Yogurt, keffir, and butter milk are the richest foods with probiotics.
Probiotics-according to Wikipedia- are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.
The two most abundant friendly bacteria found in gastrointestinal tract are L.acidophylus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.
Researchers from the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, states that
probiotics friendly bacteria with known benefits for intestinal health, may boost the number of bowel movements and relieve constipation. Based on the result of a pilot study investigated the potential of a probiotic mixture to alleviate the symptoms associated with childhood constipation- a condition that can affect 30 % of children in the Western World.
Another recent study by researchers from Imperial College,London, reported a 22 % drop in the number of cases of diarrhea if probiotics drink, were consumed by hospital- bound elderly patients receiving antibiotics.
There were some other trials some of which were published in The Lancet
about successful use of honey to treat diarrhea in children.
Here is a recipe that gathers the benefits of Yogurt,honey, and fruits
in treating such ailments.It is published by www.foodnetwork.com website.
Fresh Fruit Salad with Honey Vanilla Yogurt
2 cups plain yogurt
2 tablespoons good honey
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean, optional
1/2 orange, juiced
1 banana, sliced
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1 bunch seedless green grapes, halved
Combine the yogurt, honey, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds in a bowl and set aside. Combine the orange juice and banana slices in a separate bowl. Add the berries and grapes and gently mix the fruit mixture together. Spoon the fruit into serving bowls and top with the yogurt.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Yogurt, keffir, and butter milk are the richest foods with probiotics.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Cracked heels are caused by more than just overexposure and lack of moisturizing. Cracked heels are a sign that you are deficient in zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
Take 30 mg of zinc picolinate twice a day, 4 mg of Copper once a day, 400 IU of Vitamin E once a day, and 1 tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil (which contains omega-3 fatty acids) twice a day, and 15 grams of Pectinpectin for cracked heels per day.
If it is a callus that is cracking, it works best to get rid of the callus. You can file it down with a nail file or foot buffer. Do this when the skin is dry. Once you feel it, you have gone far enough. If you follow the directions properly, you could also use a foot shaver - when the foot is soft after a shower. But be very careful since this contains a blade and could hurt you if you use it incorrectly.
Signs of omega-3 deficiency: cracks in your heels, flaky skin, dry hair, split or brittle nails, or bumpy skin on the back of your arms.
A diet low in omega-3 leaves you feeling hungry again after 2 or 3 hours, instead of 5 or 8. So this also keeps you slim.
Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be made by your body, so you have to get it from food or supplements. Lack of Omega 3 has been linked to high cholesterol, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer, asthma, diabetes, insulin resistance, menstrual cramps, psoriasis, eczema, and stroke.
Elevations in blood sugar and cholesterol levels may occur in some people who take fish oil. The increase in blood sugar appears to be related in part to the amount of fish oil used. Some evidence suggests that taking Vitamin E with fish oil may prevent the fish-oil-induced increase in blood sugar levels. In other research, the impairment of sugar metabolism sometimes caused by supplementation with fish oil has been prevented by the addition of half an hour of moderate exercise three times a week.
People who took fish oil and who also took 15 grams of pectin per day were reported to have reductions in LDL cholesterol. This suggests that pectin may overcome the occasional problem of increased LDL cholesterol reported in people who supplement with fish oil. The LDL-cholesterol raising effect of omega-3 fatty acids has also been reported to be prevented by taking garlic supplements (or presumably including garlic in the diet) along omega-3 fatty acids.
Over-the-counter (OTC) supplements use in headaches, migraines, and fibromyalgia can be controversial, especially since they are not rigorously tested like prescription drugs. Nevertheless, there is a good deal of science behind some OTC supplements. I have my favorites that I like to recommend, and I will give them to you. Bear in mind, these are my recommendations as of today. As the science supporting supplements changes, my recommendations will change. An excellent example is Vitamin E and Beta Carotene. Both were highly recommended in the 1990’s, but now problems with both have been found. Currently I recommend neither beyond the amount of each that is found in a regular multivitamin.
