Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

By Andrea_44 from Leamington, Ontario , Canada – Lemon Balm, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54215765

Lemon Balm, also known as Melissa, balm, balm mint, or common balm that is an herbaceous and perennial plant of the mint family. The plant is used in herbal remedies, teas, perfumes, and as flavoring. It is also known as bee attractant because it is used to attract bees when creating a hive for honey production. Melissa is Greek for honey bee.

Lemon balm is used for digestive problems, including upset stomach, bloating, intestinal gas (flatulence), vomiting, and colic; for pain, including menstrual cramps, headache and toothache; and for mental disorders, including hysteria and melancholia.

Many people believe lemon balm has calming effects, so they take it for anxiety, sleep problems, and restlessness. Lemon balm is also used for Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), an autoimmune disease involving the thyroid (Graves’ disease), swollen airways, rapid heartbeat due to nervousness, high blood pressure, sores, tumors, and insect bites.

Lemon Balm contains the flavonoids, quercitrin and rhamnocitrin; the 7-glucosides, apigenin, kaempferol, quercetin, and luteolin; phenolic acids and tannins; rosmarinic acid and glycosidically bound caffeic and chlorogenic acids; and the triterpenes, ursolic and oleanolic acids.

Lemon balm leaf is full of quercetin, which is a naturally occurring chemical compound produced by the body to prevent allergies. People with allergies do not produce enough quercetin.

Research on Benefits of Lemon Balm

Anxiety: when taken in combination with other herbs can reduce anxiety symptoms.

Colic in Breast-Fed Infants: when combined with fennel and German chamomile reduced crying time.

Dementia: supplementing lemon balm by mouth three times a day has proven to improve symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

Herpes Simplex viral infections: lemon balm lip balm has proven effective at shorten healing time and reduce symptoms and recurring infections.

Insomnia: lemon balm supplementation twice daily has shown improvement in sleep in people with sleep disorders.

Stress: research shows that taking a single dose of lemon balm reduces anxiety, improves memory, and increases alertness. Has been proven to reduce child anxiety when visiting the dentist. Low doses are best, higher doses have been known to increase anxiety.

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Steam distilled from the fresh aerial parts of the Melissa plant, USDA Certified Organic Melissa Essential Oil is revered amongst oil users. This high-quality Organic Melissa Essential Oil is 100% pure and undiluted with absolutely no additives or fillers.

When you open a bottle of Organic Melissa your senses will be taken over by the fresh, lemony scent that is uplifting and calming during times of gloom and extreme worry. Only a small amount is necessary to enjoy its incredible therapeutic properties.

Organic Melissa can help ease occasional digestive upset, help calm the mind in order to fall asleep more peacefully and relieve tension in the head or neck.

Add 1 drop of Organic Melissa Essential Oil to your Plant Therapy Aroma Diffuser, personal inhaler, or diffuser necklace to create a peaceful atmosphere that can help reduce worry or calm the mind during times of emotional gloom.

Dilute at a maximum of 1% with your favorite Plant Therapy carrier oil and rub on the abdomen in a clockwise motion when occasional digestive upset occurs.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemon_balm
  2. https://www.planttherapy.com/melissa-organic-essential-oil?v=1902&gclid=Cj0KCQiAzKnjBRDPARIsAKxfTRAHe1B7Fsi_m8cKZ7ZpxC_0wwFZF69A8ujeenAU95lwmB75tdeLt0EaAk3fEALw_wcB
  3. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-437/lemon-balm
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/melissa-officinalis
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871149/
  6. https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=MEOF2
  7. https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Melissa+officinalis
  8. https://www.medicinenet.com/lemon_balm_melissa_officinalis-oral/article.htm
  9. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2018/7860456/
  10. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7144806_Lemon_balm_Melissa_officinalis_L_an_evidence-based_systematic_review_by_the_Natural_Standard_Research_Collaboration
  11. https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=32565#null
  12. http://www.fao.org/3/X5043E/x5043E0i.htm

Why It’s Impossible to Lose 1lb of Fat in 1 Day

Body fat is called adipose tissue and is composed of cell membranes, triglycerides (fats), fluids (water, blood, lymph, etc), and proteins (used for breaking down fat for energy). Therefore, body fat has an estimated calorie count of 3200-3800 kcal (depending on your body), while pure fat has approximately 4100 kcal.

