Patching Up the Problems in Women’s Sexual Health and Pregnancy

One of the lesser known pregnancy prevention products available is called the birth control patch. The birth control patch is a thin, beige square patch that sticks to the skin. By releasing hormones through the skin into the bloodstream, this birth control method would help prevent pregnancy. By combining the hormones called progesterone and estrogen, the patch prevents ovulation or the release of an egg from the ovaries during a woman’s monthly menstruation. The hormones in the patch also thickens the mucus produced in the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to enter and reach any eggs that may have been released.

Similar to other forms of birth control such as the birth control pill or ring, the user works on the birth control patch based on her menstrual cycle. Normally, the girl puts the patch on the first day of her menstrual cycle, or the first Sunday after her cycle begins. She will then place the patch on her skin once a week for three weeks straight. This patch should be applied to either of the following: buttocks, abdomen, upper arm, or upper torso. On its fourth week, no patch is worn, and the user’s period will then start again during this time.

The sales of birth control patches dipped after a legal complaint was made by a group of 40 women, all of which used a popular birth control patch, directly to the patch’s manufacturer. They claimed that these contraceptives were causing serious health problems. One specific lawsuit claimed that 43 women suffered from blood clots and other ailments after taking a popular branded birth control patch. A second lawsuit stated that a woman of 25 died of severe blood clots in her lungs and legs after she began using this birth control product.

These lawsuits complained that the manufacturer of this birth control patch allegedly failed to warn the public about the risks of using the said product. The plaintiff also claimed that the company deceived the public about the severity of potential side effects, and that includes concealing information about the risk of strokes and severe blood clots. Shawn Khorrami, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, said that this product should not be on the market. When a certain product is put out, giving women more hormones than they need, then you are increasing their risk of developing those ailments. Khorrami also added that similar lawsuits have been filed on behalf of nearly 400 women around the US.

Last September, the FDA warned women regarding the risk of blood clots in the legs and lungs and their use of birth control patches. As a result of the warning, the product label was updated to reflect the data of one study that found women using the patch faced twice the risk of clots than did women on the pill. From this information, women should be careful in choosing their form of birth control. It is advisable for them to go and visit their gynecologist or physician, and try to gather facts about their health history, and choose the best birth control that will suit both their health and lifestyle.

Nutritional Supplements: Are They Really Essential For Good Health

Why should I take nutritional supplements? Can’t I just eat healthy, exercise, drink plenty of water, etc.? A fair question. After all, quality nutritional supplements are not cheap. Let’s look at the arguments for taking nutritional supplements in addition to a healthy lifestyle.

Argument #1: Our foods no longer contain the nutrition they should

Due to modern processing and farming methods, foods that should be high in certain nutrients no longer are. For example, the tomato is an excellent source of phytonutrients, specifically, lycopene. But when you buy a tomato from the grocery store, there is little to no lycopene or other nutrients left in it. The tomato was likely grown on nutrient depleted soil, fertilized and sprayed with toxic chemicals, picked green, then gassed to turn it red. Little wonder it has no nutrition value left!

Another culprit in the nutrition depletion of foods is our food cooking and preparation. Even if you could by some magic acquire a nutrient rich tomato, cooking or storing the tomato will destroy most of the nutrients. For example, studies have shown that phytonutrients begin breaking down less than 24 hours after the vegetable was picked!

Of course, there are many other factors contributing to the poor nutrient content of our foods: breeding, GMOs, storage, etc, etc. Once you consider all of the factors causing the poor nutrient content in our food, it becomes quite logical to take supplements to replace these nutrients.

Argument #2: We no longer eat the right foods

If you eat a 100% organic, fresh diet, you’re a long ways ahead of the rest of us. Of course, the foods you’re eating are still nutrient depleted, as we saw above.

But for the rest of us, we need to supplement our diets also because we’re just not eating the foods we should. Currently, french fries are the most consumed vegetable in the United States. We’re just not getting the nutrients we need!

Argument #3: Environmental stress necessitates nutritional supplements

The Los Angeles Times ran an article last year revealing a startling finding: scientists announced that by the time a child born in LA was 2 weeks old, he had already been exposed to more toxins than would be acceptable for his entire life! While we don’t all live in Los Angeles, we’re all subject to environmental stress that puts extra burden on our immune systems. Even our drinking water has chemicals and toxins in it.

