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The Amazing Cayenne Pepper

What normally comes to mind when you hear the words Cayenne Pepper? Perhaps hot, spicy dishes from Mexico or Italy? Well, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when talking about this versatile spice.

Originating in Central and South America and the West Indies, this spice has traditionally been used in cooking but just as famously in healing as well, believe it or not.

Sound unbelievable? Well, here are just a few of the interesting facts.

• It has been scientifically proven to not only prevent heart disease but can actually halt a heart attack as it is happening.
• Contrary to the belief that eating hot foods will cause stomach upset, cayenne can not only heal stomach ulcers, but essentially re-builds stomach tissue.
• It equalizes the blood pressure; if it’s high, it lowers it and vice versa

Cayenne comes from what is commonly known as the red hot chilli pepper. The fruits of the pepper are first dried and then ground up to bake into cakes. The final part of the process grounds the cakes into a powder and sifts it resulting in what we know as Cayenne Pepper.

So why haven’t we heard much about the multitude of benefits of this amazing herb? Well, according to the people at, there’s just no money in it for the big pharmaceutical companies.

“...why sell a cholesterol-reducing drug when you can just take cayenne pepper and it will do the same while also removing plaque from your arterial walls? Needless to say, it's clearly because cholesterol drugs like Lipitor make billions of dollars for their makers.”

When you consider that you can buy loose cayenne powder for around $15 dollars for half a kilo or buy pre-capsuled cayenne for around $20 per 60 tabs, it certainly makes sense to at least contemplate the benefits.

• Scientifically proven to kill cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone
• Improves circulation
• Effective in the treatment of arthritis (creams are available)
• Reduces cholesterol levels
• Aids in digestion by stimulating saliva and gastric juices to break down food
• Removes toxins from the blood stream
• Improves overall heart health

Perhaps among one of the more interesting benefits is its ability to help control appetite and weight. Studies have shown that a diet rich in cayenne and other peppers is associated with a lower occurrence of obesity.
As with green tea (spoken about in a previous article), cayenne creates in the body what is known as thermogenesis or heat production. This heat production causes lipid oxidation, or in layman’s terms, fat burning. Studies have also shown that the ingestion of red pepper can suppress the appetite.

So with all of this remarkable information about cayenne now on hand, you are probably wondering what is the best way to take it.

There are a few ways to take it but it really depends on you and your tolerance to taste or heat. Personally I don’t want to use it for weight loss but I enjoy it for all of its heart serving properties, so I take a ¼ teaspoon dissolved in a warm (not hot) cup of green tea every other day. It can be a bit spicy but since taking it this way opens up the cell structure and sends it straight to the heart via the artery system, it serves the purpose I’m looking for. With heart disease being predominant in my family, I’m doing all I can, even if it means struggling through the odd tasting cup of tea.

You can also make the same concoction but add a tablespoon of honey to help with the taste. I have found that the honey almost overpowers the pepper and you usually just feel the effects from the heat and not the taste.

You can also buy pre-capsuled Cayenne at most chemists and health food stores. The prices can vary a few dollars but is still relatively cheap to buy. If you really want to do it even cheaper, you can buy the powdered cayenne and capsule it yourself. Just be sure to wear gloves when doing it. Also, just sprinkling the loose powder on your food can be very beneficial as well.

Editor’s Note: This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Since cayenne pepper can sometimes increase the side effects of some medications, you should consult your doctor before taking it.
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The truth on aging skin, lifestyle and diet-Interview with Dr. Perricone

Creams, botox, make-up, and even miracle anti-aging pills; it seems everyone is looking for that "Fountain of Youth". But have you ever stopped to think that perhaps aging can be slowed down or even halted, from the inside out?

A revolutionary book, “The Wrinkle Cure” by Dr. Nicholas Perricone has changed the way most people look at skincare.

Below you will find snippets from an interview with Dr. Perricone found on www. taken from a transcript on WebMD.

Moderator: What are the five worst things we do to our skin?


1. Sun exposure
2. A pro-inflammatory diet (That consists of sugar and starches)
3. Cigarette smoking
4. Lack of sleep
5. Excess alcohol consumption

Moderator: How does eating simple carbs affect your skin?

Perricone: Scientists have established that anything that causes a rise in our blood sugar results in inflammation on a cellular level. In addition, when our blood sugar goes up rapidly and continually, the sugar can actually attach to the collagen in our skin, making it stiff and inflexible. There is a scientific term for that: glycation. When we do not get enough sleep it results in elevation of a hormone called cortisol. It has a lot of negative side effects. For example, it can break down muscle tissue, thin our skin, decalcify our bones, and elevate our blood sugar. Of course, when blood sugar is elevated we are in an inflammatory state.

Moderator: What do the other things you mentioned (sleep deprivation, sun exposure, alcohol consumption and smoking) do to our skin?

Perricone: It is essential to get enough sleep. We should also mention that when we are getting adequate sleep, we release another hormone that is actually a youth hormone called human growth hormone. Human growth hormone does exactly the opposite of what cortisol does -- that is, it builds us up rather than breaking us down.