Calories, counted as 1 kcal = 1000 cal, are the chemical energy our bodies derive from food. So, 1 pound of fat = 454 grams. Pure fat = 8.7-9.5 kcal/g (rounded to 9 kcal/g).

So, if you consume 2500 to 3500 kcal daily, how can you lose 3200 kcal in a day?

You can’t! This is where diet clinics and pill pushers are lying to you!

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No matter what, you cannot remove one pound (3200 kcal) from your body in one day without liposuction. The average body could not even burn that many calories in a day, unless they are Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who consumes around 6000 kcal/day.

When you DO lose that one pound in one day, it is water. The first thing diet or detox pills do is flush the system, meaning all your stored water is removed. This not only dehydrates you, but it completely changes how your cells function, causing them to retain more weight (fat).

This also does not consider the way your body reacts to calorie restrictions when dieting. This effect is called adaptive thermogenesis. Which is when your body slows its metabolism and retains fat when calorie consumption is reduced. Or when calorie consumption increases, metabolism increases.

The same thing happens when you stop exercising and begin losing muscle mass. Loss of muscle mass leads to slowing of the metabolism and burning fewer calories. Muscle tissue consumes more calories than fat tissue. The more muscle mass you retain the more calories you burn every day.

We’ve learned that no matter what you cannot lose one pound of fat in one day, unless you’re getting liposuction, of course. If your dietician, weight loss program, or diet pill promises you such don’t believe it. Stop using it, stop doing it, and find something more natural and honest.

For more helpful articles, visit Mother Gaia’s Blog archive here.

 

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/calories-in-a-pound-of-fat
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/calories/art-20048065
  3. https://www.rd.com/health/diet-weight-loss/how-many-calories-in-a-pound/
  4. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/news/exclusive0612.shtml
  5. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/3500-calories-one-pound-fat-calorie-burn_n_2806578
  6. https://www.getmealplans.com/blog/2016/02/22/have-you-ever-seen-pound-fat-photo/

May Chang (Litsea cubeba)

 

May Chang (Litsea cubeba)

Bright, lemony, and energizing, May Chang is most commonly known for its usefulness in dealing with skin problems. May Chang has uplifting properties, and it has a strong effect on promoting mental and physical well-being.

Blends Well With: Bergamot, Citronella, Clove Bud, Geranium Egyptian, Ginger Root CO2, Grapefruit Pink, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Marjoram Sweet, Orange Sweet, Petitgrain and Rosemary 1,8-Cineole.

Benefits of May Chang Essential Oil

  • In massage treatments, May Chang can act as a digestive and liver tonic, particularly useful in abdominal massage.
  • May Chang can also help to clear the head and refresh the mind and spirit, soothing and restoring frayed nerves.
  • When used in a diffuser, this oil has uplifting qualities. It is known for lowering blood pressure and relieving stress without causing drowsiness. It can also promote overall physical and mental well-being.
  • May Chang has natural insect repellent qualities. It can be blended into body lotion, shampoo, or liquid body wash to help repel mosquitoes. Adding a couple drops to a candle and placing it outdoors will help keep pests away.
  • This oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties making it popular for use in skin care products. It is useful for preventing the growth of bacteria that can cause acne. Some people use it to treat eczema and similar skin conditions.
  • As an astringent, it is used to eliminate excess skin oil and shrink enlarged pores. It may also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help clear up skin irritation. Users should always dilute the oil before applying it to the skin. This skin tonic is said to leave skin feeling silky-smooth and refreshed.
  • This oil is known to have a stimulant action on the digestive system and can even help in case of poor appetite. The blend of May Chang oil and a carrier oil is perfect for massage over the stomach to improve digestive tract function.
  • Combined with a carrier oil on throat, chest, neck and back provides instant relief from respiratory infections. This essential oil even helps in quieting down coughs and improving cold too.

