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Posted by Maddalena Frau on October 14, 2013 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Arnica (Arnica montana) has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1500s and is still popular today. Applied to the skin as a cream, ointment, liniment, salve, or tincture, arnica has been used to soothe muscle aches, reduce inflammation, and heal wounds. It is commonly used for injuries such as sprains and bruises. As an herb, arnica is usually used topically (on the skin) because it can cause serious side effects when taken by mouth. Oral homeopathic remedies do contain arnica, but they use a diluted form that is not considered dangerous. If you have any question about whether you have the herbal or homeopathic form of arnica, talk to your doctor.

Plant Description

Arnica is a perennial that grows to a height of 1 - 2 feet with yellow-orange flowers similar to daisies. Stems are round and hairy, ending in 1 - 3 flower stalks, with flowers 2 - 3 inches across. Leaves are bright green. The upper leaves are toothed and slightly hairy, while lower leaves have rounded tips. It is native to the mountains of Europe and Siberia, and is cultivated in North America.

Parts Used

Fresh or dried flower heads are used in medicinal preparations.

Medicinal Uses and Indications

  • Arnica is used topically for a wide range of conditions, including bruises, sprains, muscle aches, wound healing, superficial phlebitis, joint pain, inflammation from insect bites, and swelling from broken bones. More recent studies suggest it may also be helpful in the treatment of burns.
  • Homeopathic preparations are also used to treat sore muscles, bruises, and other conditions caused by overexertion or injury. Homeopathic doses are extremely diluted. They have no detectable amount of the plant in them and are generally considered safe for internal use when taken according to the directions on the label.

Available Forms

Arnica is available in topical creams and ointments. It is most commonly found as a tincture, which can also be used as the base for compresses and poultices. Arnica oil may also be used in topical preparations.

A number of homeopathic remedies are available in pill, topical, or injectable forms.

How to Take It

You should not take arnica by mouth without direct medical supervision, except in a diluted form as a homeopathic remedy, because side effects may be severe (see "Precautions").

Use homeopathic products according to directions on the label or the advice of your homeopathic practitioner. Health care providers may give homeopathic preparations by injection.

When using arnica topically, never apply it to an open wound without a doctor's supervision.


You may also use homeopathic preparations to treat bruising, swelling, and trauma to soft tissues. Follow the dosage instructions on the product label or consult a licensed homeopath. Use only in homeopathic formulations. Don’t use the herb itself.


Commercial preparations of creams, ointments, and lotions are available through some specialty stores and natural health providers. Homeopathic preparations are widely available at health food stores and many pharmacies.


Arnica is generally safe when used on the skin. However, using it for a long time may irritate the skin, causing eczema, peeling, blisters, or other skin conditions. Arnica should not be used on broken skin, such as leg ulcers. In one study, researchers found that arnica used topically increased leg pain 24 hours after participants performed calf exercises. Also, people who are hypersensitive or allergic to the herb should avoid it.

Arnica is rarely used as an internal herbal remedy because it can cause dizziness, tremors, and heart irregularities. It may also irritate mucous membranes and cause vomiting. Large doses can even be fatal. Do not take arnica by mouth except under close supervision of your doctor. You can generally take homeopathic remedies, which use extremely small amounts of arnica, safely.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid taking arnica, and ask your doctor before using it on your skin. Talk to your doctor before taking any medication, including herbs.

Possible Interactions

When used topically or in a homeopathic remedy, there are no known interactions with arnica and conventional medications.

Supporting Research

Adkison JD. The effect of topical arnica on muscle pain. Ann Pharmacother. 2010; 44(10):1579-84.

Auerbach. Wilderness Medicine, 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby; 2011.

Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, Mass: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.

Bolognia. Dermatology, 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Saunders; 2012.

Brinkhaus B, Wilkens JM, Ludtke R, Hunger J, Witt CM, Willich SN. Homeopathic arnica therapy in patients receiving knee surgery: Results of three randomised double-blind trials. Complement Ther Med. 2006 Dec;14(4):237-46.

Huber R. Bross F, Schempp C, Grundermann C. Arnica and stinging nettle for treating burns - a self-experiment. Complement Ther Med. 2011; 19(5):276-80.

Kotlus BS, Heringer DM, Dryden RM. Evaluation of Homeopathic Arnica montana for Ecchymosis After Upper Blepharoplasty: A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized, Double-Blind Study. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010 Jul 29. [Epub ahead of print]

Seeley BM, Denton AB, Ahn MS, Maas CS. Effect of homeopathic Arnica montana on bruising in face-lifts: results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2006 Jan-Feb;8(1):54-9.

Alternative Names

Arnica montana; Leopard's bane

Source: Arnica | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/arnica#ixzz2hhRhPzJ3
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Posted by Maddalena Frau on October 14, 2013 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Passionflower is used for sleep problems (insomnia), gastrointestinal (GI) upset related to anxiety or nervousness, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and relieving symptoms related to narcotic drug withdrawal.

Passionflower is also used for seizures, hysteria, asthma, symptoms of menopause, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), nervousness and excitability, palpitations, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, and pain relief.

Some people apply passionflower to the skin for hemorrhoids, burns, and pain and swelling (inflammation).

In foods and beverages, passionflower extract is used as a flavoring.

In 1569, Spanish explorers discovered passionflower in Peru. They believed the flowers symbolized Christ’s passion and indicated his approval for their exploration. Passionflower is found in combination herbal products used as a sedative for promoting calmness and relaxation. Other herbs contained in these products include German chamomile, hops, kava, skullcap, and valerian.

Passionflower was formerly approved as an over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid in the U.S., but it was taken off the market in 1978 because safety and effectiveness had not been proven. However, passionflower may still be available alone or in combination with other herbal products.
The effects of passionflower tend to be milder than valerian (Valeriana officinalis) or kava (Piper methysticum), 2 other herbs used to treat anxiety. Passionflower is often combined with valerian, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), or other calming herbs. Few scientific studies have tested passionflower as a treatment for anxiety or insomnia, however, and since passionflower is often combined with other calming herbs, it is difficult to tell what effects passionflower has on its own.

Other names

Apricot Vine, Corona de Cristo, Fleischfarbige, Fleur de la Passion, Fleur de Passiflore, Flor de Passion, Grenadille, Madre Selva, Maracuja, Maypop, Maypop Passion Flower, Pasiflora, Passiflora, Passiflora incarnata, Passiflorae Herba, Passiflore, Passiflore Aubépine, Passiflore Officinale, Passiflore Purpurine, Passiflore Rouge, Passiflorina, Passion Vine, Passionaria, Passionblume, Passionflower Herb, Passionsblumenkraut, Purple Passion Flower, Water Lemon, Wild Passion Flower.

Plant Description

Native to southeastern parts of the Americas, passionflower is now grown throughout Europe. It is a perennial climbing vine with herbaceous shoots and a sturdy woody stem that grows to a length of nearly 10 meters (about 32 feet).

Each flower has 5 white petals and 5 sepals that vary in color from magenta to blue. According to folklore, passionflower got its name because its corona resembles the crown of thorns worn by Jesus during the crucifixion. The passionflower's ripe fruit is an egg-shaped berry that may be yellow or purple. Some kinds of passionfruit are edible.

Effective for...

  • Anxiety. There is some evidence that passionflower can reduce symptoms of anxiety, sometimes as effectively as some prescription medications.
  • Relieving symptoms related to narcotic drug withdrawal, when used in combination with a medication called clonidine. This combination seems to be effective in reducing symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, sleep problems (insomnia), and agitation. However, passionflower plus clonidine is no better than clonidine alone for physical symptoms such as tremor and nausea.
  • Relieving symptoms of a psychiatric disorder known as “adjustment disorder with anxious mood” when used in a multi-ingredient product (Euphytose, EUP). Other herbs in the product are crataegus, ballota, and valerian, which have mild sedative effects, and cola and paullinia, which have stimulant effects. It’s not clear, though, which ingredient or ingredients in the mix are responsible for decreasing anxiety.
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia). Some preliminary research suggests that drinking a passionflower tea an hour before bedtime might help improve feelings of sleep quality. However, this did not seem to improve the time it takes to fall asleep, the number of awakenings at night, or refreshed feelings upon awakening in the morning.
  • More evidence is needed to rate passionflower for these uses.
  • Nervous stomach.
  • Burns.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Asthma.
  • Heart problems.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Seizures.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Other conditions.

How does it work?

Chrysin, a commercially important flavone found in the blue passion flower, P. caerulea
Harman, a harmala  alkaloid found in many species of Passiflora

The chemicals in passionflower have calming, sleep inducing, and muscle spasm relieving effects. The fresh or dried leaves of maypop are used to make a tea that is used to treat insomnia, hysteria, and epilepsy, and is also valued for its analgesic properties P. edulis (passion fruit) and a few other species are used in Central and South America for similar purposes. Once dried, the leaves can also be smoked.

Many species have been found to contain beta-carboline harmala alkaloids, which are MAO inhibitors with anti-depressant properties. The flower and fruit have only traces of these chemicals, but the leaves and the roots are often more potent and have been used to potentiate the effects of mind-altering drugs.

The most common of these alkaloids is harman (1-methyl-9H-β-carboline), but harmaline (4,9-dihydro-7-methoxy-1-methyl-3H-pyrido[3,4-b]indole), harmalol (1-methyl-2,3,4,9-tetrahydropyrido[3,4-b]indol-7-one), harmine (7-methoxy-1-methyl-9H-pyrido[3,4-b]indole) and harmol were found.

The species known to bear such alkaloids include: P. actinea, P. alata (winged-stem passion flower), P. alba, P. bryonioides (cupped passion flower), P. caerulea (blue passion flower), P. capsularis, P. decaisneana, P. edulis (passion fruit), P. eichleriana, P. foetida (stinking passion flower), P. incarnata (maypop), P. quadrangularis (giant granadilla), P. ruberosa, P. subpeltata and P. warmingii.

Other compounds found in passion flowers are coumarins (e.g. scopoletin and umbelliferone), maltol, phytosterols (e.g. lutenin) and cyanogenic glycosides (e.g. gynocardin) which render some species, i.e. P. adenopoda, somewhat poisonous. Many flavonoids and their glycosides have been found in Passiflora, including apigenin, benzoflavone, homoorientin, 7-isoorientin, isoshaftoside, isovitexin (or saponaretin), kaempferol, lucenin, luteolin, n-orientin, passiflorine (named after the genus), quercetin, rutin, saponarin, shaftoside, vicenin and vitexin. Maypop, Blue Passion Flower (P. caerulea), and perhaps others contain chrysin, a flavone with confirmed anxiolytic and anti-inflammatory, and supposed aromatase inhibitor properties.

Also documented to occur at least in some Passiflora in quantity are the hydrocarbon nonacosane and the anthocyanidin pelargonidin-3-diglycoside.

As regards organic acids, the genus is rich in formic, butyric, linoleic, linolenic, malic, myristic, oleic and palmitic acids as well as phenolic compounds, and the amino acid α-alanine. Esters like ethyl butyrate, ethyl caproate, n-hexyl butyrate and n-hexyl caproate give the fruits their flavor and appetizing smell.

Sugars, contained mainly in the fruit, are most significantly d-fructose, d-glucose and raffinose. Among enzymes, Passiflora was found to be rich in catalase, pectin methylesterase and phenolase

The medical utility of very few species of Passiflora has been scientifically studied. In initial trials for treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, maypop extract performed as well as oxazepam but with fewer short-term side effects. It was recommended to follow up with long-term studies.

In another study performed on mice, it was shown that Passiflora alata has a genotoxic effect on cells, and further research was recommended before this one species is considered safe for human consumption.

Passionflower herb (Passiflorae herba) from P. incarnata is official in the European Pharmacopoeia. The herbal drug should contain not less than 1.5% total flavonoids expressed as vitexin. It is used in sedative tea mixtures with other calming herbs.

Are there safety concerns?

Passionflower is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in amounts normally found in food. It is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken short-term (less than one month) as medicine. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts.

Passionflower can cause some side effects such as dizziness, confusion, irregular muscle action and coordination, altered consciousness, and inflamed blood vessels. There has also been a report of nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, a rapid heart rate, and abnormal heart rhythm in one person who took it.

There isn’t enough information to rate the safety of passionflower when applied to the skin.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Don’t take passionflower if you are pregnant. It is UNSAFE. There are some chemicals in passionflower that might cause the uterus to contract.

Not enough is known about the safety of taking passionflower during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and don’t use it.

Surgery: Passionflower can affect the central nervous system. It might increase the effects of anesthesia and other medications on the brain during and after surgery. Stop taking passionflower at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there interactions with medications?


Be cautious with this combination.

Sedative medications (CNS depressants)
Passionflower might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking passionflower along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

Some sedative medications include pentobarbital (Nembutal), phenobarbital (Luminal), secobarbital (Seconal), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Herbs and supplements that might cause sleepiness and drowsiness
Passionflower can cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Using it along with other herbs that have the same effect, might cause too much sleepiness and drowsiness. Some of these herbs and supplements include 5-HTP, calamus, California poppy, catnip, hops, Jamaican dogwood, kava, St. John's wort, skullcap, valerian, yerba mansa, and others.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?



No studies have examined the effects of passionflower in children, so do not give passionflower to a child without a doctor's supervision. Adjust the recommended adult dose to account for the child's weight.


The following are examples of forms and doses used for adults. Speak to your doctor for specific recommendations for your condition:

  • Tea: Steep 0.5 - 2 g (about 1 tsp.) of dried herb in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes; strain and cool. For anxiety, drink 3 - 4 cups per day. For insomnia, drink one cup an hour before going to bed.
  • Fluid extract (1:1 in 25% alcohol): 10 - 20 drops, 3 times a day
  • Tincture (1:5 in 45% alcohol): 10 - 45 drops, 3 times a day


The use of herbs is a time honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.

Do not take passionflower if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

For others, passionflower is generally considered to be safe and nontoxic in recommended doses.

Possible Interactions

Passionflower may interact with the following medications:

Sedatives (drugs that cause sleepiness) -- Because of its calming effect, passionflower may make the effects of sedative medications stronger. These medications include:

  • Anticonvulsants such as phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium)
  • Drugs for insomnia, such as zolpidem (Ambien), zaleplon (Sonata), eszopiclone (Lunesta), ramelteon (Rozerem)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine, doxepin (Sinequan), and nortriptyline (Pamelor)

Antiplatelets and anticoagulants (blood thinners) -- Passionflower may increase the amount of time blood needs to clot, so it could make the effects of blood thinning medications stronger and increase your risk of bleeding. Blood thinning drugs include:

  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • Warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Aspirin

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO inhibitors or MAOIs) -- MAO inhibitors are an older class of antidepressants that are not often prescribed now. Theoretically, passionflower might increase the effects of MAO inhibitors, as well as their side effects, which can be dangerous. These drugs include:

  • Isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • Phenelzine (Nardil)
  • Tranylcypromine (Parnate)

  1. Ngan A, Conduit R. A double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation of the effects of Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower) herbal tea on subjective sleep quality. Phytother Res 2011;25:1153-9.
  2. Miyasaka LS, Atallah AN, Soares BG. Passiflora for anxiety disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2007;:CD004518.
  3. Mori A, Hasegawa K, Murasaki M, et al. Clinical evaluation of Passiflamin (passiflora extract) on neurosis - multicenter double blind study in comparison with mexazolam. Rinsho Hyoka (Clinical Evaluation) 1993;21:383-440.
  4. Gralla EJ, Stebbins RB, Coleman GL, Delahunt CS. Toxicity studies with ethyl maltol. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 1969;15:604-13.
  5. Aoyagi N, Kimura R, Murata T. Studies on passiflora incarnata dry extract. I. Isolation of maltol and pharmacological action of maltol and ethyl maltol. Chem Pharm Bull 1974;22:1008-13.
  6. Dhawan K, Kumar S, Sharma A. Anti-anxiety studies on extracts of Passiflora incarnata Linneaus. J Ethnopharmacol 2001;78:165-70.
  7. Dhawan K, Kumar S, Sharma A. Anxiolytic activity of aerial and underground parts of Passiflora incarnata. Fitoterapia 2001;72:922-6.
  8. Akhondzadeh S, Naghavi HR, Shayeganpour A, et al. Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam. J Clin Pharm Ther 2001;26:363-7.
  9. Fisher AA, Purcell P, Le Couteur DG. Toxicity of Passiflora incarnata L. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 2000;38:63-6.
  10. Bourin M, Bougerol T, Guitton B, Broutin E. A combination of plant extracts in the treatment of outpatients with adjustment disorder with anxious mood: controlled study vs placebo. Fundam Clin Pharmacol 1997;11:127-32.

Flower Symbols

Posted by Maddalena Frau on October 14, 2013 at 1:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Since antiquity, flower symbolism has been a significant part of cultures around the world. Flowers accompany us in every major event in
life--birth, marriage, holidays, graduations, illness, and finally
death. Flowers have been grown in decorative gardens and used as
adornment for centuries on virtually every continent on earth. Finding
the right flower to give to someone your love is an art. Make sure to
include a note about the meaning of the flower!

Flower Symbolism and Religion

Flower SymbolismFlower symbolism began with many ancient religions. Many flowers were originally linked to ancient deities including Venus, Diana, Jupiter
and Apollo. During the Renaissance, nature was viewed as a reflection
of the divine.

Flower symbolism was included in much of the religious art of the day and medieval gardens were often created with both the symbolic meaning of
flowers and spiritual symbolism in mind.
Flower symbols were used in the religious art of the Middle Ages and
Renaissance, and reached the highest level of development in the
Victorian era.

The Victorian Language of Flowers

Flower SymbolismAlthough the legendary associations and religious meanings of flower symbolism have existed for centuries, the use of the symbolic meaning of flowers
to represent emotions was developed to a high degree during Victorian

Due to the strict protocol of the times, emotions, wishes and thoughts were not openly expressed between men and women. Instead, an elaborate language
based on flower symbolism was developed. Gifts of either single flowers
or bouquets conveyed clear messages to the recipient.

Guidebooks for Flower Symbols

Flower LanguageWith increasing complexity of flower symbolism, handbooks were written to guide the understanding of the symbolic meaning of flowers. The first
book written on flower symbolism in modern times was Le Language des Fleurs
by Madame Charlotte de la Tour in 1819. The most popular book on flower
symbolism, which remains a prominent resource today, is Kate
Greenaway's Language of Flowers (1884).

During the Victorian era, flowers adorned nearly everything--hair, clothing, jewelry, home decor, china plates, stationary, wallpaper, furniture and
more. Even the scents of flowers had their own meanings in the language
of flowers. For example, a scented handkerchief might be given in place
of actual flowers.

Modern Symbolism of Flowers

Flower PaintingsFlowers are still used today to convey feelings in a more general way than in Victorian times. Many florists provide information on the language of
flowers to encourage the practice of helping modern gift-givers to "say
it with flowers." The flower symbolism for many flowers has been
obscured by time and may remain only as a few key phrases or words.

The beauty and feminine quality of flowers also inspired the tradition of naming girls after flower names. This tradition has existed in many
cultures throughout history and continues today. Popular girls' names
related to flowers include Rose, Daisy, Lily, Holly, Violet, Heather,
Fern, Jasmine, Myrtle, and Lavender.

Illustrated List of Flower Symbols

Flower symbolism and other fascinating facts about many flowers and plants from around the world are included in the following illustrated list of
the symbolic meaning of flowers:

Aster Flower Symbolism

aster flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with asters is daintiness, love, from Greek word for "star." Asters are believed to have healing properties. Asters
were laid on the graves of French soldiers to to symbolize the wish
that things had turned out differently.

Azalea Flower Symbolism

azalea flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with azaleas is temperance, passion, womanhood (China), take care of yourself for me and fragile passion.
Azaleas are members of the rhododendron family (see more below).
Azaleas grow as shrubs and small trees with large, showy flowers and
are popular as ornamental plants in landscaping.

