Things You Should Know offers illuminating tidbits about the handmade beauty industry; answers our most frequently asked questions; explains product ingredients; shares the buzz surrounding new natural beauty information; helps you to be a more educated consumer and always, always, tells it like it is! No hype, just the plain truth in easy to digest pieces!
If you have a question or an idea for Things You Should Know, please Email Us!
WHAT ARE "EMFs"?
EMFs refer to electromagnetic fields generated from all appliances, electronics, cell phones and such that are constantly bombarding us day and night. All of us, including our precious children, are exposed to hundreds of times more man made electromagnetic fields (EMFs) than generations in the past. The impact on our health and especially on our immune system has been much greater than most people realize.
Electromagnetic protection as a way to build and maintain a strong immune system is vital to everyone, especially to people who suffer from any stress related health condition such as electro sensitivity, chronic stress headaches, anxiety, cancer, autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s and asthma.
ANH carries proven EMF protection products. These products are unique in the field of EMF protection in two important ways. First, the products are designed to go to greater depths of protection. Increased EMF protection frees the nervous system from the chronic constriction caused by electromagnetic fields (EMFs) thus dramatically increasing your own body’s ability to heal specific disorders.
Second, we offer you a challenge: take a specific symptom you or your children suffer from (such as) electro sensitivity, frequency and intensity of stress headaches, arthritic pain, asthma attacks, ADHD behaviors or high blood pressure) and test the product for yourself. We offer a 90 day money back guarantee for you to experience the ultimate in EMF protection. Valkyrie Lang, Formulator of ANH products has experienced relief from migraine pain, lethargy, headaches and stress by using these EMF blockers.
Find out how you can protect yourself and your loved ones
WHAT IS SHEA BUTTER?
Shea butter is a vegetable butter extracted from the Karite tree of Africa. This amazing butter has been used in Africa for centuries to protect and heal skin and hair. It offers UV sun protection; a high concentration of Stigmasterol (helps relieve stiff muscles); vitamins A & E; and unsaponifiables (which contribute to its healing properties). According to the American Shea Butter Institute, 100% pure shea butter of the highest quality offers therapeutic improvements to these skin conditions (some can be seen immediately, others take 4-6 weeks of continuous use):
eczema; dry skin; rashes; peeling after burns or tanning; itching; blemishes; wrinkles; cracks; protection from cold weather; stretch marks; insect bites; muscle fatigue, aches and tension; poison ivy and poison oak; dermatitis.
ANH uses shea butter in the following products: Eczema Treatment, Intensive Skin Treatment, Intensive Lip Treatment, Simply Shea Body Wash, Green Tea Body Cream and our handcrafted soaps.
WHAT IS AROMATHERAPY?
Don't be fooled by the hype! Aromatherapy is a term that is not legally regulated, therefore, it is used frequently by companies selling anything from candles to lotion. True aromatherapy is a science and a therapeutic healing modality. This ancient method of healing dates back to the Egyptians. Volatile oils from herbs, flowers, barks and plants are extracted by various methods resulting in an extremely concentrated non-oily liquid. Essential oils are naturally occuring in plants-they are never synthesized. Popular oils include lavender, rose, vanilla and bergamot. The practice of aromatherapy should be under the guidance of a trained professional. Casual use can be dangerous due to the extreme concentration of the oils. These volatile, aromatic oils actually cause a reaction in the hypothalamus region of the brain. Not all aromas are pleasing, however, although this may not diminish the healing effects. Nonetheless, all essential oils cause a reaction in the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, after they enter the olfactory or integumentary system. This triggers a corresponding psychological response, which may have a range of effects. Contrary to popular myth, not all oils are relaxing. Fragrance oils, perfume oils and any synthetic oils do NOT have the ability to benefits one's health. They may actually cause harm ! Only plant derived, essential oils are therapeutic. ANH uses ONLY therapeutic grade essential oils. Large companies typically buy commercial grade oils due to price constrictions and volume requirements. Be sure you are purchasing oils from a knowledgeable company you trust. There are many adulterated oils on the market and unscrupulous companies profiting from the aromatherapy buzz. Be sure to check out our selection of essential oils!
This is a short article that gives you an idea of the power of essential oils:
The Power of Aromatherapy
by Alan Hirsch, MD
Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation
Aromatherapy can be a remarkable remedy. When a patient smells a particular odor, scent molecules bind to the surface of cell walls at the top of the nose. This triggers the release of neurotransmitters and other chemicals that stimulate different parts of the brain.