References:

  1. https://www.planttherapy.com/may-chang-essential-oil
  2. https://www.epainassist.com/articles/uses-of-may-chang-essential-oil
  3. https://plantessentials.com.au/blogs/news/81438913-exploring-the-health-benefits-and-uses-of-may-chang-essential-oil
  4. https://lumitylife.co.uk/pages/oil-ingredient-may-chang
  5. https://www.tisserand.com/aromatherapy/may-chang-ethically-harvested-pure-essential-oil-9ml/

Worry About Toxins Not Germs

Let’s think about this for a minute. What are toxins? What are germs?

How do these two very different things dramatically affect our health?

Why must we be more concerned with toxins (toxic chemicals) than germs?

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Toxins: an antigenic poison or venom of plant or animal origin, especially one produced by or derived from microorganisms and causing disease when present at low concentration in the body. (Dictionary.com)

The term was first used by organic chemist Ludwig Brieger (1849–1919)

Toxins can be small molecules, peptides, or proteins that cause dis-ease on contact with or absorption by body tissues and interacting with biological macromolecules such as enzymes, hormones, or cellular receptors. Toxins vary greatly in their toxicity, ranging from usually minor (such as a bee sting) to almost immediately deadly (such as botulinum toxin).

When used non-technically, the term “toxin” is often applied to any toxic substance. Toxic substances not directly of biological origin are also termed poisons and many non-technical and lifestyle journalists follow this usage to refer to toxic substances in general.

In alternative medicine, the term “toxin” is typically used to refer to any substance alleged to cause ill health or dis-ease. This could range from trace amounts of potentially dangerous pesticides, hormone disrupting plastic byproducts, harmful substances produced in the body by intestinal fermentation (auto-intoxication), and food ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup (HFC), monosodium glutamate (MSG), preservatives, and aspartame.

These are the man-made toxins that I worry most about. Simply because they are not considered toxins. These chemicals are created or derived only with profit in mind, rarely are they studied for long term side effects on humans, nor is anything done if side effects are proven. Simply because it is too costly to change.

What is the cost to you?

Toxic agents (toxins) have been proven to compromise immune system function (immunosuppression).

“The study of human immunodeficiency disease syndromes reveals a clear association between the suppression or absence of an immunologic function and an increased incidence of infectious or neoplastic disease.”  [National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on Immunotoxicology. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1992.]

When the immune system is compromised or ineffective the germs are free to invade and prosper.

Germs – Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi and Protozoa

Bacteria: defined as one celled animal that receives its nutrients from its environment. This environment can be any body, human or animal. Bacteria can reproduce outside of or within the body as they cause infections. Some infections that bacteria can cause include ear infections, sore throats (tonsillitis or strep throat), cavities, and pneumonia.

Some bacteria are good for our bodies — we need them because they help keep things in balance. Good bacteria live in our intestines and help us use the nutrients in the food we eat and make waste from what’s left over. These germs are essential to our survival.

Viruses: must be inside a living cell to live, grow, and reproduce. They cannot live long outside of plant, animal, or human cells. The body the virus lives in is called its host. Viruses like streptococcus cause strep throat, while others like the varicella-zoster virus causes chicken pox.

Fungi: multicellular, plant-like organisms that love warm, damp places and get their food from the organism they are living on.  Most fungi are not harmful in healthy people. Some examples include tinea pedis or athlete’s foot and candida albicans or common yeast.

Protozoa: a one celled animal that love moisture and spread disease through water. An example would be giardia which causes intestinal distress. You can get this from drinking unfiltered or untreated river, lake, or well water.

At any moment in your day you ARE under attack by any one of the above invaders. No one is safe, no matter how much you wash and sanitize. You cannot see any of them and yet there are billions outside and within you right now. Just accept it!

These are all a part of the natural balance of nature and our immune system has evolved for this specific reason. Don’t hinder it with toxic chemicals.

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The Human Immune System

The immune system is the body’s defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade body systems and cause disease.

The immune system consists of white blood cells, the thymus, the spleen, lymph nodes, and lymph channels. It provides immunity to the body from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and tumors by producing B lymphocyte and T lymphocyte cells). Also, the immune system helps the body distinguish its own cells and tissues from foreign cells and substances. In this way, it plays a role in fighting cancer, developing autoimmunity, and rejecting transplanted organs.

