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Archive for Natural Health Product Benefits

July

Overview:
Awareness: Herbal & Prescription, National Culinary Arts, National Therapeutic Recreation, UV Safety, World Hepatitis
Flower: Water Lily
Gemstone: Ruby
Trees: Apple, Fir, Elm, Cypress

Independence Day (United States of America):
The 4th of July is the busiest day of the year for firefighters and emergency rooms. As we celebrate the birth of a nation it is important to keep in mind some safety tips when using fireworks. And, how to administrate first-aid to injuries that may occur.

If you’re planning to set off fireworks on your own, make sure doing so is permitted in your area and do it in a location free of fire hazards and away from structures like your home or garage. Arrange the fireworks on a stable, fireproof surface with a foot or more of space between each device to prevent them from lighting each other. Read any and all safety and warning labels. Keep a bucket of water, garden hose, or fire extinguisher to hand. There’s a lot of common sense involved with fireworks-keep your children and pets away from them, don’t look down the barrel of a spent or loaded tube, don’t hold lit fireworks in your hands, don’t set yourself on fire, etc. It’s ideal to refresh or teach “Stop, Drop and Roll”- If a person is on fire stop them from running around, lay them on the ground, and smother the flames by rolling the person onto them or with a blanket, jacket or something similar.
Position the fireworks so they’re downwind of spectators-the wind should blow the sparks, smoke, and whatnot away from bystanders. And, they should stand 25 feet or more back if you’re lighting fountains and 100 yards or so away if you’re shooting rockets into the air. Light each firework one at a time, then stand back and wait for that device to finish its display before stepping forward to light another. Should a device fail to explode in an expected manner, do not attempt to re-light it. Sparklers are dangerous. Hot enough to cook an egg, children should be instructed on safe handling ahead of time and supervised while playing with them. A frequent cause of injury is picking up a spent, but still hot sparkler. After the display, soak all the used fireworks-duds or spent-with your garden hose. It’s a good idea to have a bucket of sand or water specifically for the purpose of dropping used sparklers into.

It’s always a good idea to have a first-aid kit in your home and car. These kits need to be checked and maintained periodically. Make sure the contents aren’t used up or expired and to update it with July 4th specific supplies. These include:

  • Sterile Saline Solution for cleaning eyes and can also be used to clean debris out of wounds on the rest of your body. Cling Wrap or similar can be used to protect burns while you transport a person to the ER or wait for an ambulance. Second Skin Moist Burn pads are a good way to protect and cool minor burns.
  • Aloe Vera gel and lavender essential oil can help treat and “cool” burns in the days following the accident.
  • Pain relievers expire, so check the dates and make sure you have some that are up to date. Burns hurt!
  • Blunt tip scissors are handy for cutting clothing off injured areas without stabbing yourself or the victim.
  • It’s also a good idea to have a dedicated fire blanket or wool blanket on hand. Those won’t melt or burn if exposed to direct flame, so can help you smother anyone that manages to light themselves on fire. You may need to treat someone for shock as well, so that blanket will give them something to lie down on or something you can wrap them in to keep them warm.

Treating Minor Burns-Red and painful, perhaps with a small blister or blisters. Immediately run the burn area under cool water for at least 10 minutes. While doing so, remove any jewelry or clothing from the affected area. Once cool, cover the area with Second Skin (or similar) or cling wrap to protect it. Do not use cloth bandages or similar materials that may stick to the burn. Aloe Vera gel or other soothing treatments can be applied after this initial treatment, but only if the burn is minor. If the burn is larger than your hand or the person is young, old, or otherwise in frail health, take them to the ER.

Treating Major Burns-Deep, with significant blistering and damage to the skin. These are frequently the result of burning clothing or direct exposure to flame. Cool the burn immediately with running water. If the burn covers a large area of a person’s body, you may need to use a garden hose or buckets of water. Call an ambulance or immediately transport the victim to an Emergency Room if you don’t have phone reception. Remove clothing or jewelry from the burn area, but only if it’s not stuck to the wound. Cover the wound with a sterile, protective dressing such as that plastic cling film.

Treating Amputation-Fireworks occasionally cost people their fingers or toes. Call 911-prompt medical treatment can reattach them. Lay the victim down and elevate the injured body part. Remove any visible foreign objects. Apply direct pressure to the wound for 15 minutes to stop bleeding. If possible, retrieve the amputated finger or toe and rinse (don’t scrub) it clean, then wrap it in a clean, damp cloth and make sure it goes to the hospital with the victim. Don’t place the digit on ice, which will damage the blood vessels and make reattachment difficult.

Treating Shock-If a person experiences a major injury, they may go into shock. When a person goes into shock, their organs don’t get enough blood and oxygen, which can lead to permanent damage. Signs of shock are cool and clammy skin, confusion, dilated pupils, or a weak and/or uneven pulse. Lie down with feet slightly raised higher than the head. If not breathing, begin CPR. Loosen clothing for comfort, but keep warm with a blanket. If vomiting or bleeding from the mouth, turn the victim on the side.

Treating Eye Injuries-During explosions particles are occasionally going to get in someone’s eye. If the eyeball is punctured, pulled out of the socket, or burned, you’ll need to protect it (cupping a hand over the area works great) and get the victim immediate medical attention. If it’s just some minor irritation, you can treat it yourself. Never attempt to pop an eyeball back into a person’s socket. Flush the eye with sterile saline solution or clean water. Examine the eye under a bright light and continue to flush it until all foreign objects are washed out. Seek medical treatment if vision is impaired or an object has penetrated the eye’s surface.

Another area of the celebration is eating. It is common for people to tend to overeat during the picnics and backyard barbeques. Digestive enzymes are useful in preventing and relieving a number of tummy troubles-bloating, gas, nausea, constipation, or diarrhea.

The body secretes a variety of enzymes to break down the foods that we eat-some are secreted by the salivary glands and the cells lining the stomach, pancreas, and small intestine to aid in the digestion of food. The liver also produces bile (helps break down fats) which is stored in the gallbladder. The main enzyme categories are the proteases (which break down proteins), lipases (fats), and amylases (starches and sugars). These enzymes are released both in anticipation of eating when we first smell and taste the food, as well as throughout the digestive process. Some foods have naturally occurring digestive enzymes that contribute to the breakdown of certain specific nutrients.

However, diseases of the stomach, liver, and small intestine can reduce the number of enzymes produced by them. So, people with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease, or low stomach acid might find digestive enzyme supplements helpful. The same goes for people who have chronic pancreatitis, which can cause a deficiency of pancreatic enzymes. Having your gallbladder removed can also make it so that there aren’t enough enzymes to break down fat properly, making supplementation a necessary measure to reduce digestive drama.

But if you don’t have a definite enzyme deficiency or your symptoms are more of a nuisance than severe, one may simply remove any foods from your diet that is causing digestive distress in the first place. Removing sugars, grains, dairy, and industrial seed oils from the diet can dramatically improve many digestive issues one might try to treat with a supplement. Even though these supplements may be labeled as containing natural ingredients (say, derived from plants) and regarded as safe, they can still interfere with other medications, such as oral diabetes medications and blood thinners. The most significant digestive enzymes are:

  • Amylase: It is essential for the digestion of carbohydrates. It breaks down starches into sugars. Amylase is secreted by both the salivary glands and the pancreas. The measurement of amylase levels in the blood is sometimes used as an aid in diagnosing various pancreas or other digestive tract diseases. High levels of amylase in the blood may indicate a blocked or injured duct of the pancreas, pancreatic cancer, or acute pancreatitis, a sudden inflammation of the pancreas. Low levels may indicate chronic pancreatitis (ongoing inflammation of the pancreas) or liver disease.
  • Maltase: It is secreted by the small intestine and is responsible for breaking down maltose (malt sugar) into glucose (simple sugar) that the body uses for energy. During digestion, starch is partially transformed into maltose by amylases. The maltase then converts maltose into glucose that is either used immediately by the body or stored in the liver as glycogen for future use.
  • Lactase: It (also called lactase-phlorizin hydrolase) is a type of enzyme that breaks down lactose, a sugar found in dairy products, into the simple sugars glucose and galactose. Lactase is produced by cells known as enterocytes that line the intestinal tract. Lactose that is not absorbed undergoes fermentation by bacteria and can result in gas and intestinal upset.
  • Lipase: It is responsible for the breakdown of fats into fatty acids and glycerol (simple sugar alcohol). It’s produced in small amounts by your mouth and stomach, and in larger amounts by your pancreas.
  • Proteases: Also called peptidases, proteolytic enzymes, or proteinases, these digestive enzymes break down proteins into amino acids. In addition, they play a role in numerous body processes, including cell division, blood clotting, and immune function. Proteases are produced in the stomach and pancreas. The main ones are:
  • Pepsin: Secreted by the stomach to break down proteins into peptides, or smaller groupings of amino acids, that are either absorbed or broken down further in the small intestine
  • Trypsin: Forms when an enzyme secreted by the pancreas is activated by an enzyme in the small intestine. Trypsin then activates additional pancreatic enzymes, such as carboxypeptidase and chymotrypsin, to assist in breaking down peptides.
  • Chymotrypsin: Breaks down peptides into free amino acids that can be absorbed by the intestinal wall
  • Carboxypeptidase A: Secreted by the pancreas to split peptides into individual amino acids
  • Carboxypeptidase B: Secreted by the pancreas, it breaks down basic amino acids
  • Sucrase: It is secreted by the small intestine where it breaks down sucrose into fructose and glucose, simpler sugars that the body can absorb. Sucrase is found along the intestinal villi, tiny hair-like projections that line the intestine and shuttle nutrients into the bloodstream.
  • Some foods have naturally occurring digestive enzymes that contribute to the breakdown of certain specific nutrients. Tropical fruits and fermented vegetables are naturally high in digestive enzymes that might speed up the digestion of certain nutrients. It’s best to consume them raw since heat can lessen or destroy these plant enzymes.
  • Pineapple: Proteases (bromelain)-Helps digest proteins and has additional anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Papaya: Proteases (papain)-Helps digest proteins and is a popular meat tenderizer.
  • Kiwi: Proteases (actinidain)-In addition to its digestive enzymes, the fruit is high in fiber to support digestive processes and motility.
  • Mango: Amylases-Helps break down carbohydrates from starches into simple sugars and increases as the fruit ripens.
  • Banana: Amylases, glycosidase-Like amylases, glucosidases also break down complex carbohydrates.
  • Raw honey: Amylases, Diastases, invertases, proteases-The amylases and diastases help to break down starches, invertases break down sugars, and proteases break down protein.
  • Avocado: Lipases-Helps digest and metabolize fat.
  • Kefir: Lipases, lactase, proteases-The lactase in kefir helps to digest the fermented milk and may be tolerated by some people with lactose intolerance.
  • Sauerkraut, kimchi: Lipases, proteases-Fermented foods develop enzymes during the fermentation process as well as probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, to further support digestive health.
  • Miso: Lactases, lipases, proteases, amylases-This fermented soy paste contains a potent combination of enzymes that help break down lactose in dairy, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
  • Ginger: Protease (zingibain)-In addition to its enzymes that can help break down proteins, ginger may also help ease nausea.

When one thinks of barbeque meats (proteins) are what comes to mind to many. Protein is a macronutrient (protein, fats, and carbohydrates) that is essential to building muscle mass. All food made from meat, poultry, seafood, insects, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds is considered part of the protein group, according to the USDA. Most people eat enough food in this group, but they should select leaner and more varied selections. Each gram of protein contains 4 calories. Protein makes up about 15 percent of a person’s body weight.

Chemically, protein is composed of amino acids, which are organic compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, or sulfur. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are the building blocks of muscle mass. When protein is broken down in the body it helps to fuel muscle mass, which helps metabolism. It also helps the immune system stay strong. And, it helps you stay full.

Two recent studies showed that satiety, or feeling full after a meal, improved after consuming a high-protein snack. A 2014 study published in the journal Nutrition compared afternoon snacks of high-protein yogurt, high-fat crackers, and high-fat chocolate. Among the women who participated in the study, consuming the yogurt led to greater reductions in afternoon hunger versus the chocolate. These women also ate less at dinner compared to the women who snacked on crackers and chocolate.
A similar study published in 2015 in the Journal of Nutrition found that adolescents who consumed high-protein afternoon snacks showed improved appetite, satiety, and diet quality. The teens also had improved moods and better cognition.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that 10 to 35 percent of daily calories come from protein. How that equates to grams of protein depends on the caloric needs of the individual. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the amount of protein foods a person should eat depends on age, sex, and level of physical activity. Most Americans eat enough food from this group but need to make leaner and more varied selections of these foods.

A safe level of protein ranges from 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight [2.2 lbs.], up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram for very active athletes. Most Americans truly need to be eating about 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This equates to consuming 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal–that’s 2.5 egg whites at breakfast or 3 to 4 ounces of meat at dinner. Most American women are not getting anywhere close to adequate protein at breakfast. This could be hindering their muscle mass, their metabolism, and hormone levels.
Parents should resist stressing protein consumption for their children, who typically get sufficient protein easily. It’s important to focus on fruits and vegetables for kids. When considering how to get protein into kids’ diets, parents should focus on whole foods and natural sources.

There are several sources of supplemental protein powders, including soy, hemp and whey. Whey protein is a by-product of the cheese-making process and therefore not vegan. It is usually used to promote lean muscle mass and is also associated with weight loss. There are 20 grams of protein per scoop of whey protein.

Hemp protein comes from the hemp plant, which does not have THC (the active ingredient in marijuana), according to the North American Industrial Hemp Council. Hemp is also available as seeds and milk. There are 5.3 grams of protein per tablespoon of hemp seeds, about 5 grams per scoop of hemp powder, and 5 grams per cup of milk.

Soy protein comes from soybeans and is available in many different forms, including milk, tofu, various meat substitutes, flour, oil, tempeh, miso nuts, and edamame. Soy has been shown to have a little more phytoestrogens in it from isoflavones, which really helps to increase antioxidants. A lot of people are hesitant to eat soy because of a myth that associates it with breast cancer. But, that myth has been minimized based on a large body of evidence that supports the actual anticancer properties that soy has. To get the maximum benefits from soy, it is recommended to eat whole sources, like edamame. Processed forms like tofu are the next best option, followed by protein powders and drinks.

Some high-protein meats include: Top or bottom round steak (23 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving), Lean ground beef (18 grams per 3-ounce serving), Pork chops (26 grams per 3-ounce serving), Skinless chicken breast (24 grams per 3-ounce serving), turkey breast (24 grams per 3-ounce serving), Sockeye salmon (23 grams per 3-ounce serving), Yellowfin tuna (25 grams per 3-ounce serving)

High-protein dairy foods include: Greek yogurt (23 grams per 8-ounce serving), Cottage cheese (14 grams per half-cup serving), Eggs (6 grams per large egg), 2 percent milk (8 grams per cup)

Some other high-protein foods are: Some canned foods, like sardines, anchovies and tuna average around 22 grams of protein per serving, Navy beans (20 grams per cup), Lentils (13 grams per quarter-cup), Peanut butter (8 grams per 2 tablespoons), Mixed nuts (6 grams per 2-ounce serving), Quinoa (8 grams per 1-cup serving), Edamame (8 grams per half-cup serving), Soba noodles (12 grams per 3-ounce serving), 100 grams of cooked mealworms have 55 grams of protein while crickets have 58 grams.

People can produce some amino acids but must get others from food. The nine amino acids that humans cannot produce on our own are called essential amino acids. They are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Protein foods that contain all essential amino acids are called complete proteins. They are also sometimes called ideal proteins or high-quality proteins. Complete proteins include meat and dairy products, quinoa, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and soy.

Many plant-based proteins are not complete proteins. These include beans, grains, and legumes as well as vegetables, which contain small amounts of protein. Incomplete proteins can be combined to create complete proteins. Beans and rice, peanut butter and whole-grain bread, and macaroni and cheese are examples of combinations that create complete proteins.
For a long time, nutritionists thought that complementary proteins had to be eaten together to make a complete protein. But, it is now understood that the foods don’t have to be eaten at exactly the same time. As long as you eat a wide variety of foods, you can usually make complete proteins, even if you’re a vegetarian.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that 10 to 35 percent of daily calories come from protein. Most Americans do not get close to the 35 percent mark; they eat about 12 to 18 percent of their calories as protein, according to the NIH. Therefore, most commercial high-protein diet plans suggest intakes in the upper levels of the recommended spectrum. For example, the Atkins diet allows for up to 29 percent of calories to come from protein, and the South Beach Diet suggests protein levels at about 30 percent. Some high-protein diets, however, come in at higher than 35 percent.

The efficacy and safety of high-protein diets are still being studied. Often, they lead to a quick drop in weight-loss but their overall sustainability is unclear. One 2011 review of high-protein diet studies found that “although half of the studies showed a higher weight loss with a high-protein diet, three out of four studies with the longest intervention show no statistical difference in weight loss.”

Furthermore, high-protein diets can carry some health risks. They usually advocate cutting carbohydrates, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies, fiber deficiencies, headache, constipation, increased risk of heart disease, and worse kidney function in those suffering from kidney disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

High-protein diets are not recommended because they are generally unnecessary. There’s a growing body of research that suggests that Americans are getting enough protein. The problem is that we don’t space out our protein correctly. It’s more important that we focus on getting protein at each meal, eating it within the first hour of waking up, and then every 4 to 6 hours thereafter. Getting enough protein at adequate intervals helps muscle mass and overall health long term.

The Ideal Protein diet is a medically developed diet plan created more than 20 years ago by French doctor Tran Tien Chanh. A coach at a licensed clinic or a health care provider supervises participants. For some participants, consent from health care providers may be required. The Ideal Protein diet is a low-carbohydrate, low-calorie, high-protein diet that aims to aid in weight loss by providing the body with the right amount and kind of protein while also stabilizing blood sugar. It consists of four phases. During the first three phases, participants eat at least one proportioned, prepackaged Ideal Protein meal per day. During phase one, in which most of the weight loss takes place, participants eat three Ideal Protein meals every day.

Supplements are for supplemental purposes only. Therefore, it is not recommended to have protein shakes on a daily basis. Sometimes, however, people have serious behavioral barriers to eating whole foods. If they feel like they can’t cook or eat whole foods then these shakes can be a good plan B. If you are going to use protein shakes, choose one that has more than 20 grams of protein. It is important to think about what you’re adding to protein shakes. If you’re using a protein powder to make a shake, try mixing it with water, nonfat milk, or a milk substitute. It is generally suggested not to mix fruit in. This makes the shake very calorie-laden, like pie in a cup. Adding vegetables, however, can add antioxidants and vitamins.

A common picnic drink is lemonade. Lemons are actually considered a superfood and contain plenty of health benefits and even topical uses. Since lemonade is essentially lemon juice combined with water and some sugar, it is an easy way to get a healthy dose of lemon. Vitamin C, B6, and A are just a few of the many vitamins, minerals, and healthy compounds found in a single lemon. They also contain flavonoids, which are helpful antioxidants that can assist your body in numerous ways. Making all-natural lemonade with fresh lemons and a little bit of a sweetener is the best; avoid packaged mixes for optimum health benefits. Here are some of the many benefits you can gain from drinking lemonade:

  • Digestive Assistance: Lemon juice is highly effective in fighting both indigestion and constipation. Drinking lemonade can give your digestive tract the extra assistance it needs to break down foods you’ve consumed, while loosening waste that is lining the walls of your bowels.
  • Kidney Stone Prevention: Increasing your water consumption can definitely help to stave off future occurrences, but lemonade can help even more. The citrate you get from drinking lemonade can increase the amount found in your urine, which goes a long way in preventing the stones from even forming.
  • Weight Loss Support: You may have heard of lemon juice and lemonade being used as part of a weight loss regimen. Lemons contain pectin, a soluble fiber that has demonstrated weight loss properties. Lemonade can also help you feel full, which aids in staving off a nagging appetite.
  • Fever Treatment: Lemonade can help increase perspiration output, which is one of the best ways to break a fever. If you are suffering from the flu, or any other sickness that involves fever, try drinking some lemonade to speed up the fever’s breaking point and get back on track to a normal body temperature.
  • Cancer Prevention: The antioxidants found in lemons have been shown to prevent cells in your body from deforming, which is what leads to cancer developing and spreading. Drinking lemonade on a regular basis can ensure a constant intake of these antioxidants.
  • High Blood Pressure: Lemons contain a high amount of potassium, which can help to calm numerous cardiac issues. If you are experiencing high blood pressure, nausea, and dizziness, try drinking some lemonade for a calming and relieving effect.
  • pH Balancing: Lemonade itself is acidic on the pH scale. Yet, after it is in the body it acts as an alkalinizer to one‘s urine. Acid-alkaline balance is critical for health. Your body must maintain a pH of about 7.35–7.45. If you’re too acidic, then your body will find ways (even robbing your bones for minerals) to buffer acidity. Diets high in fruits and vegetables are more alkaline-forming, at least partly due to high potassium levels. High potassium levels drive higher alkalinity.

One final thought about this day of celebration is the ground that one sits on while having a classic picnic. While a bed of soft, mown grass is very comfortable many forget the benefits of the lowly weed. They are Nature’s support crops and are vital to a healthy system.

Weeds come in all shapes and sizes, both on top and root structure. Some weeds are vines to cover and protect the soil, some are tall and woody, some have thin and abundant roots, like grasses, and some have a single tap root, like a turnip. The structural makeup of the plant will tell you the purpose. Like grasses are designed to hold soil in place with their many fine root hairs, and a tap-rooted plant is designed to break up compacted soil.
The thing that separates weeds from our garden plants is they grow much faster. They grow faster by design; their main purpose is to build soil. Some species of weeds called pioneer species, not only grow fast, but they produce carbon quickly as well. This carbon, when they die, lasts a long time in the soil, helps build structure, and helps retain water. Weeds have certain nutrients that they absorb from the soil, bring to the top, and release when they die or compost.

