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Archive for natural health

Children’s Health – Early Development

One of the most important measures of preventing childhood disease is breastfeeding. Breastfeeding for less than three months is correlated with a reduced risk of asthma in children.

Another important fact for children is a healthy diet. Children with healthier diets tend to have less childhood diseases. What researchers have found can encourage parents to pursue a healthier wholefood diet for their children.

Researchers also discovered that the daily consumption of grapes, oranges, apples and fresh vegetables has assured less allergies and asthma.

A few tips on the care of children’s health are:

  • Start the day with a healthy breakfast.
  • Let children help plan and prepare one meal each week.
  • Eat together as a family as often as possible.
  • Take time eating, and chew slowly.
  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat more whole grains.
  • Drink plenty of water.

In another study, it is clear that children with allergies may benefit from eating a diet with high proportions of fruits and vegetables throughout the day. And don’t forget to include nuts in children’s diets as well (including walnuts, pecans and almonds), but not until at least two years of age.

The emotional, social and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adult they will become. It is very important to maximize their future well-being.

Shirley Golden, Staff ND, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health
1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK Phone: 405-736-1030 e-mail: jehovah316@netzero.net

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

Get Your Kids Back to School Healthy

It’s that time of year again. The kids lament and the moms breathe a sigh of relief. Summer seems to get shorter and shorter, and ever more full of activities. So there is little time for rest and then it’s back to the routine of homework and school activities. What can we do to help our kids get the most from their school experience? Here are some ideas.

A well-balanced vitamin and mineral supplement is 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 an imperative. Establish a routine early in the school year. Schedule adequate time for rest, exercise, homework and desired activities. It takes planning and hard work to fit in everything and balance all the desires of a healthy, well-adjusted young person. There are some wonderful nutrient supplements to help with mental alertness, too. They can aid with focus and concentration and they are all natural. This is especially important if your child has focus and attention challenges. Talk to the folks in your local herb shop about specific supplements for your child’s special needs.

Also consider adding an immune system booster to your child’s supplement regimen here at the beginning of the school year. I’d recommend an echinacea or elderberry supplement. This is also important as the flu season starts up in another couple of months. But as we begin to gather in classrooms we mix our ailments with those of our classmates and become susceptible to “who knows what!”

This is also the time of year that we usually see the first round of head lice. There are some excellent natural shampoos and treatments to rid this infestation. One effective recipe using essential oils is to mix two drops eucalyptus oil, one drop each of lavender oil and geranium oil, and a teaspoon of any of the common carrier oils. Then massage this into the hair, leave it for at least a half an hour, and shampoo and rinse. An excellent rinse is made from combining two drops each of these three oils with a half an ounce of vinegar and eight ounces of water. Make sure you rinse every hair and let it dry naturally. Repeat this process daily until all the lice and eggs are gone. My grandma use to say that a good head scrubbing with old fashioned lye soap was a great natural remedy for this, too.

Does you child suffer from acne? They certainly don’t want to return to school with outbreaks of skin rashes and pimples. Help them alleviate this problem with a good hygiene regimen. There are some wonderful herbal programs and some herbal blend supplements to help also.

Finally, remember that the new school year also brings on other conditions for the average student: increased mental stress, increased muscle aches and pains for those involved in school sports, and increased emotional anxiety. Every 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 is a wonderful time of the year. We anticipate fall and the end of summer. We look forward to school accomplishments and rejoining friends in daily communication. But it can be a time of added stress. Be sure 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.

  • 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.

Gut Supplements!

While we all should search for our own “gut healthy” diet, there are some foods that we have previously mentioned that seem to have a positive effect on the gut of most individuals. We’ve mentioned variety in the fruits and vegetables we eat – every food has its unique set of microbiomes – so the greater the variety we eat leads to a greater variety of microbiomes as well. And we know that an oriental diet introduces us to the added benefit of fermented foods, also in great variety. But for many, this is a culture shock, or a hard learning activity. Some of us simply don’t care for many otherwise healthy foods.

My advice is to do the best you can, and work at it. Our taste palates are often trained in childhood. Our cultures and our families taught us how to eat. My dad was a “meat and potatoes” man from the rural South. I ate a lot of home-grown vegetables, but nothing ethnically diverse. But I have enjoyed food most of my life and now enjoy virtually any international food delights – adding to what my friends and family call my “cast iron digestive system”. I have little problem enjoying and digesting most anything placed before me. But, if that is not you, I would suggest some gut-healthy supplements. Here are a few of them.

