You know what? Sometimes I just want people to be happy. I want them to be giddy. I want them to shut up, drop the everyday drama B.S. and just BE HAPPY! That’s right, DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY! I understand. There’s some awful shit going on in the world. But, you are breathing. You are alive another day to try to improve things for yourself and those around you!

How does a person ditch the “hell in a hand-basket” mood?

I mean, really. How does a person even attempt to get him or herself dislodged from that emotional shitty wasteland? There’s a mix of opinions out there. Of course, I have one, too.

There are a ton of supplements touted as being mood brighteners. Certain amino acids can be of assistance. Many supplements available in the USA are considered neurotransmitters in countries like Canada. Therefore, some of those supplements are not legally allowed to be sold. Personally, I am not convinced the best way to deal with mood issues are by directly tinkering with a person’s neurotransmitters. I prefer to use as many plant substances as possible.

Enter Damiana

Damiana (Turnera diffusa) is an herb I have suggested people use as a mood “brightener.” I feel it is an often overlooked gem of herbal tools. This plant is a native of Mexico, southern Texas, California, New Mexico and other south western areas. It is a shrub like bush with yellow flowers. The Mayan people used this plant for various reasons. It seems to have an overall tonic effect on the body (enhances digestion, etc). Because it is close, geographically, to where I live (the Great Lake region of the USA), it is AFFORDABLE!

Damiana is in the same botanical family as Passion flower. Incidentally, like Passion flower, it has long been prized as an anxiolytic.  Anxiolytic is a fancy word meaning it helps to lessen anxiety symptoms.

“..it (Damiana) has long been prized as an anxiolytic.  Anxiolytic is a fancy word meaning it helps to lessen anxiety symptoms.”

There has been research in to Damiana being an efficient aphrodisiac. Scientists have shown it increases the potency of “tired” rats, among other sexual side effects. Some of the studies I have read indicate this is due to Damiana increasing the nitric oxide in the blood stream.

Damiana acts as an aromatase inhibitor. This means it inhibits androgen from being made into estradiol (an estrogen sometimes linked to some types of cancers).

Damiana liqueur has a long history of use in Mexico and some claim it was used in the original recipe for Margaritas.

 

How do I use Damiana?

Damiana is very popular as a tea. It has a mild flavor. I do not add sweeteners to my teas, so it is nice this herb is not super bitter in flavor.

Encapsulated herbs is a simple and effective way to incorporate Damiana into one’s daily regimen. Be sure to find your Damiana from a company reputable for strict quality control and an excellent safety record.

*Note: excessive quantities of Damiana may cause loose stools (diarrhea). 

You can find Damiana in the Herbchick’s Shop*.

*The studies mentioned  and cited do not directly mention Nature’s Sunshine Products. Any Nature’s Sunshine Products purchased via the Herbchick’s Shop provide commissions for Lori the Herbchick….and she thanks you 😉

 

References

Damiana Benefits & Information (Turnera Diffusa). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-damiana.html

MIND-BLOWING BENEFITS OF DAMIANA HERB. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://globalfoodbook.com/benefits-of-damiana-aphrodisiac

Szewczyk, K., & Zidorn, C. (2014). Ethnobotany, phytochemistry, and bioactivity of the genus Turnera (Passifloraceae) with a focus on damiana—Turnera diffusa. Journal of Ethnopharmacology152(3), 424-443. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2014.01.019

Turnera diffusa – Wikipedia. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turnera_diffusa

Enzymes go to work the second something is placed in your mouth.

OK, so maybe enzymes aren’t exactly “magical,” but they definitely work magically wonderful. The minute you place food into your mouth, location specific enzymes are secreted to break down the simple sugars and starches. Salivary amylase (a.k.a. ptyalin), along with salivary lipase, goes to work on them to get a head start on those nutrients to break them down into smaller units for the next stages.