Over the Counter Supplements
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 200-250 mg twice a day
Magnesium Capsules 250 mg two to three times a day (remember Milk of Magnesia is a form of magnesium and MOM is used to treat constipation; therefore, if you develop loose stools from taking a form of magnesium, you may need to reduce your dosage of magnesium capsules)
Feverfew 100 mg a day
--or-- Migrelief one pill twice a day is a good source of B2, Magnesium, and Feverfew.
--and add-- Co Q 10 150 mg two daily to above supplements
I have not started recommending Butterbur; however, there is science supporting its use. I do not usually recommend Omega-3 fish oil for migraineurs. Diabetic and metabolic syndrome patients can use 3000 mg of fish oil to help lower triglycerides, raise HDL cholesterol, and decrease clotting—all of which are very important in reducing cardiovascular complication. This is Dr. Castelli’s recommendation. He has been a world authority on cardiac risk factors, and I have great respect for him. For about 30 years, he was the medical director for the Framingham Heart Study looking at long-term risk factors.
I recommend avoiding ephedrine products because of side effects which may include headache, palpitations, heart attack, and worse. Products containing ephedrine are Chinese ephedra, ma huang, and epitonin. Neither do I recommend Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo mixed with certain foods or beverages can raise your blood pressure.
Prevention of migraines is very important. Continued migraine activity can lead to fibromyalgia, neck pain, sinus pain, TMJ syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, chest pain, palpitations, and panic attacks.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Obesity is increasing worldwide and is becoming the world’s biggest health problem. Obesity is no longer limited to adults only – the percentage of obesity amongst children is growing at alarming rates. The skinny on obesity or being overweight is that it is no longer just a cosmetic issue. Obesity or being overweight increases the risk of serious health problems such as diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, stroke, back and joint problems and discomfort, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, infertility, breathlessness, sleeping disorders, sweating among others.
AND … being overweight stops us from getting the very best out of life and shortens our life by years. A report by the National Audit Office in the UK, suggested that being overweight can take off up to 9years of our lives. There are many reasons for this, but in developed countries, the easier access to over-processed diets and a less-active lifestyle play a major role.
In this article I focus on a fun, interesting and self-educating way you can cut down the amount of fatty and sugary foods (2 of the main contributing factors to obesity) in your diet. Believe it or not – it is quite easy to do. Follow my quick and easy steps and you will have a head start on your weight, health and other shoppers.
Without going into the science of the labels, if you want to lose weight and live a healthy life this is what you need to be looking at each time you buy foods that are packaged in a box, packet or can. To do a quick lesson at home on how to read labels, take out any one product from your grocery closet right now. Look for the NUTRTION FACTS food label on the box or can. You will be able to tell if your product is healthy if:
It contains less than 4g of sugar per serving.
The ingredients do not include corn sugar or high fructose.
The ingredients do not include any enriched – flour products. All flours need to be wholegrain ones.
The ingredients do not include hydrogenated, saturated fat oils or the term “transfats”. If there are saturated oils, it should contain less than 4g of saturated fats per serving.
Test this on a couple more items in your pantry and determine how healthy your household is. If you are serious about losing weight and being healthy, throw away all those products that are causing harm every time you cook and eat them. Replace them with healthier options. Of course the healthiest option is to cook fresh produce only. But, if you do use processed foods, have fun with the simple food label test and read your way to weight loss. Over time it will show. It does make a difference to both your waistline and your health.
To summarize, when reading the food label on the can or box, check for the amount of sugar, fat and fiber per serving. Pay special attention to the amount of “transfats” in the product. Avoid foods that have higher than 4g or sugars or fats per serving, foods that contain corn syrup and foods that include enriched flours.
It's late in the evening, as you sit alone by the fireside, with not-so-pleasant memories flashing through your head. And suddenly you find yourself overwhelmed with sadness that soon leads to desperation. Tears roll down your eyes for no apparent reason and you feel like bidding adieu to this cruel world. A scary scenario, isn't it? You'd be surprised to know that almost ten million Americans are victims of depression each year. The bad news is one woman in five and one man in fifteen will face this profound sadness sometime or the other in their lives.