So, looking across an abandoned field you will see a variety of weeds growing, each of them is a reaction of whatever deficiency the soil has. For example, the taller weed that has a small daisy type flower growing in our area is known for drawing calcium out of the soil. So an abundance of this plant is an indicator that your soil is lacking calcium.
Weeds protect the soil and help build it, but there is another main reason to keep them around. A plant’s main purpose in life is to produce sugars; they do this through the process of photosynthesis. The sugars they produce go to making leaves, flowers, and eventually fruit and seeds, but as much as 50% of the sugars they produce get exuded through the roots to attract the microscopic organisms of the soil food web. Plants do not have a stomach, so they rely on the soil to digest and transfer nutrients. Plants also, do not have a stomach liner to keep the digestive process in the root zone, so they exude these sugars to attract the biology in and keep them there to feed the plant.

Weeds also help protect surrounding plants. Sometimes weeds will help hold up our plants, or maybe they will shade them from the sun, or maybe they will take the insect attack for us. In a lettuce field, weeds are super important for another reason. They keep the soil out of the leaves. If the weeds were not present when we irrigate or rain comes the water droplets splash the soil in the leaves. When we have weeds surrounding the lettuce, the soil is not bare and therefore the weeds help keep the dirt from splashing into the leaves. Believe me, growing lettuce without weeds is a big problem. Delicate leaves are hard to rinse thoroughly and no matter what your lettuce will be crunchy from the sand and dirt.

Plants work together in their little community and biodiversity is the key. Bare soil is rare in nature and so is a monoculture, diversity is key. Plants work together and help feed each other, if you learn how they grow and how to cultivate them you can benefit from Nature’s support crops in your garden.

Weeds can tell you a lot about your garden, providing information about what is best to grow. If your weeds multiple rapidly it is likely that your soil is extremely fertile, and that you do not need fertilizer. If not, it may be wise to start growing forerunners such as onions before moving onto more difficult crops. If the amount of weeds is diverse, it is likely that you can grow a wide range of plants in your garden. If not, it will be worthwhile to ascertain the soil type. And weeds can do this too. Very acidic soil will produce sorrel and plantain but no charlock or poppy, while chickweeds is sign of neutral pH. High levels of nitrogen can be ascertained by nettles, ground elder, fat hen, and chickweed. Compacted soil is noticeable for silverweed and greater plantain, while creeping buttercup, horsetail and silverweed may indicate wet soil with poor drainage.

Another benefit of having a weedy lawn is that many weeds in your lawn attract butterflies and caterpillars. Common lawn weeds, such as plantain, dandelion, and clover are sources of food for many insects-also known as pollinators. Allowing some of these common weeds to grow in your garden, encourages butterflies to lay their eggs in your yard, which will result in more butterflies in your garden later on. Hummingbirds also feast upon the nectar produced by many weeds.

Weeds also help to attract other beneficial bugs to your garden as well. Many good bugs, like predatory wasps, praying mantis, ladybugs and bees find food and shelter in the weeds in our yards. These “good” bugs will help to keep the “bad” bug population down in your garden as well as providing pollination to your plants. The more weeds you have in your lawn, the less money and time you will have to spend on battling back the bugs that can hurt your plants. Many weeds are also blessed with a natural insect repellant. Letting weeds in your lawn grow near your more weed-free flower beds can help drive out even more “bad” bugs from your plants. While other insects-like fireflies-thrive only in weedy areas.

Weeds also constitute a good source of nutrients. Many weeds are edible and are used as natural remedies. They are also effectively free and environmentally friendly. Dandelion leaves are high in vitamins A and K and can be a useful addition to a balanced diet. Nettle soup is famous in the United Kingdom. Back in the Middle Ages, Ground Elder (which has a nutty flavor) was grown as a crop and was believed to cure gout – hence its alternative name goutweed. Sorrel and horseradish can both be made into a sauce and the latter is often used with beef. There are many sources dedicated to eating and cooking wild food.

Recipes:

  • Spiced Cricket Flour Cookies: ½ cup cricket flour; 2/3 cup almond meal; 1 1/3 cup general all-purpose flour – organic unbleached; ¾ tsp ground ginger; ¾ tsp ground cinnamon; ½ tsp ground cloves; 1 tsp baking powder; ¼ tsp salt; ¾ cup soft butter; ½ cup runny honey; ¼ cup old fashioned brown sugar (or coconut sugar); 1 egg; 3 tbsp molasses; 1 tbsp orange juice. Directions: Preheat an oven on a normal bake setting (not convection) to 350 F (175 C). In a mixing bowl, combine cricket flour, almond meal, all-purpose flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder, and salt by mixing with a whisk gently. In an electric mixer bowl, add the butter and honey, plus brown sugar/ or coconut sugar. Cream together for about 30 seconds on a medium-high setting, with a paddle attachment. Beat in the egg, molasses, and orange juice. Add the dry ingredients to the butter batter, and mix to incorporate on slow setting on the electric mixer. Put into the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. (Or use a silicone baking mat.) With cold hands, scoop out 1 tbsp of the dough, and roll into little balls. Place on a cookie tray. Press down on each cookie until they are about half their size. Place into the oven for about 10 minutes, or until they appear golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool until you are able to handle it with your hands. Serve warm with a coffee, or refrigerate and/or freeze them for future use.
  • Chirpy Chip Cookies: 1 cup softened butter; 1/2 cup sugar; 1/2 cup brown sugar; 1/2 cup powdered milk; 2 eggs; 1 tsp vanilla; 2 1/4 cups flour; 1 tsp baking soda; 2 cups chocolate chips; 1/2 cup roasted crickets. Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, blend butter, sugars, and milk until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Then stir into the mixture. Stir in chips and crickets. Drop rounded tablespoons of cookie dough onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes before moving to cooling racks.
  • French Limonade (modern): 5 lemons; 3 tbsp Lavender Honey; 1 oz bottle of sparkling water; 15oz water; a pinch verbena leaves (optional). Directions: Squeeze the lemons. Boil the still water. Stop the heat, add the lemon juice and the Lavender Honey. Mix until honey is dissolved. Pour in the pitcher (the pitcher must be half-filled). Keep in the fridge for 20 min. Once cold, add the sparkling water.
  • Lavender Honey: ¼ cup dried lavender blossoms (Lavandula augustifolia); 1 cup raw honey. Directions: Pour the honey over the blossoms and then stir to make sure the honey and blossoms are well-combined. Place the jar in a warm spot away from direct sunlight. The top of the fridge is a good, warm spot. Allow the honey to infuse for 1-4 weeks, turning the jar over every day to redistribute the blossoms. When the honey has reached the flavor intensity that suits you, place a mesh strainer over a medium bowl and pour the honey mixture into the strainer. Because honey is so thick it will take a long time to strain, so wait a few hours before checking on it. Once you’ve finished straining out the lavender buds, don’t toss them! Store them in the fridge and stir them into tea for an extra flavor boost.
  • French Lemonade (1667): Get a pint of water and into it put half a pound of sugar, the juice of six lemons and two oranges, the peel of half a lemon and [half] an orange that you have pressed; blend the water well in two very clean vessels, pouring it back and forth several times from one into the other, and strain it through a white serviette.
  • One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream: Serves 2, Makes about 1 cup. Ingredients: 1 large ripe banana; any mix-ins (optional). Directions: Start with a ripe banana. Make sure the banana is ripe, it should be sweet and soft. Peel the banana and chop. Put the bananas in an airtight container. Place in a freezer-safe glass bowl or freezer bag. Freeze the banana pieces for at least 2 hours, but ideally overnight. Transfer the frozen banana pieces into a small food processor or high-speed blender. (A small food processor or chopper works best.) Pulse to break up and look crumbled or smashed. Scrape down the food processor. It will look like a gooey, mush. Keep until the last bits of banana smooth out to creamy, soft-serve ice cream texture. Blend for a few more seconds to aerate the ice cream. (If adding any mix-ins–peanut butter, chocolate chips, vanilla bean, cookie crumbs, pieces of fruit, etc.–this is the moment to do it.) Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until solid. You can eat the ice cream immediately, but it will be quite soft. You can also transfer it back into the airtight container and freeze it until solid, like traditional ice cream.
  • To Ice Cream (1718): Take Tin Ice-Pots, fill them with any Sort of Cream you like, either plain or sweetened, or Fruit in it; shut your Pots very close; to six Pots you must allow eighteen or twenty Pound of Ice, breaking the Ice very small; there will be some great Pieces, which lay at the Bottom and Top: You must have a Pail, and lay some Straw at the Bottom; then lay in your Ice, and put in amongst it a Pound of Bay-Salt; set in your Pots of Cream, and lay Ice and Salt between every Pot, that they may not touch; but the Ice must lie round them on every Side; lay a good deal of Ice on the Top, cover the Pail with Straw, set it in a Cellar where no Sun or Light comes, it will be frozen in four Hours, but it may stand longer; then take it out just as you use it; hold it in your hand and it will slip out. When you would freeze any Sort of Fruit, either Cherries, Raspberries, Currants, or Strawberries, fill your Tin-Pots with the Fruit, but as hollow as you can; put to them Lemonade, made with Spring-Water and Lemon juice sweetened; put enough in the Pots to make the Fruit hang together, and put them in Ice as you do Cream.
  • Apple Pie (1845): Peel the apples, slice them thin, pour a little molasses, and sprinkle some sugar over them; grate on some lemon-peel or nutmeg. If you wish to make them richer, put a little butter on the top.
  • South Carolina Barbeque Sauce (the 1850‘s): 1/2 stick of unsalted butter; 1 large yellow or white onion, well chopped; 2 cloves of garlic, minced; 1 cup of apple cider vinegar; 1/2 cup of water; 1 tablespoon of kosher salt; 1 teaspoon of black pepper; 1 pod of long red cayenne pepper or 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper flakes; 1 teaspoon of dried rubbed sage; 1 teaspoon of dried basil leaves or 1 tablespoon of minced fresh basil; 1/2 teaspoon of crushed coriander seed; 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar or 4 tablespoons of molasses (not blackstrap). Directions: Melt butter in a large saucepan, add onion and garlic and saute on medium heat until translucent. Turn heat down slightly and add vinegar, water, the optional ingredients, and the salt and spices. Allow cooking gently for about thirty minutes to an hour. To be used as a light mop sauce or glaze during the last 15-30 minutes over the pit of coals and as a dip for cooked meat. Note: Carolina Mustard Sauce–add 1/2 cup of brown mustard or more to taste, and a bit more sugar or “Red Sauce”—add two cans of tomato paste or four very ripe red or purple heirloom tomatoes (Large Red, Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Amish Paste, cooked down for several hours on low heat into a comparable consistency; and two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce)
  • Yellow Jacket Soup/Oo-ga-ma (1868): Hunt for ground-dwelling yellow jackets early in the morning or in the late afternoon. Gather the whole comb. Place the comb over the fire or on the stove with the right side up to loosen the grubs that are not covered. Remove all of the uncovered grubs. Place the comb over the fire or on the stove upside down until the paper-like covering parches. Remove the comb from the heat, pick out the yellow jackets, and place in the oven to brown. Make the soup by boiling the browned yellow jackets in a pot of water with salt. Add grease if desired. Yield depends on the number of yellow jackets you can capture.
  • Honey-spiced Locusts: 1/4 cup butter; pinch of salt; 1 cup cleaned locusts; 2 Tbs. honey with 1 tsp. Aleppo pepper. Directions: Melt your butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the insects and salt and stir gently for around 10 minutes, making sure to get them completely covered in butter. When the bugs are suitably crisped, drizzle the spice-honey over them and stir a bit more. Then spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and cook for around 10 minutes at 200 F, until the bugs are no longer quite so sticky.
  • Homemade Sunscreen: 1/4 cup coconut oil (has an SPF of 7); 2 (or more) tbsp. powdered zinc oxide; 1/4 cup pure aloe vera gel (must be 50 percent or higher); 25 drops walnut extract oil for scent and an added SPF boost; 1 cup (or less) shea butter for a spreadable consistency. Directions: Combine all ingredients, except the zinc oxide and aloe vera gel, in a medium saucepan. Let the shea butter and oils melt together at medium heat. Let cool for several minutes before stirring in aloe vera gel. Cool completely before adding zinc oxide. Mix well to make sure the zinc oxide is distributed throughout. You may want to add some beeswax or another waxy substance for a stickier consistency. Store in a glass jar, and keep in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to use. Note: This recipe isn’t waterproof, and it’ll need to be reapplied often. (In fact, while some recipes may claim to be waterproof, there’s really no science to back up the idea of a homemade waterproof sunscreen. The ingredients that make sunscreen waterproof are the same highly processed ingredients that most natural consumers and DIY sunscreen makers are looking to avoid. These ingredients make it possible for your skin to absorb the sunblock components of sunscreen, and they can only be manufactured in a lab.)
  • Homemade Sunscreen Spray: To make a homemade sunscreen spray, combine the ingredients as described above, minus the shea butter. Once the mixture has cooled completely, you can add a bit more aloe vera gel and a carrier oil such as almond oil, which has SPF properties of its own, until the mixture is a sprayable consistency. Store in a glass spray bottle and keep refrigerated for best results.
  • Homemade Sunscreen for Oily Skin: If you have oily skin, you may be hesitant to slather on a DIY sunscreen that’s heavy on oil ingredients. But the essential oils palmarosa and lemon can actually correct overproduction of sebum (oil) on your skin. If you’re concerned about oil buildup on your skin, follow the recipe above, but swap out coconut oil — which is known to be comedogenic — for another carrier oil, such as jojoba oil or sweet almond oil.
  • Homemade Fly Spray: 4 cups raw apple cider vinegar (where to buy raw apple cider vinegar) OR make your own vinegar; 20 drops rosemary essential oil (where to buy my favorite essential oils); 20 drops basil essential oil; 20 drops peppermint essential oil; 2 tablespoons liquid oil (olive oil, canola oil, or mineral oil will work); 1 tablespoon dish soap. Directions: Mix together in a spray bottle. Apply to the animals frequently (give it a good shake before applying). And be careful, it smells strong.

—-Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ—-
Jolene Grffiths, Master Herbalist

The Health Patch – Alternative Health Clinic and Market, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit thehealthpatch.com.

Parasites – Who Gets ‘em & How?

Parasites – we all know some!  They’re the folks who don’t make their own living and live off of friends and family. Right? Well, Yes! That’s one way of looking at it.  But we’re talking about your health. So, we’re defining them here as those “usually” small critters that get into your body by various means and live off of you!

Who gets them? Well, unless you live in a sterile environment, you do. We all carry some parasites most of the time. By definition they are “animals or plants which must live on or in another plants or animals to survive.” Here are some of the ways you may pick up a parasite:

  • Do you have a pet? Pets are notorious for carrying ticks and fleas, but they eat most anything they can get hold of. And they don’t care about the health of their dietary consumables. Cats love mice, birds, squirrels, and all manner of bugs and carrion. Dogs are much the same, but add larger prey like moles, feces of other animals, and so on. You can bet they get a generous number of parasites. Most of us “worm” our pets at least once a year for this very reason. You pet them – that is why we call them “pets” – and some of the microscopic parasites get on you or under your fingernails, etc. You may have heard of ringworm as an example of these. They can enter through your skin.
  • If you live on a farm, you’re probably contact larger animals – cattle, horses, donkeys, goats, sheep, or other farm animals – and pick up a few of their parasites.
  • Many of us have read the labels on meat items that warn us not to consume under-cooked items. That is because of the many parasites that are present in the foods we eat. Thread worms and hookworms are common examples of these; they generally enter through your stomach or gut. They get in your food, enter your body when you consume that food, then live on your food or even parts of your body. Most worms enter the body as eggs from food sources, hatch and set up housekeeping as worms.
  • Others may live in your hair or on your body. Examples are head lice and crab lice; we all know of folks who talk about “getting crabs”.
  • And many parasites are called protozoa – small, single-celled animals that can move about on their own. They are not usually visible to the naked eye and require a microscope to be seen. An example which many of us have heard of is Giardia lamblia – which can cause disease.
  • And watch where you walk around barefooted. Many parasites are spread by having their eggs leave an infected body through feces. Inadequate waste processing, or the lack of processing, may allow the eggs to get into our food or water supply, allowing further ingestion by another person.

A list of the most common parasitic infections includes Giardiasis, hookworm infections, thread worm (also called pin worm) infections, tapeworm infections, scabies on the skin (caused by a mite), and pediculosis (caused by head lice).

What can you do to lessen the attacks by parasites? Stay clean. Wash with soap (preferably with an antibiotic) after any suspected exposure. Don’t drink from unprocessed or unfamiliar open water supplies. Cook meats thoroughly. Wash fruits and vegetables before ingesting them. Use proper sanitation at all times when possible.

There are many herbs, teas, supplements and essential oils to assist your body in putting up a good fight against parasites. We’ll discuss them in another blog. Stay aware of the fact that parasites are common and always looking for a host. Their survival depends on it.

Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Alternative Health Clinic and Market, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit thehealthpatch.com.

Parasites – Get Rid of Them!

If you’re a regular reader of my blogs, you know that this year I am giving you a breakdown of my personal cleansing regimen.  Well, this month is my annual parasite cleanse. We have cats, sheep, goats, and visiting dogs (family pets) at our house which I care for daily. I sometimes drink from my water faucet. And I often eat fresh veggies and fruit from my garden without washing them – straight off the tree/vine/plant! So, I know I have some parasites!!! In a previous blog I commented that virtually all of us carry some parasites. Hopefully you’ve been careful enough not to have a huge infestation of them which may have led to disease. But since I know we all have some, I take the opportunity each year to do a parasite cleanse to get rid of the small numbers to keep them from becoming a large problem.

You may have grown up like me, with a mom or grandmother who dosed you with a nasty castor oil tonic early every spring to get rid of winter intestinal “guests”.  I personally remember it well! But if you’re not traveling to third world countries, getting your water from streams or outdoor faucets, getting all your food from street vendors, eating your meat “tartar”, or wading barefoot in unmonitored, contaminated lakes or streams, you may want to do what I do – annual clearing out of unwanted house guests.

Most of the programs I have used take 20 to 30 days and consist only of taking small packets of pills containing known anti-parasitic herbs. Different herbs create environments in your gastrointestinal track that are not to the liking of or much to the detriment of commonly known parasites. Often a single herb may do the trick, depending on the parasite in question.

Some of the common herbs are:

  • Artemisia, also called wormwood is a very bitter herb.
  • Black Walnut Hulls are not only bitter, but will stain most anything they touch.
  • Paw Paw twigs are known to kill abnormal cells in the body – and parasites are certainly abnormal to our bodies.
  • Cascara sagrada causes bowel movements, and since parasites tend to reside in the intestinal tract, they help to expel them.
  • Chamomile flowers are used in tea to “calm” us; they do the same to parasites, making them less mobile.
  • Marshmallow and Slippery Elm are mucilaginous, help to soothe and smoothly move things through the bowel.
  • Strong spicy herbs like clove, ginger, onion, sage, tansy, garlic and spearmint are disliked by most parasites.

If, on the other hand, you do have a serious infestation leading to malnutrition because the parasites are getting most all your nutrition, or that are causing a serious parasitic infection, you may ask me for a copy of a 90-day Parasite Cleanse Program that I have used once or twice. I call it my DEEP Parasite Cleanse.

My idea is to give them things they don’t like, give them things to sedate them, give them things that “toxify” them, then add these to things that will push them out of your body and you may expect some success in controlling them!

There are also teas, supplements and essential oils to assist your body in snuffing out parasites. Be vigilant, stay ahead of them, be aware of them, treat them as soon as you discover them.

Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Alternative Health Clinic and Market, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit thehealthpatch.com.

Summer Energy – Keep it; Use it!

Summer is finally here! Yea! Now what? School was already out some time ago due to the pandemic. Social distancing has become the rule of the day, so what can we do with our friends? Video games have become mesmerizing and mind boggling and seem to lead to nowhere! And we don’t sleep well at night and feel frustrated and lethargic all day virtually every day. Help us save our children!!!

First, how do you generate Summer energy? As a start:

  • Take a great multivitamin – every day; one with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. The old cassette admonition called “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie” says you need 96 nutrients EVERY DAY to really feel healthy and energized.
  • Take supplements to boost energy: Cordyceps mushrooms boost energy; supplements combined into “energy” support supplements; brain tonics; fatigue/exhaustion remedies; Zone and Millennium Diets (check them out on the internet); high protein and low-carb foods – boost energy and stop sugar cravings; colostrum is especially good for chronic fatigue. Spirulina is a seaweed that is 71% digestible protein – four capsules have the equivalent of a three-ounce steak!
  • Exercise regularly – sweating removes toxins, deep breathing improves respiration and oxygen generation and usage; and muscle fatigue will aid in muscle growth and strength.
  • Get plenty of rest, starting with a good night’s sleep where you go to bed tired and rest uninterruptedly. Take a safe, sleep supplement if you need it until you establish a routine.
  • Get some sunshine. Yes, too much can cause sunburn, but we’re seeing a rise in chronic vitamin D deficiencies which the body produces from sunshine. And note that sunscreen blocks the body’s ability to make Vitamin D from the sun!
  • Drink plenty of water; give up sugary drinks.

Then, how can you use that energy productively? Try something new.

  • Exercise your body. I grew up poor. We didn’t have store-bought toys. We challenged each other with “kick the can”, racing and jumping – how high & how far, homemade hula hoops endurance, etc. (look them up on the internet if you haven’t heard of them!)
  • Develop unknown skills. Vocational activities – e.g., making things from metal or wood; balance and endurance – e.g., making and using swings, rope walking, climbing, etc.
  • Learn to garden or care for, exercise and train animals. Learn how to use various kinds of tools and machinery; etc.

And one of my favorite things was to learn to exercise your mind. I read about a man who had three teenage boys who each held patents for things they had created – not because they were smarter than most but he had begun when they were young to challenge their creativity. Once he gave them a brick and had them write a list of things it could be used for. Think outside the box. One of the boys came up with several HUNDRED things for which he could use the brick. Trained creativity – a great summer activity!

I once gave six random items to three groups of young people and told them to use them to develop a new game, rules and all. It took them only 15 minutes to have the game developed: how to play, rules of play, and penalties for breaking the rules!

Motivate your kids to do things for others. I love the new TV show “Little Heroes” which spotlights kids who are of themselves not spectacular, but have been motivated to do spectacular things. Challenge your kids to do great things – teach them to be motivated to do great things! We’ll all benefit from their successes. And they will learn from both their successes and their failures. Remember Thomas Edison succeeded in make the electric light bulb after 1000 failed attempts.

