Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Aromatherapy Benefits of Essential Oil Diffusion

Diffusion is an effective way to disperse essential oils into the air. Once released into the air, an oil's specific aroma can be used to create a desired atmosphere, like the fresh and invigorating aroma of Citrus paradisi, which can also be a mood boost. In addition, the beneficial properties of the oil are released into the air and inhaled, similar to the pathway essential oils take in nature when plants release them into the air.

For more information about the aromatherapy benefits of essential oil diffusion, check out
ACHS President Dorene Petersen's article, "Aromatherapy Benefits of Essential Oil Diffusion", on Perfume Pharmer.

In her article, Dorene shares two aromatherapy essential oil blends for diffusion, a Respiratory System Formula and Inhalation Formula. The ingredients for the
Inhalation Formula include eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus oil and peppermint Mentha piperita var. vulgaris oil. Download the specific quantities and blending directions from the Perfume Pharmer. Be sure to leave a comment and let us know how the blend works for you!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Earth Hour 2011: Reaffirm Your Commitment to the Preservation of the Planet

Earth Hour 2011 takes place at 8:30 pm (local time) on Saturday, March 26, 2011. For one hour, participants worldwide will switch off their lights, a sign of their commitment to climate action and year-round preservation initiatives.

Earth Hour is organized by the World Wildlife Federation and has about 5 million supporters worldwide. We hope you're one of them. Earth Hour helps raise awareness of sustainability and conservation issues important to you and your community, like water and the World Water Day initiative, which helps raise awareness about the importance of access to fresh, clean water.

But we can do more. Earth Hour is a start! It's about raising awareness and working together!

As part of the American College of Healthcare Sciences' mission to provide leadership in holistic health education through comprehensive professional online and on-campus education and high quality natural products, we're committed to sustainable practices and principles (the ACHS Apothecary Shoppe College Store is Oregon Tilth Certified Organic), and work to preserve and share knowledge in natural medicine (free natural health and organic gardening downloads).

Here's a link to more information about our commitment to sustainability at ACHS.

What's your commitment to Earth Hour beyond the hour?

You can start by signing the Earth Hour pledge here. Local Earth Hour events are listed on the Earth Hour website here. Then tell us about your commitment beyond the hour ... will you start a tree-planting initiative? Pledge to conserve energy in your home and business? Switch to soy-based inks? Opt to ride your bike to work a few days per week or take local transportation? Help raise awareness about access to clean water worldwide? Lead a workshop in your community about growing organic herbs, fruits, and veggies? Let us know so we can share it with our network!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Grapefruit Seed Extract Q & A

Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is an item commonly available in health food stores and a commonly held perception is that the product is “natural.” However, as it turns out, the “natural” designation may be inaccurate. The study “Identification of Benzethonium Chloride in Commercial Grapefruit Seed Extracts” (Takeoka, Dao, Wong, Lundin, Mahoney, 2001) states “the composition of commercial GSE is not defined, and its methods of production are proprietary and not specified,”[1] which leaves some question about its safety for internal use.

Several studies have found part of the “proprietary” ingredients include potentially harmful preservatives. In fact, to our knowledge, no authenticated GSE has been found to be free of preservatives; therefore, it is unclear if tested GSE has been found effective because of the effects of preservative ingredients, such as benzethonium chloride, methylparaben, and triclosan.

Each of these ingredients—benzethonium chloride, methylparaben, and triclosan— has a profile on the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database and we encourage you to conduct some personal research into their potential effects on the body. (Skin Deep is a personal care safety guide compiled by researchers at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.)

For example, the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database links benzethonium chloride with potential cancer risks and moderate risk for neurotoxicity and organ system toxicity[2]. Similarly, methylparaben and triclosan have both been linked to cancer, as well as endocrine disruption[3] and potential skin, eye, and lung irritation[4].

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) triclosan fact sheet lists triclosan as an antimicrobial pesticide used commercially, industrially, residentially, and as a materials preservative included in items like hand soaps, toothpastes, adhesives, fabrics, and carpeting[5].

However, triclosan is a potential endocrine disruptor in humans. A 2006 study (Veldhoen et al.), “investigated whether exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of the bactericidal agent, triclosan, induces changes in the thyroid hormone-mediated process of metamorphosis of the North American bullfrog,” and found low levels of exposure to triclosan disrupted thyroid hormone-associated gene expression, potentially altering “the rate of thyroid hormone-mediated postembryonic anuran development”[6].

In addition, triclosan has been found to inhibit photosynthesis in diatom algae, a major group of algae that contributes much of the photosynthetic activity necessary for a healthy ecosystem.[7] Through photosynthesis, diatom produce food and oxygen for other organisms, contributing “an estimated 80 percent of the oxygen in our atmosphere, making them essential to life on earth” (Beyond Pesticides, 2010)[8]. This of special concern when you consider triclosan may remain in the environment for 30 or more years[9].