The stomach is where the proteins are broken down by Hydrochloric acid and pepsin (pepsinogen). The heat, acid, enzymes and churning actions of the stomach muscle go to work on the chewed (hopefully) food.

Notice, I said Hydrochloric acid digests protein. While many people have been conditioned to believe stomach acid is the cause for ills, it is actually very necessary. Pepsin even is dependent upon this acid being present to be active. Remember this when you see commercials for those very famous “purple pills” which shut off the proton pumps in the stomach. Proton pumps are where the acid is secreted. If they shut off, they decrease the stomach acid available to “turn on” the pepsin to get those proteins digested. So, yes, they decrease acid reflux….but they may increase indigestion and the feelings of bloat or nagging “rock in the gut” like complaints.

 

As the food moves out of the stomach, it enters the first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum. This is where the rest of the digestion initiates. Pancreatic amylase goes to work on the partially digested sugars and starches; trypsin and chymotrypsin start the end processing of the proteins; and fats are finally acted upon by lipase in bile. Other, more specialized enzymes, exist to aid in the digestion of certain things. One example is lactase breaking down milk sugar (called lactose). The pulsating waves of peristalsis move this ball of goo through the small intestines to the jejunum and the illium – each section possessing very different, specialized structures – and nutrients being taken into the blood stream by the millions of teeny blood vessels running throughout the organ. The stuff leftover (mostly fluids and fibers) are moved into the large intestine (colon) and the water absorption/regulation takes place.

Enzyme Supplementation

Those who suffer from bloating, gas, bouts of constipation, and other gastro-intestinal issues may have seen advertisements for dietary enzymes supplements. They are marketed to relieve these types of complaints. Some are marketed to assist with specialty enzymes, like lactose and those which break down beans, in order to ease the symptoms of gastric distress felt by some.

There is some disagreement over whether or not these supplementations are even necessary. Some doctors argue a lot of the enzymes are digested before they even get to the proper spot to be of any use. Others are proponents and support their use, wholeheartedly. What is a confused consumer to do? My best advice is to use your head. Have you tried them? Did it increase your feelings of gastric distress or alleviate them? Do you have a medical condition like a peptic ulcer which would be irritated by them? These are questions only you can answer.

What I will say is this: I use enzymes. They help reduce my feelings of a brick being dropped into my gut and help regulate bowel movements. However, I do not feel enzyme supplementation should be “forever thing.” Of course there’s a lot of varied debate, but a “usual” recommendation is to use them for a few months and then ease off. They can be used after or during heavier (think larger) meals or intermittently. A multi-enzyme supplement may contain the following (but certainly is not limited to these):

  •  Alpha-galactosidase
  •  Amylase
  •  Bromelain
  •  Cellulase
  •  Glucoamylase
  •  Hemicellulase
  •  Invertase [Sucrase]
  •  Lactase
  •  Lipase
  •  Maltase
  •  Papain
  •  Peptidase
  •  Protease
  •  Phytase

These are both enzymes usually found in the body, and those found in some foods. However, if there is an acid deficiency or a low level of other enzymes, those food bound enzymes may not ever be “unlocked” to work. What a catch-22, huh?

 

The body was designed to secrete these on its own. As an herbalist, it is my job to suggest natural plant based items which may help your body do what it is designed to do. That being said, check in for the next installment regarding uses for enzymes which may interest you even more.

Sources (among others) :

http://www.amymyersmd.com/2016/04/digestive-enzymes/

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/04/23/digestive-enzymes-help-or-hype

https://www.womentowomen.com/digestive-health/functions-of-digestive-enzymes/

http://www.doctoroz.com/article/boosting-your-immunity-enzymes

 

 

I’m sure you have seen the commercials for laundry detergents using “enzyme action” to rid your clothing of stains. Perhaps you’ve heard of enzymatic products for cleaning other items, like certain metals? But do you really know what enzymes are?

