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Mercola Natural Health Articles
More than half the U.S. population is struggling with chronic illness,1 and 1 in 5 deaths is obesity related.2 We have overwhelming rates of heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's, and future projections only look worse. One of the saddest aspects, though, is that advice given by governmental entities and conventional medicine has utterly failed when it comes to disease prevention.
The good news is, it doesn't have to be this way. Aspects of health are multiple and varied, especially in recent years since a greater emphasis has been placed on fitness, disease prevention and optimal health.
That's where we come in. When it comes to finding accurate and up-to-the-moment information you need to improve or maintain your health — such as the importance of balancing your sodium and potassium ratios, how to manage crucial mitochondrial function or the vital differences between omega-3s and omega-6s — Mercola.com has it covered.
For example, magnesium is among the most common nutrient deficiencies, and sets the stage for deterioration of proper metabolic function that typically snowballs into more significant health problems.
But you can keep your magnesium levels in a therapeutic range by eating a varied diet and including dark leafy vegetables, seaweed and some beans, nuts and seeds, like pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, which can be great sources of magnesium.
This is precisely the type of information you can find using Mercola.com to access what you need, now. If you know your body requires more of a certain vitamin or mineral, or if you're interested in consuming foods containing antioxidants, you can peruse the food options, find the ones that meet your nutritional needs and plan your meals accordingly.
Multiple branches of information at Mercola.com allow you to read more about what you're interested in; just click on the sites below each section. Whether it's information about supplementation, beneficial compounds you put in and on your body or the differences between essential oils (not to mention cooking oils), you'll find it here. The categories listed and covered below are:
Herbs & Spices
Vitamins & Supplements
Tea: What it is and what it can do for you
Tea is the most popular drink worldwide, right after good old H2O, which is no surprise since tea has been on the radar, so to speak, for millennia. Known for its ability to rejuvenate, tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and includes varieties that depend on the method used for drying the leaves. In a major contrast, herbal teas are infusions of other herbs and spices added for their flavors and health benefits.
More than a pick-me-up, tea can improve your immune system, reduce your blood pressure and soothe your digestive system, and studies suggest it may lower your risk for several cancers.3 Rooibos tea, for instance, is loaded with antioxidants, protecting your cells from harmful free radicals. And, studies show it improves your heart health. Moringa tea has earned superfood status due to its extensive nutrients and medicinal properties, such as anti-inflammation and blood sugar regulation.
Matcha tea is growing in popularity because a catechin in it known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is another free radical fighter, and an amino acid known as L-theanine increases serotonin and dopamine production in your brain, improving memory, boosting energy and potentially detoxifying heavy metals and chemicals from your body. Oolong tea, rich in antioxidant polyphenols, including EGCG, is one of the healthiest teas you can choose.
But not all teas are created equal. Case in point: If you're one of millions suffering from constipation, perhaps you're familiar with senna tea. Often labeled as a natural remedy for weight loss and/or constipation (as well as ridding your body of certain parasites), it may exert a more laxative effect than you expected.
It contains neither calories nor nutritional benefits to speak of, so be aware of marketing ploys, and check this site for more information on the benefits — and possible pitfalls — of what you eat and drink.
Food facts: A directory of foods that comprise a healthy diet
How amazing is it that you can plant a seed, watch it grow and harvest vegetables, herbs and fruits that are loaded with all kinds of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients? Beets, onions, cantaloupe, peaches, lemons and fennel are all examples of nutritious foods you can potentially have at your fingertips in the most literal sense.
You can also read about more obscure or not commonly grown plant-based foods. They can help you discover their truly amazing health benefits you might be missing. Examples might be figs, cardamom, almonds and quince, the latter, as an example, noted for blood pressure maintenance, weight management and boosting your immune system.
Reading our Food Facts pages gives you detailed information on the protein, fiber, carbs and sugar foods contain according to serving sizes, which helps you determine what to eat to optimize your health. You'll also find the science behind the facts through clinical studies, which reveal what the compounds in your favorite foods can do for you, as well as growing tips for your garden, where to shop to find what you need and delicious, healthy recipes to round out your meals.
However, please note that choosing organic foods means less exposure to pesticides, more antioxidants, improved early childhood development and lower risk of disease. Researchers report that the polyphenol levels in organic fruits and vegetables are higher than those doused with chemical pesticides.4
"Eating organic" represents long-term benefits for adults and children alike, as the cadmium and other heavy metal content is lower than in conventionally grown crops, which makes it far safer for infants, children and pregnant women. Additionally, calcium, iron, protein and/or zinc deficiencies may worsen cadmium uptake and toxicity. On the upside, the flavor of organic produce is deeper and more tasty. What's not to like?
