Article of the Month 

When Was Your Last Vacation?

Health Benefits of Taking Vacations!


Work with no vacation time, seems to be the running theme of most Americans. This makes one wonder if less vacation time is a factor as to why in America we have a higher rate of stress related illnesses.

“It is important to engage in leisure activities, as a way to enjoy life more, and to potentially have good health benefits,” says Karen Matthews of the University of Pittsburgh’s Mind-Body Center.



Researchers from the Mind-Body Center surveyed 1,399 participants. They were asked how often they’d spent doing something they enjoyed.

Leisure, including vacation, Matthews says, contributed to more positive emotions and fewer negative emotions and depression.


People who had more leisure activities reported
  • More life satisfaction
  • Finding more meaning in life
  • Tended to be more religious [and] spiritual in orientation
  • Have more support from friends and familyCouple Vacationing in Paris

 Among the benefits to be found from taking a vacation and leisure activities are

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower stress hormones
  • Smaller waists

Europeans embrace this idea almost religiously. Vacations are enshrined in law.


 In countries like Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, employers are required to provide up to 20 or more days of paid leave.

 Americans, on the other hand, get an average of 12 days every year. A study conducted by the Families and Work Institute found that less than half of U.S. employees take the full vacation.

Evidence of the effects of vacations can be found in the Framingham Heart Study. More than 12,000 participants, who were at risk of heart disease were followed over nine years to see if there were ways to improve their longevity. Among the questions they were asked annually was about vacations.


“The more frequent the vacations, the longer the participants lived,” says Matthews.


Another study of more than 12,000 participants at the University of Pittsburgh found that taking one week of vacation a year reduced the participants risk of death from a heart attack or stroke by 29 percent.
So imagine what 4 weeks a year of vacation would do for our health and business’s productivity!
“Research has also shown that for every dollar of vacation benefits that employers provide, they get three dollars worth of productivity back,” says management psychologist Paul Powers, Ph.D., the author of Love Your Job.


Vacations promote
  • creativity
  • stave off burnoutChuar Butte viewed from Little Colorado River, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA
  •  keep us healthy
  • promote overall well being
  • strengthen bonds
  • help with your job performance
  • relieve stress in lasting ways.

The scientific proof of the health benefits of taking vacations is astounding.  After reading the evidence that time off from work can prevent stress related illness AND increase employee productivity, maybe it’s time we start implementing more vacation time in our lives.

Simple life style changes can have a huge effect on the way we live in America. Americans are sick of being sick and we are entitled to enjoy life.

Not only will our health improve, so will our businesses. Relationships and family life will also improve.

Vacation time is something we all deserve.

Imagine yourself at the ocean right now, or at a cabin in the woods by the lake, shopping in Beverly Hills, or just spending quality time with your loved ones at home.


Take the time to enjoy life! Your health and boss will thank you.


Misty Skeen, APP


Reference: NPR.ORG Brenda Wilson,

Healthy Tidbits

Eating Your Way To Hormonal Balance


Women do not have to be plagued by hot flashes, night sweats, brain fog, depression and weight gain as they go through menopause.  A healthy whole foods diet can go a long way in alleviating those discomforts without the need for hormone replacement therapy.

 Here are 5 basic and very simple diet tweaks that are easy to adopt.  In no time at all, these small but nutritious habits could help you gently transition into the sisterhood of wise women.

  • Cut out added sugar and refined carbohydrates.   
  • Add more fruits and vegetables.
  •  Increase fiber, especially flax seeds.  
  • Avoid caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol.Woman lifting free weights outdoors
  • Only eat organic animal protein and dairy products. Margie King, Health Coach




 10 Amazing Health Benefits Of This Super-Seed  

Sesame (Sesamun indicum) is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world, few realize it is also one of the most potent medicinal foods still commonly consumed today. 

Here are just 10 evidence-based medicinal properties of this food-medicine:





The Power of Parsley


Used as a tea for kidney / bladder infections,urinary track infections. Used for bad breath

  • Parsley Tea
    • Bring 4 -5 quarts of water to a boil, add a large bunch of fresh organic parsley, let it boil for 1 minute than steep 20 – 30 minutes
    • Drink 1 – 2 cups of this broth – per day
  • Parsley for Bad Breath
    • Eat organic Fresh Parsley after a meal, after eating garlic it is good.

Parsley contains a lot of chlorophyll  which is a mild antiseptic – helps digestion also, large amounts of parsley should not be consumed by pregnant woman or those with liver disease


 Holistic Health Research I   


Health from the Hive

As I watch my honeybees go about their work and visit the garden, I’m reminded of the link between honey and health.

A recent study about oxidants and chronic diseases in the journal  Molecules wouldn’t surprise the ancient Egyptians, who used honey as an everyday remedy.

 Researchers concluded that honey administered alone or in conjunction with other therapies can function as a novel antioxidant in the management of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimers, and hypertension. This means that honey removes and prevents oxidative damage.


Many cultures both ancient and modern have long used honey for healing – it is not only an antioxidant but also has antibacterial, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, and  anti-hypertensive effects.
Honey can be used for healing ulcers and other wounds,skin conditions, respiratory conditions, relieving stress, hayfever and digestive problems and promoting sleep. For honey remedies explore Susun Weed’s pages on Healing Sweets – Part 1 and Healing Sweets – Part 2.
Reach for the honey!


Heidi Beke-Harrigan MLS, APP or   


Essential Herbs

Dear Charoula,

I am constantly in need of various herbal aids to be applied externally. Are salves easy to make, and if so, how does one go about it? What are some special herbs for specific ailments?


Salves, or ointments, are easy and fun to make!
As you must know already, they are semi-solid medicinal preparations for external use only.

Salves have many applications. They can be used for:

  • Eczema, cuts, rashes, scratches
  • Bed sores, wounds, burns
  • Chapped lips, sunburn
  • Insect bites, itching, bug repelling

They are very effective on children, and animals as well.
The ingredients for a salve are the specific herbs you will need for your purpose, a very good grade of olive oil or grapeseed oil, and some beeswax. You will then need some little jars or tins in which to put the finished product.


Step No. 1
Making a salve involves first extracting the properties of the herbs into an oil. You can do this on top of the stove in a double boiler. The process takes about 60 minutes of the herbs simmering in the oil on top of continuously boiling water. Make sure the oil itself does not ever boil.

After 60 minutes or so, remove from heat, strain, and pour into jars or tins.

Step No. 2
This also involves a double boiler. Begin with one cup of your herbal oil. To each cup add ¼ cup beeswax (pure and untreated). Heat until it thickens – usually in one or two minutes. Test consistency by placing one Tbs. of mixture in refrigerator for a minute or two. Store finished product in small tins.

You can add Aloe Vera Gel, Vitamin E, Beta Carotene, and a drop or two of Tincture or Oil of Benzoin as a preservative, and essential oils. Add the essential oils directly in the jars or tins,and stir a little with a toothpick. Add 20 drops for a ¼ oz tin, 40 for a ½ oz. tin, 60 for and oz. jar.

Have Fun!
Charoula, Herbalist




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Herbs and mortar


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Ask Charoula about Herbs