You know the saying, “there’s plenty of time to sleep when I’m dead”? I used to use this as an excuse to justify my erratic sleeping habits. When I was in naturopathic college I would stay up all hours of the night studying, or working late hours as a waitress to pay the bills. Coffee was literally my lifeline – if I couldn’t have it, I couldn’t make it through the day. Period. Does this sound familiar?
I would be foggy and groggy in the mornings, trudging around like a zombie until I had my cup of Joe. Then in the evenings, it seemed as soon as the sun went down I had a miraculous bout of energy that wouldn’t allow me to fall asleep. So I’d toss and turn, becoming tangled up in my sheets worse than an old telephone cord! I came to dread those long, desperate hours, feeling so exhausted but unable to drift off into Dreamland.
That’s when I learned about the simplest of sleep practices that totally changed the game for me. Gracias a Dios!
Eye Masks for Better Sleep
I learned that wearing an eye mask to bed helps us get a deeper, more restful sleep. The eye mask blocks out all light and promotes melatonin production1 in the body; our sleep regulating hormone!
The soft compression of the eye mask over the face also supports hormones that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy and relaxed, like oxytocin2 and dopamine3.
I was absolutely blown away by how much this simple practice helped me sleep.
Castor Oil for Beauty Sleep
Around this time was when I began falling in love with castor oil and castor oil packs. Through research, I quickly learned that castor oil was a beauty staple in Egyptian and Greek cultures, and that Cleopatra herself used it to enhance her eyes. I found that castor oil was commonly used as a treatment to help eyelashes and eyebrows grow, and found it in the ingredient list of dozens of lash growth serums.
This makes total sense! Castor oil improves circulation to where it is applied via nitric oxide stimulation4, so when applied to the lashes and brows it ensures that the hair follicle is getting a good blood supply. Castor oil is also anti-inflammatory5 and provides nourishment for the skin and hair follicle like vitamin E, polyphenols and omegas6. It’s antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant.
These properties also make it the perfect anti-wrinkle eye cream. The oil is exceptionally emollient and nourishing for the delicate skin around the eyes and can help with dark circles, puffiness, redness and fine lines.
Watch this video below of my friend Kitty Martone and I talking about our Nightly Castor Oil Routine, including how to do a castor oil face wash.
Is Castor Oil Safe Near the Eyes?
There is a wealth of research supporting the use of castor oil in the eye as a treatment for dry eyes789 and prevention of cataracts10. In a study done on rat lenses, castor oil was shown to preserve levels of glutathione exceptionally well11 (glutathione is one of our most powerful antioxidants!).
So castor oil is 100% safe and even beneficial to use in/around the eyes. This made me adore it even more because we have to be so careful with the products we use around our eyes – always read ingredients carefully!
Pair It With Your Castor Oil Pack
The most important part of my nightly castor oil sleep routine is putting on my castor oil pack. It immediately relaxes the nervous system1213, getting it ready for a deep night’s sleep.
Quality of Castor Oil
I just want to quickly note that not all castor oil is created equally. You want to use the best quality, especially when using it near the eyes. Castor oil should be certified organic, cold-pressed, 100% pure, hexane-free, extra virgin and ALWAYS packaged in a glass bottle. If you have castor oil in a plastic bottle, throw it away! Castor oil can absorb toxins and there are many compounds in plastic such as nonylphenol14 and benzophenones15 that can mess with our hormones, immune and nervous systems.
Sweet Dreams, Sleeping Beauty!
So this became my bedtime routine. I dab a little bit of castor oil in the palm of my hand and apply it to my lashes and brows with an applicator brush. Then I dab the excess oil around my eyes, put on my organic cotton eye mask and crawl into bed, easily drifting and dancing off into Dreamland.
I’ve never slept better in my life, and I’m always being complimented on my bright, beautiful eyes!
Get your Castor Oil Pack and Beauty Sleep Eye Kit together in a bundle that I like to call The Original Cleanse with special bonuses. Click the links below!
13 Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17.
