Category Archives: Home Life


Health Benefits of Jasmine Oil

Jasmine absolute oil is extracted from different jasmine species. These belong to the Oleaceae family and have more than 200 species under its genus. The oil comes from the white flowers of the plant and bears dark green leaves, usually blossoming at night and grows from summer until fall. It has a powerful fragrance and is Pakistan’s national flower. In India, it is regarded by the Hindus as a holy flower.

Jasmine absolute oil is used in making perfumes such as Chanel No. 5 and Eau de Sauvage from France. It is also used to add flavor to alcohol, confectionery and desserts as well as added to body lotions, shampoos and soaps. This is one of my very favorite fragrances!

There are many benefits of jasmine absolute oil with one being an effective aphrodisiac with seductive qualities.

Other benefits of the oil include:
· Rejuvenating skin
· Relieving menstrual problems and labor pains
· Working as an antiseptic
· Treating spasms
· Mind relaxation

This oil will work in different ways as inhaled, diffused or it can simply be applied externally. Use the oil through a diffuser by adding some drops of the essential to your diffuser to provide a relaxing and refreshing fragrance to your home. Try applying a few drops of the oil on your neck or forehead to calm and clear your mind, or to feel a surge of hope and happiness. It can also treat skin disorders and muscle spasms by applying it topically. The oil will also aid coughs and relieve nervousness and stress when it is inhaled.

Jasmine absolute oil is generally safe and considered to be non-sensitizing, non-irritant and nontoxic. It should be used in moderation as large doses can interfere with your concentration due to its relaxing property. It is not recommended to use for oral ingestion. It is also advised to avoid using if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

There are no known side effects for this oil, but it is recommended diluting jasmine absolute oil with a safe and non-toxic carrier oil. Be sure to conduct a skin patch test first to check if you might be allergic to this herbal oil. If you have a terminal or chronic illness, be sure to consult first with your doctor before applying this oil.

So get this oil out for that romantic vibe and receive all the other immense health benefits at the same time. Who can’t use a little boost in the bedroom? Can’t you?

Dr Fredda Branyon


Facebook Lurking

Facebook Lurking

Are you a lurker?  Well, every month about 1.65 billion people are actively using the social media site Facebook.  Each user is spending about 50 minutes using the site each day, which is really more time than you realize and more than on any other leisure activity except for TV watching.  On the average the U.S. American spends 19 minutes reading every day and only 17 minutes on exercise, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That makes the nearly one hour spent on Facebook as significant and around the same amount of time you spend eating and drinking!  Of course this doesn’t take into account those people, specifically teens, that spend far more time and sometimes up to nine hours a day on social media.

This lurking will cause you to be inundated with photos and posts depicting other people’s seemingly perfect families and lives.  These can induce feelings of envy and lead to unrealistic social comparisons that can bring down your mood and level of well being, and even lead to depression.

Those using Facebook expect to feel better but, in fact, they actually feel worse.  If everyone expected that to happen, they’d probably stop using it. Part of this is due to a feeling of having wasted time, according to a Computers in Human Behavior study.  They report that Facebook activity is associated with a dampened mood. I personally do not spend time on Facebook for this very reason. It’s a waste of my time that could better be spent on something productive.

Frequent posting on Facebook has also been associated with increased rumination and the users were more at risk of depression if they displayed the following:

  • Felt envy after observing others
  • Accepted former partners as Facebook friends
  • Made negative social comparisons
  • Made frequent negative status updates

The researchers at the University of Houston explored Facebook’s emotional effects and found a link between usage of the site and symptoms of depression, which among men, was associated with the tendency to make social comparisons with others.  As it turned out in a second study, social comparison was significantly associated with depression symptoms in both men and women.

Nighttime use of social media is also linked to sleep problems, lower self-esteem and higher levels of anxiety and depression among the 12 to 18 year olds.  Those aged 19 to 32 were also significantly associated with disturbed sleep in a Preventive Medicine study. When melatonin is suppressed, there is less stimulation to promote sleepiness at a healthy bedtime.  

