Statistics indicate more and more men, women and children are overweight or obese. The National Institutes of Health state that more than 35 percent of adults in the United States are obese and more than 34 percent are overweight, while 17 percent of children and adolescents in the United States are obese. Obesity rates are three times as high among today’s children than they were among youngsters just one generation ago.

As individuals attempt to lose weight, they may wonder what is the most effective way to accomplish that objective. Some argue that the secret to weight loss is lots of exercise, while others insist that calorie control is the key. When it comes to slimming down, some may be surprised by what the experts have to say.

The Mayo Clinic advises that cutting calories through dietary changes appears to promote weight loss more effectively than physical exercise alone.

According to Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., a nutritional biochemist and former director of the University of Utah Nutrition Clinic, weight loss is about 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise. People generally see the largest short-term results when they eat healthy foods and healthy portions.

Poor diets can be difficult to overcome, as it takes a lot of exercise to spur dramatic weight loss, whereas a low-calorie, healthy diet can be a simple and effective means to losing weight. Nutritionists often point to a balanced diet that focuses on fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole-grain carbohydrates over fad diets or ones that require the adherence to strict guidelines that are difficult to follow for lengthy periods of time.

But exercise should not be abandoned in favor of a low-calorie diet. Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, who runs one of the largest obesity clinics in Canada, says that weight loss occurs from what’s created in the kitchen, but health is gained in the gym.Dr. Freedhoff often advises his clients to make smart changes to the foods they eat to spur weight loss, and then incorporate exercise into their lifestyles as a way to keep the body in top form.

Regular physical exercise is necessary to maintain strong bones, build muscle, improve flexibility, and keep the cardiovascular system working efficiently. Exercise also releases endorphins, which can improve mental alertness and feelings of well-being.

The Mayo Clinic notes that studies have shown that people who lose weight and keep it off over the long haul are those who get regular physical activity.

When it comes to losing weight, the foods a person eats play a bigger role than exercise. But it is the combination of both diet and exercise that can lead to greater overall health and sustained weight loss.

Natural Antibiotics

By Serina Marshall

Many natural resources have properties of antibacterial substance. These resources can be found naturally in the world around us. Antibiotics such as penicillin have been helping treat people since the 1940’s. However, these antibiotics can also produce harmful side effects to the body. According to the NHS, 1 in 10 people experience side effects that harm the digestive system after taking antibiotics. Additionally, according to the NHS, around 1 in 15 people are allergic to this type of medication. With natural remedies, these effects are not as prominent, unless you are already allergic to the resource itself. These various natural substances range from foods to plants, and each deliver healing properties that are just as good as produced antibiotics.

One such natural resource is garlic. All over the globe, people have praised garlic for its preventative powers. Research has shown that garlic can be an effective treatment against bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella.

Another disease for which the use of garlic has been considered is tuberculosis. Multiple drugs have been used to treat this very aggressive disease, and it is thought that garlic can help in the fight to combat it. Different compounds within garlic are believed to be able to reduce cardiovascular diseases, assist with high blood glucose, and have anti-tumor and anti-microbial effects. Ancient Chinese and Indian medicine suggest garlic be used for respiratory and digestion issues. It is also recommended for leprosy. The healing effects garlic can have on the body have been proven throughout history by many different civilizations and cultures.

Another resource many use as a remedy is honey. In ancient Greece, honey was used as an ointment to help heal wounds and to bring out, or even prevent, infection. In modern medicine, it is still found to be helpful in treating wounds, burns, bedsores, ulcers, and skin drafts. A 2016 study states that a topical application of honey on surgical wounds can accelerate wound care and healing. The presence of honey provides a damp environment with its protective coating. The hydrogen peroxide content contributes to the antibacterial effects of the honey. In 2011, a study showed that the best-known type of honey can inhibit 60 various kinds of bacteria. It is also reported that honey can treat wounds with methicillin resistant MRSA. In addition to antibacterial purposes, honey is also a good treatment for sore throats, coughs, and seasonal allergies.

Spices are also a natural antibiotic that are used to fight many strains of bacteria. Clove, thyme, cinnamon, oregano, and cumin help to battle antibacterial and antifungal symptoms.

These spices help against food spoilage bacteria like Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas fluorescens, pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus, fungi like Aspergillus flavus, and antibiotic resistant microorganisms such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Spices are safe resources to use when fighting off resistant bacteria. Clove has also been used in dental procedures. If you are looking for an immune system boost, oregano can also act as an anti-oxidant and provide anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is another spice that can be as a remedy for different afflictions. It has been reported that ginger can help with nausea and seasickness. The healing property of ginger calms the stomach and eases the feeling of becoming sick. Also, if you are looking to lower blood sugar levels, ginger can also help in that respect as well.

