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May Issue of Natural Alternatives
May 01, 2017

Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health

May 2017
Hello, and welcome to this edition edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!

I hope you will enjoy reading this issue.

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“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates







By Leigh Winters

Concurring with Mark Twain, "the finest clothing made is a person's own skin". But for many who suffer from conspicuous and irritating skin conditions, like eczema, this sentiment can be hard to embody. Eczema refers to many chronic, inflammatory skin conditions that affect about 334 million people globally. Generally characterized by dry, itchy, and red skin patches that lead to crusting, eczema's root cause remains elusive. Some medical experts believe there is a strong allergen component related to eczema, be it food or environmental. Beyond environmental factors, it's also believed to be partly genetic. Others suggest that eczema is the result of an autoimmune reaction triggered by things like stress, poor nutrition, and underlying bacterial infections.

Currently, Western medicine struggles to treat this common condition. Many dermatologists prescribe corticosteroid creams and lotions that while effective for some, do little for others. When approached from a holistic perspective, eczema can be treated once we make the connection between healing from the inside out. If allergy testing and/or partial elimination of known trigger foods, like dairy and gluten are an option, by all means try and see. If not, botanical aids can be just as effective.

In conjunction with becoming mindful about how nutrition affects the skin, aromatherapy and plant medicine can help treat eczema and reduce topical inflammation. A word on safety—I advise patch testing any essential oil before using topically. Don't let your skin condition continue to isolate you from enjoying life to the fullest. If you've been in and out of the doctor's offices and still find yourself dissatisfied, try your hand at these five easy remedies to tackle even the most stubborn eczema.

1. Calendula Aloe Vera Gel

If your eczema is really dry, dehydrating it with a scrub is not the best treatment option. Instead, cool it off with an effective aloe vera gel immediately after cleansing. Gels are the most effective way to dermally absorb what we put on the skin and they're super easy to make. German chamomile hits the trifecta—relieving itching, healing the skin, and calming the nervous system. It's also been shown to enhance skin hydration in an aqueous gel (Monges et al., 1994). Lavender is an all-around healer that harmonizes this blend and pairs nicely with the sweet aroma of balsam Peru, which is included for its immune-supporting and anti-inflammatory properties.

How-To: Blend organic aloe vera gel, calendula oil, and Roman chamomile hydrosol. Add in 10 drops German chamomile, 5 drops balsam Peru, and 15 drops lavender. Mix well in a 1-oz. jar and apply twice daily.

2. Healing Tamanu Body Oil

If you have unshakable eczema on already dry skin areas, like elbows and knees, then this body oil is for you. It can be used immediately after showering on damp or wet skin. Tamanu oil is a go-to for healing very dehydrated skin, plus it boasts this unique light-green hue. If your eczema is related to an autoimmune reaction, make this oil your base because of its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Tamanu's moisturizing actions can be enhanced by deeply healing essential oils, like helichrysum, Melissa, and Roman chamomile.

How-To: Add 3 drops helichrysum, 12 drops Melissa, and 10 drops Roman chamomile into an ounce of tamanu oil. Apply directly on affected areas.

3. Patchouli Body Scrub

This at-home routine starts in the shower. Avoid using harsh and synthetically fragranced soap and experiment with lathering up every other day (your groin and armpits excluded). While showering in lukewarm water, gently exfoliate your fungal eczema with a soft washcloth. Patchouli is an effective essential oil for treating eczema due to its affinity for the skin and anti-inflammatory andantifungal properties. Patchouli has a calming aroma known to relieve depression, which can energetically support those suffering from unbearable eczema.

How-To: Add 5 drops patchouli to 1 ounce of organic sugar. Do this only once a week to avoid irritating the skin more. This scrub is designed to alleviate mild fungus-related eczemas. Anyone presenting severe weeping or dryness should not use this scrub.

4. Overnight Manuka Salve

Got itchy eczema that drives you up the wall? Some have such a strong urge to itch that they're unable to sleep. To quell itching, use an occlusive salve that hydrates and heals overnight. A favorite remedy of mine—just ask my mom how well it works! Manuka essential oil is rarely in the spotlight, but it's the center of this blend due to its protective and preventive effects. Plus, its slightly spicy aroma helps balance the nervous system before bed. If you want a vegan product, use candelilla in place of beeswax. This recipe makes ~4 oz. of salve, and feel free to experiment with the wax and herbal oil ratio.

