BREAKING NEWS: THE DALIA LAMA ENDORSES POPE’S STAND ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Is the Western toilet in part responsible for problems like hemorrhoids, constipation, IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), appendicitis, and even heart attacks?
If you examine the data, there is a great deal of evidence this is true. The modern toilet has required us to change the position we use to evacuate our bowels, which changes the anatomy of… well, a poop, to put it bluntly.
Infants instinctively squat to defecate, as does the majority of the world’s population. But somehow the West was convinced that sitting is more civilized.
Sitting on the modern Thomas Crapper-style sit-down toilet is designed to place your knees at a 90-degree angle to your abdomen. However, the time-honored natural squat position places the knees much closer to your torso, and this position actually changes the spacial relationships of your intestinal organs and musculature, optimizing the forces involved in defecation.1
Sitting to evacuate your bowel requires you to apply additional force (straining), which has some unwanted biological effects, including a temporary disruption in cardiac flow.
Can the Toilet Be Blamed for Increasing Rates of Colon and Pelvic Disease?
Squatting is the way our ancestors performed their bodily functions until the middle of the 19th Century. Chair-like toilets were reserved for the royals and the disabled. But the “progress” of westernized societies may be partly to blame for higher rates of colon and pelvic disease, as described by a report in the Israel Journal of Medical Science:2
“The prevalences of bowel diseases (hemorrhoids, appendicitis, polyps, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticular disease, and colon cancer) are similar in South African whites and in populations of prosperous western countries. Among rural South African blacks with a traditional life style, these diseases are very uncommon or almost unknown.”
As globalization continues to make its way across the world, squat toilets are being converted to sitters. For example, Thailand’s Health Ministry just announced it will replace squat toilets with the sit-down varieties at all public facilities.3 This may be a bad thing for public health, as a wide range of health problems have been associated with the transition from squatting to sitting. In fact, health problems potentially stemming from the sitting position include the 15 outlined in the following table.
Appendicitis Constipation Hemorrhoids Incontinence Colitis Crohn’s Disease Diverticulitis Contamination of the Small Intestine Gynecological Disorders, including Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Uterine Fibroids Colon Cancer Hiatal Hernia and GERD Pregnancy and Childbirth Prostate Disorders Sexual Dysfunction Reduced Risk of Cardiac Events
The Straight Poop
Evidence suggests bowel and pelvic problems may be related to improper potty posture. Only with the traditional squat position is your body aligned in a way that promotes complete bowel emptying. As you can see from the diagram, squatting actually straightens and relaxes your rectum.
15 Plants & Herbs That Can Boost Lung Health, Heal
15 Plants & Herbs That Can Boost Lung Health, Health, Respiratory Infections & Repair Pulmonary Damage
When it comes to taking herbs for medicinal purposes, it seems the mainstream belief is that they are not as effective and not worth taking. While the effectiveness of herbs has not been studied deeply to determine how well they work across the entire population, the same could be said for most pharmaceutical drugs. Much of the time, pharmaceutical drugs attempt to mimic a compound that occurs in nature (herbs), but often bring the risk of side effects in the process.
Safety is one of the most critical areas of review amongst herbs and drugs. According to stats released by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, no deaths have been reported due to the use and consumption of herbs. However, pharmaceutical drugs and physician prescribed medications kill approximately one million Americans each year. While it is important to note that herbal medicines can be lethal in extreme doses, it appears their safety is much greater than that of pharmaceutical drugs. 
Interestingly, pharmaceutical drugs are actually adding to the world-wide issue of declining health due to their side effects and encouragement of viral resistance. Antibiotics in particular are adding to the wave of increased viral strength when it comes to certain infections.  Herbs, on the other hand, can be a useful tool in fighting infections that have turned into superbugs due to the overuse of antibiotics.
It is always useful to perform as much research as possible, or as you see fit, when it comes to both pharmaceutical drugs and herbs prior to taking them. Just as we approach the use of herbs with skepticism, so too should we approach the use of any pharmaceutical drugs with the same discerning eye.
