Aromatherapy Handbook for beauty, hair and skin care
Those of you who like me are concerned about the less than natural content in our personal care products (hair, skin care, toiletries, etc) will find this book of great value.
Erich Keller starts by describing the history and essence of modern day cosmetics and moves on to talk about what was the original source of cosmetics – essential oils.
So much of what we use today is not only denuded of therapeutic grade essential oils, but replaced with synthetics that can harm us.
Keller’s book gives people an alternative to this.
You’ll find:
  • information on the key ingredients found in natural cosmetics.
  • dealing with different skin types and hair types
  • recipes for skin care, aromatic baths, hair care and natural perfumes.
The format of the book makes it easy to use and refer back to.
All in all you’ll get great benefits from this book if you’re the kind of person interested in making their own grooming products.

Buy the book

Till next time
Cheers
Anthony

Sugar: the poison we ignore

Sugar crystals on a ruler.Photo by Lauri Andler, Wikimedia Commons

Sugar crystals on a ruler.
Photo by Lauri Andler, Wikimedia Commons

The other day, I heard on the news of a study from researchers at the University of Adelaide, into the effects of soft drink consumption on the dental health of children. The study (carried out on 16,800 Australian children) found that children who consumed 3 or more sweet drinks a day had 46% more decayed or missing teeth. The study calls for more warnings to be put on beverages and foods of the risk of excess sugar consumption. But I wonder if this really goes far enough. The study also found that the greatest consumption of these sugary drinks was from lowest income families.

The hidden sugar
The other and perhaps greater risk to our health is the sugar in our diets we aren’t aware of. Forget the cakes, biscuits and confectionary, I’m talking about the rest of the foods that we buy from our supermarket and the sugar that’s added to a lot of our junk food and take-away/drive-through conveniences. Now, I don’t know about you but if some barista or coffee shop was to stick one, two or more spoonfuls of sugar into my tea or coffee without asking me, I’d be a VERY upset customer. So why is this stuff being put into our food and beverages without asking us? Simple. It creates a craving in our brains; brings us back for more. So much of food science is now dedicated into how to draw a consumer into buying a food or coming back again and again.

Are taxes the answer?
Predictably there are calls for taxes to be put on these types of food and beverages. In Britain, a paper published by the group Sustain, calls for a levy to be placed on sugary beverages. This is backed by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. In Australia there have been calls for a ‘fat’ tax on high fat foods. I remain skeptical of such taxes. Just looking at the impact of taxes on alcoholic beverages and tobacco, one sees that it doesn’t have much impact on the demand for these items. All they do is increase the government coffers and keeps people complacent, that something has been done about the problem, when in fact little has. You see taxes on things like sugary beverages, fatty foods or tobacco don’t address the addictive nature of these substances.

Ultimately I believe that something like sugar needs to be taken right out of our food supply. But until the thick skulls in our regulatory bodies and governments act, it’s up to us as individuals to learn as much as we can about the dangers and act – for ourselves – and our children; who let’s face it don’t understand that sugar is hurting them.

Read the rest of this entry

Happy holidays!!!

We’ve been off air since November, but certainly not idle. Here are some topics we covered in Wellbeing magazine’s blog that may be of interest to you:

The wonders of peppermint oil  We look at some of the amazing uses for Peppermint oil.

The benefits of citrus essential oils The citrus oils – grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange and tangerine – are pretty potent. They contain a compound – Limonene – that is showing much promise against tumors.

Essential oils for the summer Ok, probably of more use to those of you in the southern hemisphere, but for those of you who are, there are some great tips.