Number one on my list here is berberine. It is an alkaloid found as a stand-alone, or as a natural constituent in many herbs such as goldenseal, Oregon grape, and barberry. Clinical studies have shown that berberine helps to support already normal glucose and lipid metabolism, helps to control intestinal bacteria and reduce intestinal inflammation. It interested me, that in a recent program I took to improve gut health, the company recommended an eating program and added only two supplements: a strong probiotic and berberine!

Cinnamon has a strong antimicrobial action and is an astringent that will tone up the gut membranes. It is also used in many of the weight loss programs I have seen.

Golden Seal is one of our strongest immune system builders and it is usually suggested that it not be used for long periods without a break, but it has a long history of use for intestinal infections and diarrhea caused by giardia.

Finally, the amino acid L-glutamine is essential for many body functions including gut health. It helps the body produce energy in the mitochondria of the cells, and has been shown to repair leaky gut and reduce irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory diseases like ulcers, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Besides supplementation, it is found naturally in bone broth, grass fed beef, spirulina and whey protein.

Other herbs that help reduce intestinal inflammation and/or tone up the gaps between intestinal cells include pau d’arco, cat’s claw, turmeric, kudzu and black walnut. Much of this information comes from a publication by my favorite herbalist Steven Horne. Drop by the store for a copy of his complete presentation, while copies last, if you have further interest.

– 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. Check out our blogs and podcasts under “resources” on our website each week for related topics.

Gut Needs – Mix it Up!

“A healthy gut promotes a healthy body.” But what specific kinds of nutrients does the gut need? Other blogs have covered the basics: some 50 or so enzymes, several bile salts, betaine hydrochloric acid, and hundreds of microbes and probiotics – all to ensure foods are broken down into consumable components. I believe the key focus here is “variety.”

For example, we carry dozens of brands and formulations of probiotics at The Health Patch. When we opened the store 22 years ago, we could only get supplements with half a dozen strains of probiotics containing some two to three million bacteria per capsule. But research has come a long way. As the function of a given strain is uncovered, it is added to the combinations. We now carry several brands with up to 35 strains and as many as 100 million probiotics per capsule.

Additionally, enzymes are often separated by their sources – plant based, animal based or both. And capsules may be gelatin or vegetable for those who don’t wish to use animal sources.

I found an article online by a group called Viome Laboratories who are dedicated to research on gut health. They listed “8 Gut Damaging Foods and Behaviors” to avoid. It’s an article worth reading because they also give valid reasons for the avoidances. Sugar was number one, followed by Artificial Sweeteners. We’ve covered those in our blogs before. They also mentioned GMO foods, Preservatives, Antibiotics, NSAIDS, Stress and Smoking. Each of these destroy specific microbiomes necessary for good gut health. Or conversely, the use of any of these will destroy some beneficial microbiomes which could denigrate your gut health.

Each of us is different; our bodies and their nutritional needs vary – either by genetics or by environments. So there is no “perfect” gut diet that will work for everyone. But it is well determined scientifically that we all need a variety of fruits and vegetables, usually some fermented foods (like sauerkraut or kimchi), green foods, foods from the sea, and proteins. Recent research also shows that bone broth, a supplemental food which has become very popular, may also help to heal leaky gut! Experiment to find those things that work best for you while avoiding those listed above.

– 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. Check out our blogs and podcasts under “resources” on our website each week for related topics.

The Gut-Brain Connection!

Have you ever heard anyone say (or have YOU said) “I eat because I’m bored” or “I eat because I’m depressed” or “I eat because I’m anxious”? Well, there’s something to that. You see, there are actually more nerve connections between the gut and the brain (or the whole Central Nervous System) than between any other two systems in the body.

From a coach’s manual I use for some weight control programs we read, “When you are born your brain and your gut develop from the same tissue. In these early stages, the colonization of gut bacteria regulates the development of hormones that affect your mood, sleep, and a variety of other key functions. So, it should come as no surprise that your body and mind stay closely onnected throughout your life.”

Situational anxiety, stress, and moods cause your brain to cause the release of hormones such as cortisol, which in turn increases your cravings for high-fat, high-sugar foods. The technical science is complicated, but the end result is the same – the brain stimulates the nerves to cause the organs to produce hormones that cause several unwanted actions in our daily lives. That’s the brain’s part.