Herbs and spices: The difference between them and health advantages
"Herbs" and "spices" often seem to be thrown into the same interchangeable category, but these are two separate areas of the plant kingdom. Several have names that reflect their exotic origins, such as ashwagandha, sriracha and wasabi. The word "herb" usually refers to the green parts, such as leaves, of non-woody plants that impart a wide array of surprisingly powerful compounds relating to health improvement.
Basil is one of the most popular herbs and one of the healthiest. There are more than 60 varieties with "flavors" as varied as lemon, anise and cinnamon. Antibacterial properties and DNA-protecting flavonoids hint at the power behind these fragrant leaves, which contain volatile oils with the power to kill harmful bacteria that even sometimes antibiotic medications can't, including listeria, staphylococcus and E. coli.5
Spices, on the other hand, can come from the leaves, stems, roots, seeds, bark and/or flowers, and they're used in smaller amounts than herbs due to their higher potency and stronger flavor. Nevertheless, seasoning your food with liberal amounts of herbs and spices greatly multiplies the medicinal value. Numerous studies indicate their amazing potential for healing and combating various illnesses.
Cloves, a popular seasoning with a distinctively warm and sweetly pungent fragrance and flavor, are just one example of a spice with healing power. They come from the dried flower buds of a large evergreen tree grown in warm climates and have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties that may help your body fight off infections and inflammation.
The herbs and spices list introduces obscure offerings such as achiote, boswellia, chasteberry, damiana and epazote. Click on them to get a fascinating picture of what they can do to improve your diet and, as a result, your health. Plus, you'll have some valuable health information to pass along when the topic turns to optimizing your DNA, increasing beneficial gut bacteria or suppressing asthma symptoms.
Vitamins and supplements: Best ways to get them and what they can do
If you're not already aware of it, the best way to get the most nutrition is through eating actual food, such as vegetables, nuts and seeds containing the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your body needs, not just for survival, but for vibrant, vigorous health. However, as I've stressed a number of times but will again because it's so important: Organic foods should be your primary source of nutrients whenever possible.
In the packaged-food mentality of this fast-paced world, the foods you eat don't contain the nutrients they once did. Besides the depletion of the soil we used to rely on when growing food, there's the rampant use of toxic chemicals, pesticides and herbicides now lacing our foods, and faulty agricultural practices that either minimize or destroy what's left.
For that reason, people take supplements to supply their bodies with what they cannot get through the foods they eat. That also goes for other means of acquiring them. An example is vitamin D, which is obtained not through food, but via either sun exposure or supplementation. Your risk of colds, flu and a number of more serious health problems may increase due to a D3 deficiency, as may your risk of cognitive decline and mental impairment.6
Deficiencies in other nutrients are also rising to catastrophic levels in the U.S. Magnesium is one, obtained through oily fish such as sardines and wild-caught Alaskan salmon, avocados, Swiss chard and nuts, especially cashews and Brazil nuts. Other common nutrient deficiencies are animal-based omega-3s, also obtained from oily fish; vitamin K2, available from dairy products such as certain cheeses, raw butter and kefir, as well as natto and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut.
While supplements can be an ideal complement to the organic fruits, vegetables and other nutritious offerings you eat, they must be of high-quality. That said, you may be interested to know that many vitamins and herbal supplements are significantly safer than prescribed pharmaceuticals.
The side effects alone listed on drug advertisements should give you pause, but staggering statistics reveal they kill more than 100,000 people every year. In addition, in July 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said:
" … [O]ur great country is currently in the midst of the deadliest drug crisis in our history. One American now dies of a drug overdose every 11 minutes and more than 2 million Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers. Every day, as a result of drug abuse, American families are being bankrupted, friendships broken and promising lives cut short."7
On my Vitamins and Supplements pages, you may find vital data about foods that can help alleviate symptoms or conditions you've struggled with for years. Bromelain is a good example. Found in pineapples, it improves your immunity.8 Choline, which supports nervous system function, can be acquired from grass fed beef or turkey livers, organic, pastured eggs and Brussels sprouts.
Herbal oils: Where they come from, uses and benefits
You may have heard of eucalyptus oil, palm oil and frankincense oil, but what about the rejuvenating effects of rose absolute oil, tulsi oil from the "queen of herbs" and helichrysum oil, known for its skin moisturizing and wound-healing capabilities? On the page dedicated to herbal oils, you'll find these and many more descriptions of oils to help you maintain a healthy body weight and even promote weight loss.