What NOT to do: don’t waste your time on television and video games. Get active, get challenged, get productive!

  • Randy Lee, BSE, MS, ND, is Owner of The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, 73130. Call us at (405) 736-1030, and visit our website at www.thehealthpatch.com.

June

Overview:
Awareness: Dairy, Headache, Women’s Healthcare
Flower: Rose
Gemstone: Pearl
Trees: Ash, Hornbeam, Fig, Birch, Apple

Flag Day:
In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777. It was declared that the flag shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field. Thus, in honor of Old Glory, I will use this day to talk about red, white, and blue foods.

Many red fruits and veggies are loaded with powerful, healthy antioxidants such as lycopene, anthocyanin, vitamin A (beta carotene), vitamin C, manganese, and fiber. These antioxidants soak up damaging free radicals. Thus, red foods may aid in fighting heart disease and prostate cancer. They may decrease the risk for stroke and macular degeneration.

  • Strawberries: They are in season May and June. They are a good source of folate, which helps heart health and is helpful for women in their childbearing years. Folic acid is known to decrease the risk of certain birth defects called neural tube defects. They are also a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C, which boosts immune system function among other things.
  • Cherries: They are in season in June and July. They are high in fiber because of their skin. They are also rich in vitamin C as well as potassium, which can help maintain lower blood pressure. They also relieve insomnia due to containing the hormone, melatonin. They also facilitate weight loss, lowers hypertension, prevent cardiovascular diseases, promote healthy hair, maintains a pH balance, and promote energy. They also contain anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cranberries: They are in season from September to December. They have been shown to cause the death of cancer cells in lab studies. They can stop bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls and may even prevent H pylori, the bacteria responsible for many stomach ulcers, from sticking to the stomach walls and causing ulcers. The nutrients responsible for this anti-sticking mechanism are called proanthocyanidins. They are also rich in vitamin C.
  • Tomatoes: They are in season during the summer. They are a good source of lycopene, which is strongly connected with prostate cancer protection. There is also some evidence that lycopene may protect against breast cancer. They are also a good source of potassium and vitamin C, which makes them heart-healthy.
  • Raspberries: They are in season from August through mid-October. They are high in fiber, which helps lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or ‘bad’ cholesterol.
  • Watermelon: They are in season May through September. They are a great source of lycopene. Lycopene may decrease the risk of heart disease by decreasing LDL cholesterol. And it decreases the risk for certain cancers, primarily prostate, as well as the risk of macular degeneration. It also improves blood vessel function and lowers stroke risk.
  • Pink Grapefruit: They are in season October and May. The pink grapefruit has higher levels of antioxidants, such as vitamin C. It’s also a good source of pectin, which helps lower cholesterol. If the choice is between red and white grapefruit, go red because pink or red grapefruit is rich in lycopene and white grapefruit is not. Just be sure to check with your doctor if you’re on medication as grapefruit juice does interfere with some drugs.
  • Red Bell Pepper: They are a phenomenal source of vitamin A, which helps with skin, bones, and teeth. They are a decent source of iron. They also have as much vitamin C as an orange; which aids in the absorbing of the iron. They are a great source of vitamin B6 and folate. They help support healthy night vision. One can burn more calories by adding red peppers to their diet.
  • Beets: They are in season from June through October. They are rich in folate, lycopene, and anthocyanin. They help keep blood pressure in check. They can improve athletic performance. They may help fight inflammation, improve digestive health, help support brain health, have anti-cancer properties, and help one lose weight.
  • Red Apples: They have quercetin, a compound that seems to fight colds, flu, and allergies. They may be good for weight loss, be good for the heart, and help prevent cancer. They’re linked to a lower risk of diabetes. They may have prebiotic effects and promote good gut bacteria. They contain compounds that can help fight asthma.

Blue purple represents the anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that protects the blood vessels from breakage and prevents the destruction of collagen, a protein needed for healthy, radiant skin. These foods are also good for memory boosting as well. Aside from fruit, one can also find nutrients in vegetables of the color blue purple, such as radicchio, eggplant, purple cabbage, purple potatoes, and purple carrots, which are rich in vitamin A and flavonoids.

Resveratrol is an antioxidant with anti-aging and disease-preventing properties. Also, good for heart health as it helps in reducing inflammation in the body along with bad cholesterol. Several studies have concluded that this antioxidant also helps in preventing Alzheimer’s. The resveratrol found in blue and purple foods such as eggplants can terminate cancer cells. Many studies suggest that wines like pinot noir have the highest amount of resveratrol and can be consumed to remain healthy. These should be savored in moderation to keep one’s weight in check.

The antioxidants found in blue-purple foods prevent oxidation and boost the immunity and activity of other antioxidants that are naturally present in the body. Other than this, blue-purple foods like black rice are also known to be good for the liver as they are helpful in reducing damage to the liver done by alcohol. Pairing them up with red foods like tomatoes and capsicum will provide you with wholesome nutrition.

  • Water-Considered a blue food, water regulates body temperature and provides the means for nutrients to travel to all your organs. It also transports oxygen to cells, removes waste, and protects joints and organs.
  • Blueberries are low in calories, high in fiber, and loaded with essential micronutrients, such as manganese and vitamins C and K. They are also high in anthocyanin which are potent antioxidants that help defend your cells against harm from unstable molecules called free radicals. The antioxidants provided in about 2 cups (300 grams) of blueberries may immediately protect one’s DNA against free radical damage. Additionally, research indicates that diets high in anthocyanin may help prevent chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and brain conditions like Alzheimer’s.
  • Blackberries-A single cup (144 grams) of blackberries packs nearly 8 grams of fiber, 40% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) for manganese, and 34% of the DV for vitamin C. The same serving also provides 24% of the DV for vitamin K (necessary for blood clotting and plays an important role in bone health), making them one of the richest fruit sources of this essential nutrient. Scientists believe that a lack of vitamin K may contribute to osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become weak and fragile.
  • Elderberries-This blue-purple fruit may help defend against the cold and flu by boosting the immune system. It’s also been shown to help people recover from these illnesses faster. In one study, taking 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of concentrated elderberry syrup daily helped people with the flu recover an average of 4 days quicker than those who did not take the supplement. Just 1 cup (145 grams) of elderberries provides 58% vitamins C and 20% B6, two nutrients known to promote a healthy immune system. Raw elderberries may cause an upset stomach, particularly if eaten unripe.
  • Concord grapes-They can be eaten fresh or used to make wine, juices, and jams. They’re packed with beneficial plant compounds that function as antioxidants. In fact, Concord grapes are higher in these compounds than purple, green, or red grapes. Some studies show that Concord grapes and their juice may boost your immune system. One study which had people drink 1.5 cups (360 ml) of Concord grape juice daily observed increases in beneficial immune cell counts and blood antioxidant levels, compared with a placebo group. Several other studies suggest that drinking Concord grape juice daily may boost memory, mood, and brain health. Concord grapes may boost immunity, mood, and brain health.
  • Black Currants-They can be eaten fresh, dried, or in jams and juices. You may also find them in dietary supplements. A single cup (112 grams) of fresh blackcurrant supplies more than two times the DV of vitamin C. As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps protect against cellular damage and chronic disease. In fact, some population studies note that diets rich in this nutrient may offer significant protection against heart disease. Additionally, vitamin C plays a key role in wound healing, the immune system, and the maintenance of skin, bones, and teeth.
  • Damson Plums are often processed into jams and jellies. They can also be dried to make prunes.
  • Prunes are a popular choice for digestive problems, including constipation, which is an ailment that affects an estimated 14% of the global population. They’re high in fiber, with 1/2 cup (82 grams) packing an impressive 6 grams of this nutrient. They also contain certain plant compounds and a type of sugar alcohol called sorbitol, which may help loosen the stools and promote more frequent bowel movements as well.

A number of white brown foods, such as white onions, garlic, and leeks, serve up nutrients in vegetables. White represents allicin, a sulfur-containing compound that protects against atherosclerosis and heart disease, lowers cholesterol and increases HDL, and has an antibacterial effective against Candida Albicans and bacteria. They are high in potassium, fiber, beta-glucans, lignans, and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). These nutrients are good for heart health, cancer prevention, immunity boosts, digestive tract health, and metabolism. Some healthy vegetables such as cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, and parsnips, which include vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and fiber. Nuts and seeds include cashews, sesame seeds, and pine nuts. Meats include white fish and poultry. Dairy items include milk, yogurt, and cheese. Some other foods include egg whites and coconut. Potassium is used to control the electrical activity of the heart and muscles and promotes heart health. Fiber is important for a healthy digestive tract. Nutrients like beta-glucans, lignans, and ECGC activate the natural B and T cells killer which reduces the risk of colon and prostate cancer. They are packed with the flavonoid quercetin, known for its anti-inflammatory properties and cardiovascular health benefits.

  • Garlic and Onions-They contain the phytochemical, allium, which is known to help reduce the risk of stomach, colon, and rectal cancer.
  • White Beans-They are full of fiber, which is known to lower blood cholesterol levels. They are also a good source of protein and keeps one full for a longer time, thereby preventing snacking.
  • Potatoes-Many believe that if we eat potatoes, we may put on weight, due to the starch content. But this is not true. Instead, the potato can help lower blood pressure and is packed with potassium. There are several types of potatoes that don’t seem to affect one’s blood sugar.
  • Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, and are low in sodium. They also provide us with important nutrients, including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin D.
  • Cauliflower-It contains antioxidants and is also beneficial for pregnant women, as it is rich in folate and also vitamins like A and B, which helps in the growth of cells. It is also a good source of vitamin C which again is beneficial during pregnancy. It also contains calcium which helps to make bones and teeth stronger and prevents osteoporosis.

The No White Foods Diet is an eating pattern founded upon the notion that eliminating processed white-colored foods from one’s diet can help one lose weight and improve one’s blood sugar control. Proponents assert that most white foods are unhealthy, as many have been heavily processed, are high in carbs, and contain fewer nutrients than their more colorful counterparts. Thus, by removing the white foods one is said to set themselves up for a more nutritious diet that promotes weight loss, restores blood sugar balance, and aids in destroying Candida. Notably, some versions of the No White Foods Diet make exceptions for certain white foods, such as fish, eggs, and poultry, but others do not. Therefore, it’s important to take a critical look at which foods one’s eliminating and why, as some of them may actually help one reach their goals.

  • White bread-One of the primary foods eliminated is white bread, as well as closely related foods made from white flour, including crackers, pastries, and breakfast cereals. When bread flour is refined, the germ and bran of the grain are removed, along with most of the fiber, vitamins, and minerals housed within them, during the milling process. This results in a product that’s rich in carbs but lacking in other important nutrients like fiber and protein. Research suggests that a higher intake of white bread is associated with weight gain, which may be partially due to its reduced nutritional value. Try swapping them for whole-grain versions instead.
  • White Pasta-It is similar to white bread in that it’s made from refined flour that contains fewer total nutrients than the unrefined version. Interestingly, white pasta has not been shown to increase weight in the same way white bread does-provided it’s eaten it alongside a diet comprising other nutritious foods. However, the serving sizes of pasta in Western diets tend to be very large. If one is not mindful of your portion size, it can be easy to eat too much at once, which may contribute to excess calorie intake and subsequent weight gain. Choose a whole grain pasta or try those made from legumes for even more fiber and protein.
  • White rice-It starts out as a whole grain, but the bran and germ are removed during the milling process, which transforms it into the starchy, fluffy white rice you’re probably quite familiar with. White rice is not an inherently bad or unhealthy food, but it doesn’t contain much in the way of nutrition apart from calories and carbs. The absence of fiber and protein also makes it very easy to over-consume white rice, which may contribute to weight gain or blood sugar imbalances. Whole grains like brown rice also boast more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than white rice.
  • White Sugar-It’s unsurprising that the No White Foods Diet eliminates white sugar. Still, most versions of the diet also prohibit more colorful forms of sugar, including brown sugar, honey, turbinado sugar, maple syrup, and agave nectar. These types are often collectively referred to as added sugars. Aside from calories, they offer very little in terms of nutrition. Because they’re primarily made up of simple carbs, added sugars require very little digestion. They’re quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and can contribute to rapid blood sugar fluctuations. Added sugars pack a lot of calories, even when portion sizes are kept relatively small, so it’s easy to accidentally over-consume them. They have also been linked to negative health outcomes, such as unwanted weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. For a more nutritious option, choose whole food sources containing naturally occurring sugar like fruit instead.
  • Salt-Most are familiar with table salt as a white food, but it also comes in other colors, such as pink, blue, and black. While some salt is essential for health, many people following Western diets eat entirely too much of it, with the majority coming from ultra-processed foods. Excess salt intake is associated with a variety of negative health effects, including an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and kidney disease. Using more nutrient-rich herbs and spices to flavor your foods is a great way to cut down on salt without compromising flavor.
  • White Potatoes-White potatoes are not inherently unhealthy. Still, they have earned a reputation for being unhealthy, largely because of the ways in which they’re often prepared. When white potatoes are prepared in less nutritious ways, such as frying or serving them with salty, high-calorie toppings like gravy, they’re more likely to contribute to weight gain and other negative health outcomes. Furthermore, many modern dietary patterns rely on these types of white potato preparations as a vegetable staple while excluding other types of vegetables. Thus, if one routinely consumes white potatoes as their main vegetable, trading them out for different types of colorful vegetables can help one add a more diverse array of nutrients to their diet.
  • Animal-based fats-Most versions of the No White Foods Diet consider animal-based fats to be white foods and recommend that they’re limited. White animal-based fats primarily refer to fats that come from meat and dairy products, most of which are saturated fats. As with many of the other white foods, saturated fats aren’t inherently unhealthy. However, a high intake of them may contribute to increased cholesterol and a higher risk of heart disease in some people. The No White Foods Diet recommends sticking with very lean meats and only fat-free dairy products if they’re included at all.

There is more to a healthy diet than just red, blue, and white foods. It is recommended one chooses foods of every color in the rainbow. The deeper, the darker, and the richer the color, the better. Aim for eating nine a day, and have one from every color group. Remember that it’s always better to eat whole foods than take supplements of specific nutrients. Eat the nutrients, don’t just rely on taking them in a pill form. It’s the combination of everything in these foods, not just one miracle nutrient.

Orange foods include butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupes, oranges, pumpkins, orange peppers, nectarines, and peaches. These fruits and vegetables are loaded with the antioxidant vitamin C, like citrus fruits, and some, such as carrots, with vitamin A (beta-carotene) for improved eyesight. They also contain potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6 for general health support.

Bananas are usually the first yellow food that comes to mind, and with plentiful fiber for good digestion, potassium for preventing cramps, and vitamin B6 for a variety of health benefits, they pack a big punch. Healthy vegetables in yellow include spaghetti squash, summer squash, and yellow bell peppers. The nutrients in vegetables such as these include manganese, potassium, vitamin A, fiber, and magnesium.

Virtually all greens are healthy vegetables and worth adding to one’s daily diet. Focus on spinach, broccoli, and asparagus. Lutein helps with eyesight. Folate helps in cell reproduction and prevents neural tube defects in infants.

Summer Solstice (Northern Hemisphere): I am using this day to discuss herbal first aides, as we spend more time outdoors. Electrolytes are minerals found in your blood that help regulate and control the balance of fluids in the body. These minerals play a role in regulating blood pressure, muscle contraction, and keep your system functioning properly. The big three electrolytes are sodium, potassium, and magnesium. The right number of electrolytes in your body is needed for optimal health and physical performance. If you lose a significant amount of these minerals (either by intense exercise, sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea), you’re going to experience dehydration and feel pretty lousy. You might also experience muscle cramping and spasms.

Most of us have felt the effects of being dehydrated at one point or another-dry lips and tongue, headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, cramps. The main sign of dehydration is thirst. How many electrolytes one loses during exercise depends on weight, fitness level, intensity, duration of the activity, humidity, and how much one sweats. The primary electrolyte we lose through sweat is sodium.

The most common way to replace these lost minerals is through electrolyte drinks. Not all electrolyte drinks are created equal though, so it is recommended reading the label first. If you’re working out for an hour or less, plain water will do. But if you’re exercising upwards of 75 minutes or more, then an electrolyte drink is a good idea during or after the workout. A typical 8-ounce electrolyte drink has approximately 14 grams of sugar, 100 milligrams sodium, and 30 milligrams potassium. There are even specialty electrolyte drinks for endurance and ultra-endurance athletes with greater potassium and sodium, plus additional minerals like magnesium and calcium. If you’re a naturally heavy sweater or looking to replenish hydration after you’ve been sick, focus on choosing zero or low-calorie options. Coconut water is a good option if you’re looking for a more natural electrolyte drink, just be aware some brands add sugar.

Some simple insect-repelling ideas are: Rub vanilla extract on the skin. You can also mix vanilla with witch hazel and water for a spray version. Plant insect-repelling herbs in the yard and in pots on the patio. These include lavender, thyme, mint, and citronella. One can use these fresh plants as bug repellent in a pinch. Rub lavender flowers or lavender oil on the skin, especially on hot parts of the body (neck, underarms, behind ears, etc.) to repel insects. Rub fresh or dried leaves of anything in the mint family all over the skin to repel insects (peppermint, spearmint, catnip, pennyroyal, etc. or citronella, lemongrass, etc.). Basil also helps repel mosquitoes.

There are many herbs that can be used in first aid. Some of these include:

  • Aloe Vera gel: Cooling and healing, Aloe Vera soothes the inflammation of sunburn and common kitchen scalds and burns. It is also helpful in healing blisters.
  • Arnica: Arnica (Arnica Montana) flowers have anti-inflammatory and circulation-stimulating properties; the gel or cream is excellent for sore muscles, sprains, strains, and bruises or any type of trauma. It’s been found that it greatly reduces healing time or bruises and sore muscles when used topically right after an injury. Not for internal use or use on open cuts and broken skin.
  • Calendula: The bright yellow-orange blossoms of calendula (Calendula officinalis) have astringent, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing properties.
  • Comfrey: Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) contains allantoin, a compound that stimulates the growth of new tissue and helps heal wounds. It is an external herb that promotes broken bones. A poultice made with plantain and comfrey that is placed on a wound can greatly reduce the healing time and helps prevent and reverse the infection.
  • Chamomile: With its distinctive flavor, chamomile (Matricaria recutita) makes a tasty tea. Gentle enough for children, chamomile has mild sedative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. It promotes relaxation, relieves indigestion, and, when applied topically, soothes skin irritations. The tincture works on teething gums. The dried flowers can be made into a poultice with some gauze and placed on an eye for 15 minutes every hour to reverse pinkeye rapidly (usually works in a couple of hours). The tea can be cooled and rubbed on the stomach of colicky infants to help soothe them. However, many people may be allergic to it, especially if they have are allergic to ragweed.
  • Citronella: Most herbal repellants contain citronella, a pungent citrus-scented essential oil distilled from an aromatic grass that grows in southern Asia. Herbal insect repellants work well, as long as they’re applied liberally and frequently (as often as every two hours).
  • Cayenne: Though this is a good addition to many foods, it is even better to have in a medicine cabinet. Topically, cayenne powder helps stop bleeding rapidly. It can be taken internally during heart attacks to increase blood flow and help clear blockage. It is also a useful remedy to take internally during illness as it increases blood flow, breaks up mucus, and speeds recovery.
  • Echinacea: Rich in immune-stimulating chemicals, Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) can be used for any type of infection. Liquid extracts are the most versatile because they can be used both internally and externally. It is helpful in prolonged illnesses. And, it can increase both red and white blood cells.
  • Elderberry: Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is used for stopping a cold or flu. The berries contain compounds that prevent cold and flu viruses from invading and infecting cells.
  • Eleuthero: An excellent adaptogen, eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) can help prevent jet lag.
  • Eucalyptus: A potent antibiotic and antiviral, eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) is excellent for treating colds, flu, and sinus infections when used as a steam inhalation. Use eucalyptus in a face steam for congestion or sinus troubles and in a chest rub for coughing and respiratory illness. The essential oil can be applied externally to the feet to help open nasal passageways. Dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil or witch hazel extract before applying to the skin, and do not take internally.
  • Ginger: The antispasmodic and gas-relieving properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale) soothe digestive upsets such as nausea, reflux, stomach trouble, and morning sickness. Ginger also has been used to relieve motion sickness. It helps soothe the stomach after a digestive illness or food poisoning.
  • Goldenseal: A powerful antimicrobial, goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) is effective against a variety of microorganisms that cause traveler’s diarrhea. The powder has antiseptic properties and can be sprinkled onto cuts or wounds to stop bleeding. Do not take goldenseal internally during pregnancy.
  • Grindelia: Grindelia (Grindelia camporum), also known as gumweed, contains resins and tannins that help to relieve the pain and itching of plant rashes. It’s available as a tincture and also as a spray specifically for treating poison oak/poison ivy rashes.
  • Plantain: It is a natural remedy for infection, poison ivy, cuts, scrapes, stings, and bites. In a pinch, picked a leaf, chew, and put it on a bee sting for instant pain relief. When used on a confirmed brown recluse bite a combination of plantain and comfrey in a poultice may keep the bite from eating away the tissue and help it heal completely.
  • Lavender: Virtually an all-purpose remedy, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has sedative, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties. It’s helpful for anxiety, insomnia, headaches, bites, scars, wounds, and burns. It also can be used as an insect repellant.
  • Slippery Elm: It is helpful for sore or irritated throat or when you lose your voice.
  • Senna: Travel constipation is a common complaint. Most herbal laxative teas rely on senna (Cassia senna), which contains compounds called anthraquinones that stimulate intestinal activity. Because senna has a bitter, unpleasant flavor, it’s often combined with tasty herbs such as cinnamon, fennel, licorice, and ginger.
  • Peppermint: With its high concentration of menthol, peppermint (Mentha X Piperita) soothes an upset stomach, clears sinuses, and curbs itching from insect bites. The essential oil applied behind the ears and on the feet helps alleviate headache or nausea and a weak tea made from the herb and rubbed on the skin can help soothe a colicky baby. It can also be used as an insect repellant. If you have sensitive skin, dilute peppermint oil before applying. Taken internally, peppermint may aggravate heartburn.
  • Valerian: The sedative properties of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) make it useful for relieving anxiety, insomnia, and tension; it’s also a mild pain reliever.
  • Witch hazel: Distilled witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) has mild astringent, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful for insect bites, skin irritations, cuts, scrapes, and in cosmetic uses. It makes a great skin toner. And, it aids in healing hemorrhoids, and postpartum bottoms. It’s also an excellent base for diluting essential oils for a variety of simple, topical herbal first-aid remedies. Do not take it internally.

