Some news

Some news

It’s been a long time since I last updated you on our family’s adventures.  This email, however, is not intended as an update on our activities, but rather to alert you that my father has been taken seriously ill.  Currently, he is being treated at the Lung Institute in Cape Town, where my mother and sister (Ischen) are assisting in his care. The rest of us are in George, hoping to welcome him home soon.

It would appear as though he is suffering from an aggressive form of lung cancer that has already damaged a large section of his right lung.  Over the past week, his condition has deteriorated rapidly.  He is currently undergoing tests to determine the type of cancer in an effort to outline a treatment protocol.

My father made many, many friends in his life.  As a result, many people are keen to hear what is going on. In order to keep everyone updated and to avoid overburdened family members from being interrupted by phone calls and emails, I have set up a public Facebook page here:

This page is public, which means you can view it even if you do not have a Facebook account.  To comment on it, you would however need a Facebook account.  Feel free to leave messages here.

If you only wish to be updated occasionally, via email, please click here and complete the form.

Your prayers are much appreciated.  My father (and the rest of us) are at peace that our Lord is in charge, even at this time of distress.

Warm regards

Frank on behalf of Otto, Gundel and the family.

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

One of the joys of a multicultural family (tribe?) is that you get to celebrate lots of extra holidays.  We have one foot in the solar (Julian) calendar, one foot in the lunar (Chinese) calendar and one foot in the celestial calendar (as you can see, our family has a rather large footprint…).  Sunday marks the Chinese New Year’s day (CNY), which brings most of Asia to a roaring standstill of eating and more eating and even more eating. All of this celebrating is followed by two weeks of recovery, most of which is also spent eating.

So, tomorrow night on CNY Eve, we will be … eating!Muller Family Small

This morning, the Christmas decorations had to make space for our home-made lanterns.  Last year, we only got around to removing the Christmas decorations in June, by which times the shops were putting up theirs.  So, this is a new record.

2012 was an interesting year.  You know that Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times”? Well, it was a bit like that.  Living in South Africa is interesting in any number of ways.  For one thing, the South African calendar is simple to understand:  Every month is marked April and every day is the 1st.  And, of course, every third day is a public holiday.  Every morning when I listen to the news, I check to make sure it’s not April Fool’s Day.  Our political leaders get up to such fascinating things that you risk popping a hernia with laughter every time you read a newspaper.  To survive, you need to keep your head down and get on with your life, trying not to giggle at reports about “The Spear”, to name but one such event.

The highlight of 2012 was undoubtedly the arrival of Ruth Yue-Hui on 18 October, the stunning little bundle of joy that immediately stole all of our hearts.  With three older (and wilder) siblings, she learnt to sleep through a nuclear holocaust.  She’s growing rapidly and very curious.  Watch this space!

The hardest part about 2012 was saying good-bye to our beloved Ah Gung, Ami’s father.  His rather sudden passing left a void that pictures and memories alone cannot fill.  Soon it will be a year already, how time flies!  Time is no healer, it simply provides distractions that make the wound seem smaller.  But the wound remains.

Ludwig and Otto attended Holy Cross School last year and both enjoyed it very much.  Ludwig drew a picture that achieved high accolades in a school art exhibition (and was eventually auctioned off for R700 (about US$80) – Grandpa managed to keep it in family hands after some fierce bidding!).  The money went to the school, in case you’re wondering.  Otto and Kara also continued drawing every day (each child will draw somewhere between three and five pictures per day, entirely voluntarily).  Kara’s people are real live characters that jump off the page, Otto’s architecture and dimensions (not to mention detail) can make your head spin, while Ludwig’s keen observation of nature makes his pictures seem like a walk in a zoo or a nature reserve.  And no picture is complete without it having a long story behind it, with plot lines as complex as a thriller.

Kara’s little business (“Kara’s Kitchen”) grew throughout 2012, with her adding more products to her repertoire.  Kara and I go door-to-door selling once a week in our neighbourhood (thankfully, our neighbours are mostly tolerant!).  It’s a great experience for her and she’s become a little local celebrity in her own right.

Little Otto started “Otto’s Ocean Art”, a business that currently sells a range of sea sponges that he (and the other two) collect on the beaches.  These all have great skin care properties.  In Otto’s case, the marketing is somewhat harder, but he has his die-hard fans already.  Who can say No to his winsome smile?

