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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beat summer heat with watermelon, a Chinese herb

(www.Borganic.org) Though we often think of Chinese herbs as dark brown strong-tasting teas, when we look deeper we find the ancient Chinese also acknowledged and documented the tremendous healing power of fresh food. Watermelon is not only a delicious summer treat, but it is also a powerful effective medicine, which can clear a potentially serious condition known in Chinese medicine as "summerheat".

Food has long been used as medicine, a tradition strong in the East as well as the West. As temperatures rise across the United States and Europe, we look for natural healthy ways to cool our bodies without taxing the environment. Xi gua, or watermelon fruit, is not just a delicious food, but also a Chinese herb known to relieve summerheat. Similar to sun stroke summerheat is a condition with symptoms of fever, sweating, diarrhea and thirst.

Summerheat is described in Chinese medicine as a condition induced by overexposure to excessively high environmental temperatures. The symptoms described are similar to those of sun stroke and include:

  • fever
  • restlessness
  • thirst
  • sweating
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • poor appetite
  • diarrhea
  • sudden collapse

Watermelon, or xi gua, is listed in the Materia Medica as a sweet and cold herb, which not only clears summerheat, but also generates fluids. Watermelon is especially good when there is thirst and dark urine present. One cup of fresh or juiced melon is the dose given. Watermelon is so high in water content (92 percent by weight) that juicing is easy: simply blend watermelon pieces in the blender, no straining is necessary. For an especially cooling summer treat blend the watermelon with ice.

Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C, beta carotene and lycopene. Watermelon and watermelon juice are cleansing and are often used to detoxify the body. It is also a good choice of food or juice to help lose weight.

In addition to clearing heat from the energy pathways in which it enters - the stomach, heart and bladder channels, watermelon is shown to have a positive effect on the liver: it expels jaundice and has been used in treating specific forms of hepatitis. Other foods which are used as herbs to clear summerheat include lotus leaf (he ye), mung bean (lu dou), and young soybean sprout (dou juan).

This summer use fresh watermelon as a way to keep yourself hydrated and cleansed and your body temperature down. Eating fresh watermelon is a safe healthy way to stay cool in summer.

References:

Bensky, Dan and Gamble, Andrew. Chinese Herbal Medicine, Materia Medica. Eastland Press, 1986.

http://wholehealthacupuncture.blogs...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watermelon

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033141_summer_heat_watermelon.html#ixzz1TPld0Eba

by: Melissa Sokulski

News from www.Borganic.org

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Obesity causes over 100,000 cancers per year

(www.borganic.org) As it turns out, fat tissue isn't just a dormant storage depot for calories. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, more than 100,000 cancer cases in the U.S. are linked to excess body fat - most of them are preventable.

The data shows that on top of the list of obesity-linked cancers is endometrial cancer, followed by esophageal, pancreatic and kidney cancers, among others. Increased body fat is linked to:

  • 49% of endometrial cancers (20,700 cases/year)

  • 35% of esophageal cancers (5,800 cases/year)

  • 28% of pancreatic cancers (11,900 cases/year)

  • 24% of kidney cancers (13,900 cases/year)

  • 21% of gallbladder cancers (2,000 cases/year)

  • 17% of breast cancers (33,000 cases/year)

  • 9% of colorectal cancers (13,200 cases/year)


A groundbreaking - and startling - study published in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research proved that fat cells actively secrete dozens of hormones that act as chemical messengers in various parts of the body. Scientists suspect that these chemical signals may promote not only cancer, but also a wide range of other chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.

"The evidence is clear," said Laurence Kolonel, MD, PhD, Deputy Director of the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii and member of the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) expert panel. "If people sustain a normal body weight and remain physically active throughout life, it will have a major impact on cancer incidence."

The recent research adds to the growing body of evidence concerning the many negative effects of obesity on cancer incidence. Previous studies have shown that excess fat tissue causes increased levels of inflammation compounds in the bloodstream and promotes oxidative stress on the body, leading to DNA mutation and diminished immune function. Both of these factors are conductive for not only the formation of diseased cells, but also their multiplication.

Reducing Your Risk
If you don't want to fall prey to a chronic degenerative disease such as cancer, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress and choosing alkaline forming foods will do wonders in maintaining optimum health.