Depression in a normal person is usually caused by chemical imbalance in the brain. However, it can also be due to some serious medical conditions. Whatever be the cause, this mood disorder can negatively affect every aspect of your life. And contrary to the popular belief, it’s not confined to the elderly alone.
It affects all segments of the population, be they children, adults or the aged. Depression not only makes you sad, it controls the body, mind, behavior, emotional state and can even undermine your ability to maintain relationships. And it just cannot be wished away.
Symptoms of depression
If you experience any of these disorders, you're likely to be suffering from depression:
a. Constant feeling of sadness, irritability or tension.
b. Loss of energy, tiredness without activity, decreased interest in usual activities and hobbies.
c. Change of appetite leading to significant weight loss or gain.
d. Insomnia, early-morning awakening or oversleeping.
e. Decreased interest in sex.
f. Difficulty in concentrating and making decisions.
g. Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or guilt.
h. Thoughts of suicide or death.
Severe depression needs treatment, without which it may linger on with increasing severity and frequency. First timers, suffering from this condition, are fifty percent more prone to its recurrence. Though depression is a recognized problem, it remains one of the most commonly misdiagnosed illnesses.
Physicians are sometimes unable to get to the root of the problem and treat only the ailments associated with it, like loss of appetite, sleeplessness, headaches, and the like. However, the good news is depression is a treatable illness and you can take the option of depression herbal remedy, if you want to avoid the problems associated with over-the-counter drugs.
Depression home remedy
Depression remedy, whether it's natural postpartum remedy or depression holistic remedy, can effectively cure depression. Let’s have a look:
a. Diet: Many nutrition-oriented practitioners assert that if you stick to a specific diet, you can prevent depression. Small and frequent meals, low in sugar and refined carbohydrates can produce symptomatic relief in some depressed patients.
b. Exercise : Studies have shown that exercise is an effective way to get rid of depression. A physical workout increases circulation, which in turn helps improve the mood, preventing depression.
c. Relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques, like meditation, breathing exercises and yoga can immensely help in keeping depression at bay.
d. St. John's wort: This unassuming plant with little yellow flowers, known as Hypericum perforatum, is probably the best known for healing depression. It’s an effective antidepressant, an antibiotic and anti-viral agent.
e. Ginkgo: Ginkgo biloba is a powerful antidepressant and antioxidant that increases blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body. It's not only used for major depression cases, but also for elderly patients resistant to standard anti-depression drug therapy.
f. Siberian Ginseng: Ginseng, in its various forms, stimulates the immune system and improves aerobic capacity. By regulating blood sugar levels, it also benefits depression cases.
Depression not only disrupts life, but can keep you on an edge and push you off it too, if not treated in time. So, if you consistently find yourself down in the dumps, take treatment immediately. However, to avoid side effects of prescription drugs, opt for natural remedy for depression under the supervision of your physician.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
The first Saturday in August is National Mustard Day in America, and there is also a mustard season in Nepal when the middle hills have terraces full of the golden plant: the terraces seem to lift to the heavens offering the gold to the gods. It is mustard time.
A time remembered from 2,500 years ago when a woman came to the Buddha with a dead child asking the boon of life. The Buddha told her to bring back a handful of mustard seed from a family that hasn’t suffered death. When she couldn’t find one, she realised that grief extended everywhere and was inevitable.
Jesus Christ had his parable of the mustard seed where he showed that smallest of seeds grow plants so big as to provide shelter for birds. In 1715, an Order of the Mustard Seed was found in Germany with the aim of being true to Christ, kind to all people and spreading the news of the Gospel to the world.
Not only do this two stories talk about mustard in different parts of the world, they talk about the spread of a spice that is second only to pepper in its use.
Said the writer Anatole France, “A tale without love is like meat without mustard; an insipid dish.”
The word mustard itself derives from the French word mout — a term used by wine makers. The mout is the grape juice for making wine, thus, the moutarde of France was the original liquid used in making mustard paste.
Once it was used as a medicine as well. You cured everything from colds to
spider attacks and it was recommended to make rigid sinews subtle by using it as massage oil.
And it is mustard oil that is used for cooking in the sub-continent. One of the more wondrous sights are the old mustard presses in the village of Thecho. These date back some 300 years and are in danger of disappearing.