Ludwig is fascinated by growing bonzais and while this is a long and slow road to income, he and I enjoy working together on the various plants we grow. For his 7th birthday in April, Ludwig joined Ami and I on an unforgettable canoeing trip along the mighty Orange River (the largest river in southern Africa).  Sleeping under the stars and navigating one rapid after another for four days was a wonderful break from work.

Ami’s maternity leave was timed (!) in such a way that her contract finished on her last day of maternity leave. In other words, she did not have to return to work.  Instead, she began homeschooling the tribelets on 2 January.  Homeschooling is fun for the children (they still think they are on holiday), but the lack of fixed endpoints can often make it nail-biting for the parents.  Even so, Ludwig can easily finish a fairly substantial book in one morning, which probably means he’s OK.  So far, five weeks later, the whole experience has already done our family the world of good.  We integrate well with the numerous other homeschooling families in George, so the children are not isolated at all.

November and December saw us entertaining three fabulous ladies from The East – my mother-in-law and two of her sisters.  Their stay culminated in the baptism of Baby Ruth, a delightfully grand and glorious affair.  After their return to Malaysia, we spent the last two weeks of December at Nature’s Valley for an extended Christmas feast with all our (geographically) close relatives.  I told you we enjoy celebrating ALL those calendars!

Ami plans to work sessions and locums to keep her hand in clinical practise.  Time will tell at what point she will return to more fulltime work.  At the moment, she is enjoying seeing more of us (and so are we!).  Her compulsory time of service is now over and she is free to choose where and when she wants to work.  Twelve long years have passed since she first started studying medicine in Taiwan! Her Taiwanese classmates are all consultants now, but she’s definitely had the more interesting (…) life.

January the 10th marked our ninth wedding anniversary.  Ami and I cannot believe how quickly time has flown.  Fortunately, our marriage has aged like wine (and not like fish!).  We love each other more each day.  With my parents celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year, we have a tough act to follow, though!  After all, I’ll be 85 when that day dawns…

My little online shop has its ups and downs (you can see it at integrow.co.za ).  It remains rewarding to help people get free from their bondage to medication.  Some of my products are now retailing nationally (and even internationally).  I can just comment here that selling your products through large chain retailers is a bit like riding a porcupine in the nude – not for the faint-hearted.  Hopefully, this will eventually lead to more consistent income (once I’ve upgraded from porcupine to something like a dog or a pony).

That’s about it.  Now all that remains for me is to say, “Gong xi fa cai!” (the traditional CNY greeting in our dialect, loosely meaning “Congratulations and be prosperous!”).

Peace on earth!

Frank. Ami (Suyen), Ludwig Xu-En (7), Otto Hong-En (5), Kara Yi-Hui (4) and Ruth Yue-Hui (3.5 months)

Frank on FB
Doc Frank on FB
Ami on FB

Muller Family Update

Muller Family Update

Parenting is exhausting. In fact, if you are a parent and you aren’t tired, then you are doing it wrong.  Most nights when Ami and I get to bed, the only pile higher than the dishes in the sink is the pile of washing waiting to be dealt with.  Of course, “sleep” is a relative term when applied to parents.  “Napping” is often more like it.  You learn to grab whatever cat naps you can wherever you can (until someone knocks on the toilet door, that is).

At the same time, parenting is rewarding. In fact, if you are a parent and you aren’t finding it rewarding, you are doing it wrong.  Just when you think things can’t get worse, they don’t.  A child runs into your arms as you come home from work, a human missile of love and exuberance. Shortly followed by two others whose momentum throws you right on your backside.  Suddenly, it all seems worth it – the sleepless nights, the tornado days.  For a brief moment, perspective breaks through and you are at peace.

Considering that siblings share 99.99% of their genes and about the same percentage of environmental nurture, it is astonishing how different siblings are. Not just different from one another, but also different from their parents.  Ours are no exception.  Ami and I jokingly blame each other for our children’s bad traits and compliment ourselves for their good traits.  But, truth be told, heaven only knows where it all comes from.  There is no rhyme, reason or pattern.  No recipe, no protocol, no model.  As if that is not enough, each child changes so much from day to day.

It is these differences and changes that produce most of the agony and the ecstasy of family life. Most times, you feel like you are playing soccer with a cricket ball one day and rugby with a loaf of bread the next.  Nothing prepares you for the daily changes in the rules, so you make things up as you go along.  Fortunately, little habits and routines become anchors around which one can tie the thin rope of sanity for a few seconds before stepping back into the swirling tide of “aliveness”.  Nobody said it would be boring.

