred in the mid-1990s,” describing the nine GM crops currently on the market.
In soy, corn, cotton (oil), canola (oil), sugar from sugar beets, zucchini, yellow squash, Hawaiian papaya, and alfalfa, “Bt-toxin, glyphosate, and other components of GMOs, are linked to five conditions that may either initiate or exacerbate gluten-related disorders,” according to Smith.
It’s the BT-toxin in genetically modified foods which kills insects by “puncturing holes in their cells.” The toxin is present in ‘every kernel’ of Bt-corn and survives human digestion, with a 2012 study confirming that it punctures holes in human cells as well.
The GMO-related damage was linked to five different areas: Intestinal permeability, imbalanced gut bacteria, immune activation and allergic response, impaired digestion, and damage to the intestinal wall.
The IRT release also indicated that glyphosate, a weed killer sold under the brand name ‘Roundup’ was also found to have a negative effect on intestinal bacteria. GMO crops contain high levels of the toxin at harvest.
“Even with minimal exposure, glyphosate can significantly reduce the population of beneficial gut bacteria and promote the overgrowth of harmful strains,” the report found.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan, internationally recognized expert on gluten sensitivity and Celiac Disease, says that “the introduction of GMOs is highly suspect as a candidate to explain the rapid rise in gluten-related disorders over the last 17 years.”
Internist, Emily Linder, offered some backup for the report’s findings. She removed GMO from her patients’ diets, finding that recovery from intestinal diseases was faster and more complete.
“I believe that GMOs in our diet contribute to the rise in gluten-sensitivity in the US population,” Linder said in the release.
Source: RussiaToday

Connecticut becomes first state to enact GMO labeling law!

The governor of Connecticut hosted a ceremonial signing outside an organic restaurant in the city of Fairfield on Wednesday to commemorate the state’s passing of what could be the first GMO labeling law of its type in the United States.

Voters in Connecticut decided back in June to approve a bill requiring that all foods meant for human consumption that contain genetically-modified ingredients be properly labeled. Unless some neighboring states in the region follow suit, however, the status of that law remains in limbo.

The Connecticut bill requires at least four other Northeastern states with a combined population of no fewer than 20 million to approve similar acts before it can officially go on the books. And while so far proponents of a GMO labeling initiative have found allies in one adjacent state, it could very well be a long-time coming before the proper support is rallied.
Voters in Maine have already elected to pass a near-identical measure, but residents in a region that includes Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont must come together to do the same in at least three other locales.
Outside the Catch A Healthy Habit restaurant in Fairfield on Wednesday, Gov. Dannel Malloy implored his counterparts to consider joining in their fight.
“I am proud that leaders from each of the legislative caucuses can come together to make our state the first in the nation to require the labeling of GMOs,” Malloy said, according to Fairfield’s Daily Voice. “The end result is a law that shows our commitment to consumers’ right to know while catalyzing other states to take similar action.”
Tara Cook-Littman, the director of GMO Free Connecticut, applauded the efforts by advocates in the state and country working towards new laws.
“As the catalyst for GMO labeling in the United States, Connecticut residents should feel proud,” she told reporters. “We are hopeful that legislators throughout the Northeast will follow the lead of Governor Malloy and all our legislative champions by passing laws that give consumers transparency in labeling. It is a great honor for all of us to stand with Governor Malloy as he signs the first in the nation GMO labeling law.”

More than 60 countries across the world have approved mandatory labeling laws for GMO foods already, and polling suggests that the vast majority of Americans are in favor of doing the same. So far, in fact, almost half of all US states have introduces bill that, if approved, would either require labeling of GMO foods or prohibit them altogether.
“Surveys have always found 80 to 95 percent of people wanting labeling,” Consumers Union senior scientist Michael Hansen told the Rodale News health site back in April. “People are paying attention to food, and because of that they’re more interested in GMO issues and buying food that’s more local and food without pesticides and other added ingredients.”
Now with Connecticut taking the lead, Gov. Malloy hopes other states will do the same.
“This is a beginning, and I want to be clear what it is a beginning of,” he told the Fairfield Citizen before Wednesday’s event. “It is a national movement that will requiring (food) labeling.”
“People need to demand GMO labeling,” Malloy told WFSB News on the day of the ceremonial signing. “Some companies are doing this and we need to move in that direction.”
“This is the time,” he said to the Citizen. “You better get ready; people are coming and this is not a movement you are going to stop.”
Malloy was flanked by state lawmakers from both the right and the left at Wednesday’s event, and Republicans and Democrats alike are now aligning themselves in the fight.
“This bill moves forward and reinforces our fundamental right to know what is in our food so we can make informed choices about what we feed our families,” said Rep. Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield-Trumbull), according to reporter Christina Chiarelli. “Consumers may or may not wish to purchase foods that they know to be genetically modified, but they need the information made available to them to make those informed choices.”
“Passing this bill is courageous and monumental,” added Rep. Philip Miller (D-Essex). “It is an affirmation for healthy, sustainable agriculture and responsible stewardship of our food supply. The ever growing grassroots efforts of Connecticut citizens has come to fruition with the passing of this legislation. I thank Governor Malloy for being a champion of our right to participate in building our economy as fully informed consumers and citizens.”
Currently 15 nations in the European Union require labels on GMO products, and Zambia, Benin and Serbia have all instated prohibitions against products. Just earlier this week, China for the fifth time blocked a cargo shipment of US corn from entering the country, citing concerns of GMO contamination.
Source: RussiaToday

Widespread Contaminants in Drinking Water Across U.S.