The American Cancer Society recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days per week or more. Shedding excess weight can be beneficial even after diagnosis. "An increasing number of studies suggest that regular physical activity improves cancer survival, even among survivors who are overweight or obese," explained Melinda Irwin, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine. "That's really the take-home message here."

Resources:
http://articles.cnn.com/2009-11-05/...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/n...

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033124_obesity_cancer.html#ixzz1TEdACVja

by: James Schreiber

news from www.borganic.org

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dangerous levels of lead found in many garden hoses

(www.Borganic.org) Allowing your kids to play with the garden hose, filling the inflatable kiddie pool, nourishing your garden with hose water -- these all seem like harmless activities. However, research is now proving otherwise.

Many commercially bought water hoses contain dangerously high levels of lead which leech into the water flowing through them. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, water sitting in a garden hose that has been left in the sun can contain a level of lead that reaches 100 times over what is considered a safe amount.

Many garden hoses are made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) - a toxic plastic - and lead is often used as a stabilizer in PVC. The dangerous levels of lead in garden hoses could potentially cause lead poisoning, cancer, birth defects and/or reproductive harm.

According to a special ABC report on Good Morning America, reporters from ABC's Phoenix affiliate KNXV-TV randomly purchased 10 garden hoses at places such as Wal-Mart, Target, Ace Hardware, and Home Depot (http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Consumer/...). These reporters filled sections of the garden hoses with clean water, sealed the ends and put these hoses outside for about a day. The water was then delivered to a lab.

Five of the 10 hoses, or 50%, came back showing levels of lead much higher than 15 parts per billion (ppb), which is what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deems safe for drinking water. Four of those hoses came back showing extremely high lead levels. The same report found that some garden variety hoses are leaking up to 20 times the amount considered safe for usage. Consumer Reports also tested 16 of the most popular hoses sold nationwide, finding that many leached up to 100 times the safe amount at the initial flush of standing water.

Imagine the water flowing through these hoses contaminated with such high levels of lead - do you want your kids splashing around in it in a kiddie pool, or drinking it in the midst of summer play outdoors?

Why exactly is lead exposure so dangerous?

Lead is highly toxic and harmful even in very low doses. The Environmental Protection Agency clearly states on their website that exposure to lead in water that is being consumed above the action level, or 15 ppb, can result in delays in physical and mental development in children, anemia, and muscle problems. In adults, it can cause increases in blood pressure and, eventually with heavy exposure, the development of kidney problems or nerve disorders.

According to the National Safety Council, young children under the age of six are especially vulnerable to lead's harmful effects because their brains and central nervous system are still being developed. For these children, even very low levels of exposure can have disastrous effects, from reduced IQ and behavioral problems to stunted growth and kidney damage. At higher levels of exposure, children could become mentally retarded, fall into a coma, and even die from lead poisoning. Within the last decade, children have died from lead poisoning in both New Hampshire and in Alabama.

Lead can also enter tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials, which is another important reason to invest in a good water filter. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes; however, new homes are also at risk because even legally "lead-free" plumbing can contain up to 8 % lead.

Lead-laden soil and your beloved garden

And let's not forget about the fate of your garden. The same lead-infused water your children may be playing in is most likely also being used to saturate the soil your fresh-grown veggies are growing in.

A disheartening New York Times article on lead in garden soil said that lead is "surprisingly prevalent and persistent" in both urban and suburban soil, which is more increasingly being used for the foundation of home gardens. Many health officials, soil scientists and even environmental engineers are concerned that the increasing popularity of urban "backyard" gardening will put more people at risk for lead poisoning and other hazardous health effects especially those that don't protect themselves.

The EPA and Department of Housing and Urban Development suggest -- but don't require --- lead levels in soil of lower than 400 parts per million (ppm) in children's play areas, and 1,200 p.p.m. in all other soil. However, many and cities, states, and entire countries have set much lower limits, such as in the Netherlands, where 40 p.p.m. is considered highly substandard. Most unpolluted soil averages about 10 p.p.m. In the New York Times article mentioned, one random urban resident's garden had soil containing lead levels of 939 p.p.m.

Dangerous amounts of lead have been documented for almost a decade in backyard and community gardens in major cities such as New York, New Orleans, Boston, Chicago, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and many others.

