Archive | June 24, 2010

It’s Getting Hot! Hot! Hot!

It’s Getting Hot! Hot! Hot!

By Hwaa Irfan

For those of us who have not been willing to change, change is on the horizon whether we will like it or not in the form of the weather.

With over 50 natural disasters that have taken place by the end of the 1st half of 2010, March of 2010 began introduced Spring as the hottest on record and counting. Whatever the real reason(s) for the serious climatic changes we are going through, I am quite sure we haven’t seen nothing yet as Quebec gets a little shake (earthquake 5.0 on the Richter scale).

Europe in its colonialistic fashion, as started looking at the climatic changes from the point of view of diseases spreading from the south to the north. To reporter Andrea Swalec, Dr Volker ter Meulen, chair of the European Academies Science Advisory Council, EASAC, which is made up of 26 scientific European academies across Europe:

    “To me, it doesn’t make a difference how we call it, but that we have had a higher temperature over the last 20, 30 years, which is documented”

    “These higher temperatures provide for the vectors and the viruses to grow faster and produce more,” he added. “More vectors, more virus, and this will cause more disease.”

    “For example, rising temperatures in Europe would provide new habitats for a mosquito that transmits yellow fever, West Nile virus, dengue fever and encephalitis”, ter Meulen said.

However, before we get to the spreading of diseases, some people have been dying anyway from the heat. If the World Health Organization is to be believed, especially after their disaster with the pseudo-pandemic H1N1, global warming is responsible directly or indirectly to 150,000 fatalities. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)who have maintained records since the 1880s have found that the worst hotspots for 2010 have been in N. America, eastern Brazil, E. Europe, southern Asia, eastern Russia, Yunnan, China, Canada, equatorial Africa with a 12fth driest season in record in the U.K.

Keeping It Cool

It has been a couple of days since I heard the sad story of a graduate student who was so hot that he went to sleep under a powerful air conditioner to never wake up. He died of hypothermia – hypothermia in Egypt!

If you have already been using your air conditioner, you would have contributed towards upping the energy output of your country significantly. So what!

Well, besides contributing towards the maintenance of an unhealthy unsustainable system, if you are prepared to suffer a summer hotter than this one, it’s no problem. Just try reducing your usage of electrical appliances in the home, and see the difference for yourself. But it keeps me cool.

How cool can one be when one is contributing towards:

– The breakdown of the earth’s ozone layer

– Trapping heat in the atmosphere

– Increase the charge of spatial air

– There is a decrease in the concentration of negative charges not exchanging with positively charged ions in tightly sealed rooms/offices

– Positive ions are positive because they are remiss of negative ions. Positive ions are attracted to generators, and lead to an”irritation syndrome” and it involves sleeplessness, irritability, tension, migraine, nausea, heart palpitations, hot flashes with sweating or chills, tremor and dizziness. The elderly become depressed, apathetic and extremely fatigued. Tension and depression is more common, infection rate increases, and healing decreases. Before a storm, the air is pregnant with positive ions, and these ions are inhaled and pass through into our blood, releasing a hormone which affecting moods, and joints, and blood platelets. In sensitive people, the hormone serotonin is released. Negative ions present would speed up the oxidizing process, but when not present in sufficient amount, leading to respiratory and sleep problems.

Well, I’m one of those sensitve people. All the obvious ways of keeping cool involves wastage of natural resources. If you are like me, and your body’s thermostat goes AWOL when subjected to the demands of an air-conditioner.

• You can reduce your core temperature by placing ice in a towel on your pulse (wrists etc), the effect will last for an hour.

• Drink plenty of cold fluids, especially water to reduce the loss of electrolytes through sweating. Electrolytes are minerals within your body that carries an electric charge. Electrolytes balance the bodily fluids.

• Reduce physical activity – for me being physically active does me good

• Allow yourself to sweat – the purpose of sweat is to cool you down

• A wet towel on the back of the neck, and on top of the head

• Burn essential oil of mint/pine/eucalyptus – creates a cooling sensation on the skin

• Open windows just enough to let breeze through

• Place a basin of cold water in the middle of a room, which on evaporation, cools!

• Doing the laundry towards the end of the day is very cooling if one does not have an automatic washing machine that does the drying as well.

• If you are up for morning prayers, open all the windows and balcony doors to all the fresh cool air before closing all windows and doors

• Go swimming

• Fans circulate the air causing a cooling effect

• Blow gently over a glass filled with ice. The effect is to cool your breathe which has only one outlet, and that is towards you, thus cooling you.

• Generally, air is lighter and cooler on the lower ground than the upper ground.

• Try and get used to the heat – this allows your body to function the way it is supposed to.

• A hat prevents the skin from too much exposure to the sun by creating shade.

• Wear cottons and other natural fibers. They allow the body to breathe, and deflect the rays of the sun.
• Don’t go outside between 11- 3.00pm when the sun is at its strongest.

• In the evenings open windows, and use fans to create a cross breeze. First thing in the morning, close all windows, blinds and curtains (white window shades, drapes or blinds), that is if you live in a wooden/brick home. If you live in a home whereby the walls are covered with cement, the home will turn into an oven.

