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More Information on Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil

Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil (EVCLO) is real Norwegian cod liver oil that is fresh, raw & handcrafted from wild cod livers using a very rare ancient extraction technique which uses nature to separate the oil from its liver. No chemicals, solvents, or mechanical devices are ever used during the extraction process. The oil is completely unrefined and produced under the total absence of heat, a process that protects its nutritional value.

EVCLO has a pale golden color and a mild, fishy taste. It is thoroughly tested by leading universities and government-linked institutes. It’s a true ancient oil in today’s modern world, and one that Norse ancestors would have been proud to consume!

Rosita’s Story

Rosita is a unique company made up of fishermen who originally went to sea in rowing boats, with fishing histories stretching all the way back to the whaling days. They have spent years fishing in the wild, pristine Norwegian waters, and are intent on maintaining and preserving the fishing methods of their forefathers. It is therefore no surprise to learn that Rosita has many years of experience in producing raw liver oils.

The First Challenge: Rancidity

Cod liver oil is a rich source of DHA and EPA and a high concentration of these polyunsaturated fatty acids makes the oil susceptible to oxidation. Increasing oxidation levels have been correlated with increasing concentrations of EPA and DHA. Cod liver oil contains lower levels of antioxidants that retard oxidation. Cod liver oil can start to go rancid within 1 hour after it is released from the liver. Other often misunderstood oxidation markers are the Peroxide and Anisidine values. It is incorrectly assumed that low levels are indicative of a fresh oil. However, oils that are well “advanced” into the secondary phase of oxidation typically have Peroxide and Anisidine values well within normal limits. But levels of secondary products including aldehydes become raised. Such oils are indeed “putrid”. Rancid fish oils, whether nutrient rich or not, can have a pro-oxidant effect within the body. Nofima research scientist Stine Grimmer says that rancid oils may also inhibit the cells’ own antioxidant system and reduce the inflammation-inhibiting effect of omega-3 fatty acids in cell models. Rancid fats have also been implicated in increased rates of heart disease, atherosclerosis and are possibly carcinogenic. After 2+ years of hard work, Rosita was able to come up with a natural solution to successfully prevent rancidity. The topic of rancidity and oxidation is addressed in more detail here: http://evclo.com/evclo-natural-antioxidants/  

The Second Challenge: Contamination

The focus was then shifted to the issue of organic contaminants and heavy metals in wild cod fish caught off the coast of Norway. This is a problem, considering the fact that approximately 650 tons of marine oils are typically sold for human consumption in Norway per year, and one in three Norwegians consume such oils. PCBs accumulate in fat tissue and their levels in fish are a concern that prompted health authorities worldwide to warn pregnant women not to consume some species of fish. Heavy metals may also be an issue, although to date Rosita has not encountered any problems as levels have either not been detected (below the limit of quantification) or well below EU requirements. It is true that during certain seasons, cod livers contain a high percentage of fat and studies from NIFES and Nofima have shown that cod livers and raw (non-purified) cod liver oil contain high levels of PCBs and pesticides. See more here: http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/18438/high-levels-of-pcbs-in-cod-liver-from-lensfjord 

Contamination problems are typically addressed by the use of conventional industrial purification methods which can often involve heating the oil to very high temperatures (>200 °C). These methods do a good job of removing contaminants out of the oil. Unfortunately, this kind of processing can result in unwanted heat-induced reactions, evaporation of minor nutritional components and volatile nutrients; as well as affecting the retention of vitamins, cholesterol, unsaponifiable compounds, PUFA levels/quality, oxidation levels and oxidative stability. Rosita has often stated that there is no way such a product could be called natural.

Rosita oils have also been analyzed by universities, leading European institutes and government-linked research scientists, some of whom are involved in monitoring the quality of fish oils. Rosita oils have been tested for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) including pesticides (such as DDT), industrial chemicals (such as polychlorinated biphenyls, PCBs) and unintentional by-products of industrial processes (such as dioxins and furans). They have also been tested for heavy metals and microbiological contamination.

The test results for Rosita EVCLO have consistently come back with very low levels of contaminants, and are fully compliant with stringent European Commission and WHO rules on environmental pollutants.

How does Rosita address the potential problem of organic contaminants?

Once Rosita applies its ancient extraction technique, and the oil “naturally” separates from the livers, a sample of oil is taken for analysis to a professional institute including Nofima (the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research), NIFES (National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research), ALS Food & Pharmaceutical (United Kingdom), etc. If contamination levels are found to exceed the stringent European requirements, then Rosita will use a method which is 100% natural, environmentally friendly, and retains ALL the vitamins, antioxidants and the oils natural fatty acid composition. Everything is done with respect for nature. The whole process occurs without the use of any heat or chemicals. All that is required is a biological polysaccharide that occurs naturally in the ocean, and found in certain marine organisms, which has the ability to bind to organic contaminants.

The goal of producing EVCLO was to capture the fresh oil, while keeping all of the vitamins, fats, and other nutrients as they exist in nature. That was the easy part.

The challenge was protecting against rancidity and ensuring contaminants meet the strict EU criteria.

Rosita was able to successfully deal with these two issues by using totally natural methods. Click here to view comprehensive test results for nutrients, rancidity, and contaminants: http://evclo.com/testing/

Digestion: the Building Blocks to a Healthier You

Digestion: The Building Blocks to a Healthier You

by Jessica Bischof

It has often been said, “you are what you eat,” but this is only partially true. In reality, you are what you eat and digest. You could eat the most amazing organic, locally sourced, whole food diet, and yet, if you cannot digest and assimilate it properly, you are only getting a fraction of the nutrition your food could be providing to your body.

Amazingly, digestion is something that is rarely discussed, even in the holistic health world! In my work as a Nutritional Therapy Consultant (NTC), I find that nearly all of my clients need to strengthen this foundational area.

How can you know if your digestion is working the way it should? Some types of digestion dysfunction are obvious, such as chronic constipation, frequent diarrhea, pain from acid reflux or heartburn, and foul-smelling gas. Other symptoms, such as a sense of excess fullness after meals, burping or belching, distaste for meat, fingernails that chip and break, and anemia that is unresponsive to iron supplements, often occur without being immediately identified as digestion issues. And finally, if taking digestive enzymes with your meals is helpful to you, that’s a sure sign that your body is not digesting optimally.

Digestion: The Basics

Digestion is a complex process, and you can read a longer explanation at http://www.beeyoutiful.com/buildingblockstohealthieryou but in this article I want to discuss the specific role that hydrochloric acid (HCl), more commonly known as stomach acid, plays in digestion.

Special cells in the lining of your stomach sense the arrival of food and secrete HCl, releasing it through the mucosa to mix with the meal you just ate. This acid is strong stuff, and has the goal of creating a very acid environment in the stomach, hopefully between 1.5 and 3.0 on the pH scale. This mixture is so acidic that it would burn a hole right through your carpet! This is a good thing as most bacteria, fungus, parasites, and other unfriendly critters can’t survive this extreme environment and are eliminated on their first stop through our digestive system.

Besides protecting you from pathogens, HCI also breaks apart the proteins in your food, whether animal or plant based. This is especially important to make the minerals in your foods available for absorption. For example, broccoli is high in calcium and beef is high in zinc, but if the food isn’t properly cleaved apart in your stomach, these minerals remain unavailable to you.

Once properly acidified, the contents of the stomach (called chyme) exit into the upper part of the small intestine and the pancreas sends over some juices to neutralize the acidity. Pancreatic enzymes, needed to break your food down into molecules small enough to be absorbed, also arrive with these juices. When this process happens correctly, the body can benefit from all the nutrition in the meal you just ate.

A Delicate Balance

As you can see, proper digestion is highly reliant on sufficient HCl production. If you aren’t secreting enough acid, the stomach will delay releasing the chyme to the small intestine; your body will be busily trying to create more acid and make sure that any critters that arrived in your food have been killed, and that your food has been appropriately broken apart so that you can digest it in the next phase. However, this increased time in the stomach also causes the food to start to ferment and putrefy, leading to a sense of over-fullness, burping, belching, and even heartburn as the contents expand.