We wish you all the very best for the festive season. We will be back in the New Year

Take care

Cheers

Anthony

Book review: The Courageous State

In this article we return to the theme of the “healthy society” that I first wrote about in April this year. At the same time it’s also a review of a book and a website.
For the past year, I’ve been following the blog posts of Richard Murphy on Tax Research UK and just recently I finished reading his book The Courageous State. For me this book and his posts have been (and continue to be) a real eye-opener. I’ve left the info on Richard to the very end as I want to focus on his website and book. First, let me talk about his website: Tax Research UK

Tax Research UK
This website has now been ranked as the No 1 economics blog in the U.K.. Please don’t be put off by the words “economics” and “tax research”. There’s a very good reason this site was ranked No 1. Richard’s posts are less about economic theory and more about action.
The key theme in his posts are that governments have more than enough money to look after the needs of their people; that the key problem is that the wealthiest corporations and individuals on the planet are using the world’s financial and taxation systems to their own advantage and paying little or no tax. This is having a deleterious  effect on the finances of many nations and ultimately the livelihoods of millions of people. For example, in the European Union the tax gap (the gap between what is owed in taxes and what is actually paid) is estimated to be about €1 trillion.[1] When you consider that governments in Europe are forcing their populations to go through austerity measures, this is crazy stuff folks. In the U.K. the tax gap is estimated to be £120 billion.[2] And there likewise the Cameron government has imposed austerity measures and cut-back extensively on the public sector.

It’s issues such as this that Richard Murphy tackles in his daily posts. Many of his posts are like ‘cruise missiles’ aimed straight at the politicians, authorities and key figures in the financial sector. And he is clearly making himself heard in Britain and around the world, with a recent member’s bill (Michael Meacher) being introduced into Parliament – written by Richard Murphy – and aimed at curbing massive tax avoidance. The accounting concept of country-by-country reporting, aimed at creating more transparency in the financial affairs of multi-national corporations, was created by Richard Murphy. This concept is presently being considered by the E.U., the OECD and International Accounting Standards board among others.

Here is a taste of some of his writing:

Read the rest of this entry

Beware of energy drinks

A friend of mine recently brought this story (Anais’s tragedy: calls for restrictions on energy drinks after teenager’s death), from the Sydney Morning Herald, to my attention (thanks Rose), which I felt prompted to share with as many people as possible.

The cause of 14 year old Anais’s death was heart arrhythmia and while she had been previously diagnosed with a heart disorder, this was aggravated from caffeine toxicity. And the source of her caffeine toxicity has been linked to a Monster energy drink.

“Anais Fournier was hanging out with friends at a shopping centre one Friday, sipping on a large Monster energy drink. She followed it with another the next day.” 
Note, Anais did not binge on these drinks. A week later, she was dead. The family are now suing the producer of Monster Energy. And this is not an isolated incident, as the Herald article points out:
“… the US Food and Drug Administration revealed it had received five death reports in the past year that said the victims had consumed Monster drinks, which are billed as a “killer energy brew” on the company’s website…”

“Killer energy brew” indeed. And in the U.S., the number of emergency room incidents that involve energy drinks has risen from 1128 to 13,114 between 2005 and 2009.

In the United States, producers of energy drinks are apparently not required to disclose caffeine quantities in their beverages, as they are categorized as wait for it…Dietary supplements. So in some of these energy drinks, the caffeine content can be seven times the amount found in soft drinks like Coca-Cola. Predictably there are calls to regulate these energy drinks and have better labelling.

What about in Australia? While the Australian beverage industry has been quick to point out that energy drinks are strictly regulated with proper labelling and limits on the amount of caffeine, not all are convinced of their complete safety.

There have been calls from the Australian Medical Association for better regulations on these drinks. A study co-authored by cardiologist, Prof Chris Semsarian of the University of Sydney, has found that caffeine added from substances such as Guarana meant the quantity of caffeine in these energy drinks can be as high as 500 mg. To put that in perspective, that’s roughly 5 times the amount of caffeine found in a standard cup of coffee. Another study from the Australian Medical Journal found that between 2004 and 2010 there were as many as 297 calls to the Poisons hotline, relating to energy drinks.

To make matters worse, we also have the case where these energy drinks are being mixed with alcohol. Stimulants plus Depressants? Not a good combination.