Here at Muller Central, our roller coaster is about to take yet another corkscrew twist. In less than a week from now, our next baby is due. As usual, we still don’t know the gender of the baby, but at least we know it’s only one child (this is quite useful to know in advance). As soon as “nu-nu” arrives, I’ll drop you an email with more details. So watch this space! And thereafter, prepare for a loooong silence as we enjoy the corkscrew twist for a while. With a bit of luck, I may get around to another mass email by 2014 or so…  Until then, remember that we really love you!

You can catch snippets of our family news by “friending” Ami or myself on Facebook (details below). For the rest, enjoy life with those whom God has given you to love!

Peace!

Frank. Ami, Ludwig (7), Otto (5), Kara (3) and “Nu-nu” (0)

PO Box 4075, George East, 6539, South Africa
www.franko.co.za

www.facebook.com/frankmullerza
www.facebook.com/ameline.muller

Winter is here!

Winter is here!

Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed that the sun rises later and the mornings are colder.  At least, that is, if you’re living in South Africa.  If you’re in the northern hemisphere, you may need to consult a dictionary to find out what the word “sun” really means…

Somehow, winter cold puts the immune system to sleep while the rest of the body suffers the sniffy after-effects.  A sort of half-hearted hibernation that leaves you feeling whoozy all winter long.  I happen to have some muthi* in store that might just help you through this winter with a SPRING in your step.  Read on – here are some of my suggestions:

KOFF-OFF SYRUP 100 ML

OK, so I ran out of ideas for a good name for a good cough remedy.  “Koff-off” was the best I could come up with.  This home-made herbal cough remedy loosens your phlegm (a polite medical word for the green goo in your throat) and then, within a day (or two at most), the cough is gone and you have to get back to work (so don’t drink it before Thursdays!).  I’ve been testing various versions of Koff-Off for about a decade now and I think this one is the best one ever!  I would love your feedback on it, too.

The active ingredients (all listed on the website) combine to whack your immune system into shape and whack the germs out of shape.

One bottle of 100 ml is enough for two full 5 day adult treatment courses (treat for 5 days to make sure those germs are well and truly gone).  You can (pre-order) stock here (by hugely popular demand, I am making a couple of dozen bottles this winter and they will be ready by early June. Best you order now):

http://www.integrow.co.za/koff-off

POWER YOUR LIFE IMMUNE BOOSTING SYRUP 500 ML

This syrup tastes like mint and contains Sutherlandia.  Unlike Koff-Off, which is intended to TREAT coughs and colds, this syrup is meant to be taken thrice daily to PREVENT the immune system from weakening.  It contains various other powerful herbs, too, and is a great general tonic.  One 500 ml bottle is enough for one child (or half an adult) for most of the winter.

You can read more about it here:

http://www.integrow.co.za/Immune-Boosting-Syrup.html

POWER YOUR LIFE SUTHERLANDIA TABLETS 60

If syrups aren’t your cup of herbal tea, then you might want to consider our tablet version of Sutherlandia.  Sutherlandia is also known as “cancer bush” and is a potent immune booster in many chronic conditions.  It helps to PREVENT coughs and colds, as well as to RECOVER from them.  This product is a popular immune booster amongst people with chronic diseases, such as cancer and diabetes.  Cancer bush is an old Boereraat (Afrikaner folk remedy) for a wide variety of infections and – as the name indicates – is also regarded as useful in cancer (I happen to agree).

You can read more here:

http://www.integrow.co.za/Sutherlandia-Tablets.html

PHAPHAMA SOLUTION 500 ML

“Phaphama” is an isiZulu word that means “awaken yourself”.  This thick brown syrup has a citrus flavour and contains eucalyptus extract and vitamins.  The bluegum extract is a potent anti-oxidant with impressive immune boosting properties.  The vitamins complement this action nicely.  Specifically designed for the traditional African market, it is an acquired taste but is used by thousands of South Africans to PREVENT attacks on the immune system.