For many years, Native Americans, as well as other traditional healers, have used the echinacea plant to treat infections and to heal wounds. The Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology published a study that reports the extract Echinacea purpurea can kill various bacteria, including S. pyogenes, which is the bacteria responsible for strep throat, toxic shock syndrome, and the “flesh eating” disease known as necrotizing fasciitis. All of these bacteria can become dangerous quickly, but Echinacea can help rid them from the body. Echinacea can also assist in fighting inflammation associated with bacterial infection. Anyone looking to use Echinacea as a natural remedy can locate it in stores or online.

Another plant that can be used as a natural resource for an antibiotic is goldenseal. This herb’s dried root is commonly used to make medicine. Usually consumed in teas or capsules to help with digestive or respiratory problems, goldenseal can help combat bacterial diarrhea and urinary tract infection. A study from 2015 supports the use of goldenseal to treat skin infections as well. In a lab report, goldenseal extracts were used to prevent MRSA from damaging tissue. Goldenseal also contains berberine, which is an important component of natural antibiotics. However, this alkaloid is not safe for infants, or for women who are pregnant or breast feeding. If someone is taking prescription medications, the physician should be consulted before taking goldenseal, as this supplement could cause interference with the medications.

Myrrh extract is another natural remedy that can help to ward off harmful germs. A study conducted in 2000 reported that the extract of myrrh could kill various pathogens, such as E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Candida albicans.

Though myrrh is usually well received, ingesting it may cause diarrhea. When applying myrrh to the skin, it may cause a small rash. Also, if taken in large dosages, myrrh can cause heart problems. When used properly, myrrh can assist in getting rid of bacteria and infection. Thyme and lavender oils can also help to kill infection and bacteria. Thyme is not to be ingested; it is for external use only. Before applying thyme to the infected area, dilute the essential oil with equal parts of a carrier oil such as coconut oil or olive oil. Applying thyme oil to an infected area before diluting can cause skin irritation or rash. Those who suffer from hyperthyroidism or high blood pressure, should not use thyme as an essential oil.

In addition to the many different types of antibiotics in the world of medicine, there are many that exist in our everyday lives that can also provide the same healing and remedies that those produced medicines can. Natural resources can become an essential part in healing, and also an easier way to get the relief needed. It is a less expensive, and sometimes more readily available, way to obtain healing antibiotics.

Herbal Teas with Health Benefits

By Serina Marshall

Every now and then, it is nice to sit down and relax with a good book and a hot cup of tea. By using specific teas for this activity, you can actually boost your immune system in the process. For nearly 5000 years, tea has been a part of various civilizations throughout the world. Dating back to China c. 2732 BC, it is said Emperor Shen Nung made the discovery of tea when a wild tree blew leaves into his boiling pot of water. The scent given off by the newly formed concoction enticed the Emperor, and he took a drink. At that moment, tea was introduced.

Herbal teas are made from dried fruits, spices, herbs, and flowers. Due to this, herbal teas can come in a variety of tastes and flavors. In addition to their delicious flavors, some herbal teas have health-benefits along with them. For hundreds of years, herbal teas have been used as natural remedies for a multitude of ailments.

The different aspects of each herbal tea present a property that can assist in immunity and other effects offering a range of benefits to the health of the person drinking it.

Chamomile tea is most often used for its calming properties and commonly used as a sleep aid. Studies have shown that chamomile tea or extract have an effect on sleep problems in humans. However, chamomile tea is not just effective as a sleep aid. It is also reported to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and liver-protecting effects. Preliminary effects in mice and rats show that chamomile may also help with diarrhea and stomach ulcers. One study also found that chamomile tea reduced symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, and another study in people with type 2 diabetes saw improvements in insulin, blood glucose levels, and blood lipid levels. The effects studied on chamomile show that is does in fact have a variety of health benefits.

One of the most commonly used herbal teas in the world is peppermint tea. Peppermint tea is used to help with digestive health, but also contains antioxidants, anticancer, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.

Several studies have proven the healing properties on the digestive tract. Those studies also show that the use of peppermint oil can help relieve nausea, indigestion, and stomach pain. Evidence also reports peppermint oil assists in relieving symptoms of intestine, colon, and esophagus spasms. Peppermint oil is also said to be effective at relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. When it comes to digestive discomfort involving cramping, nausea, or indigestion, peppermint tea is an effective natural remedy.

Ginger tea is one of the most efficient and effective herbal remedies to fight nausea. Filled with antioxidants, ginger helps stimulate the immune system and fight inflammation. Studies consistently are finding that ginger is one of the best ways to combat nausea and motion sickness. Ginger may also help prevent stomach ulcers and relieve indigestion or constipation. Other symptoms that can be relieved with ginger are dysmenorrhea, and reduction of pain caused by menstruation. Persons with diabetes also benefit from ginger.