Facebook wants you to spend more time on their site and that it would become a platform that’s on all day to become basically a background for your life. They are busy cooking up ways to get us to spend even more time on their platform.  You must be aware for yourself and your children that using Facebook exposes you to a lot of advertising that is targeted to your habits and interest.

Facebook uses a sophisticated algorithm to track your interests, who you talk with, what you say, your age, gender, income level and a phenomenal number of other specifics that allow advertisers to target exactly who they believe will click on their ads.  Some are not harmless, like drug ads that can have more sinister effects.

Even though it is a wonderful platform for friends and family to socialize and share, it’s important to keep the use in perspective and use the sites that make you feel good and not worse after browsing.

Dr Fredda Branyon


Early Surgery-Risk of Death


Priority should be taken over timing to ensure that patients are healthy enough for surgery and have access to specialists.  Even though delaying surgery after a diagnosis of uterine cancer can increase a woman’s risk of death, operating too soon can be just as detrimental for some.  The Penn Medicine physicians report this information in a new study that was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  The women in the study who had surgery within the first 2 weeks after diagnosis had a significantly increased risk of death within 5 years, compared with those who had surgery 3 or 4 weeks after their diagnosis.

More than 200,000 cases were investigated and examined in the U.S.  Almost 2/3’s of the 140,078 cases were considered low-risk cancers. Those patients who had surgery in the first or second week after their diagnosis had a 14% increased risk of death within 5 years compared to those who had surgery in week 3 or 4.  The 68,360 women with high-risk cancers jumped to 20%. This suggests that the risk is likely rooted in the delivery of care rather than the cancer itself. Patients undergoing early surgery in both risk groups were more likely to die within 30 days of their operation.  They were also more likely to be black, have advanced stage of the disease, have no insurance or be on Medicaid and receive care at low-volume hospitals.

According to David I. Shalowitz, MD, a fellow in Gynecologic Oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania he suspects that physicians diagnosing endometrial cancer may believe that the best thing they can do for those patients is to operate as soon as possible, because the wait could cause the cancer to progress, resulting in a worse outcome.  Their results suggest that pre-surgical care and referring patients to a gynecologic oncologist may be more important.

In 2016 over 60,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with endometrial cancer, or cancer of the lining of the uterus.  As obesity rates rise, this number is expected to grow. According to the National Cancer Institute, being obese increases a woman’s risk of endometrial cancer.  The overall survival rate is 82%.

The researchers also found higher mortality rates in women with low-risk cancers whose surgery took place 8 or more weeks after diagnosis.  Long wait times have been associated with the poorer survival outcomes in breast, rectal and bladder cancers, but past studies of endometrial cancer have produced mixed findings.  Poor access to care, insurance status and pre-existing conditions like heart disease are some factors that could delay surgeries.

As time-to-surgery increased, the 5-year survival rates worsened from 84.5% at 8 weeks to 82.1% at 11 weeks, and to 78.6% at week 15.  They found no increased risk of death for those women with high-risk cancers who had surgery after the third week, suggesting that the type and extent of disease at diagnosis contributes more to survival outcomes than progression of disease during the wait for surgery.

They now suggest that the target interval between diagnosis and treatment should be less than 8 weeks, especially for those women with low-risk cancers.  Wouldn’t it make more sense anyway to be sure the body was healthy and built up by natural homeopathic treatment prior to undergoing surgery? I would think if the body was not in the best possible health, surgery would present as a greater risk.

Dr Fredda Branyon


Facts for Holistic Care

HolisticWhen you commit to holistic care you are treating the whole person through mind, body and spirit.  A combination of traditional, and what your doctor might call complementary medicine, is the definition of holistic care.  An example might be treating cancer with chemotherapy and acupuncture. Chemo and radiation are proven to fight the disease, but their side effects can be hard to live with. Using holistic treatment as well may help to ease some of these problems while improving your well-being.

Around a third of adults use a treatment outside of the mainstream medicine.  They won’t cure your cancer but they can improve your quality of life. There are also some science-backed ways to relieve side effects.