Additional first-aid essentials include alcohol which helps remove poison oak/ivy oils from the skin. Cosmetic clays who’s drying and drawing properties are useful for healing skin rashes and insect bites. Activated charcoal is used for food poisoning, intestinal illness, vomiting, diarrhea, ingestion of toxins, and hangovers. Apple cider vinegar with “the mother” is useful for digestive troubles, indigestion, food poisoning, and more. When taken in a dose of 1 teaspoon per 8 ounces of water every hour, it helps shorten the duration of any type of illness. Epsom salt is good as a bath soak for sore muscles. Dissolved in water, it can also be a good soak to help remove splinters.

Hydrogen peroxide can be used for cleaning out wounds. It can help prevent ear infection and shorten the duration of respiratory illness. At the first sign of ear infection or illness, a dropper full of hydrogen peroxide can be put in the ear. Leave the peroxide in for 15 minutes or until it stops bubbling and repeat on the other side.

The natural gelatin in homemade chicken soup (from the bones and tissue) is one of the things that makes it so nourishing during illness. After surgeries or when there especially bad cuts that might scar, it speeds skin healing. There is evidence that it is also effective in improving blood clotting when used externally on a wound.

Baking soda is also a good remedy to keep on hand. For severe heartburn or urinary tract infections, 1/4 tsp can be taken internally to help alleviate quickly. It can also be made into a poultice and used on spider bites.

From skin salve to diaper cream, to makeup remover, to antifungal treatment, coconut oil can be for almost everything. It may be added to remedies to be taken internally, to use to apply tinctures and help absorption externally and for dry skin and chapped lips. There is also growing evidence that daily consumption of 1/4 cup or more of coconut oil can help protect against Alzheimer’s and nourish the thyroid.

Quick Natural Remedies for Common Conditions:

  • Anxiety: Drink chamomile tea, 3 cups a day. Take valerian tincture, 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon up to 3 times daily. Take a bath with 10 drops of lavender essential oil or place a drop of lavender oil on a tissue and inhale as desired.
  • Blisters: To dry a blister, soak a gauze pad in witch hazel, lay it over the blister and cover with an adhesive bandage. After blister has broken, wash with a mixture of Echinacea extract diluted with an equal part of water. Finally, apply calendula-comfrey salve and cover with an adhesive bandage.
  • Bruises: Immediately apply ice to relieve pain and swelling. Apply arnica cream or gel twice daily.
  • Burns: Immediately immerse the affected area in cold water until the burning sensation subsides. Then apply aloe vera gel mixed with lavender essential oil (5 drops of lavender oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel). For sunburn, soak in a cool bath with 10 drops of lavender essential oil.
  • Colds and Flus: Take 1 dropperful of Echinacea extract four times a day until symptoms subside. Take 1 dropperful of elderberry extract four times a day until symptoms subside. To relieve congestion and soothe a sore throat, drink hot ginger tea with honey. To ease congestion, add 2 drops each of eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils to hot water; inhale the steam vapors. Add 1 dropperful of Echinacea extract to 1⁄2 cup of water as an antiseptic wash. To stop bleeding, sprinkle goldenseal powder directly into the wound and apply pressure with a clean cloth. Apply a salve made from calendula-comfrey-only after a scab has formed, to prevent trapping bacteria.
  • Diarrhea: Replenish lost fluids and soothe the digestive tract with chamomile or ginger tea. For diarrhea caused by infectious microorganisms, take 1 capsule of goldenseal three times daily for up to two weeks. To boost immunity and fight infection, take 1 dropperful of Echinacea four times daily.
  • Headache: Drink chamomile tea as often as desired. For more severe headaches, take 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon of valerian root extract; repeat every two hours until pain abates. Take a warm bath with 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Massage 2 drops of diluted peppermint essential oil onto temples, forehead and neck. Keep away from eyes.
  • Indigestion: Sip warm chamomile, peppermint or ginger tea. Chew on a piece of crystallized (candied) ginger.
  • Insect bites and stings: Cleanse the bite with Echinacea extract. Apply a drop of undiluted peppermint or lavender oil to relieve itching and as an antiseptic. Mix clay with enough water to make a paste, and apply to the bites to relieve itching and draw out toxins. Mix pipe tobacco, baking soda, activated charcoal together and add a few drops of lavender essential oil to form a paste; apply on bite and cover with a bandage; change it out twice a day.
  • Insomnia: Drink a cup of warm chamomile tea. For stronger sedative action, take up to 1 teaspoon of valerian tincture before bed. Take a warm bath with 10 drops of lavender essential oil.
  • Jet lag: Take eleuthero (100 mg of standardized extract) three times daily for one week or more before traveling and for one week or longer following the flight.
  • Nausea: Take 1 to 2 capsules of dried ginger every 15 minutes until symptoms abate. To prevent motion sickness, take 6 to 8 capsules of powdered ginger about 45 minutes before departing. To calm a queasy stomach, chew on a piece of crystallized ginger.
  • Poison oak/ivy: Immediately wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and cool water, or sponge with alcohol to remove the oily resin. If a rash occurs, spray with grindelia extract several times a day.
  • Strains and sprains: Immediately elevate and apply an ice pack to the affected area to reduce swelling and inflammation. After 24 hours, apply hot compresses to increase circulation and speed healing. Soak in a hot bath with 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Apply arnica cream or gel to the affected area three times daily.

Father’s Day: In men, the symptoms of aging are often the result of a growth hormone and testosterone decline. After age 20, a man’s growth hormone falls about 14% every 10 years. By the time he reaches 40, he’s lost almost half the growth hormones he had at 20 years old and by the time he reaches 80, men are left with just 5% of their original growth hormones. These imbalances can happen at any age. Fortunately, there are male treatment options available.

Some of the most common hormonal imbalances in men include: Andropause, also known as the male menopause, occurs as men grow older and their testosterone levels decline. Adrenal fatigue occurs when one’s stress levels remain high for a prolonged period of time and the adrenal glands can’t produce enough of the stress hormone cortisol. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland is underactive. Hyperthyroidism is an overactive thyroid gland results in high levels of thyroid hormones and increased metabolism.

Many of the symptoms of male hormonal imbalances come on very gradually. One may not notice them at first, but as more symptoms appear and become worse over time, they do become apparent. These symptoms of male hormone imbalance are some of the most common: erectile dysfunction, hair loss, low libido, fatigue or lack of energy, night sweats or hot flashes, memory loss, mood swings or irritability, heart palpitations, muscle loss or weakness, sleep apnea or insomnia, depression or anxiety, constipation or increased bowel movements, increased body fat, and gynecomastia (development of breasts in men). People often mistake the symptoms of imbalanced hormones in men with signs of aging. The good news is that these hormone losses and imbalances are easily correctable. And with treatment, these symptoms will often disappear and bring about a healthier, younger self.

Sex hormones, like all hormones in the body, are regulated through the endocrine system (adrenals, thyroid, testes/ovaries, pituitary, pancreas). Stress plays a big part in causing an imbalance in this sensitive balancing act. Fortunately, there are many botanicals (known as adaptogens) that are well known for supporting and nourishing these glands in their important work.

Another important part of this picture is liver health. The liver is vital in its role in regulating and normalizing hormone production. Therefore, the liver must be addressed when looking at hormonal challenges. Let’s look at some herbs that can help:

  • Vitex (aka Chasteberry): Vitex may reduce fertility in males. The flavonoid fraction of Vitex Negundo, a species related to Vitex agnus castus, has been shown to diminish citric acid in the prostate, fructose in seminal vesicles, and epididymal α-glucosidase activity. These changes were also associated with a decrease in sperm count and motility. Vitex is also known as monk’s pepper, a name that stems from the use of its peppercorn-like fruits to help maintain chastity in men’s religious orders. It has a long history of use in formulas to treat male gynecomastia.
  • Wild Yam: Great for endocrine and liver health, this herb is a great hormone precursor (particularly for progesterone). It also is helpful in formulas for male hormone balancing.
  • Dong Quai: Used a great deal in Chinese medicine, this herb exerts a regulating influence on hormone production through its work with the liver and endocrine system. There is a cream containing dong Quai, Panax ginseng root, Cistanches deserticola, Zanthoxyl species, Torlidis seed, clove flower, Asiasari root, cinnamon bark, and toad venom that may improve premature ejaculation when applied to the penis.
  • Black Cohosh: There is intriguing data that shows black cohosh extracts may be useful in both the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer. And, male-pattern baldness, which is often hormone-related, might be combated by the estrogen effects. However, too much estrogen can reduce male libido, decrease energy levels, and contribute to gynecomastia.
  • Dandelion: Dandelion is specific for the liver, and it benefits the reproductive system by helping to regulate hormone production.
  • Saw Palmetto: For men, this herb assists in raising sperm count, motility, and libido. In this same category, I cannot forget to mention Ho Shou Wo (aka Fo-Ti).
  • Licorice: An adaptogenic herb, licorice nurtures the adrenals (and hence the entire endocrine system). It also is a great balancer in formulas. A little goes a long way.
  • Maca: It is showing great clinical results as an endocrine modulator; helping with libido, hormone modulating, etc.
  • Rhodiola: An adaptogen that may improve erectile dysfunction.
  • Ashwagandha: Known for centuries as an adaptogenic herb for libido, low sperm count, and sexual debility.
  • Schisandra: Tones sexual organs, as an adaptogen.
  • Honey: It contains boron which is a natural mineral that can be found in both food and in the environment. It is associated with helping to increase testosterone levels and is also useful for building strong bones and for building muscles, as well as improving thinking skills and muscle coordination.
  • Garlic and onion: They contain a compound called allicin which can be useful for lowering one’s cortisol levels. Cortisol is produced in the adrenal gland, which is where testosterone is produced. When one’s body is under stress it produces cortisol and this has an impact on other bodily functions, including the production of testosterone. Therefore, by reducing the amount of cortisol in one’s system one allows testosterone to be produced more effectively by the adrenal gland. So whilst garlic doesn’t itself act as a testosterone boosting food, it is a cortisol reducer and by association boosts testosterone levels. They may also help ward off benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also called prostate gland enlargement.
  • Eggs: They are a fantastic source of protein, cholesterol, vitamin D, and omega-3s, all of which aid in the production of testosterone. Eggs are very versatile ingredients and not only do they help increase testosterone levels, but the protein in them also helps with muscle-building too.
  • Almond: They contain high levels of the mineral zinc which is known to raise testosterone levels in people who are zinc deficient. If one’s low in zinc this could stop the pituitary gland from releasing some of the key hormones for stimulating testosterone production. By eating zinc-rich foods, one can help make sure this doesn’t happen and avoid a reduction in testosterone levels.
  • Oyster: They are commonly known as an aphrodisiac. Testosterone increases your libido and oysters are naturally high in zinc. As mentioned above, zinc is very important for the healthy production of testosterone.
  • Spinach: It has long been considered one of the best testosterone-boosting foods around. It is a natural source of magnesium which has been shown to correlate positively with testosterone levels. It also contains vitamin B6 and iron which are both excellent testosterone boosters.
  • Porridge oats: They are an excellent source of B vitamins which are key for good testosterone production. There are a number of different B vitamins, many of which are found in testosterone boosting foods. Vitamin B6 suppresses the production of estrogen, thereby helping testosterone levels to rise. Oats are an excellent source of a variety of B Vitamins and therefore is one of a range of excellent testosterone boosting foods.
  • Lemon: They, along with other citrus fruits, are great testosterone boosting foods. Much like garlic, they help to lower the levels of cortisol which means testosterone can be more readily produced. Not only that but they contain vitamin A which is required for the production of testosterone and can help lower estrogen level which means testosterone can be more effective.
  • Salmon, sardines, and trout: These fish are an excellent addition to the list of testosterone boosting foods because it contains magnesium, vitamin B, and omega-3s which all help increase testosterone levels. Not only this though, but it also helps lower the levels of the ‘Sex Hormone Binding Globulin’ (SHBG is a protein made by the liver. It binds tightly to three sex hormones-estrogen; dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and testosterone. SHBG carries these three hormones throughout one’s blood.) which makes testosterone non-functional. If SHBG is lowered testosterone can have more of an impact on one’s body. Omega-3 essential fatty acids also benefit the prostate by reducing inflammation.
  • Tuna: It is an excellent source of Vitamin D which can help boost testosterone levels by up to 90%. Vitamin D helps to maintain sperm count and tuna is an excellent way to get this particular vitamin, especially if one isn’t able to spend much time outside.
  • Banana and Pineapple: These two fruits contain an enzyme called bromelain which is known to help boost testosterone levels. They are also excellent for maintaining energy levels and reducing antioxidants.

Specific foods known to benefit the prostate include:

  • Tomatoes: They are packed with lycopene, an antioxidant that may benefit prostate gland cells. Cooking tomatoes, such as in tomato sauce or soup, helps to release the lycopene and make it more readily available to the body.
  • Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are excellent sources of antioxidants, which help to remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are the byproducts of reactions that occur within the body and can cause damage and disease over time.
  • Broccoli: This and other cruciferous vegetables, including bok choy, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, contain a chemical known as sulforaphane. This is thought to target cancer cells and promote a healthy prostate.
  • Nuts: They are rich in zinc, a trace mineral. Zinc is found in high concentrations in the prostate and is thought to help balance testosterone and DHT. Besides nuts, shellfish and legumes are also high in zinc.
  • Citrus fruit: Oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are all high in vitamin C, which may help to protect the prostate gland.

Foods that aid conception:

  • Oysters and pumpkin seeds: Both are very high in zinc, which may increase testosterone, sperm motility, and sperm count.
  • Oranges: They contain lots of vitamin C, and studies have proved it improves sperm motility, count, and morphology. Other foods that contain vitamin C include tomatoes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
  • Dark, leafy vegetables: The folate (also known as vitamin B) in spinach, romaine lettuce, brussels sprouts, and asparagus can help produce strong, healthy sperm.
  • Dark chocolate: It contains l-arginine, an amino acid that can improve sperm count and quality over time.
  • Fish: The omega-3 fatty acids in fish and seafood-especially salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines-helps improve the quality and quantity of sperm.
  • Pomegranate: The antioxidants in pomegranates may improve testosterone levels.
  • Brazil nuts: The selenium found in Brazilian nuts can help increase sperm count, sperm shape, and sperm motility.
  • Water: Staying hydrated helps create good seminal fluid.

Another area important to men is how to help them achieve their gym goals. The hormones IGF-1, growth hormone (GH), testosterone, and cortisol all respond to the intensity of weight training. Insulin and glucagon are also influenced by exercise and diet, often in contradiction to the anabolic hormones. With respect to bodybuilding, the goal is to keep anabolic hormones (muscle building-up) high and catabolic hormones (hormones which are muscle wasting) low. While some bodybuilders will try to shortcut the process by using illegal performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), there is increasing evidence that they not only harm your health but may be far less effective than previously thought.

While some supplements manufacturers have tried to take advantage of the WADA ban by marketing “natural” supplements to bodybuilders, most of these products underperform. Examples include Tribulus Terrestris, zinc-magnesium supplements, ginseng, bovine colostrum, beta-alanine, and DHEA (a prohormone banned in most sports). Contrary to what some may tell you, there are no non-food supplements other than creatine that exhibit anabolic-like effects. Even with regards to creatine, the actual effect on muscle growth is limited. According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, creatine supplements increase endurance capacity in high-intensity training rather than inducing physiological changes in the muscles themselves

There are several approaches to diet and training that can enhance the anabolic response while mitigating the catabolic response. The foods you eat before, during, and after exercise can make a big difference in your training. For example, eating carbohydrates before and during exercise can help minimize increases in cortisol. The reason is simple: when your blood glucose supplies are maintained, cortisol does not need to be released and muscle tissues won’t get burned up.

It is important to note that exercise also increases testosterone levels. Once exercise stops, testosterone will invariably drop as cortisone levels rise. To mitigate this effect, one needs to eat protein after a workout to balance the testosterone-to-cortisol ratio in the bloodstream. Consume 20 grams of easily digested protein up to 45 minutes before a workout. Around 20 fluid ounces (600 milliliters) of skim milk with a little sugar will do. Sip a sports drink during workouts at regular intervals, especially if one goes beyond 60 minutes. Within 30 minutes of completing a workout, consume another 20 grams of protein with around 40 grams of carbohydrate. Again, skim milk with sugar works just fine. Choose a favorite protein-carb powder or protein-fortified milk drink. The carb-to-protein ratio should be between 3:1 and 4:1 if one has had a heavy workout. Avoid cortisol-reducing supplements regularly marketed to bodybuilders. There is no proof that they work and one can seemly do better by eating strategically during exercise.

Eating a diet that’s neither too low in fat nor too high in protein can help enhance one’s testosterone output. According to research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, body-builders should be consuming enough calories so that bodyweight losses are about 0.5 to 1% per week to maximize muscle retention. Most but not all bodybuilders will respond best to consuming protein at a rate of 2.3-3.1 g/kg of lean body mass per day, 15-30% of calories from fat, with carbohydrates making up the rest. By contrast, ultra low-fat diets or high-protein/low-carb diets are not advised when bodybuilding. Some bodybuilders endorse diets comprised of 40% protein. Not only is there little evidence to support this strategy, but it may also cause harm over the long term, increasing the risk of kidney damage and proteinuria (excess protein in urine).

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Canadian dietitian governing body recommend athletes consume daily between a little more than one gram (1.2) and up to two grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight to build muscle, depending on how hard the athlete is training. In addition, creatine and zinc are potentially important components of an anabolic diet. Creatine builds bulk, while zinc is necessary for testosterone production. Meat protein is a good source of both of these nutrients.

High-intensity training raises testosterone, GH, and IGF-1 levels but also promotes spikes in cortisol. While diet can temper cortisol production to a certain extent, how one exercises may also help. High-volume, high-intensity workouts with short rest intervals tend to produce the greatest increases in testosterone, GH, and cortisol, while low-volume, high-intensity workouts with long rest intervals tend to produce the least.

Contrary to what one may think, it is usually more beneficial for bodybuilders to rest for 3-5 minutes between sets rather than the 1-2 minutes endorsed for regular fitness programs. Doing so appears to restore a high-energy compound known as phosphagen that is stored in muscles and excreted during strenuous activity. It also promotes the production of testosterone with less of the mitigating effects of cortisone. So, in a way, one can get more out of their training by pushing less strenuously.

Aerobic training, like running or anaerobic interval training, should be done on separate days from one’s bodybuilding training. Doing both on the same day promotes inflammation and the adverse effects of cortisol. Evening workouts are preferable to early-morning workouts since cortisol levels tend to peak in the early hours of the day. Alcohol consumption increases cortisol production and should be avoided during heavy training and competition. Improved sleep hygiene, including maintaining a regular sleep schedule, enhances the production of GH, which peaks during deep sleep and can persist well after waking. By contrast, irregular sleep contributes to drops in GH levels.

King Kamehameha Day (Hawaii):
The Hawaiian word for health and life is “ola”. Hawaiians obviously believed one could not have health without life, nor life without health. The ancient Hawaiian health system was well developed. They had a medical profession, medicines, treatments, a lengthy apprenticeship program for medical specialists (kahuna), and training facilities located in special healing heiau (temples). They also had designated places of healing such as Coconut Island (Mokuola) at Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, famous for its curative spring waters.

Similar to the organization of today’s medical profession, the traditional Hawaiian healers were Kahuna haihai iwi (skilled in setting broken bones), Kahuna haha (who diagnosed illnesses by feeling with the fingers), Kahuna hoohanau keiki (who delivered babies), Kahuna hoohapai keiki (who induced pregnancy), Kahuna laau lapaau (who treated patients with herbs; they were the general practitioners), Kahuna lomilomi (who were physical therapists and also skilled in massage), and Kahuna paaoao (who diagnosed and treated illnesses of infants).

To ancient Hawaiians, mana (spiritual power) was necessary to be a truly successful practitioner. Education was sacred as knowledge was a way of achieving this power. If a parent sensed a child had a “healing spirit” enabling them to become a doctor, the child would be sent to live and study with a kahuna from as young as five years of age and they would spend upwards of fifteen to twenty years in training. During this time, they studied anatomy, learned how to diagnose disease, how to choose the right cures or medicines (particularly the use of medicinal plants), and learned sacred prayers. They also learned how to perform simple surgical procedures, set bones, and perform autopsies. They employed the use of steam baths, massage, and laxatives and undertook empirical research.

Since the Hawaiians viewed the body, mind, and spirit as one, Hawaiians believed that the body could not be healed without healing the spirit. Accordingly, they used a combination of psychic, spiritual, and natural treatments to cure illnesses. In particular, before a patient was treated, the kahuna performed a ritual of hooponopono (making things right), a type of counseling with the aid of prayer to cleanse the mind and heart of negative thoughts and feelings.