Made from the colorful flowers of the hibiscus plant, hibiscus tea is pink-red in color and has a tart, but refreshing, flavor. Hibiscus tea offers a variety of health benefits. Hibiscus tea offers antiviral properties and its extract is effective against bird flu. Several studies have reported that hibiscus tea also helps in reducing high blood pressure. Despite these reports, please be sure to avoid ingesting hibiscus tea if you’re taking hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic medicine, as the two may have a reaction against each other. Taking aspirin with hibiscus may also shorten the effects of the aspirin, so be sure to take them at least 3-4 hours apart.

Known as a very effective way to prevent and shorten the common cold, echinacea tea shows evidence of boosting the immune system, which helps the body fight off viruses and infections. Echinacea tea can help to relieve a sore throat or cough associated with a cold, and perhaps even prevent one from coming on in full force. The effects of echinacea on the immune system show that it assists in the overall healing of such ailments as the cold.

Hailing from South Africa, the rooibos plant provides the leaves for a refreshing herbal tea. South Africans commonly used this plant for medicinal purposes. One study has shown that rooibos tea has benefits on bone health, stimulating the cells for bone growth and density. This same study found this tea lowered inflammation and cell toxicity. Preliminary evidence also shows that rooibos tea can help in preventing heart disease. Another study showed that rooibos tea inhibited an enzyme that causes blood vessels to constrict, just as a blood pressure medicine would do. Ultimately, this herb tea helps to reduce heart issues and increase bone health.

Sage tea is known for its medicinal purposes, especially when it comes to brain health. Studies have shown that sage is beneficial for cognitive function, as well as having an effect against the plaques that come along with Alzheimer’s disease. Two separate studies on sage oil saw an improvement in cognitive function in those with Alzheimer’s. Improvements also showed in mood, mental function, and memory in healthy adults. It is also reported that sage tea improved blood lipid levels, and protected against development of colon cancer. Sage tea is an effective remedy in brain and colon health.

If you are searching for a lemon flavor in your tea, while also benefiting your health, lemon balm tea helps improve the elasticity of arteries, which helps fight against heart disease, stroke, and mental decline.

This same study shows that lemon balm tea also helps with skin elasticity. Blood lipid levels are also said to be improved by lemon balm tea, as well as mood and mental performance. This herb tea also has shown reduction in the frequency of heart palpitations and anxiety. The effects of lemon balm tea tend to show improvement in various health issues.

Made from the fruit of the rose plant, rose hip tea is high in vitamin C and other beneficial plant compounds. These compounds help with anti-inflammatory properties by reducing inflammation in persons with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rose hips have also been shown to help with weight management. The anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant effects may also help to fight skin aging.

Passionflower tea is made from the leaves, stems, and flowers of the passionflower plant. This tea is used to relieve anxiety and improve sleep. Two studies found that passionflower was effective in reducing anxiety, and one of those studies reports it was effective as an anxiety-reducing medicine. A separate study showed that passionflower also helped mental symptoms of opioid withdrawal, such as anxiety, irritability, and agitation. When looking for calmness within a tea, passionflower is a definite option.

All of the above herbal teas have their own healing properties. Each brings a natural remedy to promote effective health benefits in various areas and ailments.

Your Healthy Brain and the Role of Environmental Medicine

By Pamela Costello, MD

As a medical doctor of 28 years, an operating neurosurgeon for much of that time, as well as a published neuroscientist of over 30 years, I’ve had extensive exposure and insights into the true basis of neurological disease. I have additionally further trained and specialized in environmental medicine, allowing me insights to diagnose the influences of the environment on our nervous systems, along with the mechanisms of repair and recovery, in treating the underlying base causes of neuroinflammatory diseases.

The natural progression of neuroinflammatory disease results in neurodegenerative disease, and most neurodegenerative disease is without potential cure by traditional medicine. Furthermore, when pharmaceutical agents are used in an attempt to slow the disease process, the side effects of those agents can be substantial, as these drugs are not removing or reversing the true underlying cause of the illness. However, when the root causes, such as neurotoxins and low grade infections, are identified and addressed, the neuroinflammatory processes can be reversed.

Environmental neurotoxins include substances that enter the body beginning at conception, crossing the placenta, with continued exposure throughout our lives via contaminated air, water, food substances, dental amalgams, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, perfumes and hygiene products, as well as insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc. These acquired toxins create an inflammatory response in the nervous tissues, as well as potentially cause cell death. As our environment becomes increasingly saturated with these toxins, so do our nervous and immune systems. An environmental medicine approach addresses the basis of illness by identifying these root causes, including both historical and potential ongoing exposures.

As the burden of industrial, man made toxins accumulates in our air, soil, and water, they also accumulate in our nervous and immune systems.