From A to Z, more than 100 oils are listed. You'll learn about vetiver oil, aka khus oil, known for its ability to impart a stabilizing, calming effect. With a smoky, earthy aroma, it's been used to promote sleep for centuries. Nearly all of the plant is utilized, but it's primarily the roots that contain the most potency, plus have antiseptic, antispasmodic, libido-enhancing and immune system-stimulating effects on your nervous system.
You may have been using vanilla in your baking for years, but were you aware the essence comes from the minuscule seeds of long brown pods, or that the oil is associated with wound-healing, nausea relief and inflammation suppression? Check out the uses for peppermint oil (memory enhancement and anxiety relief), burdock oil (for shiny hair and joint pain) and yarrow oil (linked to relieving digestive problems and skin conditions).
Oregano is very familiar as an ingredient in pizza or spaghetti sauce, but the fragrance and taste of oregano oil are derived from multiple compounds, including thymol, pinene and limonene, all linked to relief from urinary, respiratory and gastrointestinal tract disorders, as well as warding off insects.
Diseases: How to treat them; How to help combat them
This category covers numerous conditions, from eczema to fibromyalgia; hypoglycemia to sleep apnea; sciatica to pneumonia. While there are instances when even health conscious individuals find themselves struggling with illness, there's a lot of information out there that is incorrect and potentially harmful when people try wading through what's true and what isn't in the realm of health.
That's why I created a directory of some of the most common illnesses, so that you could explore symptoms, causes and risk factors of illnesses that might be plaguing you, and most importantly, natural treatment and pain relief options. How you can protect yourself from these diseases is also a factor, and it's fair to say that a large portion of what you read here may contradict what mainstream medical practitioners may assert.
Some diseases bear the names of the researchers who first detected them. Bell's palsy can be confused with stroke because both can cause facial paralysis, but the causes are different. Grave's disease affects your thyroid and people with autoimmune diseases are more prone to it. Crohn's disease is a chronic condition that causes unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms.
Numerous factors can influence your health, but there are even more ways you can keep your body on the healthiest track possible. Click on any of the 80 diseases listed for more targeted information, or simply browse several through for more information in regard to symptoms and treatment.
Recipes: Combining the power of nutrition and taste
Research-based evidence demonstrates the importance nutrition plays in healing and developing optimal health. However, if you've been using processed and packaged foods to prepare your meals, you may not know how quick and easy it is to use whole nutrient-dense food in your meal preparation.
This is why Mercola Healthy Recipes was developed — to give you the tools to enjoy one of the most effective steps to achieve positive well-being. Your body runs on a powerhouse grid of mitochondria. But, a diet filled with sugar, flour and processed foods forces an excess of free radical generation and inflammation production during metabolism.
Instead, embrace the easily-prepared, tasty combinations you'll find in an extensive list of recipes. Each one is based on my Optimized Nutrition Plan and designed so you look forward to and enjoy the food your body needs to keep you energized, independent and healthy.
Bottom line: Accessing trusted information on natural health
While they may not be discussed, navigating the Mercola.com site will help you find any number of other articles that touch on physical, mental or emotional health, recipes, fitness, medical statistics, current topics in the world of health and medicine, governmental regulations and aspects of modern life that may (and probably will) impact your health in time.
The categories covered help illustrate the plethora of aspects to consider when you want to improve or maintain a body that's in good working order, free of disease and full of vital energy. To this end, arming yourself with information is one of the most proactive things you can do. As Hippocrates said, "Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food." It really does make all the difference in your health and well-being.
Each year during the anniversary week of Mercola.com, we recognize a Game Changer, someone whose work stands as a great service to humanity by making a significant contribution to improving people's health. Previous recipients include:
- Dr. Fred A. Kummerow for his life’s work on trans fats who has since passed at the age of 102
- Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D., for his advancement of cancer as a metabolic disease
- Dr. Lee Cowden for his advancement of integrative medicine through the creation of the Academy of Comprehensive Integrative Medicine
- Carole Baggerly, director and founder of GrassrootsHealth, a nonprofit public health research organization dedicated to moving public health messages regarding vitamin D from research into practice
This year, we present the Game Changer Award to Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC),1,2 a nonprofit charity that provides information on vaccine safety and efficacy on the internet.
The National Vaccine Information Center
NVIC was founded in 1982 by parents of vaccine injured children — Fisher being one of them. Fisher’s oldest son suffered a vaccine injury in 1980 following his fourth DPT shot, leaving him with mild brain damage resulting in learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder.3
NVIC’s goal is to “[prevent] vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and safety reforms,” Fisher told The New York Times in 2001.4 Fisher’s two other children received all recommended vaccines with the exception of the whole-cell pertussis that injured her oldest son.