With acupuncture a trained therapist will insert very fine needles into your skin at specific points.  This may ease your pain and nausea. Receiving radiation for your head or neck cancers can cause dry mouth and mouth pain that acupuncture might help to relieve.

Mind-body techniques are shown through research that your mental state can affect your health.  Meditation, hypnosis and guided imagery are techniques that can help you relax and focus on something besides your pain.  Your medication side effects may also be eased.

Gentle movement and exercise can help to relieve the extreme tiredness and stress, which will help you to sleep better.  A regular exercise program may even help those with cancer to live longer, according to studies.

If you talk with a registered dietitian about the foods you need to prevent or treat nutrition problems, it might manage treatment side effects and help your body fight infection and more.

Holistic care is sometimes confused with alternative care.  Skipping standard treatments is risky and can cause unpleasant and sometimes serious side effects.  When avoiding or delaying mainstream medical treatments, you give the disease more time to grow. However, it seems to me that using alternative medicine prior to using any chemo treatments would be advisable, as it will build your body up first in preparation.  Remember that diets that claim to cure cancer are unproven, expensive and harmful.

Before choosing holistic treatment, be sure to check with your doctor, as he knows your condition and the medications you are taking.  Steer clear of any treatment claiming to cure cancer and if your doctor recommends this treatment. You should ask if this treatment has been proven in human studies and is it widely used, as well as the potential side effects and drug interactions.

Again, it is important to talk with your doctor about trying any holistic methods, as he needs to know what you are putting into your body.  A recommendation from your doctor for a complementary and alternative medicine practitioner might be possible.

Always have a list of questions about holistic treatments that you want to try to your doctor’s appointment to receive some safe choices for you.  Bring all the information concerning the specific treatment you want to try from a medical journal or government sponsored health websites. Get the pros and cons and check out the possible side effects.  Your doctor should be able to advise you which products and practices are based on false or unproven claims.

Dr Fredda Branyon


Fake Olive Oil?

Over the past 35 years the consumption of olive oil has increased more than 10-fold in the U.S.  It has gone from 29 metric tons (MT) in 1980 to 327 MT in 2015. Oil became more widely used with the popularity of the Mediterranean diet and made the oil a $16 billion a year industry.  It has also led to fraud and corruption.

Larry Olmsted, an investigative journalist and food critic reveals in his book, “Real Food/Fake Food,” a dark side of this normally healthy food.  Tests reveal that anywhere for 60 to 90% of the olive oils sold in American grocery stores and restaurants are adulterated with cheap, oxidized omega-6 vegetable oils.  Some of these are sunflower oil or peanut oil and non-human grade olive oils that are harmful to health in a number of ways. The extra virgin is often diluted with other less expensive oils as hazelnut, soybean, corn, sunflower, palm, sesame, grape seed and walnut.  They will not show on the label, but it will be difficult for most people to discern that their olive oil is not 100% pure.

We can no longer think the extra virgin olive oil if high quality just because it comes from Italy.  Most of what is now exported from Italy is not their best product. The mafia has infiltrated virtually all areas of the olive oil business, including harvesting, pricing, transportation and the supermarkets.  They’ve infiltrated the entire food chain from farm to fork. At least half of all the extra virgin olive oil sold in Italy is adulterated as well. 


In the U.S. the chances of getting the real McCoy is even slimmer, with as much as 90% of it being adulterated.  

Pure olive oil that’s minimally processed contains health-promoting antioxidants and phenolics, providing it hasn’t been oxidized. If it has been, it might already be on the verge of going bad. The “use by” or “sell by” date on the bottle doesn’t mean a lot, as there is no regulation assuring that the oil will remain of high quality until that date.  You really need to know the “pressed on” date or “harvest” date because olives go bad almost immediately after being picked. Those dates should be less than 6 months old when you use it.

Consider buying olive oil from countries besides Italy that also produce very fine, high quality oils.  Some countries are Australia, Chile, South Africa and even California produces some high-quality oils. Look for the stores, such as gourmet stores, where taste testing is allowed and encouraged.  Once you taste a good olive oil, you can never go back to the bad stuff.