So how about the gut? If your gut is unhealthy, diseased, leaky, full of pathogens (viruses, bad bacteria, undigested food, yeast, parasites, etc.) then it sends erroneous signals to the brain causing it to respond in error. The wrong hormones are activated, the wrong digestive substances are released at the wrong times to the wrong areas, or the wrong chemical responses complicate an already confused body and bad goes to worse.

Think about Pavlov – he had dogs that were not hungry releasing gastric and pancreatic secretions in response to sensory signals such as the sight and smell of food.

In humans, the gut has the largest numbers of bacteria and the greatest number of species as compared to all other areas of the body. Research shows the importance to human life of these bacteria, so the brain works to protect and nurture them. A loss of them has been shown in clinical trials to cause numerous inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. And the composition of our gut flora changes when our diet changes and as overall health changes. So overall health is directly related to the condition of the gut. A healthy gut directly equates to a healthy body.

For those who are more technical, here’s the summary: “The gut-brain axis is a two-way communication that is very important to maintaining a body’s homeostasis (regular, normal health).

-For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com. Check out our blogs and podcasts under “resources” on our website each week for related topics.

Gut Health!

“As goes the gut, so goes the body!” Science has recently been studying the gut microbiome and discovered that the healthy gut is inhabited by some 40 trillion microorganisms living there, and they affect virtually every biological function of your body. The bottom line is “a healthy gut promotes a healthy body”.

This month we will spotlight how to improve our gut health from several different perspectives: the gut-brain connection, components of a healthy gut, nutrients that will improve our gut health, food that will help promote a healthier gut, and steps to helping to heal the gut. Check out our blogs and podcasts each week for related topics.

For purposes of this discussion, we’ll consider the main component of the gut to be the intestine. We live in a toxic environment and this leads to autointoxication of the gut. One writer stated that this has been around for ages, but we’ve now given it a new name – “leaky gut.” And leaky gut has been associated with a number of health problems: things like allergies, depression, chronic skin conditions, chronic sinus problems, yeast infections, irritable bowel and their associated bowel disorders, and a number of autoimmune disorders.

Your body has protective barriers: specifically, the skin and mucus membranes that line the gastrointestinal tract and respiratory passages. One writer called these “sifters and sorters”; they let in the good stuff and keep out the bad stuff. They should be tightly sitting next to each other, but due to improper nutrients and too much inflammation, they develop gaps in the constitution (like an army with soldiers missing from the lineup!). These gaps can let in toxins, undigested foods, and pathogens (like parasites, viruses, bacteria, yeast, etc.). And this can cause systemic inflammation.

A healthy gut doesn’t just happen. We have to be aware of our environment, conscious of the things we put into our bodies, and conscientious in planning for and caring for our bodies in general and our guts specifically.

  • 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.

Detox – Yes, the Brain!

Generally, in the herbal industry, we talk a lot about detoxing.  I have a complete annual detox regimen that I practice, a different body system or specific organ for each month of the year.  I’ll be glad to share it with you if you want to drop by the store and get one, or write me and ask for one.  It’s not “magic” or even completely professional, but I’ve been using it for several years now and my doctor says I’m doing fine with no serious health problems and I’ll be 74 this year.  So, why do I even mention it?  Because when we talk about cleansing (detoxing), we rarely talk about anything to detox the brain.

You see, the brain has a special barrier called the blood-brain barrier that tries to block many toxins from getting into the brain.  It works pretty well on many substances but not all.  If you’ve ever seen a drunk person, you know that alcohol isn’t blocked and the only way to detox it is to “endure the hangover.”  The body will detox it in time – with some side effects, however.

But there are some things that the body doesn’t detox on its own.  One of those that is particularly problematic for the brain is “heavy metals.”  They are particularly damaging to our immune and nervous systems, and produce a wide range of hard-to-diagnose symptoms.  I find this to be a problem for customers who work in areas where heavy metals are common – the oil fields, places that work with heavy solvents and cleaners, people who use certain drugs, and a whole category we refer to as “drug babies.”  And I’ve often noted that while I think deodorants are great (lol), every antiperspirant I’ve found in the marketplace used aluminum (a heavy metal) as the instrument to stop perspiration.  I recommend using deodorants, but not antiperspirants!

