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Archive for Natural Health Product Benefits

The Fuss About Fiber

fiber, fibre, health, foodFiber. Yep, we need it. We all know that. But how much and why? What’s all the fuss about?

Fiber is the indigestible portion of the plant foods in our diet. It doesn’t break down for nutrients and it doesn’t burn to produce energy, but it is still important. There are two types that we need: soluble and insoluble

The soluble I call sponges. They soak up toxins and other noxious stuff to get it through the digestive tract and out of the body. They include prebiotics that feed the friendly fiber that aids digestion, beta-glucans that help lower cholesterol, and other mucilage that helps move the bowels. Foods rich in soluble fiber include nuts, many fruits and vegetables, root veggies like sweet potatoes, beans, peas, and whole grains.

The insoluble I call brooms – they sweet and clean the digestive and intestinal tracts. They provide absolutely no nutritive value, but “sweep” these tracts and they pass through. Foods rich in insoluble fiber are similar to those rich in soluble fiber but include the peelings of many of these fruits and vegetables.

Because of their cleansing effects on the digestive and intestinal tracts, there are many benefits of adequate fiber. Reducing cholesterol and triglycerides helps to promote cardiovascular health. Diseases like diabetes and obesity are helped because the fiber-rich foods slow the absorption of sugars in the blood to help correct the underlying causes of these diseases. They obviously help prevent constipation and keeping the colon cleanse aids in the prevention of colon cancers and helps promote overall colon health.

So how much fiber do you need? One source I found quoted: “The Institute of Medicine recommends that men under 50 should get about 38 grams of fiber daily and at least 30 grams if they are over 50. The recommendation for women is slightly lower: 25 grams under 50 and 21 grams over 50. Children, of course, needless. Unfortunately, the average American (both adults and children) consumes about half the grams of fiber they need.”

Adding fiber is both important and easy if you pay attention. Make it a priority and enjoy better health.

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of frankincense and of myrrh.”  Matthew 2:11.

What were these gifts that we read about every Christmas?  Gold is the one most of us know the most about.  As a precious metal, it was certainly a gift worthy of a king.  And of the other two, probably all we have been taught is that they were aromatic spices used in burial ceremonies.  But there is more.

In the book of Leviticus, worshippers were told to add frankincense to their grain offerings and burn them before the Lord.  Even today one of the best-known aromatherapy sources says that frankincense can be added to our logs for the fireplace and that the fragrance of the burning frankincense is a wonderful addition to our festive occasions.

Frankincense is a gum resin obtained from the bark of a tree that grows in Somalia, China, Ethiopia, and Southern Arabia.  Besides its current use in religious incenses, it is also therapeutic in the treatment of sores, wounds, fevers, coughs, colds, stress, bronchitis, laryngitis, nervous conditions and tension.

Victoria Edwards in her book The Aromatherapy Companion states “Frankincense acts as an antiseptic, expectorant, astringent (to uterine and mucous membranes), and digestive aid.  It treats anxiety, nervous tension, infections of the urinary tract, leprosy, wounds, and hemorrhages.  Frankincense is burned in the Catholic Church to protect against evil spirits.  The scent has an elevating, warming, and soothing effect on the mind and emotions.  Frankincense is ideal for meditation because it slows and deepens the breath.”

Myrrh is also a resin from the bark of a tree.  And this tree also grows in Somalia, Ethiopia and North Africa.  Having been known to cure mouth ulcers, it has links to use in dentistry.

The ancient Egyptians used myrrh for embalming.  It is cooling to the skin, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and purifying.  It treats uterine disorders, laryngitis, cuts, cracked heels, wounds, ulcers, and wasting degenerative disease.

Myrrh can enhance visualization, expand awareness, and calm fears about the future.  What a perfect addition to our preparation for the millennium ahead.

Valerie Cooksley’s book Aromatherapy: A Lifetime Guide to Healing with Essential Oils points out another interesting fact about both of these gifts.  She uses both essential oils from these resins to treat depression … especially the depression that accompanies loss.  She indicates that they are very helpful in dealing with grief and bereavement.  Perhaps as we meditate on the joyous season of the birth of our Savior, these gifts will help us to reflect also on the price He paid for our salvation.

