Monthly Archives: November 2012
This powerful supplement has been used for hundreds of years for the use of removing harmful toxins, poisons, bacteria, parasites and other pathogens from the body. Ancient Egyptians, Native Americans, and even the father of modern medicine himself, Hippocrates, frequently used activated charcoal for the treatment of many serious health conditions. Health Canada has had a tight grip on the distribution of activated charcoal until very recently, however, it has been widely used in the United States for many years.
The surface area of the activated charcoal is riddled with small pores that absorb substances like a spunge. Most activated charcoal is made by heating coconut shells in the absence of air, which transforms it into a form of carbon, an element that is the basis of all living matter. Once it has become carbonized it is then heated with oxygen in order for it to become activated. It has a dark black colour with a light powdery texture. When taken internally it absorbs impurities, toxins, poisons, harmful bacteria, and parasites as it passes through the entire digestive tract and is then eliminated through the bowels.
The main concern to have when using activated charcoal is that it can remove important nutrients from the body and can interfere with the use of some medications. For this reason I do not recommend using this supplement on a regular basis, but rather only use it when trying to pull harmful substances from the body, such as in the case of food poisoning. Other possible uses for activated charcoal include the treatment of drug overdoses, heavy metal toxicity, and venomous bites. It can also be applied externally to the skin in the case of skin infections, bee stings, venomous bites, etc. You can even mix some of the powder with a bit of water and swish it around your mouth to whiten your teeth, prevent cavities, remove harmful bacteria from the mouth and treat other dental issues. When using this supplement in the case of food poisoning, also be sure to follow-up this treatment with the use of a good quality probiotic.
For those living in the lower mainland of British Columbia, Swiss Naturals makes an Activated Charcoal product that can be purchased at any of the Alive Health Centre locations in Vancouver or the Fraser Valley.
We all hate the dreaded cold and flu season that usually comes as the seasons change. Many of us will do whatever it takes to prevent catching a cold since we all live in such a fast paced world, and who has time to be sick! If you want to remain free of the common cold this season then I suggest stocking your cabinet with some essential herbs incase symptoms start to appear!
My favourite herb that I use to protect myself from catching a cold is oil of oregano. This powerful herb has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, first beginning in Greece and refered to as “joy of the mountains.” Oil of oregano encourages the body to produce more white blood cells which destroys harmful bacteria and viruses. It has also been known to protect against free radical damage with powerful antioxidant capabilities, as well as maintaining external tissues and membranes as a physical barrier to infection. Oil of oregano is also anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, and anti-inflammatory. More research also shows that this herb helps to lower bad cholesterol and has anti-cancer properties.
Oil of oregano is also suitable for a wide variety of people; unlike echinacea since this herb should never be used by anyone with an autoimmune condition because it can cause the immune system to go into overdrive and attack its self. For this reason oil of oregano can be a much safer herb to take, as well as much more effective since echinacea is only useful during the first two days of developing symptoms. Beyond this short window echinacea has been shown to be ineffective, whereas oil of oregano can continue help to support the immunity and protect the body against developing a cold.
When using oil of oregano it is important to start treatment as soon as symptoms start to develop and to continue use a few days after symptoms start to subside. You can also take oil of oregano to help protect yourself from catching a cold, even if symptoms are not present. Take five drops under the tongue three times a day, and be warned that this herb can be quite spicy flavoured until you get used to it. Oil of oregano can also be used for pets and children at roughly a little less than half of the recommended dose of an adult. Refer to the directions on the side of the bottle or inquire with your pharmacist or veterinarian if you have any concerns.
For centuries grains have been considered an important source of food and has been a major part of many ancient cultures, including the Aztecs of Mexico. Today most people consume highly refined and processed grains with very little nutritional value. In some cases synthetic nutrients need to be added back into breads in order for these products to be considered a food because the nutritional value is so poor. There are a few great alternative grains for the popular whole wheat and white breads that dominate the food industry today.
Whole wheat flour is made from the hard, whole wheat berry and contains more than 40 nutrients in its pure, unprocessed state. White flour has had the outer covering (bran) and heart of the kernel (wheat germ) removed. It is often bleached, fumigated with chemicals, and has synthetic nutrients added back into it. Similar to the whole wheat and white flour, oat and barley flour also contain the protein gluten. Brown rice and corn bread are common alternatives to gluten breads, however brown rice is poor for baking bread and corn is often genetically modified.
The grain, quinoa, is a superfood that has thrived in the high altitudes of the American Andes for thousands of years. It has been refered to as “the mother grain” by the ancient Incas of Peru, and in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) quinoa is known to strengthen the kidneys yang, the warming and energizing function of the body. Quinoa is also one of the finest sources of protein in the entire vegetable kingdom. Another ancient grain, Amaranth, was not only grown and eaten by the Aztecs of Mexico, it was also a major part of their religious ceremonies. It is higher in protein than wheat, rice and corn and is also high in the essential amino acid L-Lysine. Millet is a grain that is high in B vitamins, is the most alkaline of other grains, and is the most easily digested. Amaranth, quinoa and millet are all grains that do not contain gluten and add great flavour to a variety of dishes.
Incorporating nutrient rich whole grains can work as a great foundation to a healthy diet. When using whole grains in your diet, always be sure to soak grains overnight and rinse with water before each use in order to increase the bioavailability of nutrients.