This is the point at which you might be tempted to reach for antacids such as Tums, which is sad because it’s actually not too much acid that’s causing the problem, but too little.  Eventually the stomach will give up and release the chyme. When chyme sent down to the small intestine isn’t highly acidic, it doesn’t need to be neutralized, so the pancreatic flush is not stimulated, and the critical pancreatic enzymes won’t be sent out to break down the meal into absorbable particles. Over time, this leads to nutritional deficiencies and a damaged gut lining, as the food which should have been broken down and absorbed into your bloodstream instead sits against the gut wall and continues to rot, feeding pathogenic bacteria, fostering candida overgrowth, and creating inflammation of the gut wall.

Now that you understand the importance of HCl for the digestive process, you’re probably wondering how you can make sure that you’re producing enough. Dr. Jonathan Wright, author of Why Stomach Acid is Good For You, reports that when tested at his Tahoma, WA clinic, over 90% of his patients were deficient in their production of stomach acid. This has been my experience as well, both in myself and in my clients: we are not producing the stomach acid we need to, and our nutrition and gut health is suffering as a result.

Keeping Things Working

HCl production is dependent on two things: having an adequate amount of zinc in the body and being in a relaxed, parasympathetic state when you eat.

Digestion is parasympathetic

When your nervous system is in parasympathetic mode, you’ll be relaxed and unstressed. In this mode, the body rests, the organs detoxify, and you properly secrete digestive juices, particularly HCl. When your sympathetic nervous system is dominant, you are instead prepared for activity and stress. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to give in to the temptation to eat meals in the car, eat standing at the counter, and eat when multi-tasking. Unfortunately, none of these behaviors allow the parasympathetic side to dominate and digest food properly.

Zinc

There are many nutrients that play a role in your body creating HCl, but zinc is the most important. Because you need zinc to make HCl, and you need HCl to absorb dietary zinc from your food, it is easy to upset this delicate balance and find yourself in the vicious cycle of poor digestion.  Zinc plays a key role in supporting immunity and helping the body heal cuts. Poor wound healing and white spots on the fingernails point strongly to a zinc deficiency.

Three Hacks to Improve Your Digestion Today

1.     Chew your food well. Chewing each bite 20-30 times breaks down your food well before it arrives in the stomach, saturates your food with saliva (which has enzymes that break down your food) and alerts your digestive system that ‘food is on the way.’

2.     Limit water at meals. Getting adequate water each day is necessary for health, but catching up on hydration at mealtime dilutes your stomach acid and burdens digestion. Drink enough water to stay comfortable during meals (and to take your supplements), but put the majority of your water consumption at least 30 minutes prior to or 60 minutes after meals.

3.     Relax, practice gratefulness, and think about eating. Relaxing and focusing on your food doesn’t seem like it would matter for digestion, but it does. Encourage your body to enter a relaxed, parasympathetic state while you eat. Savor your food and try to spend at least 15 minutes (more is great!) relaxed and enjoying every meal.

Supporting Digestion with Supplements

If you’re consistently following the tips above and still dealing with heartburn, a sense of fullness after meals, digestive symptoms, or the presence of undigested food in your stool, consider adding an acid supplement to facilitate digestion. A product like Belly Balance provides 648mg of HCl, along with 150mg of pepsin (an enzyme) which work together to assist digestion. Both the size of your meal, and the amount of meat in your meal will affect how much acid support you need to optimized digestion, so take more with a larger meal or a larger portion of animal protein.

Consider supplementing with zinc too (more information on this in my longer article on digestion, http://www.beeyoutiful.com/buildingblockstohealthieryou). Many people can decrease their need for HCl or eliminate it entirely once they reestablish their zinc stores. Supplementing with digestive enzymes, such as Digest Best or Digestive Enzyme** will also help digestion. Many people find that once they kickstart digestion with the proper use of HCl (Belly Balance), they are no longer dependent on enzymes, because their body now produces its own.  **Digestive Enzyme contains ox bile, a necessity for anyone who doesn’t have a gallbladder.

When You Need More Help

Supplementing with acid-containing products for children is not recommended. Likewise, anyone with a history of GERD, recurrent heartburn or reflux issues or ulcers should not supplement with HCl without FIRST working with a qualified practitioner to heal these fragile tissues. Taking HCl is also not recommended for anyone taking an acid blocker, or proton pump inhibitor (things like Prilosec, Nexium, etc.).

I firmly believe in the importance of effective digestion and have seen the benefits in my own life. Guiding clients through this process is one of my areas of specialty. If you want to improve your digestion, but aren’t confident to make it a do-it-yourself project, or if you have special considerations you know need to be addressed, I invite you to schedule a complimentary 15-minute appointment to discuss your concerns and see if we are a good fit to work together.

Jessica is a Nutritional Therapy Consultant and the owner of Simple Steps Nutrition where she works with clients both in the US and internationally to create customized nutritional protocols and lifestyle modifications to support healing and function in the body. 

Her own health challenges started in her early 20’s after the birth of her first child and forced her to become educated about what her body needed to heal. She believes that through healing and supporting the underlying cause you can actually regain health, not just treat symptoms. 

Jessica specializes in restoring energy, resolving fatigue issues, balancing hormones, digestive issues, and adrenal healing. Jessica offers a complimentary 15 minute consultation for anyone who would like to find out more. Visit www.simplestepsnutrition.com for information.

The Whoop Dee Doo about Whooping Cough

 

The Whoop Dee Doo about Whooping Cough

Written by Gwen Brown from www.gwens-nest.com

and used with permission from http://www.gwens-nest.com/natural-remedies/whooping-cough/

 whooping-cough-I-1024x794

Whooping cough was the last thing on my mind as we packed for a late summer vacation at the beach.  But on the second day there, our baby’s cough got considerably worse…we realized that we had an insidious guest.  The pertussis bacteria had traveled with us on vacation.

The really scary thing is, my babe was the last of the four kids to get the “bad cough”. Up to that point, we really had only thought of it as a cold with a bad, lingering cough.  We started researching based on the symptoms we’d observed with our kids, and realized that we had whooping cough.  We had lived with it for a couple of months, unaware.  

At the doctor’s office, my  baby was smiley and didn’t seem sick at all, and (of course!) he didn’t cough once during our visit.  the nurse practitioner began telling me that it didn’t seem to be croup; he seemed perplexed and a bit anxious when I asked him about whooping cough.  He agreed that the symptoms fit, and told me that the Dr’s in the practice had just (as in that weekend) agreed to plan a course of action for diagnosing whooping cough (aka Pertussis) because the medical journals are beginning to call attention to the disease.  He said because of the vaccines, they simply don’t consider it, but the medical journals are bringing attention back to pertussis, as it’s being grossly misdiagnosed and under-reported.  I had questions, but the answers I was getting didn’t make sense to me.  After our visit, I really began researching this disease in earnest.

The information I was getting from my pediatrician, the CDC, and other mainstream sources seemed contradictory to me.  Some sources stated that infants under a year with whooping cough should be hospitalized (really?), but my doctors office didn’t seem that concerned.  What was going on here?

I became slightly obsessed with knowing more about whooping cough, so that I could make an informed choice for treating my kids, as well as for protecting others around us from being exposed to this virulent bug.  And it IS virulent…my oldest two have been vaccinated against it, and they were the first two to come down with whooping cough.

I have heard of a LOT of cases of this in the past year popping up among friends all over the U.S.  I am of the opinion that the current vaccine may be failing, but I don’t think doctors are really aware of this, nor are they equipped with good diagnostic or treatment options at this point. (We’ll discuss more on this in part II)

Whooping cough hasn’t really gotten on the national radar screen.  Yet.

Now, I do enjoy research, but I’m generally not obsessive about picking apart a disease in medical textbooks and sharing it with the world.  Especially diseases like whooping cough…it sounded somewhat antiquated, mostly mild outbreaks, and I thought that there were easily available treatments.