Half of the world’s mustard comes from the Dijon region of France and it is the subject of gourmet writing. According to The New York Time Food Encyclopedia compiled by Craig Claiborne who says, “It is purely subjective, but I have my own theories that mustards vary from region to region, and that each mustard has special affinity for certain foods that, in general, are also regional.
“Such French mustard as that of Dijon or Meaux, bearing such names as Grey Poupon, Maille, Pikarome, Pommery, and so on, go especially well with such foods as roast leg of lamb, French meat specialties such as garlic sausages, French style, chitterling sausages, blood sausages. And it is present in mayonnaise sauces of French origin in Dijon.
“German mustards such as Dusseldorf are highly compatible with smoked German pork products. Creole mustard, notably Zatarain’s brand, made in New Orleans, has no peer as an ingredient for remoulade sauce. The bright yellow mustard, whose colour is due to the addition of turmeric, is made in America and it has no challengers when it comes to something to smear on hot dogs.
“In England, one of the most famous personages in mustard lore is a Mrs Clement of Durham (some say Lancashire). Although mustard paste had been used for many years, this 18th century woman produced a mustard made with a finer powder and a brighter appearance, and sold it from the back of wagon all over the country.
“The Chinese and the English have a preference for freshly made hot mustard, and it is as ideal as a side condiment for Chinese food as it is for rare roasts.”
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
The B12 vitamin is just one of the essential b vitamins that are needed to maintain a healthy body and mind. Cobalamin is the alternative name for the B12 vitamin. The body needs the B12 vitamin for a number of different processes including converting the fats, carbohydrates and proteins from all food that is consumed into energy (i.e.normal metabolism).
One of the most important processes that the B12 is essential for is to create healthy red blood cells. The prevention of heart disease relies on the production of healthy blood cells and therefore the B12 vitamin is vital, moreover vitamin B12 has an important role in reducing Homocysteine that plays a dangerous role in initiating the process of atherosclerosis.
The B12 vitamin is also vital for keeping the immune system functioning at its maximum efficiency. Not only this, but the B12 vitamin also works to form the protective covering of all the nerve cells in the body.
The production of red blood cells is not the only type of cells that the B12 vitamin is essential for. In fact, all of the cells in the body require the B12 vitamin, including white blood cells and nerve cells. The white blood cells are an important part of the immune system and without the B12 vitamin the effectiveness of the immunity of the body to germs and viruses is heavily reduced. The nerve cells need the B12 vitamin to create the fatty layer that will protect them from damage. The brain cells are particularly open to disease and damage if there is not enough B12 vitamin present to form this protective layer.
Even though the B12 vitamin is involved in so many essential processes the actual recommended daily amount that a body needs is quite small. The fact is that the majority of people consume much more of the B12 vitamin than their body actually requires. The only issue is that the body cannot absorb the B12 vitamin very easily and has to create its own aid to the process. The intrinsic factor that the body produces helps the body to absorb the B12 vitamin that it needs from food but this still amounts to only half of the total B12 vitamin available. A deficiency in the B12 is extremely rare in most people and is made even less likely because the body can recycle the B12 vitamin that it already has absorbed.
A few groups of people may develop anaemia due to a lack of B12 vitamin in their diet. Young children often have a problem getting enough of the B12 vitamin because they may be extremely fussy eaters and it is important to encourage them to eat as wide a variety of foods as possible. This is not only the case with the B12 vitamin but is true for all essential vitamins and minerals.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Yeast Infection Remedies
If you're a woman of childbearing age, you're certainly more prone to yeast infection. And Candida albicans, a permanent inhabitant of your vagina, is generally the culprit. Little wonder almost eighty percent of the infection is caused by it. However, for the yeast to take ominous overtones, the acidic environment of your vagina, maintained by the bacterium Lactobacillus acidophilus, has to become imbalanced. This can occur due to various reasons.
However, what's most galling is whenever you get this infection your physician generally recommends over-the-counter medications. The problem is, these prescription medicines are not only strong and saddle you with some nasty side effects, they're also quick-fix solutions to your problems. Now, if you really want to root out your infection, there can be no better way than to opt for natural remedies for yeast infection. These have a long-lasting effect and are free of any side effects. In fact, apart from curing, these natural home remedies for yeast infection can be used daily to prevent recurrence of this infection.
