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Archive for Natural Health Regimens

August

Overview:
Awareness: Cataract, National Immunization, National Minority Donor, World Breastfeeding
Flower: Gladiolus, Poppy
Gemstone: Peridot
Trees: Cypress, Poplar, Cedar, Pine

Mountain Day (Japan):
While Victory Day (the defeat of Japan) is celebrated only in Rhode Island in August, the rest of the United States observes this day in September. Having been blessed to have lived in Japan as a child I am choosing to honor the Japanese and their traditional medicine on Mountain Day-a day to leave the cities and get-back-to-nature.

Kampō medicine, modern Traditional Japanese medicine (TJM), is the study of traditional Chinese medicine in Japan following its introduction, beginning in the 7th century. Their traditional medicine uses most of the Chinese therapies including acupuncture and moxibustion, but Kampō in its present-day sense is primarily concerned with the study of herbs. Today, the Japanese have created their own unique system of diagnosis and therapy which combines TCM, TJM, and Western Medicine. There are 165 herbal ingredients, 148 Kampō formulation extracts, 241 crude drugs, and 5 crude drug preparations used today.

Kampō medicines are produced by various manufacturers. However, each medicine is composed of exactly the same ingredients under the Ministry’s standardization methodology. The medicines are therefore prepared under strict manufacturing conditions that rival pharmaceutical companies. Regulations, and likewise safety precautions, are much stronger and tighter for Japanese Kampō than Chinese traditional medicine due to strict enforcement of laws and standardization.

In addition to being used in Kampō, seaweed, or algae, is a major food item. There are four types of seaweeds that are regularly consumed. They are green algae such as sea lettuce or Ulva, and sea grapes; brown algae such as kombu, arame, kelp, and wakame; red algae such as dulse, laver, and nori; blue-green algae such as spirulina and chlorella. The unique properties of seaweed make it beneficial to the body. It is much more nutrient-dense than any land vegetables. It is an excellent source of micronutrients including folate, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and selenium. Seaweed is also a great source of iodine (a serving typically contains 20 – 50 mg). Unlike land plants, seaweed contains pre-formed omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, so seaweed or algae oil can be a reliable source of omega-3 for vegetarians. Seaweed contains many antioxidants. The species, Kombu, aids with the digestion of legumes when added while cooking them.

All plants contain fiber, but seaweed contains many types of carbohydrates that the human digestive system can’t digest. For people prone to digestive problems or with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, these carbohydrates cause significant issues. These carbohydrates include carrageenan, fucan, galactan, and many more. They then become foods for the bacteria. What one eats directly influences which bacteria dominate in the gut. The types of bacteria that can feed best on the foods one chooses to eat will grow better. This explains why some cultures handle different types of food better than others. In fact, scientists found that the gut bacteria in healthy Japanese people are higher in bacteria that can digest the types of carbohydrates in seaweed. But, perhaps it is best to avoid seaweeds that are higher in carrageenan content such as Irish moss and occasionally enjoy other seaweeds in moderation.

One needs to be aware of when consuming seaweed of the effects it could have on the thyroid. Iodine is a very important mineral for thyroid functions. While the thyroid can adjust to higher intakes of iodine, it is possible to develop thyroid problems from too much iodine. Generally, consumption of seaweed on occasion (2 – 3 times a week) as a condiment (1 – 2 tablespoons) generally will not exceed the 3 mg limit of iodine. Asian cuisines typically serve seaweed along with foods that contain goitrogens that inhibit iodine absorption by the thyroid. These include tofu, soy milk, and cruciferous vegetables. This might explain why most Japanese and other Asian people can consume seaweed without any problem.

Seaweed can also contain toxic metals. This likely depends on the type of seaweed, where it is harvested from, and the variation of toxin levels in the water. Heavy metals levels in seaweed can really vary from batch to batch. The best way to know for sure is to purchase your seaweed from companies that regularly third-party lab test their products for heavy metal levels. Heavy metal exposure also comes through other sources like the environment and foods like fish and seafood. Everyone’s ability to remove these heavy metals from their bodies differs. Because seaweed is at the bottom of the food chain, the concentration of toxins like radioactivity and heavy metals is much less than in fish or other animals that eat the seaweed. It should be mentioned too that algin, a type of carbohydrate found in brown seaweeds, is used to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and to reduce the number of heavy chemicals including strontium, barium, tin, cadmium, manganese, zinc, and mercury.

Back to School (Northern Hemisphere):
As the new school year begins, there are several key areas of health that children combat. Alongside the excitement of new supplies, teachers, and friends, this time can also bring challenges like emotional stress, bedtime problems, and ‘ailments’ that hits when children are exposed to more germs. Each of these areas deals with some aspect of their ability to do well in their studies. Two simple things an adult can do to help ease these issues are making sure the student gets a good night’s sleep and receives good nutrition through diet or supplements.

Two weeks prior to the beginning of the school year and up to one month after, it is recommended that the student takes a good immune booster. Nerves, tension, and anxiety can suppress the immune system, which makes one more vulnerable to the viruses and bacteria that are found in classrooms. Vitamin A, B6, C, D, and E can help increase the strength of the immune system; whereas, echinacea and elderberry are two popular herbs.

