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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Crystals and Gemstones for Healing and Spiritual Growth

Image: Tumbled Gemstones. Image is in the Public Domain.
The use of crystals and gemstones for healing and spiritual growth is an alternative medicine energy therapy technique that employs semi-precious stones and crystals. Adherents of the technique claim that these stones have inherent powers to help the body restore itself to an optimum state of health and well-being.

One method is where the practitioner places crystals on different parts of the body, often corresponding to the chakra-nadi system [http://www.holisticlifestyle.yolasite.com/chakra-nadis-system.php#.VRMxvPzF9WI]; or else the practitioner places crystals around the body (laying-on-of-stones) in an attempt to construct an "energy grid", which is purported to surround the client with healing energy.

Practitioners select the colours of stones and place them on parts of the body. Stones are placed at the feet or held in the hands. Practitioners sometimes use crystal wands, which are placed near the receiver's body. Colour selection and placement of stones are done according to concepts of grounding, chakras or energy grids.

Different cultures have developed traditions of crystal healing over time, including the Hopi Native Americans of Arizona and Hawaiian islanders, some of whom continued to use it. The Chinese have traditionally attributed healing powers to microcrystalline jade.

Read more about >>> "Crystals and Gemstones: The Metaphysical Healing Properties of Crystals and Gemstones" on the Holistic Lifestyle Website! [http://www.holisticlifestyle.yolasite.com/crystals-and-gemstones.php#.VRMvhvzF9WI]

Agate: The Strength Stone, Courage and strength for both boy and mind. Facilitates perceptiveness and precision. Is grounding and energetic. Balances the yin yang energies.
Amazonite - Aligns and balances mental and etheric bodies. Calms nerves, aids creative expression and cutes through illusion. Brings joy, clarity and an understanding of universal love.
Amethyst - The Peace Stone. Ideal for meditation and enhancing psychic abilities. A greatly calming influence, very protective and inspirational. Radiates divine love.
Aquamarine: Provides emotional and intellectual stability and clarity of mind. Aids self-expression, calms nerves, dispels intolerance and helps banish fears and phobias.
Aventurine - Balance the yin yang energies. Motivates and refines positive attitudes and feelings of independence. Relieves anxiety and fear.
Azurite - Cleanses the mind and soul. Awakens psychic abilities and initiates transformation. Enhances creativity, self-confidence and inspiration.
Bloodstone - A powerful healing stone renewal. Revitalizes and enhances both body and mind. Instills wisdom and sensitivity for inner guidance.
Calcite - Facilitates an awareness and understanding of nature. Aids in the remembering of astral travel experience. Alleviates fear, clears and balances.
Carnelian - Aids concentration and memory. Stimulates inquisitiveness and dispels apathy. Enhances attunement with the inner self.
Chrysoprase - Instills a sense of grace. Helps clarify personal problems and brings out hidden talents. Balance attitudes and actions.
Citrine - The abundance Stone. Joyous, warm and energising. Raises self esteem, stimulates mental focus and aids in the alignment with the higher self. Attracts and maintains abundance.
Clear Quartz - The Energy Stone. Excellent for meditation. Amplifies energy and thought. Dispels negativity. Receives, stores, and transmits energy. Aids communication with every dimension.
Flourite - Balances and advances the mind and increases concentration. A stabilizing influence on all levels. A stone of discernment and higher understanding.
Garnet - A stone of love and compassion. It strengthens and purifies, balances the body’s energy field and enhances the imagination.
Hematite -  The Stress Stone. Enhances mental capabilities and reduces stress. Strengthens and energizes both physical and etheric bodies. Dispels negativity.
Howlite - Reduces stress and pain and encourages patience, discernment and refinement. Aids communication and expression.
Jade - Balances the emotions and encourages wisdom. Aids in remembering and solving dreams. Peaceful, nurturing and stress relieving.
Jasper - Protective and grounding, a balancer on all levels. A sustaining stone working mainly on the physical body.
Lapis Lazuli - Expands awareness and intellect an enhances psychic abilities. Helps overcome depression, aids creativeness and protects.
Malachite - Aids intuitiveness and transformation. Balances, clarifies the emotions, clears subconscious blocks and reduces stress.
Sunstone - Dissolves negativity and grounds the root chakra. Brings happiness and sunshine and shines light into the shadow self.
Moonstone - Stimulates confidence and balances emotions. Encourages intuitiveness and perception. Enhances the feminine nature.
Obsidian - Grounds, protects and shields against negativity. Aids in the understanding and clearing of subconscious blocks.
Onyx - Balances the yin yang energies. Reduces stress and encourages self control. Encourages happiness, good fortune and higher inspiration.
Opal - Encourages intuitiveness, inspiration and imagination. Aids in memory improvement and the release of inhibitions.
Peridot - Inspires happiness, strengthens and regenerates. Protects and purifies, reduces anger and jealousy.
Pyrite - Protects against negativity on all levels. Encourages a positive outlook and greater understanding.
        Aids memory and intellect.
Rhodonite - Aids self esteem and confidence. Reduces anxiety, balances and inspires greater understanding and discernment. Assists in maximizing ones potential.
Rose Quartz - The Love Stone. Balances, heals and rejuvenates the emotions. Cools hot tempers, clears stored anger, guilt and jealousy. Encourages compassion and harmony.
Rutilated Quartz - Enhances insight and understanding of problems. Assists in communication with higher self and guides. Wards against negativity and interference.
Smokey Quartz - Dispels negativity and releases emotional blocks. Balances grounds and protects. Enhances channeling powers.
Snowflake Obsidian - Brings purity and balance on all levels. Encourages understanding and realignment of though patterns.
Sodalite - Rationalizes and aids clear thinking bringing clarity and truth. Enhances communication and creative expression.
Selenite - A very intense and highly attuned crystal. Helps one connect to their higher self and into higher frequencies.
Tigereye - Brings cheerfulness and optimism. Enhances clarity of thought, balances the yin yang energies and helps soften stubbornness.
Tourmaline - The Protection Stone. Wards off fear and negativity and protects on all levels. Enhances inspiration and encourages self confidence and understanding.
Turquoise - Brings peace of mind, wisdom and understanding. Enhances psychic abilities and communication. Protects and balances.
Unakite - Balances the emotional body and gives an awareness and understanding of subconscious blocks. Can facilitate the rebirthing process.