Scents that patients enjoy are more effective remedies than those that they find unpleasant. Example: One study found that patients with claustrophobia who enjoyed the smell of green apple felt less anxious when they smelled it, but patients who didn't like the smell had no improvement.
Intermittent bursts of a particular scent are more effective than smelling it continuously. Patients who use aromatherapy are advised to limit their scent exposure to about three minutes or less at a time -- by putting an essential oil on a handkerchief and smelling it briefly, for example, or by walking in and out of a room where an aromatherapy candle is burning. Essential oils and aromatherapy candles are available at most health-food stores and many grocery stores. Or you can sniff the actual food or flower, such as green apple or jasmine.
Many health conditions can be improved with aromatherapy. Whether or not these problems can be prevented with aromatherapy is still being researched.
Some scents appear to calm the limbic system, the "emotional" part of the brain involved in anxiety. Also, patients who smell a pleasing odor feel happy -- and this crowds out feelings of anxiety and stress.
Proven effective: Green apple and/or cucumber have been shown to reduce anxiety by about 18%. Also, patients who sniff lavender have an increase in alpha waves, a sign of heightened relaxation.
Most migraines are caused in part by inflammation and alternating cycles of dilation/constriction of blood vessels in the brain. Aromatherapy changes the electrical activity in the brain, which can reduce vascular constriction and help relieve migraines. Aromatherapy appears to be effective for other types of headaches as well, such as muscle contraction headaches. It also promotes feelings of relaxation, which can reduce both the frequency of headaches and a patient's sensitivity to pain.
Proven effective: Green apple. It has effects similar to that of sumatriptan (Imitrex), a leading migraine drug, and can reduce the severity and duration of migraines by about 16%.
Caution: About 15% of migraine sufferers have osmophobia, a hypersensitivity to odors that can make migraines worse. Also, about 18% of migraine patients have a reduced sense of smell and don't respond to aromatherapy.
A number of studies have shown that smokers given cigarettes infused with a pepper-like smell have reduced cravings. More recently, smokers who were exposed to both pleasant and unpleasant odors found it easier to quit smoking, but the pleasant odors were somewhat more effective.
Proven effective: Any odor that you find particularly pleasant -- lavender, mint, etc. Smell the scent whenever you feel an urge to light up a cigarette.
Also helpful: People who were born prior to 1930 tend to respond better to natural smells -- citrus, the odor of baking bread, etc. Younger patients often respond better to artificial smells that evoke strong positive memories, such as Play-Doh or Pez candy.
Odors that stimulate the trigeminal nerve (which has receptors in the nose and eyes and is the same nerve that makes people cry when they cut an onion) cause increased activity in the part of the brain that is involved in wakefulness.
Proven effective: Peppermint. People who smell a peppermint scent or chew a piece of peppermint gum or candy experience a sudden burst of energy.
Also helpful: The smell of strawberries or buttered popcorn. Both cause an increase in energy as well as metabolism.
A number of studies have shown that particular odors can help people lose weight. Some scents stimulate the part of the hypothalamus that controls appetite. Odors also may act as a displacement mechanism -- a reminder to eat less.
Proven effective: Peppermint and green apple. One large study found that people who sniffed either one of these scents when they felt hungry lost an average of 30 pounds over a six-month period.
Also helpful: Take frequent deep sniffs of food while eating. Odor molecules, regardless of the food they come from, can fool the brain into thinking that more has been consumed, which helps suppress the appetite.
Most adults find that they don't remember new information -- telephone numbers, plot twists in a novel, etc. -- as well as they used to. Aromatherapy can be used to accelerate learning speed and promote better concentration and memory.
Proven effective: Floral scents. Sniffing a floral essential oil triggers the release of norepinephrine and adrenocorticotropic hormone, hormones that increase attention. Floral scents have been shown to improve memory and learning speed by about 17%.
In one study, people were exposed to different scents prior to bowling. Those who smelled jasmine knocked down 28% more pins, probably because it improved their concentration and hand/eye coordination.
Strategy: Sniff a floral scent when the material to be learned is initially presented, and repeat exposure to the same odor when the material must be recalled.
