Sleep is a chance for your heart

Sleep is a chance for your heart to slow down, even though it has to keep working. Only a little larger than a fist, your heart works hard to pump about 2,000 gallons of blood each day. On average, your heart also “beats” (expands and contracts) 100,000 times a day.

I. Sleep and The Heart

The process of sleep is made up of the following two primary stages:

  1. Rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep
  2. Non-REM sleep

When you first fall asleep you are in the non-REM stage. The non-REM stage of sleep is a time when your heart does not have to work so hard. About 80% of a full night’s sleep is spent in this stage. During non-REM sleep, your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure all drop to levels below those that occur while you are awake.

REM is the stage of sleep when you have most of your dreams. It is only about 20% of your total sleep time. Your blood pressure and heart rate can go up and down during this stage. If you have a nightmare that wakes you up, you may find that your heart is racing.

When you wake up in the morning, your blood pressure and heart rate both go back up. It is time for you to be active again, and your heart has to get ready for a long day of work.

II. Sleep and Cardiovascular Disease

Sleep and sleep disorders both play a role in cardiovascular disease (CVD). The exact role that they play is still not quite clear. One thing that is certain is that there is a higher risk of sudden cardiac death in the first few hours after you wake up. This may be due to the amount of work your heart has to do when your body gets up and moving again. CVD is a leading cause of death in the U.S. It takes the life of nearly 2,600 Americans every day.

Common forms of CVD include the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Chest pain
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Congenital heart defects

People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have been shown to have higher rates of coronary heart disease and strokes. People who have had a heart attack are more likely to have OSA than those without heart disease. It can be even harder for someone to fully recover from a heart attack if their OSA is not treated.

OSA is a sleep disorder that occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat blocks the airway. This is very common, because the muscles inside the throat relax as you sleep. You stop breathing, keeping the oxygen you need from getting to the lungs. When you stop breathing, your body wakes up. It happens so quickly, you aren’t even aware of it. You can stop breathing hundreds of times in one night. Being treated for OSA reduces your risk of death due to CVD.

Sleep and High Blood Pressure (hypertension)

Several studies have shown that people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are at a much greater risk of having high blood pressure. OSA causes your oxygen level to drop. Your heart beats faster due to the lack of oxygen. This causes your blood pressure to rise. Over time, this can lead to an ongoing increase in blood pressure. It is important to treat high blood pressure since it is a proven cause of other forms of cardiovascular disease. This includes heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

But treating high blood pressure may not be enough. When high blood pressure does not respond well to treatment, it is often due to the presence of untreated sleep apnea. Once the OSA is treated, then the high blood pressure tends to improve as well. It is vital for your doctor to determine if a sleep disorder such as OSA is a factor in your high blood pressure.

Sleep and Coronary Artery Disease

People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have been shown to have higher rates of coronary artery disease (CAD). There are two main reasons why this may occur:

  1. OSA increases the risk for high blood pressure, which is a known cause of CAD.
  2. The events that occur during OSA can put great stress on the heart and worsen existing disease.

CAD limits the flow of blood due to narrow arteries. This prevents the right amount of oxygen from reaching the heart. Sleep apnea also causes the blood oxygen level to drop during pauses in breathing. This leads to a rise in the heart rate and blood pressure. An extra strain is put on the heart. The amount of oxygen sent to the heart decreases at the time when the heart needs more oxygen. Studies have shown that the presence of OSA increases the risk of death from CAD. But if the sleep apnea is treated, death due to CAD is reduced.

Sleep and Congestive Heart Failure

Damage to the heart that hurts its ability to pump blood is called congestive heart failure (CHF). Sleep disorders can be both a cause and an effect of CHF. The low oxygen levels and high blood pressure related to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can cause the kind of damage that leads to CHF. The heart muscle is unable to handle the stress caused by the OSA. People who have CHF from another cause will see it get worse if they then develop sleep apnea. If sleep apnea is treated, however, patients with CHF will see their heart function improve.

About 40% of people with CHF have a sleep disorder called central sleep apnea (CSA). CSA occurs when the brain fails to tell the lungs to breathe. As this signal is lost, the lungs do not take in the oxygen that your body needs. This happens most often as people are falling asleep. CSA also causes people to wake up many times in the night. When they wake up, their heart rate and blood pressure both rise.