Read the full-length article "Health Benefits of Grapefruit Seed Extract: Follow Up Q & A" from the March 2011 edition of ACHS' The Reporter online here.

[1] Takeoka, G., Dao, L., Wong, R., Lundin, R., Mahoney, N. (2001). Identification of Benzethonium Chloride in Commercial Grapefruit Seed Extracts. J. Agric. Food Chem. 49, 3316-3320.
[2] Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. (2011). BENZETHONIUM CHLORIDE. Retrieved from http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ingredient.php?ingred06=700675
[3] Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. (2011). METHYLPARABEN. Retrieved from http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ingredient.php?ingred06=703937
[4] Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. (2011). TRICLOSAN. Retrieved from
[5] Environmental Protection Agency. (2011, February 16). Triclosan Facts. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsheets/triclosan_fs.htm
[6] Veldhoen, N., Skirrow, R., Osachoff, H., Wigmore, H., Clapson, D., Gunderson, M., et al. (2006). The bactericidal agent triclosan modulates thyroid hormone-associated gene expression and disrupts postembryonic anuran development. Aquatic Toxicology 80(3,1), 217-227. Abstract obtained from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6T4G-4M0S2Y9-1/2/1607f34b5f4663b9c487f0481cab2162
[7] Ricart, M., Guasch, H., Alberch, M., et al. (2010). Triclosan persistence through wastewater treatment plants and its potential toxic effects on river biofilms. Aquat. Toxicol. 100 (4): 346–53. Abstract retrieved fromhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T4G-50X2N91-1&_user=10&_coverDate=11%2F15%2F2010&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=414efe7118e37abee086f61c1531b2be&searchtype=a
[8] Beyond Pesticides Daily News Blog. (2010, November 15). Triclosan in Waterways Harmful to Important Microorganisms. Retrieved from http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=4523
[9] Singer, H., Muller, S., Tixier, C., Pillonel, L. (2002). Triclosan: occurrence and fate of a widely used biocide in the aquatic environment: field measurements in wastewater treatment plants, surface waters, and lake sediments. Environ Sci Technol 1;36(23):4998-5004. Abstract retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12523412

Monday, March 7, 2011

Essential Oil Profile: Grapefruit Essential Oil a Fresh and Tangy Aroma

Grapefruit essential oil Citrus paradisi is a hybrid brought about by cultivation of C. maxima and C. sinensis.

The essential oil, pressed or distilled from the fresh peel of the fruit, is a yellowish to pale-green oil with a fresh, bright, and tangy aroma. It feels thin and watery. Like many citrus oils, grapefruit will deteriorate quickly if exposed to moisture, air, or light and should be used within six months.

Traditionally, grapefruit essential oils has been used for its antibacterial, antidepressant, antiseptic, astringent, digestive, and stimulant properties. In perfumery, it blends well with bergamot, black pepper, cardamom, ginger, geranium, lavender, and rosemary.

Note, grapefruit's photosensitive effect is a current topic of research. Until there is definitive clinical testing, avoid citrus oils if there is a chance of being exposed to the sun after an aromatherapy treatment. A skin patch test is also recommended as the oil may cause skin irritation.

Winter Pick Me Up Blend

Grapefruit Citrus paradisi oil: 6-drops
Bergamot Citrus aurantium var. bergamia oil: 6-drops
Lime Citrus aurantifolia oil: 6-drops
Ginger Zingiber officinale oil: 4-drops
Sandalwood Santalum album oil: 2-drops

Blend all the oils and use in a diffuser or atomizer. It can also be added to the bath water; add 5-6-drops maximum.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. You should always consult with your primary care physician before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.

Honey a Natural Support for Wound Healing

There's nothing like fresh honey!

Perhaps most widely used as a natural culinary sweetener, honey also has many traditional uses as a health support, including its ability to coat sore throats, as an energizing pick me up, and as a soothing digestive aid.

How many of us think to use it on our wounds, though? You may want to add it to your medicine cabinet as a natural, cost effective support for wound healing!

Research suggests the natural acidity of unprocessed honey may be low enough to help prevent bacterial growth. In addition, honey absorbs water, which drys out the moisture bacteria rely on. Further studies suggest it may be an especially effective support for burns.

