By Natural Advocate | May 29, 2011 - 9:31 pm - Posted in Natural and Herbal Treatments

You’ll have to excuse this posting. I’m a little “under the influence” of several slightly naturaly intoxicating essential oils at the moment. You almost can’t help but get them on your fingers. They linger in the air when you work with them, and they bring you back to memories that you’d thought you had long forgotten. 

Lavendar is the one I’m working with now. It is an extremely potent essential oil. It’s one of the most used and multi purpose essential oils today.  There’s a good reason for that too.  It is a great anxiety reliever as it helps to calm the nerves, and it is being used also for helping lift depression and blue moods, as well as for helping relax the nerves and get ready for bed.

It also happens to have some great anti bacterial and anti microbial properties, just as a lot of other pure essential oils have.  Lavendar is very strongly scented though. You only need a little of the potent essential oil to scent something.

I just found out the hard way that the lavendar scent tends to take over every other scent in a scented concoction. I was trying to make a heady wooden herbal scented mixture. I thought it could use a slight lavendar smell to it.  I’m new to this by the way, and loving it. It’s really fun to experiment with aromatherapy.

I put one tiny little drop in their with my little measuring dropper. I had already put about twenty drops of other scents in the mixture, mind you. Once I put the one drop of lavendar essential oil in the mixture, it all smelled like straight lavendar – it’s that strong. 

Lavendar definitely has a calming effect. It almost makes you a bit loopy if you inhale it to directly and deeply.  Parents can even use lavendar infusions to relax their children before bedtime.  It’s a safe essential oil and herb to use for multiple purposes.

By Natural Advocate | May 27, 2011 - 8:38 pm - Posted in Cognitive and Focus

When it comes to focus, I’m an all or none kind of woman.  I don’t have the luxury of being able to focus at the drop of a hat, and I do tend to get silly and lose focus when I’m stressed out or over tired, which renders me basically an idiot who is unable to concentrate or think critically.

I think that moments of focus-deficit happen to us all, whether we have been diagnosed with chronic “ADD or ADHD” or not.  We all have times where we could use a little help in focusing and getting things done (like using herbs for focus), so that we can actually accomplish our goals and become more effective human beings. 

Some or the ways that I know help me personally to stay focused and on track are to make sure I get a workout in as often as I can, which means at least 4 days a week for me.  Just the simple act of working out helps me to get any excess anger and frustration out of me, leaving more room for peace, tranquility, and yes – concentration and focus.

I find that when I go through periods where I don’t work out as often as I should, my attention span really takes a dive.  This is also true when I’m not getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep seems to really zap any chances that I can focus and accomplish goals.

One thing you really need to be mindful of in this day and age is keeping your smart device use to a minimum if you are trying to focus on anything and get it done. Smart phones, Blackberries, iPhones and the like are actually responsible for a lot of stolen attention, and they have created a generation of short attention spanners who are always breaking away to look at their latest emails, text and updates.

While this type of technology is obviously a boon to our society, it can also be a curse when it comes to distractions from focus. 

If you’re having difficulty concentrating, there are some great herbs for focus that can help you to stay fastened to one subject for longer by interacting with your nervous system and brain to create a better emotional state for concentration.  Couldnt’ tell you exactly how they work, but herbal remedies for ADD and increased concentration have been well reviewed by many.

Stress can also inhibit focus by distracting you from the tasks at hand, and making it so that you cannot focus for any length of time on one particular issue or piece of work. While stress in lower levels actually spurs us to perform at higher levels, too much stress has the opposite effect, and makes us less effective people.

Not suprisingly, those that don’t like their jobs or are bored by it find it very hard to focus. It may be time to consider a job change if you find yourself totally unable to dedicate any meaningful amount of time concentrating on the tasks you have at your job. It probably is a sign you’re ready for bigger better things!

By Natural Advocate | May 25, 2011 - 9:41 pm - Posted in Natural Pain Relief

If there is one thing I’ve learned after years of suffering from car accident-inflicted back, shoulder and neck pain, it’s that I definitely need a great mattress at night and proper spinal alignment when I’m sitting or in bed at night, to maintain a level of comfort and ideally, totally prevent the pain from setting in.

Back injuries and back pain are one of the most common complaints when it comes to chronic, every day pain. Joint pain is a close second, but many of us thankfully are spared from joint pain and joint health problems until we are in our later years. Both back pain which starts in the muscle tissue and joint pain are no picnic though.

I’ve found one of the best ways to make sure I’m aligned at night and wake up feeling like I’m not going to break in half is to put a pillow under my knees if I’m laying on my back, and to also have a body length pillow if I’m sleeping on my side. The body length pillow is very helpful for sleeping on the side.