The best way to counter the stress on your body’s health caused by all of these toxins and such is to support your body with proper nutrition. Since our foods are nutrient depleted, the only way to properly support your health is through nutritional supplements.

Argument #4: Nutritional supplements allow us to benefit from nutrient rich foods around the world.
Even if our foods weren’t nutrient depleted and our environment wasn’t toxic, nutritional supplements would still have benefit. They allow us to benefit from plants and nutrient rich foods found around the world that otherwise we would be unable to benefit from. Good examples would be the goji berry from China, the Australian bush plum, and many others.

Do you want optimal health? The only way to properly support your body’s health is to take quality nutritional supplements.

New Health Insurance Policy: Understand What You Are Paying for

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You now are the owner of a new health insurance policy because your place of employment changed providers, but you do not have the first clue what the new policy covers. The first thing you should do is take a moment to read the policy. Do not be surpirsed if you get more confused as each word. This is common pace for a lot of people and it shouldn’t discourage you. Insurance policies are simple to understand if you understand the language they speak. If you don’t tspeak their language, which most of us do not, then you will surely get lost.

The first things you want to understand about your policy are the many terms that are in your policy. One of the common terms that you will see is a deductible. A deductible is what you pay before any benefits in your health insurance policy are accessible. Usually, this is an annual amount and will vary greatly by the type of policy. Usually there are separate deductibles for an individual account versus a family account. A few policies let consumers use some of their services with out meeting the deductible. The following year after you have exhausted your deductableh you will have to start all over again.

Co-payments are dollar amounts that are paid by the consumer before the insurance will pay for services and this is paid in addition to the deductibles by the consumer. Some policies will allow the consumer pay a co-payment for certain services without meeting the deductible.

Out of Pocket costs are what the consumer is required to pay out of your own pocket. This could include deductibles, and co-payments. The term “annual out of pocket expense” is the maximum omaximum amounta consumer would have to pay for health services minus the premiums.

Most policies have a lifetime maximum term. This means that every policy has a cap on it. During the lifetime of the policy the consumer expenses can’t go over a predetermined amount or the health insurance policy underwriter will not pay. Do not worry. It is usually a very high amount to start but with the rapidly escalating health care costs a consumer can reach it quickly.

The exclusions section must also be read very carefully and a consumer must fully understand the health insurance policy. Exclusions are conditions that the policy does not cover. This can be a very hazy area. The policy may cover operations but not the after care of the operations or it may cover the after care and not the operation itself. This is the most important section of your policy so read it carefully to ensure that you grasp all of exclusions.

There are many things that you should always remember as you read your health insurance policy. Read every paragraph to ensure you understand how the policy functions so you will not have questions if the need ever arises to use it.

Organic Coffee Promotes Better Health

Around the world coffee is the second most traded item in the world, coming in just behind crude oil (although a distant second we’re sure). How ever as more and more people are paying attention to what they’re drinking and eating, organic coffee is sneaking up in the market share race.

Organic coffee wasn’t a real concern when coffee first gained people interest way back in 800 AD. It was a drink reserved for the wealthy and royalty, even in 1800’s when Brazil claimed the honor of having the largest international coffee crop, still no one was concerned where or with what the beans were grown.

Fast forward to toady, and there are strict rules and regulations for how any food product can or cannot be grown. Especially if you’re looking to grow an organic product. Organic coffee is primarily grown in mountainous areas, where insecticides and fertilizers can become part of the lower watershed once they’re washed down the hills from heavy rainfalls.

Many companies today are providing organic coffee, each require certification and designation as per the Organic Food Production Act set fourth in 1990. This act outlines the requirements for growing organic coffee, as well as how their testing can be carried out and what they must do to hold onto their certification.

Growing Fields Must Be Certified Organic

Now it’s not just the growing and handling that must be considered and certified organic when growing coffee. The ground that it grows in must also be free of any ingredients or non-organic substances for at least the last 3 years.