You can read more here:

http://www.integrow.co.za/Phaphama-Vitality-Tonic.html

SPIRULINA TABLETS 1000

We have only 8 packs of our famous Spirulina 1000 bulk packs left.  The farm in Franschhoek from where I source it, has temporarily halted production, so I’m not sure when next we’ll get more stock.  In essence, 6 tablets a day (adult dose, children need 3 a day) contains all the supplements you need EXCEPT for vitamin C (which you have to supplement separately).  Our tablets are pure compressed spirulina, no binding agents.  What you see is what you get.  So, save on our fantastic price – it works out to something absurd like R2 a day for adults.  All the vitamins, amino acids, omega oils and minerals you need are in here – in a perfectly organic matrix for easy absorption.

You can read more here:

http://www.integrow.co.za/spirulina-1000.html

Lastly, but not leastly… due to all sorts of pressures (my children would like to wear shoes to school this winter, for example), we are forced to increase the prices of nearly all of our goods as from Monday, the 3rd of June.  In particular, electrodes will shoot up in price, so stock up now if you need to replace any.  We are still looking at ways to ease the price hike, but accept my apologies in advance that a price hike is inevitable.  You have a week to avoid the pain!

Have a sniffle-free winter!

(Doc) Frank

CEO: Integrow Health (Pty) Ltd
www.integrow.co.za – Online wellness made easy

* Muthi [n]: Collective noun derived from isiZulu to describe all versions of African traditional remedies, including magical treatments.  Mainly used in a derogatory sense, implying quackery, but in the hands of Doc Frank, “muthi” refers to home remedies tested on long-suffering (or sometimes unsuspecting) family members. Proven in relatives, trusted by friends.

Feeling Radical

Feeling Radical

I woke up this morning wanting to do something RADICAL.  You know, like going to work naked, or eating a bowl of Weet-Bix.  In the end, the bowl of Weet-Bix won*.  Bring it on!

Thus fortified, let me tell you about some new arrivals in our store.

Firstly, you may remember me telling you a little about my new pH Balance product.  That was in December… Now, four months later, the stock is here AT LAST.  The dozen or so units I had available in December sold out in a matter of hours.  I have a little bit more in stock this time round, and now professionally manufactured.  This product is also available at select Clicks stores (though don’t ask me which ones, Clicks remains a mystery to me).  Our prices are better than theirs, though, and we also offer 5% discount on orders of 7 to 12 units and 10% off on orders of 13 or more units.

In a nutshell, the pH Balance product took me three years to perfect.  It works astonishingly well in gout (which it basically cures after two months of use), but also in any other disease state that increases the body’s acidity.  That basically means (1) any condition linked with chronic inflammation (e.g., arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome) or (2) any condition linked to muscle damage (e.g., cancer, diabetes, weight loss).  Coping with acid takes a lot of energy from the body. This leaves you feeling listless and tired.  The pH Balance product excretes acid via the urine, enabling the body to use its energy for better things, like healing.  You’ll be surprised by all your energy after even the first tablet of pH Balance.  Come to think of it, maybe that’s why I’m feeling a bit radical this morning Excuse me while I take off my shirt…

If you’re wondering how this product compares to “that other doctor’s base powder”, then the short answer is: This one knocks the socks off “that one”.  No comparison.  This one delivers what “that one” promises.

pH Balance is sold under the Vita-Aid brand and is available in bottles of 60 and 90 tablets.  You need 2 to 3 tablets daily to get the best effect.  You can buy it from our store by following the links below:

http://www.integrow.co.za/phbalance60/  or
http://www.integrow.co.za/phbalance90/

At the same time, and under the same Vita-Aid brand, I am launching Cardio Support and Sugar Balance.  Cardio Support is a novel mix of pH Balance ingredients and cancer bust (Sutherlandia species) that decreases cholesterol, reduces plaque formation and increases the strength of the heart muscle.  While it does NOT decrease blood pressure (you can’t have it all!!), it dramatically increases cardiac function.  You can buy it here:

http://www.integrow.co.za/cardiosupport/

Sugar Balance is specifically designed for type II diabetics.  It stabilises blood sugar levels and reverses some of the damage of high blood sugar levels.  You can find it here:

http://www.integrow.co.za/sugarbalance60/

And then, by popular demand…  Miracle mud.

