Monday, August 9, 2010

Health Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil is extracted mostly from the flowers of lavender plant, primarily through steam distillation. The flowers of lavender are fragrant in nature and have been used for making potpourris since years.

Lavender essential oil has also been traditionally used in making perfumes. The oil is very useful in aromatherapy and many aromatic preparations are made using lavender oil. Lavender oil blends well with many other essential oils including cedarwood, pine, clary sage, geranium, and nutmeg. Today, lavender essential oil is used in various forms including aromatherapy oil, gels, infusion, lotion, and soaps.

The various health benefits of lavender essential oil include:

Nervous System: Lavender essential oil has a calming scent which makes it an excellent tonic for the nerves. Therefore, it helps in treating migraines, headaches, anxiety, depression, nervous tension and emotional stress. The refreshing aroma removes nervous exhaustion and restlessness and increases mental activity.

Sleep: Lavender essential oil induces sleep and hence it is often recommended for insomnia.

Pain Relief: Lavender essential oil is also an excellent remedy for various types of pains including those caused by sore muscles, tense muscles, muscular aches, rheumatism, sprains, backache and lumbago. A regular massage with lavender oil provides relief from pain in the joints.

Urine Flow: Lavender essential oil is good for urinary disorders as it stimulates urine production. It helps in restoring hormonal balance and reduces cystitis or inflammation of the urinary bladder. It also reduces any associated cramps.

Respiratory Disorders: Lavender oil is extensively used for various respiratory problems including throat infections, flu, cough, cold, asthma, sinus congestion, bronchitis, whooping cough, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. The oil is either used in the form of vapour or applied on the skin of neck, chest and back. It is also added in many vaporizers and inhalers used for cold and coughs.

Skin Care: The health benefits of lavender oil for the skin can be attributed to its antiseptic and antifungal properties. It is used to treat various skin disorders such as acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other inflammations. It heals wounds, cuts, burns, and sunburns rapidly as it aids in the formation of scar tissues. Lavender oil is added to chamomile to treat eczema.

Hair Care: Lavender essential oil is useful for the hair as it can be very effective on lice and lice eggs or nits.

Blood Circulation: Lavender essential oil is also good for improving blood circulation. It lowers blood pressure and is used for hypertension.

Digestion: Lavender oil is useful for digestion as it increases the mobility of the intestine. The oil also stimulates the production of gastric juices and bile and thus aids in treating indigestion, stomach pain, colic, flatulence, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Immunity: Regular use of lavender essential oil provides resistance to diseases.

Other health benefits of lavender essential oil include its ability to treat leucorrhoea. It is also effective against insect bites. The oil is also used to repel mosquitoes and moths. You will find many mosquito repellents containing lavender oil as one of the ingredients.

As with many other essential oils, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using lavender essential oil. It is also recommended that diabetics stay away from lavender oil. It may also cause allergic reactions to people having sensitive skin. Some people may also witness nausea, vomiting and headaches due to usage of lavender oil.

Health Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil

 The health benefits of lavender essential oil include its ability to remove nervous tension, relieve pain, disinfect scalp and skin, enhance blood circulation and treat respiratory problems. Lavender has the Latin name Lavare, which means “to wash”, due to its aroma that gives the feeling of a clean aroma.
Health Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil 

Organic Oils Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

 The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.

Benefits of Organic Farming for Small Farmers

 The various benefits of organic farming for small farmers all over the world include high premium, low capital investment, ability to achieve higher premium in the market, and the ability to use traditional knowledge. According to a research conducted by the Office of Evaluation and Studies (OE), International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), small farmers in Latin America, China and India can benefit drastically from organic farming and will help in alleviating poverty in these countries.

Organic farming refers to means of farming that does not involve usage of chemicals such as chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides. Organic farming is being groomed to end modern farmers' struggles resulting to various debts and farming land mortgages. Numerous small farmers have been practicing organic farming; however, since they are unaware of the market opportunities they are not able to reap the benefits of organic farming.

Given below are some of the advantages of organic farming for small farmers:
High premium: Organic food is normally priced 20-30% higher than conventional food. This premium is very important for a small farmer whose income is just sufficient to feed his/her family with one meal.
Low investment: Organic farming normally does not involve capital investment as high as that required in chemical farming. Further, since organic fertilizers and pesticides can be produced locally, the yearly costs incurred by the farmer are also low. Agriculture greatly depends on external factors such as climate, pests, disease. Further most of the small farmers are dependent on natural rain for water. Therefore in cases of natural calamity, pest or disease attack, and irregular rainfall, when there is a crop failure, small farmers practicing organic farming have to suffer less as their investments are low. (It should be noted that while shifting from chemical farming to organic farming, the transition might be costly)
Less dependence on money lenders: Many small farmers worldwide commit suicide due to increasing debt. Since chemical inputs, which are very costly, are not required in organic farming, small farmers are not dependent on money lenders. Crop failure, therefore, does not leave an organic farmer into enormous debt, and does not force him to take an extreme step.
Synergy with life forms: Organic farming involves synergy with various plant and animal life forms. Small farmers are able to understand this synergy easily and hence find it easy to implement the
Traditional knowledge: Small farmers have abundance of traditional knowledge with them and within their community. Most of this traditional knowledge cannot be used for chemical farming. However, when it comes to organic farming, the farmers can make use of the traditional knowledge. Further, in case of organic farming, small farmers are not dependent on those who provide chemical know-how.