May we at this season give to Him our selves as pure gold, refined “in the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10)”.  May the holiday season find you rich with family and the love of friends.  And may the dawning of the new millennium bring you continued good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1: 29.

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Super Spices

spicesSpice up your life! Doesn’t that conjure up exotic thoughts of passion and that “something special” about adding a new dimension to your life? Interestingly, the whole idea of spices is to add that something special. Food can be just nourishment to keep us alive, but add some spices and turn the meal to pure joy! There are thousands of spies; here are some of my favorites.

Cinnamon is listed in most texts as one of the spices that spurred world exploration. Studies conducted by Japanese researchers have shown that it contains a substance that is both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. It helps to control virulent outbreaks by many microorganisms including the one that causes botulism and staphylococcus. Historically it has been used for treating bronchitis, arthritis, diarrhea, stomach upset, fever, nausea, parasites, rheumatism, and vomiting. Besides, don’t you just love hot cinnamon apples on a cold winter day?

The Spaniards introduced Ginger to the Americas in the 16th century. It is known to inhibit an enzyme that causes cells to clot and, as such, help to prevent “little strokes”. It helps to relieve nausea, to relieve congestion in the sinus cavities, to warm blood vascular stimulation, to treat sore throats, and as a body cleanser. Herbalists have long recommended it as a regulator of blood cholesterol and to improve blood circulation. In China, ginger is used for bronchitis, flu, and the first stages of the common cold. And at the table, it adds a special zing to some otherwise bland cuisine.

Herbalists have used Clove for centuries to cure nausea and rid the stomach and intestine of gas. Its essential oil is today one of the most effective pain relieving agents used by dentists and has broad-spectrum antibiotic properties. It also helps relieve bad breath, poor circulation, dizziness, nausea, and dysentery. Oh, by the way, it is also said to increase sex drive (just what you need on those cold winter nights!).

Star anise adds the delightful flavor of licorice. It was used by the Romans to provide a delightful palette and to help prevent indigestion from overeating. And today it is a popular addition to cough syrups, mouthwashes, candies, and bakery goods. It is a cell stimulator for the heart, liver, brain, and lungs, and its volatile oils can be helpful for treating bronchitis, spasmodic asthma, and emphysema. It can also be used for colds, coughs, indigestion, excessive mucus, pneumonia, loss of appetite, and stimulating most of the glands.

Oregano was named by the Greeks and means “joy of the mountain.” Technically it is wild marjoram. While its aromatic influence is to strengthen the feeling of security, it has anti-viral qualities. It may aid the body in balancing metabolism and is useful as a tea for coughs, stomach and gallbladder problems, and menstrual pains. “Oregano has also been used for nervous headaches, irritability, exhaustion, and as a sedative. It is thought to prevent seasickness. It can be applied externally for swelling, rheumatism, and a stiff neck. Chewing on an oregano leaf provides temporary relief for a toothache.”

“Basil was said to have been found growing around Christ’s tomb after the resurrection, and some churches use basil to prepare holy water while others set it around their altars. The Indians swore their oaths upon this herb.” Its aromatic influence is reported by many to help one have an open mind. “Basil is food for the brain. When you feel victimized or criticized, eat some basil.” Basil also works as an antidepressant, is helpful for nervous exhaustion and mental fatigue is anti-viral in its use against the flu and helps to relieve itching and ringworm. It may also be used for indigestion, kidney and bladder problems, headaches, cramps, and constipation. And in Africa, it is used to expel parasitic worms.

These and many other have medicinal value. That can sound dry and clinical, but they also just add joy to our lives. Isn’t that what makes them “Super Spices?” And that is a blessing.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com.

The Need for Vitamins and Minerals

This is a little illustration I use every day at the store.  You see, every day, without exception, I have two or three customers who come in with the same question -–”What have you got for energy?”  It seems that in our hectic-paced lives, we find less and less energy to keep us going.  But I find that about four out of every five of my customers report a marked increase in their energy levels after only one week by taking a good, balanced multiple vitamin and mineral supplement.