Lead-laden soil has been found in both inner city neighborhoods and suburban areas. The reasons for these hazardous levels of soil contamination are many, from lead paint, leaded gasoline, lead arsenate pesticides, lead plumbing, lead batteries and automotive parts, roadways, and so on. While many of these products may have been banned years ago, the remnants of highly toxic lead often remain in the environment. Now, lead-laden garden hoses can be added to the list of dangerous hidden lead.

How to avoid lead contamination

While environmental engineers and soil experts have said any place is potentially tainted with soil contaminated with lead, there are steps that can be taken in order to protect yourself and your family.

First, eliminate the potentially poisonous garden hose and replace it with one you know for certain is safe and lead-free. This will drastically reduce the amount of lead being deposited in your yard and notably eliminate direct exposure when watering by hand or caring for the garden.

A lead-free garden hose is also much safer for providing children a much-needed drink or play in the sprinklers, and pets will also be spared of potential lead poisoning from water bowls filled from the hose.

Warning labels accompany hoses in some cases, but not all. A lead-free garden hose will clearly be marked as safe for drinking. One idea is to invest in a medical grade hose with nickel-plated fittings. These hoses are often sold as marine or recreational vehicle (RV) hoses and are commonly sold in marine/RV stores.

The types of garden hoses that Consumer Reports claim to be safe from lead contamination are as follows:

• Teknor Apex Boat & Camper NeverKink

• Swan Marine/Camper

• Gardener's Supply Co. 33-469

• Better Homes and Gardens Kink-free

Keep in mind that these manufacturers might produce other hoses that are not lead-free, so read packaging closely to ensure you have the right hose. Although it is impossible to eliminate all contaminates from the environment, switching to a lead-free garden hose is a good start as well as an intelligent choice for the health conscious consumer.

The widespread presence of lead contamination in soil doesn't mean you have to give up gardening, but it does suggest the necessity of caution, as well as a possible change in plot design and crop choice.

Local public health departments and county extension services often offer free soil testing; at the least, they can recommend companies or schools that do it for a small fee. Individuals generally mail dirt in sealed plastic bags for analysis.

If high levels of lead are found in your soil, experts advise covering it with sod. You can also alkalinize the contaminated soil by adding organic matter such as compost and lime, or replace it entirely. Soil with a pH level above 7 binds with lead, which lessens the chance of absorption by both crops and the human body. Fortunately, the body will eliminate low levels of lead naturally, as long as you maintain a healthy daily diet.

Home gardens can be planted with fruiting crops such as squash, eggplant, tomatoes, corn and beans because these plants don't easily absorb lead. Some lead-leaching crops are leafy greens, herbs, and root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots.

Sources:

http://containergardening.about.com...

http://healthy-family.org/caryn/24/...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/g...

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Consumer/...

http://containergardening.about.com...

http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/lea...

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033122_garden_hoses_lead.html#ixzz1T9JBeasy

by: Christina Luisa

News from www.borganic.org

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hungary destroys illegal GM corn fields, plans to make distributing GMO seeds a felony

(www.borganic.org) Earlier in the week it was announced that every crop field in Hungary that was known to contain genetically-modified (GM) corn has been plowed under and destroyed. According to reports, GMO seeds are illegal in Hungary, and authorities have been working hard to ensure that no illegal plantings or sales of GMO seeds take place in the nation.

Hungary's deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar announced that, upon the recent discovery of roughly 1000 acres of illegal GM corn, all of these "frankencrops" were systematically destroyed. He also claimed that none of the pollen from the crops had spread, and that the government will continue to monitor seed distribution and crop plantings to ensure that no more GMOs are planted.

A new Hungarian law enacted back in March stipulates that before any new seeds are introduced into the market, they must first undergo checks to make sure they are free of GMOs. Seed traders are also required to personally verify that all of their products are free of GMOs before distributing them, especially due to the fact that GMO seeds from Monsanto and Pioneer, two large biotechnology companies, have been found unintentionally intermixed with natural seeds.

Unfortunately for many unwitting Hungarian farmers, the discovery of unknown GMOs in their fields came at a time when it was too late to replant new crops in time for this year's harvest. And any potential compensation paid by Monsanto or Pioneer as a result of the damages will likely go to the creditors of the seed company that provided them, which is now under liquidation.

It was announced shortly just days after these events that the Hungarian government plans to make distributing GMO seeds a felony. Since as many as 6,200 acres of crop land may have already been contaminated by the unintentional or careless planting of GMO seeds, authorities are cracking down as best they know how to keep Hungary GMO-free.