House plants are great at cleaning the air of our homes, offices, and classrooms. But, they have the added benefit of helping boost our immune systems as well. House plants can scrub the air of toxins and help improve our overall well-being. They also have these added benefits within schools:

  • Learning-Research shows that children who spend time around plants learn better. In addition, being around natural environments improves the ability of children with Attention Deficit Disorder to focus, concentrate, and engage more with their surrounding environment.
  • Reduce stress-Studies show that people who spend time cultivating plants have less stress in their lives. Plants soothe human beings and provide a positive way for people to channel their stress into nurturing. They also give people a way to cope with their negative feelings.
  • Concentration and memory-Being around plants help people concentrate better in the home and workplace. Studies show that tasks performed while under the calming influence of nature are performed better and with greater accuracy, yielding a higher quality result. Moreover, being outside in a natural environment can improve memory performance and attention span by twenty percent.
  • Increase attention by 70%-Studies shows that plants increase focus and attention. A year-long study at The Royal College of Agriculture in Cirencester, England, found that students demonstrate 70% greater attentiveness when they’re taught in rooms containing plants. In the same study, attendance was also higher for lectures given in classrooms with plants.

A few common houseplants are:

  • Aloe Vera-It has so many benefits that it is hard to name them all. This plant grows great indoors and can be used in juices, applied topically, or used as an air scrubber. For best results, keep your plant in a warm area near natural light. Kitchen counters are a good option. Plant in succulent soil that is fast draining, and water thoroughly when the soil is completely dry. The most common mistake when caring for an Aloe plant is over-watering or allowing it to sit in water.
  • Spider Plant-It is especially good at scrubbing the air of carbon monoxide, benzene, and formaldehyde. By helping remove these toxins, they increase oxygen levels in a room, which improves a number of body functions. They are easy to care for and thrive in almost any indoor conditions. They prefer bright-indirect light but will do well in all conditions except direct sunlight. Water thoroughly through the summer and mist the leaves occasionally. Cut back on water through the winter.
  • Snake Plant-It is among the easiest of all house plants to care for. They decrease levels of formaldehyde which are found in many household products. It has also been proven to help you sleep, making them great additions to your bedroom. They are very forgiving and can go weeks without water or light and still thrive. For best results keep them in indirect light, and water only when the soil is completely dry.
  • Chrysanthemum-Similar to Aloe, they are a variety of uses that will improve your overall well-being. They scrub the air of benzene, and the flowers can be used in teas. Mums require a bit more care than some of the other plants on the list. They like direct sunlight and warmer temperatures. Keeping them in front of an east or west-facing window will produce full blooms. Water the soil under the leaves as needed.
  • Warneck Dracaenas-They are great air scrubbers and can improve the symptoms of asthma and allergies. They are low maintenance and prefer filtered light or semi-shade. A Dracaena’s growth will adjust depending on the amount of light received. The less light the plants get, the less water is needed. Mist the leaves and soil when dry. Other immune-boosting properties include; reduce stress and anxiety, absorb odors and molds, headache relief, improve mood, improve brain function, increase energy levels, boost healing, and lowing blood pressure.

Conjunctivitis, or Pink Eye, is a contagious common childhood ailment. It is important to treat this right away so that the condition does not worsen. Some treatments include chamomile, eyebright, and colloidal silver. If you’ve tried at-home treatments for a week and your symptoms are getting worse instead of better, if there is an increased sensitivity to light, intense eye pain, problems seeing, significant amounts of pus or mucus coming out of your eye-go see an eye doctor.

To keep Pink Eye from spreading to others practice these eye hygiene tips: change your pillowcase and sheets every day, use a clean towel every day, wash your hands after you come in contact with potentially contaminated items, and after you touch your eyes. For older students and adults: toss contact lenses that may have come in contact with your eyes as you were getting Pink Eye, toss out mascara you are using, and clean eye makeup brushes with soap and water to prevent recontamination. Remember: Don’t share anything that touches your eyes (like mascara or eye drops) with others.

Many people experience panic upon realizing that their child has a head full of lice, even though having them is not whatsoever associated with poor hygiene. Lice are tiny, wingless parasites that feast on minuscule amounts of blood for survival. Since they can’t fly or even walk on the ground, these insects can only live off of a host for 24 to 48 hours. An adult louse can be light brown or grey is two-three millimeters long and has a lifespan of about 30 days. An adult female can lay an average of six eggs per day (up to ten) and does so as close to the scalp as possible to promote survival, securing the eggs to the hair shaft with a glue-like substance. Nits are the size of a pinhead, and appear whitish or yellow. It takes approximately eight to nine days for an egg to hatch, which is why getting rid of lice is rarely a quick fix. A nit hatches into a nymph, an immature louse, and as long as there is a blood supply, it develops into an adult in nine to 12 days.

Lice are primarily spread through head-to-head contact with an infected child who has either lice or their eggs, called nits. Less commonly, lice are transmitted through shared belongings like hats, combs, brushes, scarves, and bedding. The good news is lice are not dangerous and do not carry disease. To get rid of an infestation, you must completely eliminate both the organisms and the eggs they lay. Otherwise, the remaining lice will lay more eggs. Many medical providers recommend treating all members of a family, whether they have evidence of active head lice or not.

The number one enemy of lice and nits is the extremely fine-toothed comb. Douse wet hair with thick, white conditioner mixed with baking soda, separate hair into sections, and use the lice comb to comb out nits and lice, starting as close the scalp as possible. Wipe off the conditioner on a rag or paper towel after each pass. Wet combing catches lice and removes eggs from new hair growth. This process should be done every other day for two weeks until you stop seeing live lice. And while combing is a tedious job, it’s important to stick with it.