I just managed to make another batch of MiraClay, also known as “miracle mud”.  It is made from clay I get from the magical Cedarberg mountains (which I will be visiting again this coming long weekend – yippee!).  The effect of this “mud” on wound healing is mind-boggling (as the name indicates).  It heals most new wounds in a matter of a day, or two days at most.  Chronic wounds take a bit longer, but the effect is still dramatic.  Insect bites and stings are relieved in two or three minutes.  If you put it on immediately after a burn (even a pretty severe burn), the area heals in hours, with no blistering.  It is available in pots of 10 ml (ideal for mommy’s hand bag!), 20 ml (for the bathroom cupboard) and 50 ml (for the whole family).  Stock is limited, so don’t snooze, or you might lose.  You can order here:

http://www.integrow.co.za/miraclay-10ml/
http://www.integrow.co.za/miraclay-20ml/
http://www.integrow.co.za/miraclay-50ml/

Note 1:  if the store accepts your order, then we have stock. Once stock runs out, the store will tell you so.

Note 2:  For best results on open wounds, (1) clean the wound, (2) apply the clay and then (3) cover with a plaster for 24 to 48 hours.

I’m working on even more interesting products, like a remarkable sport’s nutrition supplement and a natural “rescue remedy” (calming spray), to name but two.  Once these are ready to sell, I will let you know.

All these products were first tested on unsuspecting family members and are considered safe.  No animal experimentation!

Have a RADICAL day!

(Doc) Frank

* No actual bricks of Weet-Bix where harmed in the production of this totally organic email.

***

CEO: Integrow Health (Pty) Ltd
www.integrow.co.za – Online wellness made easy

Sad News

Sad News

Since I sent my Easter newsletter a few days ago, a lot happened.  This morning (Malaysian time), my dear father-in-law passed away.  Mommy and Ami were at his side as “the tiger” quietly slipped away.  Please remember the Goh family in your prayers at this time.

Daddy’s funeral will take place in his hometown of Batu Pahat on Sunday afternoon.  I will not be able to get there in time, so the children and I will fondly remember Daddy / “Ah Gong” from a distance.

I received many responses to my Easter newsletter, wishing our family well. Though I have no time to respond to each of you, my dear friends and family members, know that I appreciate your concern.  Thank you for caring!

Let your everlasting love enfold us, o LORD, for in you alone is our hope. (Psalm 33).

In peace

Frank

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday

Dear Friends & Family

As I’m writing this, it is the evening of Easter Sunday.  The children are in bed but not yet asleep. Outside, the cold autumn rains announce the new season, an overnight shift from summer.

It’s been more than 15 months since my last mass email, so you can’t accuse me of spamming…  As you read on, you will see why I’ve been so quiet.  Someone once told me that life is like a roll of toilet paper: the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. By that reckoning, I must be nearing some sort of end. Our Christmas stockings are still hanging on the wall, suspended in the tension between the ghosts of Christmas Past and Christmas Yet To Come.  I think I will just leave them hanging there.

2011 was mostly a year of struggle and many sad good-byes. Most of the struggle involved a sluggish economy that kept my business within a feather’s throw of insolvency month after month. One plan after another failed and it was all I could do to keep on going on.  At least, things are a bit bettter in 2012.

Don’t get me wrong, I love working for myself (I think I have a great boss!) and I love doing what I’m doing (basically anything that helps set people free from the tyranny of medication). However, it’s hard to earn sustainable income with such a model and it is hard to persevere when all around shake their heads behind your back with that knowing “Don Quixote” look. Yes, mostly I’ve been tilting at mind-pills, such a big idol of our age. The belief that sanity (and happiness) can be found in a pill must surely be one of the most absurd religions mankind has invented.

Not that I am without pills myself, nor that herbal remedies are somehow ‘holier than thou’ simply because they are natural. There is a place for crutches in the healing process, but their comes a point when crutches no longer serve and may even delay healing. The wisdom to know when that point is reached is often sadly lacking among my colleagues, whether orthodox or heterodox therapists.

Enough philosophy. For me, 2011 was dominated by the unexpected stroke of my dear uncle Udo, my mother’s youngest brother.  He was looked after in a frail care centre in George, which allowed our children to get to know him better. Sunday lunches with Udo became a new family tradition, hauling the long-suffering Udo and his wheelchair with us to all sorts of destinations.  Eventually, his health collapsed and he died peacefully on 5 September.  A great loss to us who knew him.

During this time, Ami’s beloved Ah Ma (grandmother) also suffered a stroke and died. Ami had to fly back to the East at short notice. Fortunately, she could be of help to her Ah Ma during her last days and could bid her farewell.

June 15 saw the joyful birth of my first niece, baby Lily. A miracle child given to my sister Muchi, she has become a firm family favourite.