According to the dictionary, enzymes are “a substance produced by a living organism that acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction.” So every single act of breaking something down and putting things together in the body (or pretty much any living organism) is made possible by enzymes. Every single action form the replication of DNA and RNA all the way to breaking down nutrients is made possible by these specialty protein powerhouses. What I am going to concentrate on, here, are the enzymes responsible for digesting foods. These are commonly known as DIGESTIVE ENZYMES.

Digestive Enzymes are classified as hydrolases. These are the types of enzymes which break things down into tiny building blocks. There are many different types of enzymes. Each is specific to a certain type of food or food component. An example is pepsin and trypsin working specifically on proteins; or, lipase working directly upon dietary fats. But, where do these enzymes come from? Are we just born with them? Do we consume them?

Starch digestion begins in the mouth with the enzymes contained in saliva. This breaks down simple sugars as the food is mechanically broke down by the action of chewing. In the stomach, hydrochloric acid and pepsin work to break down the proteins as the stomach itself churns and works the food around (incidentally, did you know acid is required for the production of pepsin? hmmmm). The small intestine is where the liver and pancreas sends enzymes to break down the long chains of proteins into smaller and smaller amino acids which can then be adsorbed by the small intestinal walls, into the blood stream and sent out to the cells for fuel. These are the enzymes which the human body is responsible for producing by itself. This is a list of enzymes, along with their sources and functions: https://scioly.org/wiki/index.php/Digestive_Secretion_List

There are wsome enzymes present in the foods we eat which can act as digestive aids. An example of this is bromelain and its ability to help break down meats. When I was a kid, my grandma used to cook pork with pineapple. I’m sure it was because she liked the taste, but she was helping make that pork easier for our stomachs to digest. Many veggies and fruits contain enzymes with various beneficial roles.

Any damages to the lining of the gut (stomach and/or intestine) can impair the body’s ability to secrete enzymes and/or absorb the broken down food products. This can be very concerning as painful conditions like indigestion, acid reflux, etc often occur. And if you noticed my note above, acid is required for the activation of some enzymes. What catch 22!

The next series of post installments will deal with enzymes. I want to investigate their functions, benefits, and how you can use them to help yourself.

 

 

 

 

“Time, time, time
See what’s become of me
While I looked around
For my possibilities
I was so hard to please”

(The Bangles – Hazy Shade Of Winter Lyrics | MetroLyrics)

 

Oh the possibilities!

It is time for me to talk about Thyme. Many people have heard for this plant, but few have first hand knowledge or use it. I feel it is an often neglected plant as it can be easily disregarded as “just a kitchen herb.” But what an herb it is! It holds the potential to be a huge immune booster in this time of anti-biotic resistance. You see, thyme has long been used in respiratory ailments. The ancient Romans used it for this purposes and are thought to be the ones who introduced it to Britain. During the time of the plague of Black Death, small bouquets of thyme were sniffed to aid those hoping to avoid catching the illness. IT has been noted by the herbalist Culpepper to be “…a noble strengthener of the lungs, as notable a one as grows, nor is there a better remedy growing for hooping cough. It purgeth the body of phlegm and is an excellent remedy for shortness of breath. It is so harmless you need not fear the use of it. An ointment made of it takes away hot swellings and warts, helps the sciatica and dullness of sight and takes away any pains and hardness of the spleen: it is excellent for those that are troubled with the gout and the herb taken anyway inwardly is of great comfort to the stomach.” Gerard, a notable herbalist in the Middle Ages,  suggested its use for pains in the head, leprosy and the “falling sickness.”

Have you used Listerine? One of the ingredients in the popular mouthwash is Thymol. This is the oil of thyme. While many sources insist the active ingredients in Listerine have no benefit at all, I beg to differ, All of the active ingredients have been shown to be bactericidal to some degree. Not only does it taste great with lemon on baked white fish, but it has been long used in the meat industry during the preservation process. Studies as recent as 2016 show thyme has a bactericidal effect on the the strains of bacteria causing meat born pathogens, like listeria, etc.