Baby's Breath Flower Symbolism

baby's breath flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with baby's breath is purity of heart, innocence, the breath of the Holy Spirit. Baby's breath is white with
dense, delicate clusters of flowers. They are native to Europe, but
have been naturalized throughout the eastern United States. Baby's
breath is a traditional filler flower for bouquets, boutonnieres and

Bachelor Button Flower Symbolism

bachleor button flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with bachelor buttons is celibacy, single, blessedness, hope in love, delicacy. The bachelor's button is also
known as the cornflower, basket flower and boutonniere flower. Bachelor
buttons are blue and have been prized historically for their pigment.
According to folklore, a young man would wear a bachelor button flower
to indicate his love for a young woman, If the love was unrequited, the
flower would fade quickly. The bachelor button, or blue cornflower, is
the national flower of Poland.

Bamboo Symbolism

The bamboo is the most popular plant in China and represents the spirit of summer. The bamboo is considered a gentleman with perfect virtues. The
bamboo combines upright integrity with accommodating flexibility. It
has the perfect balance of grace and strength, or the Yin and the Yang.
When a storm comes, the bamboo bends with the wind. When the storm
ceases, it resumes its upright position. Bamboo symbolizes longevity,
immortality and youth. Its ability to cope with adversity and still
stand firmly without losing its original ground is inspirational.

Begonia Flower Symbolism

begonia flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with begonias is fanciful nature and beware. Begonias are large shrubs which grow in subtropical and
tropical moist climates, in South and Central America, Africa and
southern Asia. Because of their showy flowers of white, pink, scarlet
or yellow color and often attractively marked leaves, many species and
innumerable hybrids of begonias are cultivated.

Bird of Paradise Flower Symbolism

bird of paradise flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the bird of paradise flower is freedom, good perspective, faithfulness (when given from a woman to a
man). The bird of paradise flower is so-named because of a resemblance
to the actual bird of paradise. In South Africa it is commonly known as
a "crane" flower. The leaves are large, 30-200 cm long and 10-80 cm
broad, similar to a banana leaf but with a longer petiole, and arranged
to form a fan-like crown of evergreen foliage.

Bluebell Flower Symbolism

bluebell flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with bluebells is humility, constancy and gratitude. Bluebells are closely linked to the realm of fairies and are
sometimes referred to as "fairy thimbles." To call fairies to a
convention, the bluebells would be rung.

Buttercup Flower Symbolism

The flower symbolism associated with buttercups is humility, neatness, childishness. Buttercups are part of a large genus of 400 species.
Buttercups usually flower in April or May but flowers may be found
throughout the summer. In the Pacific Northwest (USA) the buttercup is
called ‘Coyote’s eyes.’ In the original legend, a coyote was tossing
his eyes up in the air and catching them again when an eagle snatched
them. Unable to see, coyote made eyes from the buttercup.

Cactus Flower Symbolism

cactus flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the cactus flower is endurance, my heart burns with love, maternal love. Cacti are distinctive and unusual
plants, adapted to extremely arid and hot climates, with a wide range
of features which conserve water. Their stems have expanded into green
succulent structures containing the chlorophyll necessary for life and
growth, while the leaves have become the spines for which cacti are so
well known.

Calendula Flower Symbolism

calendula flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the calendula is grief, despair and sorrow. Calendula blossoms in wine are said to ease indigestion.
Calendula petals are used in ointments to cure skin irritations,
jaundice, sore eyes and toothaches.

Calla Lily Flower Symbolism

calla lily flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the calla lily is magnificent beauty. Calla lilies are native to southern Africa. The calla lily is visible
in many of Diego Rivera's works of art. Georgia O'Keeffe's sensual
flowers redefined the flower as a pure, almost geometric form. Her
painting "Calla Lilies with Red Anemone" (1928) recently was sold for
$6.2 million at a Christie's auction in New York.

Camellia Flowers

The symbolic meaning of camellia flowers is admiration, perfection, good luck gift for a man, gratitude, nobility of reasoning. The colors have
specific symbolic meanings including innate worth, adoration,
perfection and loveliness (white); longing, longing for a man (pink);
and you're a flame in my heart or excellence (red).

Carnation Flower Symbolism

carnation flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the carnation is fascination, impulsiveness, fascination, capriciousness, joy, devoted love; disdain,
refusal (white only). Carnations were used in Greek ceremonial crowns.
The name carnation may come from the Greek carnis (flesh) and refer to
the incarnation of God made flesh.

Cattail Flower Symbolism

The flower symbolism associated with the cattail is peace and prosperity. Cattails or bulrushes are wetland plants with spongy, strap-like leaves
and starchy, creeping stems. The thick root can be ground to make a
flour substitute. The spread of cattails is an important part of the
process of open water bodies being converted to vegetated marshland and
eventually to dry land.

Chamomile Flower Symbolism

chamomile flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the chamomile flower is energy in action. The extract of German chamomile is taken as a strong tea. It
has been used in herbal medicine as a a digestive aid and has
anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used in ointments and lotions,
and as a mouthwash against infections of mouth and gums.

Cherry Blossom Flower Symbolism

cherry blossom flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the cherry blossom is education. In China, the cherry blossom is also a symbol of feminine beauty. It also
represents the feminine principle and love. In Japan, cherry blossoms
symbolize the transience of life because of their short blooming times.
Falling blossoms are metaphors for fallen warriors who died bravely in
battle. This connotation links them with the samarai.

Christmas Rose Flower Symbolism

Chrsitmas rose flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the Christmas rose is that it is purported to have flowered on Christmas Day, and is therefore
associated with the infant Jesus. The Christmas Rose is a member of the
genus Helleborus and is not related to the rose bush. The Christmas
Rose is frost-resistant and many species are evergreens. The Christmas
Rose of Mary Gardens bears pure white or pink flowers and are sometimes
known as the Lenten Rose.

Chrysanthemum Flower Symbolism

chrysanthemum flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the chrysanthemum is abundance, wealth, cheerfulness, optimism, truth (white), hope, rest and wonderful
friendship, I love (red), slighted love (yellow). The Japanese put a
single chrysanthemum petal on the bottom of a wine glass to sustain a
long and healthy life. Japanese emperors sat on the Chrysanthemum
throne. In Italy, chrysanthemums are associated with death.

Crocus Flower Symbolism

crocus flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the crocus is cheerfulness and gladness. The genus crocus is placed botanically in the iris family.
The plants grow from corms and are mainly perennials. They are found a
wide range of habitats including woodland and meadows.

Cyclamen Flower Symbolism

The flower symbolism associated with cyclamen flowers is resignation and goodbye. Cyclamen are native in the Mediterranean and Africa. Cyclamen
grow in dry forest or scrub areas.

Daffodil Flower Symbolism

daffodil flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the daffodil is regard, unrequited love, chivalry, sunshine, respect and the sun shines when I'm with you.
Though the traditional daffodil of folklore, poetry, and field may have
a yellow to golden-yellow color all over, both in the wild species and
due to breeding, the daffodil may be variously colored. Breeders have
developed some daffodils with double, triple, or ambiguously multiple
rows of petals, and several wild species also have known double

Dahlia Flower Symbolism

dahlia flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the dahlia is dignity, elegance, forever thine. The Aztecs used dahlias as a treatment for epilepsy.
Europeans used the dahlia as a source of food in the 1840s when disease
destroyed the French potato crop.

Daisy Flower Symbolism

daisy floer symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the daisy is purity, innocence, loyal love, beauty, patience and simplicity. Daisies are often depicted in
meadows in Medieval paintings, also known as a "flowery mead." Daisies
are believed to be more than 4,000 years old and hairpins decorated
with daisies were found during the excavation of the Minoan Palace on
the Island of Crete. Even further back, Egyptian ceramics were
decorated with daisies. Daisies were used in Mary Gardens.

Dandelion Flower Symbolism

dandelion flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the dandelion is love me, affection returned, desire, sympathy, faithfulness, happiness and love's oracle.
The dandelion is native to Europe and Asia, and has been introduced to
many other places. In northern areas and places where the dandelion is
not native, it has become a weed, exploiting disturbed ground in human

Day Lily Flowers

The symbolic meaning of the day lily is forgetting worries. As an omen for expectant mothers who wish for baby boys, the flower means "Suited for
A Boy." The Chinese also venerate the day lily as a symbol of filial
devotion to one's mother.

elphinium Flower Symbolism

delphinium flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the delphinium is big-hearted, fun, lightness, levity, ardent attachment. The name delphinium comes from
the Greek word delphis, a reference to the flower's resemblance to the
bottle-like nose of the dolphin. Delphiniums were used by Native
Americans to make blue dye. European settlers used delphinium for
making ink. Delphiniums were also once thought to drive away scorpions.

Edelweiss Flower Symbolism

edelweiss flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the edelweiss flower is daring, courage and noble purity. The flowers are felted and woolly with white
hairs, with characteristic bloom consisting of five to six small yellow
flower heads surrounded by leaflets.

Fern Symbolism

fern flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with ferns is magic, fascination, confidence, shelter, discretion, reverie and a secret bond of love. A
great many ferns are grown as landscape plants, for foliage for cut
bouquets and as houseplants.

Forget-Me-Not Flower Symbolism

forget-me-not flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the forget-me-not is true love and memories. In 15th century Germany, it was supposed that the wearers of
the flower would not be forgotten by their lovers. Legend has it that
in medieval times, a knight and his lady were walking along the side of
a river. He picked a posy of flowers, but because of the weight of his
armour he fell into the river. As he was drowning he threw the posy to
his loved one and shouted "Forget-me-not". It is also told in pious
legend that the Christ child was sitting on Mary's lap one day and said
that he wished that future generations could see them. He touched her
eyes and then waved his hand over the ground and blue forget-me-nots

Foxglove Flower Symbolism

fosglove floer symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the foxglove is stateliness and youth. Foxglove flowers have both positive and negative symbolic meanings.
They are said to sometimes hurt and sometimes heal. The scientific name
is digitalis, a reference to the presence of powerful chemicals that
can heal heart conditions if taken correctly but can kill if taken in
large amounts. Thus, foxglove is symbolic of both healing and harm.

Fuchsia Flower Symbolism

fuchsia flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the fuchsia is confiding love. Fuchsia flowers are a very decorative pendulous "eardrop" shape, borne in
profusion throughout the summer and autumn, and all year in tropical
species. In many species, the sepals are bright red and the petals
purple, a combination of colors that attract hummingbirds.

Gardenia Flower Symbolism

gardenia flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the gardenia is you're lovely, secret love, purity and refinement. Gardenia plants are prized for the strong
sweet scent of their flowers, which can be very large in some species.

Geranium Flower Symbolism

geranium flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the geranium is a true friend, stupidity, folly and meeting. The genus name is derived from the Greek
word geranos, meaning "crane". The name derives from the appearance of
the seed-heads, which have the same shape as the bill of a crane.

Gladiolus Flower Symbolism

gladiolus flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the gladiolus is preparedness, strength, splendid beauty and love at first sight. The gladiolus is
named for the shape of its leaves, "gladius" or sword. The gladiolus is
said to have symbolized the Roman gladiators. The British used the stem
base (corms) as a poultice for thorns and splinters.

Globe Amaranth Flower Symbolism

globe amaranth flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the globe amaranth is unfading love. The globe amaranth is an annual plant that grows up to 24 inches in
height. The true species has magenta flowers, and garden varieties have
additional colors such as purple, red, white, pink, and lilac.

Holly Flower Symbolism

holly flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the holly is defense, domestic happiness and forecast. The Romans decorated their hallways with holly
garlands for their mid-winter celebration, Saturnalia. Medieval monks
called the holly the Holy Tree and believed holly would keep away evil
spirits and protects their homes from lightening. In Christianity, the
pointed leaves represented the crown of thorns worn by Jesus, and the
red berries symbolized drops of his blood.

Honeysuckle Flower Symbolism

honeysuckle flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the honeysuckle is bond of love and I love you. Wood cuttings from honeysuckle are sold as cat toys. The wood
contains nepetalactone, the active ingredient found in catnip.

Huckleberry Symbolism

hucleberry symbolismThe symbolism associated with the huckleberry is faith and simple pleasures. The tiny size of huckleberries led to their frequent use as
a way of referring to something small, often in an affectionate way.
The phrase "a huckleberry over my persimmon" was used to mean "a bit
beyond my abilities". "I'll be your huckleberry" is a way of saying
that one is just the right person for a given job.

Hyacinth Flower Symbolism

hyacinth flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the hyacinth is games, sports, rashness, and playful joy. Hyacinths are named after Hyacinth, a figure
in Greek mythology. Hyacinths are sometimes associated with rebirth.
The hyacinth flower is used in the Haftseen table setting for the
Persian New Year celebration. The prophet Mohammad is reported to have
said “If I had but two loaves of bread, I would sell one and buy
hyacinths, for they would feed my soul.”

Impatiens Flower Symbolism

Impatiens Flower SymbolismThe flower symbolism associated with impatiens flowers is motherly love. Impatiens flowers come in a wide variety of forms including flat
flowers and orchid-like shapes. In the medieval Mary gardens devoted to
the Virgin Mary, impatiens plants were called "Our Lady's earrings."

Iris Flower Symbolism

iris flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the iris is faith, wisdom, cherished friendship, hope, valor, my compliments, promise in love, wisdom. Irises
were used in Mary Gardens. The blade-shaped foliage denotes the sorrows
which 'pierced her heart.' The iris is the emblem of both France and
Florence, Italy.

Ivy Symbolism

ivy symbolismThe symbolism associated with ivy is wedded love, fidelity, friendship and affection. Ivy walls are considered idyllic and charming. A soundly
mortared wall is impenetrable to the climbing roots of ivy and will not
be damaged, and is also protected from further weathering by the ivy.
However, walls with already weak or loose mortar may be badly damaged,
as the ivy is able to root into the weak mortar and further break up
the wall.

Jasmine Flower Symbolism

jasmine flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the jasmine flower is attachment, sensuality, modesty, grace and elegance. Jasmines are widely cultivated
for their flowers, enjoyed in the garden, as house plants, and as cut
flowers. The flowers are worn by women in their hair in southern and
southeast Asia. Some claim that the daily consumption of Jasmine tea is
effective in preventing certain cancers.

Lady's Mantle Symbolism

lady's mantle symbolismThe symbolism associated with Lady's Mantle is that of a cloak for for the Blessed Virgin. Lady's mantle was grown in Mary Gardens. The name
alchemilla ("little magical one") derives from the dew which collects
on the lady's mantle. Dew is often associated with magic. The dew was
used as a beauty lotion, while pillows stuffed with it were reputed to
bring on a good sleep.

Lilac Flower Symbolism

lilac flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the lilac is beauty, pride, youthful innocence and youth. A pale purple color is generally known as lilac
after the flower. Lilacs are known for their strong, perfume-like scent
and are the state flower of New Hampshire.

Lily Flower Symbolism

lily floer symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the lily is chastity, virtue, fleur-de-lis, Holy Trinity, faith, wisdom, chivalry, royalty; beauty
(calla), mother (China), hatred (orange), wealth, pride (tiger);
sweetness, virginity, purity, majesty, it's heavenly to be with you
(white); gaiety, gratitude, I'm walking on air (yellow). The flower
symbolism of lilies is associated with the annunciation of the birth of
Jesus by the angel Gabriel. Lilies were used in the flower symbolism of
Mary Gardens. In both Christian and pagan traditions, lilies symbolize
fertility. In Greek marriage ceremonies, the bride wears a crown of

Lotus Flower Symbolism

lotus flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the lotus is estranged love and forgetfulness of the past. The lotus is the national flower of India.
The blue or Indian lotus, also known as the bean of India and the
sacred water-lily of Hinduism and Buddhism. Lotus roots are also used
widely in Asian cooking.

Lupine Flower Symbolism

lupine flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with Lupines are symbolic of imagination. The name "lupinus" actually means "of wolves" due to the mistaken
belief that ancient peoples had that lupines robbed the soil of
nutrients. The fact is that lupines add nitrogen to the soil. Lupines
are the only food for the Karner blue butterfly's caterpillar. The
scent from lupine blossoms is like that of honey, a nice addition to
any garden.

Magnolia Flower Symbolism

magnolia flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with nobility, perseverance and love of nature. Magnolia is the official state state flower of both Mississippi
and Louisiana. The flower's abundance in Mississippi is reflected in
its state nickname, the "Magnolia State". The magnolia is also the
official state tree of Mississippi. One of the oldest nicknames for
Houston, Texas Is "The Magnolia City" due to the abundance of Magnolia
Trees growing along Buffalo Bayou.

Marigold Flower Symbolism

marigold flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with marigolds is indicated in the name: Mary's Gold. Marigold flowers were "golden gifts" offered to the Virgin
by the poor who could not afford to give actual gold. Marigolds were
used in Mary Gardens. Marigolds are symbolic of passion and creativity.
Marigolds are also known as the "Herb of the Sun." Marigolds have been
used as love charms and incorporated into wedding garlands. In some
cultures, marigold flowers have been added to pillows to encourage
prophetic or psychic dreams.

Marjoram Symbolism

marjoram symbolismThe symbolism associated with marjoram is joy and happiness. Marjoram is a somewhat cold-sensitive under shrub with sweet pine and citrus flavors.
It is also called sweet marjoram. Marjoram is cultivated for its
aromatic leaves, either green or dry, for culinary purposes. The tops
are cut as the plants begin to flower and are dried slowly in the shade.

Morning Glory Flower Symbolism

morning glory flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the morning glory is affection. As the name implies, morning glory flowers, which are funnel-shaped, open in
the morning, allowing them to be pollinated by hummingbirds,
butterflies, bees, other daytime insects and birds. The flower
typically lasts for a single morning and dies in the afternoon. New
flowers bloom each day.

Narcissus Flower Symbolism

narcissus flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the narcissus is normality, stay sweet, self-esteem and vanity. The name narcissus is derived from that
of the youth of Greek mythology called Narcissus, who became so
obsessed with his own reflection as he kneeled and gazed into a pool of
water that he fell into the water and drowned. The legend continues
that the narcissus plant first sprang from where he died.

Nasturtium Flower Symbolism

nasturtium flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the nasturtium is victory in battle and conquest. Nasturtium literally means "nose-twister" or
"nose-tweaker" and refers to a genus of roughly 80 species of annual
and perennial flowering plants. Nasturtium have showy, often intensely
bright flowers and rounded, shield-shaped leaves with the petiole in
the center.

Orange Blossom Flower Symbolism

orange blossom flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the orange blossom is innocence, eternal love, marriage and fruitfulness. The orange blossom, which is
the state flower of Florida, is traditionally associated with good
fortune, and was popular in bridal bouquets and head wreaths for
weddings. The petals of orange blossom can also be made into a
delicately citrus-scented version of rosewater. Orange blossom water is
a common part of Middle Eastern cuisine.

Orchid Flower Symbolism

orchid flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the orchid is love, beauty, refinement, many children, thoughtfulness and mature charm. Orchids
have become a major market throughout the world. Buyers now bid
hundreds of dollars on new hybrids or improved ones. Orchids are one of
the most popular cut-flowers on the market.

Pansy Flower Symbolism

pansy flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the pansy is merriment and you occupy my thoughts. The pansy is also called the heartsease or Johnny Jump Up.
The name pansy is derived from the French word pensée meaning
"thought", and was so named because the flower resembles a human face.
In August the pansy is thought to nod forward as if deep in thought.

Peony Flower Symbolism

peony flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the peony is happy marriage, compassion and bashfulness. Peonies are extensively grown as ornamental
plants for their very large, often scented flowers. Peonies tend to
attract ants to the flower buds due to the nectar that forms.

Petunia Flower Symbolism

petunia flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the petunia is your presence soothes me. Dixon, Illinois is the Petunia Capital of the world. Every year,
the Petunia Festival draws thousands of visitors to the city. The
streets are lined in petunias. The parade mascot is Pinky Petunia.

Poinsettia Flower Symbolism

poinsettia flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the poinsettia has an ancient history. The ancient Aztecs considered the poinsettia to be a symbol of purity.
Today, poinsettias are the most easily recognized flower symbolic of
Christmas. Poinsettias are also known as the "Christmas flower" and
"Mexican flame leaf." Poinsettias originally came from Mexico and
Central America. According to legend, one day near Christmas a child
who was too poor to buy a present for the Christ child picked a weed
from the side of the road. When he reached the church, the plant
blossomed in red and green flowers.