References
Carroll, Robert Todd. "Crystal Power". The Skeptic's Dictionary. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
Chase, Pamela; Pawlik, Jonathan (2001). Healing with Crystals. Career Press. ISBN 9781564145352.
Malotki, Ekkehart (2006). "Introduction". Hopi Stories of Witchcraft, Shamanism and Magic. University of Nebraska Press. p. xxvii. ISBN 9780803283183.
John Kaimikaua, talk at Molokai, HI: 1997, as cited in Gardner, Joy (2006). Vibrational Healing Through the Chakras with Light, Color, Sound, Crystals and Aromatherapy. Berkeley, CA: The Crossing Press.
MacKenzie, Donald A. (2005) [1924]. Myths Of China And Japan. Kessinger Publishing's rare reprints. Kessinger Publishing. p. 249. ISBN 9781417964291. Rhinoceros horn had, like jade, healing properties.
Campion, E.W. (1993). "Why unconventional medicine?". The New England Journal of Medicine 328 (4): 282–3. doi:10.1056/NEJM199301283280413. PMID 8418412.
"Warning about animal 'therapies'". BBC News. 2008-02-12.

Holistic Lifestyle Disclaimer -  No statements on this Website or Blog have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information is provided for educational uses only. It is not the intention of Holistic Lifestyle to provide specific medical advice to users of its Website or Blog, but rather to provide users with information to help them to better understand their life, environment, health, and the current range of approaches related to various therapies and/or treatments, prevention methods, supportive care, etc. Holistic Lifestyle urges users to consult with a licensed physician for diagnosis and for answers to their personal medical and/or health care questions.

Chronic Pain and Complementary Health Approaches: What You Need To Know

More than 100 million U.S. adults have chronic pain conditions. This month, we provide information on complementary approaches for pain.

What’s the Bottom Line? Are complementary health approaches for chronic pain safe?
There’s no simple answer to this question. Although many of the complementary approaches studied for chronic pain have good safety records, that doesn’t mean that they’re risk-free for everyone. Your age, health, special circumstances (such as pregnancy), and medicines or supplements that you take may affect the safety of complementary approaches.

Are any complementary health approaches for chronic pain effective?
The currently available evidence is not strong enough to allow definite conclusions to be reached about whether complementary approaches are effective for chronic pain. However, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that some of these approaches, such as massage, spinal manipulation, and yoga, may help to manage some painful conditions.

What Is Chronic Pain and Why Is It Important?
Chronic pain is pain that lasts a long time. It’s a very common problem. More than 100 million U.S. adults have chronic pain conditions.

Chronic pain becomes more common as people grow older, at least in part because health problems that can cause pain, such as osteoarthritis, become more common with advancing age. Not all people with chronic pain have a physician-diagnosed health problem, but among those who do, the most frequent conditions by far are low-back pain or osteoarthritis, according to a national survey. Other common diagnoses include rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia. The annual economic cost of chronic pain in the United States, including both treatment and lost productivity, has been estimated at nearly $635 billion.

Chronic pain may result from an underlying disease or health condition, an injury, medical treatment (such as surgery), inflammation, or a problem in the nervous system (in which case it is called “neuropathic pain”), or the cause may be unknown. Pain can affect quality of life and productivity, and it may be accompanied by difficulty in moving around, disturbed sleep, anxiety, depression, and other problems*

Although many of the complementary approaches studied for chronic pain have good safety records, that doesn’t mean that they’re risk-free for everyone. Your age, health, special circumstances (such as pregnancy), and other treatments (such as medication) may affect the safety of complementary approaches. If you are considering or using a complementary approach for pain, check with your health care providers to make sure that it is safe for you and compatible with your conventional treatment.