August Agriculture mag off the press

Get a copy of the August issue of Agriculture Magazine and learn many things about pummelo production and other improved farming techniques. The magazine is now off the press.

The August issue features the pummelo farm of Rene Florencio in Tarlac City where he is bagging his fruits with fruit bags that protect them from fruitfly attack. Other production techniques such as proper pruning and fertilization are also discussed with pointers coming from Dr. Pablito P. Pamplona, retired fruit expert from the University of Southern Mindanao.

You will also read about the Bighead carp which is about the most affordable fish species for the masses. Did you know that there are more than a thousand hectares of fishpens in Laguna Lake devoted to Bighead carp production?

Pete Samonte writes about a novel way of getting irrigation water from wells. In San Ildefonso, Bulacan, 17 wells have been constructed with the assistance of the Department of Agriculture. These wells have been providing vegetable farmers with water for irrigating their crops. The water from the dug wells is drawn with submersible pumps powered by electricity or by gasoline engine.

Allan C. Nas, our columnist from Pioneer Hi-Bred, writes about the importance of taking care of your corn plants in the first 30 days and then continuing to do so in the succeeding months. If you neglect your plants in the second month, the yield will probably be halved. If you don’t take care of your plants in the first month, and you continue to neglect them up to harvest time, you will harvest very small ears with poor grain fill.

There are many other interesting articles like the experience of Dr. Wilfredo Yap in changing his diet from rice to camote; the tree seedling production program at the Muntinlupa prisons spearheaded by former Batangas governor Antonio Leviste; developing entrepreneurship in Gawad Kalinga villages; a lady engineer who is a certified organic farmer; and many more stories.

FLORA & FAUNA EXPO. Make sure to visit the ongoing Flora & Fauna trade expo being held at the World Trade Center-Metro Manila at the corner of Puyat and Macapagal Avenues, Pasay City. You will see a lot of garden exhibits of plants and landscaping accessories, pets that include animals and fishes, and many more. There are exhibits indoors as well as outdoors. There are exotic fruit trees, bromeliads and a lot of ornamental plants in the outdoor exhibits. Sunshine free-range chickens are also available and a free lecture on this topic will be held this afternoon at 2 p.m. at the stall of Solraya Enterprises.

Source: By ZAC B. SARIAN  July 23, 2010, 2:01pm

Camote Solved His Hypertension

 Perhaps, one way of helping Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala achieve his goal of stopping rice importation after three years is to grow more camote and more people shifting from rice to eating camote.

That will not only help us attain rice self-sufficiency, it could also result in more healthy Filipinos. Ask our good friend Dr. Wilfredo Yap, an expert in aquaculture, who noticed with alarm last October (he was then 63) that his fasting blood sugar (FBS) had shot up to 160 mg per deciliter (mg/dl). His blood pressure went up to 150 over 100.

When we met him last April during a forum at the MFI Foundation, he was ecstatic in telling us that camote was responsible for lowering his blood pressure to the normal level of 120 over 80, sometimes 110 over 80 in just a few weeks of eating camote instead of rice. We asked him to write about how he did it and we promised to publish it in the Agriculture Magazine. He only wrote the article after we saw him again last June at a gathering at the Gawad Kalinga project in Angat, Bulacan.

His detailed story is published in the August issue but we would like to summarize what he did for the benefit of our readers. His first approach to lower his blood presure, he writes, was to reduce his sugar intake by avoiding soft drinks and sweets. He shifted to the use of coco sugar to sweeten his coffee since he has read that coco sugar has a low glycemic index (GI). There was very little improvement, though.

Then by yearend of 2009 her sister who works for an NGO in Pagadian had told him that a friend of hers was able to lower his blood pressure by eating camote instead of rice. As a New Year’s resolution, Fred shifted to camote instead of eating rice. He ate boiled camote for lunch and dinner while for breakfast he ate oatmeal and wheat bread. If he happens to go out and he has to eat lunch outside of his house, he makes it a point to bring boiled camote with him.

Fred writes: “Two weeks into my camote diet I had my FBS tested and lo and behold it had dropped to 101 mg/dl. Another two weeks and the reading dropped to 96 mg/dl. My blood pressure also dropped to 120/80 or sometimes 110/80. And this I achieved without taking any prescription drug. So to this day, I have maintained my camote diet. By no means does it mean eating nothing else but camote. I eat everything else that is eaten with rice – vegetable, fish or meat together with my camote.”

He now believes that if only 10 percent of Filipinos would shift to camote, rice import will become unnecessary. After all, he notes that Philippine rice deficiency is estimated by NFA at only 10 percent based on the present per capita consumption of 126.84 kg.

Source : By Zac B. Sarian