My personal feeling is that we don’t really need these drinks. The best thing to drink after a night on the town is wait for it….Water!!!!!

I have included some follow up reading on this issue. My advice to you if you have kids who consume these types of drinks (or perhaps you use them yourself) is GET EDUCATED. Read up on it ASAP. Don’t put your faith in the makers of these beverages. Find out what exactly is in their drinks and beverages and how this might affect their health.

Till next time
Cheers
Anthony
Further Reading:
Beware of energy drinks, Prof. Chris Semsarian, Australian Genetic Heart Disease Registry

Essential oil perfumes and after-shaves

Just wrote a post on Wellbeing’s blog – Making essential oil perfumes – in which I show you how I can replace dangerous synthetic perfumery with essential oil blends, and I give you some tips on how you can make these.

Till next time

Cheers

Anthony

Making up essential oil blends

Just wrote a short post on Wellbeing’s blog –  The magic of essential oil blends – in which I describe the benefits of blends and how you can actually create your own essential oil blends.

Till Next Time

Cheers

Anthony

The benefits of coconut water

Fresh, young green coconuts are the ones you want for the water.

Back in June, I wrote about the super-food that are Ningxia Wolfberries. This week I want to introduce you to another super-food, which I first got to try when I was in India – Coconuts. Much has been written about coconut oil and fat/milk; most of it bad, thanks to the Canola industry in large I suspect. Coconut oil is probably one of the best oils you can have along-side olive oil. Most vegetable oils (including olive oil) when heated at high temperatures (as in frying) actually breaks down into some nasty compounds. Coconut oil doesn’t, so it’s actually the best oil to use for cooking. In Sanskrit, coconut is referred to as Kalp Vriksha, which basically means a tree that gives everything that is needed for life. However I digress. In this post I want to tell you about Coconut water. If you wish to learn more about Coconut oil check out mercola.com. You will find plenty of information there.
Coconut water is the next best thing to drinking plain water. It is the clear liquid you get from a young green coconut ( from the brown, hairy mature coconut you make the milk from the flesh). You can either drink it directly from the coconut or buy the water in packs. There are a number of producers, now putting coconut water into the supermarkets and juice stalls, e.g. Vita-coco in the States and H2Coco and Nudie in Australia. But be careful, some producers of coconut water, add loads of sugar (and God knows what else). Trust me you don’t need the extra sugar. Coconut water is a refreshing beverage that doesn’t need other things added.

 

So what’s so special about coconut water?

  • It’s 99% fat-free
  • Loaded with calcium, potassium and magnesium
  • Low in sugar (so watch out for those adding sugar)
  • Loaded with vitamins and minerals including zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfur, manganese, boron, molybdenum, ascorbic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pyridoxine, and folates.
  • Composed of numerous enyzmes that assist in digestion and metabolism, e.g. acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, diastase and peroxidise.
  • Apparently it’s very similar to blood plasma. Injured soldiers from WW2 in the Pacific were given coconut water as a substitute, when supplies of blood plasma were short.(1)
  • Treatment of de-hydration and heat-stroke.(2)

Coconut water also contains Cyto-kinins, a plant hormone that regulates cell growth and aging in plant cells. Testing has shown that this hormone has a similar effect on human cells and tissue. Apparently the lifespan of the cell isn’t extended much, however the treated cells when they reach the end appear like cells half their age. (3) Research is still on-going in this area, but you can see the possibilities for things like wrinkles, sagging and aging spots. But more than that, normal cells are kept healthy and free from de-generation, so there is the possibility of something that may prevent the development and spread of cancerous cells.
There are other areas of research surrounding coconut water that show promise (4), including:

  • Improved blood circulation
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Clearing up bladder infections
  • Removal of kidney stones

Over a year ago, a relation of mine who has problems with blood pressure and cholesterol, returned from India, had a blood test. The doctor was amazed at the improvements she found in the results. The only thing we could pin the improvement to, was that my relative drank two coconuts a day while staying in India.

