November 2005

Natural Health Article

CONTENTS

  • ABCs of Health – “T” is for Tonsils
  • Safer Body Art?  Get a tattoo
    without putting your  health at risk
  • Tip of the Month – Shoebox lid for toaster crumbs
  • The Herbalist – “F” is for Fenugreek seed

ABCs OF HEALTH

“T” is for tonsils. Every person has three types of tonsils located in the mouth area:
1. Palatine tonsils – located on both sides of the back of the throat
2. Lingual tonsils –  located at the base of the tongue
3. Pharyngeal tonsils, or adenoids – located high in the throat behind the nose

The palatine tonsils are the tonsils that are often removed due to infection or obstructive sleep apnea.  These tonsils are round masses of lymph tissue that are believed to assist the body in fighting off infection during the early years of life.

What purpose do they serve?

Though the exact function of the tonsils and adenoids (the clump of tonsil/lymph tissue located behind the nose) is still being studied, scientists generally believe they act as part of the body’s immune system by filtering germs, bacteria and viruses that enter the body through the nose and mouth.

When you breathe in air, it flows down a pathway from the nose through the throat down to the lungs that is called the upper respiratory tract or airway. The position of your tonsils and adenoids create a protective circle around this airway in an effort to trap harmful infections before they reach the lungs where they could pass into the bloodstream.

This function is thought to be important when people are very young and their immune systems are still developing. This is why many studies have been conducted to determine if removing the tonsils and adenoids in children has negative repercussions in immune system function. These studies have shown consistently that children who have had their tonsils and adenoids removed apparently experience no ill effects.

Some researchers believe that tonsils and adenoids  help babies and young children fight off the type of diseases that occurred more frequently when people lived in rural areas, such as diseases caused by worms and parasites. Tonsils and adenoids are not as effective in combating the multitude of germs and bacteria associated with exposure to large groups of people in densely populated urban areas, which is why scientists believe that removing them does not damage an individual’s immune system.
SAFE BODY ART? GET A TATTOO WITHOUT PUTTING YOUR HEALTH AT RISK

Needles can spread HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and other germs.  Professional tattoo artists and piercers know how to prevent the spread of infections through body art. Here are some tips to help you find a professional artist who will look  after your health while giving you the tattoo you want.
It’s up to the customer to find an artist who follows safe practices!

What to look for before getting a tattoo:

  • The needles used to apply the tattoo should be new and sterile, and they should stay in sealed packages until the artist is ready to use them.  Needles should be thrown away in a sharps container after they have been used.
  • Only the needles pierce the skin, but other instruments should be cleaned, sterlized or disinfected befor each use.  Tattoo studios should have a working autoclave, which uses heat and pressure to sterlize instruments.
  • The tattoo artist should not test the tattoo needles or ink on his or her own skin.  This could spread viruses or bacteria.
  • Before tattooing a client, the artist should shave the client’s skin with a new disposable razor.  This razor should then be thrown away.  Using the same razor on different clients might spread viruses or bacteria.
  • The person giving the tattoo should hve good hygiene, wash his/her hands before working on a client and should alway wear single-use medical gloves. The tattoo artist should never smoke while working.
  • Before the tattoo is applied lubicants are used to moisten the skin.  Excessive lubricant should not be returned to the main supply.  It should be wiped of the skin and thrown away.
  • The ink use during the tattooing should be taken from the main supply and placed in a small, disposable container or ‘cap’.  The artist should not use home made ink; commercially produced ink is the best.  Any ink left in the cap when the tattoo is finished should be thrown away.  Returning used ink to the main supply could spread viruses or bacteria.
  • The studio itself should always be clean and any surfaces that come into contact with a client’s blood should be disinfected.  Bleach or a hospital strength disinfectant should be used to clean up any blood spills.
  • Ask the artist for a list of instructions on how to care for the tattoo.  It is important to follow those instructions so the tattoo doesn’t become infected or ruined by poor care.

TIP OF THE MONTH

Turn the lid from a shoe box upside down and set your toaster in it to prevent crumbs from scattering over your kitchen counter.  You can cover the lid with a decorative adhesive or wall paper to match your kitchen decor.

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:

Fenugreek seed

Latin Name: Trigonella foenum-graecum (Fabaceae[legume] family)

Other common name: bird’s foot, Greek hayseed

General Description: Fenugreek is a hard, brown, red, and yellow “bean” (seed) of the fenugreek plant, a member of the legume family.  The native of the Mediterrainean coast of  Europe is cultivated for medicinal  use in China, India, Morocco, and Turkey.  It is an annual that grows to a height of  a little less than three feet (one metre), and bears three-part leaves along with yellow-white pealike flowers.  Fenugreek has been used both as a medicine and as a food spice in Egypt, India, and the Middle East.  Fenugreek seeds are used in herbal preparation.

Excellent For: Fenugreek contains potent antioxidants that have beneficial effects on the chemistry of the liver and pancreas.  It is also used to ease digestive tract disorders and said to enlarge breasts.

Benefits of the Fenugreek seed for specific health conditions include some of the following:

Diabetes: Clinical studies in India ahve found that relatively large doses of fenugreed seeds (25gr or nearly 1 ounce per day) lower blood-glucose levels in persons with type 2 diabetes.  The mucilages released from the herb coat the lining of the intestines and keep the stomach from emptying quickly, with the result that glucose enters the bloodstream more slowly after a meal.  In addition the acid present in fenugreek, hydroxyisoleucine, stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin.
A follow up study showed that fenugreek also lowered levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol in diabetics.  In this study, the lowering of LDL cholesterol levels even lasted after the herb was discontinued.
Mastitis:  Fenugreek encourages lactation, which help ease symptoms, probably by stimulating the growth of breast tissue.  There are numerous anecdotal reports that the herb encourages enlargement of  the breasts in women not nursing.  This effect is not due to  any estrogen supplied by the herb, but to changes in liver enzymes that slow the rate at which a woman’s body breaks down estrogen.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Fenugreek is used as ground seeds, capsules, or teas. It should not be used by persons with anemia as it interferes with iron asorption. This herb can also alter balances of the various forms of thyroid hormones, so it should be avoided if taking any thyroid hormones.  Fenugreek extract stimulates uterine contractions in animals, therefore pregnant women should not use this herb in doses higher than commonly used as a spice.
If you are taking blood-sugar-lowering medications for diabetes, consult your medical practitioner before combining fenugreek with other medications.

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

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