Keep your olive oil in a cool, dark place, purchase smaller bottles to ensure freshness and immediately replace the cap after each pour.  Putting one drop of astaxanthin into the bottle will help to protect it from oxidation. You can identify defective olive oil by rancidity, fusty flavor, moldy flavor and wine or vinegar flavor. Some tips in choosing your olive oil are:

  • Harvest date-choose early or fall harvest
  • Color and flavor-an almost luminescent green color
  • Labeling terms-ensure it’s labeled “extra virgin”
  • Storage and tasting-find a seller who stores oil in a clean, temperature-controlled stainless steel container topped with an inert gas as nitrogen
  • Storage and use-keep in a cool and dark place, replace cap immediately
  • Bottles-those that protect against light
  • Quality seals-Organization like California Olive Oil Council and Australian Olive Association
  • Prolonging freshness – by adding the astaxanthin to the bottle.

Now that you know the facts between the fake and the real, just get out there and enjoy everything you cook with your “real” high-quality extra virgin olive oil!

Dr Fredda Branyon

Fiery Essential Oil

An oil that is packed with benefits that may greatly uplift your body and mind is Amyris oil.  It isn’t as valuable as sandalwood, but it offers amazing health perks that will make you want more of this herbal oil.  

The Amyris derives from the Rutaceae botanical family and known as West Indian/Indies sandalwood.  It originates from Haiti in the West Indies. The plant grows to 60 feet high and bears white flowers that turn into black-bluish fruits that are edible.  The bark of the dried tree is steam distilled to extract the essential oil. Amyris oil is often used as an alternative to East Indian sandalwood oil. Because of its high oil content, it is also known as torchwood or candlewood as it will easily ignite and can be used as a torch.  Fishermen frequently use it when catching sea crabs along the shore at night and farmers when traveling at night to take their wares to the city or village.

Amyris oil can help uplift your spirit and mind, in meditation and also in therapeutic massage.  It is also used as a base fixative in making perfumes and soaps, creams, cosmetics, incense and perfumes for additional fragrance.  You can use the herbal oil in a bath, inhaler, as a mist spray, in a steam inhalator and in a steam room or sauna.

Benefits of amyris oil are its antiseptic, sedative, decongestant and emollient properties.  It is especially helpful to calm your mind and as a muscle relaxant. It will help to minimize stress and tension and release anxiety along with improving mental clarity and present a feeling of peace.  It works great in skin regeneration and helps to slow down the aging process. The cooling property assists in relieving irritability, frustration and sexual tension. The oil is used greatly among poets, artists and musicians as it is purported to help improve creativity and imagination.

By adding a few drops of the essential oil to an oil burner or diffuser, it works great in relieving the mind from any anxiety or stress.   It can provide relaxation when added to therapeutic massage oils.

Amyris essential oil is considered safe, as it is non-toxic, non-sensitizing and non-irritating.  It may cause irritation for those people with very sensitive skin, however. This oil is not intended for oral ingestion but before using topically, you should conduct a skin patch test to be sure there are no irritations to it.  It should always be diluted with a carrier oil. There are no other side effects known other than a possible skin irritation in those who are sensitive individuals. Seek medical advice before using if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have a terminal illness.  Otherwise, enjoy all the wonderful benefits of this fiery essential oil.

Dr Fredda Branyon


Oh, Those Bagged Salads!

          Robert Preidt, a HealthDay Reporter, wrote an interesting article on bagged salads.  Researchers have found that prepackaged salads may promote the growth of salmonella bacteria.  If you find even slight damage to leaves in the salad bags, they can release juices that encourage the spread of salmonella.  The juices also boost the bacteria’s ability to form biofilms, which cling tightly to the surfaces they coat and make it hard to wash the bacteria off the produce.

          The salad leaf crops are first exposed to salmonella when out in the field from sources such as insects, bird droppings and manure, according to co-author Primrose Freestone, an associate professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Leicester in England.

          Prepackaged salads are common in all grocery stores and are also what they serve in fast food places and for airline meals.  Few studies have examined how salmonella behaves in these products.

