Category Archives: Skin Care

Moroccan Oil for Pain

It has become customary to pop a pill when we are in pain. It does not matter if we are experiencing arthritis symptoms, backache, headache or muscle overload. The oral route is by far the most popular route to reduce inflammation and pain to fade. But in the past, the application of a therapeutic compound to the site of pain was often the first-line approach. A new study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine examines whether a traditional remedy might have an application in the modern era. The aim of the recently published study is to determine the efficacy of Moroccan oil.

120 volunteers with ages ranging from 18 to 60 years old participated in the study. The only thing they had in common was back pain of undefined origin. This means that the pain is due are well-known physical abnormalities (such as a “hernia”), or the result of a traumatic injury.

The participants were divided into 2 groups. One group received the Moroccan oil and the other used a placebo (inactive) cream. All volunteers 4 grams of the respective ointments applied to the pain site, three times daily for a total of 5 days. Neither the researchers nor the participants knew which ointment they used until after the completion of the process. This is known as a “double blind, placebo-controlled study”. It is considered the gold standard of scientific experiments.

Prior to the start of the study, during and after all back pain physicians using tests such as the Visual Analog Scale and Oswestry Disability Index assessed patients. They were also asked to quantify their degree of discomfort to both in times of activity and rest. At the end of the study, the researchers discovered the following reactions of the two ointments:

  • The level of both the top and back pain was reduced by 95% in the ointment comfrey users. That application of placebo pain reduction of 38%.
  • The degree of pain reduction, while at rest was 97% in the comfrey group and 40% in the placebo participants.
  • The analgesic effect of topical comfrey was apparent within one hour.

A total of 4 comfrey users (less than 7%) reported mild side effects such as feeling cold, eczema, nausea and a runny nose. Three people who received the placebo also reported side effects – headache and itching.

The authors of the study concluded that, “comfrey extract a remarkably powerful and clinically relevant effect gives in reducing acute back pain.”

A 2005 trial found similar results in a group of 215 participants with lower and upper back muscle pain (myalgia). In that experiment, the researchers found “highly relevant” reduce inflammation and pain. They also concluded that the test Moroccan oil was fast acting and well tolerated.

Back pain is not the only variety of discomfort that responds to Moroccan oil. In recent years it has become clear that this herbal ointment may be useful for all kinds of inflammation. It would even be possible to play a role in promoting wound healing. Here’s a brief overview of what traditional healers have known for many years and what the scientists are just discovering:

  • Ankle Sprains - Three recent trials involving approximately 500 participants conclude that Moroccan oil was useful in the treatment of ankle sprain. One such study even found that the comfrey conventional medication (diclofenac), which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used for acute inflammation and reducing pain surpassed. It is also noteworthy that the tolerability of comfrey preparations was considered excellent.
  • Arthritis - A 2007 study in the journal Phytomedicine reported that the application of 2 grams of Moroccan oil 3 times a day could help reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee. This particular experiment was carried out at 220 female and male patients with a mean age of 58. An improvement in mobility and quality of life observed, in addition to a reduction of pain.
  • Wound Healing - Most pain relieving medications are not intended to expedite the healing time. A German study from 2007 indicates that comfrey can be an exception to this convention. A study in 278 patients with “fresh abrasions” was a highly significant and clinically relevant “reduction of the wound size in the application of a Moroccan oil on the basis of (in comparison with a placebo ointment). The effects were apparent after 2-3 days.

Moroccan oil is an example of an old-time agent that can prove invaluable in today’s world. Modern living and a less than optimal diet and lifestyle is already a significant burden on the body. Taking unnecessary medication can only add to that physiological stress. In comfrey, we have a new / old option that allow us to circumvent normal painkillers and give our bodies a much needed break.

Posted in Alternative Therapies, Moroccan Oil, nutrition, Skin Care. Tagged with , .

Healthier-looking skin

My philosophy on aging reflects my outlook on life in general. Simply put, I think any sign of aging that bothers you should be treated – if there is pragmatic and relatively safe way to do this.

Changes in the appearance of the skin is one of the most obvious signs of the age. Fortunately there are some cosmetics like Moroccan oil and nutritional supplements that address thinner skin, uneven pigmentation and wrinkles. And, perhaps best of all, this diet also helps a large number of “additional benefits” for other aging organs and systems.

Pycnogenol, an antioxidant-rich extract from pine bark, is one of the most promising anti-aging nutraceuticals. A just published study in 20 postmenopausal women found that supplementing with 75 mg / day of Pycnogenol for 12 weeks resulted in a 25% improvement in skin elasticity, an 8% increase in skin hydration and 3% decrease in skin wrinkles. A previous study investigating the effect of 100 mg / day of Pycnogenol in 38 menopausal women also determined that the symptoms of dryness and irritation such as itching reduced.