Contrary to popular belief, our reluctance to use herbs in Western culture is not a result of their inefficacy. It is because pharmaceutical companies (and those who can benefit from the sale of pharmaceutical drugs) have done a great job of making them seem unsafe and inadequate. Herbs cannot be patented and owned, unlike synthetic drugs, which is why many pharma companies operate the way they do. Seek out the assistance of a naturopathic doctor, traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, ayurveda practioner, or herbologist before you use herbs. Like any medical issue, each illness can have different root causes and it’s always important to understand them before relying on any treatment to solve the entire problem.
Below is a list of herbs that can not only boost lung and respiratory health but can also repair it.
Herb information is courtesy of John Summerly who is a nutritionist, herbologist, and homeopathic practitioner.
1. Licorice Root – Glycyrrhiza Glabra
Licorice is one of the more widely consumed herbs in the world. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it occurs in more formulas than any other single herb because it is thought to harmonize the action of all other herbs. Licorice is very soothing and softens the mucous membranes of the throat and especially the lungs and stomach, and at the same time cleanses any inflamed mucous membrane that needs immune system support . It reduces the irritation in the throat and yet has an expectorant action. It is the saponins (detergent-like action) that loosen the phlegm in the respiratory tract so that the body can expel the mucus. Compounds within this root help relieve bronchial spasms and block the free radical cells that produce the inflammation and tightening of the airways. The compounds also have antibacterial and antiviral effects to them as well, which helps fight off viral and bacterial strains in the body that can cause lung infections. Glycrrhizins and flavonoids can even help prevent lung cancer cells from forming. For people with high blood pressure this should be taken with caution.
2. Coltsfoot – Tussilago Farfara
Coltsfoot has been traditionally used by Native Americans for thousands of years to strengthen the lungs. It clears out excess mucus from the lungs and bronchial tubes. It also soothes the mucus membranes in the lungs and has been shown in research to assist with asthma, coughs, bronchitis, and other lung ailments. Coltsfoot is available in dried form for tea or as an alcohol extract known as a tincture.
The toxic breakdown of therapeutic compounds in cannabis from burning the plant are totally avoided with vaporization. Extracting and inhaling cannabinoid essential oils of the unprocessed plant affords significant mitigation of irritation to the oral cavity that comes from smoking. Cannabis is perhaps one of the most effective anti-cancer plants in the world, shown in study after study to stimulate cannabinoid receptor activation in specific genes and mediate the anti-invasive effect of cannabinoids. Vaporizing cannabis allows the active ingredients to stimulate the body’s natural immune response and significantly reduces the ability of infections to spread. Vaporizing cannabis (especially with very high amounts of cannabinoids) opens up airways and sinuses, acting as a bronchodilator. It is even a proven method for treatment and reversal of asthma.
4. Osha Root – Ligusticum porteri
Osha is an herb native to the Rocky Mountain area and has historically been used by the Native Americans for respiratory support. The roots of the plant contain camphor and other compounds which make it one of the best lung-support herbs in America. One of the main benefits of osha root is that it helps increase circulation to the lungs, which makes it easier to take deep breaths. Also, when seasonal sensitivities flare up your sinuses, osha root, which is not an actual antihistamine, produces a similar effect and may help calm respiratory irritation.
5. Thyme – Thymus
Thyme is very powerful in the fight against chest congestion. It produces powerful antiseptic essential oils which are classified as naturally antibiotic and anti-fungal. Thyme is well known to zap acne more so than expensive prescription creams, gels, and lotions. Thyme tea has the power to chase away and eliminate bacteria and viruses, so whether your infection is based on one or the other, it will still work. Thyme has been used as a lung remedy since antiquity and is used extensively today to prevent and treat respiratory tract infections and bacterial infection pneumonia.
Although oregano contains the vitamins and nutrients required by the immune system, its primary benefits are owed to its carvacrol and rosmarinic acid content. Both compounds are natural decongestants and histamine reducers that have direct, positive benefits on the respiratory tract and nasal passage airflow. Oil of oregano fights off the dangerous bacteria Staphylococcus aureus better than the most common antibiotic treatments. Oregano has so many health benefits that a bottle of organic oregano oil should be in everyone’s medicine cabinet.