Although increasing numbers of Americans are becoming aware of the concept of environmental medicine, standard medicine (which is largely run on a pharmaceutical driven “pill for a disease” model), lags slowly behind. While allopathic medicines and surgeries provide life-saving intervention in the acute, or emergency, setting they are far less appropriate in managing chronic disease or in preventing disease. The rise of environmental toxins has become stratospheric, thus mandating a dramatic refocusing of our healthcare system’s attention, as well as that of the public. This awareness is necessary in order to offer any hope to curb the epidemic rise in neuroinflammatory illness, and provide effective curative treatment to those already afflicted.

As the burden of industrial, man made toxins accumulates in our air, soil, and water, they also accumulate in our nervous and immune systems. After generations of toxins saturating our environment, we now are faced with the problem of toxic saturation in ourselves, through the process of bioaccumulation. Furthermore, while many are aware of the causes of acute poisoning, very little of current healthcare deals with bioaccumulation, or the chronic storage or accumulation of toxins in our brains, nervous tissue, immune tissue, bones, organs and other body tissues. Such accumulation results in inflammation and malfunctioning of the cells, glands, and organ systems.

Fortunately, awareness of and general knowledge about hazardous substances in our environment and surroundings is increasing. Numerous risks are continuously reduced by law, certainly through The Clean Air and Water acts, as well as the World Ban on Mercury. Although we might expect people to get increasingly healthier, more and more symptoms are manifesting and, unfortunately, with technological progress, new chemical substances keep entering into our environment and are considered absolutely harmless, until proven otherwise.

Fortunately, awareness of and general knowledge about hazardous substances in our environment and surroundings is increasing.

The good news is that environmental medicine is concerned with the causes and effects this environmental impact has on human health. Beginning with a thorough examination and investigation, treatment then follows, which entails both removing further exposures, as well as beginning the healing process by safely clearing the body of the absorbed toxins.The detoxification process stimulates the kidneys, liver, skin, and lymphatic system, and administers safe approaches, e.g. herbal substances and antioxidants, to absorb and discharge these toxins.

If you’d like a comprehensive brain health/neurotoxin burden assessment and treatment plan for your best brain health, please contact my office at 423-461-0073 and see my website

Food trends come and go. But one such trend that has seemingly enjoyed more staying power than other flavors of the month is avocado toast, a popular dish that might trace some of that admiration to how easy it is to prepare.

The popularity of avocado toast has exploded in recent years, but it has actually been around for decades. Many trace the origins of avocado toast to Australia, though it’s hard for food historians to say with utmost certainty where the dish was first served.

Avocado toast might be as healthy as it is popular. Avocados boast a host of health benefits, some of which might surprise even the most ardent devotee of avocado toast.

• Avocados are loaded with vitamins. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database, avocados are a great source of numerous vitamins, including C, E, K, and B-6. Avocados also contain beta-carotene, which the human body converts into vitamin A that promotes healthy skin and a strong immune system.

• Avocados can benefit vision. Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, a pair phytochemicals concentrated in the tissues in the eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin are believed to block blue light from reaching structures in the retina, thereby reducing a person’s risk of developing macular degeneration. In fact, studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the American Journal of Ophthalmology and The Archives of Ophthalmology found that diets high in lutein and zeaxanthin are associated with a lower risk of macular degeneration, which the American Macular Degeneration Foundation notes is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States.

• Avocados can promote healthier bones. Because they’re high in vitamin K, a nutrient that is crucial for bone health, avocados may help reduce a person’s risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition characterized by bones becoming fragile and brittle due to loss of tissue. Vitamin K may help improve the intestinal absorption of calcium. That’s a significant benefit, as calcium deficiency has long been associated with a greater risk for osteoporosis.

• Avocados may help fight depression. Avocados are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit the body in myriad ways. One of those ways is by helping to reduce the symptoms of depression. Polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 fatty acids are thought to antagonize inflammatory cytokines that can contribute to feelings of depression.

Trendy foods come and go, oftentimes falling off the radar when their health benefits are overstated or proven dubious. However, the documented benefits of avocados may ensure the staying power of avocado toast.

Dehydration is a dangerous condition that can cause a host of complications and even prove fatal in severe cases. But as dangerous as dehydration can be, many cases are entirely preventable.

The best way to prevent dehydration is to drink enough water. When the body does not take in as much water as it puts out, it can become dehydrated. People who live in warm climates or in elevated altitudes may lose more water than those who do not. In addition, water loss is accelerated during strenuous exercise, highlighting the emphasis men and women must place on drinking enough water during their workouts.

But water does more for the body than prevent dehydration. The following are a handful of lesser known ways that water benefits the body.

