Golden spice

 

Let’s take a quick look at five of the most compelling examples where pharmaceutical drugs pale in comparison to turmeric’s ability to protect and heal your body:

1.Anti-inflammatories

Scientists have now pegged inflammation as a primary risk factor for almost every disease known to man. If you can reduce inflammation, chances are you’ll experience less disease. 

So in 2004, scientists at the Cytokine Research Laboratory in Houston, Texas compared a dozen compounds in their ability to reduce inflammation.

Published in the journal Oncogene, researchers discovered that curcumin was among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world. In fact, it performed better than the powerful and most commonly prescribed steroid dexamethasone, as well as seven popular NSAIDs—including both aspirin and ibuprofen!5

Which means, turmeric may be the key to reversing disease…by reducing inflammation in the body.

 2. Arthritis Relief

Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive disease and much more devastating than previously understood. Conventional treatment includes using dangerous drugs like prednisone (a steroid), methotrexate (a cancer drug), and diclofenac sodium (an NSAID). Sadly, these types of drugs are associated with close to 100 serious side effects, including damage to your heart, gut, kidneys, liver, hearing, pregnancy, and more!

But if you could get relief from RA without suffering these side effects…wouldn’t you want to know about it? Now you can.

In the first study of its kind, researchers from India set out to compare the benefits of curcumin in turmeric to arthritis drugs. They divided 45 volunteers with rheumatoid arthritis into three groups. One group got curcumin…another diclofenac sodium…and the third, a combination of the two.

The results were extraordinary!

The curcumin group experienced significantly greater reduction in pain, inflammation, and number of swollen and tender joints than the patients in the diclofenac only group. More importantly, curcumin did not relate with any adverse events and was found to be completely safe.6

This study provided the first evidence highlighting the safety and superiority of curcumin treatments in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. 

3.Cancer Treatment

Despite significant advances in cancer treatment modalities over the last decade, neither the incidence of the disease nor its mortality has changed in the last thirty years. Available anti-cancer drugs exhibit limited effectiveness…produce severe side effects…and are extremely expensive. 

However, curcumin in turmeric has been extensively studied and written about over the last three to four decades for its potential anti-cancer effects. In 2015, a team of international researchers conducted a thorough review of this existing scientific literature showing the efficacy of curcumin against various cancers.

And they wrote:

“Curcumin has been found to suppress initiation, progression, and metastasis of a variety of tumors.”

In an article exploring whether turmeric can prevent or treat cancer, experts at Cancer Research UK wrote…

“A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells.

A 2007 American study that combined curcumin with chemotherapy to treat bowel cancer cells in a laboratory showed that the combined treatment killed more cancer cells than the chemotherapy alone.”8

Bottom line…you can feel confident using turmeric as a proven natural cancer treatment.

4.Diabetes Managementiabetes Management

 If you’ve got diabetes, you’re probably taking a daily dose of Metformin to help control your blood sugar. Unfortunately, the list of side effects you face is long and painful. From gastrointestinal distress…to difficulty breathing…to severe muscle and head pain—even coma!

If there was a natural, risk-free remedy for managing your type-2 diabetes, would you be interested? Then consider this…

A 2009 study published in the journal Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications explored how supplementing with turmeric offered a lower-risk, more effective solution for managing diabetes.

When Auburn University researchers compared turmeric to the popular diabetes drug Metformin, they found that curcumin in turmeric is literally 400 times more potent than Metformin in activating AMPK—an enzyme that plays a crucial role in glucose transport and increases insulin sensitivity, which can help reverse type 2 diabetes.9

Not only that, another study found that curcumin supplementation protected against two common and debilitating complications of diabetes—diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy.10

For lowering blood sugar, reversing insulin resistance, and protecting against complications of diabetes, turmeric has become the natural treatment of choice.

5.Anti-Depressants-Depressants

 While dozens of previous studies on laboratory animals provide substantial proof that turmeric is effective in reducing symptoms of depression, none have ever been done on humans. Until now…

In 2014, scientists from India published the results of an innovative study in the journal Phytotherapy Research. The team of researchers split 60 volunteers diagnosed with a major depressive disorder (MDD) into three groups. One group took curcumin, one took the anti-depressant fluoxetine (Prozac), and a third used a combination of the two.

Turns out, curcumin was found to be just as effective as Prozac in managing depression. But more importantly, all patients in the first group tolerated curcumin extremely well. Yet Prozac—along with other depression medications—can cause serious side effects. Brand new symptoms like anxiety, tremors, irregular heartbeats, diarrhea, memory problems, severe skin reactions, insomnia, headaches, weight gain…the list goes on and on!

Which makes using curcumin for alleviating depression a much healthier and safer choice.

Of course, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Going back more than 4,000 years, turmeric has been a treatment of choice in traditional Chinese, Indian, and Ayurveda medicine.1

In China, turmeric was mixed with cinnamon twig and astragalus to effectively treat upper back and shoulder pain.

Ayurvedics inhaled the fumes from burning turmeric to alleviate congestion, used turmeric juice to heal wounds and bruises, and applied a turmeric paste to relieve all sorts of skin conditions.

In India, turmeric has been used traditionally to disinfect surfaces and treat laryngitis, bronchitis, and elevated blood sugar.

But you’re probably wondering the same thing I was. These aren’t exactly the world’s deadliest diseases, so how might turmeric stack up against something bigger, something more debilitating, like…Alzheimer’s!

Interestingly, population studies seem to indicate elderly villagers in India suffer less Alzheimer’s disease compared to their peers in other parts of the world.

See, Alzheimer’s begins as an inflammatory process in the nerve cells of the brain. And Indians eat turmeric with almost every meal…leading researchers to conclude that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties are partly responsible for the lower rates of Alzheimer’s.

That’s great news, wouldn’t you agree? Especially if you or someone you know suffers from the overwhelming pain and debilitation that accompanies Alzheimer’s disease.

Yet the healing power of turmeric goes way beyond Alzheimer’s. Hundreds of studies reveal it treats no less that 619 different health concerns.Tough health conditions like Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, heart disease—even depression!

Well, for one, turmeric is one of the most studied natural substances ever, going back to 1949. In fact, the amazing health properties of turmeric and its healing compound curcumin are so extensive—there have been 9,487 peer-reviewed articles published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health!3

Which makes turmeric one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in all of science!

In fact, there seems to be no end to the incredible healing power of turmeric and its star compound curcumin. Scientists are finding an astonishing array of antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

DETERGENT

Does your freshly washed laundry smell like a “spring meadow?” Surprise — that scent that fills your home and sticks around on your clothes is actually composed of any number of toxic chemicals.

Researchers have found that the laundry room might actually be one of the more polluted areas of the home. Scented dryer sheets and detergents can give off as many as 25 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including seven which have been named as “hazardous air pollutants.” Due to the everyday use of these types of substances, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that the air inside of homes is often five times more polluted or contaminated than the air directly outside.

i

This is a pretty good reason to think again when you are considering buying that detergent with the fresh scent that “lasts for 24 hours.”

Chemicals end up on our skin

We consider scent to be pretty innocuous. But, in fact, a lingering perfume indicates molecules are sticking around in the water and on our clothes. The chemicals and softeners are designed to degrade as slowly as possible so that the scent and the soft feeling remains for a longer time. However, these chemicals end up polluting aquatic environments and staying on our skin.

As the desire for daily convenience has increased, marketers have responded to this demand by creating ever-easier ways to complete a load of laundry. However, the average person is completely unaware that the contents of their convenient laundry washing detergent are highly toxic to children.