Home remedies for yeast infection
There are a number of home remedies that had been in use for long. Let's see what they are:
a. Apple cider vinegar: Daubing apple cider vinegar on the infection sites on the body will help cure this infection. However, dilute the concentration of vinegar before use. In case, you're unable to get rid of itching, add some garlic.
b. Curds or yogurt: Regarded as one of the best home remedies, it’s a sure cure for this infection. This entails soaking a tampon into the curd and placing it in the infected region for an hour or so. This gives a chance to the healthy curd bacteria to replace the unhealthy yeast bacteria. This is to be repeated twice or thrice a day.
c. Buttermilk: This doesn't cure yeast infection, but reduces its probability. So, drink at least two glasses of buttermilk daily, whether infected or not. And also make curds a part of the daily diet.
d. Grapefruit seed extraction: Hailed as a magic cure, you can make it by mixing olive leaf extract and grapefruit seed extraction in a glass of water. This has proved a good curative tonic for yeast infection.
e. Garlic: Garlic is an effective natural remedy for vaginal yeast infection, because it contains natural antifungal substances that get rid of yeast. You’re required to insert a freshly peeled garlic clove into the vagina, after wrapping it in a gauze or cheesecloth. Keeping it overnight will help you get rid of the mild infection. Repeat the procedure for several nights for severe cases.
f. Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil also cures vaginal yeast infection. The method of applying is by coating the top half of a tampon with a lubricant, such as KY jelly and applying a few drops of pure tea tree oil to it. This is then inserted into the vagina. The lubricant keeps the tea tree oil from getting absorbed into the tampon.
g. Herbal douche: You can also use an herbal douche by combining equal amounts of sage, raspberry and comfrey with a quarter part goldenseal. This can be combined with cider vinegar.
h. Sugar intake: Those prone to this infection should decrease or eliminate sugar and sugary foods, since sugar promotes yeast growth. This means reduction in the consumption of fruit juices and sugar laden soda and drinks.
i. Pau d'arco (Tabebuia impestiginosa ):
The bark of this tree, also known as lapacho and taheebo, is used to treat a range of diseases, including yeast infection. The bark contains antifungal properties.
Those of you who're suffering from the ill effects of over-the-counter prescription drugs can explore the exciting possibilities offered by natural remedies for yeast infection. However, discuss these natural remedies with your physician before you start.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
High risk of Cerebrovascular Disease
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases are the Top 10 causes of death in high-income countries (#2), middle income countries (#1) and low-income countries (#5). With 5.5 million deaths due to these diseases in 2002, this is what WHO has to say regarding this (quoted from www.who.int):
Q: What is the number one cause of death throughout the world?
Cardiovascular diseases kill more people each year--in high, middle- and low-income countries alike--than any others. In 2002, 7.2 million people died of coronary heart disease, 5.5 million from stroke or another form of cerebrovascular disease.
What is Cerebrovascular Disease (CVD)?
So, what is this cerebrovascular disease that is killing millions worldwide?
Cerebrovascular refers to the blood vessels (arteries) that supply blood to the brain, and cerebrovascular disease, in simple terms, refers to an abnormality of the brain due to a disruption in this blood supply in some way. This causes the brain cells to be deprived of oxygen as the blood is responsible for carrying oxygen to all of our body cells. The brain cells will then die or be damaged under this condition.
The most common type of cerebrovascular disease is stroke, also known as cerebrovascular accident. Stroke is caused by either a clogged blood vessel in the brain, or when the blood vessel in the brain bursts or leaks. Other CVD include: transient ischemic attack (TIA), multi-infarct (arteriosclerotic) dementia and reversible ischemic neurologic deficit (RIND).
Roles of Nitric Oxide (NO)
Nitroglycerin and related vasodilating compounds increase the diameter of a blood vessel, and were found to act to release nitric oxide, an endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). Endothelium cells are cells that line the blood vessels and prevents the interaction of blood cells with the vessel walls.
