Mother Earth Living

Natural Health

Better living through nature


4/17/2014

One of the most common long-term diseases among children, asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that inflames and narrows airwaves. Whenever an asthma sufferer is exposed to a “trigger”—environmental irritants, allergens, heavy exertion or even anxiety, as asthma triggers vary from person to person—they experience an asthma attack. These attacks inflame the body’s airways, leading to wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and/or coughing. Asthma attacks can flare up at any time without warning, and, if severe enough, can lead to death.

Although adults suffer from asthma, the disease is most common in children under 10. In America, about 25 million people suffer from asthma, and the number continues to increase. Unfortunately we don’t yet know what exactly causes asthma, making it both mysterious and frustrating to treat. The general consensus is that a combination of genetic and environmental factors is part of the cause. A recent theory called the hygiene hypothesis believes that the Western overemphasis on cleanliness may have something to do with this epidemic.

Beyond identifying the cause, we also don’t know how to cure it. Prescribed medications help keep the condition under control, so it’s important to follow the treatment plan outlined by your doctor. That said, a number of natural remedies, including diet, nutritional supplement, bodywork and other therapies, can safely support your lung health. Check out these recommended natural remedies for asthma. Always consult your health-care practitioner about significant changes to your daily regimen.

Remedies For Asthma 

Natural Remedies for Asthma

Identify Your Triggers: The first step to managing asthma attacks is determining your “triggers”. Consult a doctor about skin allergy testing (an allergist) and blood allergy testing (most any physician). Once your triggers have been identified, outline a plan with your health-care physician to reduce exposure.

Maintain an Anti-Inflammatory Diet: It may be possible to reduce inflammation and the clogging of air passages by following an anti-inflammatory diet. Maintain a light diet based on foods that don’t promote mucus production such as raw vegetables and fruits; seeds; whole grains; lean poultry; and fresh wild-harvested fish. Garlic and onions have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, and make a savory addition to most vegetable dishes.

Increase Intake of Essential Fatty Acids: Studies suggest that diets high in omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may improve asthma. Take 4 to 8 grams fish oil daily for the benefits. Flax seed is also high in omega-3s. Take 1 to 2 tablespoons flax seed oil daily. Alternatively eating more high-fat fish, such as salmon, mackerel or cod, or adding ground flax seed to your morning smoothies may do the trick.

Stay Hydrated: Drink a glass of clean water every two waking hours to help keep your systems clean. Water is especially helpful at breaking up mucus after an asthma attack.

Take Indian Tobacco: For acute attacks, Dr. Weil recommends Lobelia inflate, more commonly known as Indian tobacco. Mix three parts lobelia tincture with one part capsicum tincture. Add 20 drops of the tincture to a glass of water and drink at the start of an asthmatic attack. Repeat every 30 minutes for a total of three or four doses.

Clean Your Bedding: Keep your living spaces—especially your bedroom—clean and dust-free to reduce allergen exposure. In her new book 500 Time-Tested Home Remedies, Linda White, M.D. recommends using pillows filled with polyester instead of feather or down, and covering them with dust mite-proof pillowcases. Be sure to wash your bedding weekly in hot water and vacuum or wipe down bedspreads once a week.

Drink Turmeric: In her book, White also offers a recipe for a soothing Turmeric Toddy to relieve inflammation caused by asthma. Turmeric is an Indian spice with potent anti-inflammatory properties. Preliminary research suggests that concentrated extracts of turmeric can improve some aspects of asthma. To make this toddy, heat 1 cup milk to your desired warmth (don’t boil), then stir in 1 teaspoon ground turmeric. Drink up to three times daily.

Supplement with Magnesium: Well known for its ability to relieve muscle spasms, magnesium can help reduce the spasticity of airways. Take 250 mg two to four times daily; reduce dosage if loose stools occur.

Get a Massage: Relax bronchial muscles and break up congestion with a soothing back massage. Infuse your massage oil with calming essential oils such as lavender, citrus, frankincense and peppermint to relieve stress during the massage.

Hydrotherapy: Sweat out toxins and mucus with a hot bath or sauna. You can open airways and loosen congestion by adding drops of tea tree, eucalyptus or lavender essential oil to your bath.


Gina DeBacker HeadshotGina DeBacker is the associate editor at Mother Earth Living, where she manages the health section of the magazine.



