Alternatively Speaking: Essentially oil

Alternative medicine enthusiast Natalie Marx answers your questions: Can anything be done to prevent the return of acne?

Vegetables 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Vegetables 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Q. Hi Natalie, what is the difference between all the various Omega 3 sources - and the essential oil from clary sage? Is there a difference in absorption into the body? Do you have a preference, or recommend one over the other? If so, why?
The different Omega 3 sources are in fact a name for a group of three different types of oil known as: ALA (vegetal), DHA and EPA (fish oil). Our bodies cannot make this oil, but it’s part of every cell we have. It's a major compound of all our cell membranes, and the highest concentration is in our brain. The only way to give our body this vital oil is through our diet. Therefore it's termed "essential". Our body is quite an advanced organism. If it gets just the ALA type of oil, it can convert what it needs to the DHA and EPA types, which is a great benefit, because it has been shown that too much of EPA can be toxic.
Another benefit of choosing an ALA source is that it does not carry the toxins that fish pick up from the sea.
Studies also show that the ALA vegetal source is adequate for supplying the body all three types of this essential oil: ALA, DHA and EPA.
Omega 3 sources come from either of two groups: Vegetable sources (type ALA) and Marine sources (type DHA and EPA).
Vegetable Omega 3 sources are:
* Clary Sage (Salvia Sclarea) seed oil contains on average 51 percent * Chia (hispanic sage) and kukui (candlenut) contain about 30% * Hemp seed around 20% * Pumpkin seed oil may have up to 15% * Walnuts have Omega 3 between 3 to 11% * Soybean oil normally contains between 3% to 7%
Marine sources for Omega 3 fish oil are from a variety of deep sea fish, like tuna for example and from salmon.
Having already stated above that ALA is the better type of the three, this actually eliminates animal or marine sources from our list of choices. Now all that’s left is to pick from the variety of vegetable sources. The Clary Sage is superior, because all the other plant-based oils have a major stability problem of oxidation. The ALA goes rancid very quickly. Clary Sage has been clinically proven to be the most stable source of this essential oil, because it has a very strong resistance to oxidation, not found anywhere else in nature.
Q. I hope you can help me. Since winter began I have been experiencing frequent nosebleeds. I have checked with my doctor and he says I am fine. Can nosebleeds be related to any specific vitamin deficiencies?
A. Especially in the winter months when the air is dry and your home is heated, the mucus membrane that lines your nostrils can crack and bleed. You might also experience a nose bleed if you have allergies or a cold. In some cases it can also be symptomatic of a vitamin deficiency. In cases of frequent nosebleeds this could indicate that you need more vitamin C or vitamin K.
If your daily diet doesn't include a lot of fruits and vegetables and you are experiencing nose bleeds, you can suspect that a vitamin C deficiency may be the root of your problem. Your body does not make or store vitamin C, yet this important nutrient is vital to the growth and repair of body tissues including blood vessels. Since vitamin C is water soluble, you lose it through urination. You must replenish it on a daily basis through your diet or with a supplement. A daily intake of vitamin C for adult males, 19 or older, is 90 mg. Adult females require 75 mg daily.
You might have a shortage of vitamin K if you have been taking antibiotics or have a disease that interferes with your body's ability to absorb the nutrient, such as Crohns disease or disease of the gall bladder. Vitamin K is a blood-clotting, or coagulant, nutrient that is found in green, leafy vegetables. A vitamin K deficiency could cause epistaxis and bleeding from other tissues such as your gums. If you think a vitamin K deficiency is causing your nose bleeds, talk to your doctor before taking vitamin K supplements as this vitamin can interact with some medications.
To stop a nosebleed, one needs to bend the neck to tilt the head forward by pointing the chin toward the chest.
Place a finger and thumb on each side of the nose to pinch the sides towards each other. This places pressure on the septum. Waiting in this position for at least 10 minutes before checking to see if the bleeding stopped may be enough to control the bleeding.
Q. Natalie, I am 35 years old, and I thought I was over my days of acne! Every time, about two days after shaving, I have several whiteheads appearing on my face. Can you help?
A. When hair follicles on your face, neck, chest or back become clogged, various forms of acne may result. Usually oil and dead skin cells are the cause of whiteheads. Fear not however, because whiteheads can be controlled with simple self-care methods.
Tea tree has disinfectant and anti-inflammatory properties. There are several facial washes with tea tree as the main ingredient and can be found in most good health stores. Lavender essential oil is also an antimicrobial that may be useful on whiteheads and acne. Apply tea tree oil and lavender oil directly to the affected skin with cotton balls once or twice a day.
Many of the botanicals useful as essential oils also provide acne relief in the form of dried or fresh herbs, especially for facial whiteheads. To prepare a facial steam, pour boiling water into a large basin and add a large handful of herbs. Ideal herbs to treat blemishes include lavender, chamomile, juniper berries, rose petals, bergamot, lemon peel, thyme, sage, yarrow or rosemary. Steam your face several inches from the basin for about 10 minutes, with a towel draped over your head and the basin. Rinse your face with cool water.
Make sure to use oil-free shaving products. Oil will clog the pores, making existing whiteheads worse and creating new whiteheads.
The real secret is not to leave your facial hair too long before shaving. Make sure to shave frequently and follow the direction of hair growth, with a clean and sharp razor.
This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments. This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.
Ask Natalie: If you have a health query and would like an alternative answer then email Natalie with your question at
Someone Once Said: 'If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.' -Hippocrates