Chapped Lips

Chapped Lips

The skin on your lips is much more sensitive than the rest of your face. The lips do not contain oil glands like your skin does. This is why the chap so easily.

Chapped Lips

Lips will crack easily in cold air, sun or wind. When this happens, resist the temptation to pick the peeling skin off your chapped lips.

Mouth breathing can also cause chapped lips. The air that is constantly passing over your lips serves to dry them out.

Toothpaste can be another cause of dry lips due to the ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate. Check your toothpaste label(s). You may also want to check for dehydrating alcohols in toothpastes, which you want to avoid.

Too much vitamin A can cause chapped lips. If you take more than 25,000 IU of vitamin A daily, you’re consuming too much.

Soon after licking dry, chapped lips, they will feel dry again. This causes you to lick them again. Before you even realize it, you’re in a continuing cycle of lip dehydration, because saliva evaporates – quickly. Now your already sore, chapped lips will be even drier than before. Eventually, you’ll be left with a rough, dry, shrunken upper layer separated from the moist layer below it.

Food That Can Cause Chapped Lips

The acid in citrus fruits can irritate the delicate skin on your lips. Tomato sauce is another potential irritant, especially if one already has chapped lips. Cinnamates, used in candy, gum and toothpaste among other things, can have the same effect.

Preventing Chapped LipsLip Balm

  1. Even though licking your chapped lips seems to provide relief, resist the temptation. Your lips are more likely to chap as they dry.
  2. Apply a lip ointment at night. During the day use on that contains a sunscreen.
  3. When reapplying lipstick, don’t wipe off the old coat. Doing so causes irritation. At night, gently remove traces of lipstick with petroleum jelly or cold cream.


You can also use petroleum jelly or beeswax to keep your lips moist during the day.

Petroleum Jelly

Did you know?

Dry, cracked lips can be associated with deficiencies of certain B vitamins.

Biting Backaches?

Biting Backaches?

Backaches are awful. If you have serious back pain, always see a doctor. However, if your back pain is from strain or bending more than usual – those everyday twinges and aches, perhaps some of the following tips can help you.

Biting Backaches: Prevention

  1. Avoid any sudden strain. Exercise regularly to limber the back and strengthen its supporting abdominal muscles.
  2. If you sit for long periods, make sure your back is property supported. Place a small roll in the arch of your lower spine (at belt height) to maintain its normal S-curve. Stuff the inside of a paper towel roll with rags and strengthen it with masking tape for a home made roll.
  3. When lifting, never bend down from the waist. Lower and raise yourself at the knees. Keep your back straight and hold the object close to your body.
  4. Balance items you carry evenly on both sides of your body and hold them close. Alternatively, use a back pack.
  5. Sleep on your back if possible, with knees raised on a pillow. If you sleep on your side, a pillow between the knees is a big help.
  6. For a firm bed, place a bed board between the mattress and the box spring. Cut a sheet of 3/4-inch plywood 1 inch smaller all around than your mattress and sand its edges for a home made  bed board.

Backache Treatment

  1. Limit activity or stray in bed for 48 hours.
  2. Depending on which works better for you, apply either heat or a cold pack for 15 minutes at a time every couple of hours over a period of 2 days. Keep an athlete’s soft cold pack in the freezer or use a bag of frozen peas. Both will mold easily to your back.
  3. Aspirin or ibuprofen will help combat both pain and inflammation. Acetaminophen only pain.
  4. To minimize chronic minor back pain, tip your pelvis back, then forward, until you find the position of least pain. Maintain it.

Back Exercises

Strengthening and stretching the muscles of your lower back will help prevent lower back strain. The following exercises progress from gentle to strenuous. Do only what is comfortable for you. Stop exercising the moment you feel pain. If you have had back problems, consult your doctor before starting.

  • Pelvic Tilt. Lie on your back with both of your knees bent. Keeping your spine against the floor, squeeze your buttock muscles as hard as you can. Pull your stomach muscles in, flatten the small of your back to the floor and hold for five seconds. Your pelvis will tilt slightly upward of its own accord. Don’t try to raise it. Repeat 10 times.
Pelvic Tilt Exercise
Pelvic Tilt Exercise


  • Cat Stretch. Kneel on your hands and knees. Then arch your upper back upward, contract your stomach muscles, and let your head drop. Hold for five seconds. Follow this by raisin your head and reversing the action until you return to the kneeling position. Avoid pushing your pelvis forward to create a sway back. Repeat 5 to 10 times.