7. Lobelia Inflata
Did you know that horses given lobelia are able to breathe more deeply? Its benefits are not limited to equestrians. It has been used as an “asthmador” in Appalachian folk medicine. Lobelia, by some accounts, is thought to be one of the most valuable herbal remedies in existence. Extracts of Lobelia Inflata contain lobeline, which showed positive effects in the treatment of multidrug-resistant tumor cells. Lobelia contains an alkaloid known as lobeline, which thins mucus and breaks up congestion. Additionally, lobelia stimulates the adrenal glands to release epinephrine; in effect, this relaxes the airways and allows for easier breathing. Also, because lobelia helps to relax smooth muscles, it is included in many cough and cold remedies. Lobelia should be part of everyone’s respiratory support protocol!
8. Elecampane – Inula Helenium
Elecampane has been used by Native Americans for many years to clear out excess mucus that impairs lung function. It is known as a natural antibacterial agent for the lungs, helping to lessen infection, particularly for people who are prone to lung infections like bronchitis. Herbal practitioners often recommend one teaspoon of the herb per cup of boiling water, drunk three times daily for two to three weeks. Elecampane is also available in tincture format for ease.
9. Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus Globulus
Native to Australia, eucalyptus isn’t just for Koala bears! Aborigines, Germans, and Americans have all used the refreshing aroma of eucalyptus to promote respiratory health and soothe throat irritation. Eucalyptus is a common ingredient in cough lozenges and syrups and its effectiveness is due to a compound called cineole. Cineole has numerous benefits — it’s an expectorant, can ease a cough, fights congestion, and soothes irritated sinus passages. As an added bonus, because eucalyptus contains antioxidants, it supports the immune system during a cold or other illness.
10. Mullein – Verbascum Thapsus
Both the flowers and the leaves of the mullein plant are used to make an herbal extract that helps strengthen the lungs. Mullein is used by herbal practitioners to clear excess mucus from the lungs, cleanse the bronchial tubes, and reduce inflammation that is present in the respiratory tract. A tea can be made from one teaspoon of the dried herb to one cup of boiled water. Alternatively, you can take a tincture form of this herb.
11. Lungwort – Pulmonaria officinalis
As early as the 1600’s, lungwort has been used to promote lung and respiratory health and clear congestion. Pulmonaria selections come in all kinds so seek a herbologist for direction. Lungwort also contains compounds that are powerfully effective against harmful organisms that affect respiratory health.
Chaparral, a plant native to the Southwest, has been appreciated by the Native Americans for lung detoxification and respiratory support for many years. Chaparral contains powerful antioxidants that resist irritation, and NDGA, which is known to fight histamine response. NDGA inhibits aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis (the energy-producing ability) of cancer cells. Chaparral is also an herb that fights harmful organisms. The benefits of chaparral are mostly available in a tincture extraction but chaparral tea may support respiratory problems by encouraging an expectorant action to clear airways of mucus. [Source]
13. Sage – Salvia Officinalis
Sage’s textured leaves give off a heady aroma, which arises from sage’s essential oils. These oils are the source of the many benefits of sage tea for lung problems and common respiratory ailments. Sage tea is a traditional treatment for sore throats and coughs. The rich aromatic properties arising from sage’s volatile oils of thujone, camphor, terpene, and salvene can be put to use by inhaling sage tea’s vapors to dispel lung disorders and sinusitis. Alternatively, brew a strong pot of sage tea and place it into a bowl or vaporizer.
14. Peppermint – Mentha × Piperita
Peppermint and peppermint oil contains menthol — a soothing ingredient known to relax the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract and promote free breathing. Dried peppermint typically contains menthol, menthone, menthyl acetate, menthofuran, and cineol. Peppermint oil also contains small amounts of many additional compounds including limonene, pulegone, caryophyllene, and pinene. Paired with the antihistamine effect of peppermint, menthol is a fantastic decongestant. Many people use therapeutic chest balms and other inhalants that contain menthol to help break up congestion. Additionally, peppermint is an antioxidant and fights harmful organisms.
15. Plantain herb – Plantago major and P. lanceolata
Plantain leaf has been used for hundreds of years to ease coughs and soothe irritated mucous membranes. Many of its active constituents show antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, as well as being anti-inflammatory and antitoxic. Clinical trials have found it favorable against cough, cold, and lung irritation. Plantain leaf has an added bonus in that it may help relieve a dry cough by spawning mucus production in the lungs.
View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/what-are-th…
Sometimes, against a uniform, bright background such as a clear sky or a blank computer screen, you might see things floating across your field of vision. What are these moving objects, and how are you seeing them? Michael Mauser explains the visual phenomenon that is floaters.