The discovery of the role of nitric oxide in the human body was made by Robert F. Furchgott (hD), Louis J. Ignarro (PhD) and Ferid Murad (MD, PhD). This is one of the most important progress made in the study of cardiovascular medicine and the three were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1998.
Nitric Oxide is a small gaseous, signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system produced by healthy endothelial cells. Signaling molecules have the function of producing another substance, the second messenger. The second messenger transmit messages along signal pathways between cells.
When NO enters a cell, it activates an enzyme called guanylate cyclase, which produces the second messenger, cyclic GMP. This second messenger relaxes and dilates the blood vessels.
So how do nitric oxide prevent strokes and cerebrovascular diseases? Nitric oxide lowers blood pressure, a high risk factor for both stroke and heart attack. By relaxing and dilating the blood vessels, it promotes healthy blood circulation to the brain and heart. It also causes coronary arteries to widen to increase blood flow to the heart.
Other roles of NO includes keeping arteries flexible, reverses arterial plaque and suppresses atherosclerosis. By preventing platelets and white blood cells from sticking to the vessel wall, NO can prevent atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the accumulation of deposits of fatty wax like materials, cholesterol, calcium, waste products, and other substances along the insides of the arteries.
In addition, nitric oxide can reduce the production of free radicals, which causes blood vessels to age rapidly, and suppress abnormal growth of vascular muscle cells to prevent blood vessels from thickening.
How important is nitric oxide to our body? Nitric oxide can form biological reactions with many compounds in our body, and have been found to play a role in a number of body system processes, including immune defense, regulation of cell death (apoptosis) and neurotransmission.
Source of Nitric Oxide
L-Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that stimulates the growth of nitric oxide within blood vessels. A semi-essential amino acid is one that can be produced by our body, or obtained from our diet.
Usually, a healthy person will have sufficient L-Arginine to produce the required amount of nitric oxide. Studies have shown that dietary supplements of L-Arginine will have little effect on people with healthy endothelium cells.
However, individuals with unhealthy endothelium cells are at risk of heart disease as their body cannot produce enough nitric oxide on their own. This is due to the presence of asymmetric dimethylarginine, a modified amino acid, that stops the production of nitric oxide. In such conditions, the human body requires dietary supplement to increase L-Arginine amounts. This will allows more NO to be produced naturally.
"... inappropriate coronary responses to sympathetic stimulation in people with coronary artery disease may be related to changes in the arginine-nitric oxide pathway and may be improved by increasing production of nitric oxide", says Joel Cellman, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University.
Therefore, dietary supplements of L-Arginine can help prevent coronary heart diseases and CVD in high risk persons.
span style="font-weight:bold;">Oh, not again, another cold sore breakout!
Unfortunately, when a bump or sore appears on the lip, it’s enough to make you feel like a social leper. Although a cold sore is not the end of the world and goes away on its own, it is also a highly contagious blister with an unmistakable appearance. What causes this condition? It is none other than a virus whose name will send shivers up and down your back.
What are Cold Sores?
A cold sore is a painful blister filled with fluid that makes an appearance on or around the lips. It is the herpes simplex virus infection that causes this undesirable visual, and is sometimes referred to as oral herpes, fever blisters, labial herpes, herpes labialis, and herpes febrilis. One of the most distinguishing characteristics associated with a cold sore is the high level of contagiousness they possess. Skin-to skin contact passes these little devils from one person to another. While the greatest chances of passing on the blisters occur when they are dry and crusted over, they may also pass on after they have healed 
Cold Sore vs Canker Sore
Another condition with similar symptoms to the cold sore is a canker sore, which both exhibit blister-like sores about the mouth. Canker sores keep to the inside of the mouth, often developing on the tongue or inside the cheeks, while cold sores stick to the lips. The only time a cold sore finds its way to the inside of the mouth is during the onset of an eruption.
Causes of Cold Sores
There are different kinds of herpes virus strands that cause cold sores to form. Often, it is the herpes simplex type 1 virus that is most responsible for this occurrence, although type 2 has been known to cause cold sores as well. The virus can be passed from person-to-person through an active sore. The condition is so contagious that sharing spoons, forks, razors and towels may also spread the infection. If you are prone to cold sores, a variety of triggers, such as fever, menstruation, stress and excessive sun exposure could lead to a reoccurrence .
