Again, we’ve completed a full year in which we covered the very important topic of how to cleanse each body system to allow it to function at an optimum level, free of toxins and sludge buildups. Now this year, as we look at the proper functioning of these systems, we’ll consider “what does it take to allow the systems to have the nutrients to allow them to stay healthy.
This month, we’ll consider “care and feeding” of the glandular system. Its basic function is to regulate all the body functions through secretion of its messengers – hormones! They assist in the repair of injured body tissue, determine sexual identity, promote body growth, control body temperature, and even regulate our emotions.
Years ago, the company Nature’s Sunshine (NSP) organized its herbal program around their count of nine body systems. In addition to products to nurture each gland in the glandular system, they also produced a product as the “umbrella” for normal, regular maintenance of the overall system. The NSP product for the glandular system is called Master Gland, and contains a wide assortment of vitamins and herbs that have been used for centuries to care for the hormones within this unique “regulatory” system. You’ll recognize many of these, like dandelion, alfalfa, asparagus, licorice, kelp, and marshmallow. Less known by the novice are herbs such as parthenium, eleuthero, and uva ursi. Here we won’t discuss the use of each of them, but I do want you to learn to recognize their names and know that they have a place in the generation of hormones.
Each gland in the system has a specific function and its own products for its care. Rather than make this a lecture on herbal contents, I’d like you to question whether any of the functions “rings a bell” for you regarding a health problem you face. If it does, stop by The Health Patch and talk with any of our five Naturopathic Doctors, or make an appointment for a private health consultation with any of them.
Top of the body to the bottom, the major glands are:
- the pituitary – it’s about the size of a pea, resides in the brain, and has been called the master gland because it secretes hormones that regulate most all of the other glands.
- the thyroid and para thyroid – they influence the growth, weight and metabolic rate of your body. It also influences your emotions, physical vitality and intellectual ability. It works with the parathyroid to balance body calcium.
- the thymus – it is behind the breast bone, butterfly-shaped, and plays a key role in producing the immune system’s T-cells. These circulate in the blood and lymph to help protect the body from “invaders” or malignant cells.
- the adrenals – they are for “fight or flight”. They produce some 50 different hormones that stimulate the heart, regulate blood sugar levels, and help normalize your blood pressure.
- the pancreas – it is a major contributor to the digestive system, producing some 50 different enzymes, including insulin to regulate blood sugar.
- the ovaries (for females) and the testes (for males) – the sexual glands for humans. They regulate the reproductive process and produce the hormones which control the physical and mental characteristics of each sex.
Common problems associated with the Glandular System include: hormone imbalances, emotional stress, reproductive troubles, and blood sugar levels.
Note that every hormone is carried through either the blood or lymph to stimulate or inhibit the activity of another organ or tissue. And prolonged stress can cause both the thymus and lymph glands to shrivel and also exhaust the adrenals as they try to keep up with demands. It is my personal belief that adrenal “burnout” is a major contributor to PTSD and Road Rage.
If you have glandular issues, talk to us about supplementation that may be an answer to many of your physical and emotional issues. Add “glandular” to your list of Healthy Body Systems!
-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.