Closely related to the culinary herb sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum), holy basil (Ocimum sanctum) is a plant with a rich history of use as a healing herb. Because this venerable herb has so many applications, it has become one of my favorites. I often include holy basil in adaptogenic tonics, and also find it useful for specific conditions, ranging from support for cancer and cardiovascular disease to improving skin health.
Native to India, holy basil is also known as tulsi, which means “the incomparable one.” Considered as sacred in the Hindu faith, most traditional homes and temples in India have at least one tulsi plant, which is used in prayers to insure personal health, spiritual purity, and family well-being. In Ayurvedic medicine, tulsi is classified as a rasayana, an herb that nourishes a person’s growth to perfect health and enlightenment and promotes long life.
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In last week’s post, I talked about the toxicity of commercial sunscreens, and why they are bad for your health. I also mentioned that the sun is not the primary cause of skin aging and skin cancer, and promised to share my conclusions with you this week.
Despite the enormously bad press the sun has received in the past few decades, all skin damage is not the fault of the sun. The root cause of skin aging (including wrinkling, hyperpigmentation, and loss of collagen) as well as skin cancer is oxidative damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS). While the sun is one of the factors that create ROS, there are many other culprits, including external factors (air pollution and chemical exposure) and internal factors (poor diet, emotional stress, lack of sleep, and the natural aging process). ROS are believed to trigger skin cancer and photosensitivity diseases by activating proliferative and cell survival signaling that can alter apoptotic pathways (the self-destruction of abnormal cells).
Continue reading “The Dangers of Commercial Sunscreens, Part 2”
Wherever I go this summer, it seems that people are slathering or spraying sunscreen onto themselves and their children. Whether or not you want to use sunscreen, you essentially have no choice – aerosol sprays disperse and pollute the air, and sunscreens and sun blocks wash off in pools or lakes, contaminating the water. (Despite what labels proclaim, there is no such thing as “waterproof sunscreen.”)
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