Biting Backaches Cat Stretch
Cat Stretch


  • Hip Roll. Lie on your back, both arms out for support. Raise your knees toward your chest and then roll them gently from side to side, keeping your shoulders on the floor if you can. Roll 10 to 20 times.
  • Backward Leg Raises. Lie flat on your stomach, resting your head on folded arms. Keeping your pelvis on the floor, slowly raise one leg from the hip until your foot is 6 inches above the floor. Repeat 5 to 10 times with each leg.
  • Single Leg Raises. Lie on your back, knees bent, arms crossed under your head, and both elbows touching the floor. Straighten one leg. Slowly raise it as high as you can. Hold it 5 seconds, then lower it slowly to the floor. Repeat 5 to 10 times with each leg.
  • Diagonal Reach. Start on your hands and knees. Slowly reach your right arm out in front of you. At the same time, reach your left leg straight out behind you. Stretch and hold for 5 seconds. Return to your original position. Then stretch your left arm and right leg. Repeat 10 times.

Home Made Back Packs

Back pack
Back Pack

To make a temporary back pack for carrying your lunch on as short hike, bringing home trail-side treasures, or transporting other light objects, just close the waist of a long-sleeved sweatshirt or jacket with pins or string. Knot the sleeve ends together to form a strap. Stuff your cargo inside, slip the strap over your shoulders and you’re on your way.

Days Gone By: Victorian Back Aches

Consider the Victorian corset. Made of heavy canvas, with vertical stays of whalebone or steel, it encased a woman in a rigid cage from hip to bust. Many little girls got their first one at age three or four. By adolescence they were wearing adult versions, tightly laced up the back to achieve something close to Scarlett O’Hara’s triumph of a 17 inch waist.

Ladies of the time were thought to be so delicate that their muscles couldn’t hold them upright without assistance. The corset made this myth a  reality. By the time girls were ready for adult corsets, their back and abdominal muscles had atrophied so badly that many couldn’t sit or stand without one.

Victorian Corset
Victorian Corset


Smart Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol

What Are Some Smart Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol?

There are many tips, health helpers, supplements and other smart strategies for lowering cholesterol. Following are a couple that are less conventional, but quite effective!

Heart Smart Exercise Strategies for Lowering CholesterolSmart Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol for a Healthy Life

If you are trying to keep your cholesterol under control, exercising for long periods of time may be more beneficial than shorter high-intensity workouts.

Here is why: Saturated fats are broken down into acetone units, which the liver uses to make cholesterol. When you burn calories through exercise, acetone units are used for energy rather than cholesterol production.

Lengthy exercise sessions allow you to burn more calories than intense exercise, since the latter causes muscle soreness and limits your ability to exercise on subsequent days.

Cinnamon Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol

A dash of cinnamon could significantly lower your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar. And cinnamon – well it goes with so many things! Sprinkle on apple slices. Toss one-half teaspoon or so into your next batch of muffins. Add a dash or two to your coffee ground prior to brewing. Sprinkle on lightly buttered toast. Those are just a few ideas – you can surely come up with many more.cinnamon-sugar

When 30 women and men with type 2 diabetes added a sprinkle to their meals, blood sugar and heart-damaging blood fats (total cholesterol and triglycerides) fell 12 to 30 percent in just 40 days, say researchers at the USDA’s Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland.

Cinnamon makes muscle and liver cells more sensitive to signals from insulin, an important blood-sugar-controlling hormone.

Have a little (about 1/6 teaspoon) at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for a daily total of about 1/2 teaspoon, he recommends. Since cinnamon may reduce your need for diabetes or cholesterol medication, ask your doctor if you need to adjust your dose.

Go Beyond Cholesterol

Half of all heart attacks happen to people with normal cholesterol levels. Researchers suspect that inflammation inside arteries may be another heart threat. If you have a family history of heart disease, discuss these two extra tests with your doctor: Homocysteine and C-reactive protein.