Because the act requires so many intricate modifications to the regular growing process, organic coffee will cost a little more then a non organic brand. Healthy conscious consumers are willing to pay the price for the better beans. AS most organic growers believe that growing the beans with only natural methods and no artificial chemicals helps keep the natural flavor.

Whether the taste is superior to a non-organic coffee is up to the coffee drinker, but there’s no arguing that the organic growing process produces a healthier bean for us to make our favorite cup of joe from.

Obesity is an Increasing Health Risk

High blood pressure, joint pains, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, heart ailments, palsy, liver ailments, menstrual abnormalities, breast cancer, female infertility, decline in libido, endometrial cancer, mental stress, blood circulation diseases like arteriosclerosis, cholelithiasis etc. These are some of the diseases which might come up with obesity. This list seems endless. But before knowing how to end obesity one must know “what is obesity?”

Whom would you consider a person to be obese? A person who has BMI (Body Mass Index) of over 30 is considered to be an obese individual. But how does one become obese? In theory causes of obesity are gene, intake of fatty foods, lacking of physical activity, food habits, laziness and endocrine problems.

What are the available remedies for getting out of obesity?

Liposuction: It is a surgical process where the fat is removed by sucking out the fat from the body by inserting a needle.

Surgery: Commonly this procedure involves surgery of stomach and intestine to lower the intake of food.

Diet Pills: Majority of the diet pills are for short-term use only. These diet pills are effective only if they are used in combination with exercises and a controlled diet.

Fat burning pills: These are short-term quick fat burning pills. But the main problem with this medication is that the results are short lived. Once the medication is stopped the fats again show up.

Exercises: It is an age old technique of obesity reduction. It is a natural process so side effects are not there.

Controlled diet program: Like exercises this too is a natural process. Here a limited amount of food is taken which controls the formation of fat in the body.
Acupressure and acupuncture: Age old technique but nothing concrete has been proved yet.

Whatever be the method of getting over obesity there is no better method than natural methods like exercises and controlled diet program. And if a diet pill like Phentermine, Adipex, Acomplia is introduced the effects would be visible within a short time period.

Apart from physical aspects obesity may also let you feel dejected, out of the world and may make an individual abstain from social gatherings. If you are obese it is time to act. Whatever remedy you choose you should always consult your doctor for his view on that remedy.

Nursing Degree – Health Of The Future

It is far from a hidden truth that there is a shortage of nurses in the United States. Hospitals, doctors and nursing homes have been clinging to dear life for years in the attempts to find and keep a good group of nurses. With the shortages in the profession, the pay rate has climbed to far exceed expectations and this leaves nurses with many options. For the nurse this is an excellent opportunity, but for the providers it can prove costly. If you are on the fringe of making a decision between a nursing degree and some other here are some things to consider.

The American Association of College Nursing estimates that there will be a shortage of over 300,000 nurses by the year 2012. That could not only create a hazard to the medical industry, but also provide nurses with an excellent paying career. Nursing is one of those careers that not only provides good pay, but also gives the individual the greatest reward ever. This reward can be seen on a daily basis with the fact that they help those in need and it is the thanks in the eyes of a child that sustains the career choice.

There are several options that nurses have afforded to them. There are different certifications in nursing and with them brings different duties as well as pay. Another positive about the nursing profession is the fact that there are so many options. One nurse may work in Pediatrics and another can work in Geriatrics. There is no limit to the opportunities in the nursing field. Here is a look at the types of certifications and a little bit about each.

LVN/LPN:

A year’s worth of college training and a set amount of experience can help you obtain the certification of either LVN/Licensed Vocational Nurse or LPN/Licensed Practical Nurse. While completing the required academic requirements the nursing student will spend time shadowing nurses, doctors and other health care providers for hands on and/or practical experience. After all the requirements have been fulfilled the nursing student will be expect to take the state exam, which is not easy. It is recommended that students purchase a good study guide or course to refresh and prepare for the test. A LPN or LVN can expect to make an average of $37,000 per year. LVN or LPN can be responsible for administering medications, giving injections, drawing blood and/or starting IV’s as well as a host of other medical duties.

