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Jul 10, My New Aloe Vera Plant

My friend has very kindly given me one of her aloe vera plants. I’m quite excited by this, but it’s looking a little sorry for itself and I have no idea how to get it back to it’s best so I can use the gel or juice from the leaves. I’ve decided to ask for advice from my Facebook and Twitter followers, and also do some Google research! I will update a post with how my plant gets healthy, hopefully, it’s not a lost cause, and how I get on with extracting the gel…I think it may get messy! :)
Eczema Blog

Histamine-dopamine interaction linked to addiction, compulsive behaviour

dice gambling on dark wooden background.Research tells us histamine is linked to a number of compulsive behaviours that depend on dopamine reward. That’s alcoholism, drug abuse, and although it’s not mentioned in the studies I’ve read, possibly gambling. References always at the bottom of post. 

According to the UN world drug report, over 200 million people use illegal drugs yearly, and 200 thousand of them will die from it. An additional estimated 18 million suffer from alcohol addiction.

Histamine is involved in a number of brain functions like arousal, sleep regulation, body temperature, pain perception and appetite. Histamine can contribute to, or cause symptoms of, depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Histamine receptors are found in the brain, heart, stomach, breasts, and all over the body. Receptors allow histamine to “bind” to that area. It’s this binding that allows the body to maintain a number of needed functions, but it’s also what causes symptoms.

There are four histamine receptors we know of. Activating the H3 receptor regulates the release of histamine (this is good) but it also inhibits the release of neurotransmitters including acetylcholine, glutamate, GABA (the chill out chemical), noradrenaline and dopamine.

Researchers have long known that the abuse of drugs or alcohol can affect brain dopamine levels, and there’s now a growing understanding that histamine plays a role in addiction.

A number of studies have shown that the brain histamine content of rats that liked to drink alcohol was higher compared to controls. Alcohol consumption of these rats was reduced by giving them a medication that blocks the H3 receptor.

Studies also tell us that both cocaine and methamphetamines (MDMA is one of the latter) significantly raised brain histamine levels in animals, especially in the amygdala.

Though I’ve long known of this link, I was surprised to read today that women have higher brain histamine levels, which is actually not that surprising given that one of histamine’s roles is to regulate the stress response.

Other scientists have discovered that histamine is involved in appetite and food anticipation responses, as well as in how we consume food. Which would be why histamine can control appetite in times of stress, or adaptive anorexia as the researchers call it, which leads us to the finding that anorexia patients have also been found to have higher brain histamine levels.

This doesn’t mean that high histamine levels make you crave alcohol and drugs. It’s not that clear cut despite all the latest findings.

I’ve certainly noticed in the past that once I eat higher histamine for a few days I feel like I’m on a high of sorts and I wanted it to continue, by ingesting more histamine. That no longer happens thankfully. It was difficult putting myself back together physically and emotionally after a three week histamine bender.

But it’s not just that. Before sorting out my diet, my appetite knew no bounds, and I put on an incredible amount of weight because I just couldn’t stop myself. The hunger was so awful that I would wake up a number of times and head to the fridge to gorge myself. I’ve even woken up to find food in bed with me (but that’s probably more to do with the Ambien I was prescribed for years before understanding the role of histamine in my psych misdiagnoses).

Even worse is that while not an alcoholic, I did grow up in a resort town (think something like Cancun) where my friends and I began ingesting copious amounts of alcohol nightly for the three months of summer vacation and then every weekend till I became a journalist. Unfortunately covering war zones makes for heavy drinkers but I finally cut alcohol down to a reasonable amount once I left journalism and buckled down to get healthy.

Once my moods stabilised thanks to the diet changes and presumably less histamine driving my compulsive reward seeking behaviour in alcohol, it seemed that the perpetual hangover was no longer worth it.

So how do we get a boost from the feel good brain chemical dopamine without engaging in addictive behavious?