At a time where a lot of us are coming out the “Hazy Shades of Winter,” Thyme is one natural tool in the chest to combat those seasonal illnesses which seem to crop up.

Thyme to use it

I, personally, love to use thyme for respiratory illness. There is a blend I particularly suggest to my family and clients, called Fenugreek & Thyme, which may help to reduce the inflammation of the sinus mucous membranes and relieve that feeling of pressure in the head.

A tea (decoction) of thyme herb may be sipped to help when there is sore throat and/or inflammation of the tonsils.

Thyme has been used as a carmative, as well. This means it relaxes smooth muscles and allows for the alleviation of indigestion like feelings.

Some studies suggest that using Thyme may enhance the effect of some other antibacterial substances. In an age of antibiotic resistant infections, this is good to know.

The essential oil of thyme (thymol) has been shown to be antimicrobial in many studies. I like to add a few drops of thyme oil to my mop water and to the solution I use to clean my bathroom. I have seen the essential oil of thyme included in many blends used as deodorants, both for the armpits and the house. Making a rinse containing a few drops of thyme essential oil may help to prevent skin rashes and/or infections. Studies have been done on the decoction of thyme used as a wash, of sorts, to deter acne. In one such study, it outperformed OTC acne remedies.

**Thyme oil may be irritating to some. It is suggested to do a patch test when investigating using the essential oil for yourself. It is contraindicated in times of pregnancy.

Isn’t about Thyme you use it, too?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/thygar16.html, accessed 2/21/2017

 

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-thyme.html, accessed 02/21/2017

http://www.healthline.com/health/health-benefits-of-thyme, accessed 02/21/2017

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-823-thyme.aspx?activeingredientid=823&activeingredientname=thyme, accessed 02/21/2017

http://www.offthegridnews.com/alternative-health/medicinal-uses-of-thyme/, accessed 02/21/2017

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266016.php, accessed 02/21/2017

 

  1. http://https://youtu.be/i1pXTtktej8

 

A plethora of stars have been in the spotlight lately for flipping their age to the big 6-0. Aging is one thing that no one escapes. We all get older, whether we like it or not. So what have these stars been stressing? SELF CARE.

 

That’s right, they have been stressing the importance of taking care of yourself. Eat right; sleep well; exercise…all of it…the total package. How many times have you heard, “take care of yourself or you won’t be able to take care of anyone else” ? As a mother, I hear it. However, for most of us it is much easier said than done. The biggest thing I have heard from my clients, and even myself, is the financial costs associated with purchasing supplements and/or the lost wages in taking the time away from income earning pursuits. I know the struggle. Believe me I understand! But I also understand what happens when a person gets so run down s/he cannot function any longer. Many times I catch myself pushing things to the limit. Throughout the years I have come down with influenza A, influenza B, multiple UTIs, and frequent migraines. I have found them to be challenging learning processes – very blunt life lessons taught through pain and humbling circumstances. I am now even more dedicated to taking care of myself. After all, it is truly the best insurance you could ever have!

 

Below is a video where I talk about self care being the best insurance a person can have. It is from a periscope live video I did a while back. I want to make sure all of you know I am dedicated to work with anyone who is dedicated to taking care of him or her self. I am open to discussing working with medical doctors, other natural practitioners, etc. After all, we are all on this planet together and we must all use every single resource possible to further the experience for all. So, watch the video and, as always, take care of yourself.

 

 

Energetic healing is something I think a lot of people misunderstand. Techniques such as Reiki, Touch for Health, Therapeutic Touch, or others too numerous to list look at the individual as consisting of a physical, flesh and blood body, and an energetic body. Each effects the other and, in these modes of thinking, must be kept in proper working order to achieve balance.