“The vaccine-safety and informed-consent movement has never been about telling parents not to vaccinate. We're pro-education and pro-informed consent, not antivaccine.
There is a difference. It is immoral to write off an unknown number of children as expendable in the name of the greater good to justify public health policy,” Barbara told The New York Times.5
This is a stance Fisher and NVIC have maintained ever since its inception, even though critics choose to portray the organization as a source of dangerous antivaccine propaganda.6
Vaccine safety is being heavily censored in 2019
In recent months, the push to censor negative press about vaccines has reached unimaginable levels, with “vaccine misinformation” — meaning anything critical of vaccines — being blocked, censored and deplatformed across the internet:
YouTube has demonetized “anti-vaccine” channels, barring them from advertising on the platform.7
Facebook is “hiding” vaccine critical content and barring “ads that contain misinformation about vaccines.”8
Pinterest is blocking search terms related to vaccines, as well as “memes and pins from sites promoting anti-vaccine propaganda.”9
Amazon has removed films critical of vaccine safety from its Prime Video streaming service, including the award-winning 2011 documentary, “The Greater Good,”10,11 as well as books discussing vaccine risks and failures and/or biomedical and holistic health treatments for autism.12
Google is burying and essentially censoring content and videos relating to vaccine safety issues.13
Instagram is blocking vaccine-related hashtags such as #vaccinescauseautism and any hashtag found to be “spreading misinformation” will be added to an ever-growing list of banned hashtags.14,15
Mailchimp — an email marketing service used by many organizations to deliver online newsletters — started removing “anti-vaccine activists” from its service without warning in June 2019, refusing to release email subscriber lists to boot,16 leaving organizations suddenly without a subscriber base or a way to reach them.
A Mailchimp spokesperson told NBC News,17 “Spreading misinformation about the safety and efficacy of vaccines poses a serious threat to public health and causes real-world harm. We cannot allow these individuals and groups to use our Marketing Platform to spread harmful messages and expand their audiences.”
As noted by journalist Jefferey Jaxen on his personal blog,18 Mailchimp has been partnered with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 2018, which may explain the company’s sudden censorship overreach. He writes:
The “justification” given for all this anti-American, anti-democratic censorship is that information detailing the potential problems with vaccines is preventing people from making sound medical decisions, thereby jeopardizing the health of the nation as a whole.
What’s really happening is that Big Pharma and government are blocking parents of vaccine-injured children from sharing their stories and letting the truth be known that there are risks involved. It’s really a showdown between a largely pharma-run government and parents of vaccine injured children — not government against creators of fake news.
There’s nothing fake about vaccine injuries. There’s also nothing fake about the data, oftentimes obtained from government documents, that are unfavorable for the vaccine manufacturers.
The current censorship is blocking out those real-world stores of injury, along with important data demonstrating that government and industry are not telling the whole truth about what is known about vaccines.
To that aim, health authorities and government officials have, and continue to, push an agenda that vilifies (if not outright criminalizes) those who express concerns about vaccine safety. We’ve also seen a rapid and disturbing increase in tyrannical measures, forcing people to get vaccinated or face loss of employment, significant fines or jail time.
Attempts to eliminate parental rights are underway
Legislation is also being introduced allowing health care workers to circumvent parents. As just one example, Washington D.C. is currently considering legislation for the city that would allow minor children of any age to get vaccinated without a parent’s knowledge or consent if the doctor believes the child is “mature” enough to make the decision.19,20
The possible result of such legislation should be obvious to anyone familiar with the fact that vaccine injuries can and do occur. If parents are not even permitted to be involved in the decision to vaccinate, how could they possibly suspect a vaccine injury, should it occur?
This epitomizes the kind of governmental overreach Fisher and NVIC oppose. As noted by Fisher during the 2008 Rally for Conscientious Exemption to Vaccination:21
"We are standing publicly for the legal right to follow our conscience when making educated vaccine decisions for our families.
Among us are parents with healthy children and those with children who have been hurt by one-size-fits-all vaccine mandates that ignore the genetic and biological differences which make some people more vulnerable than others for having severe reactions to prescription drugs and vaccines.
No American should be legally forced to play vaccine roulette with a child’s life... If we cannot be free to make informed, voluntary decisions about which pharmaceutical products we are willing to risk our lives for, then we are not free in any sense of the word.