Poppy Flower Symbolism

poppy flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with poppies is beauty, magic, consolation, fertility and eternal life. The Egyptians included poppies at funerals
and in burial tombs. The Greeks used poppies in the shrines of Demeter,
goddess of fertility, and Diana, goddess of the hunt. Poppies denote
sleep, rest and repose. In modern times, poppies have been associated
with Flanders fields as an emblem of those who died in World War I.

Pussy Willow Flower Symbolism

pussy willow symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with pussy willows is motherhood. When grown commercially, pussy willow shoots are picked just as the buds
expand in spring, and can last indefinitely once dried. The branches
can be put in vases or the buds can be used for table decoration.

Rhododendron Flower Symbolism

rhododendron flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the rhododendron is beware and caution. Rhododendron means "rose tree." Some spices are toxic to
animals and may have a hallucinogenic and laxative effect on humans,
thus the symbolism related to warning and danger. Rhododendrons were
originally found in Nepal. Today there are over 1,000 species of
rhododendrons. Rhododendrons are the national flower of Nepal, the
state flower of Sikkim in India, and the state flower of West Virginia
and Washington in the United States.

Rose Flower Symbolism

The flower symbolism associated with roses is love, remembrance, passion (red); purity (white); happiness (pink); infidelity (yellow);
unconscious beauty, I love you. Roses were first cultivated 5,000 years
ago in Asian gardens. Confucius wrote that the emperor of China owned
over 600 books on the cultivation of roses. Roses were introduced to
Europe during the Roman Empire and were thereafter used for ornamental
purposes. Roses are emblems of England and New York City.

Shamrock Symbolism

shamrock symbolismThe symbolism associated with shamrocks is lightheartedness, good fortune and good luck. The shamrock is a symbol of Ireland and a registered
trademark of the Republic of Ireland. The shamrock was traditionally
used for its medicinal properties and was a popular decorative motif in
Victorian times. The shamrock is also symbolic of St. Patrick's Day,
celebrated on March 17th.

Snapdragon Flower Symbolism

snapdragon flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with snapdragons is graciousness and strength. The snapdragon is important as a model organism in botanical
research. Its genome has been studied in detail.

Sunflower Flower Symbolism

sunflower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with sunflowers is adoration. Sunflowers turn their heads to the sun, which is the origin of their common name.
Sunflowers belong to the genus helianthus, a reference to Helios, the
sun god. Sunflowers are native to the Americas and are the state flower
of Kansas.

Sweet Pea Flower Symbolism

sweet pea flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with sweet peas is bliss, delicate pleasure, good-bye, departure, adieu and thank you for a lovely time.
Sweet peas were very popular in the late 1800s and are often considered
the floral emblem for Edwardian England. Sweet peas are the flowers
most closely connected to the month of April.

Tulip Flower Symbolism

tulip flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with tulips is fame and perfect love. The symbolic meanings also change with the color of the tulips. Red tulips
mean "believe me" and are a declaration of love. Variegated tulips mean
"you have beautiful eyes." Yellow tulips mean "there's sunshine in your
smile." And cream colored tulips mean "I will love you forever." Tulips
are the foremost national symbol of Holland, rivaling wooden shoes and

Verbena Flower Symbolism

verbena flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with the verbena flower is pray for me and sensibility. Verbena has longstanding use in herbalism and folk
medicine, usually as a tea. Verbena is grown as a honey plant to supply
bees with nectar.

Violet Flower Symbolism

Violet Flower SYmbolismThe flower symbolism associated with violets is modesty, virtue, affection, watchfulness, faithfulness, love and let's take a chance on happiness.
When newly opened, viola or violet flowers may be used to decorate
salads or in stuffing for poultry or fish. Soufflés, cream and similar
desserts can be flavored with essence of violet flowers.

Wisteria Flowers

The symbolic meaning of wisteria flowers is welcome and playful spontaneity. The wisteria is called "Purple Vine" in China. In one
cluster, the petals shade harmoniously from the strong, dark purple tip
to the soft, light pink at the open base.

Zinnia Flower Symbolism

zinnia flower symbolismThe flower symbolism associated with zinnias are thoughts of absent friends, lasting affection, constancy, goodness and daily remembrance.
Zinnias are the state flower of Indiana. The original zinnias were
found in the early 1500s in the wilds of Mexico. They were so dull and
unattractive that the Aztec name for them meant "eyesore." The common
name, garden Cinderella, indicates the level of the zinnia's later

Kundalini & Schizophrenia

Posted by Maddalena Frau on October 5, 2013 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Kundalini & Schizophrenia


Factors that trigger both schizophrenic breaks and kundalini awakenings include circumstances of impossible dilemmas, double-binds, and avoidance/attraction etc... That is situations in which we cannot proceed in a logical-prefrontal manner, but which force us to spin our wheels and to experience angst, perplexity and frustration. Since energy is not utilized in a normal fashion it builds and leads to a psycho-energetic crisis—the energies of flight fight, having no resolution basically kick off either a psychotic breakdown or breakthrough—usually a bit of both. Koans, of course operate in a similar fashion to confound the normal rational thinking process leading to the overload of the nervous system and the sudden progress to a new level of awareness.

Symptoms of schizophrenia include: thought disorder, withdrawal-retardation, hallucination, estrangement, psychosis, sensory gating deficits, voices, delusions, obsession, paranoia, feels out of time, out of space, loss of body boundaries, and non-existent as a person.

The perturbation of everyday consciousness reduces the filtering system and presents a scale of consciousness that spans from schizophrenic to mystic. This transnormal impact of consciousness if interpreted adequately by the rational mind is then called mystic revelation. If however the rational mind is off kilter then ones interpretation is called schizophrenic.

When we penetrate beyond everyday consciousness we are both more animal-essential and more Godlike-omnipotent. We experience a range and subtlety of interconnectedness that would be simply frightening and crazy-making to our normal socio-conditioned repressed mode of being. Thus we only get to sense the true nonlocality of consciousness during peak events—either awakenings or breakdowns. That is not to say that our super-senses are not there in ordinary life, it is just that we simply filter out the information in order to cooperate with the dumbed down operational level that society adheres to. There is an enormous “leveling” system that goes on unconsciously in communities where noone is “allowed” to be more awaken than the others, and we are subtley or overtly punished if we are.

It seems like embeddedness (attraction/aversion) in duality leads to nonduality. For if were not “affected” by the symbols, myths and archetypes that we use to give “story” to our lives, no psychic tension would arise to propel us out of the vice of “normal” consciousness. As the subtle-psychic levels arise we become hyper-affected by the imagery and our story of duality and this builds up such a psychic tension that a kundalini awakening is sparked off.

After an awakening we become psychosomatically differentiated from the images, symbols, myths, stories and personal identity that we were so involved in before. Thus consciousness has become separated from its contents. Perhaps this is the difference between a schizophrenic and a mystic. The mystic has become emancipated from the persuasions of psychic content, while the schizophrenic has become lost in them.

The perturbation and removal of normal consciousness and the consequent disruption of egoic-metaprogramming is not regression—it is not going backwards—but merely the removal of adaptive/repressive functioning in the present. This creates an entirely new consciousness that has never occurred in ones history, yet may have features similar to infantile being. This loss of the sense of the known self (ego) is standard procedure in many of the extreme kundalini events and in the overall metamorphic process itself.

Contributing to this perturbation of consensus-adaptive consciousness is both the extreme amplification and expansion of consciousness during peak events and the consequent damage done by neurotransmitters, free radicals and metabolites. The higher we climb above the "norm," the further we thus fall into the downside of these acute neurological events. This is the shamanic journey to the heavens and then into the hell realms. Both extra-normal conditions could be classed as regression by an ignorant observer; but both high and low are equally part of the path toward the emergence of the life of the Soul. There must indeed be a suspension or cataclysmic breakthrough of the norm for the infinitely larger soul’s life to be born. So rather than "regression” in the service of the ego, we could more aptly state that during a kundalini awakening we undergo "suspension” of the ego in the service of the soul.

For those that are breaking out of consensus mind and who are leaning toward inflation or the schizophrenic end of the scale, this vulnerable condition is NOT the time to be intensive meditation, shadow work or primal processing. For these people stabilizing and structure building is needed more than uncovering therapies as the interpenetration of the levels of consciousness proceeds. Humor, because of its trickster element is a great tool for establishing rationality, because laughter builds up the prefrontal lobes. The practices for the periods of unstable integration between the levels of consciousness should be of an embodiment and boundary building nature. Of self-definition through internal exploration via neo-shamanistic practices of a self-originating nature. The work of Miguel Ruiz, Byron Katie and Alberto Villoldo would be valuable at this stage to establish the self/other boundary and build up the core-self.

Therapists attending to people undergoing kundalini awakenings could benefit from reading Ken Wilber’s writings on schizophrenia such as Chapter 17 of The Atman Project. This piece entitled Schizophrenia or Mysticism is very good, yet I would like to add a distinction. I think that awakening from “normal conscious’ runs a scale between schizophrenia and mysticism and each of us has a gravity to a particular point on that scale. But throughout the duration of an awakening we may sometimes be closer to the schizophrenic end of the scale and sometimes closer to the Mystic end of the scale depending on how stable and adaptable the rational faculty is at the time.

“Mysticism is not regression in the service of the ego, but evolution in transcendence of the ego. The mystic seeks progressive evolution. He trains for it. It takes most of his lifetime—with luck—to reach permanent, mature transcendent and unity structures. At the same time he maintains potential access to ego, logic, membership, syntax, etc…He follows a carefully mapped out path under close supervision. He is not contacting past and infantile experiences, but present and prior depths of reality.”

Some of the chemistry could be similar between kundalini and various mental illnesses, because of kundalini’s perturbing revelatory quality, nothing is left unseen and unfelt within one...there is no where to hide. The former repressive hold of the ego is released by the dissolution and so the psychic tension is let fly...in whatever form we have stored within us.

Relationships are particularly good at triggering kundalini awakenings because our brain's primary matrix is constructed in relationship to our primary caregiver in infancy—thus relationship later in life can trigger the release of incredible psychic forces bound up in such complexes as avoidance/attraction, double-bind, relentless dilemma, rejection and abandonment. Complexes, are webs of associations created by intense or repeated activation of an archetype. Psychic storms based on these kinds of primary archetypal patterns build slowly over the course of a life, underneath the repressive lid of our ego's coping mechanisms and defenses.

One wonders what is left after all our compensations and camouflages are penetrated; is there a life at all if we are not doing all this secondary work of trying to prop ourselves up, defend ourselves or kill ourselves? But unless things build up to popping point, unless kundalini sparks up, we will remain in the clutches of the vice that we built to protect ourselves from the reality we were born into. The ego will not voluntarily go into that "hole" in our primary matrix...spirit however willingly goes there in equanimous embrace to find light in the dark. Kundalini is a spiritual force that arises spontaneously to save ourSelf from our self.

If you are congenitally schizophrenic, or interpret events in a mythic or highly personal way then it is best to steer clear of trying to raise kundalini, because the "self" is just not strong enough to ride out the dissolution of self and the intensity of archetypical psychic contents that arise during an awakening. Kundalini is a radical amplification of our subjective eye and subjective experience that is why those with unstable neurology can be driven over the deepend. I think this is probably what happens in the majority of mental breakdowns. Under kundalini’s incideous power even the strongest brains can fall into morbid-grandiose-hypersubjectivity and think that the universe is made for them and that they control the weather and the stars.

I think this state of pathological grandiose inflation is the fate of many a Guru and rather than true transcendence it represents infantile fusion and indissociation, that is magically and mythically charged (e.g. the purple and red in spiral dynamics). This subjective-fusion with manifestation is similar to an infant’s magical uroboric perspective; a state of oceanic indissociation or egocentric fusion, which is undifferentiated or "one with" local environs.

“We have noted that in the world of the infant the solicitude of the parent conduces to a belief that the universe is oriented to the child’s own interest and ready to respond to every thought and desire. This flattering circumstances not only reinforces the primary indissociation between inside and out, but even adds to it a further habit of command, linked to an experience of immediate effect. The resultant impression of an omnipotence of thought—the power of thought, desire, a mere nod or shriek, to bring the world to heel—Freud identified as the psychological base of magic, and the researches of Piagest and his school support this view. The child’s world is alert and alive, governed by rules of response and command, not by physical laws: a portentous continuum of consciousness endowed with purpose and intent, either resistant or responsive to the child itself. And, as we know, this infantile notion (or something much like it) of a world governed rather by moral than by physical laws, kept under control by a super-ordinated parental peresonality instead of impersonal physical forces, and oriented to the weal and woe of man, is an illusion that dominates men’s thought in most parts of the world—to the very present. We are dealing here with a spontaneous assumption, antecedent to all teaching, which has given rise to, and now supports, certain religious and magical beliefts, and when reinforced in turn by these remains as an absolutely ineradicable conviction, which no amount of rational thought or empirical science can quite erase.” Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God, Volume 1: Primitive Mythology

Schizophrenia maybe a hypo-glutamatergic illness: excessive glutamate metabolism leading to the damage of receptors and exhaustion of glutamate as a neurotransmitter. Studies found that high levels of glutamate antagonists were present, and glutamate levels decreased in the prefrontal and hippocampal regions of schizophrenics. The limbic regions especially the hippocampus contain high concentrations of NMDA and AMPA glutamate receptors, however in schizophrenia these are reduced. Some researchers speculate that overactivity of the brain's cannabinoid system may contribute to schizophrenic symptoms

Glycine is essential at the NMDA receptor site, it was found that there were an increase in glycine receptors possibly as compensation for the reduced glutamate activity. Increasing NMDA function with glycine agonists maybe a potential new strategy for the management of schizophrenia. High doses of glycine at 30 g/day gave significant antipsychotic results. Schizophrenia and Glutamate, B. G. Bunney, PhD.,

Some of the schizophrenic type symptoms of kundalini awakenings could be due to hypertonality of the nerves activating the release of Ca2+ thereby killing off neurons, axons and reducing the number of NMDA glutamate receptors. That is during the peak kundalini stage first there is abnormally high concentrations of glutamate and over excitation of nerve cells, followed by a hypo-glutamate period of burnout and recovery lasting 5 or more years until the glutamate receptor systems have reinstated themselves. Thus glutamate toxicity leads to a glutamate deficiency.

The NMDA receptor is activated by the neurotransmitter glycine as well as glutamate. It appears that it might be advisable to take glycine supplementation during awakening as it has calming rather than excitatory properties and is used in bipolar treatment and for hyperactivity. Also to reduce kundalini it might be worth investigating inhibitors such as L-lysine which functions as antagonist to glutamate receptors. Since lysine blocks the NMDA receptors it might protect them from damage during radical kundalini events. It is likely that it will also reduce the severity of such events.

Histamine protects against NMDA-induced necrosis in cultured cortical neurons. It has been found that about half the patients classified as suffering from schizophrenia have low histamine levels in the blood, and as histamine levels were increased, their health improved. (See Histamine for more on this.)

In his book What Really Causes Schizophrenia, Harold Foster proposes that schizophrenia is not caused by excess dopamine but by excessive levels of a metabolite of adrenaline—adrenochrome. Adrenochrome acts as a hallucinogen, free radical generator and neurotoxin that interferes with biochemical systems and damages the thyroid. Dr. Foster suggests that treatment should include methods to reduce adrenaline producing stress and slow down its metabolism to adrenochrome. Sugar consumption and allergin exposure should also be reduced. Coupled with a supplemental program that includes high doses of niacin, thiamine or coenzyme Q10 along with desiccated thyroid to help thyroid damage.

Archetypes and Health

There are common themes in the symbols and archetypes that arise during the energy flux of both kundalini and schizophrenia. As these images arise biochemically within us they themselves become the resonant filter via which we find synchronous information and events in the outer world to reinforce the energetic power of the archetype we are preoccupied with. This process of alchemy via correspondence between the inner and outer worlds is mostly geared into the visual cortex it seems. We project our interiors and this adds fuel to the heat of our internal flame. At this time the repressive mechanism of the prefrontal-Superego is reduced and we have more access to potent dream visuals, visions and the full spectrum of psychic supersenses—including precognition (temporal penetration) and bio-telepathic-navigation (nonlocality/spacial penetration).

Dreams are reflections of the archetypal psyche. Note that the dream life we have is inclusive but transcendent of who we are as a conditioned being. Dreams offer us a deeper human experience and understanding than we can arrive at during our waking state. They have originality, depth, genius, profundity and transpersonal meaning way beyond anything arrived at via the intellect. Dreams impact us at a species level to affect alchemical transformation via emotional-cellular retuning. Since dreams are our greatest teacher, that means that the archetypal layers of the psyche are actually superior to the intellect and the associative mind is a mere student or tool of this mind beyond the mind which is inconceivably vast and unfathomable. If we were exposed to the full impact of this greater mind without our normal restrictive filters we would probably never return to the limited state that we call sanity. Because the complexity, interrrelatedness, exquisite beauty, portent and love of the archetypal realm of the Gods would be such a shock to our habituated dissocation.

The Dreamer who dreams our dreams knows far more of us than we know of it." R.D. Laing

Symbols of the Collective Dream

Positive Images —Center, return to beginnings, lost paradise, logos of origins, the egg, new society, new humanity, New Jerusalem, new earth, new birth, Mary and child, Divine child, sacred marriage, androgyne, apotheosis as God or Goddess, king or queen, deity or saint, hero or heroine, messiah, one chosen for leadership. Quadrated fourfold structure to the World, law of One, play of the opposites.

Negative Images—Fire, the snake, chaos, lost, no nurture, decay, dismemberment, death, dissolution in the Void, dangerous abyss, falling, cosmic conflict, Armageddon, world domination, triumph of the Antichrist, evil ruler, threat of the opposite, supremacy of the opposite sex, fool, clown, ghost, witch, puny outsider, stranger danger, UFOs, alien invasion, abduction, stuck, suffocation, possession, malevolent entities.

These various symbols also arise in the collective daily consciousness as impulses of joint active imagination…there is indeed probably a progressive spiral pattern to the successive emergence of these various inspirational symbols above and beyond the interference of media. They are contagious chemical, quantum, and visionary impulses that arise during certain periods, as an infinity of nested archetypal memes arising spontaneously from the Void impacting us all. They are probably keyed into cosmic and annual solar/lunar cycles also. It is through the madness of this kind of collective waking-dream that events like the holocaust or wars in general are undertaken.

We can run into trouble with patterns of cyclic metabolic disturbance if the interpretation the subjective experience of our awakening remains in the mythic-archetypal realm, by being possessed by the figments of our alchemical imagination. With the perturbation of consensus mind and the sometimes instantaneous new levels of sensing and consciousness, we must then learn to recognize this newfound awareness in rational, Higher-Self accepting terms. To avoid spiraling into prolonged metabolic and cognitive chaos we must accept these new levels of awareness and physiological condition as coming from “us” and not from an alien entity or God. That is we must claim responsibility for our Self as it incarnates at an accelerated pace and not project the cause of our condition onto external people, entities or events.

As an integrated human we can still "have" our story, but we must keep it in its place by running it through a progressively rational interpretation. For it is this rationalizing process that integrates the archetypal imaginal world (reptilian/old mammalian brain) into the 21st Century prefrontal lobes. In schizophrenia the individual has no objective distance between him and the objects or contents in his mind and by being perpetually and totally engrossed in the internal drama his biochemistry spirals out of control leading to catabolic breakdown of tissues and affecting long term cellular and neurological processes and structures.

Chronic illness can occur due to the presence of biotoxins which the body is unable to eliminate. These biotoxins can be cause and effect in cyclic periods of mental illness as well as physical disorder. Endogenous toxins are produced like ammonia, methylmalonic acid, free radicals; and an acid pH generates a different kind of metabolism. Studies in rats show that all catecholamines (excitatory neurotransmitters) including norepinephrine (NE), dopamine, and epinephrine, are toxic to neurons as well as glial cells. Plus neuron excitotoxicity also occurs with excess glutamate and nitric oxide. Biochemists and physiologists are now recognizing that these regulators or products of their metabolism as potential endogenous toxins. Other potential endogenous neurotoxins include: tetraisoquinolines, beta-carbolines, methylimidazoles, tryptamines, and biotoxins produced by intestinal bacteria and these are just a few.