Protecting public health shouldn’t be this hard. When it comes to chemical safety, Congress should shift the burden of proof from regulators to manufacturers. A recent survey conducted by researchers at the U.S. Geographic Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found traces of 18 unregulated chemicals in drinking water from more than one third of U.S. water utilities. Of the 21 total chemicals found, researchers discovered among them 11 perfluorinated chemicals, an herbicide, two solvents, caffeine, an antibacterial chemical, a metal and an antidepressant. 

Preliminary findings were presented by scientists at an annual toxicology conference held by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry last month in Nashville.

Only 91 contaminants are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, yet more than 80,000 chemicals are used within the United States, according to EPA estimates. Government and independent scientists have scrutinized thousands of those chemicals in recent decades, and identified hundreds associated with a risk of cancer and other diseases at small concentrations in drinking water.

Regulated chemicals such as fluoride have been added to drinking water supplies for decades without any regard to long-term health. The fluoride added to 90% of drinking water is hydrofluoric acid which is a compound of fluorine that is a chemical byproduct of aluminum, steel, cement, phosphate, and nuclear weapons manufacturing.

According to a study, 50 chemicals capable of interfering with hormones is permitted in packaging in the United States and the European Union.

The American Chemistry Council significantly ramped up its lobbying efforts in 2012, spending more than double its total for any quarter in recent history.
Federal researchers took samples from 25 U.S. utilities from around the nation who voluntarily participated in the study, providing samples of treated and untreated water. Disturbingly, 18 of the chemicals found are not regulated under the Safe Water Drinking Act, meaning utility companies are not required to treat, limit, or even monitor for their presence.
Millions of Americans have been exposed since 2004 to drinking water that did not meet at least one commonly used government health guideline intended to help protect people from cancer or serious disease.
“The good news is the concentrations are generally pretty low,” said USGS research hydrologist Dana Kolpin, PhD. to Environmental Health News. “But,” he continued “there’s still the unknown. Are there long-term consequences of low-level exposure to these chemicals?”
While there is a paucity of data on some of the contaminants, regulated chemicals such as atrazinemetolachlortriclosan found in drinking water samples have been demonstrably linked to serious human and environmental health problems. Atrazine, for example, is used nationwide to kill broadleaf and grassy weeds, primarily in corn crops. It has been shown to be harmful to humans, mammals, and amphibians even when the amount used is less than the government allows. Atrazine is also associated with infertility, low birth weight, and abnormal infant development in humans. The chemical’s use is widespread, but for agriculture its use in concentrated in the Midwest farmbelt.

There are 700 new chemicals introduced into commerce each year in the United States alone. Many of these chemicals induce cancer and other diseases in the human body, yet every year there are more disease-causing chemicals carelessly approved to further pollute our environment and water supplies.

In addition to atrazine, triclosan, caffeine, metolachlor, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and nine other perfluorinated compounds, which are used in a variety of industrial processes including production of nonstick or stain resistant products, were found in the drinking water supply. 251 chemicals, bacteria, viruses, and microbes measured were also detected in drinking water of more than a third of the 25 utilities while 113 were found less than a third of the utilities.
This study represents one of the few that documents how common emerging contaminants are in drinking water. Only four of the chemicals detected --the metal strontium, the herbicide metolachlor, PFOS and PFOA-- are now on EPA’s list of chemicals under consideration for inclusion in drinking water standards. They plan to finalize their decision for at least five contaminants on the list sometime next year.

Drinking tap water contaminated with PFOA is a serious health risk. The highest measured levels of PFOA in human blood in the US, other than factory exposures, are in people who have consumed PFOA contaminated tap water in West Virginia and Ohio. These people had PFOA levels in their blood 100 times higher than the levels found in the water, and far higher than the average person in the US.

PFOA is linked to developmental toxicity, immunotoxicity, alterations in the hormonal levels, metabolic disturbances and an elevated risk of cancer.
“We’re hoping through this work the EPA will do a much more intensive contaminant candidate list and develop new methods and requirements for drinking water plants,” said USGS scientist Edward Furlong toEnvironmental Health News.
Unfortunately, regulations that protect U.S. waterways from chemical contamination, including contamination from pesticides, have been attacked by industry groups and Congress. Under the Clean Water Act (CWA), pesticide users who spray over waterways must have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. However, all that is required is to simply let authorities know what is sprayed and when it is sprayed, so that the public may know what chemicals are used in their waterways. There is no system of enforcement in place to prevent the pollution.


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