But I discovered that whooping cough is extremely contagious; and it’s contagious before you even know you have it, and by the time you get to the doctor, the damage has already been done.  After spending some serious reading time, I feel that in this case, it’s super-important to “know thy enemy.”  Allow me to introduce you…

In a nutshell, here’s what I think every parent should be aware of in regards to whooping cough:

*People who have been immunized can still get whooping cough.
*Pertussis is most contagious when only minor cold like symptoms are present…and at that stage, it’s *extremely* contagious.

* Most cases go undiagnosed, and are uneventful…a mild persistent cough in adults and older kids (and rarely “whoops”), but the damage that whooping cough can do in young infants (under 6 months), the elderly, and those who have impaired immune systems is extremely serious and can be life threatening.

*Pertussis is often misdiagnosed or misunderstood, and incorrect information about the disease is common, even in doctors offices.

*Whooping Cough is often diagnosed after the damage is done, and is commonly overlooked as a persistent cough.  Other names for it are the “100 day cough” and “nurses cough”.

Whooping Cough: Just the Facts

Whooping cough is the only vaccine-preventable disease on the rise in the US and it is severely under-reported.(2)  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that, at best, one out of three cases are believed to be reported (2); but other estimates place the true number of reported incidences at closer to 1 out of 10 to 1 out of 20 reported cases. (2) Those are pretty shocking stats…or better stated, a shocking lack of stats.

Imagine the impact of this in daycare centers and schools alone.

Whooping cough can actually be caused by one of three bacteria.  B. Pertussis is thought to cause 95% of the cases of whooping cough, with B Parapertussis, a milder strain, causing the other 5% of reported cases. (1)

Now, my friends, if you’re up for it, here are the cliff notes from my obsessive research plus, my own little cute illustrations, for us visual learners.  From medical textbooks, lectures, and government authorities, here’s a peek into the dirty lair of the whooping cough <dun-da-dah-dunnnn>

The Stages of Whooping Cough

Stage One: Infection and incubation
(note: many sources roll this stage in with the second stage)
Day one:  B. pertussis bacteria is inhaled and attaches itself to the mucous membranes…the infection begins.  Whooping Cough is spread by breathing in the bacteria from the discharge of an infected persons cough or sneeze. (3)
Grody.
Immediately, the bacteria begins to colonize and multiply on the cells lining the respiratory tract and airways.  The protective cell layer that lines the airways are like living velvet…they are covered in tiny hairs or cilia. The cilia move back and fort, expelling mucous, and tiny foreign particles, including invading bacteria.  But B. pertussis is magnetically attracted to these ciliated epithelial cells.  It attaches to them and begins to silently colonize and obliterate the lining of the large airways.(4)

The incubation period lasts on average from 7-10 days, but can range from 4 to 21 days in which the person is highly contagious, but has no symptoms at all.  The pertussis bacteria never actually enters the cells or the bloodstream.  So sytemic or oral treatment is minimally helpful.  Pertussis is very effective at causing major respiratory distress.

Stage Two: The Catarrh (Inflammation & Mucuous) Stage
For approximately the past week, these quickly multiplying bacteria are coating the upper respiratory tract, and doing massive damage to the cells that line the airways.

The infected cells are exploding, pumping out toxins that damage lining of the airways, which in turn increase histamine response and mucous production, and ramps up the immune response of the host. (3)   Symptoms begin to show, but are very mild, and will mimic that of a cold, with a runny nose, mild occasional cough, and low grade fever. (4)  In our cases, only one child had a fever, and the others had very, very minor cold symptoms with an occasional cough or a sniffle. In babies, this may present as sneezes and throat clearings.

As the top layer of ciliated cells die off, the body reacts with acute inflammation and by producing large amounts of thick, sticky mucous. (1)  This stage goes on for one to two weeks. (2)

So, to sum up:
For three weeks or more, these buggers are stripping your airway of cilia, creating gunky thick mucous, you’re majorly contagious…and you may just have a minor sniffle.

<shudder>

I’m a visual person, so I thought I’d share a visual aid of what is happening in the first 2 phases of whooping cough.whooping-cough

Stage Three: The Paroxysmal (Fits) Stage
Next comes the coughing stage, which lasts from two to six weeks.  This is usually when we begin to get a clue that something is very, very wrong.  Most cases are diagnosed in this stage of the illness.

The person will present with violent fits of coughing, interspersed with deep gasps for air that can make a whooping sound.  Though, in our four cases, only one child had the classic ‘whoop’, and only did so one time.

This is where you really begin to see the damage that has been happening to the lining of the airways.  On average, the coughing fits increase in frequency during the first 1 to 2 weeks, remain at the same level for 2 to 3 weeks, decreasing gradually after this. (2)

Coughs may be hard, dry, convulsive coughs, or more croupy and rattley as mucous begins to be expelled. (6) The thick, sticky mucous is difficult to expel, and once a coughing spasm begins, it usually continues until all the air is expelled from the lungs.  It is common for the person to throw up during or just after a coughing fit. (1)
The coughing spasms can also cause a person to turn red or blue in the face (cyanotic), blood vessel ruptures in the whites of the eyes, and in some cases, cracked ribs and hernias. (1)

My little ones would literally cough all the air out of their lungs until they puked.  Every night, sometimes multiple times a night.  For weeks.

The pertussis bacteria puts off a toxin that causes an increased histamine response, which means that the respiratory tract overreacts easily, triggering these major coughing fits.(3)  The coughing spells average about 15 times in a 24 hour period, and occur most commonly at night, which results in fitful sleep (understatement of the year).(1)

Other activities such as eating or laying down can also cause coughing spells to occur.  For my 6 1/2 month old, pretty much all of his normal activity triggered cough spells: rolling over, laying on his tummy, drooling, putting things in his mouth, burping, and nursing.  It was heart wrenching.

The crazy thing is, between coughing fits, the person seems perfectly normal, and feels fine.  Which is part of the reason why this so often goes undiagnosed…the child doesn’t look or feel sick unless they start coughing, and, of course, they never, ever have a coughing fit at the doctors’ office.  In adults, whooping coughing may just seem to be a mild, persistent cough.  The “whoop” is uncommon in adults. (2)

Stage Four: Recovery or convalescent phase
The final stage is the recovery period, which can take up to six months.  Coughing fits begin to happen with less frequently and duration. (3) The lungs recover slowly, and the person is more susceptible to secondary infections because the protective cilia layer is gone.  Infections that do develop afterwards are going to stimulate similar coughing fits.

 

Sources cited:

1.  Dr. Neal R.Chamberlain, http://www.atsu.edu/faculty/chamberlain/Website/lectures/lecture/reairin2.htm

2. http://www.jabfm.org/cgi/content/full/19/6/603 

Note: this study was funded by the “largest company in
the world devoted entirely to human vaccines.”  Just so you know.

3.  Essentials of Immunology and Serology, By Jacqueline Stanley, 2002  http://tiny.cc/n89sh

4.  Bacterial Toxins and Virulence Factors In Disease by Joel Moss, 2008 http://tinyurl.com/2a5c794

5.http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/

6.  Whooping-cough; its pathology and treatment, By Thomas Michael Dolan, 1882  http://tinyurl.com/2asybrq
(obviously, very inaccurate with regards to pathology, but interesting in
regards to immunity and history of the disease)

whooping-cough-II

Whooping Cough II: Dangers, Diagnosis & Conventional Treatments –

Our internship with whooping cough this fall has prompted me to get the word out.  Though I’m not a fan of scare tactic health care, I want everyone to be aware of how contagious, and potentially devastating this disease is to those who may be immune compromised, and especially to very tiny babies.  It’s just not something to take lightly.

But it’s also not something to totally freak out over for most people.

First, let’s talk about the odds of this being really life threatening or serious.  Then, let’s dig into the topics of diagnosisimmunity, and conventional treatment recommendations.