          The team’s study was published in November of 2016 in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.  They wanted to investigate what happens to salmonella in a bag of salad to better understand the potential risks to consumers and to inform future research on reducing attachment of this pathogen to salad leaves.

          Their study is part of their ongoing research into ways to reduce the risk of salmonella persisting and growing when it is present in bagged salad.

          I guess the next time you want to make life a little easier after a long day at work, think twice before grabbing that bagged salad mix.  I know we have all done it, but do we really want to risk the health of our family by even a slim change at salmonella? I have always thought there was a different taste to the bagged lettuce and absolutely prefer the good old organic head lettuce that I can cut up myself.  Happy and safe salad eating!

Dr Fredda Branyon

Taking Apple Cider Vinegar

Taking Apple Cider Vinegar

Taking Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has many amazing curative powers for a huge number of ills.  It has an ability to balance your pH, increase good gut bacteria and help to control your weight, among many other uses.  A really sensational ability is to balance the blood sugar, according to a study completed at the Arizona State University. Each of the participants took 2 tablespoons of ACV with a snack before bedtime. In the morning the study subjects had lower blood sugar readings than when they had the same snack with 2 tablespoons of water.

Another recent study used 3 groups- adults with pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and healthy people- and after taking an ounce of ACV they all had lower blood glucose levels when they ate a high-carb meal consisting of a white bagel with butter and a glass of orange juice.  This was compared with a placebo rather than the cider vinegar. The participants with pre-diabetes improved their blood glucose levels by almost half, and the subjects with type 2 diabetes cut their blood glucose levels by 25%.

ACV provides detoxification of your lymphatic system that helps to optimize homeostatic function in your body.  This could be a result of the antioxidants in ACV reducing oxidative damage by free radicals, while improving both your blood and organs.  Test tube studies also show that vinegar can kill cancer cells. Also inhibited (by 62%) using rice vinegar were, malignant breast and colon tumors, lung, bladder and prostate cancers.  

ACV is also known to help for beauty and health as well as other things such as:

  • Bug bites
  • Toning your skin
  • Sunburn
  • Poison ivy
  • Acne
  • Wounds
  • Dandruff
  • Toenail fungus
  • Burns
  • Removing warts, Athlete’s foot
  • Detox baths

ACV is also been said to “shock” the hiccups out of your system by placing a soaked cloth with acv and placing on a bruise, to reduce inflammation and speed healing.  It is highly acidic, but that is exactly the very element that gets many jobs done.

Using ACV in a common household commodity for cleaning and cooking, is yet another aspect of its use. The acidity is useful as a mouthwash and to clean your toothbrush, because of its antibacterial properties. This same acidity can damage your teeth, so dilute it with water. Try using apple cider vinegar for weeds, cracks in your driveway or sidewalk in lieu of that toxic weed killer.

Just search the Internet for the many uses for ACV. You might be amazed to learn of some of the uses for this common household product.  Nearly every kitchen has it. I love to use it in my deviled eggs and also use for cleaning.  Be inventive and create new ways to utilize ACV.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Vertigo Remedies

Vertigo Remedies

Vertigo Remedies

Have you ever experienced vertigo?  That spinning and dizziness sensation can certainly limit your activities and can even make you sick.  It sometimes makes it difficult to walk without losing your balance and you feel like things are spinning around the room.  Some simple maneuvers can be done at home for relief, but you have to know the cause first.

BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) is the most common type and also the easiest to treat.  This condition happens when small crystals of calcium get loose in your inner ear. This particular kind of vertigo might occur when you are getting in or out of bed or tilting your head up.  This is more likely to be experienced by those people over 60.