Lesson by Michael Mauser, animation by Reflective Films.
Lucian Freud (German-born British, 1922-2011): Still Life with Lemon, 1946. Oil on panel, 6 x 3-3/4 inches (17 x 9.5 cm). Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert, London, UK. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.
“Everything is autobiographical and everything is a portrait” (Lucian Freud)
“After the war, Freud was keen to take to opportunity to travel; he was unable to go to France as he wanted, but managed to get as far as the Isles of Scilly. By the summer of 1946 travel was easier, and he managed to get to Paris and then, later the same summer, Freud went to Greece, at the suggestion of the painter, John Craxton. The two spent some months in Poros, where Freud painted still-life objects – lemons and tangerines, horns and sea thistles – in the bright southern light.” (© Tate)
22nd June 2015
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
When I was pregnant with my first child, I just thought that circumcision was what you did, no big deal, and that every man was circumcised. Then one day I saw a picture of a baby being circumcised, and everything changed. Just one tiny, grainy photo was enough to make me want to know more, and the more I knew, the worse it got. It turns out, circumcision really is a big deal.
Male Circumcision Surgery Myths
Myth #1: They just cut off a flap of skin.
Reality check: Not true. The foreskin is half of the penis’s skin, not just a flap. In an adult man, the foreskin is 15 square inches of skin. In babies and children, the foreskin is adhered to the head of the penis with the same type of tissue that adheres fingernails to their nail beds. Removing it requires shoving a blunt probe between the foreskin and the head of the penis and then cutting down and around the whole penis. Check out these photos.
Myth #2: It doesn’t hurt the baby.
Reality check: Wrong. In 1997, doctors in Canada did a study to see what type of anesthesia was most effective in relieving the pain of circumcision. As with any study, they needed a control group that received no anesthesia. The doctors quickly realized that the babies who were not anesthetized were in so much pain that it would be unethical to continue with the study. Even the best commonly available method of pain relief studied, the dorsal penile nerve block, did not block all the babies’ pain. Some of the babies in the study were in such pain that they began choking and one even had a seizure.
Myth #3: My doctor uses anesthesia.
Reality check: Not necessarily. Most newborns do not receive adequate anesthesia. Only 45% of doctors who do circumcisions use any anesthesia at all. Obstetricians perform 70% of circumcisions and are least likely to use anesthesia – only 25% do. The most common reasons why they don’t? They didn’t think the procedure warranted it, and it takes too long (Stang 1998). A circumcision with adequate anesthesia takes a half-hour – if they brought your baby back sooner, he was in severe pain during the surgery.
Myth #4: Even if it is painful, the baby won’t remember it.
Reality check: The body is a historical repository and remembers everything. The pain of circumcision causes a rewiring of the baby’s brain so that he is more sensitive to pain later (Taddio 1997, Anand 2000). Circumcision also can cause post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD), depression, anger, low self-esteem and problems with intimacy (Boyle 2002, Hammond 1999, Goldman 1999 – STUDY). Even with a lack of explicit memory and the inability to protest – does that make it right to inflict pain?
Myth #5: My baby slept right through it.
Reality check: Not possible without total anesthesia, which is not available. Even the dorsal penile nerve block leaves the underside of the penis receptive to pain. Babies go into shock, which though it looks like a quiet state, is actually the body’s reaction to profound pain and distress. Nurses often tell the parents “He slept right through it” so as not to upset them. Who would want to hear that his or her baby was screaming in agony?
Myth #6: It doesn’t cause the baby long-term harm.
Reality check: Incorrect. Removal of healthy tissue from a non-consenting patient is, in itself, harm (more on this point later). Circumcision has an array of risks and side effects. There is a 1-3% complication rate during the newborn period alone (Schwartz 1990).
Here is a short list potential complications.
- Meatal Stenosis: Many circumcised boys and men suffer from meatal stenosis. This is a narrowing of the urethra which can interfere with urination and require surgery to fix.
- Adhesions: Circumcised babies can suffer from adhesions, where the foreskin remnants try to heal to the head of the penis in an area they are not supposed to grow on. Doctors treat these by ripping them open with no anesthesia.