In late September, Ami undertook a long-since planned trip back to Taiwan with her mother and sister. It was the first time in 8 years that she returned to the land of her student years. Her erstwhile classmates are now all specialists, while Ami is still not quite registered as a ‘full’ doctor in South Africa. But none of them have three children, either… Or such a good-looking husband.

Speaking of children, Ludwig is now in Grade 1 at Holy Cross, a hybrid between a Catholic school and a public school. Mercifully, they seem to have united the best of both worlds. Ludwig loves nothing more than drawing and is a good artist (my definition of a good artist is anyone who can draw better than I can).  Last year, one of his pieces got an A+ at a regional competition, with encouraging feedback from the judges.  He told Little Otto, “When I’m big, I will have my own art shop and you and Kara can work for me.”  He often writes and illustrates his own story books, mostly completing an entire book in less than an hour from conception to completion.

Little Otto (as distinct from his grandfather, Big Otto) is still the same solid ball of exuberant joy. I don’t recall ever seeing him walk. Rather, like some sort of oversized bumble bee, he runs from one fascination to the next, finding joy, surprise and mirth in anything that crosses his path. Two years Ludwig’s junior, he is now in one of those pre-grade 1 thingies at Holy Cross and loving it.

Where Ludwig finds joy in two dimensional creativity, Little Otto finds it in three dimensions (read: Lego). Thanks to full programmes, they can only play Lego on weekends. Otto starts counting sleepies as soon as the box is packed away on Sunday night and has been known to wake me at 3 am on a Saturday morning, wanting to know if he can start playing Lego yet.  He is also exceptional at drawing, but his love lies in building complex structures.

At age three, Kara is now alone at home in the mornings, with Elma our beloved nanny.  Loving the kitchen, she has started her own little business called “Kara’s Kitchen”. Friday afternoons after I finish work, she and I walk from door to door in our neighbourhood, selling her wares (biscuits, jam tarts, pesto and more). She is doing so well that I took a bridging loan from her the other night (since repaid!).  She loves being the centre of attention after being in the shadow of the boisterous boys for so long.

We have continued hosting Bianca from time to time, though with Ami working most weekends, it hasn’t been possible as often as we would like.

Our biggest news for 2012 is that Ami is expecting our next child / children in October. As in the past, we won’t be discovering the gender before birth, but we’ll find out if there’s more than one before then. So far, the pregnancy has gone very well and Ami is bearing up under the stress of working long hours in the Emergency Centre (sometimes seeing more than 70 patients herself overnight).

Right now, however Ami is back in Malaysia, where her father suddenly became severely ill a few days ago. He is currently in ICU and struggling with multi organ failure.

By now, you probably understand why the Christmas socks are still hanging on the wall and why I haven’t sent any decent personal email to anyone for months and months. There is much more to tell, but I’m afraid my toilet roll is nearing its end..

Blessed Easter!

Frank & the Muller tribe

Dirt & Health

Dirt & Health

Don’t worry, be happy – but only in your garden…

Here’s a quote well worth pondering:

“When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

It seems like Emerson was onto something and that the saying, “As happy as a pig in mud,” has more substance to it than meets the eye.  After all, have you ever seen a depressed gardener?

Science is now proving Emerson right  in unexpected ways.  For starters, here’s a report with the fascinating title:  “Breathing Soil Bacteria Makes You Smarter”.  It’s a blog post about a scientific research article published in Physorg.com.  It would appear as though breathing in / eating a common soil bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, induces neuron growth and the secretion of the feel-good hormone serotonin.  Mice that were given these bacteria to eat, performed TWICE as well as their control counterparts in navigating mazes and displayed far less anxiety in the process.  Another aspect of the study looked at the improved immune response evidenced by the “infected” creatures.  It looks like the immune response triggered by the immune system is the cause of the beneficial effects.

You can read more about this research here:

http://www.good.is/post/breathing-soil-bacteria-makes-you-smarter/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18082129/ns/health-livescience/

http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jul/raw-data-is-dirt-the-new-prozac

So, to be healthier, smarter and happier, spend time outdoors, grow your own veggies (there’s a lot of satisfaction to be had in seeing your hard work bear fruit in a matter of weeks or months) and get some sun on you while you are at it.  It beats seeing a shrink.

There’s nothing quite like biting into an organically grown worm…

All the best!

Frank

PS I now offer a selection of top wellness products on my website www.integrow.co.za , in case you’re interested.