Do not attempt any at home treatment until you have seen your doctor for a true diagnosis.  If you do actually have vertigo, you will need to know what type you have and which ear has the problem.  With BPPV there are some actions that can move the calcium crystals that cause the problem, out of your ear canal.  Some easy maneuvers when vertigo comes from your left ear and side are:

  • Sit on the edge of your bed and turn your head 45-degrees to the left.  Put a pillow under you when you lie down so it rests between your shoulders rather than under your head.
  • Quickly lie down, face up, with your head on the bed at the same 45-degree angle.  Pillow should be under the shoulders. Wait 30 seconds for vertigo to stop.
  • Turn your head half-way (90 degrees) to the right without raising it.  Wait 30 seconds.
  • Turn your head and body on its side to the right so you’re looking at the floor and wait 30 seconds
  • Slowly sit up, but remain on the bed for a few minutes

Reverse these instructions if the vertigo is coming from your right ear.  Sit on your bed, turn your head 45-degrees to the right, and so on. Do these movements 3 times before going to bed each night until you’ve been 24 hours without dizziness.  The Semont Maneuver is similar to the Epley maneuver as follows:

  • Sit on the edge of your bed and turn your head 45-degrees to the right.
  • Quickly lie down on your left side and stay there for 30 seconds.
  • Quickly move to lie down on the opposite end of your bed without changing the direction of your head.  Keep it at a 45-degree angle and lie for 30 seconds. Look at the floor.
  • Return slowly to sitting and wait a few minutes.

Reverse moves for the right ear and again, do the moves 3 times a day until your are 24 hours free of vertigo.  Then there is the Half Somersault or Foster Maneuver which some find easier to do:

  • Kneel down and look up at the ceiling for a few seconds.
  • Touch the floor with your head, tucking your chin so your head goes toward your knees and wait about 30 seconds for the vertigo to stop.
  • Turn your head in the direction of your affected ear and wait 30 seconds.
  • Quickly raise your head so it’s level with your back while you’re on all fours and keep your head at the 45-degree angle for 30 seconds.
  • Quickly raise your head so it’s fully upright but keep your head turned to the shoulder of the side you are working on, and then slowly stand up.

After doing these exercises try not to tilt your head too far up or down for the rest of the day.  After a week of trying these moves, talk to your doctor again if you don’t feel better. Maybe your aren’t doing the exercises correctly or something else might be the cause of your dizziness.

Dr Fredda Branyon



Whole-Fat Milk


New research suggests that those children who drink whole milk are leaner and have higher vitamin D levels than those who drink low-fat or skim milk.  Those who drank whole milk with a 3.25% fat content had a body mass index score that was 0.72 units lower than those who drank 1% or 2% milk. This study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

They believe this is comparable to the difference between having a healthy weight and being overweight, according to Dr. Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician at St. Michael’s Hospital and lead author.  

Consuming higher fat content milk and its association with lower BMI scores was not assessed.  Dr. Maguire did hypothesize those children who drank whole milk felt fuller than those who drank the same amount of low fat or skim milk.  If our children don’t feel full from drinking milk, they are more likely to eat other foods that are less healthy or higher in calories, so children drinking lower fat milk may actually consume more calories overall than those drinking whole milk.

It was also determined that children who drank 1 cup of whole milk each day had comparable vitamin D levels to those who drank nearly 3 cups of 1% milk.  There may be an inverse relationship in children between body fat and vitamin D stores, according to the study. As children’s body fat increases, their vitamin D stores decrease.  Those children that drink lower fat milk do not have less body fat and they don’t benefit from the higher vitamin D levels of whole milk.

Health Canada, National Institutes of Health and American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines recommending 2 servings of low fat milk for children over the age of two to reduce the risk of childhood obesity, does not agree with the above consensus.

The findings indicated a need to closely examine existing nutritional guidelines around milk fat consumption to make sure they are having the desired effect.  Researchers studied 2,745 children ages 2 to 6 years attending well child visits. Parents were surveyed; then they measured the children’s height and weight to calculate BMI and took blood samples to assess the vitamin D levels.  Applied Research Group for Kids enrolled the children and collaborated between children’s doctors and researchers from St Michael’s Hospital and The Hospital for Sick Children. This program follows children from birth with the aim of preventing common problems in the earl years and understanding their impact on health and disease later in their life.

Of the children studied, 49% drank whole milk, 35% drank 2% milk, 12% drank 1% milk and 4% drank skim milk.  There were less than 1% of children who drank some combination of the four types of milk.

Dr Fredda Branyon