Update: Hempseed Oil for Hair Regrowth (and what about Oil Pulling?)


This morning I received a very nice comment on a previous post about how hempseed oil can help with hair loss/regrowth. It’s always nice to see such wonderful testimonials! Below is the comment:

I have been giving myself hemp oil massages morning and night, as well as using it for oil-pulling. Within a few weeks of starting this regimen my eyebrows began to grow back. They were half gone and now they are 80% there! It’s very obvious. Also, My usually very gray hair roots have a lot more of my naturally dark hair in them. They used to be more gray than dark, and now they are nearly 50/50 in ratio. My eyes can’t lie.

I love testimonials like this!

In case you didn’t read the former post, you can see it here.

Now, for those who are not aware of what oil pulling is: oil pulling is a safe, natural way to boost one’s health and immunity, and helps with dental/gum health.

Interestingly, many diseases originate from the mouth! Periodontitis, heart disease, diabetes – it is said that all of these originate from the mouth. Here is some insight I found on webmd.com:

Your Mouth, the Gateway to Your Body:

To understand how the mouth can affect the body, it helps to understand what can go wrong in the first place. Bacteria that builds up on teeth make gums prone to infection. The immune system moves in to attack the infection and the gums become inflamed. The inflammation continues unless the infection is brought under control.

Over time, inflammation and the chemicals it releases eat away at the gums and bone structure that hold teeth in place. The result is severe gum disease, known as periodontitis. Inflammation can also cause problems in the rest of the body.

Back to oil pulling. Simply put, oil pulling is swishing oil in the mouth for 20 minutes, not much less than that and not more than 20 minutes. The oil needs to cover the teeth, gums, tongue, and all crevices.

Yes, I know, it sounds a bit horrid. But let’s continue.

Because hempseed oil is so healthy, I would recommend it (although other oils may work just as well; just remember, hempseed oil must be refrigerated because it can go rancid quickly if not kept chilled).

Oil pulling must be done in the morning, BEFORE eating or drinking anything. About 1 tablespoon is all it takes, so be brave, grab your tablespoon of hempseed oil, and start swishing!  Pull the oil between the teeth as well; it works best if it is thoroughly spread about.

So now you are swishing and massaging for 20 minutes – but remember, do not swallow it! The oil is drawing out the bacteria, and you do not want to ingest it.

After your 20 minutes is up (which for some might seem like an eternity), spit it into a paper towel or trash can. You really don’t want the oil to go into your drainage system, so the trash is the best way to avoid that.

After removing the oil, immediately rinse out the mouth and gargle, again, not swallowing. Some people rinse with warm water, some choose salt water. You might want to repeat this a few times, then brush and go on about your day!

This can be done safely every morning. Also a good thing to remember: clean out the sink after you’ve spit out the gargle water. You want to make sure there is no lingering bacteria.

Now we know how to DO it, but how does it actually WORK?

Hempseed oil has antibacterial properties and is anti-inflammatory.  Swishing the oil in the mouth guarantees that the oil goes into the gum pockets, where most of the bacteria lies. The oil draws out the bacteria, especially where toothbrushes and floss cannot reach. The oil also can reduce inflammation from the bacteria.

*This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace care by a dental professional.

photo credit: Helga Weber via photopin cc

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Menopause: Hemp vs. Soy


Menopause

Menopause.

For some, the M word brings up thoughts of felonious females flirting with fiery flashes of fitful frustration.

However, not every woman experiences menopause in the same way.

As I stated on an earlier post, some common symptoms of menopause are (this is a partial list):

  • Hot/cold flashes
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Night sweats
  • Dizziness/loss of balance
  • Mood swings
  • Bloating
  • Confusion
  • Hair loss/weakened fingernails/dry skin
  • Depression/panic disorder
  • Headaches
  • Tingling in hands and feet
  • Digestion problems
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Aching joints

The changing levels of estrogen and progesterone can last a few months, or they can last a few years.  Some women may experience all of these symptoms, some may not.

HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is another way, but more women are avoiding that avenue, since HRT has been shown to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer.

One way to manage symptoms is with nutrition and diet. For quite a while soy has been one of the dietary staples of menopausal women, especially those who wish to avoid HRT.  It has been widely thought that soy isoflavones helped prevent menopausal bone loss, but according to JAMA, “Conclusions  In this population, the daily administration of tablets containing 200 mg of soy isoflavones for 2 years did not prevent bone loss or menopausal symptoms.” (http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1106084)

I am seeing more often articles and stories debunking the benefits of soy.