The low levels of oxygen that result from CSA are very harmful. The result is that CSA may worsen heart failure. In return, the heart failure may promote CSA. This causes a horrible cycle of declining heart function. Properly treating the heart failure is the best way to prevent CSA. If CSA still develops, there are treatments that can be used to keep it from occurring.

Sleep and Stroke

A stroke damages the brain when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. This occurs when an artery that brings blood to the brain either clots or bursts. Brain cells can die if the flow of blood to the brain stops for longer than a few seconds. This can cause permanent brain damage. The part of the body controlled by that section of the brain will not be able to function normally. Strokes are the cause of one out of every 15 deaths in the U.S.

High blood pressure is the most common cause of a stroke. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may indirectly lead to a stroke by causing a rise in blood pressure. Sleep apnea can also directly cause a stroke by reducing the blood flow to the brain. This occurs when the level of oxygen drops during pauses in breathing. It is also common for OSA to begin to occur after someone has had a stroke. This may hinder a person as he tries to recover from the stroke.

III. The Effects of Heart Disease on Sleep

Heart disease can affect your ability to sleep in subtle ways. People with congestive heart failure (CHF) often have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep. This is due to the shortness of breath that is caused by CHF. This shortness of breath is often made worse when you lie down. The blood in your legs flows back into the heart. This can bring the heart more blood than it is able to pump.

People who have these symptoms may feel like they have insomnia. Doctors call these symptoms:

  • Orthopnea (shortness of breath when lying down)
  • Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea (waking up from sleep feeling short of breath)

Heart disease also causes people to worry about their health. They are often afraid that they might have a heart attack or stroke. This anxiety can make it very hard to sleep at night. Over time, this sleep problem can develop into chronic insomnia.

IV. Sleep and a Healthy Heart

There are many things you can do to keep your heart healthy. You should be sure to do the following:

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Avoid being overweight
  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Watch out for and treat high blood pressure
  • Get regular medical check-ups

Another thing you can do is to make sure that you get enough sleep to keep your body well rested. You can often sleep better by simply following the practices of good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene consists of basic habits and tips that help you develop a pattern of healthy sleep. See the Resources section of this site to find out how you can start down the path to better sleep.

Watch for signs that you may have a sleep disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that can put great stress on your heart. Men who are overweight and have large necks are most likely to have OSA.

Symptoms of OSA include the following:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for breath or choking while asleep
  • Trouble staying awake during the daytime

You may not be aware of these signs because they only occur while you are sleeping. Your breathing is normal when you are awake. Ask a bed partner or someone else who has observed your sleep to find out if you snore or stop breathing during your sleep.

Talk with your doctor about your risk of having a sleep disorder. This is very important if you already have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease. People with congestive heart failure must be monitored for CSA and other sleep disorders. In contrast to OSA, people with heart failure and CSA are often thin and may not snore at all.

If your doctor thinks that you have a sleep disorder, he or she may suggest that you take a sleep study. This is called a polysomnogram. A sleep study is usually done overnight in a sleep center. It charts your brain waves, heart beat, and breathing as you sleep. It also records your eye and leg movements as well as muscle tension.

A sleep specialist will be able to see if there are any problems in the quality of your sleep. Your primary doctor is then given the results of the study. The two of you can decide on the best course of treatment. It is important to remember that sleep disorders are common and treatable. Treating your sleep disorder can help you have a healthier heart.


There are around 1014 atoms in a typical human cell.Another way of looking at it is that this is 100,000,000,000,000 or 100 trillion atoms. Interestingly, the number of cells in the human body is estimated to be about the same as the number of atoms in a human cellMost of the human body consists of water, which is made from hydrogen and oxygen.



Most of the elements are found within compounds. Water and minerals are inorganic compounds. Organic compounds include fat, protein, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids.

  • Water: Water is the most abundant chemical compound in living human cells, accounting for 65 percent to 90 percent of each cell. It’s also present between cells. For example, blood and cerebrospinal fluid are mostly water.
  • Fat: The percentage of fat varies from person to person, but even an obese person has more water than fat.
  • Protein: In a lean male, the percentages of protein and water are comparable. It’s about 16 percent by mass. Muscles, including the heart, contain a lot of muscle. Hair and fingernails are protein. Skin contains a large amount of protein, too.
  • Minerals: Minerals account for about 6 percent of the body. They include salts and metals. Common minerals include sodium, chlorine, calcium, potassium, and iron.
  • Carbohydrates: Although humans use the sugar glucose as an energy source, there isn’t that much of it free in the bloodstream at any given time. Sugar and other carbohydrates only account for about 1% of body mass.


