September 12, 2004 |
Pungent white incense wisps into the air from an earthen burner as Maria de Lourdez Gonzales Avila begins a cleansing ceremony with her students. Gently blowing the perfumed smoke on their heads, arms, legs and into their mouths, Avila aims to purify the students' minds and bodies from negative energies.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 20, 1994
County health officials warned Monday of the possibility of contracting a potentially fatal bacterial infection from a Latino folk health remedy made up of dried, ground rattlesnake. In recent months, three people in Los Angeles County have died of a severe bacterial infection caused by a species of salmonella commonly found in reptiles, according to the Department of Health Services. Two others have been hospitalized.
February 23, 2004
Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest first began using cascara sagrada, or sacred bark, hundreds of years ago. When dried and aged for a year, the bark of Rhamnus purshiana, a tree related to the California buckthorn, becomes an effective stimulant laxative, meaning it causes the intestinal muscles to contract. The plant's active ingredients are found in some over-the-counter laxatives.
December 13, 1994 |
"What kombucha does is . . . is it sets up a vibrational tone," Norman Baker is saying. "It's a living thing! Give it love! Sing to it!" Baker, who in stature and intensity calls to mind Richard Simmons, places his hand over his heart and stares earnestly into his visitor's eyes. "In fact, we believe the kombucha has an intelligence well above the level of a dolphin. It knows where to go in your body." Ah, kombucha. Hindu love god? Recently exhumed Mayan fertility idol?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 30, 1989 |
Consider hot pepper spices. Mexican chili. Hot Hungarian paprika. Cayenne pepper powder. They all come from the fruits of a family of plants called capsicums. Use of capsicums as seasonings dates back to 7000 BC, according to Mexican artifacts. In 1841 the Swiss traveler Tschudi encountered meat spiced with peppers while traveling in Peru. He wrote that, after a few spoonfuls, "the mouth starts to burn like glowing coal."
June 30, 1988 |
Dr. Jacques Benveniste has an "unbelievable" problem. The French allergist has produced experimental results that other scientists find difficult, if not impossible, to believe. In essence, he has observed a biological effect produced by solutions so dilute that, theoretically, they contain nothing that could cause the effect. Taken at face value, the work suggests that the solution has some form of bizarre "memory" of substances that it once contained.
September 17, 1993 |
Bird droppings--yes, you read that correctly--have now surpassed Play-Doh as the oddest ingredient in the sometimes wacky, ever-growing assortment of homespun beauty treatments. According to "The Japanese Way of Beauty," a new book by Michelle Dominique Leigh, the excrement of the bush warbler, a species native to Japan, makes for an excellent mudpack that cleans and tightens pores.
December 14, 1990 |
The young woman leaning over the glass countertop at Botanica Cristo Rey in East Los Angeles is distraught. With her baby at her feet, she explains that her philandering husband finds her unattractive. He hits her when she confronts him about his cheating--and she is in desperate need of a remedy for her deteriorating marriage. "This is war," shop owner Juanita Alvarez whispers as she beckons the customer to come closer. There is a store full of ammunition to consider.
July 11, 2001 |
Some popular herbal medicines can be dangerous and even life-threatening for people undergoing surgery and should not be taken before an operation, according to a review of research released Tuesday. Echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St.
June 27, 2008 |
Lhamotso never learned to read and write, and she has few marketable skills other than the ability to milk a yak. Yet she can earn up to $1,000 a week these days, an unimaginable fortune for a Tibetan nomad. With the money, she has bought herself a shiny new Honda motorcycle. She and her husband gave up their tent for a house they built themselves with solar panels, a satellite dish and television. The worm, Lhamotso explains, "has changed our lives."