Energetics have always fascinated me. I have countless books throughout the years on the above mentioned approaches and the ancient Ayurvedic chakra systems and the Barbara Brennan Healing Hands methods and Traditional Chinese Medicine….on and on. So, when a friend of mine put me in contact with someone who was a Reiki Master and Teacher, I jumped at the experience! I wanted to know how to do that. I wanted to be able to help people I wanted to be able to soothe energies and be that channel. And so I went. I did my level I and II training with the same woman. She was gracious enough to travel from Rhode Island to Ohio in order to share with us. But as things go, I lost contact with her. I was unable to line things up to continue my training.

 

A few years later, I ran into a woman who had a wonderful energy about her. She was a yoga teacher and a Reiki Master and Teacher. She and I traded services for some time. After about six months of trading Reiki sessions and essential oils, she offered to pass along the Reiki Master/Teacher level attunement. I am honored she felt I was ready and I am blessed to have received it.

 

Fast forward through the last ten years and my receiving more and more Reiki training in various styles, techniques and modes. I have received attunements not only in Usui Reiki but in Khundalini and Reiju, as well as others. I now teach and offer the attunements, as well as seeing clients for sessions. It has made a difference in my life. After a few weeks of feeling myself slip off the edge energetically, I come back to my teachings. I center. I focus. I soothe the energies. Even if I cannot realize what I need in the moment, I find it back. I pick up my teachings, and I begin again.

 

What is Reiki?

As I was taught, Reiki is a Japanese word meaning Divine Wisdom or Divine Love life force. It refers to the energy which flows through all. It is not originated with the practitioner. He/she is merely a channel for the energy from the universal life force to the client. Some like to refer to this as the healing energy of God. Some like to call it prana, or the breath of life. Does it really matter what it is called?

This energy flows through all living beings. At times the channels in the energetic body are thought to become clogged or dys-functional. The attuned practitioner acts as a funnel and conduit to redirect those energies. The practice involves the person performing the Reiki to be mentally focusing on the receiver. He/she may lay hands on the receiver or hold them slightly above the receiver’s physical body. This does not require the removal of clothing, although some massage therapists may incorporate it into their practices. This would mean the client was partially disrobed anyway. It should never feel threatening or uncomfortable in any way to the receiver not the giver. The receiver may experience a sensation of heat, vibration, mood shifts, or nothing at all. The sender’s hands may become hot or feel as if they were buzzing. The experience seems to be a bit different for everyone. However, now science is showing the promise of these modalities.

 

Science backing

 

In the American Journal of Palliative Care a study on Reiki being used for oncology patients at a day facility (Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2012 Jun;29(4):290-4. doi: 10.1177/1049909111420859. Epub 2011 Oct 13.), favorable results have been found for the use of Reiki. “Overall, the sessions were felt helpful in improving well-being, relaxation, pain relief, sleep quality and reducing anxiety. Offering Reiki therapy in hospitals could respond to patients’ physical and emotional needs.”

In a 2015 study involving bariatric surgery patients (Explore (NY). 2015 May-Jun;11(3):208-16. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2015.02.006. Epub 2015 Feb 17.), ” Healing Touch intervention is feasible and acceptable to patients undergoing bariatric surgery, and significantly improved pain, nausea, and anxiety in these patients.” This study looked at patients receiving Healing Touch sessions in day one and two of post operative care.

A 2010 article in the Journal of Holistic Nursing states (J Holist Nurs. 2010 Sep;28(3):193-200. doi: 10.1177/0898010110368861. Epub 2010 Jun 28.) that when “compared with those who received usual care, participants who received TT had significantly lower level of pain, lower cortisol level, and higher NKC level.” TT stands for Therapeutic Touch, which is an energetics system taught and practiced by medical nurses.

A June 2016 article in the Journal of Oncology Nursing (Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2016 Jun 1;20(3):E77-81. doi: 10.1188/16.CJON.E77-E81.) points out that Reiki outperformed massage and yoga as a method to help manage pain, decrease stress and anxiety, and improve mood of cancer patients.

