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Archive for natural health

Flower Essence: Mimulus

A few years ago, my family enjoyed watching the television series Monk.  It was about a former police detective who was excellent at solving crimes but was plagued with multiple phobias.  Of course, the character’s extended list of fears gave great comedy to the program and we the viewers got a few laughs from his great attempts to overcome a phobia only to add several more to his list each week.  While this served for a few laughs in a fictitious setting, phobias and fears can be very debilitating. When we do not discuss them, leaving us to our own devices, it is very isolating.

Our Flower Essence this month is “The Bravery Flower” or Mimulus.  Dr. Edward Bach described the person the most in need of this flower as: “….fear of worldly things illness, pain accidents, poverty, of dark, of being alone, of misfortune.  The fears of everyday life.  These people quietly and secretly bear their dread, they do not freely speak of it to others”. 

I have a confession.  This is my personality state.  I benefit from Mimulus.  In many ways, I have improved in this state from how I was when my children were small.  When they were young I, of course, fretted about their well-being on a regular basis, but I also held deep fears of losing their father to an accident.  He was my life partner, and I could not fathom a life without him and the life of my children without their father.  These fears, along with many others, seemed absurd when mentioned in the light of day, but they held such strong bonds in my mind.  Maybe my fellow Mimulus personalities might recognize these behavior patterns:

  •  You fear a certain situation but do not talk about it.
  • You imagine everything to be more difficult and dangerous than it really is.
  • You suffer from specific anxieties, and they cause inner tension.
  • You are hypersensitive to cold, noise, bright light, loud voices, and strong smells.

In fact, the Mimulus personality finds it difficult to tolerate too much of anything.  It is not uncommon for our personality, when caught in a negative state, to fall ill when pressures become unbearable.  We are sensitive people and sensitive to the needs of others around us.  This can be an invaluable trait, but to be in a healthy state there are two crucial things we must learn:

  •  We need to learn to rejuvenate.  This includes learning to withdraw from the world at times without feeling guilty in order to recharge.
  • We must learn to come to terms with our fears.  This means understanding that fear can materialize.  Like with all thoughts, each anxiety will reinforce the other, tying up our energy.

Mimulus helps us come out of the confused state our fears can cause.  It helps us come to our true nature and this allows us to deal with thoughts and fears more effectively.

 Jesus states in Matthew 16:33 “In this world, you will have trouble; but take heart! I have overcome the world.”

1 Peter 5:7 reminds us to “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you”.

Philippians 4:6-7 says “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God”.

Mimulus can help us clear out the confusion, and with time set apart, really cling to the hope of these promises.  Our positive potential then becomes:

  • I can grow beyond my anxieties, know my limits, and be able to face the world with a cheerful composure.
  • I feel up to the world’s challenges and I am able to get involved in the next task.

I can be brave. I can step forward. I can be my true nature.

We here at The Health patch would love the opportunity to help you with any of your wellness needs. 

Health and Blessings

Kim Anderson

How to Prepare: Home Gardening

An upgrade to the grocery store for more quality and local production is your local Farmer’s Market. They are popular now and available most likely on weekends in YOUR hometown. Foods are usually locally grown and most of the gardeners are willing to tell you how they grew them – pesticide-free; compost, organic or commercial fertilizers; watering sources; chemicals used to enhance production; did they produce the plants from heirloom, hybrid, or commercial GMO seeds; or did they purchase the seedlings from commercial sources and determine how they grew them?

Obviously, you get the best of exactly what you want if you do it all from seed selection from heirloom sources, and make all the production decisions exactly as you want them yourself. I am a strong advocate of do-it-yourself home gardening. If I’m going to eat it, I want to know how it was produced and what was used in the growth process.

If you’ve never gardened before, you can start by just removing ground cover grasses, shoveling the soil, adding some compost or other organic material to enrich the soil, putting your seeds in the soil according to the directions on the seed packets, provide regular water, and remove weeds to keep only what you want growing there. There’s an exhilarating joy in watching your plants grow, flower, put on vegetables and picking and eating from your own handiwork. Start small with just a few of your favorite vegetables, and add to the beds each year as you become more confident.

Through the years, I’ve used many techniques. Each has its advantages. As a kid, I watched my dad use the tractor to dig up the ground each year to produce virtually all the vegetables we needed for our family of seven. But it was a most pleasurable experience to watch my oldest daughter, shortly after her marriage, put just a few vegetables in her suburban flower beds and pick a few of her favorite “tasties” and serve them to her family. My sister lives in a small apartment – she does “container gardening” (which we will cover in more detail next month!). The size of your garden is limited only by the size of the beds you have available, how much time you have to work those beds, and how much you want, or need, to produce.

And there are many new developments in the home gardening arena. We’ll look at just a few of them that I have personally tried. Outside of the “normal” gardening I’d done all my life, I tried “Plasti-culture”. Introduced to the US more than a decade ago, and used in Israel very extensively for decades now, it is a great way to conserve water, limit weeds, and focus your production. I applied and met the criteria for an Oklahoma Agriculture Department, a three-year state-subsidized test of the method. Special machines, in one pass, cultivate the beds, mound the soil, lay down drip irrigation, cover the mounded rows with plastic sheeting, and cover the edges of the plastic to keep it in place. The drip lines are connected to a watering source and you can even attach a timer to turn the water on and off according to weather conditions and the need for water of the plants you choose. Then you just poke holes in the plastic and place your seedlings. The plastic conserves the moisture, warms the soil, and prevents weeds from growing. The only negative I saw was the cost of the initial bed preparation and the need for adequate room for the machines to operate.