When heavy metals get into your body, the body doesn’t know what to do with them.  The immune system, knowing they are toxic” uses the technique of “suffocating them” with fatty tissues to keep them from harming other tissues.  One place where they cause real problems is in the brain.  The brain is “electric!”  We often define the passing of a signal from one brain cell to the next as “firing” from one cell to the next.  When this “spark” fires, if it hits a molecule of a stored metal, it could be seen as a small “explosion” which damages surrounding cells. With enough of these microscopic explosions we can see the destruction of thousands of cells. Depending on which cells are destroyed, we may find many different resulting failures inside the brain.

Product components that remove heavy metals are designed to bind with the heavy metal ions and remove them from the body.  Common ingredients usually include cilantro, sodium alginate (from seaweed), apple pectin, and plenty of dietary fiber. Try eating more Mexican food – studies show that cilantro has demonstrated the capacity to remove considerable amounts of mercury from water sources, too.

Good advice as related to things consumed is “increase the good stuff and get rid of (detox) the bad!”  Live long and in good health. Genesis 1:29.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, Nana’s Pawpaw Patch – Herbs, Oils & Teas for Health, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@promoteyourhealth.com.

Stay Calm-Protect Your Emotions and Your Will!

I believe we are spiritual beings whose brains incorporate our minds, our will and our emotions.  The mind is the “thinking, memory, art & logic” parts of our being.  Most of us are cognizant of that and usually work to keep them healthy and “in check” because it’s how we function.  Harder to control is our “will” – what we choose to feel or carry out, and our “emotions” – how we react to surroundings and circumstances.

One of my favorite stories is about some doctors who took identical looking brothers and placed them in separate rooms full of manure and a shovel. They observed one brother sitting in the corner of the room crying while the other brother was shoveling manure like crazy. On questioning, the first brother stated that there was nothing to do but smell the awfully putrid manure. The other brother remarked, “With that much manure, I was looking for the pony!” The obvious key to their happiness differed in attitude and expectations.

Stress is an obvious contributor to healthy functioning in life for all of us. We all have times when things are going ok, and times when everything around us seems to be falling apart. At the root, stress is not always bad.  Let’s face it, if it were not for “motivation to accomplish something (stress?)” would we ever get anything done? So what can we do to manage these diverse situations in our lives?  I think a primary contributor is to “train the brain!”

Stress causes added demands on our bodies.  The adrenal glands produce some 50 different hormones.  Several of them are for the purpose of helping us handle stress. Added stress requires more work from the adrenals.  And the adrenals “feed” on B-vitamins. As a minimum then, I recommend B Vitamins during times of increased stress.  There may also be a place for nervine sedative herbals like hops, valerian root, passion flower, and skullcap – all in either teas or capsules. Some mineral products using the name “Calm” are also useful and contain just magnesium, a mineral that is used rapidly during times of stress.

Kava is an herbal known to relax muscles and ease tension, and pantothenic acid provides added adrenal support.

I am not a medical doctor and don’t presume to treat any named diseases, but anecdotally I believe that the loss of the adrenal’s ability to produce anti-stress hormones may be a root cause of chronic stress breakdowns. A Loma Linda University study found laughter is one of the best things to fight stress. Also practice deep breathing and meditative prayer; practice relaxation, find calming activities to brighten every day, and train your mind to evaluate stressful activities. And get professional help when you can’t manage your reactions.

Another of my favorite sayings: “Like a great violin, may your life have enough stress (tension) to make beautiful music, but not so much as to cause the strings to break!”  Live long and in good health. Genesis 1:29.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, Nana’s Pawpaw Patch – Herbs, Oils & Teas for Health, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@promoteyourhealth.com.

A Healthy Mind Promotes Memory

Even if we never have a head injury or acute toxicity, most of us notice lapses in our memory as we transition to more sedentary lifestyles, or simply age! We think memory loss is a normal function of the aging process. But it doesn’t have to be so. There are several factors to consider when we desire to keep our minds sharp.

To begin with, we have to consider the popular computed adage “garbage in, garbage out.” We’ve looked in other articles about some of the nutrients we need to keep a healthy brain. But we didn’t cover things we do that should be avoided. We know things like alcohol, tobacco, drugs (even some legal ones) can promote memory loss. Read the labels! Many kill brain cells. And my dad was quick to point out that many of us can’t afford to lose ANY! Lol!!! But here are some other things you can do to keep your memory strong:

Eat better foods: Get away from sugars, starches, and excess fats. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Make an effort to stay away from genetically modified foods – we don’t yet even know how these modifications may be treating our bodies. Add more of the food sources we mentioned in our “Healthy Brain” article.