  • Water can help people maintain healthy weights. Dieting fads come and go, but water is a mainstay for people who want to control their caloric intake in an effort to maintain healthy weights. Water has zero calories, so reaching for a bottle or glass of water instead of a soda, lemonade or another caloric beverage can help people keep the pounds off. A study from researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center found that even diet soda enhances weight gain by as much as 41 percent. In addition, soda has been linked to conditions such as obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. No such association exists with water.
  • Water helps to fight fatigue. The fatigue-fighting properties of water are another of its lesser known benefits. When the body is not adequately hydrated, it can experience muscle soreness. And fitness enthusiasts who do not drink enough water may notice their bodies require extensive recovery time after working out. Each of those consequences can be prevented by drinking enough water, and doing so can even improve performance, as studies have shown that just a 3 percent loss of body weight due to dehydration can cause as much as a 10 percent drop in performance level.
  • Water can improve the appearance of the skin. Skin that does not get enough water can turn dry and flaky and feel tight. In addition, dry skin is more likely to wrinkle than adequately hydrated skin. Getting water to the skin can be tricky, as the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health notes that water will reach all the other organs of the body before it reaches the skin. But the school recommends applying a hydrating moisturizer within two minutes of leaving the bath or shower and drinking at least eight glasses of water a day to ensure the skin is getting enough water.
  • Water helps the gastrointestinal tract. Water can help maintain normal bowel function. When the body lacks sufficient fluid, the colon will pull water from stools in an effort to stay hydrated. That can lead to constipation, a condition in which people experience difficulty emptying their bowels. By drinking enough water, people can ensure their colon will not have to pull water from stools to stay hydrated, thereby helping them stay regular.

Water helps the body in myriad ways, many of which might surprise people unaware of just how valuable water can be to the body.

Gardening by the Moon

By Serina Marshall

“Moon gardening is simply learning to garden according the moon’s phases. Sowing and harvesting in harmony with the flow of moisture as it is drawn up the plant into the stem and leaves, fruit and seeds. Or down into the root zone with the gravitational pull of the moon.” – Anne Gibson

When it comes to planting, most people think of the ground for doing such. However, those that swear by the moon to plant their crops, also use the sky to help their harvest. Gardening by the moon is a certain blueprint used for over 200-years. Those that garden by this map rely on the position and phases of the moon to plant seeds, weed, and prune. Not only is gardening by the moon an event many, who follow its guidelines in the Farmer’s Almanac, live by, there are also very specific dates they use to do so. All growing zones follow the dates that are intended for planting. Because of this, you can’t really change the moon, so sometimes you have to take in account weather or climate for the best growing environments. Many greenhouses follow these same methods, so if you are unsure of when to begin, you can always check with your local greenhouse to ensure you hit the optimal window for these suggestions.

Lunar planting is something that farmers practice and trust as a science in its own right. Farmers feel that because of these formulas, their crops and harvests are tastier and more plentiful. So, what is it about the phases of the moon that make it so incredibly important to those that plant by it? One key part is that the gravitational pull of the moon causes the soil to increase in moisture during the new moon and full moon. Because of this, it assists in germination and growth. During the new and full moon, the tides are at their peak, and in the way the moon pulls the tides of the ocean, it pulls the water up from the earth so it is closer to the soil. With the increase of the moonlight, the growth of the leaves and roots also increases.

If you are looking to plant flowers by the same moon cycle, you will want to plant your annual flowers, fruits, and veggies that bear crops above ground (such as tomatoes, zucchini, corn, etc) during the waxing of the moon, from the day it is new to the day it is full. When planting flowering bulbs, biennial, and perennial flowers, and veggies that produce crops below ground (such as potatoes, carrots, onions, etc) during the waning of the moon, from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again. Seeds during this time will swell, burst, and sprout. The seeds absorb more water during the full moon and new moon, thus why they are the two main phases followed for lunar planting.

Moon phase gardening follows two specific periods of the lunar cycle: the time between the new Moon and the full Moon (the waxing of the Moon), and the time between the full Moon and the new Moon (the waning of the Moon). It is said that the best to plant certain types of plants is during the waning of the Moon and others during the waxing.

Another way that the moon impacts growth is through geotropism. This is how plants grow in response to gravity. Roots grow into the earth, or downward, in the direction of the gravitational pull, where stems grow upward in the opposite direction. Potted plants are a good way to see this example in action. If you lay a potted plant on its side, the roots will grow upward on the inside of the pot. Tulip bulbs are another example of geotropism. If you plant the bulb with the pointed end down instead of up, the roots will turn around and head upward. Just as the gravitational pull has an impact on the water within the soil rising to the surface, it also has the same effect on roots and stems within the ground, or as we have explained, in pots as well.

The exact amount of moonlight during these waxing and waning phases influences the growth of plants. While the moonlight increases (new moon and second quarter), leaf growth is stimulated. After the full moon, the amount of light decreases, placing energy into the roots of the plants. During this time, the leaf growth above the ground decreases.

Because of this, it becomes a favorable time to plant your bulbs and root crops, due to the increased root activity. Due to these phases, seeds seem to germinate sooner. The plants that grow also appear to be healthier and tend to grow faster. The harvest that is produced with these moon cycles are more plentiful and stronger. Because of this strength, bugs and pests tend to not come around the specific yields as often. This will not only save you money on pest control, but also on frustration and worry.