The scientific evidence suggests that some complementary health approaches may help people manage chronic pain. In most instances, though, the amount of evidence is too small to clearly show whether an approach is useful.

Guidelines for the Treatment of Chronic Pain Conditions
National health professional organizations have issued guidelines for treating several chronic pain conditions. Some mention ways in which certain complementary health approaches can be incorporated into treatment plans. Others discourage the use of certain complementary approaches.

For example, the guideline for treating back pain issued by the American College of Physicians [http://im2015.acponline.org/] and the American Pain Society [http://americanpainsociety.org/] states that nondrug approaches should be considered in patients who do not improve with self-care. Some of the suggested nondrug approaches, such as exercise therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy, are conventional; others, including acupuncture, massage therapy, spinal manipulation, and progressive relaxation, are complementary. Another example is the guideline for treating osteoarthritis of the knee and hip issued by the American College of Rheumatology [http://www.rheumatology.org/]. For osteoarthritis of the knee, the guidelines mention tai chi as one of several nondrug approaches that might be helpful. The same guidelines, however, discourage using the dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin for osteoarthritis of the hip or knee.

If You Are Considering Complementary Health Approaches for Chronic Pain

  • Do not use an unproven product or practice to replace conventional care or to postpone seeing a health care provider about chronic pain or any other health problem.
  • Learn about the product or practice you are considering, especially the scientific evidence on its safety and whether it works.
  • Talk with the health care providers you see for chronic pain. Tell them about the product or practice you are considering and ask any questions you may have. They may be able to advise you on its safety, use, and likely effectiveness.
  • If you are considering a practitioner-provided complementary health practice such as spinal manipulation, massage, or acupuncture, ask a trusted source (such as your health care provider or a nearby hospital) to recommend a practitioner. Find out about the training and experience of any practitioner you are considering. Ask whether the practitioner has experience working with your pain condition.
  • If you are considering dietary supplements, keep in mind that they can cause health problems if not used correctly, and some may interact with prescription or nonprescription medications or other dietary supplements you take. Your health care provider can advise you. If you are pregnant or nursing a child, or if you are considering giving a child a dietary supplement, it is especially important to consult your (or your child’s) health care provider. To learn more, visit NCCAM’s Web page on dietary supplements.
  • Be sure to tell all your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.


*Certain chronic conditions, several of which cause pain, may occur together; some individuals have two or more of these problems. These conditions include chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome), irritable bowel syndrome, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and vulvodynia (chronic vulvar pain). It is not known whether these disorders share a common cause.

For more information about chronic pain, visit the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

References

Bronfort G, Haas M, Evans R, et al. Evidence-informed management of chronic low back pain with spinal manipulation and mobilization. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18164469. Spine Journal. 2008;8(1):213–225.
Bronfort G, Nilsson N, Haas M, et al. Non-invasive physical treatments for chronic/recurrent headache. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15266458. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2004;(3):CD001878 [edited 2009]. Accessed at www.thecochranelibrary.com on February 18, 2013.
Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Kahn J, et al. A comparison of the effects of 2 types of massage and usual care on chronic low back pain. A randomized, controlled trial. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21727288. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2011;155:1–9.
Chou R, Huffman LH. Nonpharmacologic therapies for acute and chronic low back pain: a review of the evidence for an American Pain Society/American College of Physicians clinical practice guideline. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17909210. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2007;147(7):492–504.
Furlan AD, Imamura M, Dryden T, et al. Massage for low-back pain. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18843627. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2008;(4): CD001929 [edited 2010]. Accessed at www.thecochranelibrary.com on February 18, 2013.
Furlan AD, Yazdi F, Tsertsvadze A, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and safety of selected complementary and alternative medicine for neck and low-back pain. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22203884. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012;2012:953139.
Gaylord SA, Palsson OS, Garland EL, et al. Mindfulness training reduces the severity of irritable bowel syndrome in women: results of a randomized controlled trial. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21691341. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2011;106(9):1678–1688.
Gross A, Miller J, D’Sylva J, et al. Manipulation or mobilisation for neck pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2010;(1):CD004249. Accessed at www.thecochranelibrary.com on February 18, 2013.
Institute of Medicine. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13172. The National Academies Press Web site. Accessed at www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13172 on July 16, 2012.
Kozasa EH, Tanaka LH, Monson C, et al. The effects of meditation-based interventions on the treatment of fibromyalgia. Current Pain and Headache Reports. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22717699. June 21, 2012. Epub ahead of print.
Manheimer E, Cheng K, Wieland LS, et al. Acupuncture for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22592702. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2012;(5):CD005111. Accessed at www.thecochranelibrary.com on February 18, 2013.
Miller KL, Clegg DO. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America. 2011;37(1):103–118.
Moayyedi P, Ford AC, Talley NJ, et al. The efficacy of probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19091823. Gut. 2010;59(3):325–332.
Ritchie ML, Romanuk TN. A meta-analysis of probiotic efficacy for gastrointestinal diseases. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22529959. PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34938.
Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Maschino AC, et al. Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22965186. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2012;172(19):1444–1453.
Wang C, Schmid CH, Hibberd PL, et al. Tai chi is effective in treating knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19877092. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 2009;61(11):1545–1553.
Wang C, Schmid CH, Rones R, et al. A randomized trial of tai chi for fibromyalgia. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0912611. New England Journal of Medicine. 2010;363(8):743–754.