14 Kim H1, Oh S1, Gye MC1, Shin I1,2. Comparative toxicological evaluation of nonylphenol and nonylphenol polyethoxylates using human keratinocytes. Drug Chem Toxicol. 2018 Oct;41(4):486-491. doi: 10.1080/01480545.2017.1391829. Epub 2017 Nov 10
15 Amar SK1, Goyal S2, Srivastav AK3, Chopra D3, Ray RS2. Combined effect of Benzophenone-2 and ultraviolet radiation promote photogenotoxicity and photocytotoxicity in human keratinocytes.Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2018 Jun;95:298-306. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2018.04.003. Epub 2018 Apr 4.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I was inspired to write a quick article about some natural solutions for breast health. I think we’ve all been affected by breast cancer in some way, shape or form. We see celebrities who have struggled with it, like Olivia Newton John, Christina Applegate, Sheryl Crow, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Melissa Etheridge. My own mother had it, and a friend of mine too, who beat it twice (I will share more about them in this article).
It’s becoming an epidemic and so important that we are educated, aware and know how to prevent it as well as recognize the signs.
My Breast Journey
I used to look at my breasts in the mirror, pulling one up and comparing it to the other.I would wish so hard to have perky, stand-up-here breasts instead of pendulous, way down-there-puppies with sparkling, multicolored stretch marks.
Weight changes and overnutrition in my youth never gave me the opportunity to have perky, perfect breasts.Instead, I went from flat to fat and then stretched out to swinging and saggy.
Breasts define our femininity in many ways, we feel sexy because of them and un-sexy in spite of them.
I recall getting intimate with my husband and being so ashamed to get naked in front of him.I apologetically told him I needed to be honest with him and tell him that my tits sagged, instead of being heralds of fertility and proud of them with pomp and circumstance.I felt deflated because of them just like they were deflated.
Turns out he didn’t care. He actually knew, and had been staring down my top for a while and loved what he was seeing – without me knowing!Sly dog.
Why Are Breasts Such a Big Deal?
Breast are bold, they stick out from our bodies.They are the first thing that enters the room, the first thing in many cases that get noticed.
Men obsess about them, maybe because they have mother and latching issues, or maybe because they just adore the difference between male and female bodies.
Whether you think your breasts are too large or too small, they are a source of shame for many.It’s time to take this inappropriate thought pattern and shove it where the sun don’t shine.It’s our time to be proud of all of our shapes and sizes and stretch marks.Be proud of the pleasure they bring us, from foreplay to feeding our babies.
My first encounter with the dangers of judgments made on breasts wasn’t my own, but actually my mother’s.When she was a dashing young lady, she had gone to the doctor’s office to have her yearly check-up and breast exam.
Upon taking off her shirt to be examined, the doctor gasped at how large her breasts were (super inappropriate FYI, in this day and age but this was back in the 60s).My mother, being incredibly shy about her sexuality, was immediately embarrassed, turned red as a lobster and searched to get dressed immediately.
So shocked was she by this judgment that she never had another breast exam again, until it was too late.
Judgments can damage our psyche, we don’t know how our words will fall on the ears receiving them.Judgments serve no purpose either, except pain.After all, no one asks the doctor to comment on how large they are, but rather how healthy they are.
My Mother’s Breast Cancer
Forty years later, my mother waited until blood came out of her nipple and a mass so large it was hard to avoid, came cauli-flowering out of her breast.With two doctors as daughters, we couldn’t believe that she had let the shame of an event that happened so long ago, impact her life now.
The diagnosis – stage 4 breast cancer.Devastating, with little to no time to act.
Because of this experience, I got over my breast bullsh*t and got into owning one of the most beautiful, female, flourishing features of my health.
Importance of Breast Exams
For this reason alone, every single woman in my naturopathic practice gets a yearly breast exam, done by our skilled naturopath assessment hands.
But some of us don’t have access to a doctor who is experienced or willing to do a breast exam, especially since now the recommendation is to avoid breast exams.
In countries where breast cancer is diagnosed at advanced stages, it is valuable to have patients understand breast self-examination as well as to be examined1.
So this is extremely valuable.My mother was fortunate, even though she was at the extreme case, she survived with a combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy as well as naturopathic medicine.Her cancer was so far advanced that it was an impossibility to only dothe natural route.
Self-Examination Is Invaluable
The comment I get in clinic time and time again is that most women don’t know what normal feels like.They feel that their breasts are lumpy and bumpy (a sign of estrogen dominance, or low iodine).