Over-the-counter insecticidal shampoos have been found not to be as effective as they once were because so many lice have also become resistant to pyrethrins and pyrethroids. Thus, it’s possible you can make your comb-outs more effective by starting with a shampoo fortified with these essential oils:

  • Tea tree oil-This essential oil contains two constituents that have insecticidal activity and have proven to kill lice and nits. Parents can either mix three to five drops of tea tree oil to every ounce of shampoo or combine three tablespoons of carrier oil such as olive or coconut, with a teaspoon of tea tree oil and apply to infested hair for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Neem oil-This oil has compounds that disrupt the life cycle of the louse, making it a natural insect repellent (for gardens and human heads). Neem oil-based shampoos are available OTC or eight to 10 drops of the essential oil can be added to one ounce of regular shampoo and left on for 20 minutes.
  • Lavender oil-This oil is another effective and safe essential oil used to treat head lice, a variety of insects, and even fungi, but it does not kill nits. Dissolve two drops of the oil in 10 milliliters of water and apply as a hair wash once per week for three weeks. Lavender oil has also proven to be a terrific deterrent against getting lice in the first place.
  • Anise oil-This oil may coat and suffocate lice. A 2018 study of natural remedies for lice in children found that anise oil was one of the most effective natural remedies. Although other natural remedies were frequently effective, anise oil was one of just two that permanently eliminated lice. People who used other herbal remedies typically reported reinfestations within a couple of months.

Other home treatments include:

  • Vinegar-It has been touted as an aid in the removal of nits, but it doesn’t kill adult lice. The acidic makeup of vinegar breaks down the glue-like substance that adheres to the nits to the hair shaft. Mix 50 milliliters of vinegar with 50 milliliters of water and use it as a rinse.
  • Olive oil-It offers similar benefits to anise oil, potentially suffocating lice and preventing them from coming back. Like anise oil, it ranked among the most effective remedies in the same 2018 study. People who want a highly effective home remedy should consider using olive oil and anise oil together. Olive oil may have other benefits for the hair and scalp.
  • Coconut oil-It is a common treatment for people with dry skin and hair. Coconut oil is a popular treatment for dry skin and hair. The researchers behind a 2010 study in Brazil explored the effects of several natural head lice remedies and compared the results with those of over-the-counter (OTC) treatments. Of the tested remedies, the team found that pure coconut oil was the only effective treatment. Within 4 hours of applying the oil, an average of 80% of the head lice was dead. (The two most effective medicated shampoos killed 97.9% and 90.2% of lice in the same period.)

It is also important during periods of treatment to wash all clothing, hats, outerwear, and bedclothes that have been recently worn in hot water and dry them on the high-heat cycle, vacuum the floor and furniture and soak combs and brushes in hot, soapy water for 10 minutes. If there are objects that your child sleeps with or frequently touches that cannot be washed, soaked, or adequately vacuumed, place them in a sealed plastic bag for two weeks to kill the lice and nits that may have fallen onto them. Essential oils may be mixed with water and sprayed onto items and surfaces as a way to not only help kill them but also to repel lice in the future.

An area of stress deals with those with ADD/ADHD. Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a neurological disorder that causes a range of behavior problems such as difficulty attending to instruction, focusing on schoolwork, keeping up with assignments, following instructions, completing tasks, and social interaction. ADD is a term used for one of the presentations of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as defined in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” It is officially, “attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, predominantly inattentive presentation.”

ADD does not manifest itself in the same way that ADHD predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type or ADHD combined type does. Students with these presentations have different symptoms. Children with the other two presentations of ADHD, for example, tend to act out or exhibit behavior problems in class. Children with ADD are generally not disruptive in school. They may even sit in class quietly, but that doesn’t mean their disorder isn’t a problem and that they’re not struggling to focus. In addition, not all children with ADD are alike.

Children with ADD without the hyperactivity component may appear to be bored or disinterested in classroom activities. They may be prone to daydreaming or forgetfulness, work at a slow pace, and turn in incomplete work. Their assignment may look disorganized as well as their desks and locker spaces. They may lose materials at school and at home or misplace schoolwork and fail to turn in assignments. This can frustrate teachers, parents, and result in the child earning poor marks in class. Behavior intervention may counter the child’s forgetfulness.

ADHD is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect a child’s success at school, as well as their relationships. The symptoms of ADHD vary and are sometimes difficult to recognize. However, the top three symptoms of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

The Mayo Clinic notes that certain food colorings and preservatives may increase hyperactive behavior in some children. Avoid foods with these colorings and preservatives:

  • Sodium benzoate-It is commonly found in carbonated beverages, salad dressings, and fruit juice products.
  • FD&C Yellow No. 6 (sunset yellow)-It can be found in breadcrumbs, cereal, candy, icing, and soft drinks.
  • D&C Yellow No. 10 (quinoline yellow)-It can be found in juices, sorbets, and smoked haddock.
  • FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine)-It can be found in foods like pickles, cereal, granola bars, and yogurt.
  • FD&C Red No. 40 (Allura red)- It can be found in soft drinks, medications, gelatin desserts, and ice cream.
  • Diets that restrict possible allergens may help improve behavior in some children with ADHD.

It’s best to check with an allergy doctor if you suspect that your child has allergies. But you can experiment by avoiding these foods for two weeks:

  • Chemical additives/preservatives such as BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) and BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)-These are often used to keep the oil in a product from going bad and can be found in processed food items such as potato chips, chewing gum, dry cake mixes, cereal, butter, and instant mashed potatoes.
  • Milk, eggs, chocolate
  • Foods containing salicylates (chemicals occurring naturally in plants and are the major ingredient in many pain medications) –berries, chili powder, apples/cider, grapes, oranges, peaches, plums, prunes, & tomatoes
  • Grains-They may contain different chemicals that one can be intolerant to, not just gluten.
  • White sugar-This item can cause some symptoms to intensify.