Boosting dopamine naturally

Eat protein rich foods. I would go for grass fed and finished proteins if possible to minimise inflammation

DHA rich frozen at sea or fresh salmon or a good vegan DHA/EPA supplement

Oregano

Magnesium can help increase dopamine

Folate rich foods (like greens) are needed to produce dopamine

Blueberries

Almonds

Eggs: uncooked egg white is considered high histamine, some who can’t tolerate chicken eggs do well with duck (please check with your doctor)

Lifestyle

Meditation, exercise, massage and stress relief all work wonders

Avoid

Alcohol

Caffeine

Processed sugar

It’s finally here! Man Food – a high nutrient antihistamine and anti-inflammatory ingredient filled book geared towards guys, women who love to work out, yoga like they mean it, or just load up on healing nutrients. Features my personal shopping list of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods.

The Anti-cookbook and all liquid Anti-Detox Book, don’t treat any conditions, but feature a plethora of the high nutrient antihistamine and anti-inflammatory ingredients that have been instrumental in helping me feed myself on a limited diet. The Anti-cookbook features a four page list of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods and comes in regular and Paleo.

—-REFERENCES—-

Ellenbroek, B. A. “Histamine H3receptors, the complex interaction with dopamine and its implications for addiction.” British Journal of Pharmacology 170.1 (2013): 46-57. Web.

“Histamine Affects Alcohol-related Behavior.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2009. Web. 16 June 2017.

White, T. “Histamine in the Brain.” Histamine and Anti-Histaminics (1966): 789-96. Web.

Ito, Chihiro, Kenji Onodera, Eiko Sakurai, Mitsumoto Sato, and Takehiko Watanabe. “Effect of Cocaine on the Histaminergic Neuron System in the Rat Brain.” Journal of Neurochemistry 69.2 (2002): 875-78. Web.

“Histamine and motivation (PDF Download Available).” N.p., n.d. Web. 16 June 2017.

Jabr, Ferris. “How the Brain Gets Addicted to Gambling.” Scientific American. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 June 2017.

“54 Natural Supplements, Agonists and Drugs to Increase Dopamine (and 12 things to AVOID).” Selfhacked. N.p., 31 May 2017. Web. 16 June 2017.

 

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Mar 30, Female Eczema Sufferers Suffer Confidence Issues

An article on Female First has reported that a survey has revealed that the majority of women are embarrassed by their eczema. The study shows that around 75% of women sufferers feel embarrassed or unattractive by their eczema. When I was younger I was very self conscious of my eczema. I always kept it covered as much as I could. As I have got older, especially in the last 10 years, I am definitely not as worried about it. The 2 main reasons for that is that I am much better at managing and treating it now. And also that I am just more confident in general. It was important for me to accept my eczema as part of me. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, or how old you are, if you have eczema, you may feel self conscious of your skin. It is so important if your child has eczema to try not to impress any negative feelings about their eczema, on them. In the future I plan to write some pages about the impact that eczema can have on you, and your child’s life. Including the psychological aspects, and ways you can deal with situations at work and school. I will keep you up to date on here, and let you know of any new pages added to the site. In the meantime please feel free to contact me and let me know how you have overcome any negative feelings, and how you deal with your child’s insecurities. I will share them with other readers.
Eczema Blog

The NHS – The Beginning

The NHS was born was 5 July 1948. Aneurin Bevan, a Welsh Labour Party politician who was the Minister for Health following the Second World War, launched the NHS in the Park hospital in Manchester, otherwise known today as Trafford General Hospital. Since its opening it has continued to evolve, develop and improve and remains as one of the most envied health services in the world.

Born from the desire to ensure good healthcare was available to all, the NHS began by taking control of 480,000 hospital beds in England and Wales, with an estimated 125,000 nurses and 5,000 consultants available to care for hospital patients. The NHS was born was 5 July 1948.