To get the most out of lunar planting, there is a calendar that you can use that gives you the dates for the best times to plant various things. The Moon Calendar divides the 28-day lunar cycle into 6 separate gardening periods. It explains the optimal days for planting different crops, when to harvest, propagate, prune, fertilize, and cultivate. The Farmers Almanac provides the best days for your specific area and region. It will provide you with when you should plant different flowers, fruits, veggies, and crops. Not only that, it will also tell you when to start the seeds indoors and when to transplant them and move them outside. All you do is enter your zip code and it will give you day by day instructions for what to plant and when. To utilize this calendar, go to

Lunar planting is a trend that has been around for decades. If it didn’t work, farmers and others would not swear by the phases and the cycles. The proof of its success is in the crops and flowers themselves. They are stronger, healthier, and just tend to look and taste better. If you are looking for a better way to produce what you enjoy, look to the moon.

Gardening by the Signs

By Serina Marshall

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Gardening has become a trend that many use as a way to relax, be one with nature, and live off the land. There are various ways to take care of the crops you decide to grow. One such way is to do your gardening by following the signs. Astrological signs are typically used for horoscopes and the like. However, using them to garden actually has many successful effects, and those that implement the methods swear by them. In order to apply this method correctly, there are specific guidelines and information you may want to pay attention to as you begin your new gardening journey.

The moon passes through the twelve different signs throughout the year on its trip around the Earth. Each specific sign of the zodiac is associated with one of the four elements; earth, wind, fire, or water. Water signs include Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces; The Earth signs are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Scorpio, Pisces, Taurus or Cancer are best for planting and transplanting of above ground bearing crops.

Air signs include Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius; And under the Fire sign are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Air and Fire signs are considered to be barren. During this time, one should skip planting and place their focus on weeding and pruning. The Libra sign, however, is semi-fertile and a time for blooming herbs and flowers, vines, tubers, and roots. Fruit trees should be pruned under a fire sign; seeds won’t sprout during Leo, so do your weeding then. Harvesting should be done during a fourth-quarter fire sign in order to preserve fruit and vegetables for future storage.

Following the Lunar calendar, root crops such as potatoes, carrots, and turnips produce the best yields if planted when the moon is in the sign of Capricorn. Crops that are above ground, such as annual flowers and vegetables, are best planted while the moon is in Cancer.

When you are gardening by the signs, you want to plant when the moon is both waxing and in a fertile (water or earth) sign; weeding, harvesting, and tilling should be the focus when the moon is waning and in a barren sign. It is also suggested to not plant on Sunday. This day is considered a barren day, and not acceptable for planting despite the sign. Each one of the signs holds a different set of characteristics. These include masculine, feminine, airy, dry, barren, moist, fiery, earthy, watery, fruitful, and non-fruitful. Planting requires moisture, so it should be done during one of the moist or fruitful signs. The best time to plant should be during a fruitful moon phase, as well as productive sign. Fruitful signs are Scorpio, Pieces, Taurus, and Cancer. If you are looking to plow, cultivate, or till, do so during Aries. NEVER PLANT DURING THE BARREN SIGNS! And always set your plants out in a water or earth sign.

If you are looking to graft, make sure you do so right before the sap begins to flow, while the moon is in its first or second quarter, also while it is passing through a fruitful watery sign, or Capricorn. Never graft or plant on Sunday as this is a barren and hot day. Thus, why it is called the sun’s day. Flowers should be planted in the sign of Libra because it is an airy sign. Libra also is a sign of beauty, which is thought to produce beautiful flowers. Be sure to plant them while the moon is in the first quarter. However, if you need the seeds, use the period between the moon’s second quarter and full status.

It is also said that if you plant your corn crops in Leo, they will hard, round stalks. If you are wanting to ensure that your crops will withstand droughts, you will want to plant them in Taurus and Cancer signs. Root flower cuttings, vines, cuttings, limbs, and setting out trees and flower bushes should be done in the months of November and December. If you are looking to have a large vine and stalk that produces little fruit, you will want to plant in Virgo. You will also want to plant all things which produce above ground during the moon’s increase, and all things which produce below the ground when the moon is decreasing. You also never want to plant on the first day of the new moon, or on a day when the moon will be changing quarters. Turning sod and pulling weeds should occur in the fourth quarter.

Picking and gathering fruit also has its own set of guidelines. Apples and pears should be picked in the old moon. By doing this, it is said that it will cause the bruises to dry up and not rot. If you pick during the increase of the moon, the fruit is sure to rot.

When the moon is decreasing, you will want to harvest most of your crops. This will help them to stay better longer. To keep your root crops drier and longer, you will want to dig the root crops for seeds during the third quarter of the moon. You will then want to gather the root crops in the last quarter of the moon.