How-To: In a bowl, melt ½ oz. beeswax with ¼ cup calendula herbal oil, ¼ cup arnica herbal oil, and add a dollop of vitamin E. In your separate product jar, add 15 drops helichrysum, 30 drops manuka, and 30 drops carrot seed. Once the beeswax and herbal oils are well-combined on heat, pour them into the jar containing the essential oil synergy and allow the mixture to harden. Use at night on itchy eczema patches.

5. Hydrosol Compress

If you've never used hydrosols and you have eczema, they're about to become your best friends. Gentle and safe, they keep skin hydrated, which decreases painful cracking and the likelihood of infection. I suggest experimenting with hydrosols. Reach for Roman and German chamomile hydrosols to calm inflammation, Manuka hydrosol to treat tender skin and fungus-related eczemas, helichrysum hydrosol to supplement or use in place of the rather pricey essential oil, and calendula hydrosol for any dermatitis.

How-To: Dip washcloth in warm water. Spray hydrosol (or combination—I love yarrow and helichrysum) of choice onto the warm towel and place it on affected areas. Repeat as necessary.

The Author: Leigh Winters, M.A., is an instructor at Columbia Business School's Venture for All program where she teaches courses on entrepreneurship and venture creation. She is also a clinical researcher at Columbia University’s Spirituality Mind Body Institute researching mindfulness and biobehavioral health. Leigh studied at the New York Institute of Aromatherapy…

By Sajer Ji

The future of cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment will not be found in your medicine cabinet, rather in your kitchen cupboard or in your back yard growing on a tree.

Pomegranate Found To Prevent Coronary Artery Disease Progression

A new study published in the journal Atherosclerosis confirms that pomegranate extract may prevent and/or reverse the primary pathology associated with cardiac mortality: the progressive thickening of the coronary arteries caused by the accumulation of fatty materials known as atherosclerosis.

Mice with a genetic susceptibility towards spontaneous coronary artery blockages were given pomegranate extract via their drinking water for two weeks, beginning at three weeks of age. Despite the fact that pomegranate treatment actually increased cholesterol levels associated with very low density lipoprotein- sized particles, the treatment both reduced the size of the atherosclerotic plaques in the aortic sinus (the dilated opening above the aortic valve) and reduced the proportion of coronary arteries with occlusive atherosclerotic plaques.

Remarkably, the researchers also found that pomegranate extract treatment resulted in the following beneficial effects:

* Reduced levels of oxidative stress
* Reduced monocytie chemotactic protein-1, a chemical messenger (chemokine) associated with inflammatory processes within the arteries.
  * Reduced lipid accumulation in the heart muscle
* Reduced macrophage infiltration in the heart muscle
* Reduced levels of monocyte chemotactic protein-1 and fibrosis in the myocardium
* Reduced cardiac enlargement
* Reduced ECG abnormalities

How can something as benign and commonplace as a fruit extract reverse so many aspects of coronary artery disease, simultaneously, as evidenced by the study above?  The answer may lie in the fact that our ancestors co-evolved with certain foods (fruits in particular) for so long that a lack of adequate quantities of these foods may directly result in deteriorating organ function.  Indeed, two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling argued that vitamin C deficiency is a fundamental cause of cardiovascular disease, owing to the fact that our hominid primate ancestors once had year-round access to fruits, and as a result lost the ability to synthesize it.


This study adds to the already extant body of clinical research indicating that pomegranate can help unclog your arteries.  For instance, back in 2004, the journal Clinical Nutrition published the results of a three year clinical trial in an Israeli population, finding that the daily consumption of pomegranate juice reversed carotid artery stenosis by up to 29% within 1 year.  Remarkably, the blockages in the control group increased 9%, indicating that pomegranate's artery unblocking effects were even greater than at first apparent. 

Pomegranate's value in cardiovascular disease is quite broad, as evidenced by the following experimentally confirmed properties:

Anti-inflammatory: Like many chronic degenerative diseases, inflammation plays a significant role in cardiovascular disease pathogenesis. There are five studies on indicating pomegranate's anti-inflammatory properties.

Blood-Pressure Lowering: Pomegranate juice has natural angiotensin converting enzyme inhibiting properties, and is a nitric oxide enhancer, two well-known pathways for reducing blood pressure. Finally, pomegranate extract rich in punicalagin has been found reduce the adverse effects of perturbed stress on arterial segments exposed to disturbed flow.