But let me tell you, the first time I did a breast exam I thought exactly the same thing!How was I going to identify anything going wrong if I can’t notice anything different?
Do you know what changed it?Practice, my friends, practice the mother of all skills.
So I just love, love, love what my friend and colleague Dr. Véronique Desaulniers, two-time breast cancer survivor and preacher to the people, has done to make this easy.
She has created “My Breast Friend”, a breast self-examination tool.It’s basically a model of the breast so you can be your own best doctor.
And what if you find lots of lumps and bumps?Make your way to your doctor and get checked out.It never hurts to be extra cautious.
Prevention of Breast Cancer
There are many things you can do at home now to help reduce cystic and lumpy breasts. Most of these strategies deal with reducing the amount of estrogen in your body.
Eat more broccoli family foods (cruciferous veggies)2
Reduce your alcohol intake3
Reduce your theophylline intake, in coffee, tea and chocolate
Wear a sleep mask to bed – they naturally increase melatonin which is a powerful anti-cancer hormone in the body4
Of course, do your castor oil pack daily, because it helps with cleansing and detox5, microbiome balance6 7 8, inflammation9, and stress reduction10 11, which all impact your hormonal balance.
So get to know your boobies!I know I’ve got saggy tits, and sometimes they really do look like sacks!But I love them because they are me 100% and I get to know them regularly so I can keep them a part of me for the long haul.They are my twins after all, and I can’t get another pair just like these (no judgment if you’ve had yours changed, just love!).
Do you know the difference between then and now?Now I love my breasts, I treat them better every single day because I have learned that they are an important part of who I am.Theyshare my story.
So get My Breast Friend today, to help you get to know your lovely lady lumps on your chest.
I also want to share a quick recipe with castor oil for boob and lymphatic health. Castor oil has a long history of use for breast cancer.In fact, Hippocrates, known as the father of modern medicine was advocating it as a treatment in 460 BCE, as was another medicine man of the time, Galen in 200 BCE12.
Disclaimer: Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, information or content expressed or made available by third parties, including information providers, are those of the respective authors or distributors. Neither Queen of the Thrones™ nor any third-party provider of information guarantees the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any content. This communication does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Information provided does not replace the advice of your health care practitioner. If you happen to purchase anything we promote, in this or any of our communications, it’s likely Queen of the Thrones™ will receive some kind of affiliate compensation. Still, we only promote content and products that we truly believe in and share with our friends, family and patients. If you ever have a concern with anything we share, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to make sure we are always serving Our Queendom at the highest level.
1 rev Med. 2011 Sep;53(3):118-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.05.001. Epub 2011 May 8. The role of clinical breast examination and breast self-examination. Miller AB1, Baines CJ.
Last week in my blog post, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the Microbiome | Part 1, we learned about the theories of Pasteur and Bernard, germ theory vs. terrain theory. And, contrary to popular belief in western medicine, it seems that the terrain is the most important aspect when managing the bug.
Probiotic Supplements –Do they Make Sense?
Let me put it in two clear examples for you. You’re told to take probiotics. One pill a day that has 50 billion bacteria. Does it really make sense that this is going to compensate for the 100 trillion bacteria that you have in your intestine? One pill. Wow, must be some kind of magical mystical pill.
What happens when you stop taking it or change your diet or lifestyle? You’re going to have to take way more probiotics if your lifestyle and environment becomes sicker, or way less if your lifestyle and environment becomes healthier. Capiche? Do you see why addressing the body as a whole makes way more sense?
Fecal Transplants – Do they Make Sense?
What about the big buzz word these days, fecal transplants. They are probably more of a buzz because of their inherent shock factor.
They make sense for the moment if you’re willing to be a candidate to put someone else’s poo into your body. In lab studies, transplanting an IBS patient’s stools into healthy mice actually gave the mice unhealthy metabolic profiles, different from the healthy stools1.
However, I caution… Again, you can transplant the stools, but if your lifestyle and environment, yourmillieu changes, due to stress or the other factors, what happens is your microbiome will change too. Back to the beginning, no further ahead, only a little bit more full of shit (LOL!).
It’s so simple it hurts my head. I hope it’s hurting yours (not because I want to inflict pain, but I want your eyes to open!)