Many menopausal women turn to soy to stave off nasty effects, like decreased bone density and hot flashes, because estrogen therapy is associated with risks for breast cancer and heart attack. But now researchers are calling for alternatives because a new study showed soy might not even work.” (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20090000-10391704.html)

The vast majority of soy at your local market is not a health food. The exception is fermented soy, which I’ll explain more about later and even worse GMO soy that is contaminated with large pesticide residues as the reason it is GMO is so they can spray the potent toxic herbicide Roundup on them to improve crop production by killing the weeds.

Unlike the Asian culture, where people eat small amounts of whole non-GMO soybean products, western food processors separate the soybean into two golden commodities—protein and oil. And there is nothing natural or safe about these products.

Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story, points out thousands of studies linking soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.” (Mercola.com)

Today, depending on which source you go by, 86-94% of soy planted and grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. That is reason enough to avoid soy altogether.

If soy were to be avoided, what would be an alternative? HEMP.

Hempseed is a natural anti-inflammatory. It also helps to balance and restore the cellular structures.

Hempseed is a natural source of GLA, and is one of the few plants that contains GLA. This is important, because during menopause the body’s ability to convert LA to GLA is lessened.

The Omega 3 fatty acids found in hemp are the perfect ratio for the human body, and it is especially important for women to have a sufficient intake of them.

Low levels of Omega 3s are associated with inflammation, and inflammation is the root cause of many disorders and diseases. Hemp can reduce the effects of muscular pain, hot flashes, headaches, cardiovascular problems, hair and skin dryness and nail strength.

Hemp has been shown to reduce the effects and decrease the instances of depression and memory loss. The brain is mainly comprised of fatty acids, and having enough Omega fatty acids will help improve memory and brain function.

Osteoporosis, another symptom of menopause, is helped by the intake of hemp and Omega fatty acids. The essential fatty acids in hemp help with absorption of the calcium and vitamin D and aid in bone growth and calcification, and reduce calcium excretion in the urine (calcium loss and excretion through the urine can also cause kidney stones).

Hemp seeds are also rich in vitamin E, which is also important for those suffering from menopause.

One last note:

Hemp protein vs other proteins:

The edestin protein in hemp is one of the most easily digestible proteins.  It is very similar to human globulin.

Omega fatty acids help reduce bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and may lessen the possibility of stroke or heart attack.

Hemp does not contain phytoestrogens. Soy does. These hormones mimic estrogen and have been linked to cancer. Soy also contains natural toxins that hinder protein digestion.

There are no known allergies to hemp. Hemp is safe for anyone to consume, from toddler to octogenarians and beyond.

photo: Angry Woman by Vera Kratochvil

Hemp ~ The Natural Way To Reduce Cortisol


Physical and emotional stress cause cortisol levels to rise in the body. It is an important hormone and helps regulate insulin, blood pressure, immune function, inflammatory responses, and glucose metabolism.

Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, and is often known as the ‘stress hormone.’ It is beneficial when a sudden burst of energy is needed (for example, in a ‘fight or flight’ situation), helping memory, or giving the immune system a boost.

Constant high levels of cortisol, however, are NOT beneficial. When cortisol secretions remain at unsafe levels they can cause many complications (for example, in situations of chronic stress):

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased abdominal fat
  • Loss of bone density
  • Loss of collagen
  • Increased gastric acid
  • Counteracts insulin and elevates blood glucose levels (excess cortisol may be a factor in appearance of diabetes)
  • Blocks cells from producing chemicals that regulate immunity
  • Suppressed thyroid function
  • Impaired cognition
  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Inhibits reproductive system

In the case of chronic stress, the body is not allowed to go back to the normal, relaxed stage; this results in constant high levels of cortisol.

There are many stress management techniques that can be implemented:

Removing the stressors

Learning to adapt to the stressors

Spend more time in nature

Adopt a healthy lifestyle – this includes exercise, sufficient sleep, avoiding excessive caffeine/sugar and intake of sufficient nutrients.

Nutrition has been known to play a large part in helping the body stay at optimum healthy levels – physically, emotionally, and mentally. Some of the most important nutrients are Omega Fatty Acids.

Omega fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. They also help the central nervous system. One way they do that is by ‘feeding’ the myelin sheaths that protect the nerves (myelin sheaths are high in fatty acids), and Omega fatty acids are known to, to some extent, repair the myelin sheaths. Myelin sheath damage and degeneration is what causes MS, or Multiple Sclerosis.

Omega fatty acids also aid with those suffering from depressions and Alzheimers. Omega fatty acids nourish and soothe the cells, and because they are anti-inflammatory, they may help decrease the effects from chronic stress.