Today the traditional Hawaiian healing programs now being implemented by Hawaiian Health Care Centers serving Native Hawaiians include: hooponopono (traditional Hawaiian family problem solving process making things “right”), limuloid (traditional, spiritual and physical muscle stress relaxation by licensed therapists), lau lapaau (healing with the use of compounding herbs and other traditional remedies), pale keki (mother and child care, before, during and after birth), laau kahea (spiritual or faith healing through prayer and chants, a form of exorcism). The vast majority of Hawaiian remedies consists of plants. A sampling of traditional botanical based remedies is given below:

  • Aalii (Hopseed Bush): The leaves are used to treat a rash, itches, and other skin diseases.
  • Awa (Kava): Used in the treatment of headaches, muscle pain, and to induce sleep. It is also a treatment for general debility, chills, colds, and other lung problems, such as bronchitis and asthma.
  • Awapuhi (Shampoo Ginger): Ashes of the leaves are used to treat cuts and sores. The root is used in the treatment of ringworm and sprains and bruises. The root is also used in the treatment of headache, toothache, and stomach ache.
  • Kalo (Taro): It is the single most important plant in Hawaiian culture. The cut raw rootstock is rubbed on wounds to stop bleeding and the cut raw petiole is used to relieve the pain and prevent swelling of insect bites and stings. The corm is used to treat indigestion and as a laxative. The leaves are used in the treatment of asthma.
  • Mamaki: The inner part of the fruit is used to treat thrush and to cure general debility. The leaves are sold as a tea in Hawaii and an infusion made from the leaves is used to treat generalized weakness.
  • Noni (Indian Mulberry): The leaves and bark are prepared as a tonic, and to treat urinary disorders and muscle and joint pain. Either the ripe fruit or the leaves can be used as a poultice for boils, wounds, and fractures. A tonic prepared from the immature fruit is used to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, and loss of appetite.
  • Ohia lehua: The flower is used to ease childbirth and leaf bud tea is used as a tonic and to treat colds.
  • Olena (Turmeric): The root is used to treat earache, and nose and throat discomfort.
  • Pia (Polynesian Arrowroot): The raw starch was used in water for diarrhea and when mixed with red clay for dysentery. The starch was also applied to wounds to stop bleeding.
  • The sap of Ko (sugarcane) is commonly used to sweeten herbal preparations and the juice from the shoot is used to treat lacerations. Belonging to a grass family, sugarcane has no fats. It is, in fact, a 100% natural drink. It has about 30 grams of natural sugar. Hence, you do not have to add extra sugar for sweetness. Sugar extracted from sugarcane juice contains only 15 calories. Sugarcane juice is a mix of sucrose, fructose, and many other glucose varieties. Raw sugarcane juice contains a total of 13 grams of dietary fiber per serving, which is essential in carrying out a lot of body functions. Sugarcane juice aids in the following areas: skin benefits, cures acne, protects the skin from aging, instant energy booster, ensures safe pregnancy, prevents bad breath and tooth decay, facilitates the development of bones and teeth, cures febrile disorders, aids liver functioning, good for jaundice, acts as a digestive tonic, combats cancer, aids people suffering from diabetes, treats sore throat, heals wounds, strengthens body organs, prevents DNA damage, aids weight loss, eliminates toxins from one’s body, beneficial in treating UTI, treating kidney stones, ensures proper functioning of the kidneys, good for nail health, increases muscle power, reduces fever, treats acidity, and boosts immunity. Sugarcane juice also exhibits laxative properties.
  • Fresh coconuts can be young or mature. Young coconuts either have a green shell or a white husk (where the green shell has been removed). Young coconuts contain more water, is one of the highest sources of electrolytes, and soft gel-like meat, whereas mature coconuts have firm meat and less water. The water in the young coconut electrolytes is responsible for keeping the body properly hydrated so the muscles and nerves can function appropriately. Therefore, it is more beneficial to drink the water from a young coconut after an intense workout rather than the commercial sports drinks we see advertised. Coconut water is also low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugars, and almost completely fat-free. In addition, it is high in ascorbic acid, B vitamins, and proteins. The soft meat inside the coconut helps to restore oxidative tissue damage and contains a source of healthy fats, proteins, and various vitamins and minerals. Coconuts are also an excellent source of some trace minerals. They include magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, and selenium. Zinc and selenium are essential nutrients for maintaining thyroid function. Iron is needed in the production of red blood cells. Magnesium is a nutrient necessary for electrolyte balance. Potassium takes care of nerve function, while copper reduces the risks of cardiovascular diseases, joint health, and osteoporosis, a condition where the bones become brittle. Another of the benefits of coconut is it contains capric acid.
  • Coconut oil has been used as both food and medicine for many centuries. Despite its natural healing wonders, a lot of people are still confused as to whether or not coconut oil is good for our health because of its high content of saturated fats. However, do not mistake hydrogenated coconut oil with pure cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil. Pure coconut oil is derived from the mature coconuts which contain harder flesh. The white flesh is shredded, collected, and then cold-pressed at 90–100 degrees Fahrenheit. Unprocessed, unrefined virgin coconut oil is not hydrogenated and is a safe choice for consumption. Although coconut oil is saturated fat, it is unlike the high-calorie, cholesterol-soaked, long-chain saturated fat. It is rich in a medium-chain fatty acid that can help boost metabolism and aid in fat loss. It is metabolized quickly and instead of fat sticking to one’s belly, it gets burned off as energy. It also helps detoxify the body and balances the digestive tract. Instead of bathing one’s skin with synthetic toxic lotions and creams, coconut oil can be used to nourish and moisturize the skin, scalp, and hair. One of the better-known uses of coconut oil is for cooking food. Coconut oil is one of the most stable oils when cooking in high heat. It does not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperatures like other vegetable oils do. In addition, it can be used as a spread for baking and for making delicious raw, vegan desserts.

Medicinal uses for coconuts include:

  • Supports immune system health: it is anti-viral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasite,
  • Provides a natural source of quick energy and enhances physical and athletic performance
  • Improves digestion and absorption of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals
  • Improves insulin secretion and symptoms associated with diabetes
  • Helps protect the body from cancers through insulin reduction and removal of free radicals that cause premature aging and degenerative disease
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease and improves good cholesterol (HDL)
  • Restores and supports thyroid function
  • Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infection
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Helps keep hair and skin healthy and youthful-looking, prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots, and provides sun protection

Coconuts are a creative culinary delight. Due to its health advantages and natural low-glycemic index rating, coconuts have replaced some everyday ingredients:

  • Coconut Flour: It is simply dried, ground-up coconut meat. Coconut flour is gluten-free, low in carbohydrates, high in fiber, and ideal for baking.
  • Coconut Milk and Cream: Milk is made by mixing shredded fresh coconut meat with water and then squeezing it through a sieve or cheesecloth. The thick creamy liquid that comes out is coconut milk. It can be used for curries and stews. Coconut cream, on the other hand, is basically coconut milk without all the water. It is thicker and pastier. The cream can be used to make dairy-free whipped cream or make one’s own coconut yogurt.
  • Coconut Sugar: It is derived from coconut sap. It is the sweet juice extracted when the budding flower is just about to grow. This process offers a delicious, sweet taste similar to brown sugar with a hint of caramel, with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It is considered a low-glycemic food and is diabetic-friendly. Use coconut sugar as one would commonly use other sugars and sweeteners.

Coconut is being used as a staple for those doing the keto diet. Also known as the ketogenic diet plan, it is a program wherein one induces ketosis-a state when the body burns fat instead of sugar for energy. To do it, one needs to eat foods low in carbs but high in fat.

One of the benefits of coconut is it can help one get into ketosis due to its medium-chain fatty acids. Sometimes called MCTs, these are triglycerides that go straight to the liver. The liver can then quickly convert the fats into ketones (chemicals the liver creates when insulin production is low), which then becomes one’s energy source. In turn, one may be able to lose weight without feeling lethargic.

Some tips to including coconut to the keto diet are topping vegan muffins with shredded coconut, adding raw coconut meat to a salad as a topping, dried coconut is great when paired with oatmeal, and blend classic protein power with the protein-rich coconut for a creamy, delicious shake.

Bananas are a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese. In addition to being rich in vitamin B6, bananas are also fat-free, cholesterol-free, and virtually sodium-free. Vitamin B6 from bananas is easily absorbed by the body and a medium-sized banana can provide about a quarter of the daily needs. A medium-sized banana also will provide about 10% of one’s daily vitamin C needs, approximately 13% of one’s daily manganese needs, and around 320-400 mg of potassium-which meets about 10% of one’s daily potassium needs. In addition, bananas are low in sodium. The low sodium and high potassium combination help to control high blood pressure. Bananas contain three natural sugar-sucrose, fructose, and glucose-giving one a fat and cholesterol-free source of energy. As such, bananas are ideal, especially for children and athletes, for breakfast, as a midday snack or before and after sports.

A medium banana will provide about 10-12% of one’s daily fiber needs. It is recommending a daily dietary fiber intake of 20g for women and 26g for men. Soluble and insoluble fibers play an important role in one’s health. Soluble fiber helps the body control blood sugar level and get rid of fatty substances such as cholesterol. Insoluble fiber adds weight and softness to stools, making it easier for regular bowel movements. This helps to keep the gut healthy and safe from harmful bacteria. Bananas, especially newly-ripened ones, contain starch that does not digest (resistant starch) in the small intestine and is able to pass into the large intestine. Such bananas help one manage their weight better. That said, bananas can help gastrointestinal issues such as constipation, stomach ulcers, and heartburn.

Pineapples are delicious, low in calories, and loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. Their nutrients and compounds have been linked to impressive health benefits, including improved digestion, a lower risk of cancer, improved immunity, relief of arthritis symptoms, and improved recovery after surgery and strenuous exercise. Pineapples are also incredibly versatile and can be consumed in a variety of ways.

Recipes:

  • Lemon-pomegranate electrolyte drink : Yield: 32 ounces; Serving size: 8 ounces. Ingredients: 1/4 tsp. salt; 1/4 cup pomegranate juice; 1/4 cup lemon juice; 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut water; 2 cups cold water. Additional options: sweetener, powdered magnesium, and/or calcium, depending on needs. Directions: Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Pour into a container, chill, and serve.
  • Banana Guava Pie: 1-1/2 cup sliced bananas; 1-1/4 cup guava nectar; 1/2 cup sugar; 1 tablespoon lemon juice; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 3 tablespoons cornstarch; 3 tablespoons cold water; 1 baked pie shell. Directions: Combine guava nectar, lemon juice, sugar, and salt. Bring to boil over low heat. Mix cornstarch and water to a smooth paste and stir into mixture. Stir until thickened and clear. Cool. Combine with bananas and pour into baked pie shell. Serve with whipped cream.
  • Haupia (Sweet coconut cream custard cubes): Yield:1 standard 9 x 13 baking pan. Ingredients: 2 coconut milk, 16 oz cans; 3 cups water or fruit juice; ½ cups cornstarch; 1 cup sugar. Directions: Mix 2 cups water with cornstarch. Set aside. Bring coconut milk, sugar, and remaining water to a rolling boil on high heat. Pour cornstarch mixture into boiling coconut milk and cook till the mixture thickens, blending with a whip. When the mixture is smooth and thick pour into a clean baking tray. Cool to room temperature, then chill until cold. Cut into 1-inch squares. Serve on ti leaf lined trays.
  • Huli Huli (Grilled Chicken): Serves 10- 12. Ingredients: 9-12 lbs chicken wings, thighs, and breast pieces; 1/4 cup frozen pineapple juice concentrate; 1/3 cup white wine; 1/2 cup chicken broth; 1/4 cup soy sauce; 1/4 cup ketchup; 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger or a pinch of fresh ginger; 1-2 drops Worcestershire sauce. Directions: Wash chicken parts and pat dry with paper towels. Mix all sauce ingredients in a bowl. Brush over chicken parts. Grill over barbecue for about 40 minutes. Turn and baste with sauce until chicken is done.
  • Sugarcane Juice: Sugarcane (medium-sized), fresh; water; ginger (optional); lemon juice (optional); peppermint (optional); black salt; ice cubes. Directions: Wash the sugarcanes well and peel the hard outer layer of the cane with a big knife. Now cut them into small pieces and blend them along with a ginger piece (optional). Add some water and grind it again. Make sure you have ground the sugarcane well. Pour the sugarcane extract along with the juice in a big container. Take another container and place a muslin cloth or strainer on it. Squeeze the juice out of the extract pressing through the cloth or strainer. If you don’t find it easy, squeeze the juice with your hand. Take some of the extract in your hand and press it well till the juice comes out. Strain the juice again as it may still have some extract. You can add some lemon juice and a dash of black salt along with ice cubes and serve chilled. Notes: While you can add sugar powder in the juice, it is advised to avoid as the juice is already sweet. Tea or coffee filters also work well for straining the juice.
  • Beard Oils: 1)Healthy Mix-1/2 oz jojoba; 1/2 oz coconut oil; 12 drops lavender oil; 12 drops rosemary oil. 2) Woodsy-1 oz of jojoba oil; 6 drops cedarwood essential oil; 2 drops lavender essential oil; 2 drops tea tree essential oil; 1 drop rosemary essential oil; 1 drop lime essential oil. Directions: Mix all ingredients in a 1-ounce bottle. Shake. Apply. No rinsing needed.
  • Healing Salve: Makes: 2 cups. Ingredients: 2 cups carrier oil; 1 tsp echinacea root (optional); 2 tablespoons comfrey leaf; 2 tablespoons dried plantain leaf; 1 tablespoon calendula flowers (optional); 1 teaspoon yarrow flowers (optional); 1 teaspoon rosemary (optional); ¼ cup beeswax pastilles. Directions: Infuse the herbs into the carrier oil: Either combine the carrier oil and herbs in a jar with an airtight lid and leave 3-4 weeks, shaking daily. OR heat the carrier oil and herbs over low heat in a double boiler for 3 hours (low heat) until the oil is very green. Make the salve: Strain the herbs out of the oil by pouring through a cheesecloth. Let all the oil drip out and then squeeze give the herbs a squeeze to get the remaining oil out. Discard the herbs. Combine the infused oil and beeswax in a double boiler. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the wax is melted. Pour into small tins, glass jars, or lip chap tubes and use them as needed.
  • First Aid Poultice: 1 part marshmallow root; 1 part Oregon grape root; 1 part yarrow herb; 1 part bentonite clay; 1 part echinacea root; 1/4 part cayenne fruit; lavender essential oil (optional). Directions: Mix all herbs together in the blender until they are powdered. Store in a glass container in a cool dark place until needed. Add warm water until the mixture forms a paste. 10 drops of lavender essential oil can also be added. Apply to stings, bruises, infections, injuries, and rashes. Rinse off and reapply as needed.
  • Headache Oil: 10 drops lavender essential oil; 10 drops peppermint essential oil; 10 drops marjoram essential oil; 1 teaspoon carrier oil. Directions: Add essential oils to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. Rub on temples, forehead, and back of the neck. Avoid the eyes.
  • Burn Rescue: 5 ml lavender essential oil; 1 ml Helichrysum essential oil; 5 drops Rescue Remedy; 1 ounce of aloe vera gel; 1 ounce of witch hazel extract (optional). Directions: Mix ingredients together and apply topically to burns, sunburns, and wind burns. This cooling and healing formula will reduce pain, inflammation, and scarring. Add the Witch Hazel if you would like to apply the formula as a spray.
  • Garlic-Mullein Earache Oil: 400ml olive oil; 1 whole bulb garlic, chopped; 1 oz mullein flowers, Vitamin E oil. Equipment: 2 empty jars, 454ml (16 oz) size; 1 square of muslin or cheesecloth, about 6 cm square. Directions: Place the finely chopped fresh garlic and mullein flowers into the jar. Add olive oil until the jar is full. Stir with a chopstick or the handle of a wooden spoon to release air bubbles. Cover the jar and place it in the sunlight for 3 weeks (2 weeks in warm weather). Strain through the muslin square into a clean jar (discard plant material) and store it in the refrigerator. This will keep for up to two years. To use: Place 3-7 drops of the oil into the affected ear. The oil should be at room temperature or slightly warm. To warm it, put the drops in a spoon or a glass eyedropper and briefly hold a lit match close to it. Test the oil against the underside of your wrist to make sure it is not too hot. Rest with the affected ear up for 5-10 minutes, keeping a warm hot water bottle on the ear. After this time roll over and rest on the hot water bottle for as long as this brings comfort. Repeat on the other ear if necessary. This treatment can be repeated 2-3 times a day but may only be necessary once or twice as it is very effective. Caution: NEVER put anything into the ear if you suspect the eardrum has ruptured or if there is any drainage from the ear.
  • Essential Oil Bug Spray: 30 drops geranium; 30 drops citronella; 20 drops lemon eucalyptus; 20 drops lavender; 10 drops rosemary; 1 tablespoon vodka; ½ cup natural witch hazel; ½ cup water (or vinegar); 1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin (optional); vanilla extract (optional). Directions: Place essential oils in a glass spray bottle. Add vodka or alcohol and shake well to combine. Pour in witch hazel and shake to combine. Add vanilla extract. Add ½ tsp vegetable glycerin if using. (This is not necessary but helps everything stay combined.) Add water and shake again. Shake before each use as it will naturally separate some over time.
  • Herbal Bug Spray: Distilled water; witch hazel (or vodka); dried herbs-peppermint, spearmint, citronella, lemongrass, catnip, lavender, orange peel, clove, bay leaf, thyme, cedar leaf; vanilla extract (optional). Directions: Boil 1 cup of water and add 3-4 tablespoons of dried herbs total in any combination from the above. Mix well, cover, and let cool (covering is important to keep the volatile oils in.) Strain herbs out and mix water with 1 cup of witch hazel or vodka. Add vanilla extract. Store in a spray bottle in a cool place. Use as needed. Note: To make a stronger version of this recipe, prepare the herbs in an alcohol mixture as a tincture instead, and use this directly as a spray after straining out the herbs.
  • Vinegar Tick and Insect Repellent: 1 bottle of apple cider vinegar, (32-oz ); 2 Tablespoons each of dried sage, rosemary, lavender, thyme, and mint; vanilla extract (optional). Equipment: Quart-size or larger glass jar with an airtight lid. Directions: Put the vinegar, vanilla extract, and dried herbs into a large glass jar. Seal tightly and store on the counter. Shake well each day for 2-3 weeks. After 2-3 weeks, strain the herbs out and store in spray bottles or tincture bottles, preferably in the fridge. To use on skin, dilute to half with water in a spray bottle and use as needed. Note: It has a very strong odor when it is wet, though the smell disappears as it dries. This mixture is very strong and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. It can also be used as a tincture for any illness. For adults, the dose is 1 tablespoon in water several times a day. For kids over two, the dose is 1 teaspoon in water several times a day.

—-Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ—-
Jolene Grffiths, Master Herbalist

May

May Overview:
Awareness: Arthritis, Asthma/Allergy, Employee Health/Fitness, Fibromyalgia, Healthy Vision, Lupus, Mental Health, Skin Cancer, Stroke, Women’s Health, World No Tobacco
Flower: Hawthorn, Lily of the Valley
Gemstone: Emerald 
Trees: Popular, Chestnut, Ash

May Day

Flower cookery has been traced back to Roman times, and to the Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures.  In the 16th and 17th century flowers were used in cooking for all manner of dishes and many flowers were credited for their medicinal properties.  Edible flowers were especially popular in the Victorian era during Queen Victoria’s reign. 

Edible flowers are a fun and easy way to add color.  You may also be surprised to know that flowers actually taste great.  They will add interesting flavors to all sorts of dishes. Carnations taste like clove, nasturtium flowers are hot and peppery, calendula is citrusy and coriander flower is a more intense version of its foliage.  The secret to success when using edible flowers is to keep the dish simple, do not add to many other flavors that will over power the delicate taste of the flower. 

One should keep in mind before consuming any plant or flower that not every flower/plant is edible.  When in doubt if a plant/flower is edible check with a medical/herbal/plant professional.  In fact, sampling some flowers can make you very sick.  One should identify the flower exactly and eat only edible flowers and edible parts of those flowers.

Some other things to keep in mind: Never use pesticides or other chemicals on any part of any plant that produces blossoms you plan to eat.  Harvest only 10% of any one flower type in a given area. Leave some for the pollinators and seeding. Never harvest flowers growing by the roadside.  Always remember to use flowers sparingly in your recipes due to the digestive complications that can occur with a large consumption rate.  Most edible flowers are best eaten raw—simply pick and rinse with water.  Most herb flowers have a taste that’s similar to the leaf, but spicier.  Flowers will taste and look their best right after they have opened, rather than after they have been open for a few days. 

There are many negative beliefs around herbs and edible plants (from coriander to broccoli) going to flower. But by planning ahead and leaving your veggie garden to go to flower, allows you to benefit from the full course of a plant’s life and produces yet another exciting ingredient; the edible flower with intensified flavors of the parent plant.  Edible flowers include those that are ones that grow in flower gardens, wildflowers, and even weeds.  Growing your own edible flowers from seed or bulb is really easy. 

Kentucky Derby Day

I am using this day to highlight the use of holistic treatments for one’s pets-mainly canine, equine, and feline-even though National Holistic Pet Day is in August.  Holistic medicine, by its very nature, is humane to the core. The techniques used in holistic medicine are gentle, minimally invasive, and incorporate patient well-being and stress reduction. Holistic thinking is centered on love, empathy, and respect.

In treating an animal, a holistic practitioner will determine the best combination of both conventional and alternative therapies for a given individual. It means taking in the whole picture of the patient—the environment, the disease pattern, the relationship of pet with owner—and developing a treatment protocol using a wide range of therapies for healing the patient.  They incorporate therapies like herbal remedies, flower essences, iridology, massage, acupressure/acupuncture, and homeopathy.  The holistic practitioner is interested not only in a medical history, but also genetics, nutrition, environment, family relationships, stress levels, and other factors.

Many patients present in a state of “disease.” A simple appearing symptom may have several layers of causation. When one area of the body is ill, it can manifest in many different ways. Only when the true cause of the ailment has been found is there the possibility for a lasting recovery.  The wholeness inherent in the scope of holistic veterinary medicine nurtures all aspects of an animal’s well-being, resulting in lasting physical, mental, and emotional health.

It is important to keep in mind that each species has different needs.  Cats are pure carnivores, so they are the least set up to digest plant material. They have a short, hot digestive tract that does not do well with starchy plant material. When they can benefit, they do better with liquids, including teas. Dogs are omnivores, and often respond well to plant medicines. Horses are true herbivores, and respond quite readily to herbal remedies.  Doses are the same as human doses, based on the weight of the animal. The official human weighs 150 pounds (the weight recommendations are based on), so a 15-pound animal takes 10% of the human dose, and a 1,500-pound horse gets ten times the human dose.  *(Please refer to my 2019 blogs for June ‘History of Vet Medicine’, July ’History of Iridology’ and August ‘Pet Dental Care’.)

Cinco de Mayo (Battle of Puebla Day)

Mexican folk healing, or curanderismo, is a practice that blends Mayan, Aztec, and Spanish Catholic traditions. Folk healers, known as curanderos, believe that their healing abilities are a spiritual vocation.  From their writings and descendants the Mayan traditional medicine survives today.  The Aztecs were excellent botanists, and their extensive knowledge impressed the Spanish, who borrowed from Mexico’s indigenous herbarium and cataloged the intriguing plants. Consequently, medicine remains one of the few examples of cultural practices and indigenous wisdom that have not been lost to history.  