Six elements account for 99% of the mass of the human body. The acronym CHNOPS may be used to help remember the six key chemical elements that are used in biological molecules.

C is carbon, H is hydrogen, N is nitrogen, O is oxygen, P is phosphorus, and S is sulfur. While the acronym is a good way to remember the identities of the elements, it doesn’t reflect their abundance.

  • Oxygen is the most abundant element in the human body accounting for approximately 65% of a person’s mass. Each water molecule consists of two hydrogen atoms bonded to one oxygen atom, but the mass of each oxygen atom is much higher than the combined mass of the hydrogen. In addition to being a component of water, oxygen is essential for cellular respiration.
  • Carbon is contained in all organic compounds, which is why carbon is the second most abundant element in the body, accounting for about 18% of body mass. Carbon is found in proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids. It’s also found in carbon dioxide.
  • Hydrogen atoms are the most numerous type of atom in a human, but because they are so light, they only make up around 10% of the mass. Hydrogen is in water, plus it’s an important electron carrier.
  • Nitrogen is about 3.3% of body mass. It’s found in proteins and nucleic acids.
  • Calcium accounts for 1.5% of body mass. It’s used to build bones and teeth, plus it’s important for muscle contraction.
  • Phosphorus is about 1% of body mass. This element is found in nucleic acids. Breaking bonds connecting phosphate molecules is a major component of energy transfer.
  • Potassium is around 0.2-0.4% of the mass of a person. It’s used in nerve conduction. Potassium is a key cation or positively-charged ion in the body.
  • Sulfur is found in some amino acids and proteins. It’s about 0.2-0.3% of body mass.
  • Sodium, like potassium, is a positively-charged ion. It’s about 0.1-0.2% of body mass. Sodium helps regulate the electrolyte balance in the body and maintain homeostasis with respect to the volume of water in the blood and cells.
  • Although aluminum and silicon are abundant in the earth’s crust, they are found in trace amounts in the human body.
  • Other trace elements include metals, which are often cofactors for enzymes. Trace elements include iron, cobalt, zinc, iodine, selenium, and flourine.
Element Percent by Mass
Oxygen 65
Carbon 18
Hydrogen 10
Nitrogen 3
Calcium 1.5
Phosphorus 1.2
Potassium 0.2
Sulfur 0.2
Chlorine 0.2
Sodium 0.1
Magnesium 0.05
Iron, Cobalt, Copper, Zinc, Iodine trace
Selenium, Fluorine


1. Turmeric

The herb turmeric has a therapeutic effect on coughs, particularly a dry cough.


  • Heat half a cup of water in a boiling pot. Add one teaspoon turmeric powder, and one teaspoon black pepper. You may also add cinnamon sticks. Boil this for about two to three minutes. Add one tablespoon of honey. Drink this daily until the condition improves.
  • Alternatively, make an herbal tea by adding one teaspoon of turmeric powder and one teaspoon of carom seeds to a cup of water, and boil it until water reduces to one-half cup. Add some honey and drink this herbal solution two to three times a day.
  • Another way to use turmeric is to roast turmeric root and grind it into a smooth powder. Mix it with water and honey, and drink it twice a day.

2. Ginger

Ginger is one of the most popular natural cures for a cough.

  • Cut fresh ginger into small slices and crush them slightly. Put them in a cup of water and bring to a boil. Drink this herbal solution three to four times a day for relief from sore throat, non-stop coughing and even congestion. You can also some lemon juice and honey to it.
  • Another option is to chew fresh raw ginger on and off throughout the day to reduce your cough.

3. Lemon

Lemons can be used in a variety of ways for curing coughs. Lemons have properties that reduce inflammation and also provide a dose of infection-fighting vitamin C.

  • A simple cough syrup can be made by combining two tablespoons of lemon juice and one tablespoon of honey. Drink this healthy syrup several times a day.
  • Another way to use lemons is to blend lemon juice with a little honey and a pinch of cayenne pepper and then drink it.

4. Garlic

Garlic has both antibacterial and antimicrobial components that help treat coughs.