In other words, our bodies are capable of destroying or engulfing invaders and protecting us from them to an extent when in optimal condition. When the body systems malfunction due to chemical overload or toxin buildup (manmade chemicals) the systems fail, and invaders prevail.

Prevention

  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands with mild soap after using the toilet and before eating.
  • Take care of your teeth. Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Eat right. A healthy, balanced diet can help prevent infections.
  • Be physically active. Staying fit is important to your overall health. Ask your doctor what activities are appropriate for you.
  • Get enough sleep. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time daily and get the same number of hours of sleep every night.
  • Manage stress. Some studies suggest that stress can hamper your immune system. Keep stress in check with massage, meditation, yoga, biofeedback or hobbies. Find what works for you.

As you see toxins in our environment are way more harmful to us than the germs we have evolved with. Take care of your health and remove some toxins today.

References:

  1. https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/germs.html
  2. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/immune.html
  3. https://www.mdpi.com/journal/toxins
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxin
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235670/
  6. https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/truth-about-toxins
  7. https://naturemed.org/how-toxins-cause-disease/
  8. https://www.medicaldaily.com/what-are-toxins-322528
  9. https://experiencelife.com/article/8-hidden-toxins-whats-lurking-in-your-cleaning-products/
  10. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/environmental-toxins-are-seen-as-posing-risks-during-pregnancy/2018/08/03/770fab98-7643-11e8-9780-b1dd6a09b549_story.html
  11. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/primary-immunodeficiency/symptoms-causes/syc-20376905
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2213035/
  13. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/substances/toxorganlisting.asp?sysid=16
  14. https://www.iol.co.za/news/toxins-that-can-weaken-immune-system-2011464
  15. http://jem.rupress.org/content/jem/201/3/321.full.pdf
  16. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18053/9-tips-to-reduce-toxins-support-your-immune-system.html

Honey vs Sugar

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Honey and sugar are the two most common sweeteners used in America today. Honey is often considered to be the healthier option. Is this true?

Honey and sugar are both carbohydrates, consisting of the two types of sugar: glucose and fructose. Both fructose and glucose are broken down quickly by the body and can cause spikes in blood sugar levels.

Table sugar is sucrose, which is made up of two molecules bonded together. When we eat table sugar, our stomach has to use its own enzymes to separate the molecules apart before we can use the sugar’s energy. Honey is quite different. The bees have added a special enzyme to the nectar that divides the sucrose into glucose and fructose — two simple sugars for our bodies can absorb directly.

The proportions of glucose and fructose in honey and sugar are different:

  • sugar is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose
  • honey contains 40 percent fructose and 30 percent glucose

The remainder of honey consists of:

  • water
  • pollen
  • vitamins
  • minerals, including magnesium and potassium
  • amino acids
  • antioxidants
  • enzymes

These additional components may be responsible for some of the health benefits of honey. Learn more about the benefits of honey here.

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Honey

Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance produced by bees and some related insects. Bees produce honey from the sugary secretions of plants (floral nectar) or from secretions of other insects (such as honeydew), by regurgitation, enzymatic activity, and water evaporation. Bees store honey in wax structures called honeycombs. The variety of honey produced by honey bees (the genus Apis) is the best-known, due to its worldwide commercial production and human consumption. Honey is collected from wild bee colonies, or from hives of domesticated bees, a practice known as beekeeping.

But honey has slightly more calories than sugar, although it is sweeter, so less may be required. Both sweeteners can lead to weight gain if overused. Also, honey is less processed than sugar as it is usually only pasteurized before use. Raw honey is also edible and contains more antioxidants and enzymes than pasteurized varieties.

Enzymes are biological molecules present in all living things, that serve a purpose of speeding up chemical reactions, like digestion. The following three enzymes are the most commonly found in raw honey: diastase (amylase), invertase, and glucose oxidase.

