Archive for December, 2009
Athletes’ superstitions and rituals can help them get psyched up for contests, but when these rituals involve non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which many athletes gobble down before and during events, they could be causing more harm than good.
“These agents are treatments for the symptoms of an injury, not the injury itself,” says Stuart Warden, whose research at Indiana University focuses on musculoskeletal health and sports medicine. “They may allow an athlete to exercise or train at a certain level, but pain occurs for a reason. It is basically the body’s mechanism of saying, ‘Hang on, you’ve got some sort of injury that should not be ignored.’”
Keeping a first aid kit around the home and carrying one around during outdoor excursions such as camping and hiking is a smart idea. While many over-the-counter conventional remedies are standard in a first aid kit, you should not discount adding a few natural herbal products as well. In some instances, the natural herbal remedies actually speed healing and reduce infection risk.
Natural Herbal Products in your First Aid Kit
Your first aid kit will always carry the basics such as sterile gauze, adhesive bandages, sterile needles, tweezers, scissors, thermometer, sterile water and even hot and cold packs. However, your medicines for scrapes, cleaning wounds and bruise treatments can easily be treated with natural herbal remedies. Here are some handy products to consider:
- Lavender Oil – Lavender has antiseptic properties. If you have minor cuts, scrapes or even bug bites, applying lavender oil to the affected areas can help them heal, sometimes twice as fast as treating them with a conventional method.
- Honey – Honey has antimicrobial as well as anti-inflammatory properties. After rinsing a minor wound or burn with water, you can apply honey directly onto the affected area and cover with a bandage.
- Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil is a powerhouse herbal remedy because it has antifungal, antibiotic and antiseptic properties. You can treat a wound, rash and insect bite with tea tree oil.
- Cayenne Pepper – This spicy pepper not only opens nasal passageways and lower blood pressure if consumed, it also has the power to stop bleeding and reduce pain in a wound such as a cut, abrasion or scrape. Sprinkling the cayenne pepper straight onto the affected area may sound strange, but the throbbing pain will lessen and bleeding stops quickly.
- Calendula – Tincture made from calendula oil can be effective and safe for skin rashes, cuts and abrasions. It helps alleviate the pain, swelling and stinging sensations of a wound.
- Comfrey –A powdered form of comfrey can be mixed with distilled water to form a paste which could be applied directly to wounds. Comfrey contains a compound called allantoin which speeds the healing process as well as reduce swelling and inflammation. This herbal concoction has both antifungal and antibacterial properties.
- Vinegar – Containing natural antiseptic properties, vinegar can be used to cleanse wounds by mixing it with water. Vinegar also soothes rashes and insect bites. Sunburns are also soothed by a rag or bandage soaked in vinegar and then applied to the affected area.
- Yarrow – Powdered yarrow leaves can be mixed with a little distilled water to form a paste which can be applied to cuts and other minor wounds. The yarrow stops bleeding and even disinfects the affected area.
If you use an herbal essential oil for your first aid kit, be sure to pack a carrier oil such as almond oil, olive oil or coconut oil. You typically have to mix a few drops of essential oil with the carrier oil to prevent skin irritation. With the basics along with some or all of these natural herbal products, you have a solid first aid kit that can handle virtually any minor emergency.
Getting your kids eating their fiber is important. Here are a few suggestions to sneak fiber into your kid’s diet. Try these tips and avoid the struggle!
(By Shannon Clark for Bodybuilding.com)
Of all the nutrients that your kids need to be taking in, one of the biggest ones that often gets neglected is dietary fiber. In today’s world where most lunches consist of a sandwich, a pudding, some type of ‘fruit bar’, and a soda, fiber is not something that’s found.
Likewise, as soon as they get home they’re quick to go straight for the cupboard and reach for some variety of convenience snack that’s jam packed with simple processed carbohydrates that do nothing for overall weight control.
Getting your kids to eat their fiber, while an extremely challenging goal, is important. It’s going to help keep their digestive system healthy, keep them regular, and also help prevent them from snacking needlessly, filling up on empty calories that contribute to a growing weight problem down the road. Read more…
Procedure could negate need for more complicated testing, expert says
MONDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) — A simple urine test could be developed to detect whether a child has obstructive sleep apnea, U.S. researchers say.
Such a test "would alleviate the need for costly and inconvenient sleep studies in children who snore, only about 20 to 30 percent of whom actually have OSA," or obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. David Gozal, a professor and chairman of pediatrics at the University of Chicago, said in a news release from the American Thoracic Society.
An estimated 3 percent of children younger than 9 have OSA, which can lead to cognitive, behavioral, cardiovascular and metabolic problems. Read more…
If you have ever had an itching, burning sensation on your feet or between your toes, you probably had athlete’s foot. It is a common fungal infection known by the scientific name tinea pedis. This fungus is at home in moist, warm environments such as indoor or heated swimming pools, locker rooms, public area showers and even the gym and locker room of health clubs.
Besides the itching, burning sensation on the bottom of your feet and between your toes, athlete’s foot presents itself in other ways as well. You could have what looks like simple dryness of the skin on the bottom and sides of your feet. The more unappealing appearance of this fungus is cracking, scaly or peeling skin between the toes or on the soles of the feet. Blisters may form as well. And if left untreated, this fungal infection can spread to the toenails where it is much harder to treat and get rid of.
Herbal Remedies for Athlete’s Foot
A doctor’s diagnosis is best for identifying the fungal infection that causes athlete’s foot as there are other health conditions that could present the same symptoms. With the proper athlete’s foot diagnosis, you can try a few herbal remedies before breaking down and filling your doctor’s prescription or request for over the counter medications.
1. Tea tree oil – Tea tree oil is derived from an Australian tree and has long been touted for its antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties. The tea tree oil should be mixed with carrier oil as it can have cause burning or itching when applied undiluted. Almond, grapeseed and olive oil are good carriers to use. Apply up to a 50% tea tree oil solution onto the fungal infection using a cotton ball and then wear a sock over the area so the solution does not rub off. Apply it at least twice a day until you see improvement.
2. Garlic – Garlic contains antifungal compounds which can help kill the infection. While you can cook with garlic and receive some healthful benefits, the best thing to do is rub a few cloves of raw garlic on the affected areas of your feet. Or, crush a few cloves and spread them like a paste on affected areas and leave on for about 30 minutes before rinsing with cool water. Applying garlic once a day for about week should do the trick in eradicating the fungal infection.
3. Vinegar – Soaking your feet in equal parts vinegar and water for about 20 minutes twice a day can help kill the fungus that causes your athlete’s foot. The acid in vinegar kills the infection and soothes the itching.
4. Lavender and myrrh oil – Mixed together with carrier oil, these herbal essential oils have healing properties including antimicrobial and antifungal qualities. Apply to the athlete’s foot infection with a cotton ball up to three times a day. A side benefit is softer skin which helps alleviate the scaling and itching.
Give your herbal remedy of choice about week to work its magic on your athlete’s foot. If there is no change or it gets worse, perhaps you may have to resort to that doctor’s prescription or over the counter treatments. The majority of people who go au natural with athlete’s foot treatment do find relief though, so you can expect to as well.