Mint Tea as Effective as Aspirin Scientists Find

A cup of mint tea could be as effective as an aspirin for pain relief, according to scientists.

Research showed that the herb Hyptis crenata, known as Brazilian mint, reduced pain as much as a soluble form of the conventional painkiller. In Brazil, the plant has traditionally been used to treat mild pain, including headache, stomach ache, fevers and menstrual pain. Until now, it had never been subjected to scientific testing.

The study was presented at the Second International Symposium on Medicinal and Nutraceutical Plants in New Delhi. Researchers plan to carry out further studies to determine which pharmacological compounds in the plant give it its painkilling properties.



Food Backpacks Help Kids in Need

Hungry elementary school students in Moberly, Mo., who might not eat much between lunch on Friday and breakfast at school on Monday, take home backpacks full of food.

Every Friday afternoon, backpacks are placed carefully on the floors of the hallways in the elementary schools of Moberly, Mo. There are 106 of them, each with no child’s name and with no individual owner.  The backpacks are there because the school staff realizes that without them, the children for whom they are intended might go hungry between the last bell of the day on Friday and the first bell Monday morning.

The backpacks are each filled with food. The idea is that the children who need the food will blend in with the hundreds of other boys and girls who get enough to eat at home and that the 106 children will feel no stigma.

“We began to realize that some of these children go home to houses where they literally may not eat over the weekend. And we couldn’t just sit back and not do anything to help them,” said Francine Nichols, the school staff member in charge of the backpack project. “So, three years ago, the backpack program started…We make sure that the food is the kind that a young child can prepare himself or herself, if need be. Because some of these children live in single-parent homes, and when that parent works, not only does it mean that there may not be enough food in the house, but there may not be anyone to fix the meal for the boy or girl.”

Moberly is far from the only school district in the country to have a program like this. Quietly, they exist all over the nation. The weekend-food programs are not run by the federal government, but by local communities that simply can’t stand the idea of children going without enough food. Much of it is provided by the Central Missouri Food Bank in Columbia.

Francine Nichols noted that some parents whose children have been helped by the backpack program contact the school when they have found work again and say that because they are back on their feet, they no longer need the assistance. “And then they begin to provide food for the program; they bring food to school to help other children.”


Health Clinic Lets Patients Work Off Bills

A low-cost health care clinic in Goshen, Indiana, has come up with a business plan that allows patients to pay for treatment with something other than money. At the Maple City Health Care Center, patients can help pay off their medical bills by performing community service.

Last fall, when the unemployment rate in Elkhart County, Indiana, topped 10 percent, clinic workers began noticing that patients weren’t showing up for appointments. Money just wasn’t available for office visits. So James Gingrich, the clinic’s medical director, decided to tap his patients’ skills and resources instead. The clinic began offering $10 an hour toward health care, if a patient volunteered at another non-profit organization.

“The More Than Money program has been a lifeline,” says Stephany Celis, new mom who wondered how, without health insurance, she would pay for her prenatal care.

To date, More Than Money participants have logged about 350 hours of community service.


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Finally Arrives

The perfect solution to Los Angeles traffic?

Skycar Flies from London to Timbuktu

A dune-buggy type car equipped with a massive rear propeller and the ability to deploy a giant fabric parasail when its driver and passenger decide to take to the skies successfully traveled from London to Timbuktu, Mali, in West Africa earlier this year. The trip included successful flights over the Straits of Gibraltar and the Sahara Desert.

The car goes from 0 to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds and drives at a top speed of 140 mph. It takes to the skies at 37 mph and soars at 100 mph. If the engine fails mid-flight, the Skycar can glide to safety. Skycars are on sale for about $80,000. First deliveries are expected in late 2010.


Thought for the Day


With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.



New Evidence That Dark Chocolate Helps Ease Emotional Stress


‘The “chocolate cure” for emotional stress is getting new support from a clinical trial published online in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research. It found that eating about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day for two weeks reduced levels of stress hormones in the bodies of people feeling highly stressed. Everyone’s favorite treat also partially corrected other stress-related biochemical imbalances. Sunil Kochhar and colleagues note growing scientific evidence that antioxidants and other beneficial substances in dark chocolate may reduce risk factors for heart disease and other physical conditions. Studies also suggest that chocolate may ease emotional stress. Until now, however, there was little evidence from research in humans on exactly how chocolate might have those stress-busting effects. In the study, scientists identified reductions in stress hormones and other stress-related biochemical changes in volunteers who rated themselves as highly stressed and ate dark chocolate for two weeks.’

For the full text article visit:

9-Year-Old Warms Hearts (and Feet) of Homeless


“On a chilly Thanksgiving Day in 2004, a young Hannah Turner was helping her mother serve meals at a homeless shelter when she saw something worrisome: a man with ripped shoes and no socks. Pulling off her sneakers, she offered him her tiny pink socks. The next day, she and her mother donated 100 pairs of brand-new socks to the shelter.  Hannah’s Socks was born. A nonprofit organization with the philosophy that ‘no man, woman or child should go without something as basic as a pair of socks,’ Hannah’s Socks has already collected and donated 100,000 pairs of socks to neighbors in need.  It’s all a continuing effort to realize Hannah’s wish: “I want them to know we care.”

 To find out more about donating socks, go to

 Source: Better Homes and Gardens November. 2009

Inmates Come to Guard’s Aid in Jail Attack

Deputy Kenneth Moon was alone at his station at a county jail facility near Tampa, when an inmate attacked him with no warning, putting him in a rear-naked choke hold.  And then, a surprising event ensued. A surveillance video of the Monday attack showed other inmates ran to the rescue. The other inmates joined the fight on the guard’s side, pulling the attacker away from Moon and punching him in the head. One inmate grabbed Moon’s radio immediately and called for back-up.

Col. James Previtera, commander of Hillsborough County’s Department of Detention Services, told reporters he believed that the inmates “saved the deputy’s life.”

“The response of the inmates in this case, I think, speaks volumes as to the fact that we treat these men and women … in our facilities with a lot of respect.” -Previtera