Holistic Lifestyle Disclaimer -  No statements on this Website or Blog have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information is provided for educational uses only. It is not the intention of Holistic Lifestyle to provide specific medical advice to users of its Website or Blog, but rather to provide users with information to help them to better understand their life, environment, health, and the current range of approaches related to various therapies and/or treatments, prevention methods, supportive care, etc. Holistic Lifestyle urges users to consult with a licensed physician for diagnosis and for answers to their personal medical and/or health care questions.

Homemade Lawn Dye

Image: Grass is in the Public Domain. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WIKI-Grass.jpg
You've heard of those expensive commercial lawn dyes that will color those brown or yellow spots in your lawn a pretty grass-green color. Save some money and make it yourself. This homemade lawn dye is easy to make yourself. It is nontoxic and biodegradable, making it safe for children and pets. A quick sweep of a sprayer will give a nice green color to brown spots. Keep in mind, this is only a temporary fix to be used until your grass recuperates. This lawn dye is especially helpful to those people who live in an HOA (Homeowners Association) to help hide unsightly spots in the lawn until they can be repaired.

This lawn dye is colorfast when completely dry. It won't contaminate the groundwater, and it will last for about 2 to 3 months, depending on how quickly your grass grows and/or how often you mow.

For best results, the lawn should be dry and the grass mowed to a height of about 2". Lawn dye is best applied on a sunny, windless day. Always test dye color on a hidden spot of the lawn before spraying.

Lawn dye is not an exact science as far as getting the green color just right. Keep in mind, there are many shades of green, so, if you want the green color a little darker, simply add a few more drops of the green dye. If the green color is a little too dark, simply add a bit more water to lighten it up.

Lawn dye tips

  • To avoid staining your skin and clothing, wear gloves, a face-mask, goggles or eye protection, and protective (or old) clothing when spraying.
  • Epsom salts add magnesium to the soil, so it's a good idea to do a soil test before applying the dye to make sure your lawn won't be getting too much of a good thing. Coupled with the fertilizer, the epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) gives grass a nutrient boost to help it spring back with lush, green growth.
  • Don’t use homemade lawn paint during a heat wave, because the fertilizer base will stress the grass even more.
  • Dyed lawns still require a deep, once a week watering to keep the roots alive.
  • Lawn dye can be repeated every 4 to 6 weeks or as needed.


Lawn Dye recipes using either a liquid fertilizer or a granular fertilizer

Homemade Lawn Dye using Liquid Fertilizer

What you'll need:
5-gallon bucket
2 cups liquid lawn fertilizer
4 lbs. Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) (find it in the pharmacy section of your local grocery store)
1/4 cup green liquid 'food coloring' (vegetable-based - the kind used for baking. Find it in the baking aisle of your local grocery store)
Paint stirring stick
Garden hose (if using hose-end spray attachment with reservoir)
Sprayer (hose-end spray attachment with reservoir or garden tank-style sprayer)

1. Pour the liquid lawn fertilizer in the 5-gallon bucket.
2. Stir the Epsom salts into the liquid fertilizer with the paint stirring stick, adding a little at a time and stirring gradually until salts are dissolved.
3. Pour the green food coloring into the mix and stir until the color is thoroughly incorporated - adding more or less food coloring to adjust the tint of the mixture.
4. Pour the mixture into the sprayer.
5. Adjust the spray nozzle to a wide setting and begin spraying the lawn in one corner, sweeping slowly from side to side until the lawn is covered. Let the dye dry completely. Repeat on those areas that are extremely dry or brown so the color is uniform across the lawn.

Homemade Lawn Dye using Granular Fertilizer

What you'll need:
1 lb granular lawn fertilizer
4 lb Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) (find it in the pharmacy section of your local grocery store)
1/4 cup green liquid 'food coloring' (vegetable-based - the kind used for baking. Find it in the baking aisle of your local grocery store)
5 gallon Bucket
Paint stirring stick
Spreader (the type used for spreading fertilizer or grass seed)

1. Thoroughly combine the fertilizer and Epsom salts together in the 5 gallon bucket.
2. Gradually pour the half of the liquid green food coloring into the mixture. Do not just dump all the food coloring in one spot (it will clump). Using the paint stirring stick (I wear a pair of plastic gloves) mix it in thoroughly. Repeat with the remaining food coloring, and again mix it until it is well combined and tinted green.
4. Pour the green tinted mixture into the spreader; spreading it evenly over the lawn. Lightly water the lawn after you've spread all the mixture. This 5 pounds of lawn dye mixture will cover about 1,000 square feet of lawn.
6. This process can be repeated once every four to six weeks for a green-looking lawn.

