What is Monosodium Glutamate? (Side Effects & Safety)

MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a food additive used in Asian cooking, many packaged foods, and fast foods. In large amounts it can trigger side effects.

Source: What is Monosodium Glutamate? (Side Effects & Safety)


Strawberry Fragaria vesca Alpine Strawberry (Alpine) | Log House Plants

White flowers in late spring are followed by delicious little creamy white berries summer to fall. Use in beds, containers, borders. Care: Plant 12-16″ apart with the crown at soil level. Nee…

Source: Strawberry Fragaria vesca Alpine Strawberry (Alpine) | Log House Plants

US Crops shift to Soy and Cotton over wheat/ grain | Glencore Grain Pty Ltd – News


US farmers to sow even more cotton, soy this year than thought
24/02/2017 15:08
US farmers to sow even more cotton, soy this year than thoughtUS farmers will sow even more cotton and soybeans than investors had expected, encouraged by weak grain prices which are set to send wheat area to a record low, and drive 3.6m acres out of production altogether.

The US Department of Agriculture, at its annual Outlook Forum to kick off formally 2017-18 estimates, forecast US soybean sowings this year rising by 4.6m acres to a record 88.0m acres.

The increase in area, to a level above the 87.58m acres that analysts had expected, reflects soybean prices which have so far this month averaged nearly 2.6 times as much as corn, the main competitor in US farmers’ spring plantings programmes.

“The last time the ratio during February was this favourable to soybeans was in 1997,” Robert Johansson, USDA chief economist, told the conference.

Feed grains out of favour

Corn sowings were, losing out to soybeans, forecast falling by 4.0m acres to 90.0m acres, a bigger drop than expected by investors, who had expected the figure to come in at 91.05m acres.

US crop area estimates 2017, change on year and (on market forecast)

Corn: 90.0m acres, -4.0m acres, (-1.05m acres)

Soybeans: 88.0m acres, +4.6m acres, (+420,000 acres)

All wheat: 46.0m acres, -4.2m acres, (-852,000 acres)

All cotton: 11.5m acres, +1.4m acres, (+416,000 acres)

Rice: 2.6m acres, -600,000 acres, (n/a)

Other feedgrains: 11.7m acres, -900,000 acres, (n/a)

Total top eight crops: 249.8m acres, -3.6m acres, (n/a)

Sources: USDA, Reuters

However, grains overall were seen falling out of favour, with sorghum area “in particular” expected to drop, and rice sowings to tumble by 17% to 2.6m acres.

“We are likely to see fewer acres planted to corn, rice and other feed grains,” Mr Johansson said.

This decline was also extended to wheat, in which overall plantings were pegged at 46.0m acres – down 4.2m acres, and the smallest area on records going back a century.

The figure implies a drop in spring wheat sowings, as well as winter wheat plantings, were revealed last month to have tumbled by 3.8m acres to 32.4m acres.

‘Increase in idled acres’

Mr Johansson highlighted the dent to growers’ enthusiasm from weak agricultural commodity prices which have left US farms overall looking at net farm income of $62.3bn this year – half the levels seen as the 2013 peak.

“Lower commodity prices will likely lead to reduced planted area,” seen falling for the eight top field crops combined by 3.6m acres to a multi-year low of 249.8m acres.

“Lower crop returns will push some area out of production,” besides encouraging farmers to switch crops.

“We expect to see an increase in idled acres – acres that had been brought into production as commodity prices rose through 2012.”

Cotton in vogue

However, cotton, besides soybeans, was forecast bucking the downward trend in sowings, with US plantings seen soaring by 1.4m acres to a four-year high of 11.5m acres, encouraged by higher prices.

“The rebound in cotton area is driven by relative returns as producers respond to a jump in prices in 2016,” Mr Johansson said, noting “solid export demand”.

For cotton, “expected prices and returns remain competitive with other crops including corn, soybeans, and sorghum”.

Analysts had expected the USDA to unveil a cotton sowings figure of 11.08m acres.

Source: 23 February 2017; Agrimoney.com

Source: Glencore Grain Pty Ltd – News

Safrole (Root beer or amphetamines?) – Molecule of the Day


Safrole is a simple organic compound found in sassafras oil.