I’ve had some great questions and feedback from my first post that I’d like to answer.  If you haven’t gotten a chance to read that post yet, you can read it here: Whooping Cough, Part I.

How Serious is Whooping Cough?

The main concern with whooping cough is catching a secondary infection.  Namely, bacterial pneumonia, which occurs in less than 10% of children with whooping cough under the age of two. (4)  The vast majority…90% of deaths from pertussis…occur in children younger than 6 months old.  Most of the deaths attributed to pertussis are caused by a secondary infection of bacterial pneumonia.  This is the most common complication and the cause of most pertussis-related deaths across all age groups. (2)

Despite most of the journal articles claims that whooping cough is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality, it’s difficult to dig up actual numbers on mortality rate.  In fact, one article states that whooping cough is associated with “substantial morbidity and mortality”, but later on says “death due to pertussis is rare, occurring in about .2 percent of reported cases.” (2)

While I find these risk factors to be on the small side, it’s still worth taking precautions with anyone that is exposed to very young infants or the elderly and immune compromised.  I was also careful to watch for a fever or signs of pain in the chest/lungs in my little ones.  We did not have any complications or secondary pneumonia.

Another question that I was asked is “How do you know if a cold or sniffle is whooping cough?…

How would I get a confirmed diagnosis?

This is a great question, since the earliest and most contagious stages mimic a common cold.  One of the main reasons I took my son in to the pediatrician was to get diagnostic testing to find out if we were really dealing with whooping
cough.

This is what I’ve found about diagnosing whooping cough.  I’m going to pull from the CDC website, since more than likely that is what your doctor is going to refer to for diagnostic and treatment protocols.

The CDC describes the clinical case definition of whooping cough as “a cough illness lasting at least 2 weeks with one of the following:

  • paroxysms of coughing
  • inspiratory “whoop”
  • posttussive vomiting without other apparent cause (as reported by a health professional).”

We had two of out of the three…well, actually, three out of three if you count the one teensy-tiny whoop my boy did one night.

So how do they officially confirm whooping cough?

Pertussis (the bacteria that causes whooping cough) is diagnosed in three ways.

1. The “gold standard” preferred test is a bacterial culture, which requires a special swab and nerves of steel.  If you want to see what they do with said swab, click here.

WARNING: It ain’t pretty.  I can’t imagine my kids having this done.  A restraining device would have to be employed.
2. The second test is called a PCR…[polymerase chain reaction: researchers produce millions of copies of a specific DNA sequence in approximately two hours.]

3. And finally, there is a serum (blood) test, that looks for the antibodies that are created against pertussis, to confirm that you’ve had a positive case.  Each method has benefits and drawbacks…to see a chart that lays it out pretty neatly, click here.

The nurse practitioner that we saw agreed that this appeared to be whooping cough.  My son looked healthy, and didn’t cough at all, but he could hear congestion in the lungs.  He informed me that one of their doctors had called the CDC just that week, to find a source for the specialized swabs that are used in collecting a specimen in suspected pertussis cases, and he was told that there were no swabs available in the state.  That blew my mind.  Really?  In the whole state?  And the state that the CDC is located in no less!

No other diagnostic options were offered by my doctor’s office, which makes me wonder how often cases are even reported.  Of the cases that are reported, only cases that have (or are related to) a positive swab culture or PCR are considered confirmed cases.  The rest are considered “probable” cases, and they won’t make the news.  Or the statistics.  For this, and other reasons, I think the numbers relating to whooping cough are dramatically higher than what are actually reported.

Immunity

Vaccine immunity among fully vaccinated infants is tested between 80-85% effective, and the effectiveness wanes from there.  Current medical research reveals that the immunity whether through vaccines, or from naturally acquired antibodies, are minimal after about 10 years. (2)
Prior to the Pertussis vaccine, which was developed in the 30’s and was being widely administered by the mid 1940’s, whooping cough was considered a childhood disease, mostly occurring in children between 1 and 5 years of age. (2)  It was thought to usually only occur once (6), and maternal immunity was thought to pass to babies under a year old. (2)
No carrier state exists. (1)  A carrier state means that you can pass the active bacteria to others, but that you have no symptoms of the disease.

How is Whooping Cough Treated?

Now, we’ll explore conventional treatment of pertussis.

At our doctors appointment, we were offered prescriptions for our 6 ½ month old boy for both antibiotics (approved for 6 months and up) and a cough suppressant.  I took the prescription, but came home to do a bit more research…this is what I found.

The CDC recommends treating whooping cough with antibiotics, but says “If treatment for pertussis is started early in the course of illness, during the first 1 to 2 weeks before coughing paroxysms occur, symptoms may be lessened. If the patient is diagnosed late, antibiotics will not alter the course of the illness and, even without antibiotics, the patient should no longer be spreading pertussis.” (5)

In other words, by the time you start coughing, it’s too late for antibiotics to do much good. 

But then, a couple of paragraphs down from this, they go on to say “A reasonable guideline is to treat persons aged >1 year within 3 weeks of cough onset and infants aged <1 year within 6 weeks of cough onset [with antibiotics].” (5)

The CDC confuses me.  I have no idea how those two statements can both be true…they seem contradictory to me.

Beyond antibiotics, no other mainstream medical interventions or therapies, including corticosteroids, cough suppressants or beta-blockers have proven beneficial in treating whooping cough. (2)  And if you saw the illustrations of what the disease does to the lung lining in my first post, you understand why.

My husband and I decided not to fill the prescription unless we felt that his symptoms turned into a concern for pneumonia.  Personally, I wonder if giving antibiotics alters the body’s ability to create antibodies against what it’s fighting, so I prefer to let nature take it’s course as long as he is improving and isn’t sickly or running a fever.

We’d had some good results already in treating and preventing whooping cough with natural remedies, so I began researching ways of helping my little buddy to heal up faster…which leads us to this post:

Questions about Whooping Cough vaccines, and the cause of the Epidemic?  Check out this great blog post over on Holistic Squid. (will open in a new window)

Sources cited:

1.  Dr. Neal R. Chamberlain,
http://www.atsu.edu/faculty/chamberlain/Website/lectures/lecture/reairin2.htm

2. http://www.jabfm.org/cgi/content/full/19/6/603
Note: this study was funded by the “largest company in
the world devoted entirely to human vaccines.”  Just so you know.

3.http://journals.lww.com/pidj/Abstract/2009/03000/Infant_and_Maternal_Risk_Factors_for.6.aspx

4.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10451159?dopt=Abstract

5.  http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/clinical/treatment.html

6.  Whooping-cough;
its pathology and treatment, By Thomas Michael Dolan, 1882
http://tinyurl.com/2asybrq
(obviously, very inaccurate with regards to pathology, but interesting in
regards to immunity and history of the disease)

7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC143554/#r1-23

whooping-cough-III

Whooping Cough III: Natural Remedies for Prevention and Treatment – 

This is the Whooping Cough post that I’m the most excited to share!!!  I mean, I’m not giddy about having such a long and nasty bug this year, but it’s such a great feeling to treat your family at home with herbs and foods that you feel good about giving them, and watch them get better!  So I want to share what has worked for our family.

In case you missed it, Part I: Our Whooping Cough Story is here, and Part IIDangers, Diagnosis & Conventional Treatment is here.

I’m going to post random vacation pictures.  The only way that these will relate at all is that this is the time that we discovered that this handsome little beach stud had whooping cough.Me-and-the-beach-stud

Prevention of Whooping Cough

If you read the article I wrote on September 3rd about using Garlic as a natural remedy, you’ll see that I mentioned that I was trying to come down with a cough.  Well, I didn’t know it at the time, but the babe and I were in the first phase of whooping cough.  I felt as if I had a thick layer of mucous high up in my chest/throat area.

I decided to go ahead and treat myself with garlic, as I find that treating at the *VERY* first sign of an illness really gives your immune system the home court advantage.

