What is Ringworm? It is a very common fungal infection that is not, despite its name, caused by a worm. It is caused by the fungus Tinea, which is highly contagious. Anyone can get ringworm, although some people are more susceptible than others, such as those with compromised immunity and young children.
Symptoms of ringworm include a red, scaly, circular patch on the skin or nails. It usually affects the scalp and arms, but it can appear on any part of the body. Jock itch and athlete’s foot are common forms of ringworm.
While many medications are available to treat this fungal infection, natural treatments can also be effective for ringworm treatment.
Garlic is often used to treat infection. Although there are no studies that examine the effects of garlic on ringworm, it has proven effective for other types of fungi, including Candida, Torulopsis, Trichophyton, and Cryptococcus.
To use garlic as a treatment, make a paste of crushed garlic cloves by blending the garlic with some olive or coconut oil. Apply a thin layer of paste to the ringworm rash and cover with gauze. Leave in place for up to 2 hours before rinsing. Repeat twice daily until symptoms resolve.
2. Soapy Water
To prevent ringworm from spreading or infecting other areas of the body, keep the skin as clean as possible. To do this, rinse the infection with soap and warm water once or twice daily. Be sure to dry the skin fully, as fungus thrives in moist areas.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has demonstrated anti-fungal properties against Candida, another fungal infection. To treat ringworm with apple cider vinegar, soak a cotton wool pad in the undiluted vinegar and wipe it on the affected area. Repeat up to 3 times daily.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera contains six antiseptic agents that, according to research, exhibit anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral activities.
Apply the gel from an aloe vera plant onto the ringworm rash three or four times daily. The gel also has cooling properties, so it may soothe itchy and swollen skin common with ringworm.
5. Coconut Oil
Certain fatty acids found in coconut oil may kill fungal cells by damaging their cell membranes.
Some research suggests that coconut oil may be an effective remedy for people with mild to moderate skin infections. Use it to treat ringworm by applying liquid coconut oil to the skin three times per day.
Also, people can use coconut oil as a moisturizing lotion, which may be an effective way to prevent future ringworm infections.
When To See A Doctor
If symptoms do not clear up within 2 weeks of using home remedies, then it may be necessary to see a doctor. A doctor may recommend using an over-the-counter topical lotion that contains clotrimazole or terbinafine. These products must be applied twice daily. In some cases, the doctor may prescribe stronger anti-fungal medications. Those who are likely to spread ringworm to others through their job or lifestyle — such as teachers and athletes — should see their doctor promptly.
Article by Jayne Leonard
Getting and staying fit can be a challenge. For many of us, it’s hard just to get up off the couch much less go to the gym. So what’s the secret of people who have managed to make exercise a way of life?
1. Be Consistent
Chase Squires is the first to admit that he’s no fitness expert. But he is a guy who used to weigh 205 pounds, more than was healthy for his 5’4″ frame. “In my vacation pictures in 2002, I looked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man at the beach,” says the 42-year-old Colorado resident. Squires decided enough was enough, cut out fatty food, and started walking on a treadmill. The pounds came off and soon he was running marathons — not fast, but in the race. He ran his first 50-mile race in October 2003 and completed his first 100-miler a year later. Since then, he’s completed several 100-mile, 50-mile, and 50k races.
His secret? “I’m not fast, but I’m consistent,” says Squires, who says consistency is his best tip for maintaining a successful fitness regimen.
“It all started with 20 minutes on a treadmill,” he says. “The difference between my success and others who have struggled is that I did it every single day. No exercise program in the world works if you don’t do it consistently.”
2. Follow an Effective Exercise Routine
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recently surveyed 1,000 ACE-certified personal trainers about the best techniques to get fit. Their top three suggestions:
Strength training. Even 20 minutes a day twice a week will help tone the entire body.
Interval training. “In its most basic form, interval training might involve walking for two minutes, running for two, and alternating this pattern throughout the duration of a workout,” says Cedric Bryant, PhD, FACSM, chief science officer for ACE. “It is an extremely time-efficient and productive way to exercise.”
Increased cardio/aerobic exercise. Bryant suggests accumulating 60 minutes or more a day of low- to moderate-intensity physical activity, such as walking, running, or dancing.
3. Set Realistic Goals
“Don’t strive for perfection or an improbable goal that can’t be met,” says Kara Thompson, spokesperson for the International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). “Focus instead on increasing healthy behaviors.”
In other words, don’t worry if you can’t run a 5K just yet. Make it a habit to walk 15 minutes a day, and add time, distance, and intensity from there.