Oral herpes is quite common and is often diagnosed through visual symptoms. Anyone from your family doctor to a dermatologist can diagnose the onset of cold sores. Physicians may analyze your symptoms by running lab tests. Viral cultures are sometimes taken, where a cotton swab is wiped across an open sore. The results of this test take anywhere from 2-10 days for review.
Natural Remedies for Cold Sores
Although cold sores typically heal on their own without treatment, there are many natural remedies to consider, which ease the symptoms and speed up healing time. While vitamins (like vitamin b12), mineral supplements, and changes to your diet can help treat cold sores, there are plenty of natural and homeopathic remedies, such as:
a) Witch Hazel: When applying witch hazel to cold sores, relief can be achieved.
b) Lemon Balm: This remedy helps to reduce the symptoms of cold sores, as well as speed up healing. Internally, drinking up to 5 cups per day of a lemon balm infusion will do the trick. Externally, combine 3 teaspoons of dried leaves or 1.5 tablespoons of fresh lemon balm to one cup of water and infuse for 10 minutes. Next, strain the mixture and place on blisters about 3-5 times a day.
c) Aloe Vera: Rubbing aloe vera gel or oil on blisters may ease the pain and increase healing time.
d) Echinacea: Taking echinacea tablets or capsules, as well as creating a tincture can treat cold sores.
e) St John’s Wort: Drinking up to one cup per day of an infusion of this herb will help.
f) Garlic: Eating 1-2 cloves of garlic can treat the virus.
g) Ginger: Eating 1-2 slices of fresh ginger per day will treat cold sores.
Cold Sore Prevention
Since there isn’t a cure or prevention approach for cold sores, individuals can reduce their chances of developing these oral irritations through a series of lifestyle changes. Below you will find ways to prevent the spread of or safeguard against cold sores:
a) Avoid Blister Contact: Since the virus passes easily from one person to another, coming into contact with bodily secretions is highly discouraged. This means refraining from kissing people with visible blisters and avoiding other skin contact.
b) Avoid Sharing: This is the one case where your mother won’t frown upon not sharing your things. Keep in mind that the virus easily attaches itself to utensils, towels and other items.
c) Keep Hands Clean: It is important to wash your hands before touching another person if you or they have a cold sore. Also, touching body parts during an active blister moment can pass the virus to other areas, such as the eyes and genitals.
d) Avoid Triggers: Keep in mind that cold and flu, sleep deprivation, and prolonged sun exposure has been known to bring about cold sores. Applying sunblock on the face and lips before entering the sun will help prevent the formation of cold sores. This is true for both the winter and summer season.
While cold sores are often confined to forming on the lips, they can actually appear on other parts of the body. On occasion, a cold sore has been known to take shape on the nostrils, chin, or fingers. In rare cases, they may even form on the gums or roof of the mouth.
The scary part about a cold sore is that the signs and symptoms usually do not show immediately after exposure to the herpes simplex virus. It could take up to 20 days to actually experience any symptoms, and often continues for about 7 to 10 days. Below you will find a few cold sore signs to be on the lookout for:
a) Blisters : The main symptom of cold sores is the formation of a blister, which is small, painful, and filled with fluid. The skin surrounding the blister often appears red, raised, and is also painful to the touch.
b) Prodrome: Pain or a tingling sensation often occurs 1-2 days before the visual sight of a blister.
c) Oozing: As the blisters continue to take shape, they may break and ooze fluid.
d) Crust: After blisters ooze, a yellow crust forms.
e) Discolored Skin: After the crusty part of a blister falls off, the skin may appear pinkish underneath, which heals without scarring.
f) Disrupted Swallowing: Sometimes, individuals may experience problems swallowing food or liquids.
g) Lip Irritation: Itching and swelling of the lips may occur.
h) Drooling: This symptom is sometimes seen among small children.
i) Additional Symptoms: Headaches, irritability, fever, and swollen lymph nodes may also occur.