RN:

The RN or registered nurse is gained by attending college for two to three years and passing the state’s respective exam. The test consists of educational material as well as practical information, making it necessary to study for the exam. The major shortage in nursing comes with the licensure of the registered nurse. The RN certification opens many doors and opportunities to those wanting to pursue a career in the medical profession. In most cases the Registered Nurse oversees other medical tech., interns, LPN (LVN) and Certified Nurses Aids. The average salary reported on the Internet for a RN is in the range of $55,000 per year. RN’s can work in private practice, doctor’s offices, hospitals, traveling situations as well as other medical options.

BSN:

The BSN or Bachelors of Science in Nursing can be obtained after a nurse completes a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Many universities are now offering an online option or correspondence classes for nurses to achieve the higher level of education. The RN may wish to return to school to enhance his/her skill and salary level. This transition may not be obvious to a patient by sight, but the experience and knowledge could be a tale-tale sign. A BSN also looks better on paper and hospitals, doctors, nursing homes will ring your telephone off the wall. Generally, the BSN works in a managerial position reviewing case files, dealing with administrators and advocating for patients, but can hold a variety of other nursing positions. The Internet reports the average salary for a BSN at well over $60,000 per year.

Regardless of the nursing path that is chosen, it is extremely important to prepare. While in school take good notes, keep textbooks and other information obtained during the educational experience. Pay close attention in the practical training provided in the hospital or with other medical professionals. The state exam that you will be taking to obtain your license must be taken seriously. There are a variety of great preparatory study guides that will help prepare you for your big day. It is also recommended and advisable to obtain the furthest degree in nursing possible. The more education and letters behind your name the more opportunity that you will have. Nursing is one of those fields that no matter where you go or live there is always a job waiting for you.

Natural Therapy for Maintaining Healthy Blood Pressure

One of the more common treatments for high blood pressure are ACE inhibitors. When your kidneys detect low blood pressure, they release an enzyme called renin, which stimulates the formation of a protein called angiotensin I. Angiotensin I is then converted by the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) in the lungs to a very potent chemical called angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a powerful blood vessel constrictor that causes muscles surrounding the blood vessels to contract, resulting in narrowing of the blood vessels. This narrowing of the vessels increases pressure in the vessels and can result in high blood pressure .

The ACE Inhibitors block the action of the angiotensin-converting enzyme in the lungs so that angiotensin I is not converted into angiotensin II. This allows blood vessels to remain widened, which results in lowering of the blood pressure. ARBs block the action of angiotensin II itself, so that vessels dilate, making it easier for the heart to pump blood, and results in lower blood pressure .

The natural bioactive casein hydrolysate tripeptides in Melaleuca’s ProStolic™ act as a natural blocker to the formation of angiotensin II. Also included in this proprietary blend is pomegranate juice powder, which inhibits activity of the angiotensin-converting enzyme as well. A third ingredient is passionflower extract. Although researchers don’t know exactly how passionflower works, they believe that flavonoid and alkaloid compounds in the plant regulate the neurotransmitters in your nervous system that reduce anxiety. One of these flavonoids in particular, chrysin, helps to calm your central nervous system and lower your blood pressure.

Combined with the proprietary blend of tripeptides, pomegranate juice powder and passion flower extract, ProStolic™ also contains potassium and calcium to provide a well-rounded natural remedy to help promote healthy blood flow and naturally maintain healthy blood pressure, but without the side effects so common with medications.

Tripeptides are formed when milk casein is broken down into smaller pieces. Several different peptides have been studied, but a significant amount of research has determined that the tripeptides Isoleucine-Proline-Proline (IPP) and Valine-Proline-Proline (VPP) have the most supportive evidence for their efficacy, safety and bioavailability The natural bioactive hydrolyzed casein (a combination of tripeptides IPP and VPP) is an active ingredient included in the proprietary blend in Melaleuca’s ProStolic™. These tripeptides are derived from nonfat milk casein, and have been clinically proven to help maintain healthy blood pressure. Most studies show that blood pressure is lower after 2 weeks of daily consumption of IPP and VPP, and reach a stable level after 4-6 weeks.