Hempseed and hempseed oil are one of the best sources of Omega fatty acids. Hemp has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids needed by the human body. Hemp has a high concentration of fats, but they are GOOD fats. Not only is it rich in Omega fatty acids, it is also very nutrient dense – hemp is a complete protein and has vitamins and minerals needed by the body.

Hemp, combined with a healthy lifestyle and diet, is a great way to reduce cortisol…and avoid the problems that arise with elevated cortisol levels.

Are Poor Nutrition, Soy, and Gluten Disrupting Your Thyroid?


This seems to be my modus operandi when it comes to choosing what to write about in my blog:

I either find some noteworthy article, which leads me to another related article, which shows me an interesting fact that I feel I must write on, or I surf the net for information on my own symptoms or symptoms of someone I know, and then the topic falls into my lap(top)!

For the past few years I’ve had in the back of my mind the question of whether or not my thyroid function is healthy. No, I haven’t had it checked, but I have done the little self-tests that one can easily find online. The results are varied, of course.

So, what exactly does the thyroid do?

The thyroid gland controls how quickly the body uses energy, makes proteins, and controls how sensitive the body is to other hormones.  It participates in these processes by producing thyroid hormones, the principal ones being triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine which can sometimes be referred to as tetraiodothyronine (T4). These hormones regulate the rate of metabolism and affect the growth and rate of function of many other systems in the body.  T3 and T4 are synthesized from both iodine and tyrosine.  The thyroid also produces calcitonin, which plays a role in calcium homeostasis.” (wikipedia)

Thyroid hormones are needed for brain development, growth, reproduction, and metabolism (which also may be a reason for some people to have difficulty losing weight, or alternatively, GAINING needed weight).

Hypothyroidism is the result of an underactive thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is actually considered an autoimmune disease. Other factors contributing to thyroid disease include poor nutrition, age, radiation, prescribed medications (Lithium, for one), heredity, and environmental toxins (fluoride, bromine, and petrochemicals, to name a few).

Let’s discuss one of the ways we can naturally increase thyroid health ~ proper nutrition.

We all (or most of us) know that proper nutrition ~ sufficient intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, micronutrients, and macronutrients ~ is nature’s best medicine (along with sufficient water intake and motion ~ AKA exercise).

Now, if you look at the list I just wrote in the above paragraph, you will see the words vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, micronutrients, and macronutrients.  Did you know that these are all found in Hemp? Hempseed is a complete protein and very nutritionally dense. I’m not saying that you should ingest huge amounts of hemp just to get your proper nutrients, but it is an excellent daily food source, along with fruits and vegetables and herbs that are high in nutritional value.

Before I go any further, I want to mention soy. Yes, I know there are many who will read this who are pro-soy, and many who are anti-soy. I happen to be part of the latter. I do not eat or drink anything that contains soy. I do not drink milk any more, but I do not replace dairy with soy milk, I drink hemp milk or almond milk. I do not eat soy protein in solid form, I eat hempseeds instead.

Also, the majority of soy is now genetically engineered (GMO):

Twenty years ago, no genetically engineered food crops had been planted in the United States. Then, beginning in 1987, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) began to receive what has turned out to be 11,600 applications for the testing of genetically engineered food crops. By the year 2000, over 50% of all soybeans planted in the U.S. were genetically engineered. As of 2007, that number increased to 91%. Soybeans currently surpass both corn and cotton as the genetically engineered crop with the greatest planted acreage. (For a more detailed look at genetically engineered soybeans and the history of crop planting, you can visit the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) review published by its Economic Research Service, at: http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/biotechcrops/ExtentofAdoptionTable3.htm).

Let’s get back to soy for a moment. Soy contains isoflavones and phytic acid. Isoflavones and phytic acid can POTENTIALLY disrupt thyroid function, because they block the assimilation of the needed nutrients by the thyroid.

Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.” (tetrahedron.org)

One more item to note about soy: In patients with diabetes, there may be a correlation between celiac disease and/or gluten sensitivity and thyroid dysfunction.

Patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) are at a great risk for developing autoimmune diseases. It is well recognized that T1D can be associated with celiac disease (CD) and autoimmune thyroid disorders (ATD). Recent studies regarding CD and T1D have indicated that the frequency of this association can vary from 1.7% to 16%.” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc)

I know this is a LOT of information, and it may seem as if I am jumping around with the topics, but if you read closely you will see that most of our body’s functions are interrelated.