Looking at cigarette smoking, we know that by inhaling just one puff of one cigarette, we create three trillion free radicals in the lungs. In addition, cigarette smoke causes blood vessels to constrict, especially in the skin, resulting in lack of oxygen and nutrients, which accelerates skin aging.

Alcohol in excess results in a rapid and sustained increase in blood sugar, which... is pro-inflammatory and causes the glycation reaction. In addition, alcohol is metabolized by the liver to toxic chemicals called aldehydes and ketones, which are toxic to cells and are pro-inflammatory.

When we walk out into the noonday sun during the summer, within five minutes the sunlight creates free radicals in the skin. This results in an inflammatory cascade that accelerates the aging process, causing wrinkles.
Finally, eating a diet that is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and others can help protect us from free radical damage.

Moderator: It sounds as though diet is at the heart of caring for your skin. Can you please explain your "Three-Day Diet for Better Skin"?

Perricone: The diet consists of eating the following meal twice a day for three days in a row, with the remaining meal of the day following the concepts of staying away from pro-inflammatory foods.

The first important item in this anti-inflammatory meal is salmon. Salmon is important because it is high in protein and we need protein to repair our cells. Salmon contains high amounts of an essential fatty acid classified as an Omega-3 oil. Essential fatty acids nourish the skin, giving it a radiant and beautiful appearance.

One of the biggest mistakes that a person can make is to follow a low-fat or no-fat diet. You must have adequate amounts of essential fatty acids to be healthy and it should be understood that good fat helps burn body fat.

Salmon also contains another important nutrient called DMAE. Aging is characterized by wrinkling and sagging. DMAE, when eaten in larger amounts, can increase muscle tone and therefore decrease the appearance of sagging.

The second portion of this anti-inflammatory meal is a dark-green salad with olive oil and lemon juice as a dressing. The reason for this is that the dark-green lettuce contains antioxidants that act as natural anti-inflammatories...and also contain small amounts of essential fatty acids such as omega-6. The olive oil is recommended because it contains a larger amount of a fat called oleic acid. Oleic acid helps the cells absorb essential fatty acid more efficiently.

The dessert portion consists of a serving of mixed berries such as raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries, and a slice of cantaloupe melon. These fruits are loaded with antioxidants, which act as natural anti-inflammatories.

Finally, we must drink eight to 10 glasses of pure water a day. When this meal is eaten twice a day three days in a row and the other meal consists of a good source of protein, essential fatty acids, and healthy fruits and vegetables that will not cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, there will be a tremendous difference in your appearance and the way you feel.

You can find more information on Dr. Perricone’s diet as well as his book “The Wrinkle Cure” at:

And his blog at:

-photo credit:
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Depression: Synthetic vs. Homeopathic

In 1998 after being on the synthetic antidepressant drug Parexetine for a mere two days, 60-year old Donald Schell shot his wife, daughter, granddaughter, and finally himself. Although one time believed to be the “saving grace” of the psychological world, synthetic anti-depression medications can sometimes be more harmful than helpful. Some studies have shown how natural, organic medications or natural therapies can prove just as useful without all of the negative side effects.

Depression is defined as “a psychological problem thought to be brought on when there are abnormal amounts of important chemicals in the brain such as serotonin or norepinephrine, the chemicals known as mood balancers” (University of Michigan).

As early as the 1950’s, synthetic drugs were being created in the fight against depression. There are three “principal types” which consist of: the tricyclics, the MAOI’s, or monamine oxidase inhibitors, and the SSRI’s, or selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors.

The tricyclics essentially work to “desensitize” the neurons in the brain from reabsorbing the chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine which are in charge of mood. The MAOI’s actually reduce the quantity of the enzyme in the brain which transports the mood altering chemicals resulting in more neurotransmitters like serotonin. A larger quantity of neurotransmitters results in depressive symptoms reducing. The SSRI’s, the most popular of the synthetic drugs, work like the tricyclics in how they prevent the re-absorption of the brain’s serotonin. So as the brain produces more, in turn the patient has twice as much as before.

So what’s the problem?

If these were the only effects of the medications, there may have never been the need to return to a more holistic or natural approach to treating depression. Unfortunately, these drugs can have some serious side effects for most patients. In the tricyclics, elderly patients experienced blood pressure problems, dizziness, and fainting. Other side effects even included heart irregularities, impotence, weight gain, confusion, and even anxiety. Perhaps the most frightening side effect is the increase in suicide and suicidal thoughts in patients.

In October or 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a “Public Health Advisory” to warn the public about the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children and adolescents being treated with antidepressant medications. The same company responsible for these drugs even being on the market was now warning its consumers about them.

So the recent increase over the years in people turning to natural therapies is hardly surprising when you see the statistics. A study done by the National Institute of Health discovered that a mere 30% of patients got better after beginning their medications. In one British study, side effects were the reason 45% of its participants discontinues the use of their medications. 65% eventually stopped altogether.

James Whorton, Professor of Medical History at the University of Washington School of Medicine believes that people are turning to alternative therapies because conventional doctors tend to “treat people as containers of organs that have to have the disease beaten out of them”. He also believes that traditional doctors tend to go against nature and try to find a cure without using the body’s natural abilities.