Certain levels of these compounds exists in a healthy organism, but when they are hyperproduced they can generate pathogenic toxic products under the action of certain conditions such as mental disorder, stress, infection, alcohol or exposure to drugs or exotoxins and pollutants. Using our mind in ways that perpetuate metabolic toxicity creates “enterometabolic disorders which have a relationship to inflammation, musculoskeletal pain and degeneration, suppressed immunity, autoimmune disorders and lowered fertility. Using our mind in healthy ways lowers the body’s burden of metabolic toxins, which in turn reduces the inflammatory cascade.

(See Toxic Brain Syndrome and The Ammonia Hypothesis)
—The connection between pathogens, biotoxins, inflammatory and immune disorders.

Archetypal Fixation

If we lack powerful connection to our Muse’s higher art and purpose, this can lead to the energy of awakening remaining in the symbolic phantoms of our archetypal matrix. The elevated energetic activation of the autonomic-medulla and emotional-limbic brain can hold us captive, running out their own dramas. In a sense these captivating figments are not us, but programs entered into us via our origins and our position in the collective unconscious. If we can objectively gain distance from the content of our mind and emotions, we can then be still enough for our higher purpose and spiritual vocation to emerge from the maelstrom. Human life is all symbols. We live in a mind soup of psychoconfabulation. The art to life is to disembed from the symbols of mind-stuff so that we can use them, instead of them using us.

Archetypal Validation

For the initiate there is a lot of support out there nowadays, through various kundalini institutes and Spiritual Emergence Network SEN in various countries. The psychotherapy industry is slowing addressing the issue. But there is a danger that because psychotherapists are trained in pathology, not human excellence and evolution that they will treat kundalini as though it was a form of disease. Believe me when one is studying pathology one takes on a bit of the stigma and paranoia of the pathology. While individuals in the throws of an awakening are as sensitive and vulnerable as they will ever be, great care should be taken to reassure them and not drive their chemistry into a paranoiac downward spiral. Also the energy and cyclic flow of the awakening should be honored, if the process is countermanded, contested and stopped this can cause grave danger to the individual.

The archetypical content should be respected and perhaps seen through various lenses, but it should never be dismissed as delusion or mere projection. If this happens then the whole cascade of chemistry that packs enormous energies and psychic forces can be prematurely deflated and then it turns into a self-destructive bomb in the bodymind of the awakener. Consequently this can lead to such a devastating production of free radicals and catabolic agents that the mind of the individual can be permanently damaged. Hence professionals that deal with kundalini have to be of a post-conventional, humanist bent. They need to specialize in self-actualization, with a thorough understanding of the nonordinary nature of this chemistry, the physiology and the larger picture of the evolution of the human species and life in general. They will be effective to the extent that they too participate in the Mystery along with their clients.

Erich Jantsh, coined the term "self-organization." The science of self-organization concedes that the most interesting structures in nature are not caused in the usual sense but, rather, cause themselves to come into being. They "self-organize." Another term for this is Autopoiesis, the process whereby an organization produces itself. Like physical formation and birth of a child, kundalini is autopoietic. That is it occurs under its own innate chemistry. It is a cosmic birth—the Universe is birthing itself through us. But just as the environmental conditions (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) may not be condusive to the true well-being of a human birth, so too the conditions for a spiritual birth may not be constructive and alchemically-cocreative with the universe to bring about the spiritualized individual. The only reason why this is so is Ignorance!

Because an awakening involves mechanisms that lead to the death of old mental pathways, the necrosis of neurons and axons and inferior cells throughout the body—if this is not undertaken in life-affirming circumstances then much more extensive die-back can occur—and if conditions are not suitable during the rehabilitation phase then the time specific period for retraining the brain in preferred pathways and states is forfeited. Can you not see then the potential for brain damage coupled with circumstantial dehumanization through environmental deprivation. And all because of our wholesale ignorance over this natural process of spiritual death and rebirth.

Bruce MacLennan in his chapter in the book Neurotheology P305-14 says that archetypes as described by Jung, provide the crucial link between the material and spiritual worlds; shaping the conscious contents by regulating, modifying and motivating them. He says the archetypes (inherited patterns of behavior) are objectively real and crucially important for meaningful human life. This might be the best material out there on the impact of the archetypes on the psyche.

I cannot recommend Neurotheology: Brain, Science, Spirituality, Religious Experience highly enough. Some of the authors contributing to this book include: Rhawn Joseph, Andrew Newburg, Michael Persinger, William James, Eugene d’Aquili, and many more.

Follow the works of John Weir Perry for an interesting look into the archetypal symbols that arise within the psyche during awakening. There is an interview with Jeffery Mishlove—Visionary Experience or Psychosis with John W. Perry, M.D.

Trials of the Visionary Mind: Spiritual Emergency and the Renewal Process; John Weir Perry State University of New York Press, 1998.

The Living Labyrinth: Exploring Universal Themes in Myths, Dreams, and the Symbolism of Waking Life by Jeremy Taylor; Paulist Press, 1998.

Also Volume 5 of Carl Jung’s Collected Works: Symbols of Transformation.
The Unfolding Self: Varieties of Transformative Experience, by Ralph Metzner is a good overall map of universal symbols and concepts to the transformational process.

Rudi: 14 Years With My Teacher by John Mann, is a fabulous book on the psychological aspects of cultivating kundalini, it is a very reassuring book. www.rudimovie.org —some mp3 audio of Rudi.


Posted by Maddalena Frau on October 5, 2013 at 3:50 AM Comments comments (0)

KUNDALINI - (Sanskrit kund, "to burn"; kunda, "to coil or to spiral") a concentrated field of intelligent, cosmic invisible energy absolutely vital to life; beginning in the base of the spine when a man or woman begins to evolve as wisdom is earned. Kundalini has been described as liquid fire and liquid light. The ultimate outcome of kundalini is the union of Will (sakti-kundalini), Knowledge (prana-kundalini) and Action (para-kundalini).

"Kundalini is the focused energy of the human body and human psyche. Energy can be either manifested or unmmanifested. It can remain in the seed or it can sprout in a manifested form. Kundalini means your total potential. But it is a seed; it's a possibility. The ways to awaken kundalini are ways to make your potential actual" 91 Osho, The ABC of Enlightenment

Kundalini is a runaway train that one spontaneously has to learn how to drive. However the more one learns how to drive the train the faster it goes. But if one defaults and resists learning how to drive the train it ends up derailing in a crash. Friction and difficulty occur not so much from the process itself but from our conscious and unconscious interference with it due to not understanding what is going on.

"The mystic, endowed with native talents...and following...the instruction of a master, enters the waters and finds he can swim; whereas the schizophrenic, unprepared, unguided and ungifted, has fallen or has intentionally plunged and is drowning." Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By

Kundalini cannot be separated from Eros or the Muse...the soul and Kundalini appear to be the SAME THING.

A kundalini awakening is simply the amplification of the play of the poles, charges, hemispheres and sexes. It is the energy that drives the Kosmos itself.

"The eros that can be named is not eros. Eros is the secret that cannot be named. Sometimes men have named it shaktipat." JR Haule

"Eros is the transformative force of life, love is the unifying force and sexuality is the creative force, the expression of our physical nature. Love is the expression of a conscious will to evolve toward a unified being. Eros, sexuality and love present the possibility of unifying the masculine and feminine within us." John C. Pierrakos M.D.

Eros is the syntropic-life urge while Thanatos is the entropic-death urge. However Thanatos is not a love of death, but a fear of death that draws one inextricably towards it. Thanatos is also a fear of life, and appears to be a default on Life/Eros due to an ignorance of Eros/Life. Thanatos is the tendency to want to become "nonsentient' to avoid the validity, depths, complexity, demands, challenges and even the pleasures of life. Freud's description of Eros and Libido included all creative, life-producing drives. While he defined the death drive in “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” as "an urge inherent in all organic life to restore an earlier state of things". In psychoanalytic theory, Eros is characterised as the tendency towards cohesion and unity, whereas the death drive is the tendency towards destruction.

"Ride your horse along the edge of the sword
Hide yourself in the middle of the flames
Blossoms of the fruit tree will bloom in the fire
The sun rises in the evening."
--Zen Koan

Trying to put kundalini into words: tumescence, insurgence, outburst, protrusion, incarnation, emergence, epiphany, prelude, opening, elevation, emanate, exsurge, mount the barricades, bloom, conflagration, breakthrough, magnify, crescendo, accumulate, upsurge, levitate.

"The Kundalini creates the universe out of Her own being, and it is She Herself who becomes this universe. She becomes all the elements of the universe and enters into all the different forms that we see around us. She becomes the sun, the moon, the stars and fire to illuminate the cosmos which She creates. She becomes the prana, the vital force, to keep all creatures, including humans and birds, alive; it is She who, to quench our thirst, becomes water. To satisfy our hunger, She becomes food. Whatever we see or don't see, whatever exists, right from the earth to the sky isÉnothing but Kundalini. It is that supreme energy which moves and animates all creatures, from the elephant to the tiniest ant. She enters each and every creature and thing that She creates, yet never loses Her identity or Her immaculate purity." Swami Muktananda, Kundalini: The Secret of Life.

"To this day I find myself trying to get a handle on that Shakti and make it mine. But I can't possess it--I can only be possessed by it." Joseph Chilton Pearce, The Biology of Transcendence, 87

Throughout this book the term kundalini awakening is used interchangeably with metamorphosis, spiritual alchemy, spiritual acceleration, the inner marriage, the sacred marriage, The Passion and even The Great Bliss. The energy of kundalini could be variously called prana, chi, mana, Baron Carl von Reichenbach's odic force (od), Wilheim Reich's orgone, Ken Wilber's Spiritual Eros, Henri Bergson's elan vital, Tielhard de Chardin's radial energy, Freud's libido, archeus, etheric energy, vital life-ess

What You Hear Affects What You See

Posted by Maddalena Frau on September 14, 2013 at 4:45 AM Comments comments (0)
By Daniel Albright,


There are a lot of different models of attention, and the differences between them can be complex and subtle. Most of them, however, treat attention as a limited and expendable resource — you can only pay attention to so many things for so long a time. Is attention really in short supply?

Attention is usually not modality specific: For example, if you’re making a lot of effort paying attention to something that you’re seeing, you’re not likely to be able allocate attention to an acoustic cue as well. In short, there isn’t a store of visual attention, a separate store of aural attention, another one for tactile attention, and so on. There’s just one central store of attention.

Recent evidence has also led many researchers believe that rhythms entrain the attentional system so that it increases the amount of attention allocated at certain temporal locations. For example, if you see a blinking light, neural oscillations will synchronize with the rhythm of the blinking, so that you’re paying more attention at the points when the light is likely to be on.

A study published earlier this year used a fascinating methodology to determine whether or not this entrainment is cross-modal. Participants heard a tone played at regular or irregular intervals for a specified amount of time. At the end, a dot would appear in one of the four corners of a screen (the appearance of the dot was either synchronized with the final tone in the series, played earlier than the tone, or played later than the tone) and the participants would look at it. The researchers measured how long it took the participants to fixate on the dot.

Interestingly, participants were significantly faster to fixate on the dot when it was synchronized with the final tone than when it was not, suggesting that the visual attentional system was entrained by the aural tone series. When the experimenters omitted the final tone, the results remained the same, proving that it wasn’t the final tone itself that speeded up fixation, but the rhythm that preceded it.

Another important note is that participants weren’t directed to attend to the auditory tones. In fact, they weren’t told anything about them at all, suggesting that the entrainment of the attentional system is automatic and unconscious.

Although they may seem intuitively obvious, these findings lend additional insight into how attention works, and give major support to the idea that attention is a limited resource that is shared between different perceptual modalities, and provides proof that entrainment developed through one modality is accessed by other modalities.

Research on neural oscillation has been quite fruitful recently, and this is another example of how this is at the core of processes that we take for granted, like rhythmic attentional entrainment and many other temporal processes in the brain. Exactly how this low-level process is integrated into higher-level systems, like time-keeping and attention, is likely to see a lot more research in the near future.


Miller JE, Carlson LA, & McAuley JD (2013). When what you hear influences when you see: listening to an auditory rhythm influences the temporal allocation of visual attention. Psychological science, 24 (1), 11-8 PMID: 23160202

Art Therapy

Posted by Maddalena Frau on September 14, 2013 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Improving Emotional Intelligence in Psychosis with Art Therapy

By Ann Reitan, PsyD


Emotional intelligence is defined as “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” Self-regulation of emotional intelligence is is vital to healthy emotional interactions.

Emotional intelligence is formed of interpersonal intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence. Interpersonal intelligence reflects competence in the context of social relationships, while intrapersonal intelligence reflects the ability to regulate one’s own emotions.

The degree of an individual’s emotional intelligence affects the degree to which that individual can deal psychopathological conditions such as schizophrenia. Although schizophrenics may be emotionally sensitive, the interpersonal and intrapersonal spheres of emotional intelligence of these individuals are likely to be negatively impacted for several reasons.

Due to the fact that schizophrenia emerges in late adolescence and early adulthood, it is likely that the Eriksonian stages of social development that correspond with this emergent pathology are negatively impacted by schizophrenia, especially the tasks of achieving independence and forming close relationships.

Much of what comprises emotional intelligence relies on self-permeable boundaries related to appropriate detachment and attachment with others. In terms of successful negotiation of the Eriksonian stages, “identity versus role confusion” may allow the individual to determine appropriate detachment from others by means of differentiating the self, and “intimacy versus isolation” may allow the individual to achieve appropriate attachment within the context of a relationship with another person.

Psychotic individuals have obstacles achieving this due to factors implicit to psychosis. These individuals are both socially alienated and overly involved in their mental realms, stemming partly from stigmatization that may not allow them to find what they perceive as accurate reflections of their internal states in the external world and their understanding of other people. Empathic reflection, in the tradition of Roger’s Person-Centered Therapy, is seldom understood to be available to schizophrenics, perhaps simply due to the fact that most clinicians cannot relate to the psychotic experience of a schizophrenic.

In addition, auditory hallucinations — the internal or intrapersonal experience of a schizophrenic — may be represented by an amalgamation of perceptions of “self” and “other”. This experience does not necessarily allow the schizophrenic the ability to self-regulate her emotions, primarily because she does not entirely own her mental experience. Due to the representation of hallucinations in the minds of psychotic individuals as “entities”, there is also a lack of apparent privacy in the mental realm of the psychotic individual, and the type of experience implied by this perceived lack of privacy can be punitive.

If people with psychosis cannot distinguish boundaries in their own mind, how can they be expected to demonstrate effective intrapersonal intelligence? If stigma causes impenetrable interpersonal boundaries between the psychotic mind and the minds of those who are not psychotic, how can psychotic individuals demonstrate effective interpersonal intelligence?

So this brings us to an essential question: How can the schizophrenic individual negotiate both the intrapersonal and the interpersonal realms in a healthy way? The schizophrenic requires some means of healthy self-expression that allows for symbolic representation of the self that can be at least partly understood by others.

It is suggested that artistic self-expression is a means of creating a personal stance in the social arena that will allow for healthy regulation of emotion. Art therapy could be an important avenue toward increased mental health in the psychotic individual. Engaging in art not only allows the psychotic individual to express his own emotions to others, but the canvas (whether a poem, song or literal canvas) can reflect back to him his internal state. This dialogue between the artist and his work serves an important therapeutic function.

Ann Reitan, PsyD

Ann Reitan, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist and well published essayist of fiction and creative nonfiction. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of Washington, Master of Arts in Psychology from Pepperdine University, and Doctorate of Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University. Her post-doctoral research at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, involved personality theory, idiodynamics and creativity in literature.

Herbal Medicine is Medicine

Posted by Maddalena Frau on September 14, 2013 at 4:30 AM Comments comments (0)
By Rachel Danks, PhD


Recently, the UK Government announced a consultation on whether practitioners of acupuncture, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine should become subject to statutory regulation. Unsurprisingly, the announcement has sparked some lively debate. Currently, most herbal remedies and dietary supplements are classified by regulatory authorities as “foods,” and therefore subject to far less stringent legal requirements than pharmaceutical products. However, if a herbal remedy offers some pharmacological effect over and above its nutritional value (and many undoubtedly do), then it becomes no longer a food but a medicine.

Medicines, including herbal medicines, make changes at a physiological level. Some of these changes are desirable and some are not. It would be irrational to imagine that any agent would have only positive benefits: if you believe an effect is real enough to do you good, you must also believe it could do you harm. The secret of good medicine is to balance the potential benefits of a drug with its known side effects.

There is a widespread perception that a herbal remedy is somehow more gentle or less ‘alien’ than a prescription drug. In fact, herbal medicines are generally no more than plant extracts containing an assortment chemicals whose actions are largely unknown. Is it really better to swallow a jumble of plant chemicals than a single, purified and identifiable one? With a prescription or over-the-counter drug, at least you know what you are getting; a herbal remedy, by contrast, can vary from one country to another, one manufacturer to another or even one bottle to another. In fact, analyses have revealed that the contents of many herbal products do not always match the ingredients listed on the labels, and some even contain dangerous poisons, including pesticides, lead or mercury. It is ironic that so many people who are so particular about what they consume are prepared to take tablets they so little about.

Despite the advances made in conventional medicines, many people live their lives in constant pain and discomfort, and are willing, or desperate, to give anything a try. It is these people more than most who must be protected from the false hopes and exaggerated claims that some herbal remedies offer.

Of course, many alternative health practitioners care deeply about their patients, and genuinely believe they can offer something that alternative medicine cannot. These practitioners stand to gain from regulation, through the increased credibility and patient reassurance that it brings. Indeed, the European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (EHTPA) and National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) have both publicly welcomed government consultation. So, with support from practitioners and encouragement from the government, can it be long before alternative medicine comes under the umbrella with its better researched and more robust cousin, medicine?

Rachel Danks, PhD

Rachel Danks, PhD, is a freelance medical writer and editor with over 12 years of experience in the field. She has written and edited numerous academic papers, and is experienced in preparing marketing materials, educational resources and regulatory documents. Her clients include medical education groups, advertising agencies, pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions.

Exercise for Depression

Posted by Maddalena Frau on September 14, 2013 at 3:30 AM Comments comments (0)

 A Gold Standard Therapy


Depression has become a common medical issue worldwide. Conventional treatments, generally, have not been effective in preventing recurrence of this condition. SSRIs can take months to provide a beneficial effect. Adverse side effects of antidepressant medications are a further concern, based on individual physical and mental health status. Additionally, in order to achieve remission, the most depressed patients require two or more different treatments.

A number of studies have shown exercise to be beneficial in the treatment of depression or depressive symptoms. Further, exercise has remarkable positive, and few negative effects on other disorders. From a physical standpoint, exercise engagement may improve hippocampal volume, pre-frontal cortex blood flow, and increase brain mediators such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (which may be a key marker of depression).

With several other diseases, there is a concern regarding the effectiveness of different types of exercises: resistance or aerobic. However, in the context of treating depression and its symptoms, research shows that little difference exists between them, making  the prescription far easier to physicians and the engagement almost limitless to patients.

Moreover, major depression is now well recognized as a risk factor for some of the most serious chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and similar in potency with traditional risk factors. Therefore, exercise prescription as a medical treatment would result not only in the improvement of depression, but also in preventing the occurrence of other diseases.

Vitally, data from several studies have shown exercise to be just as effective as medication in the treatment of depressive disorders. Furthermore, engaging in regular physical activity can reduce medication dependence. Even more importantly, other studies have demonstrated that exercise is more effective than medication in preventing relapse of the disease. It is also well established that additional benefits of exercise to individuals suffering from depression include reduced moodiness, better attitude, improved outlook, increased self-confidence, and enhanced mental well-being.

While the benefits of exercise as a depression treatment are undeniable, it may also have some barriers, for example intimidation, cost, or physical limitation. Therefore it is necessary to develop strategies for successful compliance by the patient, setting reasonable goals and preparing them for setbacks or obstacles.

Whether exercise is used as a first-line treatment or as a supplement to medication or psychotherapy, patients have virtually nothing to lose and much to gain from adopting an exercise approach in dealing with the symptoms of depression. Therefore, beyond the documented and aforementioned benefits of exercise on overall health, it is also time to more avidly begin considering exercise as a therapeutic strategy for patients suffering from depression.


Berlin AA, Kop WJ, & Deuster PA (2006). Depressive mood symptoms and fatigue after exercise withdrawal: the potential role of decreased fitness. Psychosomatic medicine, 68 (2), 224-30 PMID: 16554387

Blumenthal JA, Sherwood A, Babyak MA, Watkins LL, Smith PJ, Hoffman BM, O’Hayer CV, Mabe S, Johnson J, Doraiswamy PM, Jiang W, Schocken DD, & Hinderliter AL (2012). Exercise and pharmacological treatment of depressive symptoms in patients with coronary heart disease: results from the UPBEAT (Understanding the Prognostic Benefits of Exercise and Antidepressant Therapy) study. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 60 (12), 1053-63 PMID: 22858387

Booth FW, & Laye MJ (2010). The future: genes, physical activity and health. Acta physiologica (Oxford, England), 199 (4), 549-56 PMID: 20345416

Pilu A, Sorba M, Hardoy MC, Floris AL, Mannu F, Seruis ML, Velluti C, Carpiniello B, Salvi M, & Carta MG (2007). Efficacy of physical activity in the adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorders: preliminary results. Clinical practice and epidemiology in mental health : CP & EMH, 3 PMID: 17620123

Rozanski, A. (2012). Exercise as Medical Treatment for Depression Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 60 (12), 1064-1066 DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2012.05.015

Rozanski A, Blumenthal JA, Davidson KW, Saab PG, & Kubzansky L (2005). The epidemiology, pathophysiology, and management of psychosocial risk factors in cardiac practice: the emerging field of behavioral cardiology. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 45 (5), 637-51 PMID: 15734605

Bovis Biometer

Posted by Maddalena Frau on June 14, 2013 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Bovis Biometer

Bovis scale

The Bovis scale, named after French radiesthesist André Bovis (1871–1947; also referred to as either Antoine or Alfred by some authors), is a concept used by dowsers and adherents of geomancy to quantify the strength of a postulated "cosmo-telluric energy" inherent in a location.

The attribution to Bovis is due to his grandson, the self-designated "geobiologist" Jacques Bovis. The concept was further developed by one André Simoneton (1949), who introduced the term "radio-vitality" (radiovitalité;). Simoneton's scale was in turn developed into a "modern Bovis scale" by Swiss "geobiologist" and former Vaud cantonal parliament member Blanche Merz (1919–2002), who founded an Institut de recherches en géobiologie at Chardonne in 1979 and whose self-published books appeared from the 1980s. Merz' books enjoyed some popularity in French-speaking Switzerland and were reprinted by commercial publishers in the later 1980s and 1990s, in translation also reaching German-speaking Europe. Merz' 1983 Hauts-Lieux Cosmo-Télluriques in 1987 was also published in English translation.

The unit of the Bovis scale has no known definition and isn't in any way based on physics. The "measurement" consists of the dowser walking around the place with an object (like a pendulum, dubbed "biometer") and declaring the Bovis number. A number of 6,500 is considered "neutral", lower figures affect human "energies" negatively, higher numbers positively. Numbers above 10,000 are in the "ethereal range", considered Places of power.


Blanche Merz,Hauts-Lieux Cosmo-Télluriques (1983)
Blanche Merz, Points of Cosmic Energy, The C.W. Daniel Company Ltd (1987), ISBN 0852071949.
Simoneton, André: Radiations des aliments, ondes humaines et sante, Paris 1949
Simoneton, André: Radiovitalite des des aliements - hypotheses sur la vie et la sante (1949)












Procédé et dispositifs de production d'ondes magnétiques pour toutes applicatioInventor:  BOVIS JUSTIN ANTOINE ALFRED
EC:   A61N2/00     IPC:   A61N2/00; A61N2/00

Procédé et dispositif pour l'obtention de radiations radio-actives déterminées et leurs utilisations

Procédé et dispositifs pour déterminer le degré de fraîcheur des ceufs et leur valeur au point de vue incubation









Images of Bovis Biometers

An instrument invented by M. Bovis in France to give measurements on a scale of 1 to 100 in regard to dowsing responses. He first used it to determine the quality of cheese and casks of wine. Now it is mainly used in radiesthesia and other methods of healing. The biometer consists of a wood baseboard with a 100 cm rule which can be slid into the base. At the 0 end a small cup is fitted to hold a witness, if required. The pendulum is held towards the right end of the base and the rule is slid out or in until a positive response is observed by the dowser. The reading on the rule is taken as the value or rate. There are many variations of the biometer.



Color --

Main --

Physical --

Etheric --

Astral --

Mental --

Causative --

Spirit --








The Bovis Biometer -- A Detecting Method

The “vibrational” level of a place, of an object, of a person or of a situation can be measured with many different instruments, I personally use the L-rods with a graduated scale and the Bovis biometer.

In the attachment A you can observe the graduated scale that I use to measure the quantity of subtle energy, attachment B is a picture of the original Bovis biometer, and picture C shows its representation on the graduated scale, used to measure the various “radiances” or subtle energies types with the L-rods.

On a physical ground a healthy person will have a frequency of about 6500 Bovis units (or Angrstrom); this is a wave length colored in orange that is present in the original Bovis biometer, close to the infrared radiation. On the contrary the frequency of a very ill person can go down to less than 4000 units. The vibrational rate of an environment will immediately give an indication about the energetic quality of that place.

In a religious building we can find values of 8000/9000 Bovis units. This values can reach a score of 13,000/19,000 or even more, in some particularly privileged religious sites.? ?A Hartmann knot and an underground water stream, that emit negative frequencies usually have a vibration of about 3,000 Bovis units.

Every contact or closeness to levels below 6500 bovis units will be negative for man; this rule is true also for food. What really matters is not the kind of material but the vitality that it contains. The real organic products and all natural materials have a great level of energy and therefore a high vibrational quality.

Pork meat, even if very tasty, has a very low vibrational energy, from 2,000 to 4,500 Bovis units, like many other refined foods like white pasta or white sugar. This difference of values is determined by the way pigs are raised, what they eat, where they live etc... If a pig is raised outside and well fed the vibration of its meat will be higher than that of a pig which is raised inside and badly fed. This is true for all kinds of meat, eggs and of course for fruit and vegetables, if they are organic they will have a higher vibrational rate.

Another example of low vibration is that of cellular phones and computers which vibrate at about 2,000/3,000 Bovis units and it’s necessary to be very careful while using these equipments, so widely used and so negative for our health.


Psychometric Tests

Posted by Maddalena Frau on May 20, 2013 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Warwick  Southampton  Durham

This website is a collaborative project created by psychology postgraduates from universities across the UK. The personality questionnaires on this website are typically the result of research projects or on-going course material.

Other significant contributors currently include BPS Level A and Level B qualified Business Psychologists and Trainee Occupational Psychologists seconded from companies.

This is an open and collaborative psychometric test resource and so anyone who is interested in psychology, particularly at degree or doctorate level, are welcome to contact us to become involved.


Interpersonal Skills Test

Take the Interpersonal Skills test to evaluate your personable abilities. What are Interpersonal Skills? Interpersonal skills describe how we interact with others, whether in a social or occupational setting, although generally in the business world it is considered to refer…

Resilience Test

Take the Resilience test and asses how resilient you are. What is it? The Resilience Test is formed of 50 self-report statements that have been designed to determine the strengths of certain personality traits from the individual’s responses to them,…

Entrepreneur Test

Take the Entrepreneur Test online to see if you have natural entrepreneurial potential. What is it? The entrepreneurial questionnaire is designed to assess the personality traits associated with entrepreneurial ability, in order to provide insight into the current qualities possessed…

Leadership Test

Take the leadership test and see if your personality traits lend themselves to a successful leadership role.  What is it? The leadership questionnaire is a 50 item self-report psychometric test which aims to assess and evaluate specific personality characteristics that…

Big Five Test

Take the classic five-factor ‘Big Five’ personality questionnaire based on Openness, Contentiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism. What is it? The big-five personality test has been used by psychologists for years in order to measure the strength of certain personable characteristics, the accuracy…

16PF Test

Take the free 16PF personality questionnaire online and learn about your personality traits. What is it? The sixteen personality factors or 16PF psychometric test assesses various primary personality traits in order to provide feedback about an individual’s disposition, traditionally used by…

Brain Anatomy of Dyslexia Is not the Same in Boys and Girls

Posted by Maddalena Frau on May 20, 2013 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Using MRI, neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center found significant differences in brain anatomy when comparing men and women with dyslexia to their non-dyslexic control groups, suggesting that the disorder may have a different brain-based manifestation based on sex.

Their study, investigating dyslexia in both males and females, is the first to directly compare brain anatomy of females with and without dyslexia (in children and adults). Their findings were published online in the journal Brain Structure and Function.

Because dyslexia is two to three times more prevalent in males compared with females, "females have been overlooked," says senior author Guinevere Eden, PhD, director for the Center for the Study of Learning and past-president of the International Dyslexia Association.

"It has been assumed that results of studies conducted in men are generalizable to both sexes. But our research suggests that researchers need to tackle dyslexia in each sex separately to address questions about its origin and potentially, treatment," Eden says.

Previous work outside of dyslexia demonstrates that male and female brains are different in general, adds the study's lead author, Tanya Evans, PhD.

"There is sex-specific variance in brain anatomy and females tend to use both hemispheres for language tasks, while males just the left," Evans says. "It is also known that sex hormones are related to brain anatomy and that female sex hormones such as estrogen can be protective after brain injury, suggesting another avenue that might lead to the sex-specific findings reported in this study."

The study of 118 participants compared the brain structure of people with dyslexia to those without and was conducted separately in men, women, boys and girls. In the males, less gray matter volume is found in dyslexics in areas of the brain used to process language, consistent with previous work. In the females, less gray matter volume is found in dyslexics in areas involved in sensory and motor processing.

The results have important implications for understanding the origin of dyslexia and the relationship between language and sensory processing, says Evans.




Posted by Maddalena Frau on May 15, 2013 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Imagine a plant that can nourish your body by providing most of the protein you need to live, help prevent the annoying sniffling and sneezing of allergies, reinforce your immune system, help you control high blood pressure and cholesterol and help protect you from cancer.Does such a “super food” exist?

Yes. It’s called spirulina.

Unlike plants you may grow in your garden, this “miracle” plant is a form of blue-green algae that springs from warm, fresh water bodies.

Spirulina vs Chlorella -- Similarities and Differences

Chlorella is another form of algae that is sometimes confused with spirulina. The fundamental difference between spirulina and chlorella is that spirulina is many thousands of years older and does not possess the hard cell wall that makes chlorella closer to being a plant than algae.

Chlorella is an excellent way to detoxify your body from mercury, which most of you are contaminated with if you’ve ever had dental fillings, received a vaccine, used certain types of cookware or eaten fish. Spirulina simply is unable to remove heavy metals like chlorella as it lacks a cell membrane.

Chlorella has also been proven to be of benefit to those who suffer from degenerative disease. This report, however, will focus on the specific benefits that can be attributed to spirulina in particular.

Spirulina History -- Could This Super Food Help End World Hunger?

Spirulina is a simple, one-celled organism that got its name from the Latin word for ‘helix’ or ‘spiral’ because of its spring-like physical characteristic. Its scientific name is Arthrospira platensis, and it belongs to the cyanobacteria family.

The use of spirulina as a food source dates all the way back to 9th century Chad and it is believed spirulina was used by the Aztecs in 16th century Mexico. Historical records report the harvesting and selling of cakes made from spirulina harvested from Lake Texcoco. It was rediscovered in the 1950’s in the same place where it has said to have its origins by a European scientific mission. The spirulina was being harvested and sold in dried flat cakes called, “dihé” at the local markets where natives would use it as a staple for many of their meals.

Spirulina didn’t come into commercial production until the 1970’s when a French company began the first large-scale spirulina production plant. Within a few years, America and Japan began producing their own spirulina.

Today, these nutrient-rich algae are being used around the world to help treat illness and are being seriously discussed as a sustainable source of food with the potential to end world hunger. Unlike most plants, which need to be cultivated and nurtured, spirulina is a survivor, able to withstand extreme temperature variations and neglect and still thrive. According to studies, spirulina is being successfully used to treat a wide variety of ailments, including those who’ve been poisoned by arsenic-contaminated water.

How Spirulina Helped Save Millions from Arsenic Poisoning

Most of us take clean, healthy drinking water for granted. Unfortunately, in some countries like Bangladesh, it is a luxury. As I stated in this previous article, much of the Bangladesh water supply is loaded with arsenic and up until the mid-1990s, little could be done to treat dying arsenic poisoning patients.

Bangladeshi researchers conducted a three-month-hospital-based study where spirulina was given to 33 patients while 17 received placebo doses. 82 percent of those taking spirulina showed tremendous improvement.

An Immune-System Power-Boost -- Spirulina’s Impact on Candida and AIDS

According to a study done by the Department of Aquataculture in Taiwan, spirulina shows significant immune-boosting properties. Researchers exposed white shrimp to seawater containing a hot-water extract of spirulina before transferring them to seawater with a pH level of 6.8. The control group was not exposed to spirulina.

The shrimp exposed to the spirulina seawater showed a faster and more promising recovery rate to the high levels of pH than those not given the dose of spirulina first.

Now, let’s take a look at what this immune-system boosting power can mean for you:


If you have an autoimmune disease such as Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lupus or fibromyalgia, chronic candida yeast can both cause and worsen your symptoms. Spirulina has been shown to encourage and support the growth of healthy bacterial flora in your gut, which can help keep candida overgrowth under control.


Drugs such as AZT used to treat HIV and AIDS patients can actually cause the symptoms they are supposed to cure. However, spirulina has been shown to help inactivate the human immunodeficiency virus associated with HIV and AIDS.

Nothing to Sneeze At

If you suffer from seasonal or perennial allergies, you’re not alone. Millions of people are allergic to pollen, ragweed, dust, mold, pet dander and a myriad other environmental contaminants, ensuring the makers of Kleenex will always stay in business.

Unfortunately, many people who have allergic rhinitis treat it with prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that often do more harm than good. Antihistamines are designed to suppress your immune system, which leads to decreased resistance to disease and dependence on the drug. Certain asthma drugs have been linked to serious side effects as well.

This is where natural methods such as the use of spirulina come in. According to one study, patients treated with spirulina reported relief of symptoms commonly associated with allergic rhinitis, such as nasal discharge and congestion, sneezing and itching when given spirulina.

Balances Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a serious health concern that affects millions of Americans today. If you have high blood pressure, you are at increased risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.

The good news is, following a healthy nutritional plan, getting adequate exercise and applying stress modification techniques such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can help normalize blood pressure and get you back on track to optimal health. According to a study done by the Department of Biochemistry in Mexico, 4.5 grams of spirulina given each day, was shown to regulate blood pressure among both women and men between the ages of 18-65 years with no other dietary changes made during the 6 weeks the experiment was run.

For more information about high blood pressure and how to normalize it without resorting to potentially dangerous drugs, please see this link.

Help to Normalize Cholesterol Naturally

Are you on a cholesterol medication? Tens of millions of people take cholesterol-lowering medications every day and, according to “experts”, millions more should be taking them, including children! If you are skeptical about this recommendation please see this page, which contains a list of articles addressing the dangers of statin drugs.

Statin drugs are responsible for a host of unwanted and dangerous side effects including:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Anemia
  • Immune depression
  • Acidosis
  • Pancreas or liver dysfunction (including a potential increase in liver enzymes)
  • Cataracts
  • Increased cancer risk

Cholesterol-lowering medications have also been linked to severe muscle problems such as polyneuropathy (nerve damage in the hands and feet) and rhabdomyolysis (a serious degenerative muscle tissue condition). There is even evidence to suggest that taking statins can increase your risk of developing Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Thankfully, there are natural ways to lower your cholesterol. Avoiding fructose and grains, and getting appropriate exercise top the list (for more information, please see this previous article), but spirulina may also help. According to a study done on elderly male and female patients ages 60-87, those given 8 grams of spirulina per day for 16 consecutive weeks showed lower cholesterol levels than those who were given a placebo.

Lowers Stroke Risk

Those with sickle-cell anemia or congenital heart defects are at greater risk for a condition called brain ischemia or cerebral ischemia. Brain ischemia refers to a lack of blood flow to your brain, which causes oxygen deprivation and can lead to a stroke. Just ten seconds of interrupted blood flow to your brain can cause unconsciousness and lead to serious health consequences.

In a study done at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology in India, it was found that a dosage of 180mg/kg of spirulina had a protective effect on the brain and nervous system of rats exposed to high amounts of free radicals, compared to rats not given the spirulina before the experiment. This lab test shows the promising effect of spirulina on stroke prevention.

Helps Reduce Cancer Risk

Cancer is the leading killer of adult Americans under 70 and in the case of this frightening disease, prevention is worth much more than a pound of cure. It could literally save your life.

My first recommendation in cutting your cancer risk is to eliminate sugar/fructose, grains, and processed foods from your diet. Additives such as fructose feed cancer cells and help them to thrive. I also recommend healthy sun exposure, which will boost your levels of natural vitamin D and help cut your cancer risk by half!

But spirulina may have potential benefits here as well. According to a study done in China, selenium-infused spirulina inhibited the growth of MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

Healthy for Vegetarians -- More Protein than Red Meat

When you think of protein, you probably imagine sitting down to a meal of organic eggs or grass-fed beef or maybe even drinking a whey protein shake.

If you’re a vegetarian, you may turn to plant-protein sources such as nuts, beans, lentils and soy products. Unfortunately, soy is not the health food it claims to be. None of the above-mentioned sources of protein compare to the protein punch delivered by spirulina. Spirulina is 65-71 percent complete protein compared to beef, which is only 22 percent, and lentils, which is only 26 percent.

In addition to being protein-rich, spirulina is an excellent source of vital amino acids and minerals easily assimilated by your body. You would need to consume only two tablespoons of spirulina as a protein substitute for a meal.

Optimal Spirulina -- Types and Dosing

There are many types of spirulina out there so it is important to do your homework before making a purchase. Since spirulina grown in an uncontrolled environment has the potential to become contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins, it is important to choose organic spirulina from a reputable source.

Spirulina comes in capsules, tablets, powders and flakes. The recommended daily dose is typically betweeen 3 to 5 grams. You can spread the dose out to twice or three times a day if you like. It is safe to take higher doses, but this is a good place to start.  Remember to increase your intake of spring or filtered water when taking spirulina to help it absorb into your system.

An Important Note on Dosing

In addition to being your powerhouse of essential vitamins and minerals, spirulina is a potent detoxifier. For that reason, it is best to start with a small dose and work your way up. Once you see how your body responds, you can then gradually increase your intake.

Potential Adverse Reactions

Spirulina is a safe source of protein, nutrients, vitamins and minerals that has been used for centuries. Though there are no known side effects associated with spirulina, your body may react to it based on your current state of health. Let’s take a look at some of those reactions, what they mean, and what you can do to alleviate them.

The most prominent reactions you may experience are:

  • Slight Fever -- The high protein content in spirulina increases metabolism, which may elevate body temperature.)
  • Dark Green Waste Matter -- Spirulina can remove accumulated waste product in your colon, which may cause darker stool. Also, spirulina is high in chlorophyll. This will also turn waste matter green.
  • Excessive Passing of Gas -- This may indicate that your digestive system is not functioning properly or you have an extreme build-up of gas.
  • Feelings of Excitement -- Your body is converting protein into heat energy, which may cause temporary feelings of restlessness.
  • Breakouts and Itchy Skin -- This is caused by colon cleansing process and is only temporary.
  • Sleepiness -- This is caused by the detoxification process and may indicate your body is exhausted and needs better rest.

Remember, your body may go through an adjustment period with spirulina and your best bet to reduce reaction is to dose gradually to see how your body will react. Increase your water intake, reduce your stress levels, eat according to your nutritional type and get plenty of rest.

Important Contraindications for Spirulina

Even though spirulina is entirely natural and generally considered a healthful food, there are some contraindications you need to be aware of.  You should not take spirulina if you have a severe seafood or iodine allergy. And, if you are pregnant or nursing or have hyperthyroidism, consult your healthcare provider before taking spirulina.


As you can see, spirulina can serve as a potent ‘super food.’ Just remember to do your research and arm yourself with knowledge. It is the best way to take control of your health!

Higher Child Marriage Rates Associated With Higher Maternal and Infant Mortality

Posted by Maddalena Frau on May 15, 2013 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Countries in which girls are commonly married before the age of 18 have significantly higher rates of maternal and infant mortality, report researchers in the current online issue of the journal Violence Against Women.

The study, by Anita Raj, PhD, a professor in the Department of Medicine in the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Ulrike Boehmer, PhD, an associate professor in the Boston University School of Public Health, is the first published ecological analysis of child marriage and maternal mortality. The study demonstrates that a 10 percent reduction in girl child marriage could be associated with at 70 percent reduction in a country's maternal mortality rate.

"Our analyses accounted for development indicators and world region, and still documented that nations with higher rates of girl child marriage are significantly more likely to contend with higher rates of maternal and infant mortality and non-utilization of maternal health services," said Raj.

"Though child marriage is not highly common in the United States," said Raj, "these findings are meaningful because they hold true for adolescent pregnancy, regardless of marriage. Young age at childbirth increases risk for both maternal and infant mortality."

Girl child marriage is defined as the marriage of girls age 17 and younger. Although the practice has generally declined in recent years, it remains relatively common in regions like South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where up to 70 percent of females in some countries are married as minors. Worldwide, the United Nations estimates more than 60 million women and girls are affected, and considers girl child marriage to be a health and human rights violation.

Raj and Boehmer said certain social contexts increase the likelihood of child marriage, among them rural and impoverished areas with low access to health care and girl education. Regional conflict and instability tend to worsen the situation.

"Girl marriage is viewed as a means of protection from both economic instability and rape due to perceptions of sexual availability of unmarried girls and women," said Raj. "Poverty and conflict can exacerbate parents' desire to have their girl married at a younger age."

Child brides are also more likely to experience social inequities -- reduced status and access to education or jobs -- and suffer gender-based abuse. The effects extend into personal health: Girls married as minors are more likely to bear children as minors, resulting in higher risk for delivery complications, low infant birth weight and child malnutrition.

The new study builds upon earlier findings. Raj and Boehmer compared maternal and child health indicators and HIV prevalence with girl child marriage rates for 97 nations in which relevant data was available. They found strong associations between high child marriage rates and poor health indicators, but no evidence of higher child bride-higher HIV prevalence. The HIV finding, said the researchers, may be the result of a lack of evidence, underscoring the complexity of HIV and its effects in diverse societies.

Nonetheless, the authors say their latest work supports greater advocacy and action to reduce child marriage rates.

"Currently, many nations, such as Yemen and Saudi Arabia, are considering whether or not to alter policies allowing marriage of minor-aged girls, while other nations like India and Nepal are struggling with enforcement of existing policies," Raj said. "These findings suggest policy and programmatic work to restrict and eliminate the practice of child marriage may be effective in improving national levels of maternal and child health."

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of California - San Diego.

Blood Levels of Fat Cell Hormone May Predict Severity of Migraines

Posted by Maddalena Frau on May 14, 2013 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)

In a small, preliminary study of regular migraine sufferers, scientists have found that measuring a fat-derived protein called adiponectin (ADP) before and after migraine treatment can accurately reveal which headache victims felt pain relief.

A report on the study of people experiencing two to 12 migraine headaches per month, led by researchers at Johns Hopkins, is published in the March issue of the journal Headache.

"This study takes the first steps in identifying a potential biomarker for migraine that predicts treatment response and, we hope, can one day be used as a target for developing new and better migraine therapies," says study leader B. Lee Peterlin, D.O., an associate professor of neurology and director of headache research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She cautioned that larger, confirmatory studies are needed for that to happen.

Experts estimate that roughly 36 million Americans, or 12 percent of the population, suffer from debilitating migraine headaches that last four hours or longer. Migraines are defined as headaches with at least two of four special characteristics: unilateral or one-side-of-the-head occurrence; moderately to severely painful; aggravated by routine activity and of a pounding or throbbing nature. Sufferers generally also feel nauseated or are sensitive to light and sound. Women are three times as likely to get migraines as men.

Such complicated diagnostic criteria mean that diagnosis is tricky, a fact driving efforts, Peterlin says, to find better diagnostic tools.

For the study, Peterlin and her colleagues collected blood from 20 women who visited three headache clinics between December 2009 and January 2012 during an acute migraine attack. Blood was taken before treatment with either sumatriptan/naproxen sodium (a drug routinely given to people with migraines) or a placebo. The investigators re-drew blood at 30, 60 and 120 minutes after the study drug was given. Eleven women received the drug and nine got the placebo.

The researchers measured blood levels of ADP, a protein hormone secreted from fat tissue and known to modulate several of the pain pathways implicated in migraine. The hormone is also implicated in sugar metabolism, insulin regulation, immunity and inflammation, as well as obesity, which is a risk factor for migraines.

Peterlin and her colleagues looked at total adiponectin levels and two subtypes or fragments of total ADP in circulation in the blood: low molecular weight (LMW)-adiponectin and high molecular weight (HMW)-adiponectin. LMW is composed of small fragments of ADP and it is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, while HMW is made up of larger fragments of ADP and is known to have pro-inflammatory properties. Inflammatory pathways in blood vessels in the head are at work in migraine headache.

The researchers found that in all 20 participants when levels of LMW increased, the severity of pain decreased. When the ratio of HMW to LMW molecules increased, the pain severity increased.

"The blood tests could predict response to treatment," Peterlin says.

At onset of pain -- even before study drug was given -- the researchers could identify who would be a responder to treatment and who would not, as there was a greater ratio of HMW to LMW in those who would be responders as compared to those who were not.

After study treatment changes in adiponectin were also seen. Interestingly, in those patients who reported less pain after receiving study drug to treat the migraine -- whether they got the active migraine medication or a placebo -- researchers were able to see a decrease in total levels of ADP in the blood.

Peterlin says the findings indicate it may be possible to develop a treatment that would reduce levels of ADP or parts of adiponectin such as HMW or LMW adiponectin. She says should ADP prove to be a biomarker for migraine, it could help physicians identify who has migraine and know who is likely to respond to which type of medication. It also may help doctors make better medication choices and try alternate drugs sooner.

The study was supported by a grant from GlaxoSmithKline and from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (K23 10896737).

Other Johns Hopkins researchers who contributed to the study include Linda W. White, C.R.N.P.; Paul D. Dash, M.D.; Edward R. Hammond, M.D., M.P.H.; and Jennifer A. Haythornwaite, Ph.D.

Healing Soul and Spirit with Flower Essences

Posted by Maddalena Frau on May 11, 2013 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

The psychophysiological procedure utilized to study the emotional reactivity of the body is called stress profiling.

Looking for correlates to emotions extends throughout the history of psychophysiology (Lacey & Lacey, 1958; Lader & Mathews, 1968 ; Malmo & Shagass, 1949), with the hope that we would be able to objectively determine the individual's emotional state without having to rely upon self report.

And as investigations moved into applied clinical research, the questions were directed more at can we identify those individuals who are at risk for a particular disorder.

For excellent reviews on these topics, see Haynes (1980) and Schwartz (1987). In this article, I will briefly review and explore some of the traditional conceptualizations for stress profiling, while introducing and demonstrating a unique perspective which reaches back to ancient Vedic writings.

On a purely mind-body level, a key attribute of muscles is that of emotional display. In addition we can conceptualize emotions as muscle activation patterns which lie at the foundation of intentional movement (e-motion).

When the muscle activation associated with emotions occurs, more energy is sent out into the neuromuscular system, taking up the "slack" in the system and increasing the tonic or resting level.

This emotional bracing (Jacobson, 1932; Whatmore, 1974) or increased tonus also effects the quality of movement. Professional athletes certainly know how emotional arousal can "unintentionally" alter their levels of exertion and change the timing associated with coordinated movement.

In addition, it is not uncommon for patients to react to stressful events in a "stereotypic" fashion. Individual Response Stereotypy (Engel, 1960) is the tendency for an individual to respond to a variety of stressors with a similar physiologic response.

This tendency was first noted in the early 60's, where some individuals were observed to always respond to a stressful event by, say, speeding up their heart rate or by tensing their shoulder muscles.

Within the neuromuscular system, emotional arousal and associated stereotypy have been studied for the facial muscles (Ekman & Frissen, 1972), the postural muscles (Goldstien, 1972) and the muscle spindle (McNutty, et al, 1974).

So, where do we search for these stereotypic patterns? We can look for signs of autonomic arousal through recordings from hand temperature and electrodermal activity (EDA). Recordings from the wide frontalis placement is very popular since is provides an excellent barometer of the negative emotional displays found on the upper face.

Or a simple visual observations of depressed patients usually indicates stooped shoulders and fallen chest, while the anxious patient may have their shoulders markedly elevated as if to protect their neck. Whatmore (Whatmore & Ellis, 1959; Whatmore and Kohli, 1962) has validated these phenomena using sEMG recordings.

Reactivity in the trunk muscles may show a high level of specificity. Cram (1997) has presented a case example of sEMG recordings from the right and left trapezius muscle groups using the cervical trapezius placement on a patient who had injured their right upper quarter during a fall down some stairs resulting in headache and right upper quarter pain.

For this patient, it was only the right cervical trapezius lead which responded to the stressor, followed by a very poor recovery pattern (return to baseline).

The uninjured left aspect show only a small, insignificant response. Flor et al (Flor, et al, 1985) have also demonstrated the specific effects of emotions on the muscles of the low back. In their study of the right and left aspect of the erector spinae muscles were studied in a group of low back patients, a group of general pain patients (i.e., pain other than low back) and a group of healthy controls.

Each group was presented with various types of stressors.

The findings of their study clearly demonstrated that only the low back pain patients experienced an emotional response (activation pattern), primarily in the left erector spinae muscle set and only during stressors relevant to the patient's condition.

Thus, the literature on stress profiling demonstrates that predictable patterns of reactivity may be seen at traditional sites for emotional display, sites of injury or sites of reported of pain. While these perspectives have provided us with a wealth of information, they are limited by their pure psychophysiologic basis.

Stress Profiling, Flower Essences
and A Matter Of Heart

In a recent study on stress profiling, I was asked to investigate whether or not a Flower Essence could attenuate the stress response.

The particular essence which was to be studied, The Five Flower Formula (Flower Essence Services) was first developed by Dr. Edward Bach in the 1930's and later refined by Julian and Martine Barnard for the treatment of physical trauma, emergencies and crisis situations.

According to a long history of anecdotal case reports on its effectiveness, it seemed a likely candidate to influence the stress response system in some way. Yet no studies on the mechanisms of action of the flower essence had been performed to date.

If one is to study the effects of a subtle energy such as a flower essence, it might be necessary to embrace traditional recording sites, yet broaden the conceptual framework of stress profiling to include the possible metaphysical influences of flower essences.

Thus, rather than routinely sticking to sEMG recording sites of the frontal, neck, shoulder or forearm, it was decided to study the biological energy at multiple sites along the human spine. These sites reflected the location of the chakras, while simultaneously recording from some of the more traditional sEMG placement sites.

Two previous studies have demonstrated the sensitivity of sEMG recordings at these chakra sites while studying the subtle influences of procedures such as Therapeutic Touch (Wirth and Cram, 1994) and Distant Prayer (Wirth and Cram, 1993).

The chakras sites have specific locations in the human body, and are where the flow of pranic energy is purported to be the greatest. In addition, each of the chakras has its own psychophysical and metaphysical attributes. The sites which were studied may be described below in both traditional and metaphysical ways:

Site Location

Psychophysiological Meaning

Metaphysical (chakra) meaning

Wide Frontal Seat Of Negative Emotions.  3rd Eye: Divine Joy. Also Seat Of Knowledge / Enlightenment.
Mastoid to Mastoid Process

Muscle Tension Of Axis.

Postural: Head Position. 

Medulla Oblongata: The Ego. Also The Entry Point of Prana Which Regulates Breath.
Bilateral C4 Paraspinals

Muscle Tension Of Neck.

Postural: Anti-Gravity Muscles

Throat Chakra: Center of Will. Also Associated With Calmness.
Bilateral T6 Paraspinals

Intrascapular Muscle Tension

Postural: Anti-Gravity Muscles

Heart Chakra: Divine Love.

Also Desires and Attachments.

Bilateral T12 Paraspinals

Muscle Tension at the Thoracic Lumbar Junction.

Postural: Anti-Gravity Muscles

Lumbar Chakra: Firely Self Control, Self Image.
Bilateral L4 Paraspinals

Muscle Tension of the Lumbar Sacral Area.

Postural: Anti-Gravity Muscles

Sacral Chakra: Creativity, Power, Sexuality. 

The procedure of the study followed the "standard of care" for stress profiling. Electrodes were connected to the above sites, along with hand temperature probe and EDA recording electrodes.

A five minute baseline was recorded, followed by a pre-recorded three minute serial arithmetic task (Hartje's Flow Chart), followed by a five minute recovery period.

The only nuance for the study was the administration of either a placebo or the five flower essence approximately five minutes prior to the initiation of the first baseline period.

The analysis of the data was conducted using a standard analysis of variance with repeated measures. Two post hoc analyses were conducted for each site. The first looked at the interaction of period (Baseline - Stress - Recovery) with Time (3 minutes of each period) to determine whether or not there had been a psychophysiological response.

Click here for data charts

The response patterns and their significance is presented for Figures 1 - 8. As can be seen, a significant response pattern is noted for all sites with the exception of the T6 / Heart and L4 paraspinal / Sacral site.

The lack of responsivity for the T6 / Heart chakra site may be attributed to the effects of the flower essence (see below). Figure 9 shows the magnitude of the sEMG response from baseline to the stress period. As can be seen, the mastoid to mastoid / Medulla recording site shows the largest response pattern, nearly three times greater than any other site. Lastly, the influence of the Five Flower Formula Essence is shown for each site in Figures 10 -17. As can be seen, significant effects were noted only for the T6 / Heart and C4 / Throat chakra sites.

So, what can we learn from the observations of this study?

First of all, it appears that the stress response occurs all along the spine, not only at our favorite electrode placement sites, such as the wide frontal placement all together. In fact, had we stuck to the traditional sites, we would have missed the clinical effects of the flower essence. I was very surprised and impressed by the magnitude of the stress response at the mastoid to mastoid / Medulla chakra site.

This site has been pretty well ignored in the stress profiling literature, and currently is not commonly used in clinical practice.

The only other notation for recordings from this site are found in the work by Mark Schwartz at the Mayo Clinic (Schwartz, 1985). He has utilized this site to study headaches for years, and a study by Hudzynski and Lawrence (1988) has validated its clinical utility for assessment purposes.

One could interpret the increased of sEMG activity at this site to represent a locking of the head to the spine at a time of threat so as to minimize damage to this important junction if a struggle were to pursue. From a metaphysical point of view, it might suggest that the Ego was engaged or disengaged as the case might be.

Or from a mechanical point of view, Body Work professionals have known about the importance of the axis / atlas relationships for years.

Chiropractors and physical therapists frequently manipulate this site to alleviate headaches, the Alexander Technique has based the foundation of its work at this site and John Upledger uses it as the basis of cranial sacral therapy.

Perhaps, we in the biofeedback arena should more completely explore the potential of this site for assessment and treatment purposes. Are we missing the possible etiology of headaches because we monitor only from frontalis and trapezius?

Secondly, I was duly impressed by the psychophysiological effects of the flower essence studied.

The flower essence therapy administered just prior to the stress profiling procedure significantly reduced the level of reactivity at the C4 / Throat and T6 / Heart chakras sites. Why did it effect these two sites and not the frontal site or other sites? From a strictly emotional model, the reduction in cervical sEMG might have been predicted, but certainly not the T6 paraspinals. Next, it doesn't make sense to place the effects of a flower essence into a strict mechanical model.

That is unless we begin to think of gravity as the basis of the unified field theory. Perhaps the clinical effects came about because of the homeopathic similarities between the attributes of flower essences and those of the chakras.

According to Kaminski (1995), the five flower essence was specifically designed to "bring about stabilization and calmness (Rock Rose), to "draw one back into present time" (Clematis), to "balance and soothe away impulsiveness and irritability" (Impatiens), to "bring about inner peace and stillness which allows us to ease the contraction felt in the body" (Cherry Plum), and to "help us regain our composure" and "for learning and mastery of our lives" (Star of Bethlehem).

The empirical data clearly suggests that the flower essence works primarily on the centers for calmness (C4/Throat) and love (T6/Heart). It appears to assist us in letting go of our attachments and desires, while promoting a sense of calmness.

Biofeedback practitioners may want to learn more about how to use these adjunctive tools may assist their patients in mastering the stress in their lives.

To conclude, psychophysiology provides a viable tool by which to investigate subtle energies, especially when guided by the metaphysical wisdom of the ages. This represents a blending of the old and new, East and West. For what is the basis of science but to describe what is all ready known with the latest tools of our culture.

Jeffrey R. Cram, Ph.D. (1949-2005)

The sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)

Posted by Maddalena Frau on May 11, 2013 at 4:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Nelumbo nucifera, known by a number of names including Indian lotus, sacred lotus, bean of India, or simply lotus, is one of two species of aquatic plant in the family Nelumbonaceae.

The Linnaean binomial Nelumbo nucifera (Gaertn.) is the currently recognized name for this species, which has been classified under the former names, Nelumbium speciosum (Willd.) and Nymphaea nelumbo, among others. Names other than Nelumbo nucifera (Gaertn.) are obsolete synonyms and should not be used in current works.

This plant is an aquatic perennial. Under favorable circumstances its seeds may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China.

A common misconception is referring to the lotus as a water lily (Nymphaea), an entirely different plant, as can be seen in the center of the flowers, which lack the structure that goes on to form the distinctive circular seed pod in the Nelumbo nucifera.

Native to Tropical Asian nations and Queensland, Australia, it is commonly cultivated in water gardens. It is also the national flower of India and Vietnam.

The distinctive dried seed heads, which resemble the spouts of watering cans, are widely sold throughout the world for decorative purposes and for dried flower arranging.

The flowers, seeds, young leaves, and "roots" (rhizomes) are all edible.

In Asia, the petals are sometimes used for garnish, while the large leaves are used as a wrap for food, not frequently eaten (for example, as a wrapper for zongzi).

In Korea, the leaves and petals are used as a tisane. Yeonkkotcha (연꽃차) is made with dried petals of white lotus and yeonipcha (연잎차) is made with the leaves. Young lotus stems are used as a salad ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine.

The rhizome (called ǒu () in pinyin Chinese, ngau in Cantonese, kamal kakri in Hindi, renkon (レンコン, 蓮根 in Japanese), yeongeun (연근 in Korean) is used as a vegetable in soups, deep-fried, stir-fried, and braised dishes and the roots are also used in traditional Asian herbal medicine.

Petals, leaves, and rhizome can also all be eaten raw, but there is a risk of parasite transmission (e.g., Fasciolopsis buski): it is therefore recommended that they be cooked before eating.

Lotus rootlets are often pickled with rice vinegar, sugar, chili and/or garlic. It has a crunchy texture with sweet-tangy flavours.

In Asian cuisine, it is popular with salad, prawns, sesame oil and/or coriander leaves. Lotus roots have been found to be rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, copper, and manganese, while very low in saturated fat.

The stamens can be dried and made into a fragrant herbal tea called liánhuā cha (蓮花) in Chinese, or (particularly in Vietnam) used to impart a scent to tea leaves.

This Vietnamese lotus tea is called trà sen, chè sen, or chè ướp sen. The lotus seeds or nuts (called liánzĭ, 蓮子; or xiān liánzĭ, 鲜莲子, in Chinese) are quite versatile, and can be eaten raw or dried and popped like popcorn, phool makhana.

They can also be boiled until soft and made into a paste, or boiled with dried longans and rock sugar to make a tong sui (sweet soup).

Combined with sugar, lotus seed paste becomes one of the most common ingredients used in pastries such as mooncakes, daifuku, and rice flour pudding.

In Vietnam, the bitter tasting germs of the lotus seeds are also made into a tisane (trà tim sen).

A unique fabric from the lotus plant fibers is produced only at Inle lake, Union of Myanmar and is used for weaving special robes for Buddha images called kya thingahn (lotus robe).

Cultural significance

From ancient times the lotus has been a divine symbol in Asian traditions representing the virtues of sexual purity and non-attachment.

Hindus revere it with the divinities Vishnu and Lakshmi often portrayed on a pink lotus in iconography. In the representation of Vishnu as Padmanabha (Lotus navel), a lotus issues from his navel with Brahma on it. Goddess Sarasvati is portrayed on a white-colored lotus.

Often used as an example of divine beauty, Vishnu is often described as the 'Lotus-Eyed One'. Its unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul. The growth of its pure beauty from the mud of its origin holds a benign spiritual promise. In Hindu iconography, other deities, like Ganga and Ganesha are often depicted with lotus flowers as their seats.

The lotus plant is cited extensively within Puranic and Vedic literature, for example:

One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus is untouched by water.
—Bhagavad Gita 5.10:

In Chinese culture Confucian scholar Zhou Dunyi wrote:

I love the lotus because while growing from mud, it is unstained.

Chinese: 予独爱莲之出淤泥而不染。

Most deities of Asian religions are depicted as seated on a lotus flower.

In Buddhist symbolism, the lotus represents purity of the body, speech, and mind as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire.

According to legend, Gautama Buddha was born with the ability to walk, and lotus flowers bloomed everywhere he stepped.

In the classical written and oral literature of many Asian cultures the lotus is present in figurative form, representing elegance, beauty, perfection, purity and grace, being often used in poems and songs as an allegory for ideal feminine attributes. In Sanskrit the word lotus (padma पद्म) has many synonyms.

Since the lotus thrives in water, ja (denoting birth) is added to synonyms of water to derive some synonyms for the lotus, like ambuja (ambu= water + ja=born of), neeraj (neera=water + ja= born of), pankaj, pankaja, kamal, kamala, kunala, aravind, arvind, nalin,nalini and saroja and names derived from the lotus, like padmavati (possessing lotuses) or padmini (full of lotuses).

These names and derived versions are often used to name girls, and to a lesser extent boys, in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, as well as in many other countries influenced by Indic culture, like Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and Laos.

Drawing in turn on these beliefs, the international Bahá'í community adopted this symbolism in the design of the Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India.

Other uses

Fruit of Nelumbo nucifera; the dried seed cup is commonly used in flower arrangements.
  • The Padma Shri, a civilian award given by the Government of India, has the words Padma ("lotus") and Sri in Devanagari script appear above and below a lotus flower on its obverse.
  • The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a nationalist political party of India which claims to be at the forefront of India's cultural nationalism, uses the lotus as its election symbol.
  • Lotus Flower, a song by Radiohead on their 2011 album, The King of Limbs.
  • Japanese rock musician Miyavi uses the lotus and a crescent moon with the kanji of his name (meaning 'elegance') above, as his insignia.
  • Moriyama City's prefectural flower is the lotus.
  • Vietnam Airlines's logo comprises a golden lotus and is also mentioned in their frequent flyer program, the Golden Lotus Plus.
  • Lotus is burned in a powdered form as ceremonial incense, primarily in Buddhist temples.
  • Lotus is an Ayyavazhi symbol in south Tamil Nadu.
  • Dark Lotus
  • Lotus Flower Bomb, a song by Wale on his 2011 album, Ambition.
  • Flying Lotus, an experimental music producer, musician, and rapper.


Posted by Maddalena Frau on May 10, 2013 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)


The scientific definition of monoatomic gold

Monoatomic Gold is the non-metallic, non-toxic zero-valence form of Gold. Monoatomic Gold is a high temperature superconductor.

It can be manufactured alchemically out of 24carat metallic gold. It also occurs naturally in volcanic soils, seawater and in minute amounts in the purple or violet skins of fruits and vegetables and some medicinal plants such as red grapes, eggplant and violets.

In recent years, some researchers have erroneously equated monoatomic gold with the Philosopher’s stone, which it definitely is not: Monoatomic gold was known and used in the Pharmacopoeia of Western Medieval Alchemy as ‘the retrograded calx of Gold that cannot be revivified’ [meaning it cannot be returned to the metallic state by conventional metallurgical processes.

Monoatomic Gold is known and used in Ayurveda as a bhasma of Gold that passes the test of apunarbhavatva or ‘test of non-revivability’.

Monoatomic Gold is not known to contemporary Western allopathic medicine and must not be confused with the gold salts that are used in allopathic medicine, which exhibit metal toxicity. Monoatomic gold is not to be confused with colloidal gold either, which retains its metallic nature.

Monoatomic gold can appear in several colors; it is usually known as a white powder, but when treated with oxidizing acids, it becomes a purple powder, and is green in alkaline solutions.
Mono-atomic Gold, also known as Egyptian White Powder Gold, Fruit of the Tree of Life, Etherium Gold Powder, and Star-fire Gold of the Gods, is a mystical and alchemical substance used by the ancient people of Kemet (Egypt) to achieve super states of consciousness and mystical experiences.

Mono-atomic means, "single atom." It is non-metallic and non-toxic zero valence in nature, and can be made from 24 carat gold. Mono-atomic Gold is the result of alchemy, an ancient science practiced and mastered by the ancient people of Kemet (Khem) that dealt with changing base metals into gold.

Alchemy is the forerunner of modern day chemistry (Kemistry). While chemistry is beneficial, it is not alchemy. The youth are being taught chemistry today instead of al-khemistry (alchemy) on purpose.

There is a reason why the American public fool system does not teach American youth metaphysics and ancient arts, crafts, and sciences. Knowledge of metaphysics and the ancient sciences would free the youth before they could ever be trapped in the Matrix.

The people of Kemet (Khem) used to make gold cakes utilizing the white powder gold (Mono-atomic Gold).

These cakes helped the Kemetic people in many of their spiritual rituals and practices.

The spirituality and spiritual concepts and practices of the people of Kemet was so admired by other cultures, i.e. the Hebrews and Sumerians, that many cultures implemented these Kemetic spiritual concepts and practices into their own spiritual practices including the use of Mono-atomic Gold.

Mono-atomic Gold is made by taking 99.98% gold and changing its atomic structure. The end product is a white powder consisting of trillions of single gold atoms, each one literally lighter than the element "air."

Mono-atomic Gold induces and enhances states of euphoria, spiritual bliss, higher awareness (which is desperately needed on the planet); increases and enhances stamina (including sexual stamina), magnifies and sharpen insight, helps develop latent psychic ability, and produces cell realignment after usage.

The substance allows subconsciously held beliefs, worries, concerns, and doubts to surface sequentially so they can be understood, over-stood, and inner-stood.

Each issue (recorded in the chakras over the years and past lives) is brought to light one at a time so full attention can be given the issue for purposes of resolution and karmic cleansing.

Mono-atomic Gold neutralizes all negativity held in the cells as well as protecting the cells from disease.

The substance is essential in healing from any and all disease. The healing benefits of Mono-atomic Gold include strengthening the heart, toning and strengthening the pituitary gland and pineal gland, strengthening and revitalizing the thymus gland and thus boosting the immune (defense) system, enhancing the production of red blood cells (in the bone marrow), and causes all of the cells of the body to regenerate, including brain cells which you have been purposely lied to and told that they don't regenerate.

Gold used as - Medicine

In medieval times, gold was often seen as beneficial for the health, in the belief that something that rare and beautiful could not be anything but healthy.

Even some modern esotericists and forms of alternative medicine assign metallic gold a healing power.

Some gold salts do have anti-inflammatory properties and are used as pharmaceuticals in the treatment of arthritis and other similar conditions.

However, only salts and radioisotopes of gold are of pharmacological value, as elemental (metallic) gold is inert to all chemicals it encounters inside the body. In modern times, injectable gold has been proven to help to reduce the pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis and tuberculosis.

Gold alloys are used in restorative dentistry, especially in tooth restorations, such as crowns and permanent bridges.

The gold alloys' slight malleability facilitates the creation of a superior molar mating surface with other teeth and produces results that are generally more satisfactory than those produced by the creation of porcelain crowns.

The use of gold crowns in more prominent teeth such as incisors is favored in some cultures and discouraged in others.

Colloidal gold preparations (suspensions of gold nanoparticles) in water are intensely red-colored, and can be made with tightly controlled particle sizes up to a few tens of nanometers across by reduction of gold chloride with citrate or ascorbate ions.

Colloidal gold is used in research applications in medicine, biology and materials science.

The technique of immunogold labeling exploits the ability of the gold particles to adsorb protein molecules onto their surfaces.

Colloidal gold particles coated with specific antibodies can be used as probes for the presence and position of antigens on the surfaces of cells.

In ultrathin sections of tissues viewed by electron microscopy, the immunogold labels appear as extremely dense round spots at the position of the antigen.

Colloidal gold is also the form of gold used as gold paint on ceramics prior to firing.
Gold, or alloys of gold and palladium, are applied as conductive coating to biological specimens and other non-conducting materials such as plastics and glass to be viewed in a scanning electron microscope.

The coating, which is usually applied by sputtering with an argon plasma, has a triple role in this application. Gold's very high electrical conductivity drains electrical charge to earth, and its very high density provides stopping power for electrons in the electron beam, helping to limit the depth to which the electron beam penetrates the specimen.

This improves definition of the position and topography of the specimen surface and increases the spatial resolution of the image.

Gold also produces a high output of secondary electrons when irradiated by an electron beam, and these low-energy electrons are the most commonly used signal source used in the scanning electron microscope.
The isotope gold-198, (half-life 2.7 days) is used in some cancer treatments and for treating other diseases.

Horned melon or kiwano

Posted by Maddalena Frau on April 30, 2013 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Horned melon or kiwano, also called African horned cucumber or melon, jelly melon, hedged gourd, or melano, is an annual vine in the cucumber and melon family. It is considered to be the ancestor of the other cultivated melons. Often known by its nickname in the southeastern United States, blowfish fruit, it is grown for its fruit, which look like oval melons with horn-like spines. The fruit of this plant is edible, but it is used as often for decoration as for food. When ripe, it has a yellow-orange skin and a lime green, jelly-like flesh with a tart taste, and texture similar to a cucumber. The horned melon is native to Africa, and it is now grown in California, Chile, Australia and New Zealand, as well.

In Zimbabwe, this cucumber is called gaka or gakachika, and it is primarily used as a fruit-snack, salad, and, rarely, for decoration. It is eaten young, mature green, or when ripe - bright yellow/orange (i.e., at any stage of its development). It grows naturally in the fields and also in the bush. However, some people leave some to rot in the fields for the next summer's seeds/plants. Its taste has been compared to a combination of cucumber and zucchini. or a combination of banana, cucumber and lemon.

Some eat the peel, as well. The fibrous structure and protein composition of the peel provides for a taste and texture similar to the plantain family. One variety does not have horns, but looks and tastes similar. The seeds are covered in a gel-like substance.

The skin is very rich in vitamin C and fiber. A small amount of salt or sugar can increase the flavor. The fruit can be used in cooking, but when eaten raw, most suck out the pulp and spit out the seeds, although eating the skin and/or the seeds is also known.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Cucumis
Species: C. metuliferus
Horned Melon, raw

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 183 kJ (44 kcal)
Carbohydrates 7.56 g
Fat 1.26 g
Protein 1.78 g
Water 88.97 g
Vitamin A equiv. 7 μg (1%)
- beta-carotene 88 μg (1%)
Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.025 mg (2%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.015 mg (1%)
Niacin (vit. B3) 0.565 mg (4%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.183 mg (4%)
Vitamin B6 0.063 mg (5%)
Folate (vit. B9) 3 μg (1%)
Vitamin C 5.3 mg (6%)
Calcium 13 mg (1%)
Iron 1.13 mg (9%)
Magnesium 40 mg (11%)
Manganese 0.039 mg (2%)
Phosphorus 37 mg (5%)
Potassium 123 mg (3%)
Sodium 2 mg (0%)
Zinc 0.48 mg (5%)

A traditional food plant in Africa, this fruit has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.

Along with the Gemsbok cucumber, it is the only source of water during the dry season in the Kalahari desert.

Despite the fruit's colorful appearance, it has not found any significant uses in Western cusine, and has been called "astringent", and the prices "exorbitant".

In terms of chemical makeup it is similar to others in the family Cucurbitaceae.

Horned Melon Nutritional Facts

This cucumber-like melon contains low calories and low carbohydrates. You will find African horned melon in the exotic fruits section of your local supermarket. A ripe kiwano is brighter and tastes sweeter than an unripe one. Hence, you should have a good eye to select ripe melons only. Being a tropical fruit, they get spoiled very soon at low temperatures. So, avoid keeping them in the refrigerator.
Rather store them in room temperature, and they will remain for 1 month and more. For your reference, nutritional values of horned melons are presented below.

The calorie content of horned melon is relatively less, making it an excellent choice for people who are cautious about their daily calorie intake. You will be glad to know that serving 100 g of this melon yields just 25 calories. All these calories come from carbohydrates and fiber, and there are no fats. The best part is, horned melon gives a satiation feeling, and helps dieters in curbing their appetite. So, you can devour this low calorie fruit in between meals, instead of snacking high calorie foods.

Serving a ripe fruit weighing 100 g yields 1 g of dietary fiber and 1 g of protein. The total carbohydrate content in the same serving amount is 3 g, which is comparatively lower than other starchy melons. What's more, studies state that 100 g of this fruit is sufficient to provide 40 percent of the daily vitamin C requirement according to the 2000 calorie diet plan. This banana and lemon flavored melon is a rich source of vitamin A, iron and calcium.

Thus, besides the low calorie tag, horned melon is good for providing dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. The good point for consuming this fruit is, absence of sodium, saturated fats and cholesterol. Despite the horned melon nutrition and its yearlong availability, many people feel hesitant to add it in the daily diet. The reasons may be because of the spikes and presence of large seeds throughout the flesh. These seeds are edible and there is no need to remove them. Remember that ingesting melon seeds is a simple approach to reap the nutritional benefits of iron.

The health benefits of the kiwano are in the nutrients it contains.

These nutrients are made up of good levels of vitamin C, iron and potassium. It also has smaller amounts of phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, calcium, copper and sodium. The seeds contain linoleic and oleic acid. Linoleic is an omega fatty acid which is required for human health while oleic acid is thought to help with the lowering of blood pressure.

There are two antioxidants which have been identified in the melon seeds and these are y-tocopherol and a- tocopherol. Both are organic types of vitamin E which have many health benefits. These types of health benefits of the kiwano means that many parts of the body benefit from, such as the red bloods cells, skin, muscles, nerves and heart. Vitamin E works in the body by helping to neutralize the damage from free radicals which can cause cancer and cardiovascular disease. It has been suggested that Vitamin E may be helpful in reducing the risk of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.


Horn melon can be used in both sweet and savory recipes with or without its seeds. Use in sweet preparations such as ice creams, sorbets, syrups and fruit salads.

To remove the seeds press the interior flesh through a fine mesh sieve. Use the seed free juice to flavor cocktails, smoothies, dressings and sauces.

The hollowed shell makes an excellent and unique serving dish. Its flavor pairs well with melon, passion fruit, banana, coconut, honey and vanilla yogurt or ice cream. Horn melon will keep at room temperature or refrigerated for up to a week or ten days.

Bipolar Disorder

Posted by Maddalena Frau on April 27, 2013 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The "Bottom Line" -- The Main Point of All This

If your depressions are complicated; if you have mood swings, but not "mania", you can still be "bipolar enough" to need a treatment that's more like the treatments we use in more easily recognized Bipolar Disorder. You'll read here about those forms which do not have "mania" to make them stand out or easily recognizable, including Bipolar II. Depression is the main symptom, including especially sleeping too much, extreme fatigue, and lack of motivation. What makes bipolar depression different is the presence of something else as well

But that "something else" often does not look anything like mania. "Hypomania", which you'll learn about here, can show up as huge sleep changes, irritability, agitation/anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.

And finally, some people can have some bipolarity without any hypomania at all.

What happened to "manic-depressive" (now bipolar I)?

Somewhere along the way you probably learned about manic-depressive illness: episodes of mania, and episodes of severe depression. Here are the symptoms of "mania"

  • Mood much better than normal
  • Rapid speech
  • Little need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts, trouble concentrating
  • Continuous high energy
  • Overconfidence
  • Delusions (often grandiose, but including paranoid)

What happened to "manic-depressive"?

As our understanding of bipolar disorder has grown, the naming system has changed as well. Recently the concept of a "mixed state" of bipolar disorder, in which manic symptoms and depressive symptoms are found at the same time, was added. Obviously this changes the understanding of manic-depressive illness from one in which the two mood states alternate, to one in which they can co-occur! Things are getting more complicated.

Psychiatry has a diagnostic "rule book" that lists the symptoms people must have in order to meet the definition of a particular "disorder", called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. The most recent edition came out in 1994, the "DSM-IV". "Bipolar II" was added in this edition, although it was first described as a pattern of mood change long before that. Technically Bipolar II describes a pattern in which patients experience "hypomania" (to be discussed in detail below), alternating with episodes of severe depression.

However, one of the most experienced professionals in this field, who has bipolar disorder herself, has criticized even this advance as too limited:

    "The clinical reality of manic-depressive illness is far more lethal and infinitely more complex than the current psychiatric nomenclature, bipolar disorder, would suggest. Cycles of fluctuating moods and energy levels serve as a background to constantly changing thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. The illness encompasses the extremes of human experience. Thinking can range from florid psychosis, or "madness," to patterns of unusually clear, fast and creative associations, to retardation so profound that no meaningful mental activity can occur. Behavior can be frenzied, expansive, bizarre, and seductive, or it can be seclusive, sluggish, and dangerously suicidal. Moods may swing erratically between euphoria and despair or irritability and desperation. The rapid oscillations and combinations of such extremes result in an intricately textured clinical picture." (Kay Jamison, Ph.D.)

 Everything you will read below can be found in a recent review by two mood experts, except that their version is written in full medical jargon. 

Even the International Society for Bipolar Disorders has advocated a change in diagnostic procedure, moving beyond the DSM-IV, using what we've learned since 1994 in the diagnostic process (Ghaemi and colleagues; if you look closely you'll see that my name is on the list of co-authors: I was honored to be invited to participate and write for this 2008 update on bipolar diagnosis guidelines). Their recommendations are very consistent with what you'll read below. 

What is the official definition of Bipolar II?


Technically, this is literally a "little" mania — the familiar symptoms but less so:

  • Mood much better than normal
  • Rapid speech
  • Little need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts, trouble concentrating
  • Continuous high energy
  • Overconfidence

You may have noticed that "delusions" have disappeared from the list: these are by definition not found in Bipolar II. A patient who has had the above symptoms repeatedly, without having delusions, is much less likely to ever lose contact with reality (including weird experiences like auditory hallucinations, which are common in bipolar mania) than a patient who has experienced delusions.

"Bipolar II" is technically the combination of hypomanic phases with separate phases of severe depression If the depressive phases are only mild, the term "cyclothymia" is used. Getting confused? I certainly was, until I began to think of these variations as points on a continuous spectrum. I hope the following discussion will impress you as simpler.

What is the "mood spectrum?" (references updated 4/2008)

Until very recently, depression and "manic-depressive illness" were understood as completely independent: a patient either had one or the other. Now the two are seen by many mood specialists  as two extremes on a continuum, with variations found at all points in between, as in the graph below (e.g. Ghaemi; Pies; Moller; Birmaher; Skeppar; Mackinnon; Angst and Cassano; Akiskal to name just a few important articles since 2001; and finally, my ISBD review in 2008):

On the left, the "unipolar" extreme represents straightforward depression with no complications. There are many forms of depression, of course. For an overview, see the appendix: "What kinds of depression are there?". The depressions discussed further below are of a more genetic, or "chemical" nature; versus those of a more situational type, like losing a loved one. Situational depressions may respond well to time or therapy and not require "bipolar" thinking.

On the right, the "manic-depressive" extreme is defined by the presence of manic episodes, just the kind that most people have seen or heard of: full delusional mania. But in between these extremes is a large area which some mood experts think includes more people than either extreme. In other words, it might be the most common form of bipolar disorder, this middle group.

Consider the following points A and B on this spectrum:

Point A on the continuum describes people who have a complex depression but who still respond well to antidepressant medication or psychotherapy.

Around point B, however, there is some sort of threshold where these approaches are no longer completely or continuously effective: either they don’t work at all, offer only partial relief, or help for a while then "stop working" (which may account for some or much of "Prozac poop-out", now regarded as a "soft sign" of bipolar disorder, described below).  

Until 1994 and the publication of the DSM-IV, there was no official name for all the variations between B and the "manic-depressive" extreme.