The Mayan civilization rose to prominence in the swampy lowlands of what we now know as southern Mexico, Guatemala, western Honduras, El Salvador and northern Belize. It dates back at least to about 1500 B.C. and existed until the time the Spanish arrived in the area in the 1500s.  Medicine was only practiced by holy men who had received an extensive education. They acted as intermediaries between the physical and spiritual worlds. Then, there are the ah-men -the ‘disease throwers’.

Mayan medical practice was a complex blend of mind, body, religion, ritual and science. Health was the result of living according to the laws of nature and society, and illness the result of the transgression of those laws. The Maya equated sickness with captivity of the soul by supernatural beings, angered by some perceived misbehavior.

The ancient Maya perceived health as “balance”, whereas illness and disease were “imbalance”. Mayan medical texts are devoted to the treatment of symptoms based upon the effects of certain herbal remedies which could be swallowed, smoked, snorted, rubbed on the skin, and even given as enemas.  Herbal remedies were often used according to the color of the originating plant: red for rashes, blood disorders & burns; blue for neural sedatives; yellow (the color of bile) for diseases of the liver & spleen. White was generally avoided since it was seen as a signal of death.  Hot and cold were also key concepts in Mayan medicine: “cold” disorders such as constipation, cramps or paralysis would be treated with hot, spicy foods whilst “hot” disorders such as fever, diarrhea or vomiting would be treated with cold plants or food.  Regularly use of sweat baths, food, and herbs were often combined with massage to alleviate gynecological symptoms such as dysmenorrhea, menopause, premenstrual tension and infertility.

Holy men also employed mind-altering substances such as morning glory, mushrooms, tobacco and other hallucinogens. Self-brewed alcoholic preparations were also used, especially during rituals, to help them to communicate with the spirit world in the hope of re-establishing good health by restoring the correct “balance”.  It often took years to master the right balance of these plant so death would not prevail.

The holy men and ah-men did demonstrate considerable surgical skill. It is known that they sutured wounds with human hair, they were skilled bone-setters and trephined the skull using primitive drills.  They were also accomplished dental surgeons, making prostheses and filing teeth into a variety of shapes, often with perforations to insert decorative pieces of jade, turquoise, hematite, iron pyrites or other organic material; such ornamentation was especially common among women.

The Aztecs (1300’s A.D. to the 1500‘s) came from the ‘Basin of Mexico’.  They shared many things in common with the Mayans and even traded with them.  Much of their fundamental medicinal beliefs were similar.  Soon after the conquest of the Aztecs, the Spanish destroyed thousands of codices (manuscripts) that could have expanded our knowledge of their spiritual/medicine connections.

However, Spanish historians catalogued some fifteen hundred different plants, pastes, potions, and powders that were used by the Aztecs.  They wrapped flower petals around certain medicines to form a type of pill for easy consumption.  Feather quills and cactus spines were included as surgical instruments.   A few plants native to the Americas commonly used in Mexico are achiote, avocado, beans, cacao, chilies, corn, Mexican oregano, nopal, papaya, pineapple, squash, sweet potato, tomatoes, and vanilla.  All of these contain medicinal properties.  However, the popular, cilantro, originally grown in Greece, is used to remove heavy metals from the body.

Mother’s Day

When it comes to holistic child care there are many books and websites that can aid mothers.  Here are some uncommonly thought of things one can incorporate into their child’s routine.

Infant massage has the benefits of bonding; releasing feel good bonding hormone oxytocin in women. This is the same hormone which aids in the contraction of the uterus and the production of breast milk.  Babies who experience regular massage sleep deeply and when awake are happy and alert.  Nurturing touch can ease baby’s discomforts and ailments from colic and constipation.

Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, non-invasive type of bodywork that works with attuning to the rhythm of our body’s network of membranes and fluid that surround and support the brain and spinal cord from the bones of the head down to the bones at the base of the spine.  It is a way for one to regain a sense of themselves that connects emotions with the body and mind, so it helps them gain self-confidence and be themselves without fear.  Children from zero to four years respond particularly fast to craniosacral work, because they are sensitive and their mental-emotional-physical patterns are not yet deeply ingrained, while teenagers benefit from this therapy as it can help them resolve emotional and sexual issues that they may experience with their changing bodies in a non-threatening, safe way.  Adults can benefit from it, too.

Chiropractors specialize in manual adjustment of the vertebrae of the spine and other joints of the body, which helps to relieve pain, restore normal functioning to the joints and supporting muscles and ligaments, thus maintaining balance in the nervous system, of which our spinal cord is an essential part.

There are so many stresses going through life-physical, emotional, chemical-that can affect the nervous system. Chiropractic care works to balance the nervous system and in turn facilitate a child to achieve and maintain optimum well-being within themselves. This is simply keeping the pathways between the brain and spinal cord, nerves, cells and organs in balance and open.

While we don’t think of children experiencing stress in the same way as adults, modern life with its fast pace, digital media distractions and higher expectations on children in the way of scholastic and extracurricular success does impact children with stress. Yoga, taught in an age-appropriate way, with visualizations, story-telling, singing and movement, can be a wonderful release and rekindle children’s natural awareness and intuition. It has also been proven to reduce ADHD, increase self-esteem, promote compassion, kindness and focus and helps children to navigate their shifting emotions with ease.

Meditation is a proven technique of easing stress and experiencing more balance in one’s mind and body.  For children as young as five and up to their college years meditation can help one feel more connected to their inner world, to feel a greater peace, relaxed, and focused.  It can also aid in promotion of better brain health, easing pain, fighting illness, and lessening the effects of conflicts with others.

Another key area of women’s health is their hormones.  In this day and age with stress and environmental toxins widespread, hormone imbalances are even more common. Botanical therapies allow the body to come to its own balance, rather than manipulating or adding hormones to one‘s body.  In addition, many of  the ‘hormonal balancing’ herbals work best in formula with other supporting herbs.

As with any health challenge, it is important to pay attention to one’s individual patterns.  Even though one’s symptoms may be similar to someone else’s, their total picture may not be the same.  It’s vital to treat conditions and patterns individually, rather than assuming that what works for one person will do the same for another.

There are a number of root causes of hormonal imbalance.  Symptoms can vary but include PMS, emotional stress, irregular and/or painful menses, infertility, low libido, peri/postmenopausal challenges, and fatigue-just to name a few.  The sex hormones-estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone-are regulated through the endocrine system (adrenals, thyroid, testes/ovaries, pituitary, pancreas).  The liver is also vital in its role in regulating and normalizing hormone production.

Just a few of the many herbs that can help balance one‘s hormones are:

  • Vitex (aka Chasteberry): This herb acts on the pituitary to increase luteinizing hormone, which stimulates progesterone production.
  • Wild Yam: It benefits the endocrine and liver.  It also aids as a progesterone precursor.
  • Dong Quai: This herb exerts a regulating influence on hormone production (namely estrogen) through its work with the liver and endocrine system.
  • Black Cohosh: It aids in the production of estrogen. Contraindicated with headaches and depression.  For some women, it’s a ‘miracle’ for hot flashes. Not for extended use.
  • Dandelion: Although not known particularly for ‘women’s issues’, it is specific for the liver, and it benefits the reproductive system by helping to regulate hormone production.
  • Licorice: An adaptogenic herb that nurtures the adrenals. It also is a great balancer in formulas. 
  • Maca: Is showing great clinical results as an endocrine modulator; helping with libido and hormone modulating.
  • Rhodiola: An adaptogen that shows promising results for infertility due to minor imbalances/stress for women. 
  • Ashwagandha: An adaptogenic herb for libido.
  • Schisandra: Tones sexual organs, as an adaptogen.

A couple of nutritional suggestions are eat green, leafy vegetables- incredibly effective in assisting the liver in doing its job of healthy metabolism and detoxification of hormones.  Take borage oil-all essential fatty acid oils are anti-inflammatory and therefore helpful in this area, but borage is specific for those cranky, angry, pre-menstrual flare-ups.  Add probiotics found in supplement form and/or fermented foods-healthy gut flora is a key to hormone balancing.

Memorial Day

This is the day set aside to remember those who have passed away during wars.  Good brain health is important to insure our memories are remain intact as long as possible.  A few tips to achieve this are as follows.  The human brain is nearly 60 percent fat.  Fatty acids are among the most crucial molecules that determine one’s brain’s integrity and ability to perform. Essential fatty acids (EFAs-made up of EPA and DHA) are required for maintenance of optimal health but they cannot synthesized by the body and must be obtained from dietary sources. Clinical observation studies has related imbalance dietary intake of fatty acids to impaired brain performance and diseases. The EFAs, particularly the omega-3 fatty acids, are important for brain development during both the fetal and postnatal period.  Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is needed for the optimum functional maturation of the retina and visual cortex, with visual acuity and mental development seemingly improved by extra DHA. Beyond their important role in building the brain structure, EFAs, as messengers, are involved in the synthesis and functions of brain neurotransmitters, and in the molecules of the immune system.  The minimum daily requirements are: children (ages 4-12): 2000 mg; adolescents (ages 13-18): 2000-3000 mg; adults (ages 18+): 3000-4000 mg.  Some natural sources of EFAs include: fish and other seafood (especially cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines); nuts and seeds (such as flax seed, chia seeds, and walnuts); plant oils (such as flax seed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil.

The highest antioxidant fruits and vegetables are blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, spinach, raspberries, brussels sprouts, plums, broccoli, beets, avocados, oranges, red grapes, red bell peppers, cherries and kiwis. Five servings a day of fruits and vegetables is recommended (each serving is a half-cup).

Drinking green tea slows the build-up of plaque in brains from amyloid deposits and also prevents strokes. It also helps mental alertness.

Eggs are rich in choline, a fat-like B vitamin. Studies have shown that it increases memory and chases away fatigue.

Exercise provides greater blood circulation means more oxygen to the brain and more production of mood-enhancing endorphins.

Meditation changes brain frequency and function. The frequencies of deep meditation allow a “brain rest” you cannot get anywhere else. Meditation also enhances connection and symmetry between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

Alpha lipoic acid (aLa) supplement is a powerful antioxidant and is both fat and water soluble. It can actually get into the brain easily and can pass through to all areas of the cells to “mop up” free radicals and stop their damage.  Acetyl-L-carnitine is a primary contributor to the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is required for mental function. Phosphatidyl serine actually stimulates brain cells to make new dendrites and axons. People who take it remember more names, faces, phone numbers and written information.  The herbs sage, turmeric, ginkgo biloba, ashwagandha, ginseng, gotu kola, and lemon balm may also help.

This day also deals with the hollowed remains of soldiers.  Holistically speaking, that is the skeletal system.  Bone health is important at all stages of life.  However, having strong bones is something people tend to take for granted, as symptoms often don’t appear until bone loss is advanced. A few maladies that afflict this area of the body include: fractures/breaks, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, rickets, and cavities.   Fortunately, there are many nutrition and lifestyle habits that can help build and maintain strong bones-and it’s never too early to start.

Engaging in specific types of exercise can help one build and maintain strong bones.  One of the best types of activity for bone health is weight-bearing or high-impact exercise, which promotes the formation of new bone.  In addition, it can be extremely beneficial for preventing bone loss in older adults.

Studies in older men and women who performed weight-bearing exercise showed increases in bone mineral density, bone strength and bone size, as well as reductions in markers of bone turnover and inflammation. However, one study found little improvement in bone density among older men who performed the highest level of weight-bearing exercise over nine months.

Strength-training exercise is not only beneficial for increasing muscle mass. It may also help protect against bone loss in younger and older women, including those with osteoporosis, osteopenia or breast cancer. One study in men with low bone mass found that although both resistance training and weight-bearing exercise increased bone density in several areas of the body, only resistance training had this effect in the hip.

In addition to exercising, maintaining a healthy weight can help support bone health.  For example, being underweight increases the risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis.  This is especially the case in postmenopausal women who have lost the bone-protective effects of estrogen.  In fact, low body weight is the main factor contributing to reduced bone density and bone loss in this age group.  On the other hand, some studies suggest that being obese can impair bone quality and increase the risk of fractures due to the stress of excess weight.  While weight loss typically results in some bone loss, it is usually less pronounced in obese individuals than normal-weight individuals.  Overall, repeatedly losing and regaining weight appears particularly detrimental to bone health, as well as losing a large amount of weight in a short time.  One recent study found that bone loss during weight loss was not reversed when weight was regained, which suggests that repeated cycles of losing and gaining weight may lead to significant bone loss over a person’s lifetime.  Maintaining a stable normal or slightly higher than normal weight is your best bet when it comes to protecting your bone health.

Dropping calories too low is never a good idea.  In addition to slowing down your metabolism, creating rebound hunger and causing muscle mass loss, it can also be harmful to bone health.  Studies have shown that diets providing fewer than 1,000 calories per day can lead to lower bone density in normal-weight, overweight or obese individuals. In one study, obese women who consumed 925 calories per day for four months experienced a significant loss of bone density from their hip and upper thigh region, regardless of whether they performed resistance training. To build and maintain strong bones, follow a well-balanced diet that provides at least 1,200 calories per day. It should include plenty of protein and foods rich in vitamins and minerals that support bone health.

Vegetables are great for the bones.  They’re one of the best sources of vitamin C, which stimulates the production of bone-forming cells. In addition, some studies suggest that vitamin C’s antioxidant effects may protect bone cells from damage and aid in the production of collagen.  Vegetables also seem to increase bone mineral density, also known as bone density.  A high intake of green and yellow vegetables has been linked to increased bone mineralization during childhood and the maintenance of bone mass in young adults.  Eating lots of vegetables has also been found to benefit older women.  A study in women over 50 found those who consumed onions most frequently had a 20% lower risk of osteoporosis, compared to women who rarely ate them. In a three-month study, women who consumed more than nine servings of broccoli, cabbage, parsley or other plants high in bone-protective antioxidants had a decrease in bone turnover.

Getting enough protein is important for healthy bones. In fact, about 50% of bone is made of protein.  Researchers have reported that low protein intake decreases calcium absorption and may also affect rates of bone formation and breakdown. However, concerns have also been raised that high-protein diets leach calcium from bones in order to counteract increased acidity in the blood.  Nevertheless, studies have found that this doesn’t occur in people who consume up to 100 grams of protein daily, as long as this is balanced with plenty of plant foods and adequate calcium intake. In fact, research suggests that older women, in particular, appear to have better bone density when they consume higher amounts of protein. In a large, six-year observational study of over 144,000 postmenopausal women, higher protein intake was linked to a lower risk of forearm fractures and significantly higher bone density in the hip, spine and total body.  What’s more, diets containing a greater percentage of calories from protein may help preserve bone mass during weight loss.  In a one-year study, women who consumed 86 grams of protein daily on a calorie-restricted diet lost less bone mass from their arm, spine, hip and leg areas than women who consumed 60 grams of protein per day.

Calcium is the most important mineral for bone health, and it’s the main mineral found in one’s bones.  Because old bone cells are constantly broken down and replaced by new ones, it’s important to consume calcium daily to protect bone structure and strength.  The RDI for calcium is 1,000 mg per day for most people, although teens need 1,300 mg and older women require 1,200 mg.  However, the amount of calcium one’s body actually absorbs can vary greatly.

Interestingly, if one eats a meal containing more than 500 mg of calcium, the body will absorb much less of it than if one consumes a lower amount.  Therefore, it’s best to spread calcium intake throughout the day by including one high-calcium food at each meal.  It’s appears that the best way to get calcium is from foods rather than supplements.  A recent 10-year study of 1,567 people found that although high calcium intake from foods decreased the risk of heart disease overall, those who took calcium supplements had a 22% greater risk of heart disease.

Magnesium plays a key role in converting vitamin D into the active form that promotes calcium absorption. An observational study of over 73,000 women found that those who consumed 400 mg of magnesium per day tended to have 2–3% higher bone density than women who consumed half this amount daily.  Although magnesium is found in small amounts in most foods, there are only a few excellent food sources. Supplementing with magnesium glycinate, citrate or carbonate may be beneficial.

Zinc is a trace mineral needed in very small amounts. It helps make up the mineral portion of your bones.  In addition, zinc promotes the formation of bone-building cells and prevents the excessive breakdown of bone.  Studies have shown that zinc supplements support bone growth in children and the maintenance of bone density in older adults.  Good sources of zinc include beef, shrimp, spinach, flaxseeds, oysters and pumpkin seeds.

The minerals boron and strontium appear to be useful to the skeletal system.  Boron helps the body metabolize key vitamins and minerals, plays a key role in bone health, and it also affects estrogen and testosterone levels.  Strontium increases bone mineral density, improves bone micro architecture, and decreases the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

Vitamin D is extremely important for building strong bones.  It plays several roles in bone health, including helping your body absorb calcium. Achieving a blood level of at least 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/l) is recommended for protecting against osteopenia, osteoporosis and other bone diseases.  Indeed, studies have shown that children and adults with low vitamin D levels tend to have lower bone density and are more at risk for bone loss than people who get enough.  Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is very common, affecting about one billion people worldwide. One may be able to get enough vitamin D through sun exposure and food sources such as fatty fish, liver and cheese. However, many people need to supplement with up to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily to maintain optimal levels.

Vitamin K2 supports bone health by modifying osteocalcin, a protein involved in bone formation. This modification enables osteocalcin to bind to minerals in bones and helps prevent the loss of calcium from bones.  The two most common forms of vitamin K2 are MK-4 and MK-7. MK-4 exists in small amounts in liver, eggs and meat. Fermented foods like cheese, sauerkraut and a soybean product called natto contain MK-7.  A small study in healthy young women found that MK-7 supplements raised vitamin K2 blood levels more than MK-4. Nevertheless, other studies have shown that supplementing with either form of vitamin K2 supports osteocalcin modification and increases bone density in children and postmenopausal women.  In a study of women 50–65 years of age, those who took MK-4 maintained bone density, whereas the group that received a placebo showed a significant decrease in bone density after 12 months.  However, another 12-month study found no significant difference in bone loss between women whose diets were supplemented with natto and those who did not take natto.

Collagen is the main protein found in bones. It contains the amino acids glycine, proline and lysine, which help build bone, muscle, ligaments and other tissues.  Collagen hydrolysate comes from animal bones and is commonly known as gelatin (main ingredient in ‘Jello’ and film strips).  It has been used to relieve joint pain for many years.  Although most studies have looked at collagen’s effects on joint conditions like arthritis, it appears to have beneficial effects on bone health as well.  A 24-week study found that giving postmenopausal women with osteoporosis a combination of collagen and the hormone calcitonin led to a significant reduction in markers of collagen breakdown.

Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for their anti-inflammatory effects.  They’ve also been shown to help protect against bone loss during the aging process.  In addition to including omega-3 fats in one’s diet, it’s also important to make sure one’s balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fats isn’t too high.  In one large study of over 1,500 adults aged 45–90, those who consumed a higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids tended to have lower bone density than people with a lower ratio of the two fats. Generally speaking, it’s best to aim for an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 4:1 or lower.  In addition, although most studies have looked at the benefits of long-chain omega-3 fats found in fatty fish, one controlled study found that omega-3 plant sources helped decrease bone breakdown and increase bone formation.  Plant sources of omega-3 fats include chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts.

Tissue salts (cell salts) are homeopathic dilutions of the mineral salts that one’s cells need to function properly.  Dr. Schuessler, a 19th century German physician, developed the 12 original tissue salts. (There have since been found to be at least 27 different salts.)  These minerals are available in each cell and are essential to the body’s metabolism. When these vital tissue salts are in the correct ratio or concentration, the body is healthy.  As soon as the tissue salts ratio is disturbed, the proper cell functioning is impaired, resulting in illness. One should get these salts through diet but due to our modern lifestyle we lose every day minerals through stress, bad nutrition and environmental toxins.

The best tissue salts for the bones include: #1 Calcium fluoride, #2 Calcium phosphate and #11 Silica.   Foods containing Calcium fluoride include organically grown oranges, pumpkin grapes, lemons, rye flour, buckwheat and mustard.  Those rich in Calcium phosphate include organically grown cabbage, carrots, lettuce, spinach, strawberries, oats, alfalfa sprouts, probiotic yogurt and eggs.  And, those that contain Silica include oats, wheat, nettles, dandelion, horsetail, chicory, celery and apricots.

Recipes

Flea/Tick Wash Solution:  Mix up 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1 quart warm water, and 1 ounce of castille soap. Add 2-3 drops of lavender or cedar essential oil.  Add 2 ounces of aloe vera gel to the mix as well. If your pet has sensitive skin, change the ration to one part apple cider vinegar, three parts water. 
Directions: (If you’re dealing with live fleas and ticks, it’s best to work outside. If it’s too cold to be outside, use your bathtub.)  Completely saturate your pet with the apple cider vinegar wash solution, making sure to cover every part of the fur. (Make sure you don’t get the solution into the eyes.) Use your fingers to work the solution all the way to the skin. The castille soap should lather some at this point, so rub the suds into the skin as well. Let the solution sit for ten minutes. (If you’re dealing with a bad infestation, have a second batch or two of the solution mixed up for a double treatment.)  Take a flea comb and work section by section.  Each time you comb through the fur, dip your comb in a bowl of soapy water to get rid of the fleas on the comb. The fleas should come off your pet’s fur easily, since they are repelled by the taste of the vinegar. Once you finish combing your pet, rinse the wash out with warm water. You’ll have to keep giving your pet the ACV treatment every few days until you no longer see any signs of fleas. Once the fleas are gone, repeat it once every week to ensure your pet doesn’t get a new case of fleas.

Flea/Tick Room Spray:  Combine a gallon of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 gallon of water, 16 ounces of lemon juice, and 8 ounces (230 g) of witch hazel in a large tub. Fill a large spray bottle with the solution. Spray every portion of your house, including carpets, wood floors, crevices and corners, windowsills, and furniture in a thick coating of the spray. You may need to repeat this method for 2-7 days depending on how bad your flea infestation is.  If you are just trying to prevent infestation, you can do this once a month.  Let the spray dry before you return objects to the wet areas.