If you are looking to supplement your diet to improve or to prolong your thyroid health, it is easy to do.  Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, eat foods that are high in micro and macronutrients, AND add hemp to your diet – it is non-allergenic, clean, gluten-free, and an excellent non-animal protein source.
*This information is for educational purposes only and is NOT meant to replace the advice of a doctor. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your primary care provider.

Economic Stimulus? Think HEMP!


Last night’s vice-presidential debate had me thinking quite a bit this morning. Almost all of the topics, in some way or other, had to do with money. Defense – money. Economy – money. Taxes – money. Medicare – money. Health – money. Social Security – money. Employment/unemployment – money.

And by now you are wondering, “Where is she going with this?”

I’ll tell you. The United States’ economy is not at it’s healthiest point right now. People are hurting. Businesses are hurting. Some American farmers are hurting. Unemployment is at an unacceptable level. Fossil fuel energy is HIGH. Now, I must also remind you that everything is energy, money is energy. Energy fluctuates. Everything fluctuates, up and down, never in a steady, static line.

I came across several articles stating that greener businesses are growing at a faster percentage rate than the actual economy growth. Here are a few examples of some ‘green’ business types: bicycles, thrift and re-purposing stores, electric/hybrid cars (some which use hemp panels), wind/solar energy, and green construction (both industrial and residential).

BUT, like I stated above, green businesses are GROWING. What does this growth mean? Jobs. Income. Security. Economic growth. And…environmental conscience.

Below is an excerpt from one of the articles I read:

 

  • Greener industries grow faster than the overall economy. For every percentage-point increase in an industry’s green intensity, annual employment growth was 0.034 percentage points higher. Future projections suggest continued job growth from green intensity.
  • States with greater green intensity generally fared better in the economic downturn.
  • Green jobs are accessible to workers without a college degree. For every 1 percentage-point increase in green intensity in a given industry, there was a corresponding 0.28 percentage-point increase in the share of jobs in that industry held by workers without a four-year college degree.
  • Manufacturing plays a strong role in the green economy. The sector accounts for 20.4 percent of all green jobs despite representing only 10.8 percent of total private employment. Furthermore, the green industries within the manufacturing sector are projected to grow 25 percent faster than the overall sector.

Much of the current discussion about green jobs focuses on the renewable-energy industry and thus overlooks how pervasive green jobs are throughout the economy. In truth, the utility sector accounts for just three percent of total private green jobs, and even within that sector, the water and sewage industry accounts for over four times the number of green jobs as renewable energy.  Occupations such as garbage collectors, sewage workers, construction workers, household-appliance manufacturers and bus drivers are as integral to the green economy as solar-panel installers or wind-turbine manufacturers.

“Transitioning to a greener and more sustainable economy is good for the environment, but it also helps promote stronger economic growth and opportunity,” said Pollack.  “And the seeds of this transformation are planted throughout the economy, oftentimes in unexpected places.”  (enewspf.com)

“Seeds.”  Did you see that? And you KNOW which direction I am taking that – HEMP!

Hemp is one of the GREENEST products on the planet. It is carbon negative. It’s growing season is approximately 4 months. It can be used to manufacture ANY product that is also made with carbon-based fossil fuels. Hemp can also be used in construction – interior, exterior, foundation to roof. It is biodegradable, cleans the air, heals the soil, uses less water than cotton or other crops, doesn’t need fertilizer or pesticides, and can be grown ABUNDANTLY in many climates. Not only that, it’s nutritional value makes it an important food crop.

Hemp can put our farmers to work. (See also American Farmland Trust.) Hemp, being a GREEN resource, can help our economy grow faster, put manufacturers to work, and start the process to heal our planet from the damage done by pulling fossil fuels out of the ground.

My vote is for HEMP!

How Hempseed Can Slow Premature Aging Due To Chronic Inflammation


Inflammation. We have all experienced it.  For the most part, inflammation is GOOD, it is part of the immune response system that tells us when there is infection, stress, illness, or injury.  We then (usually) take the steps necessary to remedy the condition that caused the inflammation in the first place.

Chronic inflammation, however, is a key cause in disease and premature cellular aging. Below is a partial list of diseases causes by inflammation:

  • Colitis
  • Arthritis
  • Lupis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes
  • Crohn’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • Neuropathy

Inflammation can be chronic, and linger for months, even years.  In some cases, the immune system sees the inflamed tissues as “foreign.”