Sources for this story include:

http://www.allaboutfeed.net/news/hu...

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/9...

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033098_Hungary_GMOs.html#ixzz1T2y93pWz

by: Ethan A. Huff,

News from www.borganic.org

Friday, July 22, 2011

Discover the wonders of organic tea tree oil

(www.Borganic.org) Among the many natural ways to treat infection, tea tree oil is one of the very best. Tea tree oil is an essential oil taken from the leaves of the melaleuca alternifolia, a plant native to Australia and New South Wales. It has a wide variety of uses with strong antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Tea tree oil's antibacterial properties are so effective that it actively attacks and eliminates staff infections, including MRSA.

The tea tree plant has a long history of medicinal use. The aborigines in Australia used tea tree leaves to heal skin infections, wounds, and burns by crushing the leaves and holding them in place with a mud pack.

Tea tree oil effectively treats a variety of conditions. It can be used without a carrier oil, but it is good practice to do a patch test on your skin first, as undiluted tea tree oil can irritate the skin. If the skin is sensitive, then it is necessary to dilute it. A good tea tree oil solution can be made by mixing 5 parts of tea tree oil with 95 parts of water. Please note that tea tree oil should never be taken internally, even in small amounts.

Below are just some of the many ways to effectively use tea tree oil:

Acne: Tea tree oil kills the skin dwelling bacteria that causes acne. Dilute the tea tree oil as directed above and apply to lesions. Another way to apply it is by diluting it with aloe vera gel. To begin with, mix one or two drops to one ounce of the gel.

Boils: Apply undiluted (or diluted if sensitive) tea tree oil directly on the boil with a cotton swab several times a day. Because boils are infectious and can easily spread, make sure to properly dispose of the swab after use, being careful not to touch uninfected areas of your skin.

Athlete's Foot: Every morning and evening, saturate a cotton ball with tea tree oil (you may need to dilute it) and apply to the affected and surrounding areas. You may want to also apply a tea tree oil enriched moisturizer. Results should be evident in about a week. Tea tree oil is also very effective when treating nail fungal infections.

Oral Thrush and/or Periodontal Disease: Mix one capful of tea tree oil with 12 ounces of water. Swish, gargle, and rinse three times a day. Additionally, when brushing your teeth, you can apply two to three drops to your toothbrush.

Eczema/Psoriasis: It is not advisable to apply undiluted tea tree oil directly, as the affected areas may already be sensitive. Instead, mix 10 drops to 2 tablespoons of olive oil or almond oil and apply directly to the affected areas.

Warts: If the warts are on the feet, apply full strength tea tree oil. (Skin on feet is thicker and less sensitive than other areas.) For other areas of the body, mix a 50/50 solution using water or aloe vera gel. You may need to dilute it further, depending on skin sensitivity.

Insect Bites: Apply full strength to the bite area. Tea tree oil is also an effective insect repellent.

Wound Healing: Moderately apply tea tree oil at a strength of 70 to 100% on the wound at least twice daily.

Lastly, putting a few drops of tea tree oil in bathwater has a relaxing and rejuvenating effect. It will also soothe sore muscles and eliminate persistent body odor.

These are just some of the conditions that tea tree oil treats. Tea tree oil belongs in every natural medicine cabinet.

Sources:

http://www.natural-remedies-review....
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/her...
http://www.home-remedies-for-you.co...

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033072_tea_tree_oil_remedies.html#ixzz1SrWM4sZb

by: Luella May

News from www.Borganic.org

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Caralluma cactus contributes to weight loss

(www.Borganic.org) With today's culture beginning to embrace healthy living, many individuals are looking for natural, organic solutions to their health issues instead of relying upon chemicals and medications. One of the largest health problems facing the United States today is obesity, so naturally, individuals are looking for ways to combat this epidemic and improve their health. One of the natural remedies to excess weight is the caralluma cactus, which is found in India and has been an important part of Indian culture for hundreds of years. Used as an appetite suppressant, many individuals claim that the caralluma cactus can contribute to weight loss.

Caralluma fimbriata, or the caralluma cactus, was used by Indian nomads and hunters to suppress their hunger when on long trips where no real food was available. By chewing on the plant, the members of the tribes could go without food for longer periods of time. Due to its effectiveness in curbing one's appetite, the plant was also eaten in times of famine or poverty, as a way to make food rations last longer and to reduce the total amount of food needed by every individual. Some of these traditions still exist today, which is why contemporary medical professionals are turning their attention to the potential of caralluma cactus to improve the health of patients suffering from obesity.

