March 2006

Natural Health Article

CONTENTS

  • ABCs of Health – “X” is for X Chromosomes
  • Sleep Hygiene
  • Tip of the Month – Don’t throw out “old” baking soda
  • The Herbalist – “J” is for Juniper Berries

ABCs OF HEALTH

This is an extensive subject that I am going to try to sum up in simple, layman’s terms.
“X” is for the name of the female chromosomes. Chromosomes are spool shaped ( “DNA” packages) single molecules, in a long chain of DNA.  The DNA packages enable all DNA to fit into the nucleus of the cell.

The University of Utah, Learn. Genetics website is  fantastic, real picture of a person’s chromosomes and you can take a tour of the basics:    What are chromosomes?

Certain same members of a certain species all have the same number of  chromosomes. The conversation is going to be about the human sexually producing species. They have somatic cells (also called the body cells) that are diploid (meaning two sets) a X and Y set. During meiosis (division of the germ cell (egg and sperm); one set consisting of 23 X chromosomes from the mother and one set  consisting of 23 Y chromosomes from the father;  are passed or crossed over to the unborn child to create a new complete set of chromosomes totalling 46.  This process creates a unique individual.  Females actually have a XX chromosome set (one of the X sets is inactive) and males have a XY chromosome set.
If an abnormal number of chromosomes or sets crossed over; this can lead to many genetic disorders such as  Down’s Syndrome.

Q: What do chromosomes actually tell us?
A: Whether the unborn child is female or male.

SLEEP HYGIENE

Do you find yourself reaching for a sleeping pill or a glass of spirits to help the process of sleep along? Simply improving  your sleep habits or hygiene is more effective in the long run.

Here are some suggestions* that can improve your sleep:

  • BEWARE OF CAFFEINE AND DIETARY STIMULANTS

    Caffeine intake of over the  daily recommended limit  of 300 milligrams (equivilant of 3 cups of coffee), even in the morning can interfere with your sleep patterns. Try to eliminate or reduce  afternoon energy “short” fixes or dietary stimulants  including coffee, chocolate, and tea. Smoking or chewing tobacco products are stimulants.  Read the labels of over the counter pain medications for caffeine levels. Choose decaffeinated herbal teas (Chamomile, Sleepy Time or Valerian) or a glass of warm milk.  avoid eating a heavy, spicy meal or snack. Do not eat three hours before you retire. Keep your meals balanced.

  • LIMIT ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

    A glass of wine with dinner is fine, however a nightcap before bed is not.  The alcohol’s sedative effect is short lived as it wears off during the night and works as a stimulant, causing restlessness.  Physically, the alcohol reduces your airway muscle tone; triggering snoring and improper sleep ergonomics.

  • ENHANCE YOUR ENVIRONMENT

    Turn down the thermostat to about 70F as it is better to sleep in a cooler room than a hot, stuffy room. Darken your room.Reduce stress levels in the bedroom, reinforce the ideals that the bedroom is where you sleep.  Remove telephones, TV, computers, radios,  reading, writing or drinking in bed. Even cell phones can affect the quality of your sleep. If you are unable to sleep within 15 minutes get out of bed and do something quiet, to lessen the restlessness and anxiety.

  • EXERCISING

    Evening exercising routines can be a double edged sword. Exercising can help you fall asleep as long as it is not performed one or two hours before bedtime. If not, it can become a stimulant, as it increases adrenaline and raises the body’s temperature.

  • PRE-SLEEP RITUALS

    Be consistent, calm, reduce hyper arousal activities  one hour before you retire. Some activities could be relaxing music, debates or arguements, warm bath and mental stimulants ie: cinema, theatre, and TV. Stick to  the same sleep schedule seven days a week. You will never catch up on any lost hours of sleep.

  • LIQUID INTAKE

    Reduce your intake of fluids to a minimum (after 8:00 pm) to avoid frequent trips to the bathroom. Even one glass  of liquid can cause you to stir. Drink your quota of fluids in the morning and during the afternoon.

* This list of suggestions, be advised that some physical or mental circumstances may require drug therapies.

These circumstances could be:

  • Insomnia causing distress – severe chronic and disabling
  • Shift work or jet lag
  • Serious illness or emotional disturbances

TIP OF THE MONTH

Don’t throw out “old ” baking soda.  Use it to refreshen sink drains and old garbage cans.  Pour in the baking soda, then rinse with hot water.

THE HERBALIST

I promised I would give you some information on a specific herb, it’s origins and uses.  I really enjoy this part of our newsletter, as I always learn something new and exciting.
This month we will discuss: Juniper Berries

PRESCRIPTION FOR HERBAL HEALING BY PHYLLIS A. BALCH, CNC.

Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, is a leading nutritional consultant for more than two decades.
She is an authoritative guide of the natural approached to health and healing; and continues to study nutrition-based therapies, procedure, and treatments worldwide.

 

Juniper Berries

Latin Name: Juniperis communis L (Cupressaceae [cypress] family)

Other common names:  juniper

General Description: The juniper is native throughout the northern hemispere (Europe) North Africa, and North Asia.
The juniper is a small shrub, a member of the cypress family. It can grow 4 to 6 feet high and sometimes a tall tree as much as 40 feet high. The leaves are needle-like, and double foliaged; the juvenile needles are pointed and the adult needles are scale-like.  The juniper’s  flowers are dioecious (meaning that it is difficult to determine if the plant is male or female unless it bears flowers or fruit). The flowers bloom in late spring or early fall they are greenish yellow, when the flowers fade to a gray bloom, 3 seeded blue-black berries appear.  Juniper berries  taken two and up to three years to ripen; however it is not uncommon for a shrub to have ripe and not ripe berries  (green) on the same shrub. Commercially, the volatile extracted aqueous oil’s principal constituent called “roob” or Rob of Juniper, from the blue ripe berries that may vary year to year, is used as the  prime ingredient in distilled gin and other products such as luncheon meats.  The oil extracted from green unripe berries is used medicinally. The extract is a colorless, or pale yellow liquid that possesses a bitter taste.  Sweden uses the extract to brew a type of beer that is consumed as a health drink.

Excellent For: Oil of Juniper is excellent as a stimulant, diuretic, and a carminative where there may be digestive concerns. It can be  considered an aromatic,  and a diaphoretic.  Many home remedies have incorporated Oil of Juniper for backache and pains in the lumbar region; and cases of flatulence.

Benefits of Juniper Berries for specific health conditions include some of the following:

Cardiac, liver and kidney dropsy: Oil of Juniper chief’s use is that of an adjuvant, stimulant to diuretics in dropsy.
NOTE: Dropsy is the accumulation of serous fluid in the tissues or commonly known as Edema.
Chest pains, scorfula and blenorrheoa:
Juniper berry remedies have been used in France to alleviate chest pains, scorfula (form of tuberculosis; that is characterized by an absess formation in the neck) and blenorrheoa (excess discharge of muscous).

CONTRAINDICATIONS: NOT to be consumed by pregnant or nursing mothers.
NOT to be used over a prolonged period of time or as with an overdose, kidney damage may result.
NOT to be used if kidneys are damaged or inflammed.

This concludes another exciting issue of Natural Health. REMEMBER YOU HAVE TO READ TO WIN!

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