• Smaller meals reduces one’s metabolic rate, if the heat has not reduced your appetite anyway.

• If you have a patch of land around the home plant some vegetation (shrubs and trees etc), which can reduce the temperature by as much as 10° Farenheit. One cannot appreciate the difference in being on vegetated land except when walks from vegetated land to barren land.

Keep Cool Without an Air Conditioner
NOAA May 2010 “Global Temperature Is Warmest on Record; Spring and January-May Also Post Record Breaking Temps”.
Positive and Negative Ions.
Stellman, M Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety. VoII. International Labour Office
Swale, A. Climate Already Helping Disease Spread North

Related Topics:
A Home Amidst a Never-Ending Cycle of Disasters

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Turmeric (Curcuma Longa)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Turmeric (Curcuma Longa)

By Hwaa Irfan

This is a spice that not many people in the west use though it is widely available. Considered more as a food coloring (yellow), turmeric is used widely in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Known as “haldi” in India, and “curcum” in Arabic, turmeric begins life as a flowering plant, the roots are used to make the powder we refer to as turmeric in the west. Native to Asia, turmeric is a cultivated plant so it does not grow in the wild.

The medicinal properties of turmeric are still being discovered, but so far it has been found to contain:

• Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), its main bioactive (yellow) ingredient

  • • Protein
  • • Fat
  • • Minerals
  • • Carbohydrates
  • • Essential oil
  • • Sabinene
  • • Cineol
  • • Borneol
  • Polyphenol (curcumin)
  • • Zingiberene
  • • Sesquiterpines

Curcumin has been found to have the following actions:

• Anti-inflammatory – joints

• Antioxidant – prevents oxidation avoiding cell damage, and speeding up of the ageing process.

• Anti carcinogenic – under research

• Antimutagenic

• Anticoagulant – prevents cholesterol from building up in the blood vessels, and blood clots

• Antifertility – in Ayurvedic medicine

• Antibacterial – applied on wounds helps fast healing

• Antiviral

Medicinal Benefits

The curcumin in turmeric is 5 times stronger than vitamin E, and vitamin C. It has the ability to increase mucus activity in the stomach, therefore improving digestion, to increase the flow of bile and stomach acids, which in turn breaks down fats. Curcumin reduces intestinal gas formation. As an antioxidant, turmeric supports the functioning of the memory function, helps to maintain a healthy heart, and boosts the immune system.

As an adaptogen, turmeric helps to support reaction to changing circumstances when it comes to stress. In Ayurvedic medicine turmeric is known to help maintain a health nervous system, the absorption of needed vitamins and minerals, and to eliminate waste from the body.

Turmeric also reduces inflammation in cases of rheumatoid arthritis, and maintains blood sugar (lipase, sucrase and maltase) balance in the intestines.

Research by UCLA, has found that tumeric and curcumin are pwoerful anti-cancerous agents – they block cancer growth. Curcumin has been foudn to afffective by 81%.

Research by the Department of Pharmacology, Government Medical College, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India, looked at patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD). The objective of the trial was to compare the efficacy and safety of curcumin with fluoxetine (Prozac) in 60 patients diagnosed with MDD. They concluded:

“We observed that curcumin was well tolerated by all the patients. The proportion of responders as measured by the HAM-D17 scale was higher in the combination group (77.8%) than in the fluoxetine [Prozac] (64.7%) and the curcumin (62.5%) groups; however, these data were not statistically significant (P = 0.58). Interestingly, the mean change in HAM-D17 score at the end of six weeks was comparable in all three groups (P = 0.77). This study provides first clinical evidence that curcumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment in patients with MDD without concurrent suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders.”

In Ayurvedic medicine, the roots of the plant from which turmeric comes from is pounded down, then pressed to extract a juice, which when mixed with water is used to ease earaches, and clear sinuses.

Health Tips

Spices in general are thermogenic that is they boost metabolism therefore burn calories, this includes turmeric. Turmeric cleanses the skin, maintains elasticity, and balances the skin flora. The curcumnoid in turmeric supports normal blood and live functions, and in doing so, helps to maintain a healthy digestive system, supports healthy bones and joints, and helps to maintain a balanced level of cholesterol.

A teaspoon of turmeric powder in a cup of warm milk used three times daily has long been considered an effective Ayurvedic treatment for colds and influenza.

In South India, turmeric with oil is used as bath routine on a Friday by women to beautify their skin.

Caution: The Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland advises that turmeric should not be used in pregnancy and with patients with gallstones or bile duct obstructions unless under advisement from their doctors.

If you are buying turmeric for its medicinal qualities, it is best to buy organic, as any artificial processing will undermine the medicinal value. Also to buy organic, avoids buying what may very well be a substitute!


Chattopadhyay, I. et al. Turmeric and Curcumin: Biological Actions and Medicinal Applications

Click to access 44.pdf

Turmeric: Anti-inflammatory and Other Medicinal Properties of Turmeric
University of Maryland. Turmeric

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Allah’s Medicine Chest: Lemons
Allah’s Medicine Chest: Garlic
Allah’s Medicine Chest: Oranges
Allah’s Medicine Chest: Almonds
Allah’s Medicine Chest: Shea Butter