There is research to support Reiki as a way to aid community mental health professionals suffering from burnout type symptoms (J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Aug;21(8):489-95. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0403. Epub 2015 Jul 13.). Reiki recipients have been shown to use less pain medications after C-section births (Holist Nurs Pract. 2016 Nov/Dec;30(6):368-378.).

There is more and more research done on this type of therapy every single day!

In a world where prescription pain medications are now thought to act as gateway drugs to dangerous street drugs like heroin; diseases associated with high stress and increased chronic pain like fibromyalgia and post traumatic stress disorders are running rampant, why could we not turn to trying Reiki? It does no harm.

Anyone interested in Reiki sessions (both in person and distance recipients) and/or learning more about it and receiving attunements, please do not hesitate to let me know!

 

A lady once told me, “I don’t need to cleanse because I already poop three times a day.” Really? Is that all people think cleansing is? It only encompasses how many times a person manages to drop a deuce in a day?

This is what we get when people rush out to buy cheaply formulated “cleanse” products which only serve to purge the intestines. What the heck happened to common sense? Good cleanses do not merely move the bowels – and they most certainly do not move them in such a way that would cause irritation and swelling. While finding a cleanse which works for your individual body type and make up may take some time, do not blindly take cleanses which do nothing past turning you into a “salad shooter.”

 

There are different types of “cleanses” which range from something as simple as laying of the refined foods for a time and allowing your body to recoup from the burden of excess simple sugars, etc, all the way to target cleanses designed to get the bile moving to “flush” the liver. So let’s start with some common sense:

Any time you fill your body with fresh, whole foods and leave out overly processed foods, you may have a “cleansing response”

What does this mean? Well, if you eat peanut butter and high fructose corn syrup laden grape jelly on white bread washed down with a red cream soda every single day and then suddenly switch to all fresh veggies, you may experience some diarrhea, cramping, etc. This does not mean the veggies gave you diarrhea. They could have but only because your body is not used to them. Any time you upgrade the quality of your nutrition, you run the risk of the body throwing off excessive amounts of toxins. I have people tell me all the time, “I can’t eat vegetables. They give me diarrhea,” only to find out they only eat them once or twice a year! No WONDER they are giving diarrhea! The body doesn’t even know what the heck they are!

It all evens out

Unless the person has some odd-ball condition like some diverticulitis type of things (it does happen…and is not limited to diverticulitis), slowly progressing into a more whole diet will become easier for the body to tolerate. The explosive results should not stay. As I said, this is barring some condition like a food intolerance or diverticulitis, or some other dys-functional state of the body. Even then, cooking the veggies, or just a light steaming, can make them more tolerable.

 

“Good” cleanses

Now, there are juice cleanses, colon cleanses, liver cleanses, kidney cleanses…really the list just keeps going on. The main type of cleanse I’d like to address is the kind which flush the liver. The liver is the main toxic waste sorting center of the body. Not all chemicals, but a lot of them, which circulate in the body go to the liver to be processed for disposal. It’s just like your garbage going into a chute in an apartment building. You toss it in the chute. It goes to the basement, maybe, where it is then moved to the holding area. There, it might be compacted or re-bagged, or tagged, or something to reprocess it for the purpose of getting it out of the building. That’s what the liver does. It processes these chemicals to get them out of your body. Usually this is done through a whole string of chemical reactions including methylation, and more. It can get extremely technical, but the end point being the liver turns these chemicals into substances which can be eliminated out of the body either through sweat, feces, urine, and even the vapors of the breath.

 

What I refer to as “good” cleanses contain some key components:

A liver flusher

Any herb which increases the flow of bile could fall in to this category. I like to use bitter greens like yellow dock or burdock paired with berberine containing herbs like Oregon grape root, etc. The increase in bile is thought to stimulate the process of ridding the body of toxins.