There is debate as to whether coconut water is a suitable replacement for commercial sports drinks. As a way of re-hydrating people suffering illnesses such as cholera and dysentery, coconut water has been very effective. But it could be argued that this is a different condition to an athlete restoring his mineral and electrolyte balance after strenuous exercise. Commercial sports drinks, it’s argued, are especially formulated for this type of thing. On the other hand you have to wonder about the sugar and other additives that go into a lot of sports drinks.
However for most people, I feel coconut water certainly makes a very healthy change to the fruit juices and artificially flavoured beverages out on the market.
Till next time
Cheers
Anthony

Sources:
(1) Drinking Coconut Water, by Maryanne Holm, May 30, 2011
(2)(3)(4) Coconut water: dew from the heavens, by Bruce Fife, N.D.  Survival rates for victims of cholera, increased by 97% when given coconut water.

Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.

How do we create a healthy society?

I don’t know about you folks, but I’m both tired and angry at what I see as the rapaciousness of many corporations around the world, and the apparent ineptitude of governments in dealing with this. On a daily basis we are seeing workers denied pay rises or thrown out of jobs while their CEOs vote themselves enormous bonuses or pay increments. [1] We see environments being destroyed and the rights of indigenous peoples being trampled on. And we see our health and wellbeing being constantly compromised by poor food, medicine and products, all in the name of the mighty dollar. We are then told that this is a part of capitalism we should all accept and move on. After all what’s the alternative? We see governments raising taxes and cutting public expenditures. And we are told that this is for the ‘health’ of the economy – supposed economic rationalism. Again there is this expectation that we should accept this as part of our way of life living in modern market economies. But is this truly the case or is it simply that alternatives aren’t openly discussed or highlighted in the mainstream media ?

This article is a little off the topic of essential oils or even health issues (Ok, maybe a lot. 🙂  ) But then for me the issue of health has always been more than just our physical wellbeing. There’s also our emotional, mental and spiritual health to consider. A society of individuals that enjoy good health all-round (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) will likely make for a healthy society. But conversely if our social institutions are sick, they will tend to propagate sickness (in all its forms) within us too.  As a concerned human I find myself asking “What are the hallmarks of a healthy society?” This article I hope will go some ways to getting you all thinking that it’s not all hopeless; that there are alternatives out there and lots of great ideas that can get us through this turbulent period in history.

The One Gift

Just recently I finished reading this marvellous book – The One Gift – Gary Young’s first novel.

The story is set in the Arabian peninsula around 3000 years ago at the time of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. It highlights the frankincense,  myrrh and precious spice trade as it existed back then; while the story itself revolves around Shutran, a merchant and caravan commander, and his family.
Shutran and the men working with him must transport the precious frankincense through some of the most difficult terrain in the world, and in the novel, you get a great sense of the dangers involved: giant sandstorms, desert bandits, pirates, black scorpions and worst of all – treachery. So there’s plenty of adventure and action in this story.
But I felt that this was so much more than just a great adventure story – there’s a lot of heart and wisdom in it too. Shutran is a true leader, a man of honour and integrity, respected and even loved by the men under his command. So much so, that he wins the respect of kings and queens. I reckon there is a lot that modern leaders could learn from him. And Shutran it turns out is also a great father and husband.
It’s also a very spiritual novel and we see in many instances how Shutran uses his intuition and his faith in the spirit to get him and his men through many a danger.
The novel has some great illustrations, but best of all I loved the large map of the Arabian peninsula that you get with the book. I think it’s a well researched novel. In fact I get the feeling from reading The One Gift, that this might have been a past life for Gary Young. Who knows?
In past posts, I’ve talked about the value placed in Frankincense by the Ancients. I think The One Gift does a great job of conveying the value the ancient people placed in this spice and how civilizations were shaped around this amazing tree and its resin (See our previous posts: Frankincense: Treasure for the ancient world, hope for the modern, Part One and Two ).
Till next time,
Cheers
Anthony
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