Like the mechanism of action of the commonly prescribed ACE Inhibitors, the natural action of tripeptides block the formation of Angiotensin II, which normally causes the blood vessels to narrow. But that’s where the similarity ends. Studies show that IPP and VPP tripeptides accomplish the blockage of Angiotensin II without the side effects so common in ACE and ARB medications. In 2001, an 8-week placebo-controlled, double-blind study was conducted on 30 people with mild or moderate hypertension. Results of the study showed a significant decrease in blood pressure of IPP and VPP test subjects, but no change was seen in the placebo group. In addition, no adverse reactions such as dry cough, digestive tract symptoms or abnormal changes were observed.

Noninfectious Reasons to get Health Insurance for the Family Cat

Most people do not to think about purchasing pet health insurance for the family cat simply because it seems as if cats never get sick. The veterinary concern most cat owners worry about is what will happen if their family cat gets run over by a passing car. Cat owners who keep their cats in the house don’t even worry about that. The truth is that there are many health problems that can cause the family cat to need to visit the family veterinarian and most of them are expensive. On the rare occasions cat owners find themselves facing an emergency vet bill they wish they had purchased a pet health care policy for their cat.

When humans think about cat allergies they automatically assume you are talking about humans who are allergic to cat hair what they don’t realize is that cats can have allergies all of their own that can plague them for the rest of their lives. Some cats suffer from inhalant allergies, these are allergies caused by inhalant allergens with are airborne particles that irritate the respiratory system. Inhalant allergies often make themselves apparent in asthma like symptoms. Some cats who suffer from inhalant allergies will also have skin lesions and experience hair loss. Dusty kitty litters, pollen, perfumes, cleaning sprays, deodorizers, dust, and smoke are all things your family cat might be allergic to.

A second type of allergy cats suffer from are called contact allergies with are allergies that are caused be physical contact with a substance that causes a physical reaction (often hives, swelling, and/or hair loss). Contact allergens a house cat might be exposed to are plants, carpet fresheners/cleaners, household cleaners, dust, synthetic fibers, wool fibers, some medicated skin crams, and ink.

If your cat has any type of allergies do not treat it with an over-the-counter anti-allergy medication without your veterinarian’s advice. Some cats require veterinary care for anal gland problems. Anal glands are glands are small glands in the anal sphincter muscle. Sometimes these glands become, impacted, injured, or infected and require veterinary care.

Veterinarians say that most cat constipation is caused by a hairball that is plugging up the cat’s system. If the hairball is extremely large your veterinarian may have to perform immediate surgery to remove it. Like their human owners some cats suffer from liver and kidney disease. Liver and kidney disease is most commonly seen in older cats although some younger cats will suffer liver disease that can be caused by parasites, medications, infections, cancers, and toxins. Blood tests are normally needed to accurately diagnosis kidney or liver disease.

A potentially lethal inflammation of the pancreas is called panaceatitis. Pancreatitis can be caused by infections, shock, infections, trauma, and/or metabolic disorders. Cats that have pancreatitis typically have abdominal pain, fever, elevated heart rate. If you suspect your cat is suffering from pancreatitis you can try with holding food and pushing water spiked with electrolytes. Your vet should be consulted immediately.
Pancreatitis is often associated with diabetes.

Olive Oil, An Ancient Gift For Health.

Scientists are always looking to plants to find medicinal and therapeutic secrets. Discoveries of natural compounds within the olive tree and olives, provide promising health and medical benefits. Organic olive oil has significant health related properties that have spanned centuries and cultures in the Mediterranean.

The Mediterranean olive dates back 6000 years and was native to Iran, Syria and Palestine (Asia Minor). From there it spread to the Mediterranean basin. It is one of the earliest known cultivated trees. According to the Bible, an olive leaf was that which a dove brought back to Noah, as an indication the great flood waters were abating.

The olive tree thrives best in a sunny position and climate. A rocky subsoil suits it well. The trunk is knotty, hard, and gnarled, the bark smooth and ash colored. Olive wood is valuable for its durability and is crafted into many items such as gourmet cooking utensils. The olive tree experiences slow growth, but it lives very long. It is reported that the olive trees on Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, are over 2000 years old. It is commonly believed the Bible passage of “the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine,” refers to the olive tree. Olive leaves are silver grey-green, and possesses the health qualities of “olive leaf extract” which is pressed from them. Extracted from olive leaves is a bitter substance named oleuropein. In the 1960’s researchers reported that oleuropein lowered blood pressure in animals, this caused immediate medicinal interest in the olive leaf. There are new studies that indicate olive leaf extract may be a natural preventative against the common cold and flu.