Aneurin Bevan, a Welsh Labour Party politician who was the Minister for Health following the Second World War, launched the NHS in the Park hospital in Manchester, otherwise known today as Trafford General Hospital. Since its opening it has continued to evolve, develop and improve and remains as one of the most envied health services in the world. Born from the desire to ensure good healthcare was available to all, the NHS began by taking control of 480,000 hospital beds in England and Wales, with an estimated 125,000 nurses and 5,000 consultants available to care for hospital patients.

Here are some of the things the NHS has achieved in recently decades:

1. Increases in life expectancy – Since 1981, life expectancy for men in England has increased from 70.9 years to 79.4 years and life expectancy for women has increased from 76.9 years to 83.3 years.

2. Reported use of drugs and alcohol – In 11-15 year-olds, this has roughly halved between 2003 and 2013.

3. Reduction in numbers of people smoking – The ban on smoking in public places is estimated to save the NHS over £380 million a year (smoking and cancer link 1954, smoking ban 2007).

4. Safe food – Setting temperature standards for keeping food safe in supermarkets and food outlets.

5. Reduced salt targets in food – In bread, cakes, biscuits, breakfast cereals, snacks, pastries, pasta, rice among others.

6. Fewer infectious diseases – Typhoid, cholera and tuberculosis (TB) (1958 polio and diphtheria vaccinations programme).

7. Increased access to family planning services – Reducing unwanted pregnancies and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (1967 abortion act, the introduction of the contraceptive pill, 1986 first AIDs campaign).

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Your Guide to Using Ayurveda for Eczema

Another great post from itchylittleworld.com – Natural remedies for eczema to soothe your itchy little world..

Ayurveda is one of the ancient forms of healing that has its origins in India about 5000 years ago. Ayurveda, which literally means the science of life Ayur = Life, Veda = Science is a system which combines both philosophy and medicine. Ayurveda is thus a unique, branch of medicine and a complete naturalistic system which embodies mind-body medicine. You can use ayurveda for eczema to balance the combination of elements of space, air, fire, water and earth which are believed to be primary constituents that we are made of. These elements combine to form the 3 different basic types of human constitution or Doshas as they are called.

Fundamentals of Ayruveda

Prakriti is the physical and mental constitution of an individual and is unique to that person. It is determined at birth and remains the same throughout the lifetime of that individual. Any deviation from that natural state can cause illness.

The three Doshas- Pitta, Vata and Kapha are considered to be energies that make up every individual and perform different physiological functions in the body. The first step towards healing through Ayurveda is to thus determine the constituent of the individual to be treated. Each person has all three Doshas, but usually one or two dominate. By the elements and Doshas, Ayurveda determines the basic nature of different individuals and establishes a line of treatment unique to their needs.

You can determine your Dosha by using this test here.

The 3 doshas need to be in a state of balance for an individual to be in a state of prakriti. If the doshas become imbalanced, this will lead that individual from a state of prakriti to a state of vikriti. Vikriti is thus a deviation from the natural constitution of a person and the further a person’s virkriti is from prakriti, the more prone to illness the person will be.

It is recommended to see an ayurvedic practitioner to determine the current constitution or Prakruti and the current state of imbalance or Vikruti and the corresponding treatment.

Ayurveda for Eczema

Ayurveda describes a skin disease called Vicharchika, which can be correlated with eczema. It is described as a skin condition with skin eruptions and itching.

Dietary and lifestyle based recommendations for eczema can be broadly classified based on the person’s Doshas. These conditions manifest when the particular dosha is in excess and is not in a state of harmony.

Vatta dosha

The skin tends to be rough, dry, hard, itchy and scaly and sheds a lot. There may be associated constipation, gas, bloating, dislike of cold and wind, light, interrupted sleep, anxiety and insomnia.

The skin is aggravated by cold, wind, dryness and stress and relieved by the application of oils and salves or ointments.

The symptoms can be reduced by following the principles of routine, warmth, serenity and nourishment.

Diet

The recommended diet includes foods that are naturally sweet, sour and salty; warm, freshly cooked foods; warming spices like ginger, black pepper, cinnamon and cumin; warm drinks and fluids like soups and stews and a generous amount of ghee (clarified butter).