Placing a whole, fresh clove of garlic in my cheek, biting down on it with my molars, and holding it for a few minutes knocked it out.  I did this twice…once that night while writing the blog post, and once the next day.

The garlic biting was really not as bad as I anticipated it being…it’s no where near the intensity as chewing a clove, as it sits so far back in the mouth and there is no chewing and tongue coating intensity.  It’s doable even for an herbal wimp like me.

So, I accidentally knocked out a case of Whooping Cough using the powerful antibiotic properties of garlic…but the baby still got it.  If I had known what we were dealing with at the time, I would have used a garlic poultice on my little guy, and eaten more garlic myself to rally his immune system to knock it out.beach poic

Whooping Cough Treatment in the Coughing Phase (Paroxysmal Phase)

When we went to the doctor in my baby’s second week of coughing, the coughing fits were really, really bad.

But when he wasn’t having a coughing fit, he was a happy, healthy looking baby with no symptoms of illness besides a bit of congestion rattle when he breathed.  No fever, runny nose, etc.  And OF COURSE he didn’t cough once at the doctors office.

My husband and I decided not to medically prevent our baby’s coughs by using cough suppressants.  However, my heart just broke every time he had a coughing fit…I hated it, and I wanted to help support his body in healing.  I wanted to do something about it, and I felt strongly that herbs and nutrition would be the best way to help him heal quickly.

Since my babe was at the age where he was very interested in watching us eat,  I decided to look into herbs or foods that would help support and repair what the whooping cough toxins had compromised.  If he had been a bit younger, I would have simply applied the foods and herbs to my diet, and he would have benefited from it through nursing.

This is actually where a majority of my whooping cough research began.

I wanted to know exactly what areas of the body had been damaged, and find foods that contained nutrients that supported healing in those areas.
So I did a little (OK…several hours worth of) research.

First I looked at medical journals that outlined the progression and actions of the disease.  Then, I took those terms, and searched for foods and herbs that directly addressed those issues in the body.  This is what I came up with for him:

My Recipe for Whooping Cough Remedy Stew

The Problem is:“Pertussis progressively destroys the ciliated epithelial cells” (4)
Research says:… beta-carotene acts to strengthen the epithelial cells of the mucous membranes  (1)

Some herbs and foods that are high in beta carotene are alfalfa, and cooked carrots.  Cooking and pureeing carrots actually increases the availability of the beta carotene

…so pureed carrots went on the menu. 

I also read that a small amount of fat in the meal ensures that the body absorbs more of the beta carotene.(3)

…so I added a bit of good organic butter to the mix.

The Problem is: Pertussis “inhibits coupling of receptors to inter-cellular signaling pathways, leading to the secretion of fluids and electrolytes from the cells.” (4)  [My translation: it shuts down the electrical system of the cells and cause them to leak fluids or burst]
Research says:
-A substance called Beta-1,3-D-glucan (found in oats, barley and yeasts) are potent macrophage activators.  Macrophages ignite intercellular communication by releasing chemical messengers called cytokines (interferon and interleukin). These cytokines are powerful proteins responsible for catalyzing and regulating several immune responses within the body.

Great!  I just happened to have pearled barley and oats…tossing those in with buttered pureed carrots.

The Problem is:“Studies with animals have shown that both humoral [within the body fluids] and inter-cellular immunity is required to eliminate an infection with B. pertussis.” (4)
Research says:
-Garlic may stimulate both humoral and cellular immunity, cause T-cell proliferation, and restore suppressed antibody responses (5)

…adding in some garlic.

The Problem is:“Pertussis paralyzes the cilia, coating it with a sticky toxin.  This, in turn, makes the lungs even more susceptible to secondary infections. B. pertussis potentiates [increases or enhances] the effects of histamine, resulting in increased mucus production.  The respiratory tract becomes overly sensitive to environmental irritants”
Research says:
-Garlic eases bronchial secretions (6) and has rejuvenating effect on all cells.  Garlic is effective against toxic bacteria, viruses, and fungi.(7)

…and some more garlic.

I also added in some dried basil and oregano, which I had on a list in my herbal notes as natural anti-histamines.  Other natural anti-histamines include chamomile, fennel and tarragon.  The first two would be nice in a tea blend.

So, the natural remedy was disguised as baby food, using these specific ingredients. It would also have made a delicious stew, if I had not pureed it.  Here is a printable recipe if you’d like to try it!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Whooping Cough Stew
Author: Gwen
Ingredients
  • 2 T good quality butter
  • ⅔ c. chopped carrots
  • 6 cups of good, homemade chicken or beef stock (or 6 cups of water, and beef or chicken bones)
  • 1½ cups cooked chicken meat (optional: I leave this out for little ones)
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped fine or minced
  • 1 t. salt
  • ¼ t. dried basil
  • ¼ t. dried oregano (or sub ½ t. Greek Seasoning Mix for dried herbs)
  • ½ c. pearled barley
  • ½ c. oats (any form from steel cut to quick cooking)
  • 1½ cups of fresh, organic spinach greens
  • ½ t. yeast
Instructions
Broth Instructions
  1. If you’re starting with bones and water, place them in a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for a couple of hours, skimming the top from time to time.
  3. Or you may alternatively place it all in the crock pot overnight on high.
  4. Strain broth through a sieve into a large soup pot, and follow instructions below.
Soup Instructions
  1. If you have chicken or beef broth/stock ready to go, add it to a large pot or crock pot, along with melt butter, cooked chicken, chopped carrots, garlic, basil and oregano. Heat to boiling, and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  2. Add pearled barley and oats, and continue to simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Add in the fresh spinach and a bit of yeast just before serving.
Notes
I was a little surprised that the combination I made for my 7 month old baby smelled really good! The immersion blender did a great job of pureeing the food into a mush, and we froze most of it in ice cube trays.
I didn’t include any protein in the baby food version, because my son was still nursing for most of his nutrition. If this was being served as the main course for an older baby or child, I would add the meat or even do an “egg drop” method to enhance the protein content.
We are not “religious” food snobs by any means, but for a family who is recuperating from an illness, I find it is really worth it for me to get the best quality meats and eggs that I can find. I get grass-fed beef bones from a local company, as well as pasture raised eggs. There really is a nutritional difference.
                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

– See more at: http://www.gwens-nest.com/natural-remedies/whooping-cough-natural-remedies-for-prevention-and-treatment/#sthash.Ssex8wji.dpuf

My little guy was very excited to start eating, and really, really likes his food.  But the best part is that his coughing got progressively better.  I noticed a difference within 48 hours, and by the end of the week, he was remarkably better.

Which is amazing, because he had the worst cough of all, having such small airways.

Whooping Cough Treatment During the Recovery Phase

The next phase of Pertussis is called the “Recovery Phase” and is the longest of the three phases.  In fact, it can last for up to 6 months.  If you remember from my first post on whooping cough, I wrote:

“Coughing fits begin to happen with less frequently and duration.  The lungs recover slowly, and the person is more susceptible to secondary infections because the protective cilia layer is gone.  Infections that do develop afterwards are going to stimulate similar coughing fits.”

My 8 year old and 3 year old were in this phase as we prepared to leave for our family vacation…prior to me really *understanding* that we actually had whooping cough.

Just before we left for vacation in September, my 8 year old and 3 year old had been coughing for 4 and 3 weeks, respectively.  It was still interfering with everyone’s sleep, and the coughs were still intense.

They had both been taking this homemade honey/lemon ‘cough syrup’ all along, with no real changes, but they liked it, so I let them have as much as they wanted.  And at that point, I was still thinking that I was dealing primarily with “germs”, and not understanding that it was mainly toxic aftermath/damage I should be addressing.

As we were getting ready to go out of town, I happened to run across a blog post about the benefits of turmeric as an anti-inflammatory.  So I added turmeric and a dash of pepper to their honey.  My  3 y.o. had the worst cough of the two.  I gave her one dose of the turmeric boosted “cough syrup” the night before we left for vacation.P1330859

On day 2 of our vacation, we realized that she was barely coughing anymore!