Caralluma cactus can be ingested in several ways: such as made into an extract, cooked as a vegetable, integrated into preserves (such as pickles and chutneys), or even eaten raw, as the ancient Indian tribes did. One form of the plant has not been proven more effective over another; however, a study at the Institute of Population Health and Clinical Research at St. Johns National Academy of Health Sciences in India utilized the extract form of the cactus in a study that explored the benefits of the caralluma cactus as a supplement. This study revealed that caralluma extract does suppress the appetite and does reduce the size of the waist; this supports the many claims that have been made by a variety of sources, ranging from traditional Indian medical professionals to television advertisements pushing their caralluma products.

But how does this supplement work? Caralluma cactus is hypothesized to block the activity of enzymes that contribute to fat formation, resulting in the burning of fat stores instead of the transformation of newly ingested food into fat. Paired with the plant's ability to suppress the appetite by affecting chemicals and other mechanisms in the brain, this property allows individuals that ingest caralluma in any form (extract, raw, or cooked) to experience a decrease in weight. This particular benefit can lead to a variety of other health incentives, as the loss of weight can also decrease blood pressure and improve the health of the vascular system, among other things. Though these benefits are not a direct result of consuming Caralluma cactus, they can be caused indirectly by the weight loss that individuals may experience.

To further solidify the value of the Caralluma cactus, no negative side effects have been found. The plant is not toxic and test subjects and other individuals that consume the plant have not indicated any adverse reaction to its use.

Individuals that are looking for a safe yet effective way to naturally enhance their body's ability to burn fat and lose weight can benefit from the integration of the caralluma cactus into their diet. Because this supplement can be taken in a variety of ways, from cooked or raw to the form of an extract, individuals will find it easy to incorporate into their current diets, allowing them to lose weight, burn fat, and become healthier while maintaining their loyalty to natural foods and remedies.

Sources
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/...
http://naturalhealthsherpa.com/cara...
http://thyroid.about.com/od/losewei...

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033053_caralluma_weight_loss.html#ixzz1SlRzAvKh

by: Lenette Nakauchi

News from www.Borganic.org

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vitamin D discoveries keep growing -- lack of vitamin D linked to muscle injuries and Alzheimer's disease

(www.borganic.org) Over the past few years, researchers have come up with a mountain of evidence that vitamin D is extremely important to maintaining health and preventing and even treating a host of health problems. For example, studies have shown that too little vitamin D may trigger breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis (http://www.naturalnews.com/028690_R...)
, brittle bones, heart attacks (http://www.naturalnews.com/025069_V...)
and more.

And now there's breaking news that scientists have discovered two more extraordinary benefits to getting enough vitamin D through sun exposure and supplements. It turns out a lack of the remarkable vitamin could result in sports-related muscle injuries. What's more, vitamin D may, in a sense, help "vacuum" out plaques in the brain associated with the dreaded, mind-robbing dementia known as Alzheimer's disease.

A recent study just presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Annual Meeting now underway in San Diego has linked too little vitamin D in the body to an increased risk of muscle injuries in athletes. Specifically, the scientists studied National Football League (NFL) football players.

"Eighty percent of the football team we studied had vitamin D insufficiency. African American players and players who suffered muscle injuries had significantly lower levels," said Michael Shindle, MD, lead researcher and member of Summit Medical Group, in a statement to the press.

The researchers worked with 89 football players, average age 25, from a single NFL team, giving them laboratory tests to measure vitamin D levels in the spring 2010 as part of the athletes' routine pre-season evaluations. Over the course of the season, the team provided data to the scientists so they could document how many of players missed games due to muscle injuries. Vitamin D levels were also classified according to a player's race and how much playing time was lost due to muscle injuries.

The results showed that a large number of these super fit, professional athletes were actually seriously deficient in vitamin D. Twenty-seven players were dramatically deficient and 45 more had levels consistent with insufficiency. In fact, only 17 players tested had values in the normal limits. African American players were far more likely to have the lowest levels of vitamin D. And the 16 players who suffered muscle injuries were found to have the lowest vitamin D levels.

"Screening and treatment of vitamin D insufficiency in professional athletes may be a simple way to help prevent injuries," Dr. Scott Rodeo, MD, Co-Chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery, noted in the press statement.