  • Boil two to three cloves of garlic in a cup of water and add a teaspoon of oregano. Allow it to cool to room temperature, add some honey and drink it. This will help your breathing and alleviate other cough symptoms.
  • Eat a clove of crushed garlic mixed with a few drops of clove oil and some honey for sore throat relief. You can also use garlic in your cooking.

5. Onion

One of the simplest home remedies for a cough is to cut onions. Breathing in the strong vapors can help stop coughing.

  • You can also make a cough syrup from baked onion juice, comfrey tea and honey. Drink it daily to get relief from a dry cough.
  • Another option is to combine one-half teaspoon of onion juice with one teaspoon of pure honey. Swallow this solution at least twice a day to alleviate a cough and soothe your throat.

6. Hot Milk with Honey

Hot milk with honey can relieve a dry cough and reduce chest pain you may be experiencing from continuous coughing. For best results, drink it before going to sleep. For added benefits from the analgesic properties of honey, swallow a teaspoon of plain honey on empty stomach. This will help clear the mucus and soothe your throat.

Remedies for Scar

 When skin is injured, fibrous tissue, known as scar tissue, forms over the wound to repair and protect it. This leads to the formation of scar.

You can get a scar on your skin due to accidents, insect bites, scrapes, acne, burns, chickenpox, piercings, surgical cuts and vaccinations.

Scars come in all shapes and sizes, and can affect your appearance and make you self-conscious.

The human body is capable of taking care of scars and they tend to get lighter with time. To speed up healing, you can try some home remedies. The focus of scar removal remedies is to support effective cell growth, minimize scar tissue and create healthy skin.

Here are the  remedies for scar removal.

  1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a natural scar removal remedy due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

It works as a natural emollient to help repair damaged skin and promote growth of healthy skin. In addition, it will improve your skin texture.

  1. Peel the outer green cover off an aloe vera leaf and scoop out the gel-like substance.
  2. Apply the gel on your scar and massage in circular motions.
  3. Leave it on for about 30 minutes, then wash it off.
  4. Apply aloe vera gel twice daily.

Note: Do not apply aloe vera gel on open wounds.

  1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is another excellent ingredient that can help fade scars. The vitamin E, an antioxidant, in coconut oil accelerates the healing time and prevents new scars from forming. In addition, the lauric, caprylic and capric acids found in coconut oil stimulate collagen production, promote healing of damaged skin and reverse free-radical damage.

  1. Heat some extra-virgin coconut oil to liquefy it.
  2. Put the warm oil on your palm and massage it onto the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Leave it on for at least 1 hour so that the skin absorbs the oil.
  4. For best results, repeat 2 to 4 times a day.
  1. Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E oil is an effective antioxidant that can help fade scars. Its moisturizing property hydrates the skin and helps repair damaged tissue and improve the appearance of scars.

  1. Open some vitamin E capsules to get the oil.
  2. Smear the oil onto the scar and massage gently for 10 minutes.
  3. Leave it on for about 15 to 20 minutes, then wash it off with warm water.
  4. Do this several times a day.

Note: Test this on a small patch of skin first, as vitamin E oil may cause an allergic reaction in some people.

  1. Olive Oil

Olive oil is another effective natural scar removal treatment. It is rich in vitamin E and helps keep the skin soft and moisturized. This in turn promotes the healing of damaged skin. For best results, use extra-virgin olive oil.

  • Apply some warm extra-virgin olive oil to the affected area and massage using small, circular motions. Wait 30 minutes, then wipe off the oil with a clean cloth. You can also leave the oil on your skin overnight.
  • Another option is to mix a little lavender oil in some extra-virgin olive oil, apply it on the affected area and massage gently for a few minutes. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes, then rinse it off with lukewarm water.

Repeat either of these remedies several times a day until you get the desired result.

  1. Lemon

Lemon contains alpha hydroxy acids, which have healing properties that can help treat scars of all types. Lemon can remove dead skin cells, promote the growth of new skin cells and improve skin elasticity. The vitamin C in lemon also helps regenerate and repair damaged skin. In addition, the bleaching property of lemon helps lighten scars.

  1. Apply some lemon juice on the affected area. Those who have sensitive skin can dilute the lemon juice with equal amounts of rose water or vitamin E oil and then apply it on the scar.
  2. Wait 10 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water.
  3. Repeat once daily until the scar fades.