Treatment with supplements may help improve symptoms of ADHD. These supplements include zinc, L-carnitine, vitamin B-6, magnesium, omega-3, and DHA. Herbs like oat straw, ginkgo, ginseng, lavender, cedarwood, chamomile, and passionflower may also help calm hyperactivity. In some children caffeine (found in guarana, coffee, tea, etc.) can actually act as a calming agent. There are some flower essences and essential oils that also aid in calming.

Peer pressure, or influence, comes in several forms, and these types of peer pressure can have a tremendous impact on a young person’s behavior. Research shows the most impressionable age for peer influence seems to be the middle school years. This is when a child is forming new friendships and choosing an identity among those friends.

It is also the most common age for kids to start experimenting with alcohol, drugs, sexual activity, and other risky behaviors. Very often, the drive to engage in this kind of behavior is a result of peer pressure. Adolescents who have larger circles of friends appear to be less influenced by the suggestions or actions of their peers, but the pressure to conform is very real at this age.

Here’s a breakdown of six types of peer pressure, and tips for parents who want to help their child make healthy, life-long choices:

  • Spoken Peer Pressure-It is when someone asks, suggests, persuades, or otherwise directs another to engage in a specific behavior. If this is done in a one-on-one environment, the recipient of the influence has a stronger chance of adhering to his or her core values and beliefs. If, however, the spoken influence takes place within a group, the pressure to go along with the group is immense.
  • Unspoken Peer Pressure-It is when someone is exposed to the actions of one or more peers and is left to choose whether they want to follow along. This could take the form of fashion choices, personal interactions, or ‘joining’ types of behavior (clubs, cliques, teams, etc.). Many young teens lack the mental maturity to control impulses and make wise long-term decisions. Because of this, many teens are more susceptible to influence from older or more popular friends.
  • Direct Peer Pressure-This type of peer pressure can be spoken or unspoken. Direct peer pressure is normally behavior-centric. Examples of these kinds of behavior would be when someone hands another an alcoholic drink, or makes a sexual advance, or looks at another student’s paper during a test. This puts the other person in a position of having to make an on-the-spot decision.
  • Indirect Peer Pressure-Similar to unspoken peer pressure, indirect peer pressure is subtle but can still exert a strong influence on an impressionable young person. When someone overhears a friend gossiping about another person and then reacts to the gossip, that is indirect peer pressure. Or if a middle schooler learns that the popular kids’ parties include alcohol or drugs, that indirect pressure may prompt them to experiment as a way to gain acceptance.
  • Negative Peer Pressure-Asking someone to engage in behavior that is against their moral code or family values is a type of negative peer pressure. Teens see the actions of other teens with stronger personalities and are put in a position of following the leader or walking away. It’s not uncommon for teens with strong morals to find themselves engaging in behavior that goes against their beliefs, simply because they want acceptance. Young people often lack the skills to come up with an excuse or reason to say no to negative peer pressure.
  • Positive Peer Pressure-A group dynamic can be a positive peer influence if the behaviors are healthy, age-appropriate, and socially acceptable. For instance, if a peer group wants to make good grades, a young teen can be positively influenced to study. Or if a popular friend wants to earn money and save to buy a car, a less outgoing teenager may also be influenced to get a job and open a savings account. If members of the football team take a pledge to abstain from drinking alcohol to focus on staying healthy and having a winning season, other students may adopt the same behavior.

Parents can be the strongest influence in their child’s life if they understand and are aware of the types of peer pressure their teenager is facing. Supporting healthy friendships, modeling responsible behavior, and keeping an open, judgment-free family dialogue are three key components of maintaining positive parental influence on a teenager. Take the time to talk it out with your child and ask them about types of peer pressure they may be facing. Bullying is a prevalent form of youth violence, particularly in school settings. It is defined by aggressive behavior (i.e., behavior that is intentional and mean) that occurs repeatedly over time and within the context of a power imbalance. Although both are harmful to youth, there is an important distinction between bullying and aggression- if there is an occasional conflict or fighting between two children of equal strength, size, and social status, this is aggression, but not bullying.

Most children are exposed in some form of bullying in schools due to the unequal balance of power and influence that is so common in youth relationships and peer groups. Research on bullying in schools shows that it increases in late childhood and peaks in early adolescence, specifically during middle school. Bullying in schools also typically takes place in unstructured settings such as the cafeteria, hallways, and playgrounds during recess. If someone is being bullied in school (or witnesses bullying) it should be reported to a parent, teacher, school counselor, principal, superintendent, and/or to the State Department of Education. Both peer pressure and bullying can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, and/or something worse.

Students need school to be a positive climate where they feel safe. This reduces their own stress and potential aggression, allowing them to focus on the learning necessary for them to be successful in their lives. Fortunately, there are actions that students and school staff can take to prevent bullying in schools and to create a more positive school climate. The culture of school violence cannot be impacted by only working with bullies and victims alone. It takes consistent and united action by everyone -students, school staff, administrators, and parents.

If you know someone who is feeling hopeless, helpless, or thinking of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Report potential threats of school violence and student self-harm: Contact Safe2Say www.saysomething.net or call 844-572-9669, the Safe2Say phone app.