Manufacturers are not required to divulge all of the ingredients in products such as laundry detergent. And even if they do, a single word like “fragrance” can be a catch-all for hundreds of unregulated substances.

Companies use chemicals first, test them later

Government regulatory agencies require only a fraction of the chemicals used in consumer products to be tested. They are generally allowed into the market until harmful effects are discovered through widespread use. In the U.S., the Toxic Substances Control Act was passed in 1976, which is eons ago in the world of chemistry and manufacturing.

Many of these chemicals, such as ethyl acetate, petroleum distillates and nonylphenol ethoxylate have been connected with devastating and dangerous effects to both human health and the natural environment. A 2008 study found that of all the top selling laundry detergent brands tested, each contained at least one ingredient considered hazardous under federal law. None of these ingredients was listed on the label. Additionally, the study didn’t disclose which brands were tested.

The risks of ‘natural’ detergent

One of the most worrisome offenders is 1,4-dioxane. It was found in higher concentrations in a version of a popular detergent marketed as “natural” and safer for newborns and babies rather than in the regular version. Major health and environmental campaigns continue to urge manufacturers to change their formulations.

The potential health risks include reproductive and developmental effects, hormone and immune disruption, organ damage and increased likelihood of cancers and tumors.

We come into direct contact with these chemicals via our skin when we are doing laundry and wearing the clothes that have been soaked in these substances. We also inhale them into our lungs during the washing process and afterward. The water that washes down the drain affects waterways, with reports pointing out that even a tiny concentration of laundry chemicals can cause fish to absorb more chemicals into their flesh (which we end up eating!). These products are directly affecting our food supply and the health of our planet.

Homemade detergent is better for you and the planet

The good news is, it’s easy to avoid all of these risky substances with simple at-home solutions. You will probably end up saving some money, too, which never hurts! Most store-bought soaps will cost about 20 to 25 cents per load of laundry. On the other hand, homemade solutions can cost as little as three cents per load.

Using simple natural ingredients, such as soap nuts, may be all you need for getting your clothes clean. However, if you’re more comfortable using a powdered or liquid form of laundry soap, we have collected some easy recipes to make your own at home.

 

Homemade natural laundry detergent with borax, washing soda, grated bar soap and optional essential oils is a great natural alternative to harsh detergents, and much less expensive! This is a low-sudsing recipe and should be safe for high-efficiency washing machines.
Servings
1 glass jar
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
no cook
 
 
Ingredients
 
  • 1 bar of grated bar soap (homemade or natural store-bought)
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • 1 cup of borax
  • 20 drops of lemon or lime essential oils
 
  1. Grate the soap using a hand grater or food processor. Grate into fine particles so it dissolves easily.
     
  2. Carefully mix with the washing soda and borax (use gloves or a spoon as these can be drying to the skin).
     
  3. Add essential oils and stir.
     
  4. Store in an airtight glass jar.
     
  5. Use 1–2 tablespoons per load.
     
 

Simple Washing Powder Without Borax

This simple, homemade detergent is inexpensive to make and free of harmful chemicals. It does not use borax, which some people may wish to exclude, since it can be toxic when ingested in large quantities.
Servings
36 cups
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
no cook
 
 
Ingredients
 
  • 16 cups baking soda
  • 12 cups washing soda
  • 8 cups grated Castile soap
  • 3 tbsp lavender, lemon or grapefruit essential oil (optional)
 
Combine baking soda, washing soda and soap flakes.
  1. If using, add essential oil and mix with a wire whisk.
  2. Use 1/8 cup per load. 
     
 
 

Homemade Washing Soda

Many homemade laundry detergent recipes use washing soda. You may be able to buy this at a local store; however, if not, it’s easy to make your own by changing the composition of baking soda with heat.
Servings
1 serving
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
 
 
 
  1. Fill a wide baking dish with baking soda.
     
  2. Heat in the oven at 400°F until all the baking soda becomes washing soda. Occasionally mix it so that this process happens faster and more uniformly.
     
  3. Use as needed!
     

You will know the baking soda has become washing soda by the texture.

  • Washing soda is grainy; baking soda is powdery.
  • Washing soda is dull and opaque, baking soda is crystallized like salt and reflects light.
  • Washing soda has separate grains, baking soda clumps together.
 
 

Homemade liquid laundry soap

If you are more comfortable using liquid laundry soap, use the following recipe instead. It is a little bit more labor intensive than making powdered soap, but about 20 minutes of work will allow you to make five gallons worth. This should be enough to last a few months for even large families.

 

 

 

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soa

Add a few drops of you favorite essential oil to this liquid soap recipe for lasting freshness.
Servings
5 gallons
Prep Time
24 hours
Cook Time
no cook
 
 
Ingredients
 
  • 1 cup Borax (sodium borate) found in the laundry aisle of most grocery stores.
  • 1 cup washing soda (sodium carbonate or soda ash) is available on the laundry aisle of most grocery stores, or make your own with the recipe above.
  • A bar of natural and organic bar soap, or homemade soap
 
  1. Ask your local bakery, Sam’s Club/Costco or grocery store for any leftover five-gallon buckets with lids. They will give these to you for free.
     
  2. Grate the bar soap with a cheese grater or food processor.
     
  3. Put 4–4.5 gallons of warm or hot water into the five-gallon bucket.
     
  4. In a medium sized saucepan, heat 2 quarts of water until simmering.
     
  5. Pour grated soap in and stir slowly until dissolved.
     
  6. Pour hot soap mixture into the five-gallon bucket and stir well.
     
  7. Add optional ingredients if you plan to and stir well.
     
  8. Put lid on tightly and keep in corner overnight.
     
  9. The next day, remove the lid and stir again.
     
  10. Pour into empty gallon jars or bottles and store by the washer.
     
  11. Use 1/2 to 1 cup per load, depending on how dirty the clothes are.
     

Optionally, you may add the following extra ingredients:

  • Liquid Castile soap, for extra cleaning power and scent
  • Essential oils for scent
 Laundry pods

You can even go the next step in convenience and make your own all-in-one laundry pods. These pods should wash, remove stains, reduce static and soften clothing all at once.

Homemade All-In-One Laundry Pods

No need to spend a lot of money on laundry pods when you can make your own.
Servings
28 pods
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
no cook
 
 
Ingredients 
  • 1 1/2 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup Fels-Naptha, or another natural bar soap
  • 2 tbsp Epsom salts
  • 3 tbsp hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 15-20 drops essential oil
Equipment
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Grater
  • Sheet pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Measuring spoons
 
          1.Grate the bar of soap into the mixing bowl and add the washing soda and Epsom salts. Now add the hydrogen peroxide and give things a stir. Hydrogen peroxide naturally whitens clothes and keeps your colors fresh. Stir in the vinegar, which helps remove stains while leaving clothes soft. Then scent with several drops of your favorite essential oil Once everything is incorporated, the mixture should resemble wet sand and clump together when pressed. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper and then use a rounded 1 tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop up the mixture, press against the side of bowl, then tap out onto the pan. This will make about 28 pods. Finish with a quick spritz of equal parts vinegar and water. Let set for eight hours before using.Use one pod for small loads, or two pods for large or soiled loads

Here are some other smart alternatives for low-toxin clothing care:

  • Eliminate the use of fabric softeners by using 1/2 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle instead.
  • For tough loads of soiled laundry, baking soda naturally removes stains and brightens colors. You can even pre-treat stains with a combination of washing soda, water and baking soda.
  • Stop using dryer sheets. For fragrance, add a few drops of essential oil to a damp rag and throw it in the dryer with your laundry. Use dryer balls, such as those made of recycled wool, to reduce drying time, wrinkles and static. 