Foods to avoid are those that are bitter and pungent; cooling foods like chilled beverages, frozen foods; too much of raw foods like salads, fresh fruits, juices etc; processed foods; deep fried foods and foods containing refined sugar.

Lifestyle

Vatta dosha is also cold, light, irregular and always changing. To balance Vatta dosha, one needs to introduce warmth, stability and consistency. Setting a daily routine and eating meals at regular times is very important. A gentle exercise routine like yoga, tai chi, chi gong, walking and swimming can help. Also it is important to keep warm no matter what the weather is.

 

Pitta Dosha

The skin is usually hot and inflamed; it also tends to be oozing, red, swollen and is sometimes accompanied by a burning sensation. There is an uncomfortable feeling of heat in the body, which may be accompanied by swelling, inflammation in the body or joints and feelings of anger, irritability or frustration. Digestion can also be associated with acid reflux, heartburn and loose stools.

Diet

Foods that are recommended are naturally sweet, bitter and astringent (astringent taste is a flavor of dryness that is generally produced by tannins in the bark, leaves and outer rinds of fruits and trees). Cooling foods (cucumbers, melons, zucchini etc) are recommended including cooling herbs like coriander, cilantro, fennel and cardamom; raw foods and freshly cooked foods are recommended as well included; a generous amount of ghee (clarified butter) and other oils like olive and coconut oil.

Foods to be avoided or reduced include those which are pungent, sour and salty (onion, chillies, tomatoes, hot peppers, egg plant, lemons, citrus fruits etc) ; warming foods like spices (cinnamon, ginger, cumin, black pepper, cloves); highly processed foods and deep fried foods, red meat.

Lifestyle

Pitta dosha is considered to be hot, intense, acidic, pungent and sharp and hence the lifestyle recommendations are based on the principles of cooling, surrendering and moderation.

It is beneficial to stay cool and avoid heat in terms of temperature and activities. The ideal environment for a pitta individual is cool and dry. Moderate exercise is recommended along with a daily routine for relaxation and other regular activities like eating, sleeping etc.

Kapha Dosha

The skin is usually cold, clammy, sticky, swollen, oozing and itchy along with a pale complexion. This is usually accompanied by lethargy and sluggish metabolism and can lead to depression, weight gain, fluid retention etc. Cold and damp conditions aggravate kapha, while warmth helps balance this dosha.

Diet

Foods that are recommended are warm, light and dry. Foods which are astringent, bitter and pungent like apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries and apricots are great for balancing excess kapha. So are herbs and spices like ginger, pepper, cayenne and black mustard. Very heavy meals and highly processed foods also tend to aggravate kapha’s heaviness and are best avoided. Cooked food is preferable over raw, especially in the colder months and so is room temperature, warm, or hot beverages.

Foods that should be avoided are all sweeteners except honey which is both detoxifying and heating in nature. Also avoid dairy (apart from ghee or clarified butter) and limit nuts and seeds (apart from sunflower and pumpkin). It is best to eat the largest meal at lunchtime and a smaller meal at dinnertime and also allow at least three hours for digestion before bedtime.

Lifestyle

Kapha dosha is considered to be cold, heavy and dense and hence the key to balancing it is stimulation which can be done through sound, experiences and sight. It is beneficial to stay warm and avoid dampness by limiting exposure to cold air and incorporating a vigorous exercise routine like jogging, hiking, biking, yoga etc.

Common Ayurvedic Remedies for Eczema

One of the most important aspects of ayurveda for eczema includes detoxification with Panchakarma. Also known as the five cleansing actions, Panchakarma is a gentle, yet profound purification therapy, designed to reduce the body of toxins and thus help balance excess dosha which cause disease and discomfort. This purification helps in removing toxins from deep within and at the same time calms the mind and the nervous system. It should be kept in mind that this treatment has to be completely customised for an individual and should be done with the help of an ayurvedic practitioner only.