Ajowan Spice Healing Powers

Ajowan Spice Healing Powers

Other names: Carom seeds and ajwain (pronounced aj’o-wen)

Ajowan spice healing powers are popular in India, where the spice is used in cooking to add zest to curries and aroma to breads and biscuits. As an added bonus, ajowan spice healing powers are known to have the ability to heal every day ills.

Ahowan seeds

Think of how often we run to our medicine cabinets to grab aspirin for aches, cough medicine for coughs and sore throats, antacids for our tummies or antihistamine for allergies. Well, in India, people are more likely to prepare a beverage called “omam water – ajowan spice seeds steeped in warm distilled water.

Oman water is generally used for digestive ailments such as heartburn, belching, bloating, flatulence and diarrhea. This beverage is technically considered a folk remedy; however, researchers are studying ajowan now giving it scientific support as a spice with healing powers.

Soothe the Digestive Tract

Researchers have thus far discovered more than two dozen medicinally active compounds in ajowan’s tiny seeds. One of them is as strong as morphine!

Relief for Pain

Raw ajowan seeds have a hot, bitter flavor that is so intense they will actually numb your tongue for a moment. When used in cooking, the sting is abated. In any event, the cause of this temporary numbing is from the thymol. It literally numbs pain.

Researchers believe further relief is due to the choline and acetylcholine (controls involuntary muscles) in ajowan seeds. Choline is a nutrient that aids the brain in sending healing messages to the body. To get the most relief, one must use the seeds roasted.

“The present study supports claims of traditional Iranian medicine showing the Carum copticum
[ajowan] extract possesses a clear-cut analgesic [pain-relieving] effect.” –Journal of Ethnopharmacology

Getting to Know Ajowan

Ajowan may be a stranger to most American kitchens but in American medicine cabinets you may find use of its active ingredients in cough medicines and lozenges. The essential oil from ajowan is thymol, which can be found in mouthwash and toothpaste.

Components of the spice are also used to maintain the shelf life of packaged foods and perfumes.

In the Kitchen 

Ajowan works well with starchy foods, and is used to flavor dishes of root vegetables and legumes. In India, it is an essential ingredient in lentil dishes for its taste as well as its ability to improve digestion and prevent flatulence.

An appetizer fritter called pakora or a filled dumpling called samosa are popular in Indian baked goods. In Afghanistan, it is used in breads and pastries. It is also a key ingredient in the Ethiopian spice blend berbere.

pairs well with these spices:

Ajowan Plant
Ajowan Plant
  • Chile
  • Coriander
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Oregano
  • Marjoram
  • Mustard seed

The small seeds are about the size of celery seeds and are sold whole, as they are rarely used in ground form. If stored in an airtight container away from heat and moisture, they will keep for two years or more.

Runny Nose? Try Elderflower Tea

Runny Nose? Try Elderflower Tea

Oh how annoying a runny nose can be! Or is “sniffles” a better word? Well, by either title, it’s a nuisance. Anytime you have a runny nose, think about drinking elderflower tea.  Elderflower makes a rich, full-tasting, caffeine-free herbal tea.

If you drink this tea throughout allergy season, it will help to reduce itchy eyes and a runny nose. Elderberry eases respiratory symptoms from excess mucous, cough, throat strain or discomfort to muscle strain.

Elderflower has long been enjoyed in Europe. The U.S. is slowly starting to catch up.

Homemade Elderflower Tea Recipe for that runny nose:

3 cups water
3 tablespoons dried elder flowers

Let steep for two hours. Strain out the flowers, re-heat and drink 3 cups a day.

More About the Elder Berry

Elder Berry has been used in European folk medicine since antiquity for a host of maladies, ranging from joint discomfort and constipation to respiratory problems.

Elder berries are high in anthocyanidins, powerful purple pigment compounds that act as potent antioxidants, and includes vitamin C.

The berries anthocyanidins help ease the joints by its antioxidant activity. It also detoxifies tissues and promotes better digestion.

Elderberry flowering
Elderberry Plant Flowering

Stock up on elderflower tea for the coming winter and beat that runny nose and those sniffles!