 

DIY Natural Dryer Sheets

These chemical-free dryer sheets are perfect for even those with the most sensitive skin.
Servings
2-3 loads
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
no cook
 
 
Ingredients
 
  • Old t-shirts or tea towels (cotton)
  • Essential oils of your choice
 Cut cotton cloth into small squares. 
  1. Add 3–5 drops of essential oil to your cloth and throw it in the dryer with your next load. These cotton dryer sheets can be used for 2 or 3 loads, each time adding 3 more drops of your favorite essential oil.
     
  2. Wash the cloth after a few uses and experiment with a new fragrance the next time! Some favorites are lavender, lemon, or grapefruit.
 

Next time you are folding the laundry, you can inhale that fresh scent knowing it’s all-natural and safe for not just the entire family, but the planet as well.

Role of nitric oxide in the body

What is nitric oxide and how does it work?
Some people think it’s the gas that makes us laugh at the dentist office. Some think it’s the fuel racecar drivers use to speed up their cars. But it’s neither. Nitric oxide is a molecule that our body produces to help its 50 trillion cells communicate with each other by transmitting signals throughout the entire body.

There have been over 60,000 studies done on nitric oxide in the last 20 years and in 1998, The Nobel Prize for Medicine was given to three scientists that discovered the signaling role of nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide has been shown to be important in the following cellular activities:

• Help memory and behavior by transmitting information between nerve cells in the brain
• Assist the immune system at fighting off bacteria and defending against tumors
• Regulate blood pressure by dilating arteries
• Reduce inflammation
• Improve sleep quality
• Increase your recognition of sense (i.e. smell)
• Increase endurance and strength
• Assist in gastric motility

Nitric oxide and heart disease
Nitric oxide has gotten the most attention due to its cardiovascular benefits. Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prize, was prescribed nitroglycerin over 100 years ago by his doctor to help with his heart problems. He was skeptical, knowing nitroglycerin was used in dynamite, but this chemical helped with his heart condition. Little did he know nitroglycerin acts by releasing nitric oxide which relaxes narrowed blood vessels, increasing oxygen and blood flow.

The interior surface (endothelium) of your arteries produce nitric oxide. When plaque builds up in your arteries, called atherosclerosis, you reduce your capacity to produce nitric oxide, which is why physicians prescribe nitroglycerin for heart and stroke patients.

Nitric oxide and erectile dysfunction
Viagra and other impotence medications work due to their action on the nitric oxide pathway. One cause of impotence is unhealthy and aged arteries that feed blood to the sexual organs. Viagra works by influencing enzymes in the nitric oxide pathway, causing a cascade of enzymatic reactions that enhance nitric oxide, causing more blood flow and better erections.

How to increase nitric oxide in your body
The most common way to increase nitric oxide is through exercise. When you run or lift weights, your muscles need more oxygen which is supplied by the blood. As the heart pumps with more pressure to supply the muscles with blood, the lining in your arteries releases nitric oxide into the blood, which relaxes and widens the vessel wall, allowing for more blood to pass though. As we age, our blood vessels and nitric oxide system become less efficient due to free radical damage, inactivity, and poor diet, causing our veins and arteries to deteriorate. Think of a fire hose as water rushes through it to put out a fire – it needs to expand enough to handle the pressure, still keeping enough force to put out the fire. Athletes and youth have the most optimal nitric oxide systems, reflecting their energy and resilience.

Diagram 1Another way to increase nitric oxide is through diet, most notably by consuming the amino acids L-arginine and L-citrulline. Arginine, which can be found in nuts, fruits, meats and dairy, and directly creates nitric oxide and citrulline inside the cell (diagram 1).(6) Citrulline is then recycled back into arginine, making even more nitric oxide. Enzymes that convert arginine to citrulline, and citrulline to arginine need to function optimally for efficient nitric oxide production. We can protect those enzymes and nitric oxide by consuming healthy foods and antioxidants, like fruit, garlic, soy, vitamins C and E, Co-Q10, and alpha lipoic acid, allowing you to produce more nitric oxide. Nitric oxide only lasts a few seconds in the body, so the more antioxidant protection we provide, the more stable it will be and the longer it will last. Doctors are utilizing this science by coating stents (mesh tubes that prop open arteries after surgery) with drugs that produce nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide for athletes and bodybuilders

Increasing nitric oxide has become the new secret weapon for athletes and bodybuilders. Athletes are now taking supplements with L-arginine and L-citrulline to support the flow of blood and oxygen to the skeletal muscle. They also use them to facilitate the removal of exercise-induced lactic acid build-up which reduces fatigue and recovery time. Since arginine levels become depleted during exercise, the entire arginine-nitric oxide – citrulline loop can lose efficiency, causing less-than-ideal nitric oxide levels and higher lactate levels. Supplements can help restore this loop allowing for better workouts and faster recovery from workouts.

With nitric oxide deficiencies due to aging, inactivity, smoking, high cholesterol, fatty diets, and lack of healthy foods, increasing your nitric oxide levels can help increase your energy, vitality and overall wellness. The basic adage of eating well and staying active all makes sense now.

What is nitric oxide?

Nitric oxide is a colourless gas. It is also known as nitrogen monoxide and has the chemical formula NO.

Nitric oxide molecule is synthesized from molecular nitrogen and oxygen at very high temperatures of >10000C. This occurs naturally in the environment during lightning.

In the laboratory nitric oxide can be produced by reduction of nitric acid or nitrous acid. Nitric oxide has a melting point of -163.6°C (109.6 K) and a boiling point of -151.7°C (121.4 K).

Nitric oxide is called a free radical because it contains single unpaired electrons in its molecule. Hence it is reactive, and has a half-life of only a few seconds.

It is considered as an air pollutant responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer. Nitric oxide reacts with oxygen (O2) and ozone (O3) to form nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a brown fume and an environmental pollutant. Nitric oxide generated from automobile engines, industries and power plants is the cause of acid rain and smog.

However, this toxic environmental pollutant has also been shown to be a very important signalling molecule in the human body.

 

What is the role of nitric oxide in the body?

Some of the known functions of nitric oxide are listed in the table below.

Cardiovascular system
  • Controls vascular tone.
  • Relaxes vascular smooth muscles and reduces blood pressure.
  • Dilates vessels and relieves the pain of angina.
  • Inhibits the aggregation of platelets within the vessels and prevents thrombotic events.
Nervous system
  • Acts as a neurotransmitter, including in the autonomic nervous system.
  • Increases cerebral blood flow and oxygenation to the brain.
  • One of the important mediators in penile erection during sexual arousal.
Lungs
  • Dilates pulmonary vessels.
  • Beneficial in Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Pulmonary hypertension and ChronicObstructive Airway Disease.
  • Produced in abnormal amounts in inflammatory lung conditions.
  • Concentration of NO in exhaled air can be taken as a marker of airway inflammation.
Gastrointestinal tract
  • Regulates the relaxation of smooth muscles.
  • Controls peristalsis and the function of sphincters.
Renal system
  • Due to its vasodilatory effect, increases blood flow to the kidney.
  • Increases the glomerular filtration rate and the production of urine.
Immune system
  • Modulates T cell-mediated immune response.

What is the role of nitric oxide in the skin?

Nitric oxide controls cutaneous microcirculation.

  • It modulates the vasodilator response of the skin to local warming and ultraviolet-B (UVB).
  • It mediates cutaneous oedema and inflammation.
  • It is involved in skin pigmentation through ultraviolet induced melanogenesis.
  • It may contribute to impaired barrier function.
  • It promotes wound healing by cellular proliferation and angiogenesis.

Nitric oxide has shown antimicrobial properties against micro-organisms.

  • Bacteria – Staphylococcus aureus
  • Dermatophytes – Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes
  • Yeasts – Candida albicans

Nitric oxide also plays an important role in T-cell mediated diseases of the skin, and it has both pro and anti-apoptotic properties depending on its concentration, cell type and availability of other substrates.

How is nitric oxide produced in the human body?

Humans produce nitric oxide by several mechanisms.

  • From the amino acid L-arginine by the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS)
  • From inorganic nitrates in green leafy vegetables, fruits, cereals and cured meat

Nitric oxide synthase has 3 isoforms:

  • Neuronal NOS – nNOS or NOS I
  • Endothelial NOS – eNOS or NOS III
  • Inducible NOS – iNOS or NOS II

Neuronal NOS and endothelial NOS are constitutive enzymes. Their levels are relatively steady in the human body. They are found in endothelial cells, neurons, skeletal muscles, epithelial cells and many other tissues.

Inducible NOS is inducible and stimulated by specific cytokines. Most cells in the human body synthesize iNOS in response to inflammatory conditions.

How does the skin produce nitric oxide?

As all 3 isoforms of NOS are present either in the epidermal cells, dermal cells or both, skin can produce nitric oxide by an enzyme dependent mechanism.

Human skin is capable of releasing nitric oxide in an enzyme independent manner. This is due to photolysis of nitric oxide stores by UVA.

Nitric oxide is also produced by reduction of sweat nitrate by skin commensal bacteria, in particular Staphylococci.

How is nitric oxide stored in the human body?

Nitric oxide does not usually exist as nitric oxide in the body due to its unstable nature but reacts with other molecules to form more stable products.

  • In the blood, nitric oxide has a very short half-life and rapidly oxidizes to nitrite. It is then further oxidized with oxyhaemoglobin to produce nitrate. Nitric oxide also reacts directly with oxyhaemoglobin to give rise to methhaemoglobin and nitrate.
  • Reactions with cysteine residues in proteins lead to formation of nitrosylated products. Because of its high affinity to sulfhydryl groups (thiols), S-nitrosothiols (RSNOs) are the most common nitrosylated product in plasma.

Nitrate is the main storage form of nitric oxide. It is very stable when compared with other storage forms like nitrites and RSNOs, but these are important carriers and donor molecules of nitric oxide.

How can you test for nitric acid?

There are no tests for nitric acid, as it is too unstable. Instead, nitrates, nitrites and nitrosylated compounds may be measured using the following tests.

  • Griess assay
  • Saville assay
  • Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy
  • Chemiluminescence method

Nitric oxide deficiency

Deficiency of nitric oxide is suspected to have a role in several disorders.

  • Essential hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Congenital abnormalities, including achalasia cardia, hypertrophic pyloric stenosis, and Hirschsprung disease
  • Chronic kidney disease

In the skin, insufficient nitric oxide may result in psoriasis by promoting cell proliferation and reducing differentiation of skin cells.

  • Reduced eNOS levels in the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels in the skin is believed to contribute to systemic sclerosis and morphoea (localised scleroderma).

Excessive nitric oxide

Consuming food rich in nitrates and nitrites increases the level of nitric acid and its storage form. Just as deficiency of nitric oxide can lead to disease, too much can also cause disease.

Nitric oxide is released from the cerebral vasculature, brain tissue and nerve endings.

  • It may cause headache in migraine.
  • It may damage brain cells leading to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, Huntington disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Nitric oxide produced by β cells in the pancreas may damage the cells (apoptosis) causing type 1 diabetes.

In the skin, ultraviolet irradiation may lead to excessive nitric oxide production by enzyme dependent and independent mechanisms.

HEALING POWER OF ONION

The Almighty Onion…is she more powerful than we previously thought? This is an interesting topic that I discovered online several times in various forms, all relating to the theory that if you put an onion in the room of a person who is sick, the onion will ‘absorb’ the illness, and sometimes in just a few hours, the person is better. It seemed unbelievable, but I thought to myself, “Remember that one Jennifer, and if you ever need it, you have nothing to lose by giving the onion theory a try.”


Cut an onion in half to absorb bad smells & even ‘pull’ viruses/sickness from the air

A few points to note on Onion Healing:

This is not a new idea. Onions were used by certain individuals in Europe to successfully fight off the plague in the early 1900’s. Ayurvedic medicine has been using an onion poultice for the chest or feet to cure coughs, fevers and flus for centuries. They also use the onion poultice to reduce pain and inflammation in the joints. Homeopathic doctors also use the healing power of onions to heal from viruses and illness. I even know people in the North American Hutterite community, a pacifist community similar to the Amish whose traditions date back to the 16th century, who tell me it is common practice to place onions in their homes during winter flu season and to use cut onions in the room of an ill person to relieve their symptoms quickly and naturally.

It is said that white onions work better than red onions. Yellow onions would be an acceptable alternative, but white onions, with the latin name Allium Cepa, work best.

The onions need to be peeled if left around the home as a preventive measure against flu and viruses. Many people do this during flu season and find that no one gets sick, whereas in previous years with no onions, they had several members of the family fall ill. If placed around the home for prevention, the onions should be replaced every 3 months.

If someone falls ill with a cough, flu, cold or fever, immediately place a peeled white onion cut in half in a bowl in their room. The onion needs to be cut in half in order to expose the most amount of ‘healing power’ from its pungent odor.

Cut onions can also be used to eliminate mold smells in a closet, drawer or room.

It’s best not to leave a cut onion open in the fridge (to eat later) because as soon as an onion is cut, it will start to absorb bacteria, etc. So, if you cut an onion for a salad, either use the whole thing or put the other half in your garage or basement to absorb bad smells! Once the onion is in a salad in a sealed container, it is safe and can be eaten at a later time.

Perhaps the most interesting onion remedy is the Sock Onion. This is a ‘modern-day’ version of the Ayurvedic poultice, and involves cutting the white onion in half and placing one half on the bottom of each foot so that the cut onion is against the skin. Place a sock on top of the onion so it stays secure in place and leave the ‘Onion Sock’ on overnight. This is especially good for flus and fevers. One of my twitter followers recently shared her success with the Sock Onion:

 

Health Benefits of Onions

Onions are rich in sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their strong odor. Sulfur is a powerful detox element and helps the body to release toxins, especially for the liver. Foods naturally high in sulfur also help the body to detox from heavy metals like lead, arsenic and cadmium.

The onion is the richest dietary source of quercitin, a powerful antioxidant flavonoid that has been shown to thin the blood, lower cholesterol, ward off blood clots, and fight asthma, chronic bronchitis, hay fever, diabetes, atherosclerosis and infections and is even linked to inhibiting certain types of cancer.

Onions are also naturally anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral. That, of course, is when you eat them!

 

Turmeric

The use of turmeric dates back to nearly 4,000 years ago to the Vedic culture in India. Back then it was used primarily as a cooking spice, with some religious significance. Today, it has migrated across the globe for a range of applications, both culinary and medicinal. While there are some skeptics about its medicinal efficacy, there are thousands of peer-reviewed studies to date highlighting turmeric’s versatility in whole-body healing.

Turmeric can improve digestion, control unwanted facial hair, remove dandruff, enhance memory, fade stretch marks and much, much more. Is there anything it can’t do? Maybe, but this beloved Indian spice continues to surge in popularity year after year as the world discovers its numerous health benefits. Google searches for turmeric have increased 300 percent in the last five years, along with other superfoods like coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. So go ahead — jump on the bandwagon.