While preventing sports injuries with vitamin D is an exciting possibility, consider this other, potentially mind blowing news about the remarkable vitamin -- it may help prevent and even reverse the buildup of amyloid beta plaques in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer's disease.

That's the conclusion of new research just published in BioMed Central's open access journal Fluids and Barriers of the CNS. A lack of vitamin D has been suspected to play a role both Alzheimer's disease and less serious but worrisome age-related memory problems. And now a study conducted by scientists at Tohoku University in Japan has found that removal of amyloid plaques from the brain depend on vitamin D.

The researchers treated mice bred to have amyloid beta plaques in their brains with injections of vitamin D. The result? The vitamin D therapy actually helped remove these plaques, which are the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, from the rodents' brains.

"Vitamin D appears to increase transport of amyloid beta across the blood brain barrier (BBB) by regulating protein expression, via the vitamin D receptor...These results lead the way towards new therapeutic targets in the search for prevention of Alzheimer's disease," Professor Tetsuya Terasaki said in a media statement.

Editor's note: NaturalNews is opposed to the use of animals in medical experiments that expose them to harm. We present these findings in protest of the way in which they were acquired.

For more information:

http://www.biomedcentral.com/

http://www.sportsmed.org/tabs/Index...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Organic Seed hunters make mad dash to save the food crops of humanity

(www.Borganic.org) In the face of today`s burgeoning loss of seed diversity, the need for a doubling in food production in the next fifty years and the threatened spread of deadly food fungus has instigated seed hunters to scour world markets in a desperate search for the last varieties of wheat, rice, barley, lentils and chickpeas.

Food diversity extinction is rampant. In the USA, 90 percent of historic fruit and vegetable varieties have vanished. In the Philippines thousands of varieties of rice are now shrunk to a few hundred. China has lost perhaps 90 percent of wheat varieties. This former diversity was the result of more than 10,000 years of domestication.

Without seed diversity, climate change or plant disease can decimate the plants people depend on for food.

An example is the Irish potato famine. In the late 16th century, the potato was brought to Europe from its ancestral home in the Andes. In Ireland a variety known as Lumper became the dominant food crop. In 1845, spores of Phytophthora infestans caused a black rot in Lumper potatoes and resulted in widespread starvation.

The current loss of food diversity began in 1944 when a plant pathologist developed a hybrid high yield wheat plant resistant to stem rust. This hybrid helped India and Pakistan boost their wheat yields and staved off starvation. Hailed as a triumph, this innovation introduced industrialized agriculture with mono cropping and reliance on limited seed varieties.

But today, a half century later, a new and more virulent stem rust named UG99 threatens wheat in Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and India. "It`s an absolute game changer," a cereal disease expert at the University of Minnesota said: "The pathogen takes out pretty much everything we have."

To seed hunters an ordinary bean or grain is a potential hedge against starvation. In Addis Ababa, as described in an article titled Seeds to Save a Species by Hillary Rosner, a seed hunter visits the Shola market in search of crop varieties that could save the world`s harvest and its people from infestation, blight or drought. Seed hunters risk their lives in remote areas to retrieve seeds.
The collected seeds will be sent to seed banks such as Svalbard in Antarctica or the Pavlosk Agricultural Station, the world`s first seed bank, to be kept safe from nuclear warfare, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and global warming.

But there are no guarantees. Abu Ghraid held Iraq`s seed bank before the 2003 American invasion destroyed its collection of lentils, rye, barley and other seeds forever. Afghanistan also had a seed bank which was eliminated during the fighting in the 1990s, and in 1985, Peru`s National Agricultural Institute was robbed of its sweet potato collection by starving homeless people. The Pavlosk Agricultural Station is currently under threat of demolition to make way for housing development while a seed bank in Ardingly, England has suffered funding cuts due to the current economic crisis.

Meanwhile, the seed hunters are still cruising for seed. Like their hero Nikolai Vavilov, the founder of the Vavilov Institute in Leningrad, Russia, who traveled China, Bolivia and Abyssinia on foot or by camel and donkey, gathering wild seed, they believe their efforts at preserving genetic diversity might someday save humanity.

1.http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/...
2.http://www.popsci.com/scitech/artic...
3.http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/p...
4.http://www.reuters.com/article/2009...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Consider four more reasons to buy organic

(www.borganic.org) Talk to someone about organic versus conventional food. What's the first topic to come up? Pesticide residue. Pesticide residue is, however, only a small part of the reason to buy organic.