Sometimes, chronic inflammation may persist even without significant infection – either because the inflammation response has become too sensitive or because the immune system begins to perceive some of the body’s own tissues as foreign. As it turns out, aging is associated with the increase in both of these unwelcome forms of chronic inflammation. As we age, we tend to develop autoimmune conditions as well as other forms of chronic inflammation. The majority of older people have some degree of low-grade inflammation and/or mild autoimmune disorders (and some have moderate or severe forms, of course). It is no wonder that chronic inflammation contributes to the aging process because it floods tissues with free radicals and promotes the destruction of normal cells. Like most mechanisms of aging, chronic inflammation creates a vicious cycle. The aging process tends to increase the level of chronic inflammation and that, in turn, accelerates aging.  While chronic inflammation contributes to the aging of many tissues, it is particularly prominent in the aging of the cardiovascular and nervous system – the two systems most vital to our survival. Inflammation is now recognized as one of the key risk factors for heart disease and stroke, an even bigger risk factor than high cholesterol or homocysteine, according to some estimates. ~ smartskincare.com

The question now is, “How do I keep inflammation under control?”

First, you will need to know the factors that contribute to inflammation – injury, illness, stress, toxins, smoking, hazardous chemicals, environmental pollution, poor nutrition, and even chemicals in foods that we eat.

Second, you will need to (as much as you can, if possible) reduce the stressors that cause the inflammation.  Some of the most obvious remedies are to stop smoking, learn to de-stress, and improve nutrition.

Proper nutrition is only one way to combat inflammation. More specifically, eating hempseed and hempseed oil. Hempseed has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids required by the human body.  Omega fatty acids are the key nutrients in reducing inflammation. They feed and rejuvenate the cells, help with new cell growth, and keep the cellular structure strong and pliant. Omega fatty acids also improve the cell’s ability to use the nutrients that are ingested.

Hemp is also rich in antioxidants – oxidation is also one of the key factors of cellular aging.

Incorporating hemp into the diet is only one of the steps that one can take to reduce inflammation and premature aging, but it IS a delicious step.

Eating Hemp : The Treatment and Prevention of Glaucoma


Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve. Generally, the damage is due to increased pressure on the nerve (intraocular pressure). It is the second-most common cause of blindness in the U.S.  According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, there are over 60,000,000 people worldwide who suffer from glaucoma.

There are 4 types of glaucoma: chronic, acute, congenital, and secondary glaucoma. The most common type of glaucoma is open-angle (chronic) glaucoma.

The front part of the eye is filled with a clear fluid called aqueous humor. This fluid is always being made behind the colored part of the eye (the iris). It leaves the eye through channels in the front of the eye in an area called the anterior chamber angle, or simply the angle.

Anything that slows or blocks the flow of this fluid out of the eye will cause pressure to build up in the eye. This pressure is called intraocular pressure (IOP). In most cases of glaucoma, this pressure is high and causes damage to the optic nerve.

Open-angle (chronic) glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma.

  • The cause is unknown. An increase in eye pressure occurs slowly over time. The pressure pushes on the optic nerve. (Genetics and ethnicity may be factors in the incidence of glaucoma.)
  • Open-angle glaucoma tends to run in families. Your risk is higher if you have a parent or grandparent with open-angle glaucoma. People of African descent are at particularly high risk for this disease.” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

As is often the case, with open-angle (chronic) glaucoma, most people have no symptoms. The damage is already severe when the vision starts to deteriorate. One of the signs that there may be glaucoma is when the person develops tunnel vision or problems with peripheral vision.

Chronic glaucoma cannot be cured, but it can be treated.

The general treatment for those suffering from chronic glaucoma is eye drops or some type of medication (pills) to lower the pressure in the eyes. Other treatments may include laser therapy or surgery.

There are some factors that may contribute to ‘secondary glaucoma’ – long-term use of steroids, restricted blood flow due to diabetic retinopathy, and ocular trauma.

Natural compounds of research interest in glaucoma prevention or treatment include: fish oil, omega 3 fatty acids (found in hempseed), alpha lipoic acid, vitamin E (found in hempseed), cannabinoids,  carnitine, coenzyme Q10, curcurmin, dark chocolate, folic acid, L-glutathione, magnesium, melatonin, and resveratrol.” (wikipedia)

One nutrient that has shown promise in treating (and preventing glaucoma) is Omega 3 fatty acid. Hempseed has the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids needed by the human body.  Omega 3 fatty acids reduce ocular pressure. Omega 3 increases the flow of the aqueous humor (the fluid behind the iris), thus decreasing blockage and pressure on the optical nerve.

Omega 3 fatty acid (DHA) is also a major structural lipid (fat) of the retina.

Omega 3 fatty acid just may be the nutrient you need to prevent glaucoma.