A healthy lifestyle with turmeric may help prevent disease and overmedication.

Let’s think about the modern medical system for a moment, and how it differs from alternative health. Consider this scenario: you’re tired, stressed and you’re eating out all the time. You come down with a nasty infection and head straight to the doctor. They prescribe you antibiotics. Over the course of a week, your meds wipe out the bacteria in your gut, both good and bad. You’re cured of the first infection, but get walloped with a second infection while you’re immune system is down, paving the way for more medications with more side effects. On and on until you’re 100 percent better… a month later.

That’s our modern medical system — a reactionary approach.

Now, consider this: All year round you eat organic, whole foods and stay away from junk food. You meditate, you hydrate, you exercise, you get eight hours of sleep a night. You lead a low-stress lifestyle, you supplement your diet with plenty of probiotics and you sprinkle turmeric on many of your recipes. When everyone around you gets an infection, you might get sick. However, because you’ve strengthened your immune system through the seasons, chances are your body will be able to fight off the infection on its own.

That’s alternative health — a proactive approach.

In the first scenario, you’ve caused your body unnecessary damage, which takes time and resources to fix. In the second case, you’ve relied on your body’s own faculties to take care of the problem before it strikes. That’s where turmeric fits in. It can be used as part of an overall healthy lifestyle to give your body the support it deserves. Here are ten ways that turmeric can improve your health:

1. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties

This sunny spice belongs at the top of our list for its inflammation-fighting powers. Chronic inflammation caused by a poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle causes dangerous diseases over the long haul, including cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and more. Adding turmeric to your diet is a simple way to add a kick of flavor to your dishes while allowing your body to do what it does best: keep you healthy. Turns out, the active compound in turmeric — curcumin — is on par with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, without all the harmful side effects.

2. It’s an antidepressant

Yes, a simple spice may really be able to improve your mood. In one study, researchers tested stressed-out lab rats displaying depression-like symptoms along with adrenal issues, caused by a prolonged elevation in stress hormones. Surprisingly, they found that curcumin helped to alleviate negative physiological effects. “These results provide compelling evidence that the behavioral effects of curcumin in chronically stressed animals, and by extension humans, may be related to their modulating effects on the HPA axis and neurotrophin factor expressions,” wrote the authors. That’s fancy talk for curcumin’s powerful impact on the brain.

3. It kills cancer cells

Over the years, researchers have examined curcumin’s role in treating various forms of cancer. Several studies have found that curcumin can significantly inhibit the development and movement of cancer cells through the body. It does this by reducing the growth of new blood vessels in tumors, called angiogenesis. Curcumin may also contribute to the cancer cell death directly, though more research is needed in this area.

4. It reduces pain


The curcumin in turmeric can help to relieve pain.

Chronic pain is one of the biggest problems in our country, sending many towards over-the-counter or prescription pain medications. The problem is, they are more dangerous than you might think. For example, acetaminophen, sold under the name Tylenol, is associated with 50 percent of acute liver failure in the states. “Tylenol is responsible for more than 56,000 emergency room visits, 2,600 hospitalizations and an estimated 458 deaths due to acute liver failure each year,” says a study published in Hepatology. Curcumin, on the other hand, may alleviate pain naturally, according to researchers.

5. It increases cognitive capacity

Alzheimer’s disease has been linked to low levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an important neurologic growth hormone. Several studies have shown that curcumin in turmeric can increase levels of BDNF in the human brain, perhaps causing neurological disorders to delay or even reverse. Additionally, scientists now suspect that curcumin may improve memory and increase cognitive capacity, something we could all use a little more of.

6. It fights heart disease

Endothelial dysfunction is a common cause of heart disease. It occurs when the endothelium (the lining on your blood vessels) can no longer regulate blood pressure and clotting. Fortunately, researchers have found that curcumin can help your endothelium by raising nitric oxide availability and reducing oxidative stress, similar to exercise. Improved endothelial function means you have a lower risk of heart disease. Thanks, turmeric!  

7. It reduces symptoms of arthritis

In one study, researchers evaluated three groups of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. They gave one group 500 milligrams of curcumin, another group diclofenac sodium (50 milligrams), and a third group with the combination of the two. They found that the curcumin group had the highest reduction in tenderness and swelling of the joints. “These scores were significantly better than the patients in the diclofenac sodium group. More importantly, curcumin treatment was found to be safe and did not relate with any adverse events,” wrote the study authors.  

8. It can alleviate PMS symptoms


Turmeric may be able to alleviate PMS symptoms.

A study published in Neuropeptides found that curcumin contains properties that can alleviate PMS symptoms. The researchers conducted a trial on 70 young women. Half of the participants took curcumin for three menstrual cycles, while the other half took a placebo. At the end of the study, researchers discovered that PMS symptoms were “significantly reduced” for the curcumin group.

9. It can help irritable bowel disease (IBD)

Researchers have found that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties may prove beneficial for the GI tract, perhaps by blocking inflammatory cytokines. In one study, researchers gave patients 360 milligrams of curcumin three or four times a day over the course of three months. At the end of the study, they found that curcumin significantly reduced clinical relapse in patients with IBD. Though the research so far looks promising, more studies are needed to confirm the link.

10. It can treat skin issues

Turmeric may be able to provide therapeutic benefits for your skin health. In one meta-analysis, researchers reviewed eight studies on the topical application of turmeric and its effects on the skin. The skin conditions included acne, alopecia, atopic dermatitis, facial photoaging, oral lichen planus, pruritus, psoriasis, radiodermatitis and vitiligo. Researchers noted “statistically significant improvement” in dermatological issues for the curcumin treatment group in comparison to the control group.

Benefits of sattu

Sattu is traditional Indian Fast food, It is consumed as energy drink, which helps keep our body fit & fine.
It energizes & refreshes whereas other fast food causes damage to out body. Sattu is beneficial across all age groups.For children

  • Children beyond the age of 7-8 years should consume 2 tsp. of Sattu daily. Regular consumption by children helps provide sufficient nutrition to their growing needs.
  • Sattu is a wholesome diet for growing children.

For ladies 

  • Special requirement of ladies can be met by Sattu as it replenishes lost nutrition.
  • Regular consumption of Sattu is very helpful for keeping them perfectly in shape.


For youth 

  • Young generation is very concerned for their academics, health and smartness.
  • To meet their challenges they need a balanced wholesome diet. So as to provide continuous energy.
  • Sattu a natural food is also a balanced diet. It keeps them fit and fresh and maintains glow on the skin.

For middle age group

  • Medium age group people have to fulfill their social, family and professional responsibilities.
  • Regular Consumption of natural food Sattu helps them being energetic and improves stamina.

For old age group 

  • Regular Consumption of sattu by senior age group is again beneficial.
  • Senior citizens are advised to consume the required quantity of Sattu in regard to their personal digestive abilities.

Other benefits of sattu 

  • Sattu is helpful in diabetic conditions. Regular consumption is advised in the form of energy drink or in Roti formation along with Barley (Jow) Atta.
  • Low blood pressure people can benefit by drinking Sattu mixed with water,Salt, Cummin powder & Lemon.
  • Most of the stomach disorders are generated by improper digestive system. Sattu keeps stomach cool and clean. Sattu helps fight constipation.
  • Improper feeding habits and consumption of junk food has enhanced the problem of acidity. Regular consumption of Sattu is very helpful in keeping us fit and fine from the problem of gas and acidity.
  • For those involved in heavy work or those who have to be seated for long hours, Sattu keeps refreshed whole day.
  • Regular consumption of Sattu protects from heat wave during hot season.