Also, traditional Ayurvedic warm oil massage, herbal steam bath, and Shirodhara (for calming the central nervous system) are very beneficial in most eczema cases and can be performed as often as desired to promote lymphatic circulation, gently cleanse the system, calm the body and mind.

Given below are some of the common ayurvedic eczema treatments:

  • Neem (or Azadirachta indica is a tree in the mahogany family) – it clears the heat and toxins from the liver and blood and relieves itching.
  • Manjista (or Indian Madder) – Its root is extensively used in many ayurvedic medicines and helps to balances pitta in the skin, calms itching, and purifies blood.
  • Guduchi (or Tinospora cordifolia, also known as amrit) relieves all three doshas, especially pitta, reduces burning and systemic inflammation and is considered to be an adaptogenic herb.
  • Turmeric (or haldi from the root of the perennial Curcuma longa plant) is a superfood. The most well known medicinal action of turmeric is its use as a powerful anti-inflammatory herb, however it also detoxifies, reduces inflammation, and relieves itching.
  • Licorice (mulethi or glycyrrhiza glabra) is highly anti inflammatory and calms and soothes tissues, balances bitter herbs used to treat this condition and pacifies both vata and pitta dosha.
  • Shatavari (or Asparagus racemosus) has been used for centuries in Ayurveda to support for the digestive system, especially in cases of excess pitta. It cools the blood, and is used in Ayurveda to balance pitta and vata, but can increase kapha due to its heavy nature.
  • Triphala is a traditional Ayurvedic herbal formulation consisting of three fruits native to the Indian subcontinent: Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). Triphala cleanses the entire GI tract, promotes healthy digestion and absorption and improves the tone of the skin.
  • Jatamansi is an Ayurvedic herb used in neuro-psychiatric diseases and skin diseases. It calms the mind, replenishes the nervous system, supports, cleanses blood, balances all doshas.
  • Ashwagandha (or Withania somnifera) is one the most popular ayuvedic herbs. Ashwagandha has been used by Ayurveda for thousands of years as a rejuvenative and an adaptogenic herb. It is used to balance vata and kapha dosha but because of its heating nature it can imbalance pitta dosha. It helps reduce effects of stress and calms the mind and nervous system.
  • Tikta Ghrita (or bitter medicated ghee) purifies the blood, cleanses and regulates proper liver function.

Our Experience with Ayurveda

Our daughter, who is now almost 11 years old has been suffering from eczema since she was one-year-old. However her eczema worsened considerably when she was about 6 years old and we have been managing her eczema with various treatments ever since, some which have worked and some which have not. One of these treatments is our traditional form of healing called “Ayurveda” for eczema.

Unfortunately we could not continue with the full scope of the treatment once we were back home from the treatment center and hence we did not see the full benefit of this form of healing. However, it opened our eyes to a very different form of treatment which was quite different from the conventional treatment that we had followed for eczema so far. In spite of discontinuing with this treatment, we have continued to follow many of the basic principles of ayurveda like preferring organic, fresh, unprocessed foods and incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables, incorporating various herbal treatments for eczema like turmeric, neem, guduchi, triphala, tulsi.

 

For more stories from mother’s determined to heal their children’s eczema, check out these inspiring posts:

Why I Tried Herbal Medicine for Eczema

I Listen to My Intuition and I Don’t Give Up on My Child: I Am My Son’s Health Advocate

Natural Remedies for Eczema: What Worked for My Son

One Mom’s Journey to Hell and Back

 

Bio: Anindita is a Dr Sears certified Health Coach and is on her way to become India’s first certified Functional Medicine Health Coach from the US based Functional Medicine Coaching Academy next month. She is auth”rel=”nofollow””http://amzn.to/2rVilEx””>I have eczema…so what?” and writes the calll=”nofollow””https://eczema-anindianperspective.com/””>Eczema-An Indian Perspective blog where she shares information and also provides a form of support to others suffering from eczema. She will be setting up the first Functional Medicine based clinic in Mumbai, later this year along with Dr Amrita Talwar, her co author and her daughter’s dermatologist. 