This is because a body pillow aligns your spine when you put it between your legs. It brings the knees in alignment with one another, and doesn’t making it so you’re knocking knees and throwing your spine out of alignment. Oh, it’s also great for us ladies to prevent that pesky wrinkle between your breasts that appears in the morning when you’ve been laying on your side all night (which by the way an turn into a permanent wrinkle).

You just have to make sure you put the pillow up there between them and you’ll find that line never appears in the morning from the compression. Trust me, I do it, and the wrinkle is no longer there, and hopefully will never become a permanent fixture on my body.

There are also special pillows sold, which I own, that actually mold to your body. When you lay on them, they kind of contour around your neck and head and support it with just the right amount of pressure. It’s the memory foam ones. They’re about thirty bucks a pop, but they last a long time and they really do support your head and neck like nothing else I’ve ever tried. 

You can even flip them onto a larger ridge for when you are laying on your back and need a more severe “bump” to lay on, and a less severe ridge for when you are sleeping on your side.  These are ways that you can help prevent that nagging, throbbing back and neck pain that seem to come when you aren’t sleeping in the right positions. So at least you can start your day out right!

By Natural Advocate | May 23, 2011 - 8:50 am - Posted in Nutritional Supplements

Probiotics, by definition, are live microorganisms that are beneficial to the host organism.  The most common type of probiotics are lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria but there are also some yeasts and bacilli.  Food sources that are the most common for probiotic consumption are yogurts, soy yogurts and dietary supplements.

Specific medical reasons for consuming probiotics are for atopic diseases, urogenital infections, relief of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases and prevention of diarrhea that is pathogen induced.  They also keep candida in check, and ensure you do not get yeast imbalances.

You don’t have to have a disease process to consume probiotics and benefit from them.  They work well to keep healthy people’s immune systems strong, so we all can stay healthy.  

Probiotics can help by creating a more acidic environment in the digestive tract which helps to inhibit the reproduction of pathogens.  A number of different kinds of probiotics produce natural substances that decrease the disease causing organisms in your body. 

For optimum immunity, your digestive tract is an important part of your body’s defenses.  Most of the bacteria in our body occur in the digestive tract and these are actually beneficial to our immune system.

Research done on probiotics shows that many of them function to aid mucus membranes and immune cells working together to fight off infection.  In a German study, scientists found that the consumption of probiotic supplements decreased the duration of colds by 2 days. 

Because most Americans eat highly processed foods, there is little fiber in their systems for probiotics to feed on.  This, in turn, is causing deficits of probiotics in their systems.  With an increase in fiber to your diet, the probiotics that naturally occur in your gut will thrive and protect you better against disease. 

Inversely, the more you increase processed foods and sugars in your diet, the less the probiotics in your body, leaving your immune system weakened.  Some herbal colon cleansing products help to not only cleanse out old waste, but also to replenish the probiotics in the intestines that keep the colon and intestines healthy and functioning well.

By Natural Advocate | May 21, 2011 - 7:26 pm - Posted in Natural Anti Aging

Here is the second part to our two parter article about staying in great shape and great health past the age of fifty, which far too many people think is a nearly impossible task.  There are many misconceptions that you need to slow down when you age, and frankly I think that’s why so many people lapse into failing health past fifty.

You can cross train and do some swimming or cycling on alternate days with running.  Many people think it is an absolute fact that menopause will be miserable.  This is, of course, not always the case as about 25% of women have no symptoms and another group of women have just mild to moderate discomforts.  For women who experience unbearable symptoms of menopause, there are some excellent herbal remedies for menopause.

Another mistaken attitude on life past age 50 is the certainty that you’ll start to develop spinal curvature and a hump.  This only occurs if you have osteoporosis causing collapsing vertebrae.  A diet rich in calcium and weight bearing exercises can be done to prevent the onset of osteoporosis.

Some people think that sex just will no longer occur as you age.  As long as you accept your body as it changes with age and are educated about it, you and your partner can continue to have a good, fulfilling sex life. 

Many people think if they have not exercised prior to age 50, it’s too late to start.  The fact is it is never too late to start and lots of research shows the many benefits of starting and maintaining an exercise routine. This will lower blood pressure and cholesterol, help you sleep better and decrease stress.

It is important to check with your doctor first before starting a fitness routine to be on the safe side, but only if you have known conditions that can be affected by exercising too strenuously.  There is an idea that is true about aging and that is that most adults lose about a half a pound of muscle per year after age 20.  This can absolutely be reversed, however, through strength training.  Checking with your doctor first, again, is important.

Weight gain does occur more readily with the aging process.  This can be avoided by increasing your fitness program duration and watching your diet more closely.  It is not inevitable that there will be an instant decline in all body systems after age 50.  Certainly, it’s possible to enjoy life’s activities and good health through your 50’s, 60’s and beyond with an honest effort on your part.

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