Flea/Tick Treats:  1 & 1/8 cups coconut oil, melted, 1/2 cup brewer’s yeast, slightly rounded, 2 silicone candy molds
Directions: Combine melted coconut oil and brewer’s yeast together in a blender. Blend for roughly 10 seconds until smooth. Transfer blended mixture into a plastic condiment bottle (trim tip to 1/4 inch opening) and use to fill the 2 silicone molds.  Chill in the refrigerator or freezer until set and solid.  Remove from the pan and store in refrigerator or freezer for up to 6 months.  Give up to 1 treat per 10 pounds of body weight daily.  For pets under 10 pounds, give 1 treat every other day.

Itchy Skin Treats: 1 cup plain kefir or yogurt,  16 ounces pumpkin puree, 1/3 cup brewer’s yeast, 1/2 cup salmon oil, 2 silicone candy molds
Directions:  Use a blender to combine ingredients, blend until completely smooth. Transfer your blended mixture to a plastic bottle (cut the tip to roughly a 1/4 inch diameter opening).  Fill silicone molds.  Freeze 3 hours or until solid. Transfer treats into to a container or plastic zip top bag and store in the freezer, serve frozen.  For around 5-15 lbs. give 1 treat (roughly 1 tablespoon), 15-40 lbs. give 2 treats,  40-70 lbs. 3 small treats, over 70 lbs. 4-5 small treats per day.
Note: for large pets make bigger treats by using larger candy molds–large size treats=1 a day.

Ensalada de Nopales:  3-4 medium cactus leaves, cleaned of spines; 2-3 fresh medium tomatoes, diced; 2-3 green onions, chopped; 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped; juice from 1 lime; salt and pepper, to taste; 1/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano; 2 tablespoons vegetable oil; 1/4 cup crumbled cheese
Directions: Clean the cactus leaves of spines and wash them very well. Slice the nopales thin and put them in a pot with water to cover them. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook the leaves on medium high heat until tender, for about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the green onions, tomatoes and cilantro. Set them aside. When nopales are cooked, remove them from the stove, drain the water and place the vegetables in cold icy water. When cool, use them for the salad. In a salad bowl, place the cactus leaves, onion, tomatoes, cilantro and dried Mexican oregano. Squeeze the juice of the lime over the salad. Add oil. Add salt and pepper and mix everything together. Sprinkle crumbled cheese over and serve.

Homemade Baby Formula: Yield: 72 ounces
Ingredients: 1 ⅞ cups of filtered water; 2 tsp beef gelatin; 4 tbsp lactose; 2 cups raw milk; 1/4 cup liquid whey; 2 tbsp cream; ¼ teaspoon acerola powder (vitamin C); ¼ teaspoon of bifidobacterium infantis; 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes; ½ teaspoon of cod liver oil; 1 teaspoon sunflower oil; 1 teaspoon olive oil; 2 teaspoons coconut oil; ¼ teaspoon ghee (optional)
Directions: Take 2 cups of filtered water and remove 2 tablespoons, (which will give you 1 ⅞ cups of water.)  Pour about half the water into a pan and turn heat on medium. Add 2 teaspoons of gelatin and 4 tablespoons lactose to the warming water and let dissolve, stirring occasionally.  While the gelatin and lactose are dissolving, place 2 cups of raw milk in a clean, glass blender and add the remaining ingredients: liquid whey, cream, acerola powder, bifidobacterium infantis, nutritional yeast flakes, cod liver oil, sunflower oil, olive oil.  Then remove the pan from the heat and pour in the remaining half of the water to cool. Next, add 2 teaspoons coconut oil and ghee to the water to melt.  Add the water mixture to the blender ingredients and blend for about 3 seconds.  Pour the blended ingredients into glass jars and refrigerate.

Nursing Mother’s Tea: 1/2 cup fennel seeds; 1/2 cup red raspberry leaves; 1/4 cup nettle leaf; 1/4 cup milk thistle; 1/4 cup fenugreek; 1/4 cup anise seed; 1/4 cup dried blessed thistle; 1/4 cup dandelion leaf, optional
Directions:  Gently combine the herbs together. Store in a glass jar. To make, add 1 tbsp. of herb mix per 2 cups of almost-boiling water. Let the herb mix steep in your water for 5-10 minutes. Strain and Serve.
Notes: You could also make a gallon of tea with a 1/2 cup of the herb mix. Then simply refrigerate the leftover tea and drink it during the week.  You could mix half tea with half full-fat milk and have a tasty (caffeine free) latte-type drink.

Nursing Mother’s Milkshake: Serves 1
Ingredients: Nursing mother’s tea, frozen into ice cubes; 2 tablespoons of oats; half a banana; a handful of strawberries; 1 tablespoon of almond butter; 1 tablespoon of coconut cream; 1 cup of almond milk
To make ice cubes:  Make the tea according to the above instructions. Let steep for about 5 minutes, preferably with a lid or in a teapot to retain all those essential aromas and goodness from the herbs. Pour into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours.
To make the milkshake: Place all the ingredients into a blender. Combine until completely smooth. Pour into a glass.
Variations: Top with whipped cream for a little indulgence.  Add a handful of spinach for extra green goodness.

Women’s Vitality Tea: 3 parts raspberry leaf; 1 part vitex; 2 parts nettle leaf; 1 part  astragalus root; 1 part oat straw; 1 part blessed thistle; 2 parts peppermint
Directions: Mix in a large bowl until well combined.  Store in a tightly sealed container.
To prepare: Add 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea per cup of hot water and steep for 3-5 minutes. One may find that it benefits from the addition of a bit of milk (one’s choice) and/or raw honey to smooth out the flavor.  Take a cup first thing in the morning and one around noon.
Note: One could also use this blend to make a tincture.  This blend will keep stored in a cool, dark place for approximately 6 months.  Not suitable for pregnant or nursing mothers.

—-Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ—-
Jolene Grffiths, Master Herbalist

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.

Natural Help for Anxiety and Stress

Some of the most anxiety-producing and stressful events in life are all simultaneously happening in our lives right now; financial problems due to job losses and national economic challenges, the deaths of many loved ones, worry over the family illness and frustration over the inability to care for and comfort them, etc. I certainly don’t have many answers to these struggles. But I would like to highlight some of the numerous ways we can help ourselves and our loved ones endure and persist. Here are some product categories:

Creams and lotions: We all use hand sanitizers now and we have one now that has CBD in it. The CBD will help some with calming. Colloidal Silver comes in cream form as do many of the zinc products. And alcohol-based astringents, lavender, oregano or tea tree-based lotions, and magnesium oils are common.

Drinks: As always, stay away from sugars. They feed pathogens in our systems and give “false energy”. They give you a quick burst of energy followed by a nosedive. Use drinks that hydrate – plenty of water containing known immune system boosters, like elderberry, ginger, vitamin C, electrolyte mixes and honey or JUST water.

Respiration: Sanitize your air with diffused respiratory products; essential oils of ginger, eucalyptus, lavender, or numerous blends offered by a number of reputable companies.

Potpourris: These used to be very popular before the advent of diffusers. But they still have a great place in home care. Their coverage is almost as great as the diffusers, but more subtle and easier on those with depressed respiratory systems. Plus, you can use some beneficial oils that we don’t usually diffuse, like frankincense and myrrh, chamomile, or camphor crystals.

Two other categories lesser known are homeopathy and flower essences. For lack of space, I’ll only mention them here, but you can look them up on the internet, or drop by the store and talk to us about them.

Remember, stress is mostly managed by your adrenal glands – little “snow cap peaks’ that sit on top of the kidneys — that allow the body to regulate stress. They produce some 50+ hormones, the body’s internal messengers, which signal other organs and body systems to react appropriately. So, I would be remiss not to recommend herbal supplements to help you care for both anxiety and stress. Here’s a paragraph from a previous blog:

“While there are many ways (and in many forms) to obtain the needed nutrients useful to reduce stress, one should consider taking a nutraceutical. Wikipedia defines a nutraceutical as “a pharmaceutical-grade and standardized nutrient.” The adrenals feed on B-vitamins, among other nutrients, such as vitamin C, folic acid, biotin, gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) and pantothenic acid. Other de-stressors are herbs like schizandra, passionflower, hops, chamomile, and valerian, and popular anti-stress minerals include magnesium and zinc. L-theanine is also a helpful amino acid for stress’s “partner” – anxiety.”

In-house herbal combinations are numerous, by many companies, and bear names like “AnxiousLess” and “Stress Relief”, “Nutri-Calm” and “Nervous Fatigue”. “AdaptaMax” is advertised to contain apoptogenic herbs to help your body adapt to physical and environmental stresses.

These are stressful times. We can’t take away the conditions or “cure” your reactions. But there are numerous avenues to help you cope better. May God bless and comfort you in this season of stress and anxiety.

Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Alternative Health Clinic & Market, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com, offering private consultations by appointment.

Extra Help for Your Immune System

More so than at other time in recent history we are concerned with our immune systems. So, I thought I’d take a bit of time to discuss some extra things that we can do that are more “outside the box” than most of the things we usually discuss. Remember that I’m a Naturopathic Doctor, so I don’t talk about treating or curing diseases, but, from a purely educational perspective, here are some body system ideas that we consider when we are trying to get people to think of things they can do to get their body systems operating with more efficiency. So here are a few things to consider.

Foods:

  • Spicy foods add pathogen-destructive and immune-stimulating nutrients. Many spices like clove, ginger, onions, horseradish, peppers and garlic are common helpful ones.
  • Nutrient rich fruits and vegetables of varied colors provide just as varied nutrients. Your body needs all the nutrients to fuel its functions.
  • There are a number of mushrooms that boost your immune system. Many farmers markets are now selling these “medicinal” mushrooms. Consider Agarikon, which is reported to have similar benefits to olive leaf and Echinacea, known immune system supporters. Cordyceps is used primarily for energy support, but is also praised for its lung support effects. Combinations of Cordyceps, Reishi and Chaga are touted for their ingredients to help you breathe better. And one company I know of processes flavored, blended mushroom extracts and mushroom combinations that are meant to support your immune system.

Remedies your grandma used:

  • Hot toddies. I’ve never been a drinker. But whenever we “caught” something as kids, my folks made their annual trips to the liquor store for whiskey! A Hot Toddy was made from three ingredients; drinkable alcohol (in our family it was whiskey), lemon juice (a citric acid that alkalizes your body), and raw honey (the perfect bee food that is nutrient rich in enzymes that break down foods (pathogens?) in your stomach. It’s interesting to me that we are all trying to make hand sanitizers because the news media have told us that the alcohol will kill pathogens.
  • Brush your teeth with salt and baking soda. I always thought it was because we couldn’t afford toothpaste; perhaps it was. But we now know that salt is a preservative that was used to move meat across the prairies because it caused it to remain unspoiled by pathogens that inhabited the environment. And nothing lives in the Dead Sea, a natural source of salt and other minerals. And baking soda is an alkalizing element, and my training has taught me that no pathogen can live in an alkaline environment. So, we put it in our refrigerators to get rid of decaying smells, and in our stomachs for easing an upset. My dad used it as his “go to” for digestive upset.
  • Any time we were sick, especially if we had hampered breathing, mom (and grandma) pulled out the vaporizer and filled it with VapoRub! Now we know the pathogen-killing and breath-restoring powers of many of our essential oils in a modern diffuser. We have blends with essential oils of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, rosemary, tea tree, neem, and others to ward off pathogens, and chamomile and lavender to help us sleep.
  • Chest rubs. Arnica, eucalyptus, tea tree, neem and others in plain ole Vaseline was what they used. Many of our commercial products vary slightly, but are just as effective.
  • And don’t forget the annual cleansing of castor oil. It either made me throw up or run for the bathroom. Either way it did a number on cleaning me out. I’d check with my doctor before I did that again, but many a kid has endured it with what ended up to be positive results!

Many of the old remedies have modern counterparts. The new ones often seem more humane to me, but I note that I lived to tell the tales and I seem to be healthy as I do!

Your immune system is the battlefront for us in these trying times of “dis- ease”. Keeping yours strong doesn’t just happen. It takes planning, work, caution and often the help of others. Don’t let it get neglected in the rush of life.

Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Alternative Health Clinic and Market, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit https://thehealthpatch.com.

March

Overview:
Awareness: Cardiac Rehabilitation, Colorectal Cancer, Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT), Hemophilia, Multiple Sclerosis, National Caffeine, National Nutrition, Pollution, Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Flower: Daffodil
Gemstone: Aquamarine
Trees: Weeping Willow, Lime, Oak, Hazelnut

St. Patrick’s Day:
The trifoliolate plant, the shamrock, is a young sprig, used as a symbol of Ireland. Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, is said to have used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity.  There is, however, no one “true” species of shamrock, but Trifolium dubium (lesser clover) is considered to be the shamrock by roughly half of Irish people, and Trifolium repens (white clover) by another third, with the remaining fifth split between Trifolium pratense (red clover), Medicago lupulina (black medick), Oxalis acetosella (wood sorrel), and various other species of Trifolium and Oxalis.

There are many uses for red clover.  Some include: a cancer prevention, indigestion, high cholesterol, whooping cough, cough, asthma, bronchitis, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).  Some women use red clover for symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes; for breast pain or tenderness (mastalgia); heavy bleeding, toning the womb, and for premenstrual syndrome (PMS).  It is applied to the skin for skin cancer, skin sores, burns, and chronic skin diseases including eczema and psoriasis.  In foods and beverages, the solid extract of red clover is used as a flavoring ingredient.

Common food traditions for this holiday has many health benefits.  Corned Beef is high in protein, zinc, thiamin and other B-vitamins.   A 3-oz. serving of corned beef has 210 calories. Like any beef, it’s high in fat.  The typical 6-ounce portion of corned beef will consume two-thirds of the recommended daily limit of sodium.  Aim to fill at least half your plate with vegetables too and those potassium-rich veggies will help balance some effects of the sodium, particularly if you have high blood pressure.

Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, potassium and l-glutamine. Furthermore, it contains folate, zinc, sulphur, sodium, copper, anthocyanins, vitamin K, and omega-3 fatty acids.  It’s also high in fiber.  It is particularly high in antioxidants which make it a potent disease-fighter.  Research has shown 1½ cups per day of cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, may reduce inflammation.  The health benefits of cabbage include frequent use as a treatment for constipation, stomach ulcers, headaches, obesity, muscle soreness, skin disorders, eczema, skin discoloration, wrinkles, age spots,  jaundice, scurvy, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, osteoporosis, allergies, eye disorders, heart diseases, aging, neural degeneration, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.  It is also rich in anti-cancer compounds such as sinigrin, lupeol and sulforaphane that enhances the enzyme activity and forbid the tumor growth that lead to cancer.  Lactic acid is released from cabbage during cooking.

Potatoes sometimes get a bad rap for being high in carbs, but potatoes are a complex carbohydrate perfect for those who are active.  They contain some protein and calcium, along with iron, potassium, zinc and vitamin C. A small (2-1/2 inch) unpeeled boiled potato is also good source of fiber, offering 35% more than its skinless counterpart.

Whole grains offer a “complete package” of health benefits, unlike refined grains, which are stripped of valuable nutrients in the refining process.  All whole grain kernels contain three parts: the bran, germ, and endosperm. Each section houses health-promoting nutrients. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer that supplies B vitamins, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. The germ is the core of the seed where growth occurs; it is rich in healthy fats, vitamin E, B vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. The endosperm is the interior layer that holds carbohydrates, protein, and small amounts of some B vitamins and minerals.

These components have various effects on our bodies:  Bran and fiber slow the breakdown of starch into glucose—thus maintaining a steady blood sugar rather than causing sharp spikes.  Fiber helps lower cholesterol as well as move waste through the digestive tract.  Fiber may also help prevent the formation of small blood clots that can trigger heart attacks or strokes.  Phytochemicals and essential minerals such as magnesium, selenium and copper found in whole grains may protect against some cancers.

Researchers have shown that the quality of the carbohydrates you eat is at least as important as the quantity.  A report from the Iowa Women’s Health Study linked whole grain consumption with fewer deaths from inflammatory and infectious causes, excluding cardiac and cancer causes. Examples of other ailments that are prevented by consuming whole grains are rheumatoid arthritis, gout, asthma, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and neurodegenerative diseases.  Eating whole instead of refined grains substantially lowers total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or bad) cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels.  Replacing refined grains with whole grains and eating at least 2 servings of whole grains daily may help to reduce type 2 diabetes risk. The fiber, nutrients, and phytochemicals in whole grains may improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism and slow the absorption of food, preventing blood sugar spikes.  By keeping the stool soft and bulky, the fiber in whole grains helps prevent constipation. It also helps prevent diverticular disease (diverticulosis) by decreasing pressure in the intestines.

Guinness is a dark Irish beer that has been found — when consumed in moderation — to reduce the risk of blood clots that cause heart attacks and improve blood flow and pressure, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin. Additionally, this type of beer is high in flavonoids, which are antioxidants.

Onions are excellent sources of vitamin C, sulphuric compounds, flavonoids and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals, or phytonutrients, are naturally occurring compounds in fruits and vegetables that are able to react with the human body to trigger healthy reactions. Flavonoids are responsible for pigments in many fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that they may help reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Two other less common foods eaten on this day are carrots and turnips.  Carrots are rich in vitamin A and provide many benefits for our eyes and skin. Carrots are also a good source of soluble fiber, essential for both heart and digestive health.  White turnip sprouts provide high levels of glucosinolates, sulfur-containing compounds that may help protect against some forms of cancer and provide antifungal, antibacterial and anti-parasitic benefits.

The downside to the partaking of consuming too much whole grains and beer is both can aid in an over-growth of Candida albicans.  The carbohydrates found in whole grains are a source of glucose, which is also one of the favorite foods of candida.  Drinking alcohol can weaken your immune system’s response to candida.  It has also been shown to weaken liver function and prevent your liver from operating effectively. Your liver is one of your primary defenses against the symptoms of candida. It is responsible for processing and eliminating numerous toxins from your body. These include the metabolic byproducts of Candida albicans (acetaldehyde, uric acid, ammonia, etc).  To get rid of this excessive yeast, one’s diet needs to eliminate most carbohydrates, such as sugar, starchy vegetables, grains and fruits, as well as dietary sources of yeast, such as fermented cheeses, fermented vegetables and alcohol.

Spring (Vernal) Equinox (Northern Hemisphere):
The arrival of spring marks the end of the darkest season of the year.  As the introspective influence of winter wanes, spring symbolizes growth and fertility, bringing the reemergence of light, warmth, plants, animals, new ideas and fresh perspectives into the world.  Every March, the Northern Hemisphere welcomes this season of renewal, balance, clearing and cleansing.

One simple way one can cleanse is to drink a glass of warm water with either lime or lemon juice FIRST thing in the morning. This opens the digestion, fosters elimination, and clears the gastro-intestinal tract.  Fresh lime juice is used because it does not promote mucous production, like lemon can.  Lemon, however, is known world-wide to help stimulate the liver and digestion and help it clear.

One can also try a simple liver cleanse by increasing bitter greens in your salads or steaming more greens for dinner, like dandelion greens, arugula, or mustard greens. One might try some sweeter cooked beets, grated carrots, or red bell pepper in their salad to offset the bitter and balance it all with some healthy fat like avocado, or just plain olive oil.  Juicing vegetables of all kinds gives the body more buoyancy in the spring season to fill and build toward the warmer summer months.  Hydrate deeply by drinking freshly squeezed juice of any kind.

Blood detoxification is one of the most important parts of maintaining the overall body wellness. It is a requirement that everybody should prioritize on a regular basis. It essentially eliminates pathogens and toxic residues from the blood and helps the immune system to protect the body against any infections.  It strengthens the immune system, which, in turn, will assist in fighting off cancer and autoimmune diseases.

In the process, one’s body is aided in preventing and reversing various skin problems, like acne, pimples, dark blemishes, dull and dry skin, eczema, etc. It enhances overall health by removing various ill symptoms, like allergies, headaches, fatigue, and nausea, which can be obliterated by cleansing the toxic or impure blood in the body that is commonly the cause.