A fiber blend

This should be a blend of soluble and insoluble fibers. It should be gentle enough to not add to the irritation which may be occurring in the intestinal tract already. Also, it should not taste like a cardboard box just took residence in your mouth. I like to suggest a fiber blend containing things like psyllium (if tolerated. Some people have allergies to this one and do better on something else), marshmallow root, slippery elm, and more. This fiber blend can act as a sponge to oak up the bile. Then, it becomes a ball of goo which should work its way through.

A bowel mover

Too much fiber without locomotion makes a brick wall in your bowels. A bowel mover can be either a laxative like senna or an herb like Cascara Sagrada which acts by stimulating the parastalsis movements of the intestinal walls. I consider Senna to be equivalent to a jack hammer. Some people need this type of action. Others do not. However, be aware of the difference.

A soother

The bile which is thrown off can be extremely irritating to the bowel. There is no need to intentionally increase pain! That’s just crazy. That’s why I have suggested to some clients to add soothing, cooling herbs like some forms of aloe, yucca, or cat’s claw to their cleanses to reduce the potential for angry intestinal reactions.

A mood booster

Science has shown us that the gut has an enormous amount of nerve activity going on. It is now thought to function as a “second brain” and has more neurotransmitter receptors for compounds like serotonin, etc than any other part of the body INCLUDING THE BRAIN!  Long used terms such as “a gut feeling” now take on new meaning since science is supporting the emotional link to gut health. Since the gut includes the intestinal system (it does not stop at the stomach), it only stands to reason that emotional support may be needed to help a cleanse go well. I like to use flower essences for this. Individual remedies may work, but I find the blends to do a much better job, overall.

A diuretic

Keeping the fluids flowing through the urinary system is a must! Dandelion, uva ursi, and other diuretic herbs may aid in keeping all the waters flowing in the proper direction.

Vitamin and Mineral support

Dandelion is such a wonderful herb. It is full of minerals necessary to keep the body balanced. Multi mineral and multi vitamin products may help as well. The trick is finding which one(s) work the best for you, individually.

 

These are just some places to start. Seeing a natural health consultant or herbalist who can help you narrow down your choices may be beneficial for you.

 

I attended a series of seminars a few years ago which focused on inflammation being the root cause of disease.  I don’t think I truly understood the entire body of information the speakers were presenting…until now.

 

Look around you. How many people do you see who suffer from conditions which have been diagnosed as “fibromyalgia,” “rheumatoid arthritis,” athlersclerosis,” “gout,” “inflammatory bowel disease,” etc? What do all of these medical conditions have in common? INFLAMMATION. They all are inflammatory conditions. This means they are conditions in which the body’s tissues are swollen, hot to the touch many times, and painful.

Check out these stats:

-The National Institute for Health estimates 23.5 million people in the US have an autoimmune disorder (https://www.aarda.org/autoimmune-information/autoimmune-statistics/)

-The CDC estimates half of all adults have periodontal disease (inflammatory disease of the gums) (https://www.perio.org/consumer/cdc-study.htm)

-Scientists estimate 5 million Americans from the age of 18 and up have fibromyalgia (http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/fibromyalgia/fibromyalgia_ff.asp)

-52.5 million Americans are estimated to have inflammatory arthritis (http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/arthritis.htm)

-Inflammatory bowel diseases (this tag includes Chrone’s, IBS, and ulcerative colitis, etc) is estimated to affect as many as 1.4 million Americans (http://www.ccfa.org/resources/facts-about-inflammatory.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/)

 

The list goes on and on and on.

I know there are cases of autoimmune disorders where no known cause is ever found. That is sad, and very true. However, what would happen if we dealt with the body’s inflammatory response in a bit more natural way, when possible (hey – sometimes you just can’t, and that’s when I am thankful for modern medicine and doctors who are open-minded and truly altruistic).

What can be used?