Sattu, being a balanced diet, benefit all people. Regular consumption keeps us healthy always

Sattu, the Healthy Flour You Should Add to Your Diet

Sattu, the Healthy Flour You Should Add to Your Diet

One of the most indigenous protein sources of India, sattu is no stranger to the locals of Bihar, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, UP, and West Bengal. Usually served as a sharbat by street vendors at the peak of summer, sattu, typically made of roasted Bengal gram, has a near-instant cooling effect on the body. And when made into balls, to be eaten with curry, it becomes a powerhouse of energy. The ‘poor man’s protein’ as it is often referred to is not only tasty, but packed with a lot of health benefits as well. The old school method of making sattu would involve drying roasting Bengal gram in sand (as peanuts are on the roads), using a sieve to strain the sand, and then pounding the roasted gram to a powder.

Some people even use a mix of chickpea and Bengal gram to make sattu, and that adds an interesting twist to the flavour. In Punjab, sattu is usually made with barley. In fact, the drink made with this flour can easily be the equivalent of a lemon barley drink.

At home, an iron wok to roast the gram is enough, and you don’t really need sand for it. But then again with sattu available commercially, one no longer has the need to make the flour at home. You can even buy sattu combined with wheat, barley or sorghum (jowar) from the supermarket.

The Health Benefits

Apart from providing the body with energy, what makes sattu quite a unique ingredient is that its prepping process (dry roasting) keeps the nutritional values in place, and it can also be stored for longer. It’s high on insoluble fiber, which makes it good for your intestines, and is low on glycemic index, making it safe, and in fact beneficial for diabetics. Plus it has good proportions of iron, manganese, and magnesium, and is low on sodium too.

sattu chickpea flour

So whether you’re watching your weight or suffering from digestion problems, a glass of sattu sharbat, or even rotis made from sattu will go a long way in keeping you healthy. And did you know that sattusharbat is also a brilliant way to detoxify the system of greasy food? It also contributes generously to the growth of muscle mass, and it’s advised that children are given about two teaspoons of sattu every day.

How to Use Sattu

One of the easiest uses of sattu is to make a sharbat. In Bihar and Jharkhand, the famous litti is made with sattu. Plus you can make parathas, upma, or even porridge with it.

sattu-puri

To make the sharbat, which can either be sweet or salted, you will need some powdered jaggery, lemon juice and chilled water. Mix the jaggery powder and the sattu together, and then blend the two together with some water till it forms a smooth paste. Add more chilled water to it and stir well. Some like to strain the drink to prevent the grainy texture of the sattu (it eventually settles at the bottom) from getting into the mouth. Squeeze a bit of lemon into it and your drink is ready.

To make it salted, omit the jaggery and use some black or rock salt in it. If you’re using plain salt, a pinch of chaat masala might help to enhance the flavour. The lemon juice adds to the taste. You can even add chopped mint leaves or coriander, and one chopped chilli (for that extra bite) to the drink to spike it. It’s exceptionally good for beating the heat, in case you didn’t know it already.
The traditional dish from Bihar, the litti is also an evening snack. Typically served with chokha (potato, brinjal, and tomatoes), the stuffing that goes inside the wheat casing has sattu mixed with green chillies, roasted cumin seeds, finely chopped ginger and garlic, amchoor (dried mango powder), chopped coriander, lemon juice, and carom seeds, which are bound with mustard oil and water. This mix is then made into a dough, stuffed into the casing, and fried.

For those who enjoy parathas with their breakfast, this stuffed version is quite popular in UP and Bihar. While the paratha is the usual wheat version, the stuffing is made with sattu flour, finely chopped onions, green chillies, garlic (if you like it), chopped coriander leaves, chopped ginger, kalonji, panch phoron, lemon juice, salt and mustard oil. If you use little oil to fry the parathas, it’s not just delicious but healthy too.
If you’re not watching calories, sattu ke laddoos can be a tasty snack too, and it’s one of the easiest ones to make. All you need is some honey, ghee, and sattu. Mix the ingredients together and shape them into balls, and it’s ready.

Berries-Extremely high in antioxidants

Berries have been shown to be some of the healthiest foods on the planet. It seems new research is constantly being published and berries are being recognized and analyzed for their health giving properties.

Extremely high in antioxidants, berries are among my favorite foods. In no specific order, these are berries that are extremely high health benefits:

1. Goji Berries

Goji Berries

Sometimes called Chinese Wolfberry or Mede Berry, traditional societies link this potent berry to sexual vitality, happiness, longevity, and overall physical strength. Grown in Tibet and Nepal, goji berries have been scientifically linked to possessing the ability to fight negative health conditions and protect the liver from contaminates.

Deep red in color, goji berries are composed of 18 essential amino acids, 21 trace minerals, vitamins B1, B2, B6, and E, linoleic acid, selenium, germanium, and more beta carotene than the common carrot.

A study from the Chinese Journal of Oncology found that patients with cancer responded better to treatment when goji berries were added to their daily diet.

2. Blueberries

blueberries

The blueberry is an antioxidant powerhouse. That deep blue color is related to high amounts of phytonutrients called anthocyanidins [1]. These phytonutrients aid in the process of neutralizing free radical damage in our cells.

Overtime, the collagen matrix of our tissues and cells begins to deteriorate. Blueberries help to keep this from happening, with a high capacity for free-radical neutralization.

A recent study from Tufts University analyzed over 50 common fruits and vegetables for hard scientific data on their antioxidant capabilities. Blueberries consistently ranked at the top of this list.

Blueberries also help to reduce our chances of developing diseases related to redness of the cells. This includes a reduced risk for heart disease, cataracts, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, glaucoma, and peptic ulcers. The American Institute for Cancer Research states, “We now know that blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants, substances that can slow the aging process and reduce cell damage that can lead to cancer.”

3. Acai Berries

Acai Berries

The acai berry is a relatively new-found health treasure. Once only known in the forests of the Amazon rainforest, the acai berry was traditionally used as a powerfully healing, energy-boosting fruit.

Similar to red wine, acai berries are dense in levels of anthocyanins, a substance associated with heart health and lowered levels of cholesterol.

Due to their strong antioxidant contents, acai berries are also related to slowing the process of aging and preventing diseases related to cellular oxidative damage. One acai berry holds ten times the amount of antioxidant vitamins as grapes, and two times the amount of blueberries.

4. Bilberries

Bilberry

Three times smaller than the blue berry, but similar in appearance and flavor, bilberries are extremely high in antioxidant anthocyanidins.

Bilberries are known for helping diabetes, as anthocyanidins protect the lining of blood vessels from being degenerated through the process of toxic oxidation [2]. Bilberries have also been linked to possessing components that aid in the ability to increase night vision, protect the eyes, and reduce the occurrence of poor vision, cataracts, and macular degeneration [3].

Bilberries also hold components that increase the amount of blood flow to the circulatory vessels. This allows them to be useful in treating conditions related to circulatory problems such as varicose veins and hemorrhoids. Bilberries are best taken in a supplement or extract form.

5. Strawberries

There are over 600 varieties of strawberries on the earth so you won’t have to look hard to find this deep-red health booster. Strawberries are high in antioxidant phytonutrients known as phenols. Phenols are responsible for protecting us from disease and promoting good health.

Studies show that strawberries may also help protect the brain with a powerful antioxidant capacity. Strawberries reduce macular degeneration of the eyes, and are an excellent source of potassium, fiber, many B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, iodine, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and copper.

One study from Cornell University demonstrated that strawberries stopped the proliferation of HepG(2) liver cancer cells [4]. Another study showed that a substance found in the berry called isothiocyanate inhibited esophageal cancer.