To know when to enact certain gardening habits, you can pick up a Planting Calendar. These can be found at your local hardware, auto, and seed/feed store. The zodiac signs and moon phases are clearly marked to make it easier and more accessible to follow. Each method gives its own set of specific guidelines to follow to produce the desired type of crop, harvest, and garden. But the best results come from combining very distinct sets of moon phases and zodiacs. If you are searching for a new and proven way to yield the best your land has to offer, check out the sky for more information.

Modern grocery stores are unlike the ones many of today’s adults encountered when they were children. Grocery stores are not only bigger today than they were years ago, but they’re also stocked with items that weren’t available until relatively recently.

One stroll through the produce section reveals just how different modern grocery stores are from those of yesteryear. Organic fruits and vegetables now take up ample real estate in grocery store produce sections. Many shoppers may wonder if they’re better off choosing organic versus traditional products, and research suggests they are.

  • Organic foods contain less pesticides and toxic materials. A 2014 meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that organically grown crops were less likely than conventionally grown crops to contain detectable levels of pesticides. The analysis also found that organically grown crops were 48 percent less likely to contain cadmium than conventionally grown crops. Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal that can accumulate in the liver and kidneys, which the Global Healing Center says can affect blood pressure, induce bone damage and affect renal and dopamingeric systems in children.
  • Organic crops contain more antioxidants than conventional crops. The same analysis also found that organic crops had significantly higher levels of antioxidants, which promote strong immune systems, than conventionally grown crops. Organic crops were found to contain 69 percent higher levels of flavanones and 51 percent higher levels of anthocyanins than their conventional counterparts. The extra antioxidants in organic foods is nothing to scoff at, as the National Cancer Institute notes that antioxidants neutralize free radicals, excess levels of which can potentially lead to the formation of various types of cancer and other diseases.
  • Organic products cannot contain synthetic hormones. Conventionally raised animals are sometimes injected with synthetic growth hormones so they will gain weight more quickly and produce more milk. Residue from those substances, which cannot be used in the production of organic meat and dairy products, is believed to contribute to widespread antibiotic resistance, according to the Biodesign Center for Environmental Security at Arizona State University. In addition, some studies have suggested a strong connection between the hormones given to cattle and cancer in humans.
  • Organic dairy products can promote cardiovascular health. A 2013 study from researchers affiliated with the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources found that organic milk contained 25 percent less omega-6 fatty acids and 62 percent more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk. The Organic Center notes that’s a considerable benefit, as higher amounts of omega-3 and lower amounts of omega-6 fatty acids helps promote cardiovascular health and support the immune system.When choosing organic products at the grocery store, consumers may be benefitting their overall health in various ways.

Medical Cannabis – A Historical Look Back

By Serina Marshall

These days, when people hear the word “cannabis”, they automatically think of an illegal activity. However, cannabis is not a new trend on the scene. And it also isn’t used solely for the above-mentioned example.

Throughout history, the cannabis plant has been used for medicinal purposes to improve various ailments and pains. To understand the historical significance of this particular controversial herb, we must go back many centuries to understand where it all began and how we ended up here.

Man has used cannabis as a medicine for over 4000 years. It has been utilized for many different reasons in many different civilizations across the world. In China c. 2900 BC, cannabis mixed with wine was used as an anesthetic to relieve symptoms of gout, rheumatism, and malaria. Egypt used the plant for childbirth pain, glaucoma, and hemorrhoids c. 1000 BC. Childbirth pain, insomnia, headaches, dysentery, and gut ailments were treated with cannabis in India c. 600 BC. And in Medieval Islamic civilization c. 900 AD, diuretic, antiemetic, antiepileptic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic were treated with, you guessed it, cannabis. The reality is, history proves the establishment and success of cannabis, well before our own civilization was a thought.

In the 19th century, many medical physicians in the West recognized cannabis as a medicine. Circa 1830, Dr. William O’Shaughnessy conducted clinical trials using cannabis for dysentery, rheumatism, seizures in infants, and spasticity in tetanus and rabies. In 1799 Napoleon brought cannabis to France from Egypt. Dr. Jacques-Joseph Moreau c. 1840, wrote of cannabis use to suppress headaches, improve appetites and improve sleep. Another doctor, Dr. E.A. Birch (c. 1889), reported his success in treating opioid addiction with cannabis. Cannabis and its healing properties were used as various treatments for varying diseases well before modern medicine took the reins. These discoveries were made long before modern doctors or activists came across their healing properties.

The pharmacopeia of the United States saw the arrival of cannabis in 1850. The extract of cannabis was a common type of medicine, before it was actually outlawed in 1937 by the American Medical Association. In the early 20th century, prohibition became a progressive soap box for those who wanted to control the flow of alcohol, as well as drugs. Cannabis at this point was beginning to be seen as such. The Federal Income Tax in 1903 had to be passed by the progressives of that era in order to pass the 18th amendment in 1919 to reach the goal of prohibiting alcohol. Ultimately, the prohibition of alcohol failed in just thirteen years, but the idea that the government should control drugs, succeeded.