The Health Risks of Loneliness

Do you suffer from loneliness?

Experts suggest that we may feel more lonely now than ever. While advances in technology may allow us to be increasingly connected, these “conveniences” may, instead, be taking the place of face-to-face time. This can result in us losing the development of truly deep connections.

Risk of Loneliness Higher Than Risk of Obesity?

When loneliness persists, it can have profound effects on your body. Research has suggested that long-term effects of loneliness may be worse for you than carrying around extra weight and increases your risk of premature death by 14 percent.

Other Ill Effects of Loneliness

  • Mental health and loneliness go hand in hand with depression.
  • Risk of dementia and/or memory loss increases.
  • Sleep can become fragmented.
  • Feelings of isolation develop, which can also cause increased inflammation – the kind that causes arthritis and heart disease.

Loneliness Lifters

A Friend Saying Hello
A Friendly Hello

If you find yourself living a lonely life, you may have to learn to step outside your comfort zone to make important and healthful changes. This applies whether you are building up existing relationships or creating new ones.

Friendship requires effort, but the comfort friendship can provide makes the investment worthwhile.

How to Nurture Friendship

  • Reach out. Make an unexpected phone call or email, just to say hello and “how are you doing”?
  • Offer to help someone in need. This can come in many forms, but offering to help someone can be as simple as giving someone a ride, picking up groceries, babysitting, etc. The key is not to do it for pay, but out of the kindness of your heart. If someone tries to insist you pay, tell them they can “pay it forward“! (Returning your good deed to them with a good deed they perform for someone else).
  • Be positive. Negativity and criticism pull people down. Use kindness and approval. Nonstop complaining strains a friendship and often breaks it completely.
  • Listen. Ask your friend’s what is happening in their lives. Let them know you are paying close attention when they speak. Physical gestures such as direct eye contact, body language and reaffirming comments prove that you are truly listening. When a friend shares emotions that go along with a difficult time in their life, be empathetic.
  • Extend and accept invitations. Invite a friend out for coffee, lunch or a drink. When someone invites you to a gathering or a friendly meeting, accept their offer.
  • Respect boundaries. Don’t over-tax your friends with your own needs. Remember that being a true friend requires give and take.

Find New Friends

  • Attend events. Get together with a group at a hospital, place of worship, museum, charitable group or other organization. You can form strong connections when you work with people who have mutual interests.
  • Take up a new interest. Take a college course to meet people who have similar interests. Join a class at a local gym, senior center or fitness facility.
  • Join a faith group. Take advantage of special activities at your church or synagogue.
  • Take a walk. Put on some good walking shoes and keep your eyes open. Chat with neighbors who also are out and about, or head to a popular park and strike up a conversation there.

Friends have lunch and a drink

It’s also important to remember that feeling lonely and being alone are two different things. You can feel lonely in a crowd, just as you can feel content when you’re all by yourself. Having a solid support system in your life gives you strength to be able to navigate the alone times with ease or even pleasure.

When you do find yourself with some “alone-time”, consider the time a valuable asset and make the most of it; in other words, invest in yourself. Rest and recharge, pursue a hobby, meditate, indulge in a daydream or listen to your favorite music. Do not sit brooding and feeling sorry for yourself.

Mother Teresa Quote About Loneliness
Mother Teresa Quote About Loneliness

Healthy Well Being: Write it Down

Healthy Well Being with a Diary or Journal

In today’s world, we face more stressors than ever. The fast pace of our daily lives can exhaust us. Add a stressful, life-altering event and we have a recipe for disaster. Learning a few healthy well being coping measures. They can be a life saver.

Feeling Over-Whelmed by Illness or Trauma?

Illness and/or traumatic events can be more than we can handle. They can have an awful effect on healthy well being. One way to help process what’s happening without becoming overwhelmed is to write down your thoughts in a personal journal.

Writing about our lives helps reduce our stress level and can actually improve our overall health. Start out by setting a timer for at least eight minutes and write whatever comes to mind. It isn’t necessary to look at your journal as an every day obligation. Look at it as a kind of friend you want it to be.