It has a pleasant odor and used to be used to flavor root beer, but sassafras oil has fallen out of favor in the past few years for a few reasons: first, safrole has been deemed carcinogenic and banned as a flavoring agent by the US FDA. Second, it’s actually a drug precursor – like pseudoephedrine-containing allergy medicines, it’s not illegal to buy sassafras oil (as far as I know, I’ve never tried!), but it’s watched closely by US drug enforcement. The people buying pints at a time probably aren’t making a few gallons of root beer, and safrole-free sassafras oil is available for flavoring purposes anyway, so you might have some ‘splaining to do if you were to pick up a case.

Source: Safrole (Root beer or amphetamines?) – Molecule of the Day

15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel | Side Effects

I discovered witch hazel in college. I was not exactly the owner of the clearest skin in Britain, and dabbing a little witch hazel extract on my blemished skin stopped me enduring a mountain of abuse. But there are way more uses for this shrub than clearing up spotty skin. (See also: 5 Best Acne Treatments)

To get slightly technical for a moment, witch hazel is (according to Wikipedia):

…an astringent produced from the leaves and bark of the North American Witch Hazel shrub (Hamamelis virginiana), which grows naturally from Nova Scotia west to Ontario, Canada and south to Florida, and Texas in the United States. This plant was widely used for medicinal purposes by American Indians. The witch hazel extract was obtained by steaming the twigs of the shrub.

The essential oil of witch hazel is not sold separately as a consumer product. The plant does not produce enough essential oil to make production viable, however, there are various distillates of witch hazel (called hydrosols or hydrolats) that are gentler than the “drug store” witch hazel and contain alcohol.

Witch hazel is mainly used externally on sores, bruises, and swelling. The main constituents of the extract include tannin, gallic acid, catechins, proanthocyanins, flavonoids (kaempferol, quercetin), essential oil (carvacrol, eugenol, hexenol), choline, saponins, and bitters. Distilled witch hazel sold in drug stores and pharmacies typically contains no tannin.”



Most drug stores and online pharmacies carry witch hazel in one form or another. My favorite is the handy Witch Stick. But when you get your hands on the mightily useful little medicinal marvel, what can you do with it? Here’s a rundown. It’s very useful, so put it on the top of your next shopping list.

15 Uses for Witch Hazel…

Read on at Source: 15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel

Getting started with DIY bodycare | Aura Cacia | Essential Oils

Getting started with DIY body care

I love to create easy, effective products to use in my body care routines at home. I infuse homemade body butter or deodorant with essential oils for their specific aroma and effect.  I make nutrient dense facial masks and moisturizers with organic, single ingredient skin care oils, raw foods and clay powders to have a deeper connection to what comes directly from the earth.  And I take time to really consider what I put on my skin and in my body because I know it all has a greater effect on my whole sense of wellness.

This is part of my self care, but what does this type of care truly mean?  For me, self care is a deep belief that embodies many small rituals and practices I try to incorporate in my daily life to achieve an overall state of balanced and vibrant health.  Every aspect of my life is part of my understanding and practice of self care because I know that each element has influence on the next.  With that mindset, I have spent several years improving on what I put on my body to make the most out of the practice of body care.

Source: Getting started with DIY body care | Aura Cacia

Ingredient Policy – John Masters NYC | OrganicBeauty | Cosmeceuticals

Organic (adj.):1.relating to or employing agricultural practices that avoid the use of synthetic chemicals in favor of naturally occurring pesticides, fertilizer, and other growing aids.

I am committed to partnering with local farmers who have a proven history of respect towards their environment in how they harvest their ingredients. It is truly inspirational to see how these multi-generational farms continue to employ age-old practices that produce ingredients in the most eco-sensitive way possible.

With wild-harvested ingredients, cold-pressed and steam distilled extracts, I am able to provide unparalleled care for your hair and skin. Because only the world’s finest botanicals can make the world’s finest products.

All of the organic ingredients I purchase are certified organic by EcoCert, Quality Assurance International, California Certified Organic Farmers, or Organic Crop Improvement Association. All are recognized by the National Organic Program for the USDA.

Why use harsh chemicals in shampoos, styling gels, skin moisturizers and soaps? They were created as cheap substitutes for organic compounds that do a better job. It’s better for the body and the earth to simply return to the source: super natural botanicals.

At the moment the USDA organic seal is only approved for products that meet their acceptable edible food standards, however, new progress is being made everyday to help create a standard for the cosmetic industry. It is very important to me to have the seal on all of my products as soon as it is available.

Source: Ingredient Policy – John Masters Organics