[1] Al-Waili NS.(2003). Topical application of natural honey, beeswax and olive oil mixture for atopic dermatitis or psoriasis: partially controlled, single-blinded study. Complement Ther Med. 11(4):226-34. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15022655
[2] Eischen, N. (February/March 1999). The Benefits of Honey: A Remedy for Sore Throats, Wound Care and More. Mother Earth News. [Online] Retrieved from http://www.motherearthnews.com/Natural-Health/1999-02-01/Honey-Benefits.aspx
[3] Nasir, et al. (2010). Antibacterial properties of tualang honey and its effect in burn wound management: a comparative study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 10: 31. Published online 2010 June 24. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-10-31. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908556/?tool=pubmed
[4] Waikato Honey Research Unit. (2009, September 3). What's special about Active Manuka Honey? The University of Waikato. Retrieved from http://bio.waikato.ac.nz/honey/special.shtml

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. In an emergency, one should always call 911 or visit their primary care physician immediately.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Help Us Build a List of Favorite Colorful and Nutritious Foods for National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month and the theme is "Eat Right with Color!" An easy way to start improving your nutrition is to include a variety of color on your plate, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy.The American Dietetic Association further suggests Americans "take time during National Nutrition Month to look at their eating patterns and begin to make the small improvements that, over time, add up to significant health benefits."

We asked our ACHS Facebook fans to help us build a list of favorite colorful and nutritious foods. If you're looking for some new ideas and to add some variety to your diet, our fans suggest: yellow sweet peppers, kale, cabbage, broccoli, red tomatoes, red (orange) lentils, bell peppers, lemons, blueberries, purple potatoes, onions, garlic, spinach, collard greens, parsnips, turnips, beets, carrots, and rutabaga.

> See the complete list on ACHS Facebook and add your favorites!

Meet Althea Smith, ACHS Certificate in Aromatherapy Grad

“You are the change you’ve always wanted,” says Althea Smith, ACHS Certificate in Aromatherapy graduate and owner of Theapeutic Massage Therapy.

“It’s important to be aware of your family history,” Althea says. “When there is awareness of family history, you can make wise health choices, such as being aware of changes in your body, reducing stress, exercising regularly, eating properly, and choosing complementary alternative medicine.”

Althea credits her childhood with the early inspiration to pursue a career in wellness. As a young girl growing up in Detroit, Michigan, her “getaway” was the local recreation center where she would swim, play basketball, and take advantage of the planned activities. This instilled in her a sincere enjoyment of physical fitness and proper nutrition.

As an adult, Althea still enjoys physical fitness and sharing information about the benefits of proper nutrition. In addition to massage and aromatherapy, Theapeutic Massage Therapy offers a weekly walking group called Talk and Tennies and the facility’s reading area is stocked with health and wellness books for clients to enjoy.

“My family health history has diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension,” Althea says. “Since I know I am predisposed to these illnesses, I follow a healthy lifestyle of exercising regularly and watching my food intake.”

Althea was attracted to the online curriculum ACHS offers because she believes there are several benefits to integrating use of essential oils with her massage practice.

“It has changed my business,” Althea says. “I use essential oils for tight muscles, relaxation and cold congestion, and clients are asking to purchase different kinds of blends.”

> Read the full-length article in the March 2011 edition of the ACHS monthly holistic health eNewsletter, The Reporter, online here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Help ACHS Raise Donations for New Zealand Earthquake Relief Efforts

Reportedly the worst natural disaster in New Zealand in 80 years, the death toll from the Tuesday February 22 earthquake in Christchurch has risen to about 75 with an estimated 300 missing and hundreds more left without fresh water. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has declared a national state of emergency.

American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) has strong ties to the New Zealand community. A New Zealand native and ACHS President Dorene Petersen originally founded ACHS in 1976 as the extramural department of an on-campus naturopathic college in Auckland, New Zealand. Dorene opened our U.S. office in 1991 and was joined by daughters Erika Yigzaw, Chief Institutional Officer, and Kate Harmon, Director of Marketing. Though the college has proudly called the U.S. home for more than 20 years, our history is firmly rooted in New Zealand’s traditions and shared knowledge of natural medicine. As such, our U.S. family pledges continual support to the relief and well-being of our New Zealand family.

It is with deep sympathies for the victims, their friends and families, and those tirelessly working on the ground to re-establish safe and healthy conditions that we ask for your support. Current relief efforts are working to supply basic human needs, focused on search and rescue, emergency shelters, and securing safe drinking water. Help us provide some ease and comfort for those devastated by the earthquake.

We understand there are several organizations out there soliciting your funds and attention, and that not all are reputable. To ensure your donations make it directly into the hands of the people who need it most, we recommend the following organizations, which we have personally verified with contacts on the ground in New Zealand:
All donations help. On behalf of ACHS, our friends and family in New Zealand, we thank you for your contribution, care, and compassion. Note, donations made to countries outside of the U.S., including Canada, Mexico, and Israel, are generally not tax deductible. To make donations, KEA New Zealand suggests:
American College would like to personally thank the gracious help offered from militaryconnection.com, Seasons and Regions Restaurant, Jopa Restaurant, Beaverton Farmers Market, and Prolab Orthotics to help increase awareness and support for the victims of the New Zealand earthquake disaster relief effort.

For more information about disaster relief in New Zealand, visit: