YOUR BODY CAN HEAL ITSELF: Follow My Road Map to Get There



UPDATED:  June 22, 2020

Sometimes I forget how ill I really was. The forgetting is a blessing for sure!

I am revisiting my multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), toxicant induced loss of tolerance (TILT), environmental illness (EI), chronic fatigue (CF), multiple food allergies, irritable bowel, depression, seasonal affected disorder (SAD), stress sensitization and spasmodic dysphonia ‘past diagnoses’ today.  I am often reminded about how severely ill and affected I was by these conditions when I get inquires from all over the world asking for help from those still suffering.

All of the preceding diagnoses (plus more) were given to me in the past. I suffered severely for many years and I now have good health and feel good. I can eat all foods and be safe in previously toxic environments, obviously avoiding those that everyone should where possible. Like all humans, I share their vulnerability to the challenges of microbes, ‘wear and tear’ to body parts and life’s stressors.

On my journey to good health I tried many strategies, always looking for ‘the cure’.  Like many people I read every article about the latest supplement and cures and spent a lot of money on trying them.  From today’s view point it is clear to see that one cannot regain their health by merely supplementing/adding on something; one must start at the very beginning. The holistic health approach to regaining health is a series of natural strategies that help your body and mind to ‘peel back the layers’ of past physical, mental and emotional health challenges to allow healing.


One of the most impactful strategies in my health recovery was a series of herbal baths which I used to detox my body pollution, a major health challenge which most of us have even newborns.

Body Burden:  The Pollution in Newborns 

“Chemicals have replaced bacteria and viruses as the main threat to  health.  The diseases we are beginning to see as the major causes of death in the latter part of (the 1900’s) and into the 21st century are diseases of chemical origin.” 

Dr. Dick Irwin, Toxicologist, Texas A&M University

During my recovery I had tried many detox remedies with minimal results. Through my studies of herbs I learned about the potential detoxification and healing abilities of herbs. I used that information to create a ‘botanical spa therapy’ herbal bath recipe.  My clients have had incredible health improvements, like I have, as a result of taking a series of these baths. I now recommend this as a first step to anyone who asks me for advice.  Whole body detoxification requires a two step detoxification process, stop adding to your body pollution and remove your existing body pollution. You can find the recipe and instructions for botanical spa therapy herbal baths in my book below. Make you botanical spa therapy baths well deserved ‘spa events’, add spa music, an natural scented beeswax candle, and a new book.


Purchase Botanical Spa Therapy

“Search for the cure within the cause,

            the body itself is the best healer”            

Plato C427 -C347 BC

Regaining health requires implementation of a series of  ‘stop, start and change’ strategies. The biggest challenge, in ‘hind sight’ and from the successes of my clients has been knowing ‘what do you stop, start and change‘. That’s where my road map can help you.

As a holistic wellness practitioner I share my variety of holistic strategies with my clients, on my website, in my blog posts and through more detailed guidance in my booke-books and consultations.  The Whole Person Well-being Equation is a holistic ‘how to’ book of easy to follow steps that will guide you to improved health through education, natural strategies, intuition, belief, faith and prayer by promoting body, mind and spirit balance. The easy to read book provides coaching to help you know what you need to stop, start and change to restore your health. Learn how to get to the root cause of your symptoms and eliminate them, so that you can get on with your life and the pursuit of meaningful goals. Join satisfied clients who have used the steps to become symptom free. From one of my readers: “The workbook makes tangible what can be construed as spiritual healing into something that can be followed with your eyes and pencil. This helps in understanding and actually seeing what your body is doing; without only using intangible (potentially spiritual) reflections.” Aamir A., Gatineau, Quebec. More is possible in terms of your health and following the steps in this book will make it possible for you. Get started today on a healthier version of you, you deserve it.

whole person well-being = holistic health 

Ebook Cover New_1-1

The cure for what ails you starts with your personalized ‘stop, start and change’ protocol. Contact me to get you started on your ‘healthier you’. I over a variety of event opportunities and holistic B&B retreats at my location for people who travel from afar seeking health recovery. Regardless of your condition, the first step to recovery is a personalized ‘stop, start and change’ protocol.

The human body comes equipped by the Creator with amazing abilities to heal. Many factors can potentially interfere with these amazing abilities. This is why it is important to determine your ‘stop, start and change’ list. Your body can heal itself with some help and proper navigation – let me help you navigate your well-being journey.

“Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work.The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.”

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, Greek Physician (460BC-377BC)

Health by Design, the name of my web and blog pages reflects how I designed my health using a variety of strategies. These are now all a part of my holistic protocol (how to guide) which you can find in my books and blog posts. Good health is an achievable goal. Your body and mind can heal!

Get started on a healthier you today!

Remember – small changes can have a big impact!
Butterfly effect1

Every person’s mental health equation, including yours, is uniquely different and yet every person’s mental health equation shares common denominators. Do you need help determining yours? Visit my blog post MENTAL HEALTH by DESIGN: How to Edit Your Mental Health Equation for Improved Mental Health


While you implement a ‘stop, start and change’ holistic protocol consider adding natural symptom relief strategies to help you ride your wave of symptoms. Visit My Green Medicine and Makeup Cabinet for my natural strategy favourites.

Many people find it difficult to believe that I once had 85 food allergies, detected by food allergy blood testing. The food and environmental desensitization treatments that helped me to become allergy free were a life saver. Desensitization treatments can help with the elimination of mental symptoms, often a byproduct of food and environmental allergies. Desensitization treatments are now available for self treatment at home. Check with your regular healthcare provider before proceeding. Check out the information at

My goals are now focused on achieving healthy longevity and sharing these strategies with clients, so stay tuned. Neuromuscular biofeedback (applied kinesiology) assessments throughout the years on multiple clients has provided a bounty of useful information to promote healthy longevity. Ongoing research provides additional insights. Please check with your regular healthcare practitioner before implementing any changes.  Do not stop taking your medications or stop your treatments without consulting your regular health practitioner.

Consider escaping to the farmacy, gardens, nature

‘for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual ails’


Escaping to, immersing in and eating from nature

dispenses body, mind and spirit benefits!

Escapes are a way of using distractions as body, mind and spirit therapy and have been one of my ongoing tools for coping with life’s challenging days. There are many mind immersing ‘distraction therapy’ tools available to provide you with temporary escapes from your own, sometimes, challenging reality.  Follow my posts where I share some of my favourites.

From the uplifting, mood boosting high that comes from watching peonies burst into full bloom to the comforting embrace of a tree covered shade providing path, escapes to nature, green spaces and gardens should be a ‘prescribed’ recommendation for everyone, one I suggest to all of my clients.


In my Escape to the Farmacy posts I share my botanical inspirations and where available, the science behind the many easily acquired benefits gained from escapes to  nature, plants, herbs, green and botanically inspired decor and activities like art. I have always been drawn to trails in the woods, and retreat there as often as possible.  Living in Southwestern Ontario, the many deciduous trees drop their leaves in the fall, leaving the trails more open to the much sought after winter, life giving sunlight. When the weather is too uninviting to coax me outdoors, I retreat to the many botanically inspired art and décor projects that provide me with the embrace of nature that I so desperately desire. Join me as I share my botanically driven ‘escapes to the farmacy’ for an enviable dispensing of body, mind and spirit benefits through my blog posts.

Looking for recent blog posts?  You will now find them at

Dealing with cancer or mental health issues?

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner,,

#multiplechemicalsensitivities #MCS #toxicantinducedlossoftolerance #TILT #environmentalillness #EI #chronicfatigue #CF #foodallergies #irritablebowel #depression #spasmodicdysphonia #SAD #bodymindspirit #holistic #mindfullness #wholepersonwellbeing #naturalcures #yourbodycanhealitself #healthbydesign #B&Bretreats #holisticB&Bretreats #womensretreats #escapetothefarmacy

BOTANICAL THERAPY: ‘Grounding Blend’ Herbal Tea

Being told that ‘these are challenging times for all of us’, does little for many, to extinguish fears and concerns. Life can be hard, and although we, like those who fought and endured war times, can do hard times; sometimes we need extra help. There are many mental health supports available which can be accessed through different governments and organizations. Check with your local government and municipality for available resources for support. In Canada help can be assessed here.

The internet and social media provides many recommendations for strategies to help you stay grounded during stressful times. What works for one person, may not work for another. Isolated strategies may also not be enough on their own, but when combined with other strategies, may provide a synergistic impact. A healthy diet, walking, yoga (thanks Jane Fonda for your inspiring videos) and prayer are my ‘go to’ strategies to help me stay grounded. Essential oils have also been a staple in my bag of calming tricks. The grounding blend tea is my #1 back up ‘go to’ when I feel I need grounding. The impact is lasting which I have not found with other strategies to date. Some strategies may not be effective or safe with other strategies, like medications, so consultation with your regular healthcare provider is important before adding in new strategies.

My training in the medicinal properties of herbs has provided me with many health promoting supports during the challenging times in my life. You can read more about these at the blog link posts I list at the end of this post.

Botanical spa therapy, which was the result of much trial and error combining and testing to provide a recipe that promotes whole body detoxification, has had a major impact in helping to restore my health and that of my clients.

My herbal experimenting continues, in part because of my recent move which has provided me with bountiful backyard gardens, and in part, because of my passion for finding natural solutions to help others to cope with life’s daily challenges and unexpected surprises. In my ‘escape to the farmacy’ blog, I share information on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits of botanicals and botanically inspired escapes, experiences, recipes, art and decor. Escaping to, immersing in, being inspired by, and eating from nature brings so many body, mind and spirit benefits!

My grounding blend tea has provided me with the ability to feel calm and grounded in the midst of life’s challenges, and I wanted to share the recipe with others. This recipe is not one that you would serve at tea, it is actually intended as a tea tonic, consumed in small quantities (note the small tea cup). It is not a tea that you drink for the flavour, so feel free to ‘shot glass’ it down and follow with your favourite tea. As with any tonic support, they should be consumed for a short period of time (once a day for about a week) and then you would take a break of at least four days before repeating if necessary. Make sure to check with your regular healthcare provider before adding this grounding blend tea to your grounding strategies plan.

Botanical Therapy Grounding Tea Recipe

Each of the herbs listed in the recipe have been used medicinally for many conditions. Although these were not my first ‘go to’ herbs for my grounding blend, because I went with the historically recommended herbs for calming first (lavender, chamomile, valerian, passion flower, lemon balm), this blend had a surprising calming and grounding impact on me. The synergistic grounding benefit that I have found they provide may be unique to me because of my past stress sensitivity and skewed HPA stress response, but may also help you to stay grounded. I have tried many natural strategies to help me stay grounded and this one by far out weighs others I have tried. Many of the herbs share anti-inflammatory properties, which makes one wonder if that is a root factor in keeping the HPA stress response balanced, keeping one grounded. Each person’s stress response is unique and as such, responds differently to stressors and therapies. Some individual experimenting with quantities and combining may be required to get your best mix. Here is my recipe to get you started. Herbs used are in chopped, dried form. The dandelion root is powdered.

  • 1/2 teaspoon stinging nettle (Urtica dioica).The herb with its many chemical compounds provide many researched health benefits, including anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dandelion leaf and root mix (Taraxacum officinale). Do not use roasted. Not a welcome visitor in the lawn, dandelion has many well researched health properties including , Type 2 diabetes, cancer and for its anti-inflammatory properties
  • 1 teaspoon thyme. Thyme has been researched for its anti-inflammatory, respiratory, neuroprotective and anti-depressant effects.
  • 3/4 of a cup of warm (not hot) filtered water. Steep for 20 minutes and strain into your cup.


Enjoy experimenting with the grounding tea blend!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design,

STRESS IDLING & SENSITIVITY: A Modern Day Health Challenge,

MENTAL HEALTH by DESIGN: How to Edit Your Mental Health Equation for Improved Mental Health,

MY HEALTH RECOVERY: The butterfly effect is the belief that small changes over time can create huge life changes,

YOUR BODY CAN HEAL ITSELF: Follow My Road Map to Get There,

#HPAstressresponse #stress #grounded #anxiety #depression #flightmode #fightorflight #mentalhealthbydesign #healthbydesign #botanicaltherapy #wholepersonwellbeing #medicinalherbs #calmingherbs #escapetothefarmacy

COMFREY (knitbone) Harvest: Evidence of benefit for ankle distortion, back pain, abrasion wounds and osteoarthritis

Herbal harvests provide an opportunity to stock your ‘at home’ apothecary with a variety of plants with healing properties; a first aid preparedness strategy. I originally planted the comfrey to use as a nutrient rich organic fertilizer tea for my garden; harvesting for my herbal apothecary is an added bonus. I will be harvesting the roots as well.

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale L) has been used medicinally for over 2000 years to treat a variety of ailments. Research attests to it’s many healing properties. Comfrey, also known as boneset, knitbone, black wort, wall wort, and slippery root, has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, and has been valued throughout the centuries as an agent that makes bones grow together.

The internal use of unprocessed comfrey is not recommended.

“Randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled trial (published in Phytomedicine 2007;14:2–10) has demonstrated the therapeutic efficacy and safety of a comfrey root extract ointment in the treatment of patients with painful osteoarthritis of the knee. Today, topical preparations of comfrey root extract are clinically proven and licensed in several countries to treat muscle and joint ailments.” 1

Farmers value comfrey as a nutritious fodder for cattle as well as fertilizer.

Enjoy harvest season’s many blessings!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design,



Botanical print image: Photo n. 13745 – common comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
Otto Wilhelm Thomé: Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz (1885) – Permission granted to use under GFDL by Kurt Stueber. Source: Permission is granted to copy, distribute and / or modify this image under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License”.
File size: 78502 bytes – Views: 586

#comfrey #Symphytumofficinale #bontanical #herbalapothecary #apothecary #herbalmedicine #medicinalplants #knitbone #boneset


Fueled by a perceived necessity for some, due to past starvation history, while for others a compulsion prompted by present day pandemic shortages, food preparedness has become a modern day trend allowing for sustainable living.

After planting an extensive organic food garden this year at a new property, after years without space for a garden, the appeal for food preservation re-surged for me. In the past, with a young family and a garden, food harvesting, foraging and canning were a common fall ritual. Presently, canning supply shortages are common in many parts of the country, the result of the resurgence of food preparedness through preservation. This has come after a renewed interest in backyard gardening, prompted by the lockdowns.

My food preparedness ‘fury’ is the result of a combination of a family ‘food deprivation’ history and a need to ‘be prepared’ in terms of having enough healthy food supply available to last till next year’s harvest, just in case, as forecasted, there will be food shortages due to the pandemic. It also gives me a chance to rekindle my ‘hippie ways’ of reaping natures bounty of food and herbs. Practices that I attribute to my health recovery and which I shared with clients as a nutritional consultant over the years to help them with their health challenges.

My ancestors suffered from food deprivation, during, and post WW11. The Dutch famine of 1944-45, known as the ‘Hongerwinter’, in the Netherlands, took place in the German occupied western provinces. Blockades cut off food and fuel shipments from farm towns. An estimated 22,000 people died of starvation, numbers that would have been higher if it had not been for the soup kitchens in urban communities.

As food stores became depleted in the Netherlands, adult food rations, dropped to below 1000 calories a day by the end of November 1944 and to 580 calories in the west by the end of February 1945.

Food grown by my Opa (grandfather) and his family was confiscated by the Nazis. My Oma (grandmother) shared stories of people coming to the door and asking for food during WW11, when she and Opa, and their nine children (including my mother) had barely enough to feed themselves. And yet, my grandmother said, ‘come in’ to those that knocked at the door, and the family shared what sustenance they had. My father spent three years as a forced labourer in a German work camp in Germany during WW11, and told stories of subsisting on boiled cabbage soup. He came back from the war after the liberation by the Americans, a very thin, malnourished man, and would never eat cabbage again.

Operation Manna and Operation Chowhound were humanitarian food drops carried out by Allied bomber crews during WW11 in 1945 to relieve the famine in the German-occupied Netherlands.

According to the New York Times article, The Famine Ended 70 Years Ago, but Dutch Genes Still Bear Scars, published in January 2018;

‘the Dutch Hunger Winter served as an unplanned experiment in human health. Pregnant women, it turns out, were uniquely vulnerable, and the children they gave birth to have been influenced by famine throughout their lives. When they became adults, they ended up a few pounds heavier than average. In middle age, they had higher levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. They also experienced higher rates of such conditions as obesity, diabetes and schizophrenia.’

You can read more about the research study carried out by Dr. L.H. Lumey, an epidemiologist at Columbia University and his colleagues by following the link in the sources of my blog post. Their study suggests that the Dutch Hunger Winter silenced certain genes in unborn children, and that they have stayed quiet ever since, possibly affecting later generations.

Do I feel a need to be prepared and food wise in the midst of the present pandemic, and due to my ancestors food deprivation history? Definitely! My escape to ‘my farmacy’ organic backyard garden, and local farm markets for quality produce, have provided me with an abundant food preparedness resource. The first pictures you see are of my modest storage spaces for canned and dehydrated produce, is a nod to my ancestors efforts to sustain their families through the days, weeks and months of WW11 and after.

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design,

#foodpreservation #organicgardening #foodpreparedness #foodsustainability #escapetothefarmacy #healthbydesign #plantbaseddiet #plantfood

Healthy Escapes: A Mental Health Must Have

Inspired by @stephanieejarvis and the positive and caring team of residents, volunteers and visitors to Chateau de LaLande, as seen in The Chateau Diaries, I opened up my backyard for a ‘healthy escape’ to Chateau Diaries lovers, with a Midsummer Night Dreams theme.

I found the Chateau Diaries during lockdown and was inspired by the positive, respectful and upbeat interaction of the residents, volunteers and visitors as they shared in work projects, meals and adventures; while keeping the focus off of the difficult news, controversies and challenges of the pandemic. The Midsummer Nights Dreams themed event at my ‘healthy escape’, was open to a small number of Chateau Diaries loving family members, who I introduced to The Chateau Diaries during lockdown. The event was planned and decorated by my talented sister Adriana. Her flower crowns and florals were created with a combination of my gardens flowers and greenery, and some store bought pink carnations (there were no roses available locally). Signature cocktails were made of Red Crown organic pomegranate juice and soda stream bubbly water.

The table display was created by my talented sister Adriana using thrifted plates and Eiffel tower, dollar store mini lights and garden florals. The beautiful table cloth was a gift from Adriana for the event.

The porcelain tiered plates DIY project, which Stephanie and Phillip demonstrated in one of their video diaries, were made of locally thrifted plates, and came with some challenges; but produced several tiered plates which were used to display the shared food. Guests took home a tiered plate gift.

Healthy escapes are a ‘must have’ for mental health. Creating a backyard oasis where family and friends could gather to enjoy each others company in a positive and safe manner during lockdown, was important to me. These have been difficult times for everyone. Being mindful of others by being kind and respectful and providing safe, healthy escapes can help those struggling with the challenges of the pandemics or other life challenges.

After dinner we had a delightful game of croquet; laughing, laughing and laughing at our misadventures.

Photographs are courtesy of my brother Bernard and Kevin. My brother was very gracious in allowing my sister’s wish to see him in a flower crown!.

Thank you to Stephanie Jarvis for starting such an incredible positive, kindness ripple that has helped so many to maintain their mental health during the lockdowns and pandemic challenges. Make sure you visit Stephanie’s chateau page and the chateau diaries.

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design,

#chateaudiaries #chateaudelalande #healthbydesign #mentalhealthbydesign #kindness #respect #unconditionallove #empathy

LICORICE ROOT: Research in the treatment of respiratory infections

Licorice root has a long history of use in Chinese medicine. Glycyrrhizin (or glycyrrhizic acid or glycyrrhizinic acid), the chief sweet-tasting constituent of Glycyrrhiza glabra (liquorice) root.has been studied.for use in the treatment of COVID-19 and the associated respiratory syndrome.1 Glycyrrhizin augments natural killer cell activity and
induces interferon production by T cells.5

A ‘must have’ home apothecary stock item, I use the steeped root tea for its varied medicinal properties. Licorice has well-documented antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. 2 “The anti-inflammatory activity of GLR could be useful to alleviate the respiratory distress syndrome associated to the viral infection”.3 “In addition to the antiviral effects of GL reported on hepatitis C, many other viruses that cause human suffering have been successfully treated, including: herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1), the “cold sore” virus; varicella-zoster virus (VZV), the cause of shingles; hepatitis A virus (HAV); hepatitis B virus (HBV); human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), coronavirus; Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), human cytomegalovirus (CMV) and influenza virus”4

Maintaining a well stocked home apothecary of research supported medicinal plants can provide you with supports during life’s health challenges and when other solutions may not be readily available or compatible.

Make sure your source for licorice root comes from a location where air pollution is not a factor. Roasted licorice root may not provide you with the desired medicinal benefits due to roasting. Steep the roots in a small amount of very warm, not boiling water to cover, for 30 minutes. Drink as a tonic (is may not suit your palette) or add a favourite favoured tea. As with all medicinal herbs, use occasionally in moderate quantities and check with your regular healthcare provider and pharmacist to determine any contraindications due to health challenges or medications.

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design,


  1. Pharmacological perspective: glycyrrhizin may be an efficacious therapeutic agent for COVID-19, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health,
  2. Licorice Root: Potent Antiviral, Antimicrobial and Antifungal, Botanical Medicine,
  3. Glycyrrhizin: An alternative drug for the treatment of COVID-19 infection and the associated respiratory syndrome, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health,
  4. Antiviral Activity of Glycyrrhizin against Hepatitis C Virus In Vitro, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health,
  5. Glycyrrhizin, an Active Component of Licorice Roots, Reduces Morbidity and Mortality of Mice Infected with Lethal Doses of Influenza Virus, ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS AND CHEMOTHERAPY, Mar. 1997,

#medicianlherbs #licorice #glycyrrhizin #apothecary #herbs #healthbydesign #respiratoryvirus #antiviral #escapetothefarmacy

LECITHIN: Brain and Brain Chemistry Protection & Support


Lecithin, found in sunflower seeds and other healthy food sources, provides the brain and brain chemistry, protection and support; a ‘must have’ mental health support.

Lecithin is a phospholipid, a compound made of fats and water-soluble chemicals, produced in the human liver and are significant constituents of the central nervous system (CNS), and brain. “The phospholipids, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the most abundant1. DHA and omega-3 are necessary for normal brain development and cognitive function2,3,4,5. A strong link exists between an adequate supply of dietary PUFAs and the sustenance of cognitive health, learning, neural plasticity, synaptogenesis and synaptic transmission” 8,9,10,11

Lecithin is source of choline, an essential nutrient the body needs to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a chemical messenger that communicate between the neurons (nerve cells) throughout your body.

Lecithin helps break down cholesterol in the blood. In a research study, Influence of Soy Lecithin Administration on Hypercholesterolemia; “The results showed significant reduction in the concentration of total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol during the first month, suggesting that the daily administration of lecithin capsules could be used as an adjuvant treatment in hypercholesterolemia, possibly by reducing the intestinal absorption or by the increased secretion of bile acids with high levels of cholesterol and phospholipids.” 13

Lecithin Production

A healthy, properly functioning liver is a prerequisite to healthy lecithin production and brain function. There are many factors that can interfere with the natural production and utilization of lecithin in the body and brain. It is the liver’s job to make toxic substances in the body harmless. These toxic and excess substances may be breakdown products made by the body (ammonia), hormones (including cortisol) or substances that you take in through diet, medications, air pollution, alcohol and personal care products (cosmetics). Toxins can harm any part of the body or brain including the blood brain barrier, your brain’s protection. Loss of or compromised brain function can occur when the liver is unable to remove toxins from the blood. This is called hepatic encephalopathy (HE). This problem may occur suddenly or it may develop slowly over time. 15

In a holistic approach to improving mental health, the liver and detoxification pathways are a necessary starting point for review. Ongoing detoxification through healthy lifestyle and detoxification supports can improve overall liver and detoxification function, which in turn can improve the body’s natural lecithin production, distribution and usage. Anything that challenges the liver and detoxification pathways can compromise the body’s lecithin availability, brain function and mental health. Holistic detoxification requires a two step process; stop adding to your body pollution of potential liver challengers, and detoxify the existing body pollution of toxins. Learn more about body pollution and whole body detoxification methods in my blog posts Body Pollution: Who is Responsible? and MAINTAINING HEALTHY LONGEVITY: Keep Your Liver Happy in the Midst of Toxins, Distress and Happy Hour.

Lecithin Intake

Lecithin occurs naturally in many foods,

  • whole grains
  • wheat germ
  • walnuts
  • sunflower seeds
  • peanuts
  • milk
  • seafood
  • eggs
  • cooked green vegetables, such as Brussel sprouts and broccoli
  • legumes, such as soybeans, kidney beans and black beans
  • organ meats
  • red meat

Lecithin supplements are derived from eggs, soy, sunflower seeds, canola, cottonseed, or animal fats. For improved health, efforts should be made to avoid genetically modified foods and supplements. Soy crops in the US are reported to be 94% genetically modified. Buy organic, Non GMO lecithin supplements when possible, to avoid adding unwanted toxins like pesticides to your body and brain.

Lecithin: Impact on the brain

The research studies to date (some listed below and in the sources section), indicate a positive mental health benefit from ensuring an adequate supply and distribution of lecithin to the brain.

“A positive influence of phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidic acid (PA) supplementation, phospholipids found in soy and sunflower seed lecithin, on memory, mood, and cognition was demonstrated among elderly test subjects.” 14

Research studies show that salmon-derived lecithins, a good source of choline, facilitated the formation and enhanced the complexity of neuronal networks. 12

Omega-3 fatty acids: one 4-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (Bipolar) found marked therapeutic efficacy and no side effects. Dose: 9.6 g of omega-3 fatty acids per day. Benefits: longer period of remission and may inhibit neuronal signal transduction pathways in a manner similar to that of lithium carbonate and valproate. 17

Phosphatidylcholine (PC): large amounts of PC (15 to 30 g q.d. in both pure form and lecithin)—better results for mania than monoamine precursors. 16


Consult with your regular healthcare provider before adding lecithin supplementation. Do not stop taking your prescribed medication.

Elisabeth Hines, C.B.P., C.N.C., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design,



  1. Wurtman R. J. Synapse formation and cognitive brain development: effect of docosahexaenoic acid and other dietary constituents. Metabolis 57 Suppl 2, S6–10, doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2008.07.007 (2008). – DOI – PMC – PubMed
  2. Eilander A., Hundscheid D. C., Osendarp S. J., Transler C. & Zock P. L. Effects of n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on visual and cognitive development throughout childhood: a review of human studies. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 76, 189–203, doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2007.01.003 (2007). – DOI – PubMed
  3. Fotuhi M., Mohassel P. & Yaffe K. Fish consumption, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and risk of cognitive decline or Alzheimer disease: a complex association. Nat Clin Pract Neuro 5, 140–152, doi: 10.1038/ncpneuro1044 (2009). – DOI – PubMed
  4. Darios F. & Davletov B. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids stimulate cell membrane expansion by acting on syntaxin 3. Nature 440, 813–817, doi: 10.1038/nature04598 (2006). – DOI – PubMed
  5. Salem N. Jr, Litman B., Kim H. Y. & Gawrisch K. Mechanisms of action of docosahexaenoic acid in the nervous system. Lipids 36, 945–959, doi: 10.1007/s11745-001-0805-6 (2001). – DOI – PubMed

8. Guesnet P. & Alessandri J.-M. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the developing central nervous system (CNS) – Implications for dietary recommendations. Biochimie 93, 7–12, doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2010.05.005 (2011). – DOI – PubMed

9. Mayes C. et al.. Variation in [U-13C] α Linolenic Acid Absorption, β-oxidation and Conversion to Docosahexaenoic Acid in the Pre-Term Infant Fed a DHA-Enriched Formula. Pediatr Res 59, 271–275, doi: 10.1203/01.pdr.0000196372.29648.7a (2006). – DOI – PubMed

10. He C., Qu X., Cui L., Wang J. & Kang J. X. Improved spatial learning performance of fat-1 mice is associated with enhanced neurogenesis and neuritogenesis by docosahexaenoic acid. PNAS 106, 11370–11375, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0904835106 (2009). – DOI – PMC – PubMed

11. Lafourcade M. Nutritional omega-3 deficiency abolishes endocannabinoid-mediated neuronal functions. Nat Neurosci. 14, 345–350 (2011). – PubMed

12 Natural lecithin promotes neural network complexity and activity, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health,

13 Influence of Soy Lecithin Administration on Hypercholesterolemia, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health,

14 Positive Effects of Soy Lecithin-Derived Phosphatidylserine plus Phosphatidic Acid on Memory, Cognition, Daily Functioning, and Mood in Elderly Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health,

15 Loss of brain function – liver disease, Medline Plus, US National Library of Medicine,

16. Affective disorders: Bipolar (manic) depression and hypomania, Bipolar Depression,

17. Affective disorders: Bipolar (manic) depression and hypomania, Bipolar Depression,

#healthbydesign #mentalhealthbydesign #escapetothefarmacy #depression #bipolar #bodymindspirit #wholepersonwellbeing #sunflowers #sunflowerpower #sunflowerlecithin

MY APOTHECARY RECOMMENDATIONS: Stinging Nettle, a ‘must have’ nutrition and healing powerhouse.

When I am asked which important herbs I recommend to stock in an herbal apothecary, stinging nettle would be at the top of my list. In addition to its powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, the scientifically researched positive health impact of nettles in a variety of health challenges, should make it an essential ‘at home’ apothecary staple. The ultimate goal in my personal health quest and that of my clients is to ‘amplify’ the nutritional and health benefits of each meal, which is why I add greens and herbs like nettles at every opportunity, like my vegan pizza, shown near the end of this post. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is stingingnettleplant.jpg

Urtica dioica, often known as common nettle, stinging nettle or nettle leaf, or just a nettle or stinger, is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the family Urticaceae. Originally native to Europe, much of temperate Asia and western North Africa, it is now found worldwide, including New Zealand and North America. 

“The most recognized health benefit of using stinging nettles is activity against Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), also known as an enlarged prostate, as well as urinary tract infections. Clinical studies suggest that Urtica spp. contain compounds that affect the hormones responsible for BPH. In addition, nettle root extract shows activity against prostate cancer cells. In therapy, nettles are usually used in combination with saw palmetto (Serenoa repens). They are also used as a home remedy for bladder infections.”[1]

“Nettles can help alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis and joint pain, typically in the case of hands, knees, hips and spine” [1] “Another study conducted by Klingelhoefer et al. showed the anti-inflammatory benefits of stinging nettles against other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis” [1] “Recent studies show that nettles possess anti-diabetic properties” [1]

“In addition, because of their anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties, stinging nettles can be used as a natural component in eczema medications. Infusions of the plant can be used for nasal and menstrual hemorrhage, diabetes, anemia, asthma, hair loss and to promote lactation” [1] Nettles grow all over the world, mostly considered a weed and are usually wild harvested. The tiny hairs on the stems and leaves cause a burning sensation and temporary rash when rubbed against the skin, so foraging comes with risks that may be better left to experienced foragers. Nettle possess antimicrobial activity against a variety of microorganisms. The chlorophyll rich fresh leaves contain high concentrations of vitamins A, C, D, E, F, K and P, vitamin B-complexes, large amounts of the metals selenium, zinc, iron and magnesium and lesser amounts of copper, manganese, cobalt, boron, sodium, iodine, chromium and sulphur. It is often used in animal feed due to its potent nutritional benefits. The early season fresh leaves, before the stinging hairs come out, are used in salads. Nettles are used in a variety of recipes, juices and teas. Although you can find many recipes online for using nettles, to retain the maximum benefit of the nutritional and medicinal properties, use them in recipes where they are not excessively over heated, ideally not at all. The dried leaves make a nutritious garnish sprinkled on dishes, like soups, pizzas, casseroles, eggs pesto and dips, just before serving. Make teas with warm not boiled water and steep for 20 minutes. Cool the tea and drink as a healthy iced tea adding honey and lemon if desired. Make a smaller, stronger concentration of tea and add sparkling water and lemon or lime.

The ultimate goal in my personal nutrition and that of my clients is to ‘amplify’ the nutritional and health benefits of each meal, which is why I add greens and herbs like nettles at every opportunity. The picture below of my personal size lunch pizza with sundried tomato pesto, arugula, red onion, basil and dried stinging nettle with vegan cheese. Nettle iced tea provides a refreshing, nutritious beverage. If you are interested in purchasing quality stinging nettle visit this link

The scientifically researched positive health impact of stinging nettles against Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), also known as an enlarged prostate, as well as urinary tract infections, prostate cancer, anemia, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis makes it an essential‘ at home’ apothecary staple herb. 

Enjoy researching and experimenting with stinging nettle, a ‘must have’ nutrition and healing powerhouse.

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design,

Sources:Stinging Nettle Research Papers –

American Botanical Council –

Medicine Net –

One Green Planet, How to Forage for Stinging Nettles –,the%20top%20of%20the%20plant.[1]

Urtica spp.: Ordinary Plants with Extraordinary Properties,

 #benignprostatichyperplasia #BPH #enlargedprostate #urinarytractinfections #prostatecancer #anemia #diabetes #rheumatoidarthritis  #medicinalherbs #botanicals #escapetothefarmacy #healthbydesign

MEDICINAL HERBS: Researched Benefits for Depression and Anxiety


Although conventional drug treatment helps many people suffering from depression, there are many people who do not benefit from these treatments, and others who suffer unwanted side effects.  Please do not stop taking your medications. This is not a post to encourage you to stop using your medications, including anti-depressants. My goal in sharing this information to help those who are not benefiting from their present treatments and are considering other options. If you are considering adding any of the medicinal herbs mentioned in this post, speak to your regular healthcare provider for guidance and supervision as you make the changes to your treatment regime. Not all natural plants are safe and some could interact negatively with prescribed drugs. Do not go out into your garden and use plants that are considered bedding plants as medicinal herbs.

Many, many years ago, I was one of the people suffering from depression who did not benefit from conventional drug treatments. My passion to help match the right symptom relief solutions for each unique client prompts me to continue my research into non-conventional treatments, not only for depression, but other symptoms. What works for one person with anxiety or depression will not necessarily be the right fit for another person with the same symptoms. Before you consider adding herbs to your treatment plan, please read my blog post Mental Health by Design for my holistic mental health recommendations for ‘where to begin’.

A number of studies have researched adjunctive therapeutic approaches to improve outcomes for depression patients. I have summarized some of them below.

Medicinal Herbs Studied:

The fruit of the Nelumbo nucifera (Nelumbinis semen) plant has long been used as a natural tranquilizer in Asian countries. “Nelumbinis Semen reverses a decrease in 5-HT1A receptor binding induced by chronic mild stress, a depression-like symptom”(1)


Carvacrol, the main compound in oregano oil, has been found to induce antidepressant effects that seem to be dependent on an interaction with the dopaminergic brain pathways.(2)  Carvacrol can raise 5-HT and dopamine ranges in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex and influence neuronal activity through modulation of neurotransmitters.(3)


Camellia sinensis (or tea plant) is used to make most traditional caffeinated teas, including black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and green tea. Research results suggest that green tea polyphenols can regulate the HPA axis involved in the pathology of depression.(4)


Crocus sativus, commonly known as saffron crocus, or autumn crocus, improves the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression and improves the Beck Depression Inventory and Beck Anxiety Inventory Scores with rare side effects.(5)


Hypericum perforatum commonly known as St. John’s wort, is used in the treatment of anxiety and depression and can prevent relapse after recovery from acute depression.(6)


Piper methysticum, commonly called kava, improves the Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating Scale with no serious adverse effects and no clinical hepatotoxicity.(7)


Rhodiola rosea showed increased hippocampus 5-HT level-induced proliferation of neural stem cells, repairing the damaged neuronal cells in hippocamps.(8)  Improves overall depression, together with insomnia, emotional instability, and somatization, but not self-esteem with no serious side effects.(9)


Lavandula angustifolia, the well known and loved lavender plant, reduces stress, anxiety, and depression in pregnant women.(10) Lavender Improves the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.(11)


Curcumin: The medicinal properties of turmeric, which is the major source of the polyphenol curcumin, have been known for thousands of years.  Curcumin requires enhancing agents like piperine (found in black pepper) to provide the multiple health benefits. Curcumen restores biochemical and behavioral changes induced by chronic stress, reverses the decreased immobility period and MAO activity induced chronic stress and attenuates the stress-induced hippocampus in mice studies. (12)


Proanthocyanidins are a class of polyphenols found in a variety of plants such as blueberry. They enhance 5-HT levels in hypothalamus, hypothalamus, and the frontal cortex.(13)


Quercetin is a plant pigment (flavonoid). It is found in many plants and foods, such as red wine, onions, green tea, apples, berries, Ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, American elder, and others. Buckwheat tea has a large amount of quercetin. Studies show that Quercetin prevents hyperactivation of the HPA axis, (14), preventing a skewed stress response, like ‘flight mode’.


Resveratrol, is a natural polyphenol has been detected in more than 70 plant species, especially in grapes’ skin and seeds. Resveratrol raises 5-HT, dopamine, and noradrenaline concentrations in the brain and reduces MAO activity.(15)


The previous phytochemicals and medicinal herbs are just a few of the possible natural treatment options for anxiety and depression. Finding the right mix and dosage of these medicinal alternatives requires time and experimenting under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner experienced in their use. Please review the research information and discuss the information with your regular health care provider before adding phytochemicals and medicinal herbs to your treatment regime and before making adjustments to your present treatment plan. Do not stop taking your medication. 

Many phytochemicals can be found in essential oils and are easy to use. Lavender essential oil is one of my favourites and I use it often, applying it to the inside of my wrists and ankles over the Chinese meridian channels, the base of my skull, my toes (reflexology points) and my sternum (this is where I first feel stress). Find out more about phytochemicals in essential oils at my page My Green Medicine Cabinet.


Escapes to nature and other body, mind and spirit experiences promote mental health and overall well-being!

Follow my ‘escape to the farmacy’ adventures here!

Wishing you health, happiness and peace of mind!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design,

Author of The Whole Person Well-being Equation available at

Wishing you many health promoting escapes! Follow some of my escapes at .



Table 1 – Therapeutic Effects of Phytochemicals and Medicinal Herbs on Depression,

Table 2 – Therapeutic Effects of Phytochemicals and Medicinal Herbs on Depression,

1    C.-G. Jang, M. Kang, J.-H. Cho et al., Archives of Pharmacal Research, vol. 27, no. 10, pp. 1065–1072, 2004.

2    F. H. C. Melo, B. A. Moura, D. P. de Sousa et al., “Antidepressant-like effect of carvacrol (5-Isopropyl-2-methylphenol) in mice: involvement of dopaminergic system,” Fundamental and Clinical Pharmacology, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 362–367, 2011.

3    M. Zotti, M. Colaianna, M. G. Morgese et al., “Carvacrol: from ancient flavoring to neuromodulatory agent,” Molecules, vol. 18, no. 6, pp. 6161–6172, 2013.

4    W.-L. Zhu, H.-S. Shi, Y.-M. Wei et al., “Green tea polyphenols produce antidepressant-like effects in adult mice,” Pharmacological Research, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. 74–80, 2012.

5    E. Moshiri, A. A. Basti, A.-A. Noorbala, A.-H. Jamshidi, S. Hesameddin Abbasi, and S. Akhondzadeh, “Crocus sativus L. (petal) in the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial,” Phytomedicine, vol. 13, no. 9-10, pp. 607–611, 2006.

5    S. Akhondzadeh, N. Tahmacebi-Pour, A.-A. Noorbala et al., “Crocus sativus L. in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial,” Phytotherapy Research, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 148–151, 2005.

5    A. Akhondzadeh Basti, E. Moshiri, A.-A. Noorbala, A.-H. Jamshidi, S. H. Abbasi, and S. Akhondzadeh, “Comparison of petal of Crocus sativus L. and fluoxetine in the treatment of depressed outpatients: a pilot double-blind randomized trial,” Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 439–442, 2007.

5    S. Akhondzadeh, H. Fallah-Pour, K. Afkham, A.-H. Jamshidi, and F. Khalighi-Cigaroudi, “Comparison of Crocus sativus L. and imipramine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a pilot double-blind randomized trial [ISRCTN45683816],” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 4, article 12, 2004.

5    A. A. Noorbala, S. Akhondzadeh, N. Tahmacebi-Pour, and A. H. Jamshidi, “Hydro-alcoholic extract of Crocus sativus L. versus fluoxetine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized pilot trial,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 97, no. 2, pp. 281–284, 2005.

6    S. Kasper, H. P. Volz, H. J. Möller, A. Dienel, and M. Kieser, “Continuation and long-term maintenance treatment with Hypericum extract WS® 5570 after recovery from an acute episode of moderate depression—a double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled long-term trial,” European Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 18, no. 11, pp. 803–813, 2008.

7    J. Sarris, D. J. Kavanagh, G. Byrne, K. M. Bone, J. Adams, and G. Deed, “The Kava Anxiety Depression Spectrum Study (KADSS): a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial using an aqueous extract of Piper methysticum,” Psychopharmacology, vol. 205, no. 3, pp. 399–407, 2009.

8    Q. G. Chen, Y. S. Zeng, Z. Q. Qu et al., “The effects of Rhodiola rosea extract on 5-HT level, cell proliferation and quantity of neurons at cerebral hippocampus of depressive rats,” Phytomedicine, vol. 16, no. 9, pp. 830–838, 2009.

9    V. Darbinyan, G. Aslanyan, E. Amroyan, E. Gabrielyan, C. Malmström, and A. Panossian, “Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression,” Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 61, no. 5, pp. 343–348, 2007.

10    F. Effati-Daryani, S. Mohammad-Alizadeh-Charandabi, M. Mirghafourvand, M. Taghizadeh, and A. Mohammadi, “Effect of lavender cream with or without foot-bath on anxiety, stress and depression in pregnancy: a randomized placebo-controlled trial,” Journal of Caring Sciences, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 63–73, 2015.

11   M. Nikfarjam, N. Parvin, N. Assarzadegan, and S. Asghari, “The effects of lavandula angustifolia mill infusion on depression in patients using citalopram: a comparison study,” Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, vol. 15, no. 8, pp. 734–739, 2013.

11    P. Conrad and C. Adams, “The effects of clinical aromatherapy for anxiety and depression in the high risk postpartum woman—a pilot study,” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 164–168, 2012.

11     I.-S. Lee and G.-J. Lee, “Effects of lavender aromatherapy on insomnia and depression in women college students,” Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 136–143, 2006.

11     S. Akhondzadeh, L. Kashani, A. Fotouhi et al., “Comparison of Lavandula angustifolia Mill. tincture and imipramine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized trial,” Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 123–127, 2003.

12    M. K. Bhutani, M. Bishnoi, and S. K. Kulkarni, “Anti-depressant like effect of curcumin and its combination with piperine in unpredictable chronic stress-induced behavioral, biochemical and neurochemical changes,” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, vol. 92, no. 1, pp. 39–43, 2009.

13    Y. Xu, S. Li, R. Chen et al., “Antidepressant-like effect of low molecular proanthocyanidin in mice: involvement of monoaminergic system,” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, vol. 94, no. 3, pp. 447–453, 2010.

14    P. Bhutada, Y. Mundhada, K. Bansod et al., “Reversal by quercetin of corticotrophin releasing factor induced anxiety- and depression-like effect in mice,” Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 955–960, 2010.

15    Y. Yu, R. Wang, C. Chen et al., “Antidepressant-like effect of trans-resveratrol in chronic stress model: behavioral and neurochemical evidences,” Journal of Psychiatric Research, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 315–322, 2013.

MCS & FRAGRANCE SENSITIVIES: Overcoming Travel Challenges

trapped in a bubble2

I am presently on the way to my fourth, month long airbnb stay, between moving out of my sold home in one town in August and into my next home next month in another town.  As a recovered MCS and TILT sufferer I am always vigilant about staying away from fragrances and toxic chemicals, not only because they are offensive but because I have done my homework to be able to recover and know how toxic these are.


The first airbnb host had issues with me using 4 drops of pure tea tree in a spray bottle to clean instead of their toxic cleaning products, due to the unfamiliar scent and someone elsewhere in the building being sensitive to fragrances; but apparently not to the toxic cleaning products provided in the airbnb rental unit.

Gratefully, the second airbnb host used vinegar to clean and no toxic or fragranced products and had no issue with me using tea tree and natural non toxic products.


When I arrived at the third airbnb I was overwhelmed with the scent of Glad and Febreze when I opened the door.  My past vigilance alarm went off and I stepped back to assess.  I knew these products were toxic, but I also knew that I would be safe if I took precautions now that I am recovered. What’s so toxic about these readily available and commercially advertised products? The Invisible Disabilities Association reports:

“These synthetic compounds are chemicals that can be dangerous to many when inhaled or applied to the skin. Author Connie Pitts explained, “Perfumes, colognes, and many other scented  products contain an abundance of harmful chemicals, many of which are listed on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste List. They also include numerous carcinogenic chemicals, neurotoxins, respiratory irritants, solvents, aldehydes, hundreds of untested and unregulated petro-chemicals, phthalates (which can act as hormone disrupters), narcotics, and much more.”

Have you ever considered how a neurotoxin in a fragrance might affect someone with mental health challenges? Would it affect their brain chemistry negatively? You can find out more about what is in the products below by reading this excellent post.

The Dangers of Febreze- EZ Breathe

I packed the Glad plug in and Febreze can in a ziploc bag and set it out on the deck out of site.  I immediately opened the one window and turned the bathroom fan on to try to get the smell out.  I then went to Canadian Tire and bought 3 Environmental Air Sponges which are made up of natural products that soak up toxins in the air.  They are often used after fires to clean the air.  I then turned on my diffuser with all natural Purify Cleansing Blend essential oil in it to further clean the air and override the smell. These are the 100% natural ingredients:

  • Lemon Peel
  • Lime Peel
  • Siberian Fir Needle
  • Austrian Fir Needle
  • Pine Needle
  • Citronella Grass
  • Melaleuca Leaf
  • Cilantro Herb

I was able to stay in the room that night without reacting, due to my previous recovery, and my actions to mediate further harm.  Even now, almost 30 days later, whenever I enter the room I can smell residual Glad and especially Febreze fragrance, possibly coming from the adjoining host’s side of the house or their circulated air.

My advice to you if you are a traveler, whether you have or had MCS or TILT or not, is to be cautious about accommodations that use toxic and harmful cleaning and air freshener chemicals that contain neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors. Go prepared when you travel with Purify and a diffuser, Environmental Air Sponges, and if you will be staying for long periods of time, a supply of your own natural cleaning supplies vinegar, baking soda and a spray bottle, as well a tea tree essential oil. Unfortunately making comments in reviews after an airbnb stay may interfere with you odds of successfully securing airbnb accommodation in the future, and during Covid-9, long term stay locations, at least in southwestern Ontario have been few and far between. Hopefully airbnb will encourage hosts to refrain from using toxic cleaning and air freshener products and encourage designations for host accommodations making it easier for those that have or have recovered from MCS, TILT, fragrance sensitivities, asthma, COPD or other  immune compromised diseases or are in cancer treatment. I will bring the air freshener and glad plug in back in when I leave.  Should I leave a note?  Should I share this information with the host? Should I share this information in a review? For my fourth airbnb location I am on my way back to host #2, who is providing an eco-friendly environment by using and allowing all natural cleaning and air freshening products.

Learn more about my recovery and how you can recover too in my book:


Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design,

Author of The Whole Person Well-being Equation.

For information on less toxic products for home and rental accommodations visit the Less Toxic Guide. 

Environmental Working Group: Fragrance Concerns

FRAGRANCE: Oh How Sweet The Smell and How Potentially Dangerous To Your Health

Invisible Disabilities Association


#multiplechemicalsensitivities #MCS #toxicantinducedlossoftolerance #TILT #environmentalillness #EI #chronicfatigue #CF #foodallergies #irritablebowel #depression #spasmodicdysphonia #SAD #bodymindspirit #holistic #mindfullness #wholepersonwellbeing #naturalcures #yourbodycanhealitself #healthbydesign #B&Bretreats #holisticB&Bretreats #womensretreats #escapetothefarmacy #airbnb #ecofriendlyaccommodation

THE ZINC IMMUNE FACTOR: Increasing Serum Zinc Levels to Fight Viruses


The immune system has many protective and signaling functions which require an adequate availability of micronutrients to maintain a healthy immune response.  Diet deficiencies of many of these necessary micronutrients, including zinc, are often found in the elderly and immune compromised. The Nutri-Facts article titled Micronutrients and the immune system states “The nutrients collaborate and complement each other in the diverse processes of the immune system”. It is crucial that we ingest an adequate supply of healthy foods with diverse micronutrients to maintain a healthy immune response.  Many drugs are associated with the depletion of nutrients that are necessary for a health immune system. Corticosteroids like cortisone and prednisone cause increased zinc excretion. Homemade soups with a large variety of quality ingredients are an excellent way to get a diverse array of immune supporting micronutrients.

According to the Frontiers in Immunology article Immunosenescence (immune decline) and Its Hallmarks: How to Oppose Aging Strategically,

“The close connection between nutrition, intake of bioactive nutrients and supplements, immune function, and inflammation demonstrate the key role of dietary strategies as regulators of immune response and inflammatory status, hence as possible modulators of the rate of immunosenescence. The link between aging and disease is in part a reflection of the functional changes in the immune system of older people”.

The Blue Zones research article, Boost Your Energy and Immunity with These 13 Super “Blue” Foods,  reports that you can improve your immunity by making changes in your diet. A diet focused on beans, greens, sweet potatoes, nuts, olive oil, oats, barley, fruits, green or herb teas, turmeric, garlic, shitake mushrooms and goats milk; can boost your immunity. The Blue Zones Solution lays out a proven plan to maximize your health based on the practices of the world’s healthiest people. Dan Buettner reveals how to transform your health using smart eating and lifestyle habits gleaned from new research on the diets, eating habits, and lifestyle practices of the communities he’s identified as blue zones—those places with the world’s longest-lived, and thus healthiest, people. The Blue Zones diet is naturally high in zinc. Visit the Blue Zones website to read more at

Zinc and Immune Function Research:

Recent research into the prevention and treatment of the current virus indicate that patients who had healthy zinc blood levels naturally and through supplementation during treatment had better recovery results. A study of serum zinc levels and current virus recovery and survival:

“The study data clearly show that a significant number of COVID-19 patients were zinc deficient. These zinc deficient patients developed more complications, and the deficiency was associated with a prolonged hospital stay and increased mortality.”

An interesting review of a study of patients with the virus in Spain and India showed a significant difference between serum zinc levels at the onset of the virus between the two countries.  Could diet be a factor?  How is the Indian diet different than the Spanish Diet?  The Indian diet consists of a variety of foods including legumes and seeds with significant levels of zinc as well as the addition of herbs and spices, which help to add to their zinc levels.

Although zinc is a necessary immune ingredient, supplementation is not always the recommended source according to the Harvard School of Public Health. If you are planning to start supplementing with zinc, please consult with your regular healthcare provider, a nutritional consultant and your pharmacist to ensure you will not be compromising your iron and copper levels.

“Zinc is available in supplement form as pills and lozenges. Excess zinc can interfere with the absorption of iron and copper. High doses can also cause nausea and even vomiting. Therefore it is important not to take supplemental zinc unless it is known that the diet is low in foods containing zinc or a zinc deficiency is confirmed.” Consult a qualified nutritional consultant to guide you in improving your serum zinc levels through diet. You can find a list of foods that naturally provide zinc at the Harvard School of Public Health.

There is much controversy over natural supplements that could help with the present virus. Here are some insights on how to safely proceed using herbs in your natural response to the virus, without contributing to the dangerous cytokine storm:

“Caution may be advisable with herbal agents such as Echinacea and Elderberry which may stimulate TNF and other cytokines. However, this danger is unclear. More important is the addition of herbs that down-regulate dangerous cytokines while also exhibiting antiviral effects (for instance, St. John’s wort, Baikal Scullcap, Salvia milthiorrhiza, Ginger, Turmeric).”1

Always proceed with caution and consult with your regular healthcare practitioner and local public health authority as you add natural strategies.

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.C., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design,,

Author of The Whole Person Well-being Equation