The olive is believed to be a source of wealth for the Minoan Kingdom. Egyptians tombs dating back as far as 2000 BC have been proved to contain olives. The Greeks spread the usage of olives to the Romans who, in turn, spread it across their vast empire. The use of olive oil has been advocated by many religions and cultures. The early Greek Kings were anointed with olive oil. It was also used to anoint winning Olympic athletes. Across many cultures, olive oil is recognized for healthy benefits for both the inner and outward body.

Some research indicates extra-virgin olive oil is the most digestible of the edible fats. Olive oil also it helps to assimilate vitamins A, D and K in the human body. Benefits of consuming olive oil include slowing down the aging process and helps liver, bile, and intestinal functions. Olive oil is valued for its culinary attributes and organoleptic virtues, these being: flavor, bouquet or aroma, and color. Various grades of olive oil are derived from the time of pressing. Earlier pressings are regarded as better quality. Cold pressed olive oil is a pressing process requiring no heat or chemicals, which destroy vital nutrients. This olive oil is generally the best to use for cooking and healthy cuisine.

Olive oil has been extensively used in cooking and forms an integral part of the basic Mediterranean diet. It is a healthier substitute to butter. Strong and pungent flavored olive oils are great for frying fish or other items having a strong flavor. Extra virgin olive oil goes well with salads. A late harvest mission variety olive oil, which is mellow, can be used for baking cakes. Gourmet olive oil is a healthier and tastier substitute to other fatty cooking oils. The health benefits of cold pressed olive oil already have federal agency approval. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized marketing ads that say organic olive oil helps reduce the risk of coronary disease and disorders.

Given below is a simple recipe for olive oil bread dipping sauce.

Bread Dipping Sauce

Servings : 2 – 4
Preparation time : 10 minutes

Ingredients:

½ cup virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced (Italian parsley is best)
1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed well
1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt, to taste

Method:

Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and sauté till it changes color. Add all the other ingredients and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Serve as a bread dip.

Naturally Sweet and Healthy – The Wonders of Stevia

Stevia (STEE-vee-uh) is an outstanding, sweet tasting herb that has remarkable health promoting qualities. The sweetness of Stevia is largely due to its complex stevioside molecule that is composed of glucose, sophorose and steviol. A second compound called rebaudioside, which is present in Stevia, also contributes to Stevia’s sweetness. Stevia has a taste that is unique and has been described as very sweet with a slight licorice, almost bitter aftertaste. Generally, high quality Stevia contains very little of this bitterness. The sweetness of Stevia is much different than the sweetness of other natural sweeteners, sugar, or artificial sweeteners, but it is delicious. For some people the taste may require some “getting used to,” but most people quickly develop a taste for it.

Stevia is a South American shrub whose leaves have been used for centuries by native peoples in Paraguay and Brazil to sweeten their yerba mate and other stimulant beverages. The stevia plant belongs to the Compositae (sunflower family of plants). Centuries ago, Natives of Paraguay used the leaves of this small, herbaceous, semi-bushy, perennial shrub to sweeten their bitter drinks. Originating in the South American wild, it could be found growing in semi-arid habitat ranging from grassland to scrub forest to mountain terrain. The plant made its way to Pacific Rim countries where in recent decades it became cultivated domestically, used in its raw leaf form and now is commercially processed into sweetener.

If you’ve ever tasted stevia, you know it’s extremely sweet. In fact, this remarkable noncaloric herb, native to Paraguay, has been used as a sweetener and flavor enhancer for centuries. Stevia is a natural, non-caloric, sweet-tasting plant used around the world for its pleasant taste, as well as for its increasingly researched potential for inhibiting fat absorption and lowering blood pressure.