Because if the State can tag, track down and force individuals against their will to be injected with biological products of unknown toxicity today, then there will be no limit on which individual freedoms the State can take away in the name of the greater good tomorrow."
The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986
Among her many noteworthy accomplishments, Fisher worked with Congress for four years to develop the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. With this historical Act, the U.S. government acknowledged that:22
1. Federally licensed and recommended vaccines mandated by states for children to attend school can and do cause injury and death
2. Vaccine safety should be a priority for health agencies, vaccine manufacturers, doctors and other vaccine administrators
3. Individuals injured by government recommended and mandated childhood vaccines should have access to a federal vaccine injury compensation program administrative alternative to filing a vaccine injury lawsuit in civil court. Furthermore, they should have access to the civil court system in cases where:
- Federal compensation is denied or is inadequate
- There is evidence a pediatrician or other vaccine administrator negligently administered a vaccine
- A vaccine manufacturer engaged in criminal fraud or negligence
- A vaccine manufacturer could have made a vaccine less harmful (design defect)
The 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act is broken
The original intention was to offer those injured by vaccines a choice — either suing the vaccine manufacturer in civil court, or applying for compensation through the vaccine injury compensation program, which was meant to serve as an easier and faster route.
As such, the 1986 Act did not immunize vaccine makers and doctors from legal action, although there were some restrictions (see Point 3 above). All of that changed in 2011, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided drug companies could not be sued for design defects or failure to make the vaccine as harmless as possible.
As it stands, the 1986 Act is no longer serving vaccine injured Americans as it was intended. As noted in the NVIC’s position statement on the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986:23
“… [B]etween 1987 and 2016, Congress allowed amendments and broad rule making authority granted to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to alter and weaken the original Act.
The Act’s safety and research provisions, which parents fought hard to secure in the original Act to help prevent vaccine injuries and deaths, have been seriously compromised.
Neglect and lack of congressional oversight on the Act for more than 30 years has enabled DHHS and the Department of Justice to turn what was supposed to be a non-adversarial, expedited, less expensive, fairer and more predictable federal vaccine injury compensation program, which Congress promised parents in 1986, into a highly adversarial, lengthy, traumatic and unpredictable imitation of a lawsuit in front of a one-person jury …
During three decades of congressional amendments to the Act and abuse of authority by federal agencies, the government has broken the social contract with Americans being required to purchase and use FDA licensed and CDC recommended vaccines.
The U.S. government has assumed liability for harm caused by government licensed and mandated vaccines, but government officials cannot be sued in a civil court in front of a jury for failing to warn and protect the people from unsafe vaccines.
The reality today is that nobody developing, manufacturing, selling, licensing, recommending, mandating or giving vaccines in the U.S. has real incentive to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths.”
It is for these reasons that vaccine exemptions for medical and philosophical reasons need to remain sacrosanct. Alas, in recent years, many states have rammed through legislation that disallows exemptions if you want your children to be able to attend day care and school. As noted by NVIC:24
“The federal government is encouraging adoption and enforcement of “no exceptions” vaccination laws, which require use of federally recommended vaccines and severely restrict or eliminate flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions.
Forcing people to use products that can cause injury and death without voluntary informed consent is a violation of basic human rights, including autonomy and freedom of thought, conscience and religious belief.”
Fisher has dedicated her life to your children’s safety
This year, we recognize Fisher with our annual Game Changer award for her decades of public education and tireless advocacy for safer vaccines and informed consent protections.
The right to informed consent to medical risk taking is a human right, and her work is, at the heart of it, a human rights issue. Once our right to refuse vaccines for ourselves or our children is eliminated, there’s no telling where it will end.
To learn more, consider picking up one or more of her books: “DTP: A Shot in the Dark,” “Vaccines, Autism & Chronic Inflammation: The New Epidemic,” and/or “The Consumer’s Guide to Childhood Vaccines.” You can also sign up to receive her biweekly online journal, “The Vaccine Reaction.”
MyRecipes: Editor's Picks
Save the seeds when you carve a fresh pumpkin, toast them, and use them for snacking or as a crunchy salad topping.
This homemade pork bolognese sauce should be served over cooked fettuccine and takes less than 15 minutes to prepare.
Set out a fiendish spread of appetizers and beverages when you host the annual Halloween costume party.
With a few low-fat baking tricks, our healthy pumpkin bread recipe shaved 33 percent of the calories and more than half the fat from the original recipe.
Marge Perry compares the amount of caffeine found in chocolate to a cup of coffee in this episode of Ask the Expert.