IBS as a Functional Disorder
In addition to all of this, irritable bowel syndrome is a FUNCTIONAL disturbance of the digestive tract. Does it not then beg for treatment that is functional in form, hence a SYSTEMS biology approach, and not one that reduces it down simply to the microbiome2?
The point of this whole blog is this….
IT’S ABOUT LOOKING AT THE BIG AND THE SMALL, SIMULTANEOUSLY.
Because this is the natural logic in our living system. Some systems are grand and complex, like our hormonal regulatory system, and other are less complex and small, like a bacterium. But the reality is that because they all exist together, they must all work together.
The issue for Bernard was that his workings appreciated that we lived as a whole of our systems, and that physiological phenomena always seemed to find balance with highly defined set points. So now I’m encouraging you to think of the whole and not the parts in isolation when you’re considering what to do about your irritable bowel.
What would a systems/whole approach entail?
1. Get the Junk Out – Don’t Let It Pile Up
Terrain is, in effect, how we keep our bodies clean from the waste that perturbs its natural function. Think of it like this. If you kept the garbage piling up in your house, instead of packaging it and taking it to the curb, eventually you wouldn’t be able to get into your house to do the things that you need to. The body is no different. Whether the garbage comes from the byproducts of the microbiome, your own metabolism or the food that you eat, at the end of the day it’s all garbage.
Another analogy that I just love is thinking of the fish tank. A fish, in essence, swims in its own filth unless you clean out the tank. Think of the fish like one of your cells. It spits out, pisses and poops out what it doesn’t need into the water. If your body, or the fish tank, is never cleaned, you get scum build up. The scum that makes the glass cloudy and eventually makes it difficult for the fish, a.k.a. the cell, to survive. This is a good way to understand “le millieuliquide” as Bernard understood it.
The focus has shifted from keeping up on housekeeping rather than having a war on the virus. The premise is a strong system that is free of debris. Its “vital force” is intact and it is able to keep the balance between the good and the bad3.
2. Nurture It Like you Would a Garden
I look at it as if our body is a garden. We must feed it, give it water and light, sing to it, make it joyous, reduce the stress, try to avoid natural disasters and natural prey.
As any farmer will tell you, and I have had this conversation with many of my patients that are farmers… “You reap what you sow. If you put in good, you get out good, and more importantly, good takes time.”
We are not looking at dropping a nuke and killing off all the bugs, rather we are willing to put in the time day to day, to get good results. Farmers very much resonate with natural medicine and systems biology because they live it on a daily basis in their work, so it’s so very easy to extend it into their lives.
Our #1 Product to Help with Understanding what our Body is Saying
To help you figure out what the problem is, you fortunately have something very close at your disposable, a totally free assessment. Your stools are one of the best ways to understand what is going on inside your body.
Poop is classically known in our language as #2, but I firmly believe that it was mislabeled and should be called #1, as it is the most important product we produce. It gives us real-time knowledge about what is going on in our bodies. As long as we learn to poop, peek and then assess, we’ve got it all covered.
Our stools are the window into our digestion, absorption, and elimination. They show vitamin and mineral deficiencies, hormonal, immune, and nervous system problems. They suggest inflammation, food sensitivities, excess mucus in the body. They are basically the owner’s manual to your health… If you know how to read them.
Poo comes in all shapes and forms and sizes, and that is exactly how we like it because that’s how it is used as a guide to your body’s health. Whether it’s a cow plop or an Oktoberfest sausage… whether it sinks or floats… whether or not it smells like rotten eggs… They’re all key indications to the state of our health.
Another majorly important factor is timing. All systems have timing. With your stools, it’s incredibly important for them to work well and for you to track how often and when you go. The ideal is a 24-hour cycle. A longer stool timing is linked to increased allergy and food sensitivity4, as one example, but there is much more it is linked to.
Timing is everything. Even your microbiome is doing different things depending on the clues in your environment5, following the day and night cycle, or circadian rhythm. So it makes sense that when you’re working on your systems, or your terrain, to start with the most important cycle to optimize.
Change your Terrain – Fix your Irritable Bowel
So now, what are you thinking? Do you still want to target the microbiome? I doubt it! I think now you understand that you must fix the environment and the rest will follow (there are a few exceptions to this rule, so always make sure that you check with your health care provider for what is right for you).
