Friday, September 25, 2015

Seborrheic Keratoses

Seborrheic Keratoses is often called Seborrheic Dermatitis. It is similar to dandruff and cradle cap, but is located on exposed skin anywhere on the body, though usually on the face, neck and chest. It is not cancerous or contagious. It is itchy and unsightly. Dermatologists frequently freeze it off with liquid nitrogen, scrape it off, or burn it off with a laser. In each of these cases it is likely to come back. When they do they tend to be larger than the original spot.

Seborrheic refers to the sebaceous or oil glands of the body. It refers to the fact that these lesions are somewhat oily in consistency. Keratoses refer to a keratinocyte which is a normal skin cell. So the term Seborrheic Keratoses is a fancy way of saying oily skin cell. Although they sound fairly normal they don’t look it.

These cells are thicker than normal skin cells, with an oilier appearance. Some people compare them to having a piece of clay stuck to your skin. They are not harmful to your health, except for your mental health if they are unsightly enough to affect your self-esteem. They are typically a different color than the surrounding skin, sometimes having a yellow, tan, black or brown appearance. They may look like a wart.

The exact cause of this condition is not known, though many scientists feel this is an allergic reaction to something.  That something could be shampoo, conditioner, makeup, and laundry detergent, pretty much anything that comes in contact with the skin.

Based on this concept the home remedy is to remove those types of products and begin detoxifying both the skin and the internal body. We can’t go without washing our face, hair and clothing, but you can switch to all natural products whose ingredients are less likely to be part of the product. For the face and hair an all-natural soap made from clay, charcoal or walnut husks would be a good place to start. Lightly soiled clothes can be washed without any detergent or soap. Today’s machines can do a good job even without any added products. Heavily soiled clothes may need an all-natural or even homemade detergent. Bleach or products containing bleach might very likely be the culprit here. Hydrogen Peroxide is a good substitute for bleach in the laundry.

The concept here is to get rid of all chemicals that come in contact with the body. We absorb chemicals through our skin as well as through our digestion. Getting them out of the body will allow the natural cleaning ability of the body to kick in.

You can also begin an "internal cleansing" using detoxification methods.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Cold Season Year Round

We hear a lot about summer colds and winter colds. Some feel the summer colds are worse. I think they affect us more. In the summer we want to wear lighter clothing and spend time outdoors doing fun things, like playing in the water. When you have a summer cold you are restricted from doing those things. In the winter many of us want to bundle up on the couch, drink warm liquids and read a book, watch TV, or just stare into a fire. Sounds exactly like what we ought to be doing to feel better from a cold. The question isn’t so much as to when you got the cold. The biggest question is why you got the cold. And the thousand dollar question is how you can get rid of it.

Grandma always said to bundle up and cover your ears when you went outside in cold weather. Is there any truth to what she said? It turns out there are several things that make it more likely to catch a cold during the colder weather.
•    Colder air is typically dryer. This dries out our nasal passages and reduces one of the ways our body protects us from viruses.
•    Viruses are stronger when they are cold. Science is showing that the protective coating on a virus is thicker in cold weather than it is in warm weather.
•    Cold temperatures pull our blood flow into our core. This restricts the white blood cells in their ability to fight off the viruses.
•    We can run low on Vitamin D. Our bodies make this from sunshine hitting our skin. Even if it is sunny outside, if it’s cold we won’t have much bare skin. Vitamin D protects us from many different illnesses.
•    We are trapped inside with stale air, and sometimes more people.
•    Emotional trauma can occur more easily when we are around more people. Negative emotions lower our immune systems.
•    We tend to eat more sugary foods in colder weather. Sugar also lowers our immune systems.

Once we are feeling yucky what can we do about it? Are we limited to visiting our doctor or visiting the local drug store? The answer is no, there are a lot of things we can do for ourselves. With a well-stocked pantry we don’t even have to leave home.

For the sore throat:
•    Honey, lemon and ginger tea. This is just what it sounds like. Mix honey, organic lemon slices and organic ginger slices and let it sit to blend. When needed put a spoonful in a cup of hot water and sip slowly.
•    Horehound cough drops or teas. The drops can be made ahead of time and stored for when needed. You can purchase Horehound at an herb shop, or grow your own. Most recipes combine horehound with honey.
•    Gargle with Cayenne tea. Mix a sprinkle of cayenne powder with warm water and gargle. You can add a good Himalayan or sea salt for added benefit.
•    Gargle or sip Apple Cider Vinegar diluted with water. You can add other ingredients such as herbs or spices for more benefit.
•    Sage tea.
For the congestion:
•    Eat or drink some antiviral foods such as Garlic, Ginger, Real Cranberry, Cinnamon, Real Raw Honey, Echinacea, Pau D’Arco and Oregano Oil.
•    Include some antibacterial foods for good measure: Onion, Turmeric, Lemon, Cayenne, and Peppermint.
•    Make your own “Vapor Rub” using coconut oil and essential oils of eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, cloves, and possibly cedarwood. Mix and match until you find a combination that works for you. If you chill it the consistency will be firmer.

