Essential Oils – Boon or Bane


In the past year, retail sales of essential oils soared 38%, with consumers spending more than $1 billion on oils and accessories, according to market research firm SPINS. 

“There is definitely credible science behind certain benefits for certain essential oils,” says Cynthia Bailey, MD, a dermatologist in Sebastopol, CA. “But you have to choose wisely, and you cannot use them indiscriminately.”

As far back as 1,000 A.D., healers used mechanical presses or steam to extract essential oils from aromatic plants. Today, practitioners can rub oil-infused lotions on the skin, where the compounds are absorbed into the bloodstream. Or they can diffuse them into the air where, once inhaled, they bind to smell receptors and stimulate the central nervous system,

  Ill-informed at-home users tend to misuse them. One group of concerned aromatherapists began collecting injury reports online. Since the fall of  2013, it  has received 229, ranging from mild rashes and anaphylactic shock to internal chemical burns from using oils to treat vaginal yeast infections.

  Essential oils are very safe and effective if used properly for addressing routine health challenges. But there is so much misinformation out there right now,

  Contrary to what several essential oil companies recommend, the oils generally should not be swallowed. The body absorbs more this way, boosting the chance that they will interact with medications or cause an allergic or toxic reaction. Even continued exposure to small amounts (a few drops a day in a water bottle) can lead to fatigue and headaches. Taking in larger amounts of certain oils — like tea tree oil, wintergreen, and camphor — can lead to throat swelling, a racing heart, vomiting, and even seizures, says the Tennessee Poison Center, which saw the number of toxic essential oil exposures double from 2011 to 2015.

The oils, which are derived from plants and used in aromatic and homeopathic products, can cause harm when consumed. And children face a heightened risk from exposure, the experts said.

“The rule of thumb in toxicology is ‘the dose makes the poison,’ so all essential oils are potentially harmful,” said Dr. Justin Loden, a certified specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Tennessee Poison Center.

Some essential oils, like eucalyptus, contain compounds called phenol that can irritate the respiratory tract if inhaled, particularly for babies. And some have hormone-like properties that studies suggest could harm children and pregnant women.

  Allergic reactions are also common. Bailey has seen rashes on eyelids from essential oil droplets emitted by diffusers and around mouths from peppermint oil-infused mouthwash or lip balm.

Highly toxic essential oils include camphor, clove, lavender, eucalyptus, thyme, tea tree, and wintergreen oils, the researchers noted. Many essential oils can cause symptoms such as agitation, hallucinations and seizures. Symptoms may also include chemical burns, breathing problems, liver failure and brain swelling, among others.

To keep kids and pets safe, store essential oils properly — locked and out of reach. Follow instructions regarding their use, and seek help by calling Poison Control (1-800-222-1222 in the United States) in an emergency.

The above was excerpted from these articles. 

Essential Oils: Natural Doesn’t Mean Risk-Free

More Kids Accidentally Poisoned by Essential Oils 

Caveat Emptor

the principle that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a purchase is made.

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Smart Phone – I don’t think so!

I got my first cell phone in 1987 during my first year as a solo pediatrician. It was necessary running between 3 hospitals, home and office any time of the day or night. Now cell phones have become a distraction and as the following article implies an impediment to the growth and development  of adults and children alike,

Social media can if used well can be an asset however as with any asset must be used wisely.

The following are excerpts from an article I read this am.

Acts of Faith PerspectiveThe death of reading is threatening the soul

By Philip Yancey July 21

Books help define who I am. They have ushered me on a journey of faith, have introduced me to the wonders of science and the natural world, have informed me about issues such as justice and race. More importantly, they have been a source of delight and adventure and beauty, opening windows to a reality I would not otherwise know.

The Internet and social media have trained my brain to read a paragraph or two, and then start looking around. When I read an online article from the Atlantic or the New Yorker, after a few paragraphs I glance over at the slide bar to judge the article’s length. My mind strays, and I find myself clicking on the sidebars and the underlined links. Soon I’m over at CNN.com reading Donald Trump’s latest tweets and details of the latest terrorist attack, or perhaps checking tomorrow’s weather.

Worse, I fall prey to the little boxes that tell me, “If you like this article [or book], you’ll also like…” Or I glance at the bottom of the screen and scan the teasers for more engaging tidbits: 30 Amish Facts That’ll Make Your Skin Crawl; Top 10 Celebrity Wardrobe Malfunctions; Walmart Cameras Captured These Hilarious Photos. A dozen or more clicks later I have lost interest in the original article.

Neuroscientists have an explanation for this phenomenon. When we learn something quick and new, we get a dopamine rush; functional-MRI brain scans show the brain’s pleasure centers lighting up. In a famous experiment, rats keep pressing a lever to get that dopamine rush, choosing it over food or sex. In humans, emails also satisfy that pleasure center, as do Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat.