Holistic or natural medicine can help depression in a variety of ways. Chinese medicine which states that emotions are the cause of physical ailments including depression, believes that herbal therapy, reduction and eventually cessation of anti-depressants and counseling is best when treating depression. .Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India believes that good mental health is achieved through regular exercise, sleep, eating a balanced diet and sexual activity.

The traditional approach in natural medicine to treating depression uses herbs instead of synthetic drugs. St. John’s Wort, a popular herb prescribed by many alternative doctors contains the active ingrediant “hypericin” which acts naturally in some of the same ways the MAOI’s do by slowing down the reabsorption of serotonin.

Unlike the synthetic drugs which usually cause a sense of “flatness”, herbal remedies tend to produce a “natural brightness” as well as combat depression. Dr. Hyla Cass, M.D. says she prefers herbs to synthetics because “they have been used for thousands of years and have a much better safety record”. She goes on to say that sometimes the herbs affect the body positively in ways that were unintended as well.

In addition to finding the right herb(s) to best suit a person’s needs with depression, there are some other basic lifestyle changes common to the natural approach to treatment. Some of these include:

1. Avoiding tobacco, alcohol, drugs, processed foods, and refined sugar.
2. Exercise at least twenty minutes per day up to five times a week.
3. Drink plenty of water.
4. Get enough quality sleep every day.
5. Try organic food as opposed to processed whenever possible.
6. Oxygenate your body with deep breathing techniques or meditation.
7. Frequent exposure to natural sunlight is very beneficial.

The American Journal of clinical Nutrition also says there is a connection between depression and a diet that lacks fatty acids otherwise known as Omega-3. Some good sources of Omega-3 are coldwater fish such as, salmon and halibut. Fish oil is also good to take and can be found at any drugstore.

Though ultimately a personal choice, depression treatment through the holistic approach has been proven to have a more positive effect on the whole person--not just to subdue the emotions, but to eradicate them by taking care of the physical and mental parts of the person.

(editor's note) Those suffering from chronic or severe depression, bi-polar or any more serious conditions should consult their doctor or therapist before discontinuing any medications.

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Understanding Green Tea

If you’re like most people, when you hear the words “green tea” you envision people in far-away lands sitting around on cushions drinking tea out of porcelain tea cups. Or, you think that the only people to drink it are yoga enthusiasts or hippies.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Other than water, green tea is actually the next most common beverage of choice. But when you consider the fact that green tea originated in China and then consider the population of China, it may not be that far of a stretch

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Dust mites and allergies

We've all heard the phrase, "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite."

Contrary to popular belief, although dust mites don't actually bite, these little bed bugs can still wreak havoc on our allergies

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Hard facts on salt

Salt. We add it to practically everything we eat and it’s in nearly every processed food out there. A little salt is needed in the body to help maintain the fluid in our cells. Salt actually assists in the absorption of water into our cells; that is why ingesting too much salt can cause oedema, or swelling.

According to the Better Health Channel ( people average more than double their recommended daily intake of salt. It is suggested that you only have up to 4 grams per day, with 6 grams still being acceptable

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Antioxidant Answers

With all of the diets, buzz words and advice, it’s no wonder people are confused with how to achieve their optimal wellbeing. When understanding health, sometimes you just have to keep it simple. So just as important as calories in to calories out, in weight loss; what we put into our bodies is just as vital.

A number of things, ranging from environmental factors to smoking and of course the food we eat, are all making us more and more unhealthy. All of these things contain harmful free radicals that can cause everything from cancer, cardiovascular disease, to just plain old aging

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Too Little Or Too Much Fat In Diet May Lead To Gallstone Problems, Study Shows

Italian researchers found that following a diet that is too low in fat can lead to gallstone formation, but so can too much fat. Diets high in saturated fat and refined sugar and low in fiber can also contribute to gallstone problems, the study says.

Experts believe that women who go for long periods without eating like fasting or not eating breakfast may decrease gallbladder contractions. They explained that gallbladder, a pear-shaped organ at the bottom of the liver, stores and releases bile into the intestines to help digestion. During digestion, the gallbladder contracts to release bile into the intestine where the bile salts help to break down fats. If the gallbladder doesn’t contract often enough to empty out the bile, gallstones may form

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High Altitude Could Harm Brain, Scientists Say

An Italian study of nine male climbers at Mt. Everest, found a subtle abnormal results on the mountaineers brain tissue, after their expedition. Researchers said the most likely cause was the lack of oxygen at high altitudes, publishing their findings in the European Journal of Neurology.

Before and after the trip, the climbers at the IRCCS Fondazione Santa lucia in Rome, underwent MRI scanning and were also checked for any neurological illnesses. They were then matched against the “controls” of the study who were of their same age and sex

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Know The Seven Warning Signs Of Cancer

The American Cancer Society has identified seven warning signs that may signal cancer. Cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control. According to experts, cancer is not just one disease, it is actually a group of over 200 different diseases that affect many different parts of the body. The first letters of these warning signs spell the word CAUTION :

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