The bad news was that I had left the turmeric honey at home.  Thankfully, it’s a common kitchen herb, so after a quick run to the local super market, I dosed both of them with the turmeric honey.  After weeks of coughing, we were amazed that this simple natural remedy diminished their coughs to almost non-existent.

Turmeric is a yellow spice (a ground root) that is used in Indian food.  It has a warm, spicy smell and taste, and it is a very good anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine.  Using a bit of black pepper thrown in helps the body absorb more into the blood stream (and by more, I mean 2,000 percent more, according to one study!)  Turmeric powder is VERY yellow, though, and can stain, but a soak (or two) in Oxy-Clean got the stains out for us.

I wrote about turmeric in depth here, and it’s now one of my favorite herbs that I keep on hand in bulk.  It’s VERY versatile in its actions and we prefer it for headaches, stopping blood flow, and especially for coughing.

Since I don’t give honey to my little guy yet, I gave the him some turmeric mixed in plain organic yogurt or maple syrup.  Because he was still in the paroxysmal (fits) stage, we were dealing with fresh damage to his lung tissue, he responded more-so to the foods and herbs that I posted about earlier.  The turmeric didn’t shut down the coughing as quickly as it had for my other two kiddos, but it was still helpful for him as an anti-histamine.

I’m really grateful that we had another opportunity to use natural remedies to help us get well.  Even after seeing it work over and over, it’s still amazing and rewarding to see how the body responds to good whole foods, and medicinal herbs.

I want to hear if this works for you!  Pass it on, and send me your comments.  I love hearing from you!

Update

This was shared on the Gwens-Nest facebook page, and I wanted to share it here as well:

“Hi there!! I just wanted to pass along the vitamin C info someone recommended to me – it seems to be helping alot!
http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/updatedThe-Vitamin-C-Treatment-of-Whooping-Cough-10-5+doc-1.pdf
We are doing high doses of Vitamin C – if I ease off on the dose the cough gets worse so it really does seem to be helping! He has one major coughing fit per day (unfortunately at about 5am!!) and then the odd cough or two throughout the day and that’s it.” Lauren C.

Feedback:

“Hi Gwen, my whole family has been suffering from whooping cough. My daughter and I have had it quite severe and are still suffering the effects. I started to google home remedies as the doctors can not give you anything for it. I found your cough syrup which my husband made me up a big batch on Saturday. I must say, it has helped me so much. On Friday night, I was going to take my daughter and I to hospital. I haven’t felt that way again since taking your cough syrup. We are still coughing, but it isn’t as bad and doesnt seem to last as long. I have been taking the syrup for nearly 48 hours, so I am hoping I will continue to improve. I have been giving it to the kids too, and they dont mind it. Thank you for sharing your recipe and it has at least given me some hope that we will all get over this dreaded bug.” Paula

Thank you so much to all those who have taken time to share their tips, stories and experiences with Pertussis.

I had no idea that there would be outbreaks of Whooping Cough when I wrote this series.  My heart goes out to the parents and little ones who are in the midst of this scary illness, and it is my hope that you find resources and research to help your family cope with and heal from Whooping Cough.

And we can rejoice together that immunity from having Whooping Cough is generally life-time immunity!

Here is another great article to check out: Natural Ttreatment for Whooping Cough by Holistic Squid.

Sources cited:
(full disclosure: the last two books are linked through my Amazon affiliate account)
1. http://www.bulkherbstore.com/AHC?s=cells
2. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/09/000904124728.htm
3. http://www.vitamin-basics.com/index.php?id=35
4. Essentials of Immunology and Serology, By Jacqueline Stanley, 2002  http://tiny.cc/n89sh
5. http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69230.cfm
6. Nutritional Herbology : A Reference Guide to Herbs
7. The How to Herb Book: Let’s Remedy the Situation

P.S. Info…not meant to treat, diagnose…blah blah…I’m just a housefrau, so don’t listen to anything I say. :) Mmm-K?

Buttercream Mints- Fall 2013 Catalog

Mary Ewing and Steph Tallent put their creative kitchen heads together and came up with this dessert that is free of grain, eggs, and refined sugar. They and their kids love it and it makes an elegant dessert to serve at parties! Enjoy!

1410783_10151749083558106_42833769_o

ButterCream Mints

1/2 pound butter (preferably from grass-fed cows) The butter needs to be cool: firm, but not hard. Let it sit out of the fridge for about 30 minutes.
4 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup (We prefer the maple syrup!)
5-7 drops of Beeyoutiful’s Peppermint essential oil (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp. Beeyoutiful’s Liquid Chlorophyll Add more if desired to intensify green color.
1 tsp. vanilla

Place all ingredients in a mixer or food processor and blend thoroughly. Scoop the mixture into a ziplock bag. Snip a hole in one of the bottom corners of the bag then squeeze little “buttons” of the mix onto waxed paper-lined baking sheets. We also have used it in icing decoration bags and squeezed it through decorative tips! Place the baking sheets into the freezer until firm and then store the mints in a glass container in the fridge. To serve at a party, keep in a small serving bowl on ice to prevent softening.

Wild Edibles- Spring 2013 Catalog

Surviving the Way It Is, with Wild Edibles

B. J. Rucker

BobbiJoRucker2

Surviving the way it is.

That phrase always comes to my mind when I ponder the abundance of edible wild foods out there. You have to learn to survive the way it is in whatever environment you are in. And right now with the high cost of groceries, learning about a few wild foods is a good way to help your wallet survive.
I won’t tell you that all wild foods are delicious. The truth is, many are not very tasty, and some are downright nasty—unless you enjoy lip-curling bitterness. But if in a pinch, you found yourself needing food, you would welcome those edible plants regardless of taste. There are, however, certain wild treats that are a delight to eat.

Weed Eater
Many of the plants some people call troublesome weeds, I call salad. Dandelions, lambs quarters, plantain, clovers, goldenrod, wild carrot, burdock, chicory, garlic, and mustard, to name a few, all qualify. Since I was young, God’s creation has fascinated me, and although my parents taught me a few things about wild edibles, most of what I have learned stems (so to speak) from many hours of research and experimentation. Much of my motivation is simply that I want to use and respect the plants God made for us.
If you are fortunate enough to have great-grandparents who are still living—or perhaps grandparents—try asking them if they ever ate things we now call weeds, such as dandelion greens. We have lost the knowledge of which wild foods are safe to eat since our survival no longer depends on foraging for food like many of our ancestors did. I have often wondered how it has come to be this way, and my theory is that many of those wild edibles grow easily on their own, which means cultivating them would not be cost effective. If people could simply step outside and pick their own, they would not need to spend money on them.
Once you get to know outdoor edibles, you may be surprised to find out how many “weeds” are actually safe to eat. But before you go out and start grazing, please do your own research and become familiar with the plants. To jumpstart your study, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
(1) I tend to lean on the side of caution and will research a plant over and over from a variety of published sources and knowledgeable people and compare notes. Never trust just one source.
(2) Take a digital picture of the plant from several angles. Photograph its root, leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers–any different part your specimen offers. And then find a forum or other place online to post the pictures, and ask for help in identifying it.
(3) Do a Google search of your plant, starting with a description of what you see. For example, if you wanted to research wild carrot, a.k.a., Queens Ann’s Lace, and you did not know its name, you could type in something like “late summer tall white flower” to start your inquiry. In your search results, look for both descriptions and pictures of the plant.
(4) Eat only one new plant at a time. Once you are positive the plant is safe to eat, testing is still in order. By eating just the one species at a time, if you get any bad side effects, you will know it is likely from the new plant you just tried.
(5) Look in the library for books on wild edibles and herbs as well, although doing your research this way will take a lot longer.
(6) There are dangerous look-a-likes among some wild edibles. As part of your online search, it is a good idea to type in something like “[plant name] look alikes.”