Nicholas Carr’s book “The Shallows” analyzes the phenomenon, and its subtitle says it all: “What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.” Carr spells out that most Americans, and young people especially, are showing a precipitous decline in the amount of time spent reading. He says,
“Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”
A 2016 Nielsen report calculates that the average American devotes more than 10 hours per day to consuming media—including radio, TV, and all electronic devices. That constitutes 65 percent of waking hours, leaving little time for the much harder work of focused concentration on reading.

An article in Business Insider studied such pioneers as Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg. Most of them have in common a practice the author calls the “5-hour rule”: they set aside at least an hour a day (or five hours a week) for deliberate learning. For example:
• Bill Gates reads 50 books a year.
• Mark Zuckerberg reads at least one book every two weeks.
• Elon Musk grew up reading two books a day.
• Mark Cuban reads for more than three hours every day.
• Arthur Blank, a co-founder of Home Depot, reads two hours a day.

What is a realistic goal? Charles Chu calculates that at an average reading speed of 400 words per minute, it would take 417 hours in a year to read 200 books—less than the 608 hours the average American spends on social media, or the 1,642 hours watching TV.

Modern culture presents formidable obstacles to the nurture of both spirituality and creativity.

As a writer of faith in the age of social media, I host a Facebook page and a website and write an occasional blog. Thirty years ago I got a lot of letters from readers, and they did not expect an answer for a week or more. Now I get emails, and if they don’t hear back in two days they write again, “Did you get my email?” The tyranny of the urgent crowds in around me.

If I yield to that tyranny, my life fills with mental clutter.

Boredom, say the researchers, is when creativity happens. A wandering mind wanders into new, unexpected places.

When I retire to the mountains and unplug for a few days, something magical takes place. I’ll go to bed puzzling over a roadblock in my writing, and the next morning wake up with the solution crystal-clear—something that never happens when I spend my spare time cruising social media and the Internet.

I find that poetry helps. You can’t zoom through poetry; it forces you to slow down, think, concentrate, relish words and phrases. I now try to begin each day with a selection from George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, or R. S. Thomas.

For deep reading, I’m searching for an hour a day when mental energy is at a peak, not a scrap of time salvaged from other tasks. I put on headphones and listen to soothing music, shutting out distractions.

Deliberately, I don’t text. I used to be embarrassed when I pulled out my antiquated flip phone, which my wife says should be donated to a museum. Now I pocket it with a kind of perverse pride, feeling sorry for the teenagers who check their phones on average 2,000 times a day.

We’re engaged in a war, and technology wields the heavy weapons. Rod Dreher recent book, “‘The Benedict Option,” urges people of faith to retreat behind monastic walls as the Benedictines did — after all, they preserved literacy and culture during one of the darkest eras of human history. I don’t completely agree with Dreher, though I’m convinced that the preservation of reading will require something akin to the Benedict option.

I’m still working on that fortress of habit, trying to resurrect the rich nourishment that reading has long provided for me. If only I can resist clicking on the link 30 Amish Facts That’ll Make Your Skin Crawl…

ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILREN TO READ 1 HOUR FOR EVRY 30 MIN OF VIDEO TIME. ALSO INCLUDE AT LEAST 30 MINUTES OF EXERCISE. GET BACK TO JUMP ROPE AND RIDING BIKES.

Cell Phone Recycling

Retire, Retool, Redirect

It was with a lot of forethought that my wife and I decided to retire after more then 35 years od pediatric practice in Arizona.

I love my patients and families but we both wanted our lives to take a new direction.

A lot of people including our Arizona family are sad with our move.

Thus far we both are enjoying our move.    It was a long drive but we are excited to be here.

The pace is slower.

The community much smaller, by about 5 million!

I am still working full-time and I expect full-time for at least 5 more years. Then if the position allows half time for 5 more.

First and foremost I am a pediatrician, I do not want to be a floundering retired doctor and am happy to be in a small community with a lot to offer.

The demographic of the practice is quite different with a very large military base and Medicaid community.

I am still getting oriented to the area. We love the seafood and the weather.

The temperature and humidity have not been bad. I have acclimated a little better than my wife. But she is enjoying the grandsons 3 houses down.

I enjoy road biking 6 days a week 7-12 miles per day. Nice way to start my day.

Tying to eat better and lose a little more weight down 30 pounds in the last 2 years.

I have spent a little time reading. Reflecting on the last 40 years so Pediatrics and of the years to come. Running a practice was very hard on me and my family. I did my best and I hope that I helped some families.

“Living the past is a dull and lonely business; looking back strains the neck…” Edna Ferber

I look forward to the coming years and I wish all my patients and families health and happiness. I had a lot of hugs from a lot of them in the last few months before we let. I will miss all.

Warm thoughts to all my patients and families.

Fragile – Conflict and Challenges are good for our Children!