And, yes, I do have a special one that I like to recommend.  It’s a “Super Supplemental” containing a good blend of all your common (and necessary) vitamins and minerals plus a few of the more important phytonutrients like choline, lycopene, lutein, inositol, and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA).  Unlike most other products on the market, these ingredients are mainly derived from herbs and other natural sources.  This base of herb and vegetable powders increases absorption and assimilation of the necessary nutrients and provides additional antioxidant and nutritional benefits.

Here’s the illustration.  Consider that every cell in your body is an island (actually, it is).  The “river” in which those islands sit is called interstitial fluid.  From the river, the islands draw nutrients, water, and oxygen.  Then what they do is use these as building materials to produce a substance abbreviated to ATP.  ATP is the form of energy that the body needs to carry out most of its actions and reactions.  This ATP is then placed back into the “river” along with waste byproducts and carbon dioxide.  So, here’s the key: IF THE BODY DOES NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT NUTRIENTS, IT CAN’T PRODUCE ENERGY!

Of course, there are other factors to consider.  Are you getting enough deep, uninterrupted sleep?  Do you set aside times for rest and relaxation away from work and the daily grind?  Are you drinking enough water (take your body weight, divide it by two – that’s how many ounces of water you need to consume in a day)?  Are you overweight?  How much do you exercise (this affects your body’s ability to get enough oxygen to the cells)?

And what happens if the “river” (the interstitial fluid) gets too congested?  Not only is energy flow impeded, but also communication between the cells is inhibited.  With this breakdown of intercellular communication, our tissues begin to break down.  Tissues make up our organs, and our organs constitute body systems.  With these breakdowns come diseases.

Another problem with our hectic lifestyles is the way we eat.  How often do you sit down with your family for a relaxed, unhurried, home-cooked (from nutritional foods), nutritionally well-balanced meal?  Actually, do ANY of those characteristics describe your meals?  Stress affects digestion! So what are the chances that you’re able to get even minimal nutrients from your meals?

Yes, you need to schedule more rest and relaxation.  Yes, you need to reduce stress and get better sleep.  Yes, you need to exercise more, lose some weight, and drink more water.  But doesn’t it just make sense to add the vital nutrition of a well-balanced vitamin and mineral supplement to your daily intake?  It’s the best supplement money you can spend.

Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com. Our full staff are now offering affordable private consultations – call to schedule yours!

As Sweet As… Well, Stevia!

You might be looking for an alternative to sugar — one that doesn’t carry a warning label, or affect your health the way sugar does. You’re in the right place. Let’s talk about the “sweet little secret” from South America.

Much of the world uses a natural herb named Stevia Rebaudiana to sweeten things like soft drinks, candy, gum, cakes, pies, ice cream, pickles, seafood and vegetables. It’s a small, perennial shrub native to Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. It’s grown in China, Japan, Malaysia, Israel, all over South America and many other places.

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Aloe Vera – A Boon to Your Home

You may be looking for relief from a skin condition. Or maybe you’re interested in the many benefits of Aloe Vera and how you might cultivate the plant in your home. In either case you’re in the right place.

Sometimes called “Lily of the Desert” and “Medicine Plant,” Aloe carries a worldwide reputation of being a plant that heals. It’s one of the oldest known therapeutic herbs. Greek history from 2,000 years ago relates that Aloe was a true and effective treatment for everything from constipation to burns to kidney ailments. And it’s believed that the Egyptians used the Aloe plant in their secret process of embalming. Not exactly a household use, but there’s much more to the wonderful Aloe plant.

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Aromatherapy – The Nose Knows (and so does the body)

Do you remember entering your grandmother’s kitchen and being greeted by the aroma of fresh bread in the oven?  How about the smell of a hot apple pie, the spicy pungency of your dad’s aftershave, or the scent of the earth right after a spring rain?  I have a friend who has, with age, lost her sense of smell and she often tells me how much real joy has been lost in her life as a result.

For several years I taught a ten-week course on herbs for the various body systems and every time we got to the digestive system I asked, “Where does the digestive process begin?”  Obvious answers are “on the tongue” or “in the mouth.”  But the real answer is “in the nose.”  That’s right.  As soon as we smell our food, in anticipation, our bodies begin to secrete digestive juices in both the mouth and the stomach.  That’s one reason it is so important to “prepare” to eat our meals.  Smell the aromas.  Savor the smells.  Take time to chew and enjoy the food.

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