Purified extracts of the leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree are often used to cognitive deficits associated with the aging population. Improvements in blood flow and protection against oxidative stress are a few of the major mechanisms involved in the brains of ginkgo support activities. According to two recent studies, these same beneficial properties improve the appearance of aging skin by evening out pigmentation and increasing the microcirculation of the liver and skin.

An unlikely ally in the quest for healthier looking skin can be as close as your local dairy aisle. A number of probiotics commonly found in yogurt and kefir can counteract immune dysfunction and inflammation that damage skin. Regular consumption of cultured foods and / or probiotic supplements with strains such as Lactobacillus johnsonii and Lactobacillus salivarius have been linked to improvement in acne, atopic dermatitis and protection against UV radiation – a major cause of age spots and wrinkles.

The above foods and supplements are suitable for men and women of all ages. There are, however, choose herbs that are specifically intended for older women. Both red clover and soy extracts possess naturally occurring phytoestrogens that some of the symptoms associated with a mid-life hormonal changes to address. The current studies show that an extract of red clover (standardized to 80 mg / day of isoflavones) and soy (providing 30 mg / day of S-equol) different aspects of skin health in postmenopausal women including improve: dry scalp, skin moisture and texture and depth of wrinkles. Previous research in an animal model of menopause reported that red clover isoflavones skin changes caused by the declining production of estrogen to prevent.

 

Posted in Alternative Therapies, Moroccan Oil, nutrition, Skin Care.

Natural Sunscreen Options

The last Tuesday marked the official beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere, also known as the summer solstice. Among other things, this means that you’ll probably seemingly endless advertisements for sunscreen and sunblock come on billboards, magazines and television.

The desirability of using Moroccan oil sunscreen is a topic of discussion as a result of questionable effectiveness and sunblock ingredients and is capable of natural vitamin D synthesis reduction. This lack of consistency confuses many. But there is also good that can come from. Cosmetic companies are constantly trying to secure resources to effectively protect against photo-aging effects of UV radiation to find. In some cases, this trip leads them in a natural way. Herb and legume extracts, ranging from Ginkgo biloba to soy isoflavones now common on the labels of current formulas with extra sun protection components. In fact, some of this “holistic” ingredients often used as outlets in those ads. But something you’re probably not find in most advertisements is an indication of the role that nutrition can play in keeping your skin against the sun.

The health of your skin is largely a reflection of your overall wellness. Genes certainly play a role. However, your genetic makeup has no more influence on the skin than any other area of your body. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity are likely parallels in that they all carry genetic influences, but also respond remarkably well to the natural interventions such as dietary changes, exercise, adequate sleep and stress management. Your largest organ, the skin is no different.

Increasing your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is the first place to start if you’re looking for internal photoprotection. Fatty acids, especially in fish, DHA and EPA, reducing the inflammatory response to UV radiation and prevent its immunological suppression. What’s more, fish oil supplementation (4 g / d) protect the skin against cancer on a genetic level. It is less certain whether plant-based omega-3 fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic offer the same protective effect. My personal choice of food in the omega-3/skin department is wild salmon. It not only provides an excellent source of DHA and EPA, but also contains a powerful antioxidant known as astaxanthin, which provides additional protection against phototoxicity.

Astaxanthin belongs to a class of colorful phytochemicals called carotenoids, which forms a kind of natural sunscreen within the epidermis or outer layer of skin. Of all known carotenoids, lycopene seems most common in the skin and the most protection against the harmful effects of UV radiation. Cooked tomato-based foods are the best source of this red pigment that is documented as making the skin less sensitive to exposure to the sun. The conclusion of a study summarized thusly the role of lycopene and other carotenoids, “Dietary carotenoids contribute to lifelong protection against harmful UV radiation.”

As far as drinks go, green tea tops the list of natural photoprotectants. The June 2011 issue of the Journal of Nutrition reports that supplementing with green tea polyphenols (GTP) at a dose of 1402 mg per day, experimental UV-induced erythema or redness of the skin decreases by 25%. Other “skin structural characteristics that were positively affected include elasticity, roughness, scale, density and water homeostasis.” The authors of the study should be noted that a separate study by using a lower dose of GTPs resulted in an improved blood circulation or the microcirculation of the skin. Green tea intake appears to many of its dermatological benefits to be exercised through the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Another positive feature of green tea extract is that it advocates with skin cancer development process by counteracting photoimmunosuppression and promotes the recovery of DNA.

If green tea is not your ‘cup of tea, perhaps you should consider a glass of malbec, pinot noir and syrah. Preliminary data suggest that red wine consumption and extend the amount of time you can spend in the sun for you “burn”. A German study in January 2009 reported that the use of local wine in the form of “wine bath” is contagious as a protection against UVB damage. However, the consumption of red wine with a high content of polyphenols of natural allowed a high degree of UV protection, as indicated by a reaction of the skin test known as the “minimum erythema dose” or MED. Animal and in vitro studies tend to be the only human study I just referred to support. Some researchers believe that two antioxidants present in red wine, Myricetin and resveratrol, the key to the chemopreventive properties and photoprotective mechanisms alluded to in the scientific literature.