Keep in touch with her via Email or Facebook. 

Your Guide to Using Ayurveda for Eczema appeared first on itchylittleworld.com. Come read more about natural remedies for eczema!

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Pork loin with maple and mustard sauce – low fodmap

This is a great recipe for dinner parties with friends and is really easy to do! No one will guess that you are following a low fodmap diet at all. Often on the low fodmap diet people have a very dry diet without sauces so it is good to have an option that is less dry. You can serve this with boiled rice, new potatoes or low fodmap pasta choices and a green salad. I hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients

For the stock – 250mls of water

1 Inch of carrot chopped small

2-3 Celery leaves

A handful of black peppercorns

1 Teaspoon of asafoetida

salt

small 1 inch square of celeriac chopped small

1 bay leaf

For the rest of the dish

6 1 inch thick pork loin steaks

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of garlic infused oil

2 tablespoons of grained mustard

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

Maize flour for dusting the pork loin

2 tablespoons of cream (suitable – but if you are very sensitive you can buy lactose free if you wish)

Grated lemon and tarragon to dress the dish

seasoning

Method

Add the water to a pan with the ingredients for the stock

Heat to simmering point and cook for 10 minutes

Drain off the solids and keep the liquid

Whilst the stock is simmering dust each loin in maize flour – add it to a plastic bag and shake

Fry the pork loins using the garlic infused oil till lightly browned in a frying pan

Add the stock and the rest of the ingredients (except the cream) to an oven proof dish.

Cover the dish and cook for 15 minutes then remove the lid and cook for another 5 minutes to drive off some of the water.

Remove from the oven and rest the pork loin – add the cream to the sauce and mix well.

Serves 2-3 depending on your appetite!

Enjoy!




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Eczema News – Gene Mutation Identified

Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have identified a gene mutation called CARD11 that led to atopic dermatitis/ eczema. Their findings were recently published in Nature Genetics (June 2017)1. Gene sequencing was performed for 8 individuals from 4 families, and the researchers found that although each family had a distinct mutation affecting a different region of the CARD11 protein, each mutation disrupted its normal function in T cells – an essential type of white blood cell.

The potential of this study was that glutamine may correct the defective signally mechanism of the mutated CARD11. Glutamine is available as a supplement, and the researches intend to study the effects of glutamine consumption on individuals with CARD11 mutations/ severe eczema. If the future study proved conclusive, it would open an easy therapeutics method for treating eczema!

Genetic mutation Eczema

References:

Germline hypomorphic CARD11 mutations in severe atopic disease
Chi A Ma, Jeffrey R Stinson, Yuan Zhang, Jordan K Abbott, Michael A Weinreich, Pia J Hauk
Nature Genetics; Jun 19, 2017

Science Daily New genetic mutations linked to eczema

Eczema Blues

Pecan and radish salad with strawberry ketchup – low fodmap

I had to use the rest of the radish I bought and thought I would make a bright salad for this very sunny day. Balsamic vinegar enhances the flavour of strawberry and when combined with radish shoots and sliced radish the strawberry reduces the heat of the salad nicely. The dressing tastes a little of ketchup – but more decadent than the standard tomato variety! I hope you enjoy it! If you have problems with resistant starches you may want to use the rice whilst it is still warm.

Ingredients

A large handful of pecan nuts

8 radishes sliced thinly

A large handful of radish sprouts

A handful of green leaves (rocket, kale, lettuce or chard – it really doesn’t matter)

3 strawberries sliced thinly

100g of cooked wholegrain rice

Dressing

1 tablespoon of hazelnut oil

2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar

3 strawberries (mashed)

seasoning

Method

Combine all the salad ingredients together

Mix the dressing ingredients and drizzle the dressing over the salad

Season then serve

enjoy!

Serves 2




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