Night Practice for Irritable Bowel Terrain Treatment
My most important medicines for the terrain are the oldest therapies of them all. Likely because they had their roots long ago when people were in tune with these vitalistic principles.
Nightly Restorative Sleep Practice
Sleep is the most important part of our day. So like I do with all of my patients, we start here. We do the majority of our house-work while we’re sleeping, unbeknownst to you… As long as you get a deep and regenerative sleep. Even the microbiome potentially follows the natural day and night cycles6!
If you were like me, when I was in the stormy season of my irritable bowel, I couldn’t sleep for the life of me. Because of this, I was a mess emotionally and my WHOLE life felt like a mess, a hot mess. One of the top complaints made by irritable bowel syndrome sufferers is fatigue. And this is no surprise because if your body is confused with its hormones, nutrient deficiencies and microbiome mayhem, how can you get a good night sleep?
These are the most important tips:
Cool your room
Your bed is for sex and sleep only – try having sex before sleep that’ll help you doze off into never, neverland
Don’t eat for at least 2 hours before bed
Avoid caffeinated beverages past 3 pm (coffee, tea, green tea, pop, energy drinks)
Alcohol – don’t over do it, it’ll wake you
Create a routine every night, the same thing
Journal for one page, write down what you need to do tomorrow and 3 things that you are grateful for
Wear an eye mask – this helps to naturally promote melatonin7 which does wonders for your sleep. Get your Beauty Sleep Kit Here
Use your castor oil pack, see below:
Castor Oil Packs – A Legendary Terrain Treatment
Castor oil packs deserve special mention. So many of us go to bed stressed out and worried about the next day. So we tumble, toss and turn, and do nothing but hyper worry about the day we just had and what’s to come.
When you place a castor oil pack on your body it immediately switches your system into the relaxed state. Ah, zen time for me. So you can sleep and heal and reap the benefits.
On top of it, there are so many wonderful actions of the pack that help your body to do the clean up during the night. They help to:
Reduce inflammation and improve the alkalinity of your body89
Enhance antioxidants like glutathione that help your body to cleanse10
Move the bowels – typically the next morning you’re happy to let go of a load!1112
Breakdown biofilm – a barrier created by the bad bugs of the microbiome. Getting rid of this gunk allows you to heal your gut 1314
Don’t forget they help you to relax1516 so you can sleep!
Your sleep will be regenerative, healthy, fulfilling, and satisfying. You’ll be ready to take on your day. Most importantly, you will have done the important step of helping to reset your terrain while you sleep.
My hope is that you start by looking at what your poo is saying about you and that you begin to address the ever-important sleep function of your body. I love the saying, “cleanliness is next to godliness”, and starting these practices are the very first steps to getting your body in a better, healthier, and cleaner state.
DISCLAIMER: Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed or made available by third parties, including information providers, are those of the respective authors or distributors, and not Queen of the Thrones™. Neither Queen of the Thrones™ nor any third-party provider of information guarantees the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any content. Furthermore, Queen of the Thrones™neither endorses nor is responsible for the accuracy and reliability of any opinion, advice, or statement made on any of the sites. This communication does not create a doctor and patient relationship. Information provided does not replace the advice of your health care practitioner. Before proceeding with any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed please consult your health care practitioner.
2 Şimşek I1. Irritable bowel syndrome and other functional gastrointestinal disorders. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2011 Aug;45 Suppl:S86-8. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e31821fbd6f.
3 Normandin S1. Claude Bernard and an introduction to the study of experimental medicine: “physical vitalism,” dialectic, and epistemology. J Hist Med Allied Sci. 2007 Oct;62(4):495-528. Epub 2007 Jun 18.
8 Vieira C et al. .Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8.
9 Grady H. Immunomodulation through castor oil packs. The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine. Volume 7 Jan 1 1998; 7(1): 84-9
10 Holm T1, Brøgger-Jensen MR, Johnson L, Kessel L. Glutathione preservation during storage of rat lenses in optisol-GS and castor oil. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 19;8(11):e79620. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079620. eCollection 2013.
11 Arslan GG, Eşer I. An examination of the effect of castor oil packs on constipation in the elderly. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Feb;17(1):58-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.04.004. Epub 2010 May 18.
16 Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17. ( Dopamine release, Limbic System of brain- Fatty Meal Satisfaction)