Synthetic Fertilizers
Conventional agriculture spreads enough synthetic fertilizer each year to cover one-eighth of the country. Plants absorb some of it, but the rest runs off into streams, lakes, rivers and eventually the ocean. Algae feed on these fertilizers and grow into giant "blooms." These blooms consume huge amounts of oxygen and choke out fish and other marine life. The Gulf of Mexico alone has a 3,000 to 8,000 square mile dead zone, where nothing can live but fertilizer-fed algae. That's an area roughly the size of Los Angeles County, now completely dead. Buying conventional produce contributes to the death of our waterways.

Farmer Health
Pesticides have been linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia, skin cancer, miscarriages, neurological problems, and a host of other ills. Methyl iodide, which is sprayed on strawberry fields in California to kill fungus, is used to induce cancer in laboratory animals. Conventional agriculture asks farm workers to live and work in a pesticide-saturated environment. Studies show that every child, who lives and works on these farms, carries these toxic, carcinogenic chemicals in his/her body. Buying conventional produce is hiring farm workers and their families to absorb poisons and carry them within their bodies.

Antibiotic Resistance
Conventional agriculture routinely adds antibiotics to farm animal food. In fact, 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are fed to healthy animals. This practice is breeding antibiotic-resistant bacteria at a record pace. Bacteria become resistant to antibiotics by being exposed to them steadily over a long period of time. It's like any other form of natural selection; the weak bacteria die when exposed to antibiotics, and the strong survive and pass down their genes to the next generation. Half of all U.S. meat and poultry is now contaminated by antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus bacteria. Federal regulations prohibit organic producers from adding antibiotics to the feed of healthy animals. Buying organic says, "no" to the current dangerous way of handling antibiotics on conventional farms.

Other Contaminants
Pesticides are only one of a long list of contaminants in foods. Artificial coloring, flavoring and synthetic dyes are all allowed in conventional food but prohibited in organic. Genetically modified ingredients are also not allowed in food labeled organic. Right now, given current GMO labeling laws in the United States, if you want to be sure that your food isn't growing its own Bt toxins, your only recourse is to buy organic. If you feel GMOs aren't being tested sufficiently before being released for human consumption, buying organic says, "I won't eat that stuff until you prove it to be safe." Organic food minimizes your chance of being exposed to some of the worst contaminants allowed in conventional food.

Organic food is not a panacea. Organic food can be poorly handled. It can become contaminated just like conventionally grown food. It is, however, considerably more humane and more environmentally friendly than conventionally grown food.

Read More:

Scientific American; How Fertilizers Harm Earth More Than Help Your Lawn; July 20, 2009.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/a...

Change.org; Some Strawberry Farmers Won't Use Cancer-Causing Pesticide, Methyl Iodide; Sarah Parsons; March 28, 2011.
http://news.change.org/stories/some...

Natural Resources Defense Council; Trouble on the Farm; October 1998.
http://www.nrdc.org/health/kids/far...

GPO Access; National Organic Program; June 13, 2011. http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/tex...

The Translational Genomics Research Institute; Nationwide study finds U.S. meat and poultry is widely contaminated; April 15, 2011. http://www.tgen.org/news/index.cfm?...

Pew Charitable Trust; Human Health and Industrial Farming. http://www.saveantibiotics.org/ourw...

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033000_organic_food_benefits.html#ixzz1SDiTh9tF

by: Susan Lynn Peterson

news from www.borganic.org

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Many so-called green products are toxic and deceptive

(www.Borganic.org) Consumers worldwide have begun to realize that most conventional cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that put their health, and their family's health, at risk. It is no surprise that shoppers have started reaching for so-called 'green' products, which they expect to contain significantly less amounts of these toxic substances thanks to tricky marketing practices. Many products even carry labels stating that the item is non-toxic, biodegradable, non-hazardous, non-flammable, and non-corrosive. Unfortunately, these same 'green' cleaning products sometimes contain 2-Butoxyethanol -- a petrochemical solvent. Liver and kidney damage are but two of the symptoms that go along with chronic exposure to this toxin, and it may be lurking in your 'green' cleaning supplies.