4. Use the Buddy System
Find a friend or relative whom you like and trust who also wants to establish a healthier lifestyle, suggests Thompson. “Encourage one another. Exercise together. Use this as an opportunity to enjoy one another’s company and to strengthen the relationship.”
5. Make Your Plan Fit Your Life
Too busy to get to the gym? Tennis star Martina Navratilova, health and fitness ambassador for the AARP, knows a thing or two about being busy and staying fit.
Make your plan fit your life, she advises in an article on the AARP web site. “You don’t need fancy exercise gear and gyms to get fit.”
If you’ve got floor space, try simple floor exercises to target areas such as the hips and buttocks, legs and thighs, and chest and arms (like push-ups, squats, and lunges). Aim for 10-12 repetitions of each exercise, adding more reps and intensity as you build strength.
6. Be Happy
Be sure to pick an activity you actually enjoy doing, suggests Los Angeles celebrity trainer Sebastien Lagree.
“If you hate weights, don’t go to the gym. You can lose weight and get in shape with any type of training or activity,” he says.
And choose something that is convenient. Rock climbing may be a great workout, but if you live in a city, it’s not something you’ll be doing every day.
7. Watch the Clock
Your body clock, that is. Try to work out at the time you have the most energy, suggests Jason Theodosakis, MD, exercise physiologist at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. If you’re a morning person, schedule your fitness activities early in the day; if you perk up as the day goes along, plan your activities in the afternoon or evening.
“Working out while you have the most energy will yield the best results,” Theodosakis says.
8. Call In the Pros
Especially if you’re first getting started, Theodosakis suggests having a professional assessment to determine what types of exercise you need most.
“For some people, attention to flexibility or to balance and agility, may be more important than resistance training or aerobics,” he says. “By getting a professional assessment, you can determine your weakest links and focus on them. This will improve your overall fitness balance.”
9. Get Inspired
“Fitness is a state of mind,” says fitness professional and life coach Allan Fine of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. One of Fine’s tricks to get and stay motivated is to read blogs or web sites that show him how others have been successful. “Who inspires you?” he asks.
10. Be Patient
Finally, remember that even if you follow all these tips, there will be ups and downs, setbacks and victories, advises Navratilova. Just be patient, and don’t give up, she says on the AARP web site: “Hang in there, and you’ll see solid results.”
Article by Carol Sorgen
Summer is here and we are ready to revel in its warmth and sunshine! Before you do though, you should consider how the extra hours in the sun can impact your skin. From the occasional summer sun burn, UV rays can also accelerate some common signs of skin aging like fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and sagging skin.
Take Care Of Your Skin This Summer Using These Tips:
Keep Skin Hydrated
Up your regimen’s level of hydration with intensive masques, perfect for use one to two times a week. Boosters are a great fit, working best when layered underneath a moisturizer. Toners are a refreshing moisturizer prep, working to even out skin porosity. Tip: Refresh with a revitalizing toner spritz at your desk, in the car, at the gym, on the plane!
Make Friends With H20
Higher temperatures and more time outdoors leads to internal dehydration, which can result in headaches and dizzy spells!
What you can do: Eight 8-ounce glasses of plain, filtered water every day help maintain critical moisture balance of the body and skin, and assist in detoxification. Tip: If you drink caffeinated beverages, you must triple the amount of water you drink!
When In Doubt, Apply (And Reapply!)
It’s not enough to just apply sunscreen, you must apply enough, and apply frequently. Studies indicate that most people do not apply nearly as much daylight protection as they should.
How much? A teaspoon for the face. For the body, about as much as would fill a shot glass.
How often: Re-apply every two hours. Tip: Stay out of the midday sun from mid-morning to late afternoon whenever you can.
Soothe Over-Exposed Skin
Did you forgot the sunscreen, didn’t apply enough, or got caught in a sunny spell?
What’s next: Unfortunately, the damage is done, but you don’t have to suffer in pain! Super-soothing botanicals and cooling gels can help prevent peeling and reduce redness and inflammation.
How: Apply cooling balms generously over-exposed skin, preferably at the first sight of a pink glow.
Prevent: One blistering sunburn doubles your risk of melanoma — remember to get a yearly skin exam by a doctor and perform a self-examination once a month to detect early warning signs of carcinomas and malignant melanoma. Look for a new growth or any skin change.
Repair And Treat Sun Damaged Skin
What causes skin damage: UV light causes photoaging in the form of brown spots, coarse skin and wrinkles, whether you have burned your skin or not. When sunlight comes in contact with skin a cascade of damage results (including the stripping of barrier lipids) causing inflammation, production of reactive oxygen molecules that affect healthy cell growth, and stimulation of collagen destructing enzymes.
What to do: A tan may be a popular summer look, but it indicates damage. Bombard your skin with age-fighting ingredients to help undo any damage that may occur, and to further protect it from the aging effects of UV.
Article by Dermalogica
Dealing with food allergies can be daunting. The effects of a reaction range from somewhat bothersome to potentially deadly. There is no cure, so anyone with a food allergy must vigilantly avoid the foods that trigger a reaction.
So how best to protect yourself? These six tips can help you create a system that can feel manageable, even routine.
Always read labels. Today, food labels include important allergy information such as whether any additives contain milk protein or byproducts of wheat, or whether a food was produced in a facility that processes nuts. Still, you need to read every label, every time — even if you have purchased the item hundreds of times before. Manufacturers frequently change ingredients and an allergen may be part of a new formulation.
Take care when cooking. If everyone in the household isn’t following an allergen-free diet, you want to be sure to avoid cross-contamination. It’s a good idea to have two sets of cooking and eating utensils — one exclusively for the allergic person — so that a knife used to cut a peanut butter sandwich isn’t inadvertently pressed into service buttering the toast of someone who’s allergic to peanuts. All dishes and utensils should be thoroughly washed in hot, soapy water between uses.
Dine out defensively. It’s wise to let the manager or chef know about your food allergy before you order. People with food allergies often carry a chef card — a printed note specifying all the ingredients you are allergic to as well as a request that all dishes, utensils, and preparation surfaces be free from traces of that food. You can customize a template of such a card on the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network Web site, www.foodallergy.org. Fast food restaurants and coffee shops are no exception. Read labels and ask questions before deciding what to eat and drink.
Formulate an action plan. Make a list of steps to take should you accidentally eat the food you are allergic to, and carry a printed copy of the plan with you.
Wear a medical ID bracelet. Make sure it lists relevant information about your food allergy.
Always carry your medication, ideally two doses. If your doctor has prescribed emergency medication for you (EpiPen or TwinJet) always take it with you and always carry two to be sure you’re prepared in case you get into trouble. Some people with food allergies also carry antihistamines. Don’t leave home without your medications.
Article by Harvard Medical School
Home Remedies For Eczema
Home remedies and natural treatments can soothe the dry, itching skin that comes with eczema. Natural substances, such as aloe vera gel and coconut oil, can moisturize dry, broken skin. They can also combat inflammation and harmful bacteria to reduce swelling and prevent infection. Natural remedies cannot cure eczema, but they can help manage the symptoms and prevent flares. This article looks at the best natural remedies for eczema.
1. Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera gel is derived from the leaves of the aloe plant. People have used aloe vera gel for centuries to treat a wide range of ailments. One common use is to soothe eczema. The antibacterial and antimicrobial effects can prevent skin infections, which are more likely to occur when a person has dry, cracked skin. Aloe’s wound-healing properties may soothe broken skin and promote healing.
2. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for many conditions, including skin disorders. The National Eczema Association (NEA) report that apple cider vinegar may help with the condition. However, they recommend using caution, as the vinegar’s acids can damage soft tissue.
3. Colloidal oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal, also known as Avena sativa, is made from oats that have been ground and boiled to extract their skin-healing properties. A 2015 study reports that colloidal oatmeal lotion had antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, resulting in improved skin dryness, scaling, roughness, and itch intensity.
4. Coconut oil
Coconut oil contains healthful fatty acids that can add moisture to the skin, which can help people with dry skin and eczema. A randomized clinical trial looked at the effects of applying virgin coconut oil to the skin in children. The results show that using the oil for 8 weeks improved the symptoms of eczema better than mineral oil.
Honey is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, and people have used it to heal wounds for centuries. Conclusions of a review confirm that honey can help heal wounds and boost immune system function, which means that it can help the body fight off infections. Applied directly to eczema, honey could help prevent infections while moisturizing the skin and speeding healing.
There is no cure for eczema, but people can often manage their symptoms with home remedies, including natural gels and oils, medicated baths, and dietary changes. If eczema is severe or does not respond to home treatments, it may be a good idea to see a doctor.
Article by Jennifer Berry
Hay Fever Relief
Springtime is here and with it comes pollen season, which is bad news for hay fever sufferers. Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is typically a reaction to pollen from trees, grasses and weeds that makes the immune system believe pollen is a harmful invader, triggering production of the antibody immunoglobulin E. This stimulates release of histamine, causing inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages, along with excessive mucus production and other symptoms such as sneezing, itching nose and throat, watery eyes and a clear, runny nose.
However, before you reach for anti-histamine medications this spring, there are a number of foods, nutrients and herbs that are extremely beneficial for alleviating hay fever symptoms.
Kiwifruit contain more vitamin C, gram for gram, than oranges (especially the yellow kiwifruit variety). Vitamin C is an effective natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory, and it also supports healthy immune function and protects from secondary respiratory conditions. This can be very beneficial in achieving hay fever relief naturally.
Pineapple is a rich source of bromelain, an enzyme with strong systemic anti-inflammatory effects, which helps decrease common hay fever symptoms such as mucosal inflammation and nasal congestion.
Commonly used in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine, this spice contains curcumin, a phytochemical with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions that are comparable to steroidal and nonsteroidal drugs. Curcumin has been found to have anti-allergy properties, which inhibit the release of histamine. This has proven to be effective when treating allergic rhinitis naturally.
Having an onion a day can help keep your hay fever at bay. Everyone who’s chopped onions has probably experienced the fact that onions can make you cry. As a result, cooking with fresh onions can naturally help with opening and draining your sinuses. Additionally, onions contain quercetin, a chemical compound that has antihistamine properties and aid in the reduction of inflammation and nasal congestion.
Make yourself a fresh veggie juice with a good slice of fresh ginger. Ginger is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory that helps reduce nasal swelling and associated hay fever symptoms. In fact, research from a 2008 study published in International Immunopharmacology suggests that ginger can modulate the immune response to inflammation associated with allergic asthma.
Lastly, Avoid Certain Foods
Limit or avoid cow’s milk and other dairy products as they can increase the production of mucus in the respiratory tract and exacerbate hay fever nasal congestion. Try alternatives such as rice, almond, quinoa and coconut milks.
Article by Lisa Guy
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a condition characterized by difficulty breathing and narrowing of the airways leading to the lungs (including the nose, nasal passageways, mouth and larynx). Common symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and pain or pressure in the chest. In people who have asthma or allergies, the blocked or inflamed airways that cause asthma symptoms can usually be cleared with help from certain lifestyle changes and treatments. Eating a healthy diet supplies asthma sufferers with antioxidants and nutrients to combat environmental toxins, control inflammatory responses and reduce dietary triggers.
Some of the most beneficial foods to include in your asthma diet plan are:
Brightly colored carotenoid foods: This compound gives fruit and vegetables their orange or red color and can help reduce asthma attacks. Carotenoids are the basis of vitamin A, which is involved in the maintenance of healthy mucous membranes that line the air passageways. Severity of asthma correlates with low vitamin A, so increase your intake of things like root veggies, sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy greens and berries.
Vitamin E and vitamin C foods: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and helps detoxify the body, which is why some research suggests that consuming more vitamin C reduces wheezing and inflammation. Vitamin C is found is leafy greens, citrus fruits, cruciferous veggies and berries. Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant found in nuts, seeds and healthy plant oils.
Foods with magnesium: Low levels of magnesium are associated with increased risk of developing asthma, and increasing magnesium has been shown to reduce severity of asthma attacks and symptoms like muscle-spasming anxiety. It’s been found that magnesium can induce bronchial smooth muscle relaxation and allow air to get into and out of the lungs more easily. Sources include greens, nuts, seeds, beans, cocoa and certain ancient grains.
Broccoli, broccoli sprouts, Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables: These contain many antioxidants and a key compound called sulforaphane. Researchers from UCLA state, “A major advantage of sulforaphane is that it appears to increase a broad array of antioxidant enzymes, which may help the compound’s effectiveness in blocking the harmful effects of air pollution. This strategy may offer protection against inflammatory processes and could lead to potential treatments for a variety of respiratory conditions.”
Omega-3 foods: Omega-3 is mostly found in oily fish, such as mackerel, sardines, orange roughy, salmon, trout and tuna. Nuts and seeds can also provide a good dose. Omega-3s help lower the incidence of asthma significantly because they reduce airway inflammation and immune system reactivity.
By Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DMN, CNS
Seasonal Allergy Relief
Oh, seasonal allergies. They truly can make life miserable. Some allergy symptoms include excess mucus, sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, etc. The good news is, there are things we can do (without allergy medication)! These simple natural remedies have been very effective for allergy relief in our family.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an age old remedy that is often recommended for a variety of health conditions. I’ve personally used it for allergy relief (and heartburn relief) with great success. The theory is that its ability to reduce mucous production and cleanse the lymphatic system makes it useful for allergies. It is also said to help digestion, weight loss, and more so it is worth a try.
Quercetin is a natural bioflavonoid that is said to help stabilize mast cells to keep them from releasing histamine. It is also a potent antioxidant that is said to help reduce inflammation. It is best used as a long term remedy and many people start taking it about 4-6 weeks before allergy season to help prevent allergy symptoms. As with any herb, you should check with your doctor before using, especially if you have a liver problem, are pregnant, or are on hormonal contraceptives.
Allergies are the result of an imbalance in the immune system that causes the body to react too strongly to a stimuli. Many studies link the presence of beneficial bacteria in the gut with reduced incidence of allergies. Evidence is even emerging that a mother’s gut bacteria during pregnancy and nursing can impact a child’s likelihood of getting allergies throughout life, as can exposure to overly sterile environments. While we can’t do much about our mothers’ diets while they were pregnant, balancing gut bacteria now and consuming enough beneficial bacteria can help easy allergy symptoms.
4. Local Honey
There isn’t much scientific evidence to back this one, but there seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence from people who have tried it. (Even Mark Sisson weighed in on the subject here). The theory is that consuming local honey from where you live will help your body adapt to the allergens in the environment there. This is supposed to work like a natural allergy “shot” and doesn’t seem to have a downside.
5. Anti-inflammatory Foods
Foods, teas, and spices with known anti-inflammatory benefits may play a role in reducing unpleasant allergy symptoms. A 2016 study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that ginger given orally to mice reduced sneezing and congestion as well as lowered mast cell response. Green tea shows similar effects for allergy relief.
Different people seem to benefit from different remedies depending on certain genetic factors and which allergens you are reacting to, so it might be worth trying more than one of these to see which works best for you. We wish you the best in health!
Article by Katie Wells
Herbs & Spices To Ease Pain
Did you know that the solution to your toothache, muscle pain or stomach upset might be sitting in your spice rack or window box? It’s true! Aside from the fact that herbs and spices have been used medicinally for thousands of years, countless scientific studies show that most have unique healing qualities and anti-inflammatory benefits. Before you head out to the drugstore for some narcotic painkillers, check out this list of herbs and spices which kill pain fast!
Known as ‘the stinking rose’, garlic has been used since ancient times as both a food and a natural medicine thanks to its ability to enhance the immune system with its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, garlic cloves contain chemicals that shut down inflammatory pathways in ways similar to ibuprofen. Make sure to always use fresh garlic, either chopped or crushed, for best results.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is an amazing and tasty pain reliever. If you suffer from frequent headaches or migraines, try out some ginger and see if it quells the pain. In a study of 100 migraine sufferers, it was found that both ginger powder and the drug sumatriptan had comparable pain relieving effects. And a six week trial of patients with osteoarthritis saw them swap their pain medication for ginger extracts twice daily. Participants felt less pain when standing and walking after taking the ginger. Of course, ginger doesn’t cause any of the negative side effects that medications do.
Used in both Eastern and Western medicine for thousands of years, licorice root is used for a variety of illnesses. One particular type, known as DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice), is used to treat peptic ulcers, canker sores and acid reflux. When licorice root fluid extract was used on 100 patients with stomach ulcers (86 of whom had not improved with conventional drugs), after 6 weeks 90% of the patients improved, with ulcers completely disappearing in 22 people. Licorice gel applied to the skin is known to relieve the itching associated with eczema, while gargling with DGL in warm water can stop the pain of canker sores and other mouth problems.
One of the most anti-inflammatory spices around, turmeric contains the powerful compound curcumin, which is responsible for its inflammation fighting super powers. Rats who were suffering from neuropathic pain were given curcumin. Shortly afterward, they were described as exhibiting a decline in behaviors associated with pain. Researchers, looking at the effects of curcumin in obesity, suggest including curcumin (turmeric) as part of a healthy diet, given its low cost, safety and proven efficacy.
Black pepper contains piperine, a chemical which helps to counteract pain in the body. In fact, piperine extracted from black pepper can be mixed with other ingredients to make an analgesic cream for pain relief. This inexpensive seasoning is thought to reduce the perception of pain, inflammation and even arthritis.
A Word of Caution
Even though herbs and spices are natural products you can find in the store or garden, don’t underestimate their potency and never consume them in excess. If you suffer any medical conditions, are pregnant or are taking any medications, it’s important to consult a professional before using herbs and spices to treat ailments.
Article by Jayne Leonard