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      Topical Antibiotics

      Topical Antibiotics

      Many people do not even think twice when they use antibiotic creams and soaps.

      This is likely a very bad habit and here is why. As reported in the well-respected journal 
      Nature (Nature November 22, 2001;414:454-457), the skin has a built-in ability to produce it’s own antibiotic like chemicals to protects against bacteria and infection. This chemical is known as a human cath cell or LL-37 and works similar to antibiotics with the added intelligence to jump into action and increase activity only to cells under assault.

      For most people, the use of topical antibiotics will seriously impair the delicate balance of microorganisms on our skin. Compromising skin tissue repetitively can lead to more serious infections and a lack of resistance to pathogens even creating ‘super-bugs’.

      Humans have an important symbiotic relationship with microorganisms that must be respected. A recent Italian study found that exposure to bacteria is essential for the development of an infant’s immune system. It is now thought that a baby must be exposed to germs during its first year in order to develop antibodies needed to fight infection later in life.

      Dr. Stuart Levy of the 
      Alliance for Prudent Use of Antibiotics has been cautioning against the overuse of antibiotic products for years. 

      Food as Medicine

      Food as Medicine

      Is it possible that a solution to many health disorders is so much more simple than the search for a miracle pill or vaccine? Can we use food as a means to overcome our health concerns?

      What if our government was to spend the same kind of money that we currently do on expensive equipment to diagnose disease and put some of that money into preventative education programs with a focus on healthy food choices? We already know that what we eat has a direct correlation to our health as the food we consume becomes part of our cellular makeup. The human body regenerates itself every second of every day. Every day billions of cells in our bodies die and new cells are regenerated. The source of the building blocks for this process comes from the nutrients in the food we eat.

      Fact: We have a whole new stomach lining every 5 days
      Fact: We have new skin covering every 5 weeks
      Fact: Our entire skeleton is regenerated every 3 months
      Fact: We have new blood every 4 months
      Fact: Within a year 98% of the cells in our bodies will have been replaced.

      Would this not indicate that we are able to choose the kind of body we wish to have by making healthy food choices?

      Plant Intelligence

      Plant Intelligence

      I have never forgotten the study done by a gentleman named Cleve Backster reported in the International Journal of Parapsychology in the 1960s.

      Mr. Backster who was a polygraph expert got the idea (likely from previous experiments done by the Indian scientist Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose) to attach electrodes to the leaves of plants in order to measure their electrical conductivity to certain stimuli.

      He found the plants to be quite sensitive reacting to other cell tissue death, music and apparently even his thoughts. What I found most remarkable was the hypothesis that these plants may have a kind of memory. Backster had several people separately enter a room where the plants were placed, then had one of the participants attack some of the plants with a stick. Sometime later when the perpetrator came back into the room, the electrical resonance was off the scale in comparison to the other participants.

      Subsequent tests of this nature have been conducted with varying results and it is obvious that this experiment would not be considered hard science however the idea that plants also have a vibrational life force that allows them to perform complex bio-communication amongst other plant and insect species may not be that far off.

      Even on the most basic level, we can observe the intelligent and complex workings of plants from their brilliant colors, germination, adaptations, pollination techniques, and even something as simple as moving towards the sunlight or flowers opening and closing with daylight.

       

      Argan Oil – Argania Spinosa

      Argan Oil – Argania Spinosa

      Occasionally I come across a plant raw material for use in personal care that seems too good to be true. Argan Oil (Argania Spinosa) is one of those. From a functional, environmental and social aspect, argan oil is truly amazing. This is probably why in 1999, UNESCO added the argan tree to the World Heritage List.

      The argan tree (Argania Spinosa (L.) Skeels), is endemic to a particular area of Morocco (South- Western) where it grows over about 800,000 hectares. It is not unusual for Moroccans living outside of this region not to be familiar with this tree as it is only in this specific region of the world that it can be found. This fact actually makes argan oil one of the rarest plant oils in the world.

      For centuries now the argan tree has played an essential ecological function in this part of Morocco. Its roots grow deep in search of water and thus help retain the soil, preventing erosion and limiting the ever-increasing advance of the desert. Its ability to survive in this otherwise harsh environment is nothing short of miraculous.

      Not only does the argan tree plays a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance, but it also provides a source of income for the local Berber women who have few other means to support themselves.
      It is estimated that the argan forest can provide subsistence for as many as three million people.

      Almost all of the argan production is and has for centuries been run by women (women’s cooperatives).
      These women working today come from the villages nearby and are offered to work half days (so they can still tend to their families) in exchange for fair wages and good working conditions.
      These cooperatives have two objectives:
      1- to preserve the argan forest by finding sustainable economic use for its products
      2- to improve the social and economic status of rural women.

      It was traditional Moroccan medicine that gave us a clue as to argan oils benefits for the skin. Traditionally it has been used to treat all kinds of skin ailments including acne (particularly juvenile acne) chicken pox, pustules, dry skin, wrinkles, and even rheumatic conditions

      Modern science has determined that argan oil contains exceptionally high levels of natural tocopherols (vitamin E), actually almost twice as rich as olive oil and is also high in phenols and phenolic acid, carotenes, squalane, essential fatty acids, and unsaturated fatty acids (80%). The tocopherols (vitamin E) and saponins in argan oil help to restore the skin’s water lipid layer while also soothing inflammation. We now believe that the unique combination of phytosterols, containing the rare D-7 stigmasterol is one of the main factors in the highly effective treatment of skin diseases, wound care, burns and compromised skin tissue.

      Anyone who develops personal care products can truly see the bonus of working with argan oil in that it is relatively stable when compared to other oils with high essential fatty acids profiles. Argan oil is more resistant to oxidation than olive oil which gives a good indicator of its preservation properties.

      The propensity for rancidity has always been a challenge for companies that use ingredients like borage, hemp or evening primrose oil. It is all too often that I will see a tester in a store with these oils that have obviously gone rancid. The smell and consistency are immediately apparent.

      Today the argan tree is threatened: in less than a century, more than a third of the argan forest has disappeared, reducing the tree count to approximately 20 million. The reduction is largely due to the locals allowing foraging goats to damage the tree as well as using the tree for wood. Another factor to a lesser extent is that the climate has become increasingly arid over the years.

      BHT and BHA

      BHT and BHA

      Butylated Hydroxytoluene- BHT, and Butylated Hydroxyanisole- BHA are preservatives for oil containing products due to their antioxidant properties. BHA is generally used to keep fats from becoming rancid and BHT is used to prevent oxidative rancidity of fats. BHT has been used since 1949 and despite it being a known carcinogen, it is still used today.

      These two closely related chemicals can still be found in many foods and personal care products like, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, personal ointments, meat, beer, butter, meats, cereals, chewing gum, baked goods, snack foods, dehydrated potatoes, rice products, dried soup, food packaging, animal feed and rubber and petroleum products.

      Why should we care that these two chemicals are used in our food and personal care products?
      Based on animal tests, a chemical that causes cancer in at least one organ in three different species indicates that it might be carcinogenic in humans. BHT has caused various disorders in animals such as cancer, reduced body weight, increased blood cholesterol levels, and it has been linked to birth defects in rats. That is why the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers BHA to be “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”. Nevertheless, the Food and Drug Administration still permits BHA to be used in foods. Japan has banned the use of BHT and BHA and the U.K. and several European countries have severely restricted its use all citing considerable safety risks.

      Are they really necessary?
      These synthetic chemicals can be replaced by safer chemicals and/or better quality oils (e.g vitamin E, olive oil, argan oil). We know these ingredients are not necessary as many brands of food and personal care do not use them…. and for good reason.