3/11/2014

It’s the latest health fad that has everyone wondering: What exactly is oil pulling? Simply put, oil pulling is gargling or swishing coconut or olive oil around in your mouth, and its proponents say it cleans teeth, removes bacteria from the mouth and prevents infections. It may sound a bit yucky, but many people claim to experience a variety of oral and overall health benefits.

Oil Pulling
Photo by Fotolia/joanna wnuk

Oil Pulling Benefits

While relatively new to the United States, oil pulling dates back to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine. While science hasn’t quite caught on to the latest fad, some studies suggest it can help reduce oral plaque and gingivitis when used along with a regular oral care routine. It has also been found to relieve toothaches from infection and even whiten teeth. The oil works as a cleanser, pulling out bacteria, fungi and other toxins from our mouth as you swish it around. Because of this detox function, many people also report relief from systemic conditions all through the body such as arthritis, allergies, diabetes and much more.

Oil Pulling Method

This method comes from Dr. F. Karach, who is said to have introduced the U.S. to oil pulling in the 90s. Most sources suggest oil pulling is only beneficial when done with a high-quality, unrefined oil such as coconut oil. For best results, swish oil in mouth for a period of 15 to 20 minutes, one to three times a day. Spit out the oil (do not swallow) and rinse with water. You don’t want to spit oil down the sink (especially if you have a septic system). Instead, spit oil into the trash. There are conflicting opinions on whether oil pulling is safe during pregnancy and nursing.

For more information on oil pulling, check out Oil Pulling Therapy by Bruce Fife or visit the Coconut Research Center.


Victoria Pitcher is Web Editor at Mother Earth Living. Find her on .



2/18/2014

We hear about “toxins” a lot in our everyday lives,Yoga Pose and one place you’re likely to hear about them is in a yoga class or massage session. Do these practices actually help remove toxins from our systems?

It depends on what you mean by toxins, and if this is important to you, it merits some follow-up questions with your yoga instructor or massage therapist. What specific toxins are they talking about and how are you getting rid of them? Are we talking about improving circulation? Dealing with lactic acid? Reducing levels of stress hormones?

Yoga is an especially interesting case because the practice has so much tradition and philosophy behind it. Some health claims for yoga have been documented by modern science, while others are rooted in a philosophical tradition that you may or may not buy into. It’s good to know what you’re getting.

If you’re interested in learning more about the health benefits of yoga and massage, a great source for more information is the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. NCCAM’s health information on yoga suggests that it may be useful for reducing low-back pain, coping with stress, lowering heart rate and blood pressure, and relieving anxiety, depression and insomnia, not to mention improving overall fitness and flexibility. For massage, NCCAM fact sheets indicate that scientific studies are more limited, but available research suggests that it offers many of the same benefits.

If any of that sounds like what you’re looking for out of a detox program, great! But if you have other reasons for wanting to detox, such as specific concerns about liver disease, this may not be what you’re looking for. When in doubt, ask questions, and take any claims about removing unspecified “toxins” with a grain of salt.

To learn more about detoxing your body, read The Truth About Detox Diets.


Megan E. Phelps is a freelance writer based in Lawrence, Kansas. You can find her reading labels in the wellness aisle of her local natural foods store or on Google+.



1/31/2014

Hot Cocoa

"For fast-acting relief, try slowing down." — Lily Tomlin

The holidays can do a number on your health, from increased stress and not enough relaxation. Take back your health by taking matters into your own hand. Learn how to boost your immune system to keep seasonal illnesses away and prevent infections by eating antibacterial foods, plus grow your own medicine with an herb garden.

Tips for Living Healthy

Top Antibacterial Herbs and Food for Preventing Infection: Antibacterial by nature, these foods and herbs can help prevent infection.

Stay Well This Winter with Natural Immune Boosters: Use these natural immune boosters to keep seasonal illness—and chronic disease—at bay.

5 Most Toxic Food Additives to Avoid: Packaged foods are full of unnecessary and potentially dangerous chemical additives. By shopping smart, you can avoid the worst ones and improve your family's health—our handy guide makes it easy.