Caution! If using the sprayer method - spray carefully, as this lawn dye will stain driveways, fence posts, pavers, garden mulch, siding, etc., so protect those areas being sprayed with plastic sheeting and masking tape. Scrub off mistakes immediately with a wire or stiff-bristled brush and an ammonia-based window cleaner. Some light staining may remain after cleaning.

Homemade Horticultural Oil

Home made Horticultural Oil recipe
Mix one tablespoon of liquid dish soap (acts as an insecticidal) and 1 tablespoon of baking soda (acts as a fungicide) with one cup of vegetable oil.

Mix 1½ tablespoons of your oil mixture for every one cup of water. Shake mixture well and spray on leaves (tops and undersides), stems and branches.

For small bushes, a hand-held spray bottle to hold the horticultural oil will make the application process simple.

For large trees and bushes, I recommend a large-size pump sprayer or a hose-end sprayer. Fill the sprayer with the horticultural oil and slowly, beginning with the topmost branches, spray all around the entire tree or bush.

This horticultural oil may also be effective against black spot, rust and anthracnose.

Caution! Do not store unused mixture. While this homemade powdery mildew recipe has been known to be effective, it can burn the leaves of some plants. It is recommended that you water the infected plants well two days before applying this mixture. Do Not apply mixture to plants in full sun. Do Not apply to plants when the temperature is below 40 degrees F or above 70 degrees F. Do Not apply to 'drought-stressed' plants. Do Not apply to plants during wet (raining) or high humidity conditions. Do Not apply to plants if there is a chance of frost or freeze warning overnight. Powdery mildew spray and horticultural oil is generally safe to use on fruit trees, roses or deciduous trees and shrubs. Do Not use a dormant spray on any plant that has any leaves (even baby ones) or is actively growing, as they may be damaged by the spray due to the reflection of the sun off the oil causing leaf burn, or from any impurities in the oil.

How to Apply the Oil during the 'Dormant Season'
Spray the entire dormant tree or shrub plus the soil around it. Totally saturate each and every branch, stem or cane. Insects and the tiny dust like spores of fungal diseases hide in the smallest cracks and crevices. This will help control the insects before the warm summer season. Agitate the sprayer often to keep the lighter oil mixed with the water. Always cover all sides of the tree or bush when you spray. Horticultural oil must contact the pest or eggs to kill it. There is no residual killing action, but the coating it makes on the tree or bush can protect against transmission of some plant viruses and fungi.

When to Use
To determine when to use horticultural oil, look to your own local weather. It is very important to spray early enough in the season. A rule of thumb is to spray before the buds on the trees and/or bushes have begun to swell. Choose a 24-hour period when the outdoor temperature is between 40 and 70 degrees F, with no rain or high winds in the forecast.

Plants that can be sprayed include fruit trees (includes, but not limited to apple, crabapple, plum, quince, pear), gooseberry bushes, currant bushes.

Pests Controlled with Horticultural Oil
Adelgids, aphids, caterpillar eggs, leafhoppers, mealybug, honeylocust mite, scale, spider mites, European red mite, thrips and whiteflies are the most commonly targeted pests of horticultural oil.

Caution! Prior to the spraying of horticultural oil, make sure to cover any annual flowers that may be actively growing near the tree or bush, or are in the "hardening off" stage, such as marigolds or snapdragons, as horticultural oil will kill them with no chance of revival.

Plants Sensitive to Dormant Oil Applications
Dormant oil may damage certain plants including Aucuba, Cryptomeria, Hickories, Arborvitae, Japanese holly, Junipers, Maples, Photinia, Redbud. The needles of Colorado blue spruce can discolor or change from blue to green by dormant oil applications.

Virtual Colonoscopy

What is virtual colonoscopy?
Virtual colonoscopy is a procedure used to look for signs of pre-cancerous growths, called polyps; cancer; and other diseases of the large intestine. Images of the large intestine are taken using computerized tomography (CT) or, less often, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A computer puts the images together to create an animated, three-dimensional view of the inside of the large intestine.

What are the colon and rectum?
The colon and rectum are the two main parts of the large intestine. Although the colon is only one part of the large intestine, because most of the large intestine consists of colon, the two terms are often used interchangeably. The large intestine is also sometimes called the large bowel. Digestive waste enters the colon from the small intestine as a semisolid. As waste moves toward the anus, the colon removes moisture and forms stool. The rectum is about 6 inches long and connects the colon to the anus. Stool leaves the body through the anus. Muscles and nerves in the rectum and anus control bowel movements.