Harry Anslinger became the leader of the Bureau of Alcohol, followed by the Bureau of Narcotics. Anslinger was a notorious racist who criminalized cannabis, and blamed the satanic rise of the herb on Negroes, Mexicans, Filipinos and entertainers. Not only did he support the victimization of African Americans and spread discrimination, he also spread anti-drug campaigns. He also sponsored prohibition laws in the United States and United Nations General Conventions. After Anslinger, Richard Nixon picked up where he left off by speaking out strongly against marijuana. Nixon also used strong discriminatory stances just as Anslinger did with his campaigns, this time, saying those that are legalizing marijuana are Jewish. Richard Nixon forced cannabis to a Schedule I status, even though his own independent commission advised him not to.

“Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants” was a patent presented on October 7th, 2003, owned by Health and Human Services to prove that cannabis was indeed a medicine. The inventors of this patent were Aidan J. Hampson of Irvine, CA., Julius Axelrod of Rockville, MD., and Maurizio Grimaldi of Bethesda, MD. This patent helped to introduce the research needed to present cannabis as a medicinal purpose. A poll by MTSU in 2018, confirmed the support for medicinal use. It showed 81% of Tennesseans support medical cannabis by a 4 to 1 margin. 44% supported medical use, 37% supported unlimited use, while only 16% opposed all usage.

According to the epidemiology of conditions in Tennesseans, North Carolinians, and Virginians, a large number may benefit from cannabinoid medicines.

The American Cancer Society, 2020., states that there are 39,360 new cases of those that suffer from cancer. The CDC 2018., says that 1,990,380 Tennesseans have arthritis, 193,584 of those with severe arthritis. 120,000 Tennesseans suffer from Alzheimer’s according to the Alzheimer’s Association, and the CDC estimates 63,900 adults and 10,000 children have epilepsy.

In North Carolina, the estimated new cases of cancer according to The American Cancer Society in 2020 is 59,620. According to America’s Health Rankings, North Carolina is the least healthy when it comes to arthritis, at 47.3%. The Alzheimer’s Association, 2020., says that nearly 180,000 North Carolinians will suffer from Alzheimer’s in 2020 and nearly 210,000 by 2025. And the CDC estimates that 94,900 adults and 15,200 children suffer from epilepsy.
Virginia’s statistics follow those of Tennessee and North Carolina. The estimated number for cancer patients in Virginia according to The American Cancer Society is 47,550 new cases in 2020. The CDC says that over 1,513,000 Virginians suffer from arthritis. An estimated 150,000 Virginians suffer from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and that number is expected to rise to 190,000 by 2025, and the CDC reports that an estimated 11,000 children and 73,800 adults live with epilepsy.

Due to the statistics listed above, it would seem that a large number of patients would benefit from the use of cannabis treatment.

Despite the obvious advantages to using cannabis within the medical realm, there are still many oppositions to the use of the plant at all. One objection claims that marijuana is dangerous. The truth is, all medicines can be dangerous. Cannabis is far safer than most OTC medicines approved by the FDA.

Another objection says we need more research. However, research has been outlawed by progressive policies. “Medical use leads to recreational use” is another concern. All medicines can be abused. Yet, it is always immoral to prohibit a medicine. Another objection is the fact that we already have medical marijuana. Marinol and Epidiolex are not competitive products and are rejected by patients who have options in free markets. The worry that children will gain access always has been a concern. An illegal market is the real risk with no restrictions on inappropriate access. And finally, the Gateway Theory, stating that if you smoke marijuana you will end up partaking in harder drugs, has already been proven many times over to be false.

A patient with epilepsy suffers every day with the unknowing onset of seizures at any minute. Currently, there is a Tennessee law that allows patients with epilepsy to possess CBD oil. The problem is, it provides no legal means for acquisition, making these vulnerable patients look like criminals. A patient with epilepsy may possess CBD oil with less than .9% THC if they have a diagnosis from a Tennessee doctor. These doctors can recommend, but cannot actually “prescribe” the medicine to the patient. Also, there is currently no provision to legally acquire or produce the CBD oil and it is a violation of Federal law to cross state lines.

Another addition to diseases that could be assisted by cannabis treatment, is schizophrenia patients. The National Institute of Mental Health states that across certain studies that use household-based survey samples, clinical diagnostic interviews, and medical records, the prevalence estimation of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders in the U.S. range between 0.25% and 0.64%.

The usage of cannabis has been present in the medical industry for thousands of years. This plant is not just used for illegal and recreational activities. It is a very important part of historical and modern-day medicine to help a series of ailments and diseases. The fight to make this herb legal across the board has yet to be achieved. However, we are on a closer path that we have been in previous years and that gap seems to be closing further with every year and successful patient story.