Recipes:

  • Yakitori (a family recipe): 2 skinless chicken breasts, cubed (for 4 people); 2 tablespoons soy sauce; 1 ½ tablespoons sugar (white or brown); 2 tablespoons water (or sake-a dry sherry); ½ teaspoon minced ginger; ½ teaspoon minced garlic; if desired: onion, scallions, pineapple. 2 bamboo skewers per person. Directions: Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least one hour to prevent them from burning on the grill. Combine all the ingredients (except vegetables) and marinate 30 minutes or more. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from the marinade and thread onto bamboo skewers, alternating the chicken with vegetables. Place the skewers on the hot grill. Brush with the marinade during the first 2 to 4 minutes and grill for a total of about 6 to 8 minutes (internal temperature of 165 F), turning the skewers a few times. Serve over rice.
  • Elderberry Syrup: 3½ cups water; 2/3 cup black elderberries, dried (1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen); 2 tablespoons ginger (grated); 1 teaspoon cinnamon; ½ teaspoon ground cloves; 1 cup raw honey. Directions: Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. Remove from heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add the honey and stir well. When the honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a mason jar or 16-ounce glass bottle of some kind. Store in the fridge and take daily. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to help boost immunity. Instant Pot: Put all ingredients except honey in pot, seal lid, and set manually for 9 minutes on high pressure. Vent pressure and strain. When cooled to room temperature, stir in the honey. Standard dose: ½ – 1 teaspoon for kids and ½ – 1 tablespoon for adults. If one does come down with symptoms it may be taken at the normal dose every 2-3 hours until symptoms disappear.
  • Lice Treatment: 1/4 cup food grade diatomaceous earth; 10 drops melaleuca (tea tree) essential oil; 1cup witch hazel; 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil; 10 drops rosemary essential oil. Directions: Mix together the diatomaceous earth and tea tree essential oil. Place a small amount in hands and massage in hair and scalp. Make sure to cover all areas. Diatomaceous earth can create a lot of dust, so one may want to put a mask over the child’s mouth and nose while applying. Leave on hair overnight. Wash hair next morning and dry with a hot air hairdryer. Use a lice comb to remove any eggs or nits out of the hair. Make a preventative spray of witch hazel, eucalyptus, and rosemary. Liberally spray daily on dry or wet hair, style as usual. Repeat the same process for two more days, or as needed.
  • Immune-Boosting Bitters: 1 tbsp. honey; 1 oz. dried astragalus root; 1 oz. dried angelica root; 1/2 oz. dried chamomile; 1 tsp. dried ginger; 1 tsp. dried orange peel; 1 cinnamon stick; 1 tsp. cardamom seeds; 10 oz. alcohol. Directions: Dissolve the honey in 2 teaspoons of boiling water. Let cool. Combine the honey and the next 7 ingredients in a Mason jar and pour alcohol on top. Seal tightly and store the bitters in a cool, dark place. Let the bitters infuse until the desired strength is reached. It’ll take about 2–4 weeks. Shake the jars regularly (about once per day). When ready, strain the bitters through a muslin cheesecloth or coffee filter. Store the strained bitters in an airtight container at room temperature. Prepare: Mix this bitters into hot tea or take a few drops first thing when you wake up for protection during cold and flu season.
  • Pink Eye Remedy 1: Place cool, moist chamomile tea bag on each closed eye for about 10 minutes. Repeat this every couple of hours.
  • Pink Eye Remedy 2: Infuse a teaspoon of chamomile or eyebright (Euphrasia Officinalis) in a cup of hot water. Allow to cool, strain. Use an eyecup to hold the lukewarm liquid in each eye. OR Just wash the eyes out with the infusion, make a compress with a cloth, or even soak a cotton ball in the liquid and wipe the eyes every so often. While treating pink eye topically, you certainly want to treat internally too using your go-to cold remedies.
  • Pink Eye Remedy 3: Wash the eye using 1 cup of boiled and cooled water in which 5 drops of chamomile tincture has been added. OR Soak a cotton ball in this mixture. Never use the straight tincture in an eye.

—-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, e-mail pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Back to School – in 2020!

It’s that time of year again. And what a different world we live in this year. “Back to School” means many different things to the kids (and their parents) this year. Some will return to the classroom, some will do on-line training, some will homeschool, and some have joined small community co-ops with diverse curricula. So, the health challenges are just as diverse.

I’m not even going to comment on the viral concerns directly. We get new updates, advice, and regulation almost hourly. But there are still some other health concerns that we need to address – regardless of how or where we’ll learn this year. So, much of this is relooking at advice from years past.

First, a well-balanced vitamin and mineral supplement is still a necessity. The purpose of every cell in our bodies is to produce energy. But they must have a balance of proper nutrients as well as adequate water, exercise and rest to accomplish this task. Since most of us don’t get regular, well-balanced meals, supplements help to meet this need.

Mental alertness is imperative. It’s tougher than ever to focus on “learning” – but it is certainly necessary! Establish a routine early in the school year. Schedule adequate time for rest, exercise, homework, and desired activities. And since many longtime athletic and extracurricular activities have been canceled this year, you may need to get truly creative to ensure your kids don’t become “couch potatoes.” There are some wonderful natural nutritional supplements to help with mental alertness, too. They can aid with focus and concentration. This is especially important if your child has focus and attention challenges.

This year especially, consider adding immune system boosters to your child’s supplement regimen. I’d recommend an echinacea or elderberry supplement. And don’t forget to include good, old fashioned hygiene. To “sanitize” I add “cleanse”. Wash often, bathe regularly using antibacterial soap, brush your teeth after each meal, and use an antibacterial mouthwash.

As if our kids didn’t have enough stress in this year of the pandemic, remember that the new school year also brings on other conditions for the average student: increased mental stress and increased muscle aches and pains for those involved in outdoor activities, and increased emotional anxiety. Each student experiences these on different levels. Watch your students and listen to them. If a supplement is in order to help them adjust, contact your health food store or herb shop.

This year this “wonderful time of the year” has added burdens for our children. We’ll need to be diligent to put a positive twist on every adventure. Enjoy life and make it full. Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings. Gen.1:29.