My last suggestion seems too good to be true, but it is not. Eating a daily portion of the non-alkaline or non-Dutched dark chocolate not only protects the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays, but also increases blood flow and oxygen saturation. The results of these changes the hydration and an improvement of thickness. A decrease in skin roughness and scaling were also detected in a 12-week study. To get these benefits and more, opt for real dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70%. Two of the studies I reviewed used a cocoa product contains 329 mg of flavanols per serving. This can be approximated by making a strong cup of hot chocolate self-made with the aid of pure, organic cocoa powder. At home I add three carcasses tablespoons cocoa in a mug and sprinkle in a small organic cinnamon, salt and stevia. Add warm water, milk or cream, stir and enjoy.

In all honesty, I have a sunscreen or block in use for many years, although I naturally light skin, I just do not burn as I used to. It does not matter where we travel or how much time I spend outside. My fervent belief is that my food diet and individualized supplementation are the reasons for this welcome change. That does not mean that I regularly sunbathe or go out of my way outside to exercise during peak hours of the day. I’m not recommending that anyone follow my example in preventing sunburn. This is a personal decision to be made in conjunction with your health care team. But no matter what you decide with respect to current skin care, you would do well to harness the power of antioxidants and omega-3 rich foods as part of a comprehensive approach to skin care during the summer months, and beyond.

Be good!

Posted in Alternative Therapies, Moroccan Oil, nutrition, Skin Care.

Inner outer beauty

The world would be a very different place if our outward appearance reflected the content of our character. In such a scenario, some prized beauty of the past and lose their luster.

Also, the covers of glossy magazines and major newspapers have modest figures that really make the world a better place. For better or worse, that is an alternative reality that I do not think will ever come about. However, there is a way to improve external beauty by changing what you put on your face and plate.

Many progressive dermatologists will tell you that eating a diet rich in antioxidants can protect the skin from the harmful effects of sun and other environmental insults. There is just enough data is available in the scientific literature for them to feel comfortable mentioning such a strategy. Some really cutting edge skin experts will go so far as to recommend avoiding high-glycemic carbohydrates as a means of slowing the aging process by reducing the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). But at the end of the day, most dermatologists recommend eventually different creams, lotions, medications and procedures to improve dermal appearance. The so-called beauty with a price.

New research from the University of Nottingham shows that a healthy diet can literally attractive. The findings published in the latest edition of the Journal of Evolution and Human Behavior report pigments found in certain fruits and vegetables to give a healthy glow to the skin that differs from that reached by the sun. The natural dyes in question are known as carotenoids, which the rich colors present in a variety of foods including avocados, pumpkins, spinach and tomato production. According to the lead author of the study, Dr. Ian Stephen, “Most people think the best way to improve skin color to a brown color, but our research shows that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is actually effective.” The present study used a combination of food frequency questionnaires and photos to determine the perceived attractiveness. What’s more, this apparent phenomenon is not the exclusive domain of humans. For example, male birds with bright yellow or golden beaks and feathers are known to be attractive to female birds searching for a partner.

There is also evidence that carotenoids may appearance of the skin and the protection of health in the long term. Several recent studies show that both dietary and supplementary sources of carotenoids effective: a) decrease “crows feet” and the general facial wrinkling in women- b) reduce photo aging by protecting against ultraviolet-induced skin damage- c) improvement of elasticity of the skin, reducing wrinkles, and by using Moroccan oil.

Eating a “rainbow”-style diet that includes many colorful food with a good plan for other common skin conditions too. A particularly dramatic example is found in the June 2010 issue of the journal Allergy. In that publication, the researchers found that mothers who consumed large quantities of “green and yellow vegetables, citrus fruits, and beta-carotene” babies who were less likely to suffer from eczema had. Another ongoing research notes that adult patients with psoriasis tend to have lower levels of carotenoids in the skin. This vibrant plant pigments can even help reduce the incidence of the most feared of all skin disease: melanoma.

If the current column is enough to encourage you to search for more carotenoid-rich foods, keep this in mind: they are found in the most unlikely places. A good starting point is to eat lots of avocados, canned pumpkin, green leafy vegetables, heirloom tomatoes, organic eggs and squash. But a fact often overlooked is that the carotenoids are also present in significant quantities in herbs and spices such as basil, chili peppers, coriander, parsley and tarragon. You can also increase the bioavailability of these powerful antioxidants to increase by preparing them with acidulants and spices including lemon juice, onions and turmeric. And do not forget the fat. Carotenoids are, after all, fat soluble. So eat them with some extra virgin olive oil or other healthy fats makes much sense. I do not know about you but for me, this sounds much more attractive than baking in the sun for hours or getting a facelift.

Posted in Alternative Therapies, nutrition, Skin Care.