Diastase speeds up the process of transforming starches into maltose and, ultimately, glucose. With a lack of diastase in your system, you might suffer from partial digestion, which can prohibit your body from extracting all the nutritional value out of consumed food and leave you feeling bloated. As you age, the body begins to slow the natural production of enzymes, therefore the elderly and people who consume a lot of processed foods can greatly benefit from a bump in the amount of diastase in their diet.

Invertase assists in the breakdown of sucrose (table sugar) into its components of glucose and fructose. Invertase is critical to the prevention of toxic fermentation, ulcers, and other digestive diseases by reducing the stomach toxicity by quickly creating pre-digested simple sugars from sucrose which prevents the fermentation process from occurring. Fermentation in your stomach can often result in the fostering of bacteria and disease in the digestive tract.

Glucose oxidase assists in the breakdown of glucose into hydrogen peroxide and gluconolactone. The production of hydrogen peroxide within the body is critical, as hydrogen peroxide is often the first weapon the white blood cells (immune system) in your body will deploy to fight parasite, bacteria, toxins, and viruses.

Raw, unpasteurized honey contains trace amounts of local pollen, which may help desensitize allergic reactions. Honey also provides additional health benefits:

  • It may help kill off germs because it has antimicrobial properties.
  • When used as a salve in gel form, it may help promote healing in wounds and minor burns.
  • It may also help ease coughing and sore throats.
  • Alleviates allergies with pollen content.
  • Is a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant

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 Sugar

Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. The various types of sugar are derived from different sources. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose, and galactose. “Table sugar” or “granulated sugar” refers to sucrose, a disaccharide of glucose and fructose. In the body, sucrose is hydrolyzed into fructose and glucose.

Sugar is higher on the glycemic index (GI) than honey, meaning it raises blood sugar levels more quickly. This is due to its higher fructose content, and the absence of trace minerals.

As a carbohydrate, sugar is a potential source of fast fuel. Your brain needs 130 grams of carbohydrate daily to function. This naturally occurring substance is also low in calories, with a teaspoon containing about 16 calories.

Eating too much sugar can increase your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Sugar is a common ingredient in many processed foods, so you may eat more of it than you realize. This can lead to weight gain and obesity.

Sucrose: It is obtained commercially from sugarcane, sugar beet (beta vulgaris), and other plants and used extensively as a food and a sweetener. Sucrose is derived by crushing and extraction of sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) with water or extraction of the sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) with water, evaporating, and purifying with lime, carbon, and various liquids. Sucrose is also obtainable from sorghum. Sucrose occurs in low percentages in honey and maple syrup.

Sucrose is used as a sweetener in foods and soft drinks, in the manufacture of syrups, in invert sugar, confectionery, preserves and jams, demulcent, pharmaceutical products, and caramel. Sucrose is also a chemical intermediate for detergents, emulsifying agents, and other sucrose derivatives. Sucrose is widespread in seeds, leaves, fruits, flowers and roots of plants, where it functions as an energy store for metabolism and as a carbon source for biosynthesis.

The annual world production of sucrose is in excess of 90 million tons mainly from the juice of sugar cane (20%) and sugar beet (17%). In addition to its use as a sweetener, sucrose is used in food products as a preservative, antioxidant, moisture control agent, stabilizer and thickening agent.

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Conclusion

So, as you can see honey is the healthier option because sugar (sucrose) undergoes chemical processing while raw honey is typically only filtered, if that. This provides for a more nourishing and environmentally friendly product for sweetening. Raw honey simply has more micronutrient activity than sugar. And don’t forget, the more honey we collect, the more bees there are out there to make it. Sugar cane does not feed bees and it is always coated in pesticides.

References:

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317728.php
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/honey-vs-sugar
  3. https://www.benefits-of-honey.com/honey-vs-sugar.html
  4. http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/webprojects2001/loveridge/index-page3.html
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814615013941
  6. https://www.beeculture.com/the-chemistry-of-honey/
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar
  8. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/sucrose
  9. https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-3-642-41609-5_30-1
  10. https://sites.google.com/site/sssavettthebbbees/honey-vs-sugar
  11. https://www.neighborhoodhive.com/pages/honey-vs-sugar