How Should I Cleanse the Colon?

The colon is the waste container for the body.  The digestive system dumps its waste here, the lymphatic system dumps its waster here, and the circulatory system dumps its waste here. Since we discussed in our last blog that the colon works to reclaim any nutrients left in the waste, it stands to reason that we should keep the colon as clean as possible.  It requires constant care to keep it disease-free. Daily bowel movements help, but a more focused cleansing should be a regular part of our cleansing regimen.  I look for ingredients in my monthly cleansing regimen that will ensure the colon is addressed in each of them.

I am often asked how often we should have a bowel movement. I am reminded of an old doctor who in the 1970s was the first person I remember asking me how often I had a bowel movement.  He told me he asked that question of every patient he ever saw.  Answers he received spanned the numbers form “once a month” to “twelve times a day” – and each person thought that was normal because we usually think that our number is “normal for us”. But he reminded me of a newborn baby who has a meal and about 45 minutes later has a dirty diaper. He said that if we had perfect body systems then we would usually follow that routine. But he said he wasn’t concerned as long as his patients had at least “daily regularity”. But the fewer bowel movements you have, the greater is your need for routine colon cleansing.

It’s interesting to me that as soon as we potty train a child, we begin to try to make its bowel habits “convenient”; we’re at the store when little Johnny says “I need to go to the bathroom.” And we say, “can you hold it? We’ll be home in just a few minutes.” Actually, few of us go to the bathroom just when the urge first hits us. So old fecal material dries and starts sticking to the colon walls.

Remember the water reclamation function of the colon.  If there is excess fecal material in the colon, as it tries to draw off the excess water, it also draws off the bacterial and disease that may also be present and recirculates these substances throughout your body as well – we re-toxify ourselves!!!

Also, consider a balloon that is filled with air, emptied, refilled, and on and on.  It will eventually produce dimples on the wall.  In our colons, these dimples are called diverticula.  They are the perfect place for seeds, etc. to collect and get infected and produce diverticulitis.  Remember “it is” simply means “inflammation of.”

So, in addition to regular bowel movements, I look for products specifically formulated to cleanse the colon. These products not only aid in the evacuation of wastes but may also contain ingredients that can re-tone (tonify) the bowel. They can both cleanse and strengthen the bowel at the same time.

Keep moving and keep your bowel moving too.  It will not only keep you comfortable, but it will help keep your whole body healthier.

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

“Barefoot in the Park”

I used this title simply because I thought that with many of you it may ring a bell. It was an early Hollywood classic movie. But my subject is really much different from Hollywood’s focus. I want to talk about some health benefits to be derived from walking barefoot. Of course, it matters when and even where you’re walking barefoot. By many medical practitioners, it is referred to as “grounding”.

One doctor’s article said that it was as simple as restoring our natural walking pattern from the changes we’ve made since learning to walk and putting on shoes. He also addresses better control of foot positioning, improved balance, better foot mechanics and less pain, a better range of motion in your ankle and foot joints, and stronger leg muscles.

Called “earthing,” another doctor said that drawing electrons from the earth could induce better sleep and less pain. He also gave an example when they claimed it changed electrical activity in the brain, improved skin conductivity, moderated heart rate variability, improved glucose regulation, reduced stress, and supported immune function (decreasing white blood cell counts while increasing red blood cell counts).

Other cited health benefits were a reduced risk of heart disease, decreases anxiety and stress, loosen tense muscles and eliminate headaches by grounding the body and reducing free radicals, boost energy levels by immersing yourself in the natural world and picking up higher energy frequencies emitted from nature, and protecting the body from dangerous electromagnetic fields.

Quoting from an internet article by Carrie Dennett, “If you think back to the last time you took a science class, you may remember that everything, including humans, is made up of atoms. These microscopic particles contain equal numbers of negatively charges electrons, which come in pairs, and positively charged protons, so an atom is neutral – unless it loses an electron. When an atom has an unpaired electron, it becomes a “free radical” with a positive charge, capable of damaging our cells and contributing to chronic inflammation, cancer, and other diseases. In this case, “positive” is not a good thing.”

The underlying premise is that when we are barefoot on grass, soil, or sand, we can discharge the negative electrons – “free radicals” and use our electricity more beneficially within our bodies.

Sports enthusiasts also find additional benefits of being barefoot on the sand, or at a beach. They get better strength training; burn more calories; gain more perception of body position, motion and equilibrium; they relax more; they get natural skin exfoliation aiding in skin functioning; and a vitamin and mineral boost from the environment.

I had a teacher in one of my Naturopathic Doctor classes who said she had encountered many of her clients who had sleep disorders that she was able to help with the effects of walking in the grass barefoot. She said she had them go out into their grassy back yards just at sunset and walk in the grass while watching the sunset. This action restored their circadian rhythms to the point that they fell asleep faster and rested better.

While researching this article, I found literally dozens of examples of significantly improved health and vitality that was the outflow and simply walking slowly and quietly in many venues where your bare feet were in contact with the earth – grass, soil, or sand. Try making it a part of your health practice routine.

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.

Diet and Supplements for the Liver

While I personally recommend a regular cleansing regimen that includes a cleanse especially for the liver due to its unique status as the primary detoxifying organ of the body, I strongly support the idea of ensuring your supplement regimen and your diet remain liver-friendly for the same reasons. The liver, by its very function, takes a lot of abuse; and you can’t live without it. So, take special care to keep it healthy.