Anti-Infective: Plaque buildup in the arteries often involves secondary viral and bacterial infection, including hepatitis C and Chlamydia pneumoniae. Pomegranate has a broad range of anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

Antioxidant: One of the ways in which blood lipids become heart disease-promoting (atherogenic) is through oxidation. LDL, for instance, may be technically 'elevated' but harmless as long as it does not readily oxidize. Pomegranate has been found to reduce the oxidative stress in the blood, as measured by serum paraoxonase levels.  One study in mice found this decrease in oxidative stress was associated with 44% reduction in the size of atherosclerotic lesions. 

The Author: Sayer Ji is founder of, a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed, Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Health Federation, Steering Committee Member of the Global Non-GMO Foundation.

By Dr. Mercola

For many people, summertime is simply incomplete without serving a delicious array of scrumptious green vegetables. But here’s an idea: why not take a break from the usual leafy green salads, and dig into a plateful of succulent zucchini instead?

A member of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), zucchini is an easy-to-grow summer squash native to Central America and Mexico. It was brought to the United States by Italian immigrants during the 1920s. Some popular zucchini varieties include golden zucchini, tatume, costata romanesco, and yellow crooknecks.

Zucchini grows best in warm, frost-free weather, and thrives in fertile, moisture-rich soil. It grows on bushy plants that are 2 ½ feet tall, with rambling vines. Aside from the actual fruit (zucchini is a fruit, botanically speaking), the large, yellow, trumpet-shaped blossoms are also edible.

Zucchini can grow to massive sizes, but bigger does not necessarily mean better when it comes to this garden favorite. Small and medium-sized zucchinis (six to eight inches long and two inches in diameter) are more flavorful. The bigger the zucchini, the harder, seedier, and less flavorful it becomes. Look for dark-skinned zucchinis, which are richer in nutrients.

You won’t run out of uses for zucchini, as it is a highly versatile food that can suit many recipes. Mix it into soups, salads, or frittatas, serve it as a side dish with your meat dishes, or make “zucchini fries,” served with an onion dip as an appetizer. Want a healthy, no-grain and no-wheat pasta? Make zucchini “noodles” using a vegetable peeler – it will be as al dente as regular spaghetti.

Health Benefits of Zucchini

You’ll surely be impressed with the nutritional bounty that zucchini offers. It’s low-calorie (with only 17 calories per 100 grams) and high in fiber, and has no cholesterol or unhealthy fats. It’s also rich in flavonoid antioxidants such as zeaxanthin, carotenes, and lutein, which play a significant role in slowing down aging and preventing diseases with their free radical-zapping properties.

Most of the antioxidants and fiber are in its skin, though, so it’s best to keep the skin when serving this food. Zucchini is also a wonderful source of potassium, a heart-friendly nutrient that helps moderate your blood pressure levels and counters the effects of too much sodium. In fact, a zucchini has more potassium than a banana.

Zucchini is rich in B-complex vitamins, folate, B6, B1, B2, B3, and choline, as well as minerals like zinc and magnesium, which are all valuable in ensuring healthy blood sugar regulation – a definite advantage for diabetics. It also contains essential minerals such as iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

However, remember that most zucchini varieties in the United States are genetically modified, so it’s best to purchase this vegetable organic.

Studies on Zucchini

A study revealed the wide array of health benefits that summer squashes, including zucchini, provide. According to food expert and food industry analyst Phil Lempert, the starchy carbohydrates in these crops come from polysaccharides in the cell walls, and include pectins. An increasing number of animal studies now show that these starchy components in squash may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and insulin-regulating properties.


What’s not to love about zucchini? Botanically a fruit but more commonly perceived as a vegetable, this versatile summer squash is a must-have in your garden – and your plate. It’s easy-to-grow and requires minimal care while providing a tasty and versatile bounty that you can incorporate into many recipes – it can even be transformed into veggie noodles!

Zucchini possesses an impressive nutritional content – it boasts high levels of potassium, B-vitamins, dietary fiber, and antioxidants, which all offer immense benefits to your health. It can even potentially help regulate blood sugar levels, which can greatly benefit diabetics.

Here’s one yummy way to enjoy zucchini: simply slice it lengthwise, brush with coconut oil and a light sprinkle of sea salt, then lightly grill it. This will bring out the natural sweetness of this healthy food. Make sure to buy organic, non-GMO zucchini.



Please visit the Health Store for organic health foods, vitamins, supplements, beauty products and more.



Thank you for reading.

Brampton, Ontario, Canada

P.S. If you have a comment or suggestion, just reply to this e-mail. Your feedback is important to me.



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This newsletter is for educational purposes only. It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge, to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health. You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advises are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changes in order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.

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