It's common for cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy to develop an intense aversion to the foods they ate immediately prior to treatments. There's little evidence that aromatherapy has a direct effect on nausea, but it can help prevent patients from developing a lifelong aversion to specific foods, which they may need for good health.
Proven effective: Smelling artificial cherry flavoring prior to chemotherapy. The best way to do this is to suck on a cherry candy. (This has the added benefit of stimulating saliva and helping to reduce hunger pangs.) Some patients will later associate the smell (and taste) of cherry with the treatments, but they can avoid cherry flavoring and continue to eat healthful foods, important for maintaining good nutrition.
WHY SOY PRODUCTION HURTS THE RAINFOREST
"In the jungle"
by Leslie Taylor, (www.leslietaylor.net)
The largest tropical rainforest on earth is located in the Amazon region of
Brazil. But with each passing day, enormous tracts of this region are being
cleared to make way for soy farms. In other words, the complex and abundant
ecology of the rainforest is being replaced with an ecology that consists of
a single type of plant.
Cattle ranching is also a concern. If you clear some forest in certain areas
of the Amazon, you can gain title to the land by establishing a cattle
ranch. As you can imagine, this governmental generosity has resulted in a
boom of cattle ranching that has overtaken thousands of square miles of
The cultural fallout from soy farming and cattle ranching involves local
bishops who practice "liberation theology" - they actively support economic
and social justice for Brazil's poor and powerless who provide cheap labor
while international agribusinesses flourish. This is contrary to Pope
Benedict's conviction that the church should not engage in class struggle.
The issue reached a flashpoint recently when two prominent cattle ranchers
were charged with ordering the murder of an American nun who had spent more
than two decades defending the rights of poor settlers in remote jungle
Meanwhile, the rainforest is disappearing - as much as 205,000 square miles
over the past three decades. By one estimate, an area the size of Maryland
is cleared each year, creating a profound negative effect on the oxygen
cycle in which plants absorb carbon dioxide and generate oxygen. The result:
weather patterns are changing and the global environment is endangered.
Acres upon acres
When it comes to questions about the Amazon rainforest, we happen to have an
excellent authority on hand: HSI Panelist Leslie Taylor, N.D., who is the
director of Raintree Nutrition, Inc., and has traveled extensively
throughout the Amazon.
When I told Dr. Taylor that I was writing about the deforestation of the
region and asked for some background, she began with soybeans -
specifically, the development of a new variety of soybean that flourishes in
a rainforest climate. Last year, Brazil surpassed the U.S. in soybean
Dr. Taylor: "To capitalize on these profits agricultural firms in Brazil
have converted extensive areas of rainforest and cerrado (a savanna-like
ecosystem south of the Amazon rainforest), into industrial soybean farms.
Since 1990 the area of land planted with soybeans in Amazonian states has
expanded at the rate of 14.1 percent per year and over 16 percent annually
since 2000. Soybean farms now cover more than sixteen million acres in the
And soy isn't the only crop prompting widespread deforestation. Dr. Taylor
notes that "over-hyped and over-marketed" acai fruit juice products are
taking a toll: "One proposed project in Brazil calls for the planting of 5
billion acai trees in the next 10 years...and guess where they will be
planting them? You got it...they'll be chopping down more Amazon rainforest
land and re-planting it with acai trees."
Giving up a cancer cure?
In addition to an evolving environmental disaster, Amazon deforestation will
have an incalculable effect on healing botanicals.
Dr. Taylor: "Experts estimate that we are losing 137 plant, animal and
insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation which makes
way for more cheap beef and more soybeans. That equates to 50,000 species a
year. As the rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for
life-threatening diseases. Currently, 121 prescription drugs sold worldwide
come from plant-derived sources. While 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are
derived from rainforest ingredients, scientists have still only tested less
than 1% of all of the tropical trees and plants there.
"What new medical cures await discovery in these rainforest species? The
U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified 3,000 plants that are active
against cancer cells and 70% of these plants are found in the rainforest.
Are we going to give up a possible cure for cancer for the profits to be had
of rainforest beef or soybeans, or even an over-priced, over-hyped acai
"As consumers, we are directly affecting the economy and ecology of the
globe by what we purchase. We do have power - it's called purchasing power.
You choose what you purchase. Choose wisely."
You can read more about the rainforest and Dr. Taylor's personal Amazon
experience on her web sites: leslietaylor.net and rain-tree.com.