Cleansing can be achieved in several ways.  However, one of the most effective methods is using herbs to remove toxins from the body through the liver, kidneys and lymph system. Many herbs are known for centuries to serve multiple purposes including blood detoxification. Here are some effective blood cleansing herbs:

  • Red Clover is a great blood purifier and cleanses the bloodstream gradually while correcting any deficiencies in the circulation. It is a blood detoxifying herb which works with the lymphatic and circulatory systems in the body to eliminate toxins from the bloodstream.  It is also used as the main ingredient of many anti-cancer formulas. Containing high amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, red clover is pleasant tasting when consumed as a drink for overall health and wellness.
  • Chaparral is an excellent antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic herb.  It helps the body get rid of heavy metals and different forms of decay and putrefaction.  It is a strong-smelling herb highly effective at blood cleansing and immune stimulation. It also increases circulation in the blood by opening the blood vessels, promotes sweating and improves the elimination of toxins from the skin and liver.  When used over a period of time, it has the ability to cleanse deep into tissues and muscles. The lymph and respiratory systems are cleansed of any harmful toxins and the entire body is rejuvenated. Chaparral is a powerful antioxidant and is known to act against free radicals to help prevent diseases related to aging.
  • Poke root is another powerful blood cleanser.  It is traditionally used as a lymph cleanser as it incites and increases the action of lymph glands in the entire body. It shows anti-cancer properties and improves the immune system. This herb has amazing health benefits including instant treatment of breast and throat infections. It acts against different types of cancers and some viruses.
  • Burdock root increases the effectiveness of the body’s elimination systems to cleanse the blood. It has a powerful diuretic effect that helps the kidney filter out impurities from the bloodstream. It boosts the ability of the liver to flush out toxins and pushes out harmful elements through the skin as well. By eliminating toxins out of the body through multiple pathways, burdock root purifies the blood with no side effects or stress. Studies show that burdock root has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and it can work against a variety of cancers.
  • Dandelion leaf is an excellent source of iron, calcium, vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and especially sodium. It is one of the key herbs used to purify the blood and support the kidneys and pancreas.  It is especially helpful as a diuretic and helpful for cellulite and fluid retention.  It increases urination which helps to remove certain toxins from the kidney.  The combination of root and leaves are known to be helpful in dissolving urinary stones and gravel.  As far as the pancreas goes, it is a very important herb when it comes to helping to increase insulin secretions, which is beneficial for diabetics.  As an excellent liver cleanser, dandelion aids in increasing the output of the liver as well as the flow of bile into the intestines and the activity of the pancreas and spleen. This makes it a great treatment for hepatitis, yellow jaundice, and other liver-related problems. By helping to purify the blood, dandelion helps with certain types of anemia. Certain acids that build up in the blood due to weight loss are known to be destroyed by dandelion. It also helps with low blood pressure and builds energy as well as endurance.  Dandelion is excellent for female organs as well. It is known to enrich breast milk in nursing mothers which benefits both mother and child. It is also known to aid women suffering from premenstrual syndrome, and they may find that the diuretic action of dandelion helps to relieve some of the symptoms.  The flowers of dandelion are a rich source of lecithin. This is the essential nutrient that elevates the brain’s acetylcholine.  This means that it may help retard or stop regression of mental ability caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Lecithin also aids the body in maintaining good liver function. Dandelion also helps to open the urinary passages as part of its cleansing process.  It is important to note that dandelion is also known as a bitter herb.  This means that it helps to activate the entire digestive tract and liver and in doing so helps to ease digestion, increase appetite and the flow of digestive juices, and cleanse the liver. The herb is known to help treat liver disease and sluggish liver as well as help to dissolve gallstones.
  • Lobelia has anti-spasmodic, anti-asthmatic and expectorant properties. It works as a relaxant and stimulant when used with other herbs. Lobelia is effective at cleansing the blood by eliminating toxins from the body. This cleansing herb is also suggested effective for treating respiratory disorders and conditions. It serves as a natural expectorant and cleanses the respiratory tract and lungs. The herb improves the blood flow in the body and eases pains and aches.
  • Garlic has been used in the treatment of various ailments. The herb is loaded with sulfur, a mineral which helps the body get rid of harmful toxins. It can also stimulate the liver to create detoxifying enzymes to filter out toxins out of the bloodstream. Garlic is also a natural antibiotic and can treat a variety of infections. It can strengthen the immune system to keep diseases and infections away.
  • Echinacea is an excellent immune stimulant. It is known to be one of the most powerful herbs which support lymphatic function essential for blood detoxification and immune health. Not only is this potent herb a natural remedy for cold and flu relief but also a great antibiotic and natural immune booster. Echinacea is known to contain a natural antibiotic which works by enhancing your immune cells to fight a range of bacteria and viruses. This makes the herb highly effective in treating infectious diseases and wound healing. It can also help with cancer.  One can make a tea using Echinacea and drink it to soothe tensed nerves, avoid any toxicity, infections and other diseases.
  • Sassafras uses and health benefits of the tree have been noted to aid in strengthening immunity, preventing cancer, soothing menstrual pain, to relieving adrenal stress.  The leaves detoxify the body as a diuretic by flushing the system.  The bark of the tree has also been known to aid inflammation within the body, as well as being an excellent fever reducer. Since sassafras contains analgesic properties it is known to work well in the areas of tooth inflammation or injury. It can be used as a main ingredient for a lot of natural toothpaste options.  Sassafras has also been known as a great blood purifier, whenever wanting a natural remedy for body detoxification.  It aids in the fight against pathogenic bacteria when dealing with gonorrhea, syphilis and herpes.
  • Sarsaparilla is known to contain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and toxin binding properties to purify the blood and treat skin conditions.  It is also nutritious and contains vitamins A, B-complex, C and D, and minerals iron, manganese, sodium, silicon, sulfur, copper, Zinc, and iodine.  Sarsaparilla has been used in traditional medicine to treat skin conditions like psoriasis and leprosy, rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain, headaches, colds, and sexual impotence.

Another often over-looked organ that needs cleansing is the lungs.  During the winter they tend to be exposed to the soot and smoke of indoor fireplaces and wood burning stoves.  Lung cleansing techniques may also benefit people who smoke, people who get regular exposure to air pollution, and those with chronic conditions that affect the respiratory system, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cystic fibrosis.

After the lungs have had exposure to a ‘pollution’, a person’s chest may feel full, congested, or inflamed. Mucus gathers in the lungs to catch microbes and pathogens, which contributes to this feeling of heaviness.  People may be able to use specific techniques to help clear the lungs of mucus and irritants to relieve chest congestion and other uncomfortable symptoms.  These include:

  • Steam therapy, or steam inhalation, involves inhaling water vapor to open the airways and help the lungs drain mucus.  People with lung conditions may notice their symptoms worsening in cold or dry air. This climate can dry out the mucous membranes in the airways and restrict blood flow.  Conversely, steam adds warmth and moisture to the air, which may improve breathing and help loosen mucus inside the airways and lungs. Inhaling water vapor can provide immediate relief and help people breathe more easily.
  • Controlled coughing can help send mucus through the airways.  Coughing is the body’s way of naturally expelling toxins that it has trapped in mucus. Controlled coughing loosens excess mucus in the lungs, sending it up through the airways. (See recipes)
  • Postural drainage involves lying in different positions to use gravity to remove mucus from the lungs. This practice may improve breathing and help treat or prevent lung infections.  Postural drainage techniques differ depending on one’s position.  (See recipes)

Regular exercise can improve people’s physical and mental health, and it decreases the risk of many health conditions, including stroke and heart disease.  It forces the muscles to work harder, which increases the body’s breathing rate, resulting in a greater supply of oxygen to the muscles. It also improves circulation, making the body more efficient in removing the excess carbon dioxide that the body produces when exercising.  The body will start to adapt to meet the demands of regular exercise. The muscles will learn to use oxygen more efficiently and produce less carbon dioxide. Although exercising may be more difficult for people with chronic lung conditions, these individuals can also benefit from regular exercise. People who have COPD, cystic fibrosis, or asthma should consult a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise regimen.

Consuming anti-inflammatory foods and drink can reduce inflammation to relieve feelings of a heavy chest and congestion. These include: turmeric, leafy greens, cherries, blueberries, olives, walnuts, beans, lentils, and green tea.

There are a number of botanicals which can aid in healing and detoxing the skin.  One can easily turn them into DIY face masks or hair conditioners.  They include: 

  • Chamomile is perfect to fade dark spots on the face, and give your skin a radiant and youthful glow.
  • Cinnamon can help clear up acne.  It helps prevent the growth of acne-causing bacteria so it’s perfect to add to a face or body mask.
  • Thyme is known for its ability to improve blood flow to the scalp and to help stimulate growth.
  • Turmeric is great for healing and calming your skin. It also helps the growth of your hair.
  • Calendula repairs dry skin, reduces acne scars or wounds, and cures fungal infections that may cause acne or blackheads.
  • Rose petals locks in moisture, on top of that provides a sweet scent. It also soothes irritated skin, so it’s a great refreshing spray.
  • Basil is used for both skin and hair as it is full of antioxidants and nutrients. With skin, it aids in clearing up acne, blackheads and pimples. In hair products, it helps to get rid of dandruff and promotes hair growth.
  • Witch hazel is a natural astringent. It helps fade scars, speeds up the healing of scabs and reduces redness.
  • Mint has benefits that include cleansing and tightening skin, reducing puffiness around eyes and oil reduction on the skin. It’s also popular in foot care products, as it aids severely cracked heels.
  • Lavender is can aid a number of skin concerns, including acne and eczema; use it as a facial toner. In addition to soothing skin, lavender heals inflammation and burning associated with insect bites and mild burns.
  • Aloe Vera is keeps the skin calm, hydrated and plump. One can also use it on hair, as it contains enzymes that repair dead skin cells in the scalp, ultimately leading to better hair growth.
  • Activated charcoal effectively cleanses the skin, unclogs pores, removes deeper impurities, and dead skin cells. Dirt, toxins, heavy metals, chemicals, and other poisons are attracted to the charcoal molecules and washed away.  Honey, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, coffee, and cocoa are a few other popular aids.  

Life presents us with many challenges and opportunities. Although there is much over which we have little control, we do have the power to decide about some things, such as diet and lifestyle. To maintain balance and health, it is important to pay attention to these decisions. Diet and lifestyle appropriate to one’s individual constitution strengthen the body, mind and consciousness.

Palliative and cleansing measures, when appropriate, can be used to help eliminate an imbalance along with suggestions for eliminating or managing the causes of the imbalance. Recommendations may include the implementation of lifestyle changes; starting and maintaining a suggested diet; and the use of herbs.

Two herbs from India are boswellia and turmeric.  Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, is an herbal extract taken from the Boswellia serrata tree.  Resin made from boswellia extract has been used for centuries in Asian and African folk medicine. It’s believed to treat chronic inflammatory illnesses as well as a number of other health conditions, such as osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  Because boswellia is an effective anti-inflammatory, it can be an effective painkiller and may prevent the loss of cartilage. Some studies have found that it may even be useful in treating certain cancers, such as leukemia and breast cancer.

Turmeric, Curcuma longa, is a member of the ginger family. It is the main spice in curry. The root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine. It contains a yellow-colored chemical called curcumin, which is often used to color foods and cosmetics.  Turmeric is commonly used for conditions involving pain and inflammation, such as osteoarthritis. It is also used for hay fever, depression, high cholesterol, a type of liver disease, and itching. Some people use turmeric for heartburn, stomach ulcers, gallstones, thinking and memory skills, inflammatory bowel disease, stress, preventing cancer, and many other conditions.

Traditional buttermilk is the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cream. This is the only version that has any probiotic benefit.  The methods for making buttermilk have changed over the years. In the old days, buttermilk was fermented by naturally occurring bacteria as unpasteurized butter cream sat for a length of time before churning. This process is called “ripening.” Cultured buttermilk is too processed to be of any probiotic benefit.  Probiotics aid in the control of candida within the body.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that may be able to help prevent and treat some illnesses. An imbalance of good and bad bacteria is called dysbiosis.  During a delivery through the birth canal, a newborn picks up the bacteria Bacteroides, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Escherichia coli from their mother. These good bacteria are not transmitted when a Cesarean section is performed and have been shown to be the reason why some infants born by C-section have allergies, less than optimal immune systems, and lower levels of gut microflora.

Probiotics are believed to protect us in two ways. The first is the role that they play in our digestion.  Poor food choices, emotional stress, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, other drugs, and environmental influences can all shift the balance in favor of the bad bacteria. When the digestive tract is healthy, it filters out and eliminates things that can damage it, such as harmful bacteria, toxins, chemicals, and other waste products. The healthy balance of bacteria assists with the regulation of gastrointestinal motility and maintenance of gut barrier function. Research has shown some benefits for the use of probiotics for infectious diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, gut transit, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), abdominal pain and bloating, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, Helicobacter pylori infection, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and necrotizing enterocolitis.

The other way that probiotics help is the impact that they have on our immune system. Our immune system is our protection against germs. When it doesn’t function properly, we can suffer from allergic reactions, autoimmune disorders (for example, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis), and infections (for example, infectious diarrhea, H. pylori, skin infections, and vaginal infections).

Preliminary research has linked them to supporting the health of the reproductive tract, oral cavity, lungs, skin and gut-brain axis, and the prevention and treatment of obesity and type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Recipes:

  • Old-time Shepherd’s Pie (1912): Take a pound of cold mutton, a pint of cold boiled potatoes, one-half an onion grated, one or two cooked carrots; out the mutton and potatoes into small pieces and put them with the onion and carrot into a deep baking dish. Add a cupful of stock or water, salt, pepper and a tablespoonful of butter cut in bits. Pare and boil four medium-sized potatoes, mash and add cup of cream, salt and pepper to taste, beat until light, then add enough flour to make a soft dough. Roll out and cover the dish with the dough, make a cross cut in the center to allow tie steam to escape, and bake in a moderate oven one hour.
  • Traditional Heather Mead (a Celtic beverage): 6 pounds heather honey; 10 cups lightly pressed unwashed flowering heather tops; 4 gallons water; dry brewing yeast. Directions: Heat water to 170 degrees F, add 6 cups heather flowers, and allow to stand covered overnight. Strain liquid and boil, remove from heat and add honey. Stir until dissolved. Run hot water through a sieve filled with 2 cups of heather tops into the fermenting vessel. Allow to cool, and 5 grams yeast, and ferment until fermentation slows down. Then remove ½ gallon of ale, add 2 cups of heather flowers, and warm to 158 degrees F. Cover and steep for 15 minutes, then, return to fermenter. When fermentation is complete, prime bottles (if carbonated mead is desired), fill, and cap. Store from two weeks to two years for aging.
  • Traditional Irish Brown Soda Bread (family recipe): 4 cups of whole meal flour; 2 cups of light flour; 1 tsp. baking soda; 1 tsp. salt; 2 ½ cups buttermilk. Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Scoop out a well and pour in about half of the buttermilk. Mix the dry mixture with the milk using your hands and the lightest touch possible. Continue to add the remainder of the milk, but do not allow the dough to become too sticky. Turn the dough onto a floured baking surface and shape dough into a round flat shape. Cut a large cross into the surface (to let the devil out) and place in the oven. After 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 400 degrees F and let bake for another 30 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and knock on the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it is finished; otherwise it only needs another 5-10 minutes.
  • Exercises to Help Clear Lungs of Excess Mucus: *Sit down on a chair with the shoulders relaxed, keeping both feet flat on the floor. Fold the arms over the stomach. Slowly inhale through the nose. Slowly exhale while leaning forward, pushing the arms against the stomach. Cough 2 or 3 times while exhaling, keeping the mouth slightly open. Slowly inhale through the nose. Rest and repeat as necessary. *On your back–Lie down on the floor or a bed. Place pillows under the hips to ensure that the chest is lower than the hips. Slowly inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Each exhale should take twice as long as the inhale, which is called 1:2 breathing. Continue for a few minutes. *On your side–Lie on one side, resting the head on an arm or pillow. Place pillows under the hips. Practice the 1:2 breathing pattern. Continue for a few minutes. Repeat on the other side. *On your stomach–Place a stack of pillows on the floor. Lie down with the stomach over the pillows. Remember to keep the hips above the chest. Fold the arms under the head for support. Practice the 1:2 breathing pattern. Continue for a few minutes.
  • Charcoal Honey Face Mask: 1 tablespoon (4 capsules) activated charcoal; 2 tablespoons raw honey. Directions: Start by placing charcoal in a small dish. Add honey and start mixing carefully (charcoal can stain so be slow and steady mixing) with the brush incorporating both ingredients. Wash face with warm water to open up the pores. Apply mask spreading evenly across face. Keep spreading if the honey starts separating. Leave mask on 5-10 minutes. Wash after with cold water and pat face dry with a clean cloth.
  • Blood Cleanser Tea: 1 cup dried Burdock root; 1 cup roasted chicory root; 1 cup dried Dandelion root; 1 cup Red Clover blossoms; 1/2 cup ground Ginger root; 1/2 cup Peppermint leaves. Directions: Combine herbs in a dark glass jar. To make tea, use 1 to 2 teaspoons herb mixture per 1 cup of water. Place water in a non-metallic pan, saucepan, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes; turn off heat; allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain before serving. Start by drinking 1 to 2 cups of tea daily for at least 2 weeks to help cleanse the blood and detoxify the body.
  • Traditional Golden Milk: 4 cups milk; 1 tbsp. turmeric powder; 2-3 tbsp. honey; 2 whole cardamom pods, optional. Directions: Bring milk to a rolling boil. Stir in turmeric powder. Add cardamom if you like. Cover and let it steep for 5 minutes. Pour into serving mugs or glass. Stir in honey or sweeter of choice. Enjoy.
  • Authentic Indian Curry (family recipe): 2 large onions, diced; 4 or 5 medium-sized garlic cloves; ginger; chilies; 4 or 5 whole cloves; star anise, whole; peeled plum tomatoes; garam masala; ground coriander; ground cumin; turmeric powder; 2 or 3 bay leaves; lemon; a few 1” sticks whole cinnamon; vegetable oil; meat, optional. Directions: Start off by peeling and finely dicing the two onions. A tip to avoid tears: Slice the onion in half length-wise, leaving the root uncut. Chop off an inch or so opposite the root. This should prevent the aroma from stinging your eyes. Finely dice the onions. If you prefer your food mild, use two or three small red or green chilies. Note that the smaller the chilies, the hotter they are. Peel and slightly dice chilies. To decide how much ginger to use, place the ginger root next to the garlic and use slightly more ginger than garlic. Peel the garlic and cut into small chunks. Peel and slightly dice the whole chilies. Place garlic, ginger, and chilies into a blender and mix into a smooth paste. Drizzle 2 or 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a pot with cloves, whole star anise, bay leaves, and cinnamon. Once the cloves begin to lightly crackle, your oil is hot enough to fry the onions. Carefully place onions into the oil and wait for them to brown. The darker the onions are (as long as they are not burned!), the darker your curry will be. A darker curry is more authentic. Once the onions are ready, turn the heat way down and add 1 or 2 teaspoons of garlic, ginger, and chili paste. Allow this to fry together. If you are cooking this dish with meat, dice the meat to the desired size and add it to the pot. Now add the rest of the garlic paste and slightly fry for 5 to 6 minutes at a high heat, stirring frequently. Now it’s time to add the tomatoes. Use fresh if you like, but canned tomatoes are much easier. It’s time to add the spices. Begin with the coriander and stir the sauce after adding each spice. About 2 or 3 small teaspoons will be enough. Next add 3 or 4 teaspoons of garam masala, 2 or 3 teaspoons of cumin, and about 3 teaspoons of turmeric. Remember to stir between each additional spice. Cover the pot so that a small gap remains and allow the sauce to simmer for 60 to 90 minutes on a low heat. Squeeze on some fresh lemon juice according to taste and serve with rice, chapatis, or naan bread.
  • Traditional Root Beer: 10 cups water; 3 tablespoons sarsaparilla root; 1 tablespoon ginger root; 1 tablespoon licorice root; 2 teaspoons dandelion root; 2 teaspoons birch bark; 1 star anise pods; 1/4 cup sassafras root bark; 3/4 cup unrefined cane sugar, maple syrup, or honey; 1/2 cup ginger bug (strained)-{recipe below}. Directions: Fill a large stock pot with 10 cups water, and then spoon in the sarsaparilla, ginger, licorice, dandelion, birch, and star anise. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes, and then stir in the sassafras bark, and continue simmering a further 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Next, allow the decoction to cool to room temperature – about 2 hours. Strain decoction, discarding the herbs. Stir in the ginger bug, and pour into flip-top bottles – allowing at least 1 to 2 inches of headspace in each bottle. Ferment the root beer at room temperature about 2 days, allowing more time during cold weather. Transfer to the fridge for 3 days to allow the bubbles to set, and serve cold over ice.
  • Ginger Bug: *To Start the Bug: 2 cups water; 2 teaspoons sugar; 1 ounce fresh ginger diced *To Feed the Bug: 5 teaspoons sugar; 2 1/2 ounces fresh ginger diced *To Use the Bug: 8 cups fruit juice or sweetened herbal tea. Directions: *Preparing the Bug: Warm the water in a saucepan over medium heat, and stir in the sugar until it dissolves fully. Cool the sugar water to room temperature. Drop the ginger into a pint-sized jar, and then cover it with the sugar water. Seal the jar, and let it culture at room temperature for one day. *Feeding the Bug: The next day, and each day for 5 days, stir 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2-ounce ginger into the jar, and then close the jar tightly. Between 3 and 5 days, you should start to see bubbles forming, and your bug should smell yeasty and gingery. When you see bubbles, your bug is ready to use. *Using the Bug: To use the bug, strain 1/2 cup of the liquid and mix it with 7 1/2 cups liquid such as fruit juice or sweetened herbal tea, bottle and ferment up to 3 days.

—-Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ—-
Jolene Grffiths, Master Herbalist

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, call 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com, or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

The Flow of Good Health: The Lymphatic System

I, like you, may not really give much thought to my home’s plumbing; until an uncomfortable issue arises. Clogged pipes, poor drainage—oh, what a mess that can be. The lymphatic system, like your home’s plumbing, is the drainage system of the body. Through its complex construction of lymph fluid, nodes, ducts and lymphoid tissues such as the tonsils, spleen, appendix, and thymus gland, the lymphatic system works to keep our bodies healthy. The systemic functions of the lymphatics:

  • Balance-By balancing fluids in the tissues, collecting fluid near tissues and organs and returning it to the blood stream, this process prevents fluid from building up and causing swelling.
  • Filtration-This system filters lymph by attacking any bacteria or virus when lymph fluid enters the lymph nodes and filters blood through the spleen by replacing old blood cells with new blood cells, and carrying away cell debris
  • Fights infection-Using specialized white blood cells, called lymphocytes, that are produced in the lymph, the lymphatic system fervently works around the clock to combat sneaky toxins and infections.

Unlike the circulatory system, there is not a pump to keep the flow of fluid and debris through the vessels. Instead, this system depends on muscle movement and compression to help with flow. Any lymphatic congestion is an underlying issue in chronic pain and inflammation. So how can we relieve any congestion that might present as tender and swollen nodes in the neck, breast, arm pits, or groin?

  • Movement– Inactivity creates lymphatic stagnation. Exercise as a gentle walk or gentle bouncing on a mini trampoline are excellent ways to keep lymphatic fluid moving.
  • Hydration-In dehydration, up to 70% of water loss is inside the cells, but approximately 20% is from lymph. When you are thirsty, it may be due to congested lymph fluid.
  • Deep Breathing-Deep breathing compresses the thoracic cavity which creates a pumping action in the lymph system. Sobbing and laughing work similarly. Proverbs 17:22 says laughter is a good medicine. Not only does laughter increase oxygen flow, it also creates lymphatic drainage.
  • Massage-Massaging an area can help improve lymph flow, ease pain and promote healing.

Along with these lifestyle tips to increase lymphatic flow, there are some herbs that are very helpful as well.

  • Cleavers-This herb is soothing to the lymphatic system and helps ease congestion and lessen swelling
  • Red Clover-This herb strengthens the lymph system, improves lymph flow, and aids swollen lymph nodes. This herb is particularly helpful for inflammation in the mammary glands.
  • Echinacea-This is a powerful lymphatic cleanser and immune system stimulant. It is helpful for swollen lymph nodes due to infection.

Just like with any other body system, lifestyle changes and quality supplements can be helpful in keeping this powerful system working well so you can continue to stay healthy. Here at The Healthpatch we are happy to help you with any of your natural health needs.

Health and Blessings,
Kimberly Anderson, ND

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, call 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com, or visit TheHeathPatch.com.