6 Medicinal Herbs You Can Grow: Grow your own healing garden with these six easy-to-grow, tasty medicinal herbs.



1/17/2014

Have you seen our new selection of resource apps? Mother Earth Living now offers its special print issues in app form, bringing our information-packed content straight to your fingertips. Womens Health AppTo get our digital issues saved to your phone, simply download our digital issues from the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. Afterward you can also download our FREE library app to keep all of our wiser-living digital resources in one spot for easier access. Best of all, as we continue to create new guides and resources the library app will automatically update you with new content.

Guide to Women’s Health

With our newest Guide to Women’s Health app, you will uncover natural health tips for building better bones, defending against depression, relieving stress, treating uncomfortable PMS symptoms and even reducing menopausal woes. Plus, discover natural remedies for every stage of a woman’s life; enjoy at-home body care recipes for facials, hair rinses and lip glosses, and beauty tips; tackle health concerns in the kitchen with antioxidant-rich berries, healthful iced teas, vitamin-rich greens and age-defying superfoods; learn how to better your mind, body and spirit; and more.

If you want to look great—and feel great—at every stage of your life, this is the perfect app for you. To start learning more about women’s health, download the Mother Earth Living Guide to Women’s Health app from the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store right now for just $1.99.

Don’t forget to visit the Mother Earth Living Wiser Living apps page for information about all of our app offerings.



1/15/2014

Have you seen our new selection of resource apps? Mother Earth Living now offers its special print issues in app form, bringing our information-packed content straight to your fingertips. To get our digital issues saved to your phone, simply download our digital issues from the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. Afterward you can also download our FREE library app to keep all of our wiser-living digital resources in one spot for easier access. Best of all, as we continue to create new guides and resources the library app will automatically update you with new content.

Guide to Healing Herbs Digital Issues

Guide To Healing Herbs App

Most recently, we released the digital issue “Guide to Healing Herbs.” If your medicine cabinet is stocked with herbal remedies, or even if you’re just starting to educate yourself about herbal medicine, you will want to check out this comprehensive issue about growing, cooking and healing with herbs. Feel an illness coming on? There’s an herb for that. Hoping to ward off heart disease, arthritis or dementia? There are herbs for that, too. Learn how simple it can be to turn to herbs time and time again to improve your health as well as your family’s health.

In this issue, we delve into herbs for colds, herbs for heart health, herbs for digestion, herbs for pain relief, herbs to prevent cancer, and herbs for skin. Plus, don’t forget our section of herb basics, including:

• How to grow a healing garden
• 23 herbs to cope with stress
• DIY herbal tinctures
• Make your own cough drops
• Aromatherapy basics
• Plant profiles
• And more!

To check out our digital issue, download the resource app from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store right now for only $1.99.

Don’t forget to visit the Mother Earth Living Wiser Living apps page for information about all of our app offerings. And please feel free to contact Mother Earth Living with your questions and concerns regarding our smartphone and tablet apps. Visit our App Support page for more information.



12/18/2013

It’s that time of year again. The air is filled with echoing coughs and sniffles. Gut reaction is to reach for hand sanitizer or fervently wash our hands with whatever will kill off those germs. But before reaching for that antibacterial soap, you should learn the facts.

Antibacterial Soap
Photo by Fotolia/dimakp

Currently, there is no evidence that over-the-counter (OTC) antibacterial soap products are more effective at preventing the spread of infection than regular soap. The FDA has even issued such statements in the past (see “Is Antibacterial Soap Really Necessary?”). Not only are antibacterial soaps likely ineffective, they may cause more harm than help thanks to the common active ingredients triclosan and triclocarban, two potential hormone disrupters (see “Antibacterial Soaps Contain Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals”).

So why do we get trapped into buying these false promises?

Clever marketing. There is hope, though. The FDA proposed a new rule Monday that would help to determine the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps. (This rule would not affect hand sanitizers, wipes or antibacterial products used in health-care settings.) The rule would require manufacturers of antibacterial hand soaps and body washes to provide evidence that their product is safe for long-term, daily use and more effective than plain soap. This rule could result in required new labeling or reformulation for current OTC products.

It is important to note that the FDA still emphasizes the importance of washing your hands, as it is one of the best ways to prevent illness.

You can avoid the harsh chemicals in store-bought soaps by making your own. Here are a few recipes for plain and simple soap.

Lavender Soap

Soap Recipes

How to Make Simple Soaps

How to Make Homemade Soaps With Herbs

Herbal Antibacterial Hand Sanitizers


Victoria Pitcher is Web Editor at Mother Earth Living. Find her on .





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