Note: As lemon can make your skin photosensitive, avoid going out in the sun immediately after use and be sure to use sunscreen when you go outside.

  1. Honey

Honey is a natural moisturizer, making it an effective scar removal treatment. It prevents accumulation of dead skin cells and stimulates skin tissue regeneration.

  • Apply some honey on the scar, cover it with a bandage and leave it on overnight. The next morning, wash it off with warm water. Repeat daily before going to bed.
  • Another option is to make a scrub with equal amounts of honey and crystallized sugar. Apply it on the affected area and scrub gently for a few minutes. Rinse it off with warm water, pat dry and apply a moisturizer. Use this treatment once or twice a week.




 Remedies for Scars



  1. Lemon Juice: Take a fresh lemon and cut it into half. Rub the juicy part on the scar. Lemon works as a natural bleach and thus, reduces the blemishes and scars. Drink lemon juice (without mixing sugar in it) twice a day for 15 days.
  2. Rosehip Seed Oil: Rosehip seed oil is used most commonly in cosmetics, especially in the scar removal creams. Take a few drops of rosehip seed oil on your fingers and gently massage it on the scars. Do this twice a day. It can be applied directly on the skin.
  3. Ice Cubes: Ice cube is a very easy and simple home remedy for fading the scars. Take an ice cube and rub it gently on the scars.
  1. Aloe Vera: Take an aloe vera leaf and cut it into half. Squeeze out the gel and apply it on the scar.
  2. Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is a very effective natural remedyfor removing scars. It works like a charm on scars. Make sure, you use the diluted tea tree oil.
  3. Honey: Apply honey on the scar. It works great in removing scars.
  4. Sandalwood Powder: Sandalwood powder is a very good home remedy for removing scars from face. Take sandalwood powder and mix it with rosewater or milk. Rub it on the scars, gently. Leave it on for an hour and wash it off with cold water.
  5. Almonds: Take 2-3 almonds and soak them in water. Leave them overnight. In the morning, peel off the skin from the almondsand mash them. Add a few drops of rosewater and apply on the scars.
  6. Potato: Take a raw potato. Extract its juice and apply it on the scars. This will let the scars fade away. You can also rub a slice of potato on the scars, directly.
  1. Coconut Oil: Whenever you get a scar, apply coconut oilon it. This will reduce the scar, ultimately making it invisible.
  2. Lavender Oil: Take a few drops of lavender oil and apply it on the scars.
  3. Fenugreek : Fenugreek can be used in many ways in reducing the scars. You can take fenugreek leaves and make a fine paste and apply it on the scars. Take fenugreek seeds and boil them. Make a paste and store it in a cool place. Apply it on the scars.
  4. Olive Oil: Olive oil is said to be really effective when it comes to scar removal. Take a few drops of olive oil and apply it on the scars on the daily basis. Olive oil will also moisturise the skin.
  5. Cucumber: Place a slice of raw cucumber or apply its juice on the scar.
  6. Tomato: Apply a slice of tomato on the scar or massage with tomato juice. Like lemon, tomato also works as natural bleach.
  7. Yogurt Mix: If you have a burned scar, then, this home remedy will help you out. Take barley, yogurt and turmeric in equal proportions and make a paste. Apply it on the scar.
  8. Vitamin E Cream : Apply vitamin E cream on the scars.
  9. Cocoa Butter: Apply cocoa butteron the scars. It will not only help the scars to fade away, but also moisturise the skin, making it smooth and soft.
  10. Baking Soda: Take 5 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of water. Mix it until you make a fine paste. Apply this paste on the scars and let it dry. Wash it off, later on. Repeat this natural remedy thrice a week.
  11. Apple Cider Vinegar : Dab a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and apply it on the scars. This will fade the scars. Wash it off after 10 minutes. Else, take 1 part of apple cider vinegarand 2 parts of water. Wash your face with this solution after cleaning the face and before going to bed. Apply skin moisturiser afterwards. This will also help in fading the scars from face.
  12. Salt Scrub: Use a salt scrub which contains papaya. Papaya will provide a new shine to your skin while salt scrub will exfoliate and remove the dead skin, making the scars almost invisible.
  13. Camomile Tea: Wash your scars with camomile tea. It will help the scars to fade away.
  14. Cod Liver Oil: Apply cod liver oil on the scars for making the scars invisible.
  15. Aspirin: Take 2 aspirins and crush them. Add a few drops of water to prepare a paste. Apply it on the scar.
  16. Azadirachta Indica (Neem): Take few Azadirachta indica leaves (neem leaves) and make a paste. Apply it on the scars. It can also be used as a face pack. This will not only fade the scars, but also solve the skin problems, like acne, etc. It contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which works great if applied on the skin.
  17. Fuller’s Earth: Take 1 tablespoon of fuller’s earth and 1 tablespoon of rosewater, along with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Mix them all together to form a fine paste. Apply it on the scar and rub it gently. Then, apply 1 more layer on it and leave it for 15 minutes to dry. Wash it off afterwards.
  18. Garlic Oil: Take a few drops of garlicoil on your fingers and apply on the scars. Let the oil stay for 15 minutes. Garlic contains antibiotic properties and is a natural remedy for scars.
  19. Gotu Kola: Take leaves of Gotu kola and make a paste. Apply it on the scars. It will not only reduce the scars, but also speed up the healing process. Also, it will improve the blood circulation.
  20. Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid is available in various forms, like creams and lotions. It’s a good remedy for severe scars.



Graphene-Based Tattoo Functions as Wearable Electronic Device

Researchers have designed a graphene-based tattoo that can be directly laminated onto the skin with water, similar to a temporary tattoo. But instead of featuring artistic or colorful designs, the new tattoo is nearly transparent.

The graphene tattoos retain their full function for about two days, but can be peeled off by a piece of adhesive tape if desired. (Credit: Shideh Kabiri Ameri et al. 2017 American Chemical Society)

Its main attraction is that graphene’s unique electronic properties enable the tattoo to function as a wearable electronic device, with potential applications including biometric uses (such as measuring the electrical activity of the heart, brain, and muscles), as well as human-machine interactions.

The researchers, led by Deji Akinwande and Nanshu Lu at the University of Texas at Austin, have published a paper on the new graphene electronic  in a recent issue of ACS Nano.

In some ways, the graphene electronic tattoo is similar to commercially available electronic devices for health and fitness tracking: both kinds of devices are capable of heart rate monitoring and bioimpedence (a measure of the body’s response to an electric current). But because the ultrathin graphene tattoos can fully conform to the , they offer medical-grade data quality, in contrast with the lower performance of the rigid electrode sensors mounted on bands and strapped to the wrist or chest. Due to the high-quality sensing, the researchers expect that the graphene tattoos may offer promising replacements for existing medical sensors, which are typically taped to the skin and require gel or paste to enable the electrodes to function.

“The graphene tattoo is a dry physiological sensor which, because of its thinness, forms an ultra-conformal contact to skin, resulting in increased signal fidelity,” coauthor Shideh Kabiri Ameri at the University of Texas at Austin told “Conformability results in less susceptibility to motion artifacts, which is one the biggest drawbacks of conventional dry sensors and electrodes for physiological measurements.”

The new tattoos are made of graphene that is coated with an ultrathin backing layer of transparent polymer poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). During fabrication, the graphene/PMMA bilayer is transferred to a piece of ordinary tattoo paper, and the bilayer is then carved into different patterns of serpentine ribbons to make different types of sensors. The finished tattoo is then transferred to any part of the body by bringing the graphene side in contact with the skin and applying water to the back of the tattoo paper to release the tattoo. The tattoos retain their full function for around two days or more, but can be peeled off by a piece of adhesive tape if desired.

Since the researchers previously showed that, theoretically, a graphene tattoo must be less than 510 nm thick to fully conform to human skin and exhibit optimal performance, the tattoo they fabricated here is just 460 nm thick. Combined with graphene/PMMA bilayer optical transparency of approximately 85%, and the fact that the tattoos are more stretchable than human skin, the resulting graphene tattoos are barely perceptible, both mechanically and optically.

Tests showed that the graphene electronic tattoos can be successfully used to measure a variety of electrophysiological signals, including skin temperature and skin hydration, and can function as an electrocardiogram (ECG), electromyogram (EMG), and electroencephalogram (EEG) for measuring the electrical activity of the heart, muscles, and brain, respectively.

“Graphene electronic tattoos are most promising for potential applications in mobile health care, assisted technologies, and ,” Kabiri Ameri said. “In the area of human machine interfaces, electrophysiological signals recorded from the brain and muscles can be classified and assigned for specific action in a machine. This area of research can have applications for the internet of things, smart houses and cities, human computer interaction, smart wheelchairs, speech assistance technology, monitoring of distracted driving, and human-robot control. Recently we have demonstrated the application of  tattoos for sensing human signals to wirelessly control flying objects. That demonstration will be reported in the near future.”

Graphene Nanocomposite to Improve Desalination Processes

The use of reverse osmosis desalination technology has gathered more and more usage and interest over the last few years. It is responsible for producing a large amount of fresh water for the growing populations around the world.

Despite their widespread usage, there are still fundamental issues that need to be addressed, and in an effort to expand this technology to more desalination plants worldwide, a team of Researchers from Australia and Egypt have created a new thin film nano-composite (TFNC) membrane to address the issues surrounding water flux, salt rejection and biofouling in these processes.

Currently, reverse osmosis (RO) desalination technology is used in more than 50% of the world’s desalination plants for the production of fresh water. Within these technologies, thin-film composite (TFC) membranes are the most common material utilized for nanofiltration processes.

However, even though this technology is used across most of our drinking water purification processes, they are still privy to some drawbacks, namely a trade-off between both water flux and salt rejection, chlorine degradation and biofouling- all of which lead to the loss of membrane flux and salt rejection performance.

Biofouling is currently the biggest challenge facing desalination plants. Biofouling in these desalination processes has been linked to microorganisms that attach themselves to the filter membrane, where the membrane(ligand)-organism(receptor) interactions cause the formation of extracellular polymeric substances which increase the adherence of bacteria to the membrane.

To combat this, the Researchers required a material with a large (and smooth) surface area for filtering processes, which also possessed biocidal properties.

Naturally, a derivative of graphene is the obvious choice and the Researchers decided upon graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets that help improve the flux, selectivity and antibacterial properties of TFNC membranes.

The Researchers created the composite by incorporating the graphene oxide nanosheets into a thin polyamide (PA) active layer, in the form of poly tannic acid-functionalized graphene oxide nanosheets (pTA-f-GO).

The layers were produced through interfacial polymerization. The graphene oxide was first functionalized with tannic acid (TA) followed by polyethyleneimine (PEI). The tannic acid groups were found to bind tightly to the graphene oxide surface whilst the PEI groups provided free amine groups which helped to facilitate crosslinking to both the tannic acid groups and the polyamide active layer.

The crosslinking chains were found to interact very strongly with the graphene oxide sheets and tightly integrate them into the nanocomposite matrix.

The Researchers characterized the new TNFC using Transmission electron microscopy (TEM, FEI Tecnai G2 Spirit), atomic force microscopy (AFM, NT-MDT NTEGRA SPM), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR, Nicolet Nexus 8700 FTIR Spectrophotometer, Thermo Electron Corporation) with a smart orbit attenuated total reflectance probe, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS, Kratos Axis-Ultra DLD, Kratos Analytical) with CasaXPS software (Neal Fairly), electrokinetic analysis methods (Anton Paar) and captive bubble techniques.

By incorporating the pTA-f-GO layer into the TFNC membranes, the Researchers achieved a filtration material with a thinner PA layer, lower surface roughness and a higher hydrophobicity. The presence of such properties increased both the membrane water flux by up to 40% and the salt rejection by 8%.

In addition, the biocidal properties of the graphene sheet within the active layer improved the antibacterial properties of the membrane by 80% compared to standard non-composite membranes.

The process of fabrication was also found to be practical, scalable, versatile, of lower energy consumption, have an improved performance and possess an increased cost-efficiency against current methods. Such production benefits lend the nanocomposite membranes to be implemented across a wide range of applications.

Couple this with the TFNC’s excellent separation and anti-biofouling properties, and the material is one that could easily see itself become a commercially used membrane in the near future, and will perhaps help to increase the number of desalination plants around the world which use of reverse osmosis desalination methods.

Human pheromones

The existence of human pheromones remains controversial. It’s clear that many plants and animals species use hormonal secretions to communicate information relating to reproduction. For example, in 1959 researchers discovered that female silkworms secreted a powerful aphrodisiac, called bombykol, that can attract male silkworms from miles away. To date, however, ironclad evidence that human behavior is governed by pheromones remains elusive.

Nevertheless, there are a number of intriguing studies, which suggest the surprising ways that scents, secretions and body odors containing pheromones may influence human behavior unconsciously.

Unconscious communicationAccording to Bettina Pause, a psychologist, “We’ve just started to understand that there is communication below the level of consciousness. My guess is that a lot of our communication is influenced by chemosignals.”

Scientists explain that pheromones in animals are released in sweat, urine and saliva. These chemical messengers appear to have both an emotional and physical effect on other members of their species.

In mammals, for instance, pheromones are detected by a structure in the nose called the vomeronasal organ, which relays signals to the hypothalamus a region of the brain that controls emotional states, hormonal regulation and sexual arousal.

Some of the most important evidence for the existence of human pheromones comes from a 1998 study by Dr. Martha McClintock, who found that women who live in close proximity (the same dorm, for example) tend to have synchronized menstrual cycles. Scientists believe that chemical messages in sweat are responsible for this harmonization of periods.

Pheromones and brain imagingResearchers have found that certain smells activate the part of the brain related to sexuality.

One powerful form of evidence that pheromones exist comes from PET scanning technology, which can examine the effect of chemical odors on male and female brains. In one study, researchers found that certain hormone-like smells activated specific areas in the hypothalamus related to sexuality, which are not triggered by other odors.

In the words of Dr. David Berliner, “These findings corroborate that human pheromones do exist, and that women can communicate chemically with men and vice versa. This is a very important finding because it shows specific areas of the brain that are activated by these chemicals.”

As you might expect, the brains of heterosexual men and women respond very differently to specific chemical messengers. For example, the brain regions in the female hypothalamus are highly active when women are exposed to testosterone-like chemicals (while exposure to estrogen-like messengers has no effect). Conversely, the brain areas in the male hypothalami light up like a Christmas tree when men are exposed to estrogen-like hormones.

Scientists believe this gender-specific response to chemical secretions shapes the way men and women to perceive each other on an unconscious level.

Can pheromones make you more attractive?

If pheromones govern sexual arousal, then can they be harnessed to make people more attractive? More specifically, could pheromones be added to perfumes, which could be used to lure desired mates?

One study from the University of Chicago found that pheromone-type chemical can heighten the heart rate, increase body temperature and change mood. As of yet, however, scientists have been unable to isolate the specific chemicals that trigger attraction and sexual desire.

Of course, many perfume manufacturers claim that their fragrances can spark desire. In fact, most of these products contain pheromones from animals. However, most scientists insist that pheromones are species specific. In other words, until researchers can isolate specific human pheromones or develop synthetic analogs, then a true love potion of love will remain elusive.

Nevertheless, scientists are continuing to investigate pheromones for their scientific, commercial and therapeutic potential. For example, a company called Pherin Pharmaceuticals is looking into ways to use pheromones messengers to alleviate stress, anxiety and menstrual cramps.

How pheromones may influence human behavior

  • The odors breastfeeding women emit from their nipples attracts infants and primes women without children to be more sexually aroused.
  • A compound derived from testosterone (called androstadienone) has been shown to make women feel more relaxed.
  • Scientists are investigating something called the histocompatibility complex. This refers to a genetically-based “odor print,” which involves scents that reflect certain characteristics found in the genes and the immune system.
  • According to the olfactory neuroscientist Charles Wysocki, “With the exception of identical twins, no two individuals are likely to have the same odor print.”

Research by Wysocki and others indicates that women prefer the musky scent of men who happen to have gene characteristics that match up well with their own DNA. In other words, the nose knows. That is, odor prints may be a huge driver of attractiveness in so far as they help people pick mates with DNA that complements their own. This unconscious form of selection benefits offspring.

Love is in the air

Scientists are still a long way off from unraveling the mysteries of attraction and the role that pheromones may play in influencing sexual behavior. For centuries, people have used expressions like “love is in the air” and “love is a matter of chemistry.” The emerging science of pheromones suggests that these proverbial adages may be far truer than anyone imagined.

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:


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.


 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.



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.


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.
1 glass jar
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
no cook
  • 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.
36 cups
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
no cook
  • 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.
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.
5 gallons
Prep Time
24 hours
Cook Time
no cook
  • 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.
28 pods
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
no cook
  • 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
  • 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.
2-3 loads
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
no cook
  • 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.
  • 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.