Turmeric

Turmeric is an herb used in a lot of Asian cooking. You may recognize it as the yellow seasoning used in a lot of Indian dishes. It contains a chemical called curcumin which, along with other chemical constituents in turmeric, has been shown to decrease inflammation in some studies. (Please see https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/turmeric and follow the cited reseacrh from there)

 

 

Ginger

Ginger has been shown to act as a COX2 inhibitor. Cyclooxygenases (1 and 2) are enzymes which perform a variety of functions in the body. Specifically, they are involved in the inflammatory response. They trigger certain hormones and such to make the body swell. NSAIDs (like naprosyn, ibuprofen, etc) are non-specific anti-inflammatories because they act against both enzymes. However, long term use has been shown to damage the lining of the stomach or the kidneys (depending on where the drug is adsorbed or broken down). You may recall the recall of certain prescriptions (Viox, Celebrex, etc) which were recalled in the late 1990’s due to side effects of heart attacks and more. These drugs were manufactured to work against the COX2 enzyme specifically. Ginger has this ability to inhibit COX2! The difference is ginger will not give someone a heart attack (to my knowledge). Here is just one fo the studies showing it’s efficacy: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3018740/

 

Ginger is often an ingredient in various cleanses because it relaxes the smooth muscle of the digestive tract,  and helps to relieve the swelling.

Ashwaghanda

I cannot say enough about this herb! I dearly love it and I am trying to grow it in a pot, here in Ohio.

There are many studies regarding it’s ability to act as an anti inflammatory,  but the study I cite below it had been shown to act as an antiinflammatory in rats with collagen-induced arthritis.  This is very promising. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24188460

Ashwaghanda has been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine. In my book,  that counts for more than studies on lab rats. Many formulas used to combat the stresses of every day life comtain Ashwaghanda.

Yucca

Yucca is often overlooked.  It is a native of the Americas.  Often grown as an ornamental plant,  it seems to function as an acid reducer. One class I attended in Utah in the early 2000’s highlighted the saponification action displayed by the root. This bubbling reaction brought down the acidity level of the vinegar to which it was added. The proof was in the pH paper.

 

There are many products where yucca can be found,  along with other herbs historically used to benefit those who suffer from arthritic-like pains.

 

While this is nowhere near the entire list of herbs which help decrease inflammation,  they can be a good place to start.

Remember each person is different and different herbs work better for different people.  To further narrow down what may be the most beneficial for you,  schedule an appointment for a consultation with me. Together, we can get your possibilities widdled down to increase your chances for success!

 

 

 

A person randomly messaged me recently and asked me, “…and what do your herbs cure?” WOW! That’s a loaded question! You see, in the U.S., the word “cure” is a no-no for those who not medical doctors. Even medical doctors are somewhat reluctant to use the word when it comes to certain situations. Given that I did not know with whom I was chatting, I answered with the long version. I informed the prospective customer that I do not practice medicine (which I don’t); that using the words “cure, treat, diagnose” and a few others may be misconstrued as the practice of medicine in the United States and therefore I do not use them…EVER! I went on to explain how herbs, supplements, etc feed the body various nutrients and phytochemicals it could be lacking. Through this “nourishment” the body may be able to restore its own balance and achieve homeostasis. I further went on to explain how I use an assortment of traditional assessment techniques to form an idea of where each of my client’s stand and offer up advice in a “what I would do if I were you,” kind of way to my clients. It is completely the choice of each individual if they would like to try it out or not and I ALWAYS advise he/she to double check everything with a pharmacist if on medications and to be sure to share their products with their medical practitioners.

 

This is all very true. For those who would like to learn more about natural health modalities throughout the world, I encourage you to look up research at www.pubmed.gov. This website is sponsored by the United States’ Federal Government’s office on NCAM. I AM allowed to point to various studies and cite them as examples of the successful use of a natural remedy. For those in Ohio, please look into supporting the Ohio Sunshine Freedom Coalition (http://www.ohiohealthfreedom.info/). This organization is working hard to enact protection laws in the state of Ohio that would allow consultants, such as myself, to practice without fear with informed consent from the client.

Be strong out there, people….do not allow your rights to be lost! Be informed!