To prevent colds in the first place you need to work on strengthening your immune system. This isn’t something you do just because you feel like you are coming down with something. These are things you can do all the time to make your body stronger and more resistant to any type of illness.
•    Vitamin C
•    Probiotics
•    Plant Sterols
•    Oregano Oil
•    Thyme
•    Zinc
•    Vitamin D
•    Reduce Stress
•    Eat real/organic foods. Stay away from processed foods.
•    Get plenty of rest on a regular basis.
•    Stay well hydrated.

We all have times when we are going a thousand miles an hour and not taking very good care of ourselves. Sometimes they just can’t be avoided. The rest of the time we need to comply with the old saying of eat right and get plenty of rest. This includes avoiding sweets and junk food as well as excessive alcohol or other stimulants or depressants. Our bodies are designed to crave equilibrium. 

The more we can feed that need the stronger those bodies will be and the better we will feel year round.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Constipation - I'm all plugged up

Constipation is on the rise in our world today. Studies done in the US, and Europe, are showing us it is a serious problem. Nursing homes are known for constipation problems. Looking at some of the causes of constipation it is easy to see why.


Our bodies need water for most of our daily functions. This includes our bowel movements. If there isn’t enough moisture inside the body the bowels are one of the last areas to receive its share. In the nursing home crowds incontinence is a common problem. Many of these folks begin avoiding water in the hope of avoiding accidents. When they do drink something it is typically something with more flavor than plain water. Yet, plain water is what the body craves for hydration.


Fiber is the parts of plants that are hard for the body to digest. It is also harder for the person to chew. This can lead to many of our nursing home residents to avoid high fiber foods. They opt instead for the lower fiber processed foods. This causes there to be less bulk in the stool, that in turn makes them harder to pass.

Lack of exercise

One of the things that move our bowels is the movement of our bodies. Nursing homes are designed to make people comfortable, not necessarily healthier. They don’t encourage their residents to do any more movement than they want to do. The more you sit, the more the fecal matter within your bowel sits as well. The more it sits the more dried out it gets and the harder it is to move it.

Dairy Products

For many people too much dairy products can have a constipating effect. Many of our processed foods or comfort foods have a dairy element to them. This can make an already serious problem even worse.

Resisting the urge to go

In a nursing home when someone needs help getting to the bathroom that help isn’t always readily available. Rather than messing themselves people have a tendency to try to avoid that bowel movement until help arrives. This causes the fecal matter to sit in the bowel longer, losing its moisture.

Over use of laxatives

Even when the staff at the home tries to help by giving laxatives this can make the problem worse. Just like rebound headaches when you are dependent on over the counter headache remedies there is such a thing as rebound constipation. The body becomes dependent on the laxatives and won’t release the fecal matter without it.

Neurological Disorders

Many people are in nursing homes because they suffer from debilitating neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s, other forms of dementia, Parkinson’s, MS, or other diseases. These diseases rob the mind and body of control of not only thoughts, but body functions as well.


Many medications have a constipating effect. The very definition of a nursing home supposes the person needs medical care and is thus on medications. This can range from such simple things as antacids to pain medications, antidepressants and something as simple as an iron supplement.

Considering the multiple medications most nursing home residents are on it would be a miracle if they were not constipated.


Many people think of depression as a mood problem, but many times it affects the whole body. When people are depressed they don’t eat right, move around, or care if they need to go to the bathroom or not.  

Why is this a major problem we need to be concerned about? If you look at each of the causes above you will see that they aren’t confined to nursing homes. Every person on earth could be impacted by one or more of them. Instead of holding a bowel movement because you need help to get to the bathroom the busy executive could be holding it because he can’t get out of the meeting he is in.  Every single one of them could be extrapolated to the general public. The rates of constipation in the general public are reaching epidemic proportions.

Constipation causes many serious problems. It isn’t just an uncomfortable inconvenience. The problems range from causing bloating, cramps, and a feeling of incomplete elimination to fecal impaction (which is when hardened stool gets stuck in your intestines) and even to colon cancer. In between there are hemorrhoids, anal fissures (tears in the skin in your anus) and even rectal prolapse (where part of your intestine protrudes from your anus).

Beyond these extreme problems someone with constipation is just generally less healthy than someone without this problem. This is because the longer the fecal matter is inside your body the more likely it is for you to absorb toxins that your body is trying to eliminate. It is also a breeding ground for parasites and harmful bacteria, such as candida.

What to do?
Beyond the obvious of avoiding the problems listed above there are many things you can do for yourself or a loved one with this problem.
•    Eat fermented foods. The good bacteria in them help move matters along.
•    Eat your vegetables, cruciferous and green leafy.
•    Get some good fats, such as coconut oil or olive oil. These help lubricate the bowels.
•    Supplement with aloe or slippery elm. Both help your body produce the mucus that helps move things along. Be cautious with aloe, it can cause cramping and diarrhea.
•    Supplement with magnesium. Oral magnesium supplements can also cause cramping and diarrhea, but topical magnesium supplements do not, and are still effective.
•    Avoid stimulating laxatives such as mineral oil or castor oil.  Although they work they tend to set you up for a rebound effect.
•    Drink some ginger tea. This is a natural mild laxative and stimulant. It also has a healing effect on the stomach and bowels.
•    Eat mucilaginous foods such as okra and chia seeds. They act along the same lines as supplementing with slippery elm.
•    The most important thing you can do is to stay hydrated with pure, clean water.