Some special diet considerations are due to common functions of the liver itself:

  • The liver manufactures cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential for making cell membranes and cell structures in the body. It is also vital for the synthesis of hormones, vitamin D, and other substances. About two-thirds of the cholesterol in our bodies is manufactured by the liver; the other third comes from our diet. Cholesterol is necessary, and while we must have some cholesterol for our bodies to function, the liver will usually produce enough and we compound problems if we add too much by allowing ourselves a high-fat diet. Reducing dietary fat can ease demands on the liver.
  • The liver also stores glucose fuel in the form of glycogen. The body has a feedback system that between meals tells the liver to release more sugar to maintain the body’s energy level. The liver then converts either fat or glycogen into the simple sugar glucose. Too much sugar can mean problems for other body systems. So, reducing simple sugars from your diet can also ease production demands on the liver.
  • Cirrhosis of the liver is a disease with which we’re all familiar. We associate it with heavy drinkers (and this is one real cause). It is a degenerative inflammatory disease that results in hardening and scarring of liver cells. What many of us don’t consider is that malnutrition and chronic inflammation can also lead to liver malfunction.
  • Keep the colon clean, regularly use an herbal detoxifying blend if you work in an environment that contains known toxins, and limit alcohol intake.

Our liver processes require vitamins, minerals, proteins (preferably from vegetable sources), amino acids, and enzymes. Ensuring these nutrients are in your diet (or a good broad-spectrum vitamin-mineral-amino acid-essential fatty acid supplement), will also help keep a healthy liver. Other supplements that you may consider specifically for the liver may include:

  • Herbs that help to ensure a healthy liver. Alfalfa is an excellent source of vitamin K and a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to bleeding. The silymarin in milk thistle has been shown in scientific studies to repair and rejuvenate the liver. Fermented red yeast rice extract is beneficial for those with high cholesterol as it inhibits the liver’s production of cholesterol. Other herbs that can be beneficial include barberry, black radish, burdock, dandelion, fennel, horsetail, Irish moss, red clover, rose hips, suma, thyme, chickweed and wild Oregon grape.
  • Drink lemon water to “wash” the liver.
  • Choline and inositol are B-vitamins that prevent scarring and help prevent cirrhosis and high cholesterol.
  • And liver-healthy foods include red beets (especially raw and shredded in a salad), almonds, bananas, blackstrap molasses, prunes, raisins, wheat and rice bran, kelp, beans, and seeds. Dandelion greens are a great Spring tonic if they contain no herbicides or pesticides. Poor food choices include excessive animal proteins, processed foods, junk food, refined white flour and white sugar foods.

In a previous blog I noted a fact that is worth repeating here: “Overeating is probably the most common cause of liver malfunction. It creates excess work for the liver, resulting in liver fatigue. Since the liver must detoxify all of the various chemicals present in our food supply today, it is easily overworked and may not be able to keep up, leaving harmful substances in the body.”

There are many ways to alleviate the stress of a degenerative liver. But it doesn’t “just happen”. Be aware of the load you’re putting on your liver by poor diet choices, working in toxic environments, and making poor lifestyle choices. Carefully care for your liver and it will care for you throughout your lifetime!

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

A Simple Liver “Flush”

So, what is the difference in a cleanse and a “flush”? If you asked that question to a dozen different people, you may get as many responses! But for my purposes here, I’m going to look at it this way. A cleanse is usually better in the long run. It is more thorough. It cleans deeper. It takes longer. And it may be trying to get more work accomplished that just a simple flush. For example, you go into a bathroom right after the toilet has been used and you can get rid of many of the smells and much of the waste by simply flushing it. But while that takes care of the immediate problem, you have not necessarily deep cleaned the toilet itself or gotten rid of the microbes, stains and trapped wastes that are accomplished by the routine, less frequent cleaning of the toilet.

Most of us do the cleaning of our bathrooms (and toilets) regularly to keep them running at peak efficiency, and we thereby avoid messy breakdowns. In your body, a regular cleansing regimen does that for each body system. That’s what I try to accomplish by the annual cleansing regimen that I follow for each of my body systems. Most of them take about a month to accomplish but leave me with the sense that I get by the carrying out of the recommended mileage inspections I do on my vehicle. I flew aircraft in the military for a while and I know a lot about routine maintenance and the longevity accomplishing it gives to the aircraft – or car – or my body!

So where does the “flush” come in? It’s sort of an emergency quick fix for an unexpected breakdown. It’s the maintenance the aircraft or vehicle needs when something unexpected happens. Or the “quick fix” we make on the toilet to get rid of the waste quickly after a necessary “toxic” use.

If we were conscientious about following all the rules for the care of our livers, we may not need the “flushes” to get us through the emergency breakdowns. There is no logical reason to need to discharge kidney stones or gall stones, or liver sludge, if we’re following the necessary anti-toxic safeguards and dietary guidelines to keep them healthy. But we didn’t and now we are faced with stones and sludge. What can we do?

I’ve used a simple two-day gallbladder/liver “flush” many times. It’s not pleasant; it definitely ties you to the bathroom; and it tastes kind of nasty. But it works. The full recipe may be found in our website “recipe” section. But, in essence, it is using Epson Salts and water to drink at two-hour intervals on the first evening and ending the night with a mixture of grapefruit juice and olive oil along with eight capsules of the amino acid l-ornithine. Go to bed around 10PM, lay on your back for 20 minutes and then sleep on your right side. Next morning finish off the Epson Salt/Water mixture in divided doses at two-hour intervals, follow two hours later with a large glass of juice and an hour later with a piece of fruit. At this point, I’m telling you not to be more than a few feet from the bathroom; expect “explosive” diarrhea, passage of the gallbladder, kidney and liver sludge, and final relief!