Some specific vitamins and minerals to consider: I can’t stress more the importance of B Vitamins. Most references suggest 100mg of each of the B Vitamins for anyone who notices any memory slippage. It is noteworthy that a B-12 deficiency has been shown to be one cause of memory loss. Our brains need more free amino acids to function well. Specifically, consider the amino acid l-glutamine; it may help stall brain aging and is a key to boosting brain health. Another important amino acid is gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This is a non-protein amino acid that functions a neurotransmitter in the brain. And the most important of the neurotransmitters is acetylcholine. Lecithin feeds brain cells and crosses the blood-brain barrier. Some research indicates that several health issues including brain disorders have been linked to a shortage of the Coenzyme Q10. And magnesium is an essential mineral for brain health.

Herbals to consider: Ginkgo biloba and Gotu Kola help with oxygenation. Pregnenolone is called “the mother hormone” that is necessary for memory, especially after age 40!

Watch your stress levels: Too much stress has been shown to be a contributor to memory loss, too. The brain has difficulty forming memories when it is preoccupied dealing with high levels of stress.

Exercise for the brain! I personally had two friends who lived well into their 90s. Their bodies gave out, but their minds were “sharp as a tack” all the way till death. Their explanations to me were “Mental Exercise”. One worked a cryptogram every day and the other worked crossword puzzles every day! On the other hand, I personally know of dozens of customers who have retired to a sedentary lifestyle of hours of mindless TV every day who died within a couple of years of retirement. Find something to do that requires mental effort and do some of it EVERY DAY! Live long and in good health. Genesis 1:29.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, Nana’s Pawpaw Patch – Herbs, Oils & Teas for Health, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@promoteyourhealth.com.

Detox Options

Many of the things we eat routinely can not only be “not good for us,” they can often be toxic.  Add these effects on our bodies to the others we encounter every day (smog, air pollution, industrial pollutants, household cleansers, food preservatives and dyes, chemical fumes, car exhaust, normal metabolism, poor elimination of food, waste products in the blood from illness or disease…), and we can see that we can really have our bodies bombarded with toxins.  The inevitable consequences are further disease or debility.  Cleansing (detoxification) should be a recurring part of our normal routine. I personally follow a routine that includes a monthly detoxification – perhaps an organ or a body system or a whole-body cleanse.

Periodic cleansing has been included in recorded history for millennia.  Traditional health practices of many nations – Chinese, Europeans, Ayurveda, Native American, and Asiatic Indians – practiced and still continue some form of detoxification.  In early American history, the Pennsylvania Dutch ate wild greens like lettuce and dandelions and other herbs in the spring to cleanse their bodies after a long winter of heavy foods.  Native Americans used black teas made from yaupon hollies to produce sweating and bowel evacuation.  One writer even suggests “nature herself seems to suggest the importance of detoxification … many of the plants that burst forth in early spring are cleansing in nature.”

There are many ways to cleanse.  The program you choose may last only a day or two or a week or two.  It may even take the form of a recurring dietary change.  Most of us know of foods that seem to “go right through us … a hint that they may be added to our personal cleansing program.  And some foods seem to work for most everyone – e.g., fresh cherries, available in early spring, have a definite cleansing effect on the bowels and help eliminate the uric acid buildup linked to heavy meat consumption and diseases like joint problems or gout.  Fasting often accompanies detoxification regimens as well, but we’ll make that the subject of a future article.

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

Combinations for the organs should include herbs such as milk thistle, burdock root, barberry root bark, and dandelion root.  Adding lecithin and amino acids to your diet are also helpful especially for the liver.  The blood and lymph glands also benefit from the dandelion and burdock, and combinations for them should include red clover, Oregon grape root, butcher’s broom, garlic, pau d’arco bark and yellow dock.  Cleansers for the intestine include natural laxatives like cascara sagrada and senna leaves, high-fiber “scrubbers” like psyllium hulls, and parasite killers like artemisia, black walnut hulls, and elecampane.

Regular cleansing and detoxifying (at least two to four times per year) along with good nutrition, exercise, and proper supplements will add quality to your life and ward off many of the diseases that rob us of real joy.  Our improved distribution systems make most foods available to us year-round, so we tend to forget the cycles of nature. Start your own cleaning program and see how much better you feel.

–  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.