 

6. Blackberries

Blackberries are more than just powerful antioxidants. They are also extremely high in some of the highest forms of chronic disease and cancer-fighting compounds: vitamins C, E, and ellagic acid. They also hold high levels the soluble fiber known as pectin, a substance that studies link to lowered levels of cholesterol. Related to the rose, lab studies on these thorny-bushed berries at Ohio State University showed the ability to stop tumor formation in the oral cavity, as well as proliferation of colon cancer cells.

7. Cherries

Cherries

Cherries are high in quercetin and ellagic acid. This antioxidant flavonoid has been shown to promote cell and tissue health.

Cherries are also high in anthocyanins and bioflavonoids, substances related to reducing the joint and muscle discomfort. Cherries also contain melatonin, an important natural chemical related to healthy sleep rhythms and maintaining a youthful appearance.

Growing Your Own Berries

Most berries are fairly easy to grow and are fun to pick and eat first thing in the morning for breakfast. I recommend purchased berries be organically certified. Although not listed, raspberries are extremely high in ellagic acid and also have tremendous health benefits.

Science behind OM mantra.

Today, lets study the science behind OM mantra.

One of the most popular misconception about “OM” is that it is religious. On the contrary, it is the most universal syllable because it neither refers to any particular religion nor God. There have been several theories behind the OM mantra with the most popular explanation being that it was the cosmic sound which initiated the creation of universe (big bang theory). But that alone would not have been sufficient to turn it into a regular practice in Indian culture.

As with most of the traditional practices followed in India, this also has a scientific and practical explanation (based on the physics of sound, vibrations & resonance) with some long term benefit and we shall find out what it really is.

chakras

What is mantra?
In its most rudimentary form, a mantra is made of syllables which exert their influence by means of sound (vibrations). As one would have personally experienced, different syllables have different vibration patterns which affect different parts of the body. Each syllable resonates with certain organ or part of the body.

For example, by chanting “aaaaaaa”, one can feel the sensation and hence resonance of nervous system in the stomach and chest region. Chanting “ooooo” creates sensations in throat & chest region and resonates with them. Similarly, chanting/humming “mmmm” resonates with the nasal cavity as well as skull/brain region.

Here is a short clip in which a Doctor explains the same:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WAgbYYcCkE

What happens when we concatenate (join together) the above syllables into one mantra? We get the AUM mantra which when chanted sequentially activates the stomach, spinal cord, throat, nasal and brain regions. The energy moves from the abdomen all the way up to the brain, thereby channelizing energy and activating the spinal cord & brain.

Following is an excerpt from a research paper which shows the waveform of A-U-M mantra made up of 3 syllables.

AUM_waveforms
Research paper:
http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/9347/1/IJTK%203(2)%20154-161.pdf

One of the most popular claims made by Yogis is that chanting Om mantra improves our concentration, gives peace and steadiness to our mind, reduces mental stress and clears all worldly thoughts. Although those who practice it regularly would have experienced it first hand and affirm the same, scientists were curious to find out more about it and verify such claims with the help of science & technology.

Few years ago, scientists conducted an experiment in which participants who had never chanted Om mantra were asked to chant it for few minutes and each of their chants were recorded. The time frequency analysis of it showed irregular waveforms which indicated unsteadiness in the mind. They were asked to chant the mantra on a regular basis and after few days, the experiment was repeated. The time-frequency analysis this time had some startling revelations. The waveforms were improved with regular spacing, had almost perfect symmetry and harmony. Not only had these participants witnessed dramatic improvements in focus, concentration & steadiness, but found themselves to be in peace, witnessed reduction in mental stress & could remain calm all the time.

time_frequency_analysis
Research paper:

http://paper.ijcsns.org/07_book/200808/20080825.pdf

In another such instance, scientists conducted experiments to study the effect of Om mantra on nervous system through repeated practice. Using sophisticated software tools, mathematical transforms were applied to raw samples of the chantings and similar results (improvements in focus concentration, steadiness, peace, reduction in stress etc) were observed.
spectrogram_analysis
Research paper:

http://paper.ijcsns.org/07_book/200901/20090151.pdf

In another experiment, scientists analyzed functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans (f-MRI scans) before & after Om mantra chanting and concluded that regular chanting of Om mantra can treat depression & epilepsy as well.

resonance_imaging_png
Research paper:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3099099/

Recent findings in the medical field confirms that chanting can lower blood pressure.

chants_bp
News Report:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1258234/Chants-fine-thing-It-sound-daft-doctors-believe-meditation-really-lower-blood-pressure.html

Another research at molecular level reveals that chanting Om can even alter genes for better well-being!!

om_genes
News report:

http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2013/05/genes-altered-after-relaxation-practice

Research paper:
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0062817

Hence, based on scientific experiments & research studies, we can now confirm the age old claims made by Yogis that chanting Om mantra reduces mental stress, cures depression, improves focus & concentration, calms the mind and leads to better well-being, peace & happiness.

25 Valuable Benefits Of The OM Mantra

  • Chanting of the Om Mantra purifies the environment around you and creates positive vibrations.
  • The Om not only benefits the person who is chanting it but also to the people around them wherever its vibrations flow.
  • It cleanses your aura.
  • Your concentration increases when you chant this universal hymn.
  • The ॐ chanting removes toxin from your body. It is said to give you better immunity and self-healing power.
  • It improves your concentration and helps you focus on whatever your goals may be.
  • The chanting actually improves your voice by giving strength to your vocal cords and the muscles around it. This is very helpful during old age.
  • The ॐ chanting produces a vibration and sound which is felt through your vocal cords and sinuses. The vibrations open up the sinuses to clear the airways.
  • The Om Mantra has cardiovascular benefits – by relaxing our mind and body, our blood pressure will decrease and our heart will beat with regular rhythm.
  • Through chanting and meditation, you can have better control over your emotions, thus allowing you to see situations with a clear and rational mind.
  • Regular chanting of this Mantra will take you on a spiritual journey to greater happiness and positivity, but only if it is done daily for a longer period of time. Mantras are not and overnight fix to your problems – you must have patience and learn the correct techniques.
  • When the OM Mantra is chanted in a group, the effects are amplified and this will produce immense positive vibrations which charge up the entire vicinity.
  • Some people have also claimed to lose weight through ॐ chanting as it puts your entire body in a heightened state of sensitivity – its vibrations are thought to stimulate your metabolism which would lead to weight loss.
  • It has been our experience that Om can even help cleanse your skin. The massive levels of internal positive energy and a cleansed aura that come from chanting the Om Mantra regularly will be reflected externally with a sunny glow on your face and body.
  • Your spinal cord is strengthened through the vibrations caused by sound of Aaaa. As this sound is generated from abdomen, it helps to strenthen the supporting muscles of the spinal cord.
  • The sound uuu is created by vocal cords which benefit the thyroid glands and the throat.
  • It is said that rubbing your hands together while ॐ chanting and putting those charged hands on different parts of body heals or activates those body parts.
  • If those energy charged hands are put on your eyes, your eye sight will start improving.

Om is called the sound of one hand clapping. Om is the eternal sound; Om is the sound which is there in the universe all the time.

All the saints in the past, when they went deep into meditation, they just heard Om. So, Om means many things. It means love, eternity, purity, peace. Om is made up of several dhatus: ah-ooh-ma. Just ‘ah’ has 19 meanings.

You can derive some several thousand meanings from Om. All those meanings are attributed to Om, soOm is the seed of the whole creation; Om is the sound of creation.

In Bible too, it is said, ‘In the beginning there was a word and the word was with God and the word was God’. That is Om.