Image: The GI tract. The large intestine is about 5 feet long in adults and absorbs water and any remaining nutrients from partially digested food passed from the small intestine. The large intestine then changes waste from liquid to a solid matter called stool.  Stool passes from the colon to the rectum.  The rectum is 6 to 8 inches long in adults and is located between the last part of the colon—called the sigmoid colon—and the anus.  The rectum stores stool prior to a bowel movement.  During a bowel movement, stool moves from the rectum to the anus. Image is in the Public Domain.

What is computerized tomography (CT)?
CT is a procedure that takes hundreds of cross-sectional x rays in a few seconds. Like putting together a loaf of bread from its many slices, a computer puts cross-sectional x-ray pictures together to form whole images of internal organs.

What is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)?
MRI is similar to a CT, but it does not use x rays. Instead, MRI uses powerful magnets to send radio waves through the body to take hundreds of cross-sectional pictures. A computer then puts the pictures together to form whole images of internal organs.

How to prepare for virtual colonoscopy
The doctor will provide instructions about how to prepare for virtual colonoscopy. The process is called bowel prep. The bowel prep for virtual colonoscopy is almost identical to the bowel prep for conventional colonoscopy. Generally, all solids must be emptied from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract by following a clear liquid diet for 1 to 3 days before the procedure. Acceptable liquids include

  • fat-free bouillon or broth
  • strained fruit juice
  • water
  • plain coffee
  • plain tea
  • sports drinks, such as Gatorade
  • gelatin


A laxative will be required the night before virtual colonoscopy. A laxative is medicine that loosens stool and increases bowel movements. Laxatives are usually swallowed in pill form or as a powder dissolved in water. After the bowel prep, patients undergoing CT drink a liquid called contrast media that causes the large intestine to appear very bright during CT. Contrast media helps the doctor identify abnormal tissues.

How is virtual colonoscopy performed?
Virtual colonoscopy is performed wherever the CT scanner or MRI unit is located—usually in the radiology department of a hospital or medical center. The procedure takes about 10 minutes and does not require sedation.

  • Patients will lie face up on a table.
  • A thin tube will be inserted through the anus and into the rectum. For CT, carbon dioxide gas will be pumped through the tube to expand the large intestine for better viewing. For MRI, contrast media will be given rectally to expand the large intestine.
  • The table will move through the CT scanner or MRI unit to produce a series of cross-sectional images of the colon.
  • At various points during the procedure, the doctor may ask patients to hold their breath to steady the images.
  • The procedure will be repeated while patients lie face down.


After the procedure, cross-sectional images taken by CT or MRI are processed to create three-dimensional, computer-generated images of the large intestine. A radiologist evaluates the results to identify any abnormalities. If abnormalities are found, conventional colonoscopy may be performed the same day or at a later time.

How is virtual colonoscopy different from conventional colonoscopy?
The main difference between virtual and conventional colonoscopy is how the doctor sees inside the colon. Conventional colonoscopy uses a long, lighted, flexible tube called a colonoscope to view the inside of the colon, whereas virtual colonoscopy uses CT or MRI.

What are the advantages of virtual colonoscopy?
Virtual colonoscopy has several advantages over other procedures:

  • Virtual colonoscopy does not require the insertion of a colonoscope into the entire length of the colon. Instead, a thin tube is inserted through the anus and into the rectum to expand the large intestine with air.
  • No sedation is needed. A patient can return to usual activities or go home after the procedure without the aid of another person.
  • Virtual colonoscopy provides clearer, more detailed images than a conventional x ray using a barium enema—sometimes called a lower GI series.
  • Virtual colonoscopy takes less time than either conventional colonoscopy or a lower GI series.
  • Virtual colonoscopy can see inside a colon that is narrowed due to inflammation or the presence of an abnormal growth.


What are the disadvantages of virtual colonoscopy?

Virtual colonoscopy has several disadvantages:

  • As with conventional colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy requires bowel prep and the insertion of a tube into the rectum for expanding the large intestine with gas or liquid.
  • Virtual colonoscopy does not allow the doctor to remove tissue samples or polyps.
  • Virtual colonoscopy does not detect pre-cancerous polyps smaller than 10 millimeters.
  • Medicare and many health insurance plans do not pay for virtual colonoscopy cancer screening.
  • Virtual colonoscopy is a newer technology and is not as widely available as conventional colonoscopy.


Points to Remember

  • Virtual colonoscopy is a procedure used to look for signs of pre-cancerous growths, called polyps; cancer; and other diseases of the large intestine.
  • All solids must be emptied from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract by following a clear liquid diet for 1 to 3 days before virtual colonoscopy.
  • Virtual colonoscopy does not require insertion of a colonoscope or sedation.
  • During virtual colonoscopy, a tube is inserted into the rectum to expand the large intestine with gas or liquid.
  • Virtual colonoscopy does not allow the doctor to remove tissue samples or polyps.


Hope through Research

The NIDDK conducts and supports basic and clinical research into many digestive disorders. The NIDDK is finding new methods to automate the detection of colon polyps using virtual colonoscopy. Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research. For information about current studies, visit www.ClinicalTrials.gov.