Note that I do not recommend this procedure if you know you have kidney stores. There are different treatments for that, and using this flush could force stones through the fragile nephron filters of the kidneys and gallbladder. I certainly prefer the routine maintenance of the regular cleanses, but this is a handy “flush” when the situation requires it! Keep it handy – or just copy if from our “recipes” website section. I’ve used it several times; feel free to refer questions to me!

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

Keep Your Liver Clean

Unless you have a disease specifically concerning the liver, you rarely think much about it. But if you have a compromised liver, or suffer from cirrhosis or hepatitis or several other such conditions, it can take priority in your lifestyle accommodations. When you do stop to think about it, you realize you can’t live without it. It is, by far, the most significant cleansing organ in the body!

While it normally weighs only three to four pounds it is a very complex organ. It has a double circulation system. That means it receives blood from both the veins and the arteries. The main artery carries in plenty of oxygen from the lungs and the main vein comes directly from the small intestine full of nutrients. The liver performs over 500 functions. It serves as a digestive aid, it detoxifies food impurities, and it inspects nutrients before allowing them into the bloodstream. Further, it has the ability to be its own metabolic chemical plant to make new compounds you must have to live.

Of all the organs you have in your body it is often the most abused and yet has the greatest capacity for regeneration if it gets the proper supplements and care. I read a report from Johns Hopkins Medical Center that states “The liver is the only organ in the body that can replace lost or injured tissue (regenerate). [A] donor’s liver will soon grow back to normal size after surgery. The part that you receive as a new liver will also grow to normal size in a few weeks.”

The liver also manufactures cholesterol and bile, stores glucose fuel, and can suffer from a number of diseases. We have a number of studies that show that the typical American diet can produce liver damage, digestive problems, low energy, allergies, and even depression. One study even showed that a low-grade fever at night could indicate liver problems.

So, it only makes sense that when we are considering a cleansing regimen for the body, we should include at least one liver cleanse each year. And there are a number of them. We carry at least a half-dozen of them at The Health Patch, by almost as many different companies. I have also used a simple, popular “mini-cleanse” for the liver which can be accomplished over a 30-day period by the consumption once a day of two (2) tablespoons of olive oil mixed with two (2) tablespoons of lemon juice and four (4) ounces of apple juice. This can be both refreshing and cleansing.

We’ll cover the specific functions of herbs that help clean and heal the liver, foods that support it and other supplements we use for liver health in another blog in a couple of weeks. But a simple list of many of them include: alfalfa, milk thistle, red yeast rice extract, barberry, black radish, burdock, dandelion, fennel, horsetail, Irish moss, red clover, rose hips, suma, thyme, and wild Oregon grape.

Overeating is probably the most common cause of liver malfunction. It creates excess work for the liver, resulting in liver fatigue. Since the liver must detoxify all of the various chemicals present in our food supply today, it is easily overworked and may not be able to keep up, leaving harmful substances in the body.

Stress is also a major contributor to a fatigued liver. Deliver your liver from stress by ensuring it has the proper nutrients and is sparred undue excesses of known toxins. You only get one. Keep it healthy.

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

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.

The How and Why of Lymphatic Cleansing

In dealing with our customers, I often question them about how they view the functioning of their various body systems. Curiously, when I ask about their lymphatic systems, I often just get an askance glance. Few people even know what the lymphatic system is, much less how to describe theirs as functioning. They may recognize that they have lymph nodes, but may not know what they do. But the functioning of the lymphatic system is essential to good health.

Upwards of 100,000 body cells die each day. And where do they go when they die? Into the lymphatic system. It is a system of interconnected nodes that collect and move the dead material from all over your body into the waste disposal systems of the body so it may be evacuated. We do not want to hold on to all that dead and decaying material which quickly becomes toxic to the rest of the body.

Besides the network of connected nodes to collect the dead cells there are three main larger collection points: the spleen, the tonsils and the appendix. Interestingly, many of my peers, including me, had their tonsils removed in childhood because the doctors didn’t at that time know of any serious function they performed. So, when they swelled up during an infection which caused more than average cellular death, the doctors just removed them. I know of people today who have recently had their appendixes removed due to that same logic. And, granted, we can live relatively normal lives without them, but have to stay more on top of large-scale infections without them. Now we realize a lymphatic cleanse may be warranted.

An annual lymphatic cleanse would also be recommended for folks with a more sedentary lifestyle. You see, the lymphatic system has no pump to move the waste through the body. I call this the “toothpaste” movement system. How do you get toothpaste out of the tube? You squeeze the tube. The lymphatic tubes run through muscle structures in the body. So, to get the waste to flow, you need to contract the muscle so they squeeze the tubes. No muscle movement means no squeezing on the tubes which means no movement of the dead material. Exercise is essential. And the more sedentary your lifestyle, the more you need regular cleansing of the lymphatic system.

I personally enjoy using herbs and herbal combination to cleanse. The phytonutrients in many of the herbs encourage the body to detoxify naturally. And as a rule, we should regularly cleanse the eliminative organs (kidneys and liver) and the blood and lymphatic systems, as well as the intestinal system.

Fifteen years ago, we had a test we could use to see how your body systems were working. The developer of the test worked for several months with a body of career herbalists to develop cleansing products for the kidney and the lymphatic systems. He stated that we could expect ninety percent of our clients to need these two products prior to begin any other cleansing programs. In my experience, he was accurate. Herbs for cleansing the lymphatic system include: parthenium, yarrow, capsicum, cleavers, red clover flowers, prickly ash bark, and others. They include encapsulated herbs or liquid tinctures which may be accomplished in a single month.

I cleanse my lymphatic system each year. Join me, and I hope you can feel as good as I do! Good health and God’s blessings!

  • 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.