 
“What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” Nietzsche was right, and Nasim Taleb’s book “Antifragile” explains why. Kids need thousands of hours of unsupervised play and thousands of conflicts and challenges that they resolve without adult help, in order to become independently functioning adults. But because of changes in American childrearing that began in the 1980s, and especially because of the helicopter parenting that took off in the 1990s for middle class and wealthy kids, they no longer get those experiences.Instead they are enmeshed in a “safety culture” that begins when they are young and that is now carried all the way through college. Books and words and visiting speakers are seen as “dangerous” and even as forms of “violence.” Trigger warnings and safe spaces are necessary to protect fragile young people from danger and violence. But such a culture is incompatible with political diversity, since many conservative ideas and speakers are labeled as threatening and banned from campus and the curriculum. Students who question the dominant political ethos are worn down by hostile reactions in the classroom. This is one of the core reasons why universities must choose one telos. Any institution that embraces safety culture cannot have the kind of viewpoint diversity that Mill advocated as essential in the search for truth.

Excerpted from:

Why Universities Must Choose One Telos: Truth or Social Justice

SAVE THE BORDER COLLIE

Parents should leave books lying around marked ‘forbidden’ if they want their children to read. – Doris Lessing

 Alas, not many British dukes are bred as closely as their poorest shepherd’s dogs. Even fewer dukes are bred for accomplishment. —Donald McCaig, Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men The dumbing of America has gone far enough. Yes, we have gotten used to falling SAT scores, coming in dead last in international math comparisons, high schoolers who cannot locate the Civil War to the nearest half-century. But we have got to draw the line somewhere. I say we draw it at dogs. Last month, the American Kennel Club, the politburo of American dog breeding, decided to turn the world’s smartest dog, the border collie, into a moron. Actually, it voted 11–1 to begin proceedings to turn it into a show dog, which will amount to the same thing. A dog bred for 200 years exclusively for smarts will now be bred for looks. Its tail, its coat, its ears, its bite, its size will have to be just so. That its brains will likely turn to mush is of no consequence. What is the border collie? A breed developed in the border country between England and Scotland for one thing only: its ability to herd sheep, though, if necessary, it can work cattle or hogs or even turkeys. (Our border collie, deprived of such gainful employment, likes to swim out to the middle of a pond and herd ducks.) It is a creature of uncanny intelligence and a jaw-dropping capacity to communicate with humans, able to herd 300 sheep at a time at a distance of a mile and a half from its shepherd. It is, testifies Baxter Black (NPR’s “cowboy poet, philosopher and former large-animal veterinarian”), “one of the greatest genetic creations on the face of the earth.” Now it faces genetic ruin. When bred for looks, great swaths of the border collie population, which comes in all shapes and sizes, will be condemned to genetic oblivion. It would be nice to breed for beauty and brains, but history and genetics teach that the confluence of the two is as rare in dogs as it is in humans. Inbreeding in the pursuit of man-made standards of beauty has reduced other breeds to ruin: In the 1950s, writes Mark Derr in the Atlantic Monthly, show people turned the German shepherd into a weak-hipped animal with a foul temper and bizarre downward-sloping hindquarters. The cocker spaniel lost its ability to hunt. The bulldog and the Boston terrier have been given such exaggerated heads that the females regularly need C-sections to give birth. As for the AKC’s Irish setters, says veterinarian Michael W. Fox, “they’re so dumb they get lost on the end of their leash.”

The genetics behind such sad stories is straightforward. “In genetics, selection for one trait usually comes at the expense of another,” explains Jasper Rine, professor of genetics and former director of the Human Genome Center at the Lawrence Berkeley Labs. “The notion that one could achieve a standard conformation for border collies and maintain their working qualities is simply foolish.” Which is why the border collie people are prepared to sue to keep the AKC’s snout from under their tent. Why should anyone else care? Well, a society that grieves for the accidental demise of the snail darter and the spotted owl that not one in a million Americans has ever seen should not easily acquiesce to the deliberate destruction of a unique breed of animals whose fate is so intimately entwined with man’s. “Border collies: Are they truly smarter than a chimpanzee?” asks Black. “Can they change course in mid-air, drag Nell from the tracks and locate missing microfiche? Yes. I believe they can. They are the best of the best.” And for those who find such fascination with dogs self-indulgent sentimentalism, who care as little for the border collie as they do for the snail darter, consider this: In a world of rising crime and falling standards, of broken cities and failing schools, the border collie is one of the few things that works. Must we ruin this too? Reduce it to imbecility in the name of prettiness? In the brief interval of calm between our latest capitulation to North Korea and our invasion of Haiti, it is worth pondering this small but telling domestic folly. Face it: Our kids are not going to beat the South Koreans at math for decades. But we can still produce a thinking dog. For now. The Washington Post, July 15, 1994
Abstracted from Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics 
A nonfiction book by Charles Krauthammer. It was at the top on The New York Times Non-Fiction Best Sellers List for four weeks, in January 2014.