It was as though these variations did not exist. In the minds of a few, they still don’t, including some psychiatrists who have not adopted this new "spectrum" way of thinking about diagnosis.

The DSM-IV itself does not describe this "spectrum" concept. In it, the entire span between blue and green is still "Major Depression", the same as the violet end to your left. Only the orange and red zones are clearly "bipolar".

Light green and yellow is BP NOS, Bipolar Not Otherwise Specified. That diagnosis means you have something that looks like bipolar disorder but does not meet the criteria for BP II or BP I. Isn't it simpler just to think of it as a continuum? That is much closer to reality. We see all sorts of variations in between these named points on the graph above. 

What do "bipolar variations" look like?

Warning: The following represents my clinical experience taking referrals from primary care physicians. Most patients I see have been on 3 or more antidepressants before I see them. This selects very directly for "bipolar spectrum" patients. However, note that none of these descriptions are found in the DSM, nor are they widely spoken of by mood experts. This is my personal formulation based on almost 15 years of full-time selection for such patients.

Roller coaster depression

Many people have forms of depression in which their symptoms vary a lot with time: "crash" into depression, then up into doing fine for a while, then "crash" again — sometimes for a reason, but often for no clear reason at all.

They feel like they are on some sort of mood "roller coaster". They wonder if they have "manic-depression".

But, most people know someone or have heard of someone who had a "manic" episode: decreased need for sleep, high energy, risky behaviors, or even grandiose delusions (‘I can make millions with my ideas"; "I have a mission in space"; "I’m a special representative for God"). So they think "well, I can’t have that — I’ve never had a manic episode".

However, the new view of bipolar disorder means it’s time to reconsider that conclusion.

Hypomania doesn’t look or feel at all like full delusional mania in some patients.

Sometimes there is just a clear sense of something cyclic going on. Some mood disorder experts consider depression that occurs repeatedly to have a high likelihood of having a manic phase at some pointFawcett, especially if the first depression occurred before age twenty.Geller, Rao These two features--repeated recurrence, and early onset--are also included among the bipolar "soft signs" below:  not enough to make a diagnosis, but suggestive, especially if they occur with several other such signs, even if "hypomania" is not detectable at all.Ghaemi 

Depression with profound anxiety

Many people live with anxiety so severe, their depression is not the main problem. They seem to handle the periods of low energy, as miserable as they are.

Often they sleep for 10, 12, even 14 hours a day during those times. But the part they can’t handle is the anxiety: it isn’t "good energy".

Many say they feel as though they just have too much energy pent up inside their bodies.

They can’t sit still. They pace. And worst of all, their minds "race" with thoughts that go over and over the same thing to no purpose.

Or they fly from one idea to the next so fast their thoughts become "unglued", and they can’t think their way from A to C let alone A to Z. 

When this is severe, people who enjoy books can find themselves completely unable to read: they just go over and over the same paragraph and it doesn’t "sink in". They will get some negative idea in their head and go around and around with it until it completely dominates their experience of the world. Usually these "high negative energy" phases come along with severely disturbed sleep (see Depression with Severe Insomnia, below). Thoughts about suicide are extremely common and the risk may be high.Fawcett(b)

Depressive episodes with irritable episodes

Many people with depression go through phases in which even they can recognize that their anger is completely out of proportion to the circumstance that started it. They "blow up" over something trivial. Those close to them are very well aware of the problem, of course. Many women can experience this as part of "PMS". As their mood problems become more severe, they find themselves having this kind of irritability during more and more of their cycle. Similarly, when they get better with treatment, often the premenstrual symptoms are the "last to go". Others can have this kind of cyclic irritability without any relationship to hormonal cycles. Many men with bipolar variations say they have problems with anger or rage.

Depression that doesn’t respond to antidepressants (or gets worse, or "poops out")

Many people have repeated episodes of depression. Sometimes the first several episodes respond fairly well to antidepressant medication, but after a while the medications seem to "stop working". For others, no antidepressant ever seems to work. And others find that some antidepressants seem to make them feel terrible:  not just mild side effects, but severe reactions, especially severe agitation. These people feel like they’re "going crazy". Usually at this time they also have very poor sleep. Many people have the odd experience of feeling the depression actually improve with antidepressants, yet overall —perhaps even months later —they somehow feel worse overall.  In most cases this "worse" is due to agitation, irritability, and insomnia. 

In some cases, an antidepressant works extremely well at first, then "poops out".Byrne  The benefits usually last several weeks, often months, and occasionally even years before this occurs.  When this occurs repeatedly with different antidepressants, that may mark a "bipolar" disorder even when little else suggests the diagnosis.Sharma

Depression with periods of severe insomnia

Finally, there are people with depression whose most noticeable symptom is severe insomnia. These people can go for days with 2-3 hours of sleep per night. Usually they fall asleep without much delay, but wake up 2-4 hours later and the rest of the night, if they get any more sleep at all, is broken into 15-60 minute segments of very restless, almost "waking" sleep. Dreams can be vivid, almost real. They finally get up feeling completely unrested. Note that this is not "decreased need for sleep" (the Bipolar I pattern). These people want desperately to sleep better and are very frustrated.


Unofficial but evidence-based markers of Bipolar Disorder

You have probably figured it out by now:  making a diagnosis of bipolar disorder can be pretty tricky sometimes!  You're about to read a list of eleven more factors that have been associated with bipolar disorder.  None of these factors "clinches" the diagnosis.  They are suggestive of bipolarity, but not sufficient to establish it.  They are best regarded as markers which suggest considering bipolar disorder as a possible explanation for symptoms.  They are not a scoring system, where you might think "the more I have of these, the more likely it is that I have bipolar disorder."  That way of thinking about these factors has not been tested.  

Here's the list of items which are found with bipolar disorder more often than you would expect by chance alone.  This list is adapted from a landmark article by Drs. Ghaemi and Goodwin and Ko.  (Drs. Goodwin and Ghaemi are among the most respected authorities on bipolar diagnosis in the world. This important article is online https://ww1.cpa-apc.org/Publications/Archives/CJP/2002/march/inReviewCadesDisease.asp).  

  1. The patient has had repeated episodes of major depression (four or more; seasonal shifts in mood are also common).
  2. The first episode of major depression occurred before age 25 (some experts say before age 20, a few before age 18; most likely, the younger you were at the first episode, the more it is that bipolar disorder, not "unipolar", was the basis for that episode).
  3. A first-degree relative (mother/father, brother/sister, daughter/son) has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
  4. When not depressed, mood and energy are a bit higher than average, all the time ("hyperthymic personality").
  5. When depressed, symptoms are "atypical":  extremely low energy and activity; excessive sleep (e.g. more than 10 hours a day); mood is highly reactive to the actions and reactions of others; and (the weakest such sign) appetite is more likely to be increased than decreased.  Some experts think that carbohydrate craving and night eating are variants of this appetite effect. 
  6. Episodes of major depression are brief, e.g. less than 3 months.
  7. The patient has had psychosis (loss of contact with reality) during an episode of depression.
  8. The patient has had severe depression after giving birth to a child ("postpartum depression").
  9. The patient has had hypomania or mania while taking an antidepressant (remember, severe irritability, difficulty sleeping, and agitation may -- but do not always -- qualify for "hypomania").
  10. The patient has had loss of response to an antidepressant (sometimes called "Prozac Poop-out"):  it worked well for a while then the depression symptoms came back, usually within a few months. 
  11. Three or more antidepressants have been tried, and none worked.

There is a very radical idea buried in these 11 items, which we should look at before going on, but you should be aware that this idea is likely be dismissed with a "hmmmph" by many  practicing psychiatrists.  The idea is this:  Dr. Ghaemi and colleagues propose that there might be a version of "bipolar disorder" that does not have any mania at all, not even hypomania.  They call it "bipolar spectrum disorder".  

This is strange, you are saying to yourself.  "I thought bipolar disorder was distinguished from 'unipolar' depression by the presence of some degree of hypomania. Don't you have to have some hypomania in order to be bipolar?  How could it be 'bi' - polar if there is no other pole!?"

But Dr. Ghaemi and colleagues assert that there are versions of depression that end up acting more like bipolar disorder, even though there is no hypomania at all that we can detect (or, as in item #9, only when an antidepressant has been used).   These conditions often do not respond well, in the long run, to antidepressant medications (which "poop out" or actually start making things worse).  They respond better to the medications we routinely rely on in bipolar disorder, the "mood stabilizers" you'll be introduced to in the Treatment section of this website (including several non-medication approaches).  And these patients have other folks in their family with bipolar disorder or something that looks rather more like that (e.g. dramatic "mood swings", even if the person never really gets ill enough to need treatment).  

In Dr. Ghaemi's description, then, there are people whose depression looks so "unipolar" that even a "fine-toothed comb" approach to looking for hypomania will not identify it as part of the "bipolar spectrum".  According to Ghaemi and colleagues, these people should be regarded as "bipolar", in a sense, because of the way they will end up responding to treatment.  In other words, there is something in these people which doesn't look like our old idea of bipolar disorder, or even our newer idea of bipolar disorder (bipolar II, etc.), but will still better describe their future (their prognosis) and the medications that are most likely to help them.  Remember that this is the very purpose of "diagnosis", to describe the likely outcomes with and without treatment, and to identify effective treatments.  So, on that basis, it seems reasonable to include these patients on the "bipolar spectrum", like this: 

The idea that someone can "have" bipolar disorder and yet not have any hypomania at all is not widely understood.  You probably would get blank looks from most psychiatrists if you mention it, and frank disbelief from nearly all primary care doctors, who don't have time to read the literature on the diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  So, if you mention this idea to anyone, be prepared for some serious resistance.  As of 2005  the Harvard-associated Mood Disorder program started using this approach to diagnosis. They call it the Bipolarity Index

Other researchers are also beginning to use the same framework of thought.  For example, one research group just reported that patients with migraine headaches are much more likely to have these bipolar spectrum traits.Oedgaard (Migraines are much more common in patients with unipolar and Bipolar II  than in Bipolar I, interestingly.Fasmer) One recent summary article for primary care doctors, about bipolar disorder, discusses these "soft signs" in considerable detail.Swann The concept of a bipolar "spectrum" is supported by work from a research group calling themselves the Spectrum Project.e.g. Cassano 

Probably better not to raise this issue unless you have to, but if you must, cite the source.  Here's that article link again.Ghaemi   Dr. Ghaemi is the chairman of the committee on diagnosis for the International Society for Bipolar Disorder.  One of his two co-authors is Dr. Frederick Goodwin, who wrote the "bible" of bipolar disorder for our lifetime (Manic-Depressive Illness, with Dr. Kay Jamison).  These are highly respected researchers amongst mood experts.  Dr. Ghaemi emphasizes the need to rely on evidence in all his papers on diagnosis and treatment and is very frequently cited by other authors on this topic .  But he is certainly not the only such voice. If you haven't seen enough references yet, here's another similar recent one, by other international mood experts.Mitchell

Anxious depression could be "bipolar"?!

Warning: leaving DSM-IV territory

The remainder of this "diagnosis" discussion cannot be found in the DSM. I will repeatedly reference mood disorder experts, but many of these views are controversial. You must evaluate for yourself the validity of what follows.

Unfortunately, "hypomania" is quite a mis-naming. There are many patients whose "hypomanic" phases are an extreme and very negative experience. As noted above by Dr. Jamison, mania can be negative as often as it is positive. The "racing thoughts" can have a very negative focus, especially self-criticism. The high energy can be experienced as a severe agitation, to the point where people feel they must pace the floor for hours at a time. Sleep problems can show up as insomnia: an inability to sleep, rather than decreased need.  (If you or a friend or doctor is skeptical about anxiety as a "bipolar" symptom, try that link for more details and references.)  

Most of these people come to treatment with a combination of agitation, anxiety and self-criticism — and they can’t sleep well. Is this "anxiety?" Is this some mood variation? How could you tell the difference? Is there a difference? What is really going on chemically? Unfortunately, this is still almost completely unknown. See the appendix "What’s the latest on why?", which I will try to keep updated frequently, for the latest research about the cause of this illness.

Again, my opinion: you can’t easily distinguish "anxious depression" from bipolar II in a mixed state. I doubt that there is a distinction to be made, ultimately (when we know, hopefully someday relatively soon, what the chemical basis for anxiety with depression really is). For example there is nearly complete overlap between Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Bipolar II.

For now, the only way to tell is by how treatment turns out. Depression that is not bipolar can get better and stay better: with time, or counseling, or formal psychotherapy, or antidepressants. If you get better — great! If you don’t, you may need this new understanding of mood disorders in order to consider mood stabilizers medications, discussed in detail below, as an option.

Meanwhile, at least one experienced mood researcher warns that anxiety in someone who is depressed is associated with a high suicide risk.Fawcett(b) So although there is diagnostic confusion, there are tremendous stakes involved. Approaching this situation with an open mind seems wise, given this risk.

What does Hypomania actually feel like? 
(revised  3/2010)

It's true that hypomania is a milder version of mania --  just how mild, you'll see in a moment.  Mind you, Bipolar II is not a milder version of Bipolar I, though it is very often described that way, to my utter dismay. 

The suicide rate in Bipolar II is the same or higher than the rate for Bipolar I, for example.Dunner  So the BP II version is definitely not a "mild" illness. The depression phases are as bad as in BP I, and often more common (that is, they occur more frequently and represent a more dominant part of the person's life). 

Nevertheless, hypomania can indeed by subtle, certainly by comparison with full mania, as shown in this graph (from Smith and Ghaemi).  Here are the symptoms which people with clear-cut hypomania actually experience -- and how often.  For example, at the bottom of the graph you see that nearly 100% of people with hypomania will have an increase in their activity. By comparison, optimism is prominent only about 70% of the time in hypomania. 

As you can see, these "symptoms" are not clearly abnormal. Everyone experiences these feelings from time to time. When they are extreme; and when they show up over and over again in cycles of mood/energy change; when they are accompanied by other signs of bipolarity, such as phases of depression; that's when we should think of this as "abnormal", or at least as warranting caution if someone wants to treat those depressed phases with an antidepressant.  

However, hypomania is not always positive.  Just as manic phases can be very negative (so-called "dysphoric mania"),  hypomania also can be very unpleasant. Here is an example of how hypomania can change from a positive experience to a very negative one/

First, the positive phase: 

Increased energy. A extraordinary feeling of happiness with myself and the world. A very loving feeling towards the people I care about. An uncommon ability to get things done. A huge burst of energy from the moment I awaken until I go to bed. An expanded ability to multi-task. An organizational acuity that is second to none. A willingness to engage with people. A desire to spend more time with people I care about--and even those I don't.

Then, the negative phase of hypomania (still pretty subtle): 

I start feeling burned out. While I still have a lot of energy, I don't have that "I love the world" feeling. If I've been playing my Autoharp at my mother's assisted living facility, and jumping up and down to help all the participants turn the pages and stay with me, I suddenly feel that the staff should be more helpful in doing this.

... things don't just slide off my back. While I try not to "snap" back at people, I am not always successful. I am certainly less willing to ignore things that days or weeks earlier wouldn't have bothered me at all.

I become far less happy, joyful, and kind. I dislike being criticized in any which way. 

How short can an episode of hypomania be? 

Officially, the answer is "four days", according to the DSM. But in real life, it's very clear that episodes can be shorter, and that's agreed upon by nearly all mood experts I've ever heard. They might disagree whether we should shorten the required duration in the DSM, as that would "admit" a lot more people into the bipolar camp which is already a controversial issue. But no one really seems to think that a hypomanic episode lasting only 3 days instead of four is anything other than hypomania; it just doesn't "meet criteria", that's all. 

Indeed, a recent studyBauer showed that episodes lasting as little as one day are common. So don't get hung up on length of episodes as an issue if you're trying to figure out if you "have bipolar disorder" or not. Remember, that's the wrong question anyway... Instead, it's "how bipolar are you?" as affirmed in a recent editorial Smith in the British Journal of Psychiatry (one of the biggies...). 

What does bipolar depression actually feel like? 
(added  6/2011)

Theoretically, bipolar depression is exactly the same as "unipolar" or straight Major Depression. Theoretically, you can't distinguish between the two, so you can't tell if someone has bipolar disorder just by looking at their depressions. 

But I think there is a different quality to the depressions that people with bipolar disorder experience, because before they start feeling sad and having difficulty experiencing pleasure from their usual activities, they very often have problems with energy.  To emphasize this I'd just like you to look at this list of symptoms which people with bipolar disorder said they have when they're just starting to get depressed. 

If you think "that's me!", careful: this does not mean you have bipolar depressions. But it might help to see what people with bipolar disorder have said about their experience. I don't hear about these symptoms so much when people have a more purely "unipolar" -- not bipolar -- depression. 



Granted, people in this study also endorsed "loss of interest in activities" and "feeling sad, wanting to cry" but these are her typical symptoms in official "Major Depression". And low energy can also be seen in Major Depression. But look at how prominent it is in this study. I think that might be telling us something about the nature of bipolar depression. Certainly matches what I hear from patients. 

Finally, the original intent of this list was to help people identify symptoms that mark the beginning of another episode of depression. He might find it useful in that respect also.

Diagnosis: Summary

I hope it may now make sense to you to think of mood symptoms as falling on a continuum between plain depression and "depression plus", the far end of which is Bipolar I, with many variations falling in between. 

If you are wondering  whether what you've just read is "mainstream" or "fringe" (that's a good thing to wonder), you'll find the same "spectrum" concept coming from the head of the Harvard Bipolar Clinic, in this 2005 interview: Sachs.  

By contrast, another mood disorder expert has shown that bipolar disorder is overdiagnosed (Zimmerman, 2008; here is a close examination of his findings). He's certainly right, if one sticks to the DSM rules (although his paper also shows a notable underdiagnosis rate as well). And there are quite a few people getting this diagnosis who might be better understood with a different diagnostic framework, like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But in my view, one of the things that can help you figure out what's going on is to learn more about "bipolarity", as you have done here. You are an important part of the diagnostic process. 

Is there a test for bipolar disorder? Can you be sure if you have it or not? 

This used to be simple. When "manic" only meant one thing (classic mania) one could ask "have you ever had a manic episode?" and many people knew what was being asked:

  • Mood much better than normal
  • Rapid speech
  • Little need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts, trouble concentrating
  • Continuous high energy
  • Overconfidence
  • Loss of contact with reality (delusions)

As you now know afresh if you came from elsewhere), this list looks for obvious mania.  It misses all the complexity we have just discussed. What you might be wanting is a "no way!" bipolar test.  Something to provide a clear statement, like: "no, you don’t have it, or anything like it".  Or you might be looking for the opposite: "you definitely have bipolar II".  Sorry, that is not possible, but please read on.  

On other websites you'll find a test called the Mood Disorders Questionnaire (MDQ) which is supposed to give you a "yes or no" answer.   But another test came along after the MDQ which is better suited to looking for subtle versions of bipolar II.  

Think about it:  if by this point on this website you're saying to yourself "that's me!", which some people do, then you really don't need some test to tell you that you should go ahead and consider treatment.  Or that the diagnostic basis for that treatment should include a consideration of bipolar II.  On the other hand, if someone else thinks you might have it, but you don't think you do, is a test result going to make a difference to you?  If so, go ahead and take one of these tests.  

Family or friends could "take the test", answering as if they were you, on the basis of what they've seen you do or heard you say.  And then they could gently wonder out loud if perhaps the test might mean something, who knows, no one can tell for sure, but darn it sure seems like your life is a struggle sometimes, wow, what if there was a tool out there that would make life a bit smoother sometimes, not even necessarily a medication treatment, oh well, just thinking about this, of course you'd want to decide for yourself, not for me to say of course, etc. etc. 

The people who are in a position to benefit from taking one of these diagnostic tests are those who are wondering if a "bipolar" variation might be worth considering to explain their symptoms.  Here's the test I'd recommend for you, called the  Bipolar Spectrum Diagnostic Scale.  It won't give you a yes-or-no answer.  I hope by this point you understand why that's a good thing.  If after all that you still want to use a "fine-toothed comb" to look for hypomanic/manic symptoms, as I sometimes do when people are still wondering about the diagnosis after learning all this, here is a 32-item checklist of such symptoms. 

Thank you for patiently reading all the way to this point.  It's a lot to swallow at once, isn't it?  read more about diagnosis issues in the Diagnosis Details section, or go on to Treatment.