Holistic Lifestyle Disclaimer -  No statements on this Website or Blog have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information is provided for educational uses only. It is not the intention of Holistic Lifestyle to provide specific medical advice to users of its Website or Blog, but rather to provide users with information to help them to better understand their life, environment, health, and the current range of approaches related to various therapies and/or treatments, prevention methods, supportive care, etc. Holistic Lifestyle urges users to consult with a licensed physician for diagnosis and for answers to their personal medical and/or health care questions.

Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES)

What is Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES)?
ZES is a rare disorder characterized by one or more tumors in the pancreas, duodenum, or both. The tumors cause the stomach to make too much acid, leading to peptic ulcers in the duodenum. The tumors are sometimes cancerous and spread to other areas of the body.

What are the stomach, duodenum, and pancreas?
The stomach, duodenum, and pancreas are digestive organs. The stomach produces gastric acid and other digestive juices that break down food. Partially digested food moves into the duodenum and is further broken down. The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine—the tube-shaped organ between the stomach and the large intestine. The pancreas is a large gland that produces digestive juices that flow into the duodenum. The pancreas also makes hormones that are released into the bloodstream. Hormones are powerful chemicals produced by glands that control the function of cells and organs.

Image: Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES). Caption: Tumors called gastrinomas that grow in the pancreas and duodenum cause Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Image is in the Public Domain.


What causes ZES?
ZES is caused by tumors called gastrinomas, which release the hormone gastrin. Normally, cells in the stomach produce and control gastrin so only the right amount is released. Gastrin travels through the bloodstream to signal other cells in the stomach to release gastric acid to help break down food. Gastrinomas release abnormal amounts of gastrin, resulting in excess gastric acid in the stomach and duodenum. The excess acid eventually causes sores called peptic ulcers to form in the lining of the duodenum.

Scientists are unsure what causes the majority of gastrinomas, which appear sporadically. About 25 percent of gastrinoma cases are caused by an inherited genetic disorder called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1).[1] MEN1 can cause a variety of hormone-releasing tumors such as prolactinomas and insulinomas. Prolactinomas form in the pituitary gland in the brain and cause excess prolactin—a hormone that influences milk production, fertility, and bone strength. Insulinomas form in the pancreas and cause excess insulin—a hormone that helps control blood glucose, also called blood sugar. Signs and symptoms of MEN1 include increased hormone levels in the blood, kidney stones, diabetes, muscle weakness, and weakened bones and fractures.

1. Norton JA, Fraker DL, Alexander HR, et al. Surgery to cure the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. New England Journal of Medicine. 1999;341(9):635–644.

Who gets ZES?
Anyone can get ZES, but the disease is more common among men 30 to 50 years old. People with MEN1 have a 20 to 61 percent chance of developing ZES.[2] Children who have a parent with MEN1 have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the MEN1 gene and are, therefore, also at increased risk of ZES.

2. Jensen RT. Management of the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1. Journal of Internal Medicine. 1998;243(6):477–488.

What are the symptoms of ZES?
ZES symptoms are similar to those of peptic ulcers and include

  • burning abdominal pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • weight loss
  • diarrhea
  • severe gastroesophageal reflux—a condition where gastric acid and food from the stomach backs up into the esophagus


How is ZES diagnosed?
A doctor diagnoses ZES by

  • assessing symptoms
  • measuring stomach acid and the amount of gastrin circulating in the blood
  • conducting imaging tests to look for gastrinomas


A doctor may suspect ZES if diarrhea accompanies peptic ulcer symptoms or if treatment for peptic ulcers fails. Most peptic ulcers are caused by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) or the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Peptic ulcers in the absence of H. pylori infection or NSAIDs usage or severe peptic ulcers that bleed or cause perforation of the duodenum are possible indicators of ZES. A MEN1 diagnosis in the patient or the patient’s family or the presence of MEN1 signs and symptoms strongly suggests ZES.

Multiple ulcers in the duodenum—seen during upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy—may cause a doctor to suspect ZES. Upper GI endoscopy is used to see inside the upper GI tract. During the procedure, an endoscope—a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a small camera on the tip—is inserted through the mouth, esophagus, and stomach and into the duodenum. The endoscope sends images taken inside the upper GI tract to a video monitor where they can be viewed. Upper GI endoscopy, however, rarely reveals gastrinomas, which grow in tissue layers beneath the visible surface.

A procedure called somatostatin receptor scintigraphy (SRS)—sometimes called OctreoScan—is used to find gastrinomas in the duodenum, pancreas, and other parts of the body. SRS uses a radioactive compound called a radiotracer that, when injected into the bloodstream, selectively labels tumor cells. The labeled cells light up when scanned with a device called a gamma camera.