Stevia is about 300 times sweeter than sugar in its natural state, and much more so when processed. Its medicinal uses include regulating blood sugar, preventing hypertension, treatment of skin disorders, and prevention of tooth decay. Other studies show that it is a natural antibacterial and antiviral agent as well. Stevia is actually good for you! On top of that, it is calorie and carbohydrate free. Stevia is a great sweetener choice for diabetics, those watching their weight, and anyone interested in maintaining their health.

Topically, Stevia has excellent healing capabilities. If placed on a cut or scrape, it stings initially followed by a significant reduction in pain and accelerated healing with no scarring. Whole leaf Stevia extract can be used as a facial mask by smoothing the dark liquid over the entire face, allowing it to dry for 30-60 minutes, then rinsing. This will help tighten the skin, smooth out wrinkles and heal skin blemishes and acne. This has been reported to be effective when used on seborrhea, dermatitis and eczema, as well. Stevia is also beneficial for the hair and scalp; good results have been obtained by adding Stevia concentrate to shampoo, and also applying concentrate to the hair after shampooing, allowing it to remain on the hair for a few minutes, then rinsing.

Stevia is also able to perform a number of other beneficial tasks. For example, it has been shown that Stevia may enhance moods and increase energy levels and mental alertness. What’s more, it is also been shown to stop the growth of bacteria in the mouth is responsible for the production of acids that are responsible for gingivitis and cavities.

In recent years, Stevia has made its way to the Far East. In the 70’s and 80’s Stevia was developed as a sweetener/flavour enhancer which has since been used widely for this purpose in Japan, China, Korea, Israel, Brazil and Paraguay. It has been embraced in Japan, where it’s used in soy sauce, sweet pickles and soft drinks. In Japan, Diet Coke has been sweetened with Stevia.

The products in which Stevia has been used include soft drink, ice cream, cookies, pickles, chewing gum, tea and skin care products. In Japan about 40% of the sweetener market is stevia-based. The main producers of stevia are Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Korea, Brazil, Malaysia and Paraguay.

The cosmetic industry also employs the use of Stevia in many of the available skin care products. It has been shown to reduce skin blemishes when applied topically. Stevia also relieves stomach discomfort.

There are no symptoms of deficiency but everyone can benefit from the use of Stevia. Populations that may benefit from the use of Stevia include: diabetics, the obese, the elderly, children, and athletes.

Diabetics, individuals with blood sugar problems, or the obese, may benefit from supplementing with Stevia due to its ability to regulate blood sugar.

Individuals suffering from hypertension may also benefit from the use of Stevia. It has been shown that in cases of high blood pressure Stevia has the ability to act as a vasodiolator, thus helping to lower hypertension.

In the late 1980s an “anonymous firm” lodged a “trade complaint” with the FDA about Stevia when it started to surface in the United States. One company using stevia was the Celestial Seasonings herbal tea company. They were ordered by the FDA to stop producing tea “adulterated” with Stevia. Traditional Medicinals, another tea company, had their inventory of Stevia teas confiscated during an unexpected FDA raid and were told the tea would be burned.

Why did the government treat Stevia like a controlled substance? FDA documents call Stevia a “dangerous food additive” even though the safety of Stevia has been widely tested for many years by scientists in Japan. The FDA will not reveal who made the “trade complaint” (despite the Freedom of Information Act) though many suspect that it was the makers of the artificial sweetener Aspartame (aka “Nutrasweet”) trying to fend off competition, as the artificial sweetener is very profitable.

To judge from the extensive measures the FDA has employed to keep Americans in the dark about Stevia, one might assume it was some type of dangerous narcotic. But, in fact, no ill effects have ever been attributed to it, although it has been used by millions of people around the world, in some locales for hundreds of years.

So adamant has the FDA remained on the subject, that even though Stevia can now be legally marketed as a dietary supplement under legislation enacted in 1994, any mention of its possible use as a sweetener or tea is still strictly prohibited.

In 1995 the FDA reversed their decision to ban Stevia, but only halfway. Stevia can now be sold as a “nutritional supplement” but not as a sweetener in the United States. This is also the case in the European Union, and the World Health Organization is pressuring other countries to follow suit.

Benefits
• non-caloric sweetener
• inhibits fat absorption and lowers blood pressure
• regulates blood sugar levels