Be Bold but Not Too Bold
I must admit it is scary to eat a plant I have been taught was poisonous all of my life, but there are myths about edibles that are worth busting. I was always told, for instance, that burdock was deadly, so it took huge amounts of research before I was confident enough to try it myself. Now I love burdock root fried in olive oil.

To make the wild edible adventure work, you have to step out of your comfort zone a little bit. As you begin to enjoy Creation in a new way, you can also pray for the Maker’s direction in guiding your research of His plants. Use every means you can to identify the good from the bad. Smell the plants. Examine them from the top to the root. Feel their texture, and examine leaf shape. Keep an eye on the plant throughout the growing season if possible to notice its many phases. Some wild edibles are safe to eat only during certain parts of their growing season, and some have both safe and unsafe parts, so you must learn which plant pieces are safe to eat before trying them.

You will likely encounter conflicting information that at times will confuse and worry you. Some “experts” will claim a plant is most certainly unsafe while other sources will say it is most certainly safe. When you run into this situation (and you will!), don’t give up. Keep researching until you find an answer that satisfies you.
Because I am cautious, my personal data base of wild edibles is still small, but each year brings a new growing season and more of God’s plants to research and try. I am a stay-at-home housewife and mother, and my kids and I love going out to find wild edibles every summer. But this sort of education can have amusing—and occasionally a bit awkward—results. Several years ago, when my daughter was seven, she participated at our church in a special kids outing at which she began picking plantain and clovers to eat. This freaked out her Sunday school teacher who hurried to tell me that my daughter was eating the church yard! The teacher knew something of our reputation for eating forage, so she wasn’t too worried about it, but I remind my children from time to time not to make a show of eating wild edibles around other children. There’s always the danger that others may try eating wild edibles on their own and, if untrained, end
up consuming something unsafe.

Wild edibles make a great study for your children. Take them outside to examine plants, and teach them which ones are safe (and don’t forget your camera). As a result of our times outdoors, my six- and nine-year-old daughters, Miracle-Grace and Faith, have even come up with their own “Yard-Grazing Salad”:
• Clover flowers and leaves
• Wild carrot flowers
• Dandelion leaves and flowers
• Plantain leaves and seeds
• Lambs quarters leaves
• Garlic mustard leaves and flowers
• And some lettuce from the fridge.
To make it “just right,” toss it and serve with your favorite salad dressing. Throwing in a few nuts, seeds, and pieces of fruit adds a fun extra touch.

The sidebars accompanying this article will help you identify several of the most common outdoor edibles. With some “due diligence,” perhaps someday you’ll be that grandmother or grandfather the kids come to for advice about what to eat in the wild. Meanwhile, you and your family can supplement your groceries and have a great time surviving the way it is.

[Sidebars]
WILD CARROT (also known as Queen Ann’s Lace)
This plant seems to grow everywhere on its own with virtually no help at all. (I must be clear and say that there is a deadly plant called poison hemlock that resembles the wild carrot, but once you research “Queen Ann’s Lace,” you can feel comfortable in positively identifying and safely using wild carrot. Although even my six- and nine-year-old children can properly identify wild carrot, I always have them show me the plant before they eat it, just to be sure.)
Ways to identify wild carrot:
• It is a tall plant with white flowers. A purplish dark spot, often—though not always—sits in the center of the white. The dark spot could be considered a tiny flower within the big white, wide flower.
• Oftentimes, more than one flower branches off of each stem. Every once in a while a wild carrot flower will have a pinkish hue in the tiny flowers that appear to make up the giant white flower.
• The leaves resemble those of a regular garden carrot and of the parsley plant.
• The carrot-like smell of the root is a good way to determine if it is wild carrot. However, it is not bright orange like a cultivated carrot. The root has an off-white color.

• The stem has tiny hairs here and there up and down its length. By contrast, the deadly poison hemlock plant does not have hairs on the stem.
• Wild carrot often grows in large groups along roadsides, in fields, in grassy areas, and most anywhere else.
Edible parts:
• Leaves. Some sources say wild carrot leaves are safe to eat only when the plant is young, before the flowers appear, but I have eaten my share of leaves from mature, late summer plants and have been fine.
• Flowers. Eating them raw is okay but not the best taste in the world. I like dipping them in batter and frying!
• Roots. I have a hard time finding the root before it has become too hard and woody to eat, but if you come across an older root, you can still use it to flavor other foods such as stew. To harvest root before it turns woody, you must find the wild carrot plant when it is a baby. This makes it harder to identify because the flower has not yet appeared. A good indicator of whether or not it is a wild carrot plant in any stage of its life is to smell the root. The carrot scent is always noticeable.

People have found wild carrot to be good to use as:
• A diuretic;
• A cleanser for the liver and kidneys;
• A help to sooth and comfort the digestive tract.
It also:

• Encourages the flow of urine and removal of waste by the kidneys which helps with certain health problems in the urinary system including, decreasing the chance of kidney stones forming.
• Is said to contain a compound called porphyrin that encourages the pituitary gland to increase the amount of sex hormones it releases.
• Helps with a diabetic’s blood sugars. My own experience as a diabetic suggests the reports of its benefits are true. Due to the nature of my diabetes, no herb works full time for long, but for a time, wild carrot helped keep my blood sugars down which meant I took less insulin.
• Stimulates the uterus and is said to help start delayed menstruation. Which is why wild carrot is NOT safe to eat during pregnancy or if you want to get pregnant. This plant was used in the old days as a form of birth control. From what I have learned, it will allow conception but can possibly kill a newly fertilized egg by not allowing the baby to attach to the lining of the uterus.

WARNINGS!

(1) There is a very dangerous plant that resembles wild carrot. Poison hemlock can be mistaken for wild carrot by those not familiar enough with the carrot. Ingesting even trace amounts of poison hemlock can be deadly. (2) Wild carrot should not be eaten by pregnant women or women who want to become pregnant. It has birth-control-like properties and was used in the times past to cause miscarriages.

BURDOCK
If you have ever been roaming in the woods or along unmowed grassy areas, you have most likely come across the burdock plant. You may have even wished you could banish all burdock if it were in your power to. Burdock burs entangle themselves into your hair, clothing,
shoes, and into the fur of your pets—and they are not easy to remove. Rumor has it that burdock burs are what spawned the idea for Velcro, and I can believe it.

Ways to identify burdock:
• Its large leaves resemble rhubarb leaves. People often mistake burdock for rhubarb in the earlier stages of its growth, before the burs appear.
• In late summer, it sports those large burs that seem to jump out and stick like super glue to your clothing.
• The stems are not juicy, tart, and sweet like rhubarb and have hair on them, unlike the rhubarb stem.
• The root is whitish in coloring and very hard to dig up.
Edible parts:
• All parts of the burdock, except the burs, are edible, but I must warn you that just because it is said to be safe to eat does not mean it is tasty. Burdock stems and leaves are horribly bitter. I would have to be absolutely starving to death with no hope of finding anything else to eat before I would eat the above-ground portions of a burdock plant! But this often-hated plant makes up for its infamous above ground portions by providing a delicious and healthy root.
• The root contains most of this plant’s helpful nutrients, but digging it up is not easy. With my husband’s help I have dug up 2-3 feet of root that always seem to break off and appear to have a large portion still under the ground. I have never been able (or patient enough) to dig up an entire root of this plant. I would like to try getting soft dirt from the store and planting some burdock in it to see how well the digging goes when it comes to harvesting the roots.
• The root is tasty. You can eat it raw, or cook it any way you like. The flavor reminds me of a carrot. I prefer slicing it up and frying it in olive oil. If you happen to get hold of a woody root, simply peel off the outer layer.
• If you have ever eaten in an Asian restaurant, it is very possible you have already eaten burdock root. It is known as gobo in Asian markets and dishes and is a common food in certain parts of the world.
People have found the burdock plant to be good for:
• Helping to sooth burns. I crinkled up a burdock leaf and let it sit in hot water for a few minutes before I put it on my great-niece’s sunburn. She said it helped relieve the pain and fell asleep soon after I applied the leaf. That confirmed to me that it did help because she had not been able to sleep due to the sunburn beforehand.
• Fiber.
• Helping to lower fevers.
• Use as a prebiotic. A prebiotic is a food that has some non-digestible parts that pass though the digestive system and help the good bacteria (probiotics) do their job better.
• Improving digestion.
• Use as a diuretic

• Use as a blood purifier.