Household cleaning products are not very highly-regulated by the government. In fact, cleaning product manufacturers are not required to disclose all of the ingredients used in the product on the label. Even companies who produce 'green' and 'natural' cleaners are not required to do so. This means that consumers checking the ingredients of the product to ensure it is safe for use in their home may be falsely led to believe that a product is safe when it most certainly is not. A number of unlabeled carcinogenic chemicals may be lurking in 'green' products without the consumer knowing. One such chemical, 2-butoxyethanol, was a chemical used in one of the controversial dispersants used for the BP oil spill -- Corexit 9527A.

Banned in the United Kingdom, Corexit 9500 and Corexit 9527A have been linked to a number of health conditions including respiratory, neurological, liver, kidney and blood disorders and to harmful effects on sea life. Even while containing 2-butoxyethanol -- the chemical used in Corexit 9527A --'green' product manufacturers continue to claim to be producing 'non-toxic' cleaners that are environmentally responsible. This is a trend that is becoming increasingly popular among cleaning and cosmetic product manufacturers. A recent study that analyzed 25 commonly used scented products, including cleaning products (disinfectants, all-purpose cleaners, dish detergents), showed half claimed to be green, organic, or natural. Among the products tested, on average 17 chemicals were emitted upon usage, but only one compound ever made it to the label. Overall, the 25 products emitted 133 different chemicals total, 25% of which are currently classified as toxic or hazardous under federal law. Every product emitted at least one chemical listed as toxic or hazardous.

Instead of looking for words like 'green' and other marketing keywords, first check the label. Even though many ingredients aren't listed, it's the first step in eliminating harmful products. If any of these ingredients are listed, find another product right away: phosphates, nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE's), phthalates, ethanolamines, formaldehyde, glycol ethers, volatile organic compounds (VOC's) including 1,4-dichlorobenzene, and chlorine. Purchasing cleaning products from a source that openly lists all the ingredients in each product, or openly labels its products to be free of the aforementioned chemicals, is the safest choice when it comes to potentially-hazardous cleaning supplies. Don't fall for 'green' marketing techniques, and do your own research on a product's ingredients before making the purchase.

Sources:

http://depts.washington.edu/exposur...
http://www.greenmedinfo.com/page/si...
http://www.simplegreen.com/pdfs/MSD...
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf...
by: Anthony Gucciardi

News from www.Borganic.org

Friday, July 1, 2011

NPR violates FCC rules promotes interests of its sponsorship donor Monsanto

(www.Borganic.org) Many NaturalNews readers may be shocked to learn that, for years, biotechnology giant Monsanto sponsored the popular show Marketplace that airs on National Public Radio (NPR). According to a recent report by the Bohemian, the show had received funding from Monsanto for several years, and the views presented on the show have (surprise!) mirrored those of the biotech behemoth, despite the fact that US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules prohibit sponsors from being directly promoted on the network.

The report explains that a recent episode of Marketplace featured the one-sided views of Pedro Sanchez from Columbia University, which just so happens to be the exact same views held by Monsanto. Genetically-modified (GM) crops, increased pesticide and fertilizer use, and expansion of large agribusiness techniques were all presented as the scientific solution to the world's hunger crisis, even though many other recent reports and studies show that this strategy is ultimately a failure (http://www.naturalnews.com/032775_o...).

Outraged by this blatant bias, many listeners called out the network for this abuse of public radio. When questioned about Monsanto's ties to the program and to the network, American Public Media (APM) spokesman Bill Gray told the Bohemian that Monsanto stopped sponsoring Marketplace back in April of 2010. But this cease-funding appears to have done little to sway the show's preference for industrial agriculture, which has been made clearly evident.

In 2009, environmental expert Heidi Siegelbaum wrote a concerning post on the Marketplace website about Monsanto's infiltration of NPR with its corporate agenda. The network had already been in violation of FCC rules by routinely airing sponsorship ads for Monsanto that touted its technology as promoting "sustainable agriculture" and "crop yield[s]," while also "conserv[ing] natural resources."

FCC rules state that NPR sponsors' products and services cannot be promoted on the network. However, for years NPR gave undue credence to Monsanto by repeating its unsubstantiated talking points and marketing claims in its voice-over blips about sponsors.

Sources for this story include:

http://www.bohemian.com/bohemian/06...

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/032868_NPR_Monsanto.html#ixzz1QsplnKHk

by: Jonathan Benson

News from www.Borganic.org
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