Other imaging procedures used to find gastrinomas include the following:

  • Angiography is sometimes used to find tumors in the pancreas. A special tube called a catheter is guided through the bloodstream to blood vessels in the pancreas. Contrast material is injected through the catheter. On x ray, the contrast material highlights blood vessels, which are more dense inside tumors.
  • Endoscopic ultrasonography is sometimes used to look for tumors in the pancreas. A special endoscope called an endoechoscope is used to perform ultrasound inside the duodenum. Ultrasound uses sound waves to look beyond the surface of tissues.
  • A computerized tomography (CT) scan takes hundreds of cross-sectional x-ray images in a few seconds. A computer assembles the images to produce three-dimensional views of internal organs and tissues. While not good at finding tumors in the pancreas or duodenum, this technique is more useful in finding gastrinomas that have spread to the liver.


How is ZES treated?
ZES is treated with medications to relieve ulcer symptoms and surgery, if appropriate, to remove tumors. Chemotherapy is sometimes used when tumors are too widespread to remove with surgery. A class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors effectively reduces gastric acid secretion in the stomach and includes

  • esomeprazole (Nexium)
  • lansoprazole (Prevacid)
  • pantoprazole (Protonix)
  • omeprazole (Prilosec)


Reducing stomach acid allows peptic ulcers to heal and relieves ZES symptoms.

Surgical removal of gastrinomas is the only cure for ZES. Some gastrinomas behave like cancers and spread to other parts of the body, especially the liver and bones. Finding and removing all gastrinomas is often challenging. Gastrinomas that cannot be surgically removed are sometimes treated with chemotherapy drugs, including

  • streptozotocin (Zanosar)
  • 5-fluorouracil (Adrucil)
  • doxorubicin (Doxil)


What is the likely outcome for people with ZES?
The outcome for people with ZES largely depends on the nature and extent of the gastrinomas. About 25 percent of gastrinoma cases are considered cancerous, with an estimated 10-year survival rate of around 30 percent.3 The remaining cases are considered slow-growing, with an estimated 10-year survival rate of around 95 percent.[3] If peptic ulcer symptoms are well controlled, however, most patients—even those with tumors that spread—will feel well until the late stages of the disease.

3. Del Valle J, Scheiman JM. Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. In: Yamada T, ed. Textbook of Gastroenterology. Vol. 1. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2003: 1377–1394.

Points to Remember

  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES) is a rare disorder characterized by tumors called gastrinomas in the pancreas, duodenum, or both.
  • Gastrinomas result in excess gastric acid, which can lead to ulcers in the duodenum.
  • Anyone can get ZES, but the disease is more common among men 30 to 50 years old or in people who have an inherited condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1).
  •  ZES symptoms are similar to those of peptic ulcers.
  • A doctor diagnoses ZES by assessing symptoms, measuring stomach acid and the amount of gastrin circulating in the blood, and conducting imaging tests to look for gastrinomas.
  • ZES is treated with medications to relieve ulcer symptoms and surgery, if appropriate, to remove tumors. ZES is sometimes treated with chemotherapy.
  • The outcome for people with ZES largely depends on the nature and extent of the gastrinomas. About 25 percent of gastrinomas are considered cancerous. If peptic ulcer symptoms are well controlled, however, most patients—even those with tumors that spread—will feel well until the late stages of the disease.


Hope through Research
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) conducts and supports basic and clinical research into many digestive disorders, including ZES. The NIDDK is working on better approaches to the diagnosis and management of ZES, including better ways of diagnosing MEN1 and finding gastrinomas. Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research. For information about current studies, visit www.ClinicalTrials.gov.

For More Information
A fact sheet about MEN1 is available from the National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service (NEMDIS), part of the NIDDK. The fact sheet is available online at www.endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/men1/men1.aspx

Holistic Lifestyle Disclaimer -  No statements on this Website have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information is provided for educational uses only. It is not the intention of Holistic Lifestyle to provide specific medical advice to users of its Website, but rather to provide users with information to help them to better understand their life, environment, health, and the current range of approaches related to various therapies and/or treatments, prevention methods, supportive care, etc. Holistic Lifestyle urges users to consult with a licensed physician for diagnosis and for answers to their personal medical and/or health care questions.

How to Calculate the Outside Temperature by a Cricket's Chirp

Cricket drawing. Image is in the Public Domain.
At one time or another, we've all heard crickets happily chirping away in the grass and bushes. For the most part, it is the male cricket that chirps at regular intervals in order to attract a mate. If the cricket senses a predator, it will immediately silence its 'singing' in order to hide. The cricket creates the chirping sound by rubbing one of its wings on a hard rigid structure located on its other wing.

You can use these cricket chirps as a way to estimate the outside temperature.

To convert cricket chirps to degrees Fahrenheit, count number of chirps in 14 seconds then add 40 to get temperature.

Example: 30 chirps + 40 = 70° F

To convert cricket chirps to degrees Celsius, count number of chirps in 25 seconds, divide by 3, then add 4 to get temperature.

Example: 48 chirps /(divided by) 3 + 4 = 20° C