- Buried penis: Circumcision can lead to trapped or buried penis – too much skin is removed, and so the penis is forced inside the body. This can lead to problems in adulthood when the man does not have enough skin to have a comfortable erection. Some men even have their skin split open when they have an erection. There are even more sexual consequences, which we will address in a future post.
- Infection: The circumcision wound can become infected. This is especially dangerous now with the prevalence of hospital-acquired multi-drug resistant bacteria.
- Death: Babies can even die of circumcision. Over 100 newborns die each year in the USA, mostly from loss of blood and infection (Van Howe 1997 & 2004, Bollinger 2010).
Myth #7: You have to get the baby circumcised because it is really hard to keep a baby’s penis clean.
Reality check: In babies, the foreskin is completely fused to the head of the penis. You cannot and should not retract it to clean it, as this would cause the child pain, and is akin to trying to clean the inside of a baby girl’s vagina. The infant foreskin is perfectly designed to protect the head of the penis and keep feces out. All you have to do is wipe the outside of the penis like a finger. It is harder to keep a circumcised baby’s penis clean because you have to carefully clean around the wound, make sure no feces got into the wound, and apply ointment.
Myth #8: Little boys won’t clean under their foreskins and will get infections.
Reality check: The foreskin separates and retracts on its own sometime between age 3 and puberty. Before it retracts on its own, you wipe the outside off like a finger. After it retracts on its own, it will get clean during the boy’s shower or bath. Once a boy discovers this cool, new feature of his penis, he will often retract the foreskin himself during his bath or shower, and you can encourage him to rinse it off. But he should not use soap as this upsets the natural balance and is very irritating. There is nothing special that the parents need to do. Most little boys have absolutely no problem playing with their penises in the shower or anywhere else! It was harder to teach my boys to wash their hair than it was to care for their penises. (Camille 2002)
Myth #9: Uncircumcised penises get smelly smegma.
Reality check: Actually, smegma is produced by the genitals of both women and men during the reproductive years. Smegma is made of sebum and skin cells and naturally lubricates the foreskin and glans in men, and the clitoral hood and inner labia in women. It is rinsed off during normal bathing and does not cause cancer or any other health problems.
Myth #10: “My uncle wasn’t circumcised and he kept getting infections and had to be circumcised as an adult.”
Reality check: Medical advice may have promoted infection in uncircumcised males. A shocking number of doctors are uneducated about the normal development of the foreskin, and they (incorrectly) tell parents that they have to retract the baby’s foreskin and wash inside it at every diaper change. Doing this tears the foreskin and the tissue (called synechia) that connects it to the head of the penis, leading to scarring and infection.
Misinformation was especially prevalent during the 1950s and 60s, when most babies were circumcised and we didn’t know as much about the care of the intact penis, which is why the story is always about someone’s uncle. Doing this to a baby boy would be like trying to clean the inside of a baby girl’s vagina with Q-tips at every diaper change. Rather than preventing problems, such practices would cause problems by introducing harmful bacteria. Remember that humans evolved from animals, so no body part that required special care would survive evolutionary pressures. The human genitals are wonderfully self-cleaning and require no special care.
Myth #11: My son was diagnosed with phimosis and so had to be circumcised.
Reality check: Phimosis means that the foreskin will not retract. Since children’s foreskins are naturally not retractable, it is impossible to diagnose phimosis in a child. Any such diagnoses in infants are based on misinformation, and are often made in order to secure insurance coverage of circumcision in states in which routine infant circumcision is no longer covered.
Even some adult men have foreskins that do not retract, but as long as it doesn’t interfere with sexual intercourse, it is no problem at all, as urination itself cleans the inside of the foreskin (note that urine is sterile when leaving the body.)
Phimosis can also be treated conservatively with a steroid cream and gentle stretching done by the man himself, should he so desire it, or, at worst, a slit on the foreskin, rather than total circumcision. (Ashfield 2003) These treatment decisions can and should be made by the adultman.
A paraprosdokian (/pærəprɒsˈdoʊkiən/) is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence, phrase, or larger discourse is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists. Some paraprosdokians not only change the meaning of an early phrase, but they also play on the double meaning of a particular word, creating a form of syllepsis.
A friend just emailed me this joke and I just had to share…I just LOVE it…
In case you did not know it, fit depends on the body and Victoria Secret’s models are chosen for a particularly busty and wide-hipped style that most women do not possess.
More pictures and text at Buzz Feed above.