• Fighting off infections.
• Cleansing the liver.
• Combatting cancer. Some information suggests the burdock plant, mainly the root, contains a compound that helps fight off cancer. I repeatedly found sources saying that it has been used for many years to fight cancer.
WARNING!
There isn’t much to warn about regarding burdock other than to not mistake burdock leaves for rhubarb leaves, which are said to be poisonous.

Tummy Tuneup Yogurt- Spring 2008 Catalog

Tummy Tuneup Yogurttummy_tune_120_1

– 1 gallon rich, creamy milk

– 3 tsp. plain gelatin

– 1/2 cup powdered milk

Place creamy milk in kettle and
add gelatin and dry milk. Heat
on medium to high and stir
often. Heat milk to 185° F (to
kill bad bacteria so good can
grow). Check with thermometer.
Cool milk to 115° F (set kettle in
cold water to expedite). When
milk is cool, add:
• 3/4 to 1 c. plain yogurt
• 1 or 2 capsules of Acidophilus
Blast or Tummy Tuneup
Whisk lightly, then pour mixture
into glass jars with lids. Place jars
in oven and set temp very low—
about 100° F. Let yogurt incubate
for 12 to 18 hours. Place “cooked”
jars in refrigerator. DO NOT STIR.
Chill well. Especially delicious when
served mixed with honey or Fresh fruit

How Pure Are Beeyoutiful’s Essential Oils?

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When we travel to conferences, we are often closely questioned by long-time users of essential oils. The questions usually center around why our essential oils are so inexpensive. Here are some of the most common questions, along with our responses.

Are your essential oils “therapeutic”, “aromatherapy”, or “medicinal grade”?

Let me start this answer with a little scenario. If I ask somebody if a product is “organic”, what I mean is “certified organic”. There is a standard set by a committee of farmers and industry leaders. They meet and vote on changes to the standards every year. Then several certifying agencies exist that review practices and procedures, do testing, and certify a farm and its produce as “organic”. Then when you go to the supermarket and buy a box of crackers made from those organic ingredients, you can trust that the label that says Certified Organic means something. Or, you might have something that hasn’t been through the certification process, but a farmer can show you that it was grown “organically” or according to organic specifications.

There is no such system for essential oils. There is no standards committee. There are no independent certifying agencies. You will see some companies have actually trademarked their terms, “therapeutic grade” or “medicinal grade”. This is marketing on their part, a way of differentiating themselves from the competition and making people feel like the oils they are getting are of the highest quality while others meet inferior standards. But the truth is that there are no set industry standards.

There are differences in essential oil quality, to be sure, as some are diluted, adulterated, contaminated, or poorly handled, but there is no grading system for essential oils. While there are a couple of things you can do at home to spot really low quality or highly diluted oils, there really is no way to find out the quality of most oils short of sending samples for testing. It is not like beef where you have grade A, certified by the USDA, with an inspector there to certify each batch, and a label placed on products that meet the grade.

So to finally answer the question, while our oils are used by us and many others for therapies, for medicines, and for aromatherapy, we do not call them “therapeutic grade”, or “medicinal grade”, or “aromatherapy grade” because there is no such thing, except in marketing. We are committed to a straightforward, honest approach to selling our products, and stay away from such gimmicks.

More info:

http://www.aromaweb.com/articles/therapeuticgradeessentialoils.asp

Is it safe to take your essential oils internally?

This is another question to which there is not just a simple yes or no answer. The FDA and the litigious nature of our society hamper what we can say about our products. For instance, if I were to simply answer yes to this question, and some individual went out and drank a 4oz bottle of Eucalyptus Oil, they would most likely get REALLY, REALLY sick. In addition, something that is safe for one person may not be safe for another due to things like allergies,sensitivities, or contraindicated health issues. We are not doctors, and therefore we cannot prescribe. We cannot tell you what is safe for you. All we can do is be very clear about the high quality, purity, and stringent testing of our products. And if reliable research show that it is safe to use a particular 100% pure, unadulterated, undiluted essential oil for a particular use, including internal, it should be safe to use ours. We do.

What’s the quality like and how do you know?

The oils are 100% pure, unadulterated, uncontaminated, and undiluted. Every batch is sample tested to make sure that it is so. In addition, tests are done to make sure that the oils meet a certain standard of active components, as it is possible to have a totally pure and undiluted oil that is functionally dead. We don’t want that. The oils are all tested for purity by gas chromatography and/or infrared spectroscopy, and the tests performed will be listed on the bottle. In addition, most batches are personally reviewed by multiple certified aromatherapists to make sure that texture, aroma, clarity and all the rest is up to our standards.

How are your oils derived?

A few of them, especially the citrus oils, are extracted from their plant parts by expeller press, a cold process. However, most are steam distilled.

Are the oils “low heat steam distilled”? 

When I tell people that most of our oils are steam distilled, some will follow up with the above question. Or they will ask, “You mean 212 degrees?” Yes, that is right. 212 degrees is the lowest temp at which water turns to steam. Then these folks will tell me how 212 will kill the nutrients in the oils. They promote “low heat steam distillation”, which is the term one company has come up with for their distillation process.

I believe these people have either misunderstood, or been deceived. They think that steam distillation is possible at less than 212 degrees. Steam can be much hotter than 212 degrees, but steam will turn back into water before its temperature gets lower than 212 degrees. We don’t use gimmick phrases, but our oils are distilled at the lowest heat possible to extract the desired component parts.

If your oils are such a good quality, good enough to be used internally, why do all of the bottles say, “For Aromatherapy Use Only”?

Simple answer is cost and bother. Namely, the cost and bother of insurance. In order for us to advertise our products for internal use, we need to generate a lot of training materials on the proper use of the essential oils internally, generate all sorts of warnings that take into account various conditions (such as pregnancy), and we need to pay for millions of dollars of insurance coverage.

Doing this would be a lot of work for our small staff, and greatly increase our risk in the marketplace. We choose instead to focus on getting quality products out into the hands of people who know how to use them, and doing our small part to educate more people in the use of great products. And so, we’re able to keep the prices lower than many other companies.

How can your oils be so cheap if they are of such excellent quality?

There are a number of reasons. One is that we don’t pay for costly insurance in order to make claims about our products which increase our risk of getting sued. Another is business model. A lot of companies in niche industries like to use a network marketing-based business model. This means that there are many people along the chain that have to get paid. These layers of costs can’t help but make the products that are getting into your hands much more expensive.

We work with a few family-owned manufacturers and distributors who don’t gouge us on price, so we get a great deal. We could charge a lot more for our products, as there is certainly enough wiggle room in the industry to do so. We have a margin of profit that we are comfortable with, that lets us pay the bills, do research, and put out training materials, and that is how we choose to price all of our products, including our essential oils.

And lastly, we usually try to get a species of plant that is not the most rare, and therefore most expensive. If you compare the Latin words on our bottle of lavender with one from a different manufacturer, they will almost assuredly be different. There are in the neighborhood of 200 species of lavender. (Note: sometimes species or type is very important, e.g. German vs. Roman chamomile, and sometimes it is much less important.) So two pure lavender essential oils could smell different, and it is not because of a difference in “grade” or “quality”.

We believe the key is to be happy with the essential oils that you get. Some that have experienced our oils prefer to use all of our oils over a more costly brand. Some people prefer the costlier brand over all of our oils. Most people are in the middle, having favorites among the costly oils, or favorite uses for the costly oils, and favorites among our oils as well. The most important thing is to learn to use products that will help make your family healthy, and get products that work.

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