There they don’t say which word; the word is Om.

It is in all the religions in some or the other form. That is the true name, ‘Ek Omkar Sat Naam’. Om means truth. It is the name of the infinity or the Divinity. It means love. It is the origin of the universe. There is a beautiful verse in the Guru Granth Sahib, which begins with ‘Ek Omkar Sat Naam, Karta Purakh’ – FromOm everything has come, in Om everything dwells, and into Om everything will dissolve; both matter and consciousness.

The best thing is that it is a complete vibration. ‘Ah’ – affects the lower part of the body, ‘Ooh’ – affects the middle part, ‘Mm’ – affects the upper part. The total prana is represented by one syllable Om. Before birth, we were part of that sound and after death we will merge with that sound; the sound of the spirit. So, you can say many things about Om; there is a whole Upanishad, the Mandukya Upanishad, which is all about Om.

Now, why don’t we take only Om as a mantra? Why do we need any other mantra to chant during meditation? Before meditation, you chant Om and create the vibration, but for meditation you need different mantras. Just Om is not used; Hari Om or Om Namah Shivaya, or something else is used along with Om.

Only recluses, those who want to do nothing with the world, or are very old are allowed to do chant Om. Those who don’t have anything to do with the world only they are allowed to do just Om. Even then, it is not advisable.

In an early study, middle latency auditory evoked potentials (0-100 ms range) were examined in seven proficient subjects before and during the practice of Om meditation.[14] Such a study helped in understanding how neural processing at various levels could change differently during a meditation practice in which thoughts are focused on a word or phrase without a conscious effort to do so (i.e., meditation on the syllable Om). Similar records were also obtained in seven age-matched “naive” subjects before and during a control period which involved sitting with eyes closed, and with no special instructions for focusing their thoughts. However, there was a small but consistent reduction in the peak latency of the Nb wave (the maximum negativity occurring between 35 and 65 ms). This reduction was observed consistently during three repeat sessions of each subject, while the “naive” subjects did not show this change. These results suggest that during meditation, neural processing at the middle latency auditory evoked potentials level does change and the intersubject variability of middle latency auditory evoked potentials precludes using them as the method of choice for assessing the effects of meditation. Hence middle latency auditory evoked potentials demonstrate small, yet significant changes in the neural activity during meditations.

A subsequent study assessed the effects of OM meditation on middle latency auditory evoked potentials. The experienced meditators showed a significant increase in the peak amplitude of the Na wave (the maximum negative peak between 14 and 18 ms) during the meditation with a significant decrease in the Na wave peak amplitude during the control session [Figure 1]. Hence during mental repetition of a meaningful syllable (Om) and of a neutral syllable (One), neural changes occurred at the same level (possibly diencephalic) though in opposite directions. To detail this, a significant increase in the peak amplitude of the Na wave occurred during mental chanting of Om compared to a significant decrease in the Na wave peak amplitude during a control period of mental chanting of a neutral syllable One. It is recognized that an increase in amplitude is correlated with an increase in the number of neurons recruited, whereas a decrease in amplitude has the reverse connotations.

Figure 1

Experienced meditattors versus non-meditators:Importance of motivation. (Typical example of AEP-MLRs during meditation in an experienced subject (left,12 years experience) and a novice (right, 10 days experience). Telles et al. 1994, Internal J. Neurosci.)

Studies conducted by Telles and Desiraju and Telles et al. reported changes in peak latencies of middle latency auditory evoked potential components which reflect changes at subcortical and primary auditory cortex levels. These were suggestive of a decrease in sensory transmission time at these neural levels during the practice of meditation on Om.[14,15]

Summary

Scientific studies on Om suggest that the mental repetition of Om results in a physiological state at one time characterized by reduced physiological alertness, increased sensitivity as well as synchronicity, as well as changes at specific levels along the auditory pathway suggestive of increased sensitivity to sensory transmission.

CONCLUSION

The utterance of Om consisting of the three letters A, U, and M covers the whole process of articulation. This sound represents the primal vibration from which all other sounds and creation emerge. It is considered that one who attains Om, merges with the Absolute. Scientific studies on Om suggest that the mental repetition of Om results in physiological alertness, increased sensitivity as well as synchronicity of certain biorhythms, and an increased sensitivity to sensory transmission.

The OM mantra is a universally chanted mantra even though it has its origin in Sanatana Dharma. The fact that it has spread and transcended various boundaries clearly shows and proves it significance.

There are 2 scientific explanations to why the OM mantra is widely practiced.

1. When the Om mantra is chanted, the frequency of the vibrations is said to be 432Hz which happens to be the vibrational frequency of everything in the universe. This scientific finding is the justification of the saying ‘in harmony with the being’.
2. Not to long ago, scientists conducted a research in which the subjects had never chanted Om mantra were asked to chant it for few minutes and each of their chants were recorded. The time frequency analysis of it showed irregular waveforms which indicated unsteadiness in the mind. They were requested to chant the mantra frequently for a few days, the experiment was repeated. The time-frequency analysis this time had some surprising insights. The waveforms were improved with regular spacing, had almost perfect symmetry and harmony. Not only had these participants witnessed dramatic improvements in focus, concentration & steadiness, but found themselves to be in peace, witnessed reduction in mental stress & could remain calm all the time.

REFERENCES

1. Frecska E, Luna LE. Neuro-ontological interpretation of spiritual experiences. Neuropsychopharmacol Hung. 2006;8:143–53. [PubMed]
2. Chinmayanada Swami . Katha Upanisad. Mumbai: Central Chinmayananda Mission; 2002.
3. Sivananda Swami . Japa Yoga A comprehensive treatise on Mantra-Sastra. Himalayas, India: A Divine Life Society Publication; 2005.
4. Chinmayananda Swami . Mandukya Upanishad. Mumbai: Sachin publishers; 1984.
5. Gamabhiranada Swami . Mundaka Upanishad. Calcutta: Advaita Ashram; 1995.
6. Gamabhiranada Swami . Svetasvatara Upanishad with the comentary of Shankarachanrya. Calcutta: Advaita Ashram; 1986.
7. Taimini IK. The Science of Yoga. Madras, India: The Theosophical Publishing House; 1986.
8. Satyananda Saraswati Swami . Four Chapters on Freedom. Bihar, India: Bihar School of Yoga; 1976.
9. Madhusudhan Saraswati, Gambhiranada Swami . Bhagavad Gita. Himalaya: Advaita Ashrama; 1998.
10. Nagendra HR, Telles S, Bhat RG, Swami NVC, Nagarathna R, Iyengar RN, Nath NCB, Venkatram R. Yoga Instructor’s course – Self Instruction Material. Bangalore: Swami Vivekannanda Yoga Prakashana; 1999.
11. Telles S, Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR. Autonomic changes during ‘OM’ meditation. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1995;39:418–20. [PubMed]
12. Telles S, Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR. Autonomic changes while mentally repeating two syllables-one meaningful and the other neutral. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1998;42:57–63.[PubMed]
13. Bernardi L, Sleight P, Bandinelli G, Cencetti S, Fattorini L, WdowczycSzulc J, et al. Effect of rosary prayer and yoga mantras on autonomic cardiovascular rhythms: Comparative study. Br Med J. 2001;323:22–9. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
14. Telles S, Desiraju T. Recording of auditory middle latency evoked potentials during the practice of meditation with the syllable ‘OM’ Indian J Med Res. 1993;98:237–9. [PubMed]
15. Telles S, Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR. Alterations in auditory middle latency evoked potentials during meditation on a meaningful symbol ‘OM’ Int J Neurosci. 1994;76:87–93.[PubMed]