Healthy Well Being with Writing

Study Says…

A North Dakota State University research project asked people suffering from chronic conditions such as asthma and arthritis to write about their lives in a journal for one hour per week. In the months after they started their journals, 47 percent of the patients showed a measurable improvement in symptoms. They began to achieve a healthy well being.

Free & Healing: Hugs for Health

The small acts that comfort us and show us our connection to other people are not trivial. A hug is a means of giving and receiving affection – as well as a significant source of stress relief and comfort to our bodies. A brief hug from a loved one can reduce the effects of stress on blood pressure and heart rate by half, according to a study at the University of North Carolina.

Summary…get a fresh notebook (or using your computer) and starting writing down your thoughts and your feelings. Then go find a loved one a share a hug!

Two people sharing a big hug


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High Heels and Your Knees

High Heels: The Hazards

Ladies, high heels create an unnatural walking challenge, which the body deals with by putting more strain on the knee. The lower your heels, the more prepared your legs are to walk on them. Yet, the latest fashion bug seems to be a growing obsession with the highest heels ever!

High Heels

A University of Virginia study found that when women wear high heels they exert 23 percent more pressure on their knees than when they wear flat shoes, contributing to an overall rate of arthritis in the knee that is twice as great for women as for men.

On the Flip Side

Research has indicated that wearing flip-flops can cause knee, hip, and back problems, particularity for people who are overweight.

Also note that flip-flops can be unsafe in general (feet are exposed to dirt and germs and the tops of feet are more likely to be sunburned). Plus, over-use can trigger other problems, so limit wearing flip-flops to a few hours a week.

See also: Soothe Tired Feet

Worry Can Wear Away at Your Health

Worry Wears You Down

Worry will wear you down physically and mentally. Prolonged worry can cause serious health problems. So how can one who worries a lot learn NOT to worry? It may not be easy, but it can be done. You must commit yourself to a thought-adjustment!

Worried You Are Losing Control?

Worry wore this man downFeeling out of control (your life, your finances, work, family, etc.), feeling a sense of dread, and feeling inadequate are not only threats to your disposition; they are threats to your health in general.

When we feel more vulnerable, we are less likely to maintain healthy habits. We turn to unhealthy and excessive behaviors to comfort ourselves, but the relief is quite temporary, while the health effects are lasting.

Stress and worry accounts for two-thirds of family doctor visits. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it causes half the deaths of Americans under sixty-five.

Try This for Starters: Breathe Right

Proper breathing is probably the easiest and most powerful way to protect your health. It results in better digestion and circulation, more restful sleep, decreased anxiety and a more stable heart rate. Take deep breaths. Let your abdomen rise like a balloon as you inhale, filling it all the way. As you exhale, let your abdomen gently relax back toward your spine.

Researchers at Harvard University found that breathing slowly and deeply from the abdomen triggers a blood flow boost to the brain and up to a 65 percent reduction in stress.

Even when you are just sitting still or doing every day tasks, take deep breaths. It helps keep you relaxed, which helps you worry less.

For more information on breathing properly, see Breathing Technique for Emotional Detox

Cleaning Can Aggravate Allergies

Cleaning Can Aggravate Allergies

Cleaning gal aggravating allergiesIt’s important for those who suffer from allergies to be aware that cleaning your house stirs up dust, hair, dander, and other powerful allergens.

Ironically, those who schedule their big cleaning of the year to coincide with the arrival of spring are leaving themselves doubly vulnerable! This is because they will increase the spread of allergens inside their house. This is the time of year when the amount of allergens outside the house is peaking.

If you have allergies and do spring cleaning, be prepared for a health drain. It WILL accompany your cleaning. The best thing to do is to avoid taking on too big a cleaning task at one time. Break your cleaning tasks into small chunks. Get your family to help out. Perhaps some loved ones would do some spring cleaning while you are out shopping?

For most people, allergies interfere with many aspects of quality of life. These aspects include:

  • getting a good night sleep (68 percent)
  • doing outdoor activities (53 percent)
  • being able to concentrate (50 percent)
  • being productive at work (43 percent)

Allergies: 6th Leading Cause of Chronic Disease

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology reports that allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States. Reports also state that four out of five people with allergies experience heightened symptoms when cleaning the house.

Sneezing from allergies