Next, I tried “chip gardening”. The idea here is that each year you add two inches of wood chips after poking holes in previous years rotted/composted organic material and inserting your plants. The chips do help cut down on weeding, and the composted soil adds vital nutrients to the ground virtually illuminating the need for commercial fertilizers. You can order (or purchase from our store) a DVD of the film “Back To Eden” which guides you through the entire process. Here in central Oklahoma chips are readily available for free, and as the film states, the process is a “simple sustainable solution.”

This year we’re trying a technique we’re learning from the Neversink Farm (videos on YouTube) using techniques that do not disturb the underground bio culture. They boast the highest crop production per square foot of garden space in their state.

I hope to be able to combine chip gardening with the Neversink techniques to see if we can get the most from our Oklahoma garden. Grow your own food and never be without – wishing you health for your family!

– 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.

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Flower Essences: Cerato

We have all been there:  a decision needs to be made so we analyze, research, ask for advice or maybe use our “gut feeling”.  But what if that decision has been made and we begin to fret about if it was the right one. We question ourselves: “Did I do the right thing?” or “How will this decision affect the ones I love?”

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And on and on the questions roll until we begin to feel the pain of tumultuous anxiety.  Then anxiety lends itself to physical symptoms such as upset stomach, tension headache, and even more serious conditions such as hypertension.  While it is certainly prudent to do research and ask questions when needing to make decisions, always doubting the decisions and one’s own ability to make a “correct decision” is a pattern of thinking that can be destructive. This is where Flower Essences can be extremely helpful.

Mechthild Scheffer, Author of The Encyclopedia of Bach Flower Therapy” wrote: …. Bach Flower Therapy helps us to deal more constructively with the negative behavior patterns of human nature such as jealousy, impatience, inability to say no, timidity, and inappropriate guilt—patterns that are seen, by Dr. Bach as well as many others, as a deeper cause of physical illness.

Dr. Bach wrote: …Our Souls (the still small voice, God’s own voice) speak to us through our intuition, our instinct’s, our desires, our ideals, our ordinary likes and dislikes in whichever way it is easiest for us individually to hear: All true knowledge comes only from within ourselves in silent communication with our Souls …

Dr. Bach believed that we all can hear and trust the voice of God in making decisions for our life.  We can trust the intuitive in our decision making.  But many of us find ourselves questioning our ability to make a correct decision.

Dr. Bach developed the Cerato flower essence for such cases as “those who have not sufficient confidence in themselves to make their own decisions.  They constantly seek advice from others and are often misguided.”

The key symptom for needing Cerato is a lack of confidence in your own intuition.

  • Distrusting your own judgement
  • Constantly asking for advice from others
  • Give too much weight to other’s opinion.
  • Seeking confirmation.

Cerato, a flowering plant found native in the Himalayas, reaches about 2 feet in height.  It does not grow wild in Western countries but is cultivated in gardens.  In Bach Flower Therapy it is known as The Intuition Flower—moving from negative thought patterns of indecisiveness to inner certainty. It can be found as a single flower essence or in formulas designed to help with uncertainty and excessive fear. 

Using Cerato can help people begin to trust their own inner judgement or “gut feeling”.  As a person learns to form their own opinion and make decisions for themselves, their self – confidence will begin to flourish. 

Flower Essences are safe and can be used with children and pets, too. Four to ten drops can be placed under the tongue up to three times a day.  It can also be added to water for both humans and pets to drink.

Here at The Health Patch, we are happy to help you find the Flower Essence for you.

Health and Blessings,

Kim Anderson, ND

Annual Cleansing Summary

It’s been a great year for focusing on body system cleansing in general. I started in January talking about each body system and how it functions, trying to focus not so much on the specifics of the functioning as on “what could go wrong” in each system that would cause them not to function optimally. I wanted us to see how the foods and drinks we consume can enhance or be a detriment to our body functions and their proper functioning or led to disease within that system and the whole body as a result.

Consider a car (for one illustration). If it doesn’t get oil, the parts of the vehicle that use the oil can break down when the oil is not applied. But the breakdown of that single or those few parts may cause the entire vehicle to become useless. A broken brake line may not cause the engine to cease functioning, but it makes the entire car useless for transportation – not because it can’t run, but because it can’t stop, and that can lead to a crash.

An untreated liver problem may not stop the heart from performing as it should, but it stops the body from being able to remove toxins and that may lead to any number of diseases and prevent the whole body from giving us the vitality we need to have a good, productive life.

I’ve enjoyed talking about the cleansing regimen that I use. I celebrated my 75th birthday last month, and while that may be noteworthy, even more noteworthy is the fact that while I have found help in finding and “reworking” some of the issues that have cost many of my relatives (i.e., the genetics) their lives at a younger age than this, I have also been able to maintain an active, vital, and enjoyable life.

And, beyond cleansing, I also use:

  • food enzymes and probiotics to aid my aging digestive system
  • products to slow down the aging process
  • products to support my genetic weaknesses (things that “run in the family”).
  • other products focused on whatever is bothering me at this time!

Feel free to drop by the store and talk to us about any of these issues that are troubling you.

I’ve tried not just to present a “possible” annual cleansing regimen but show you in some detail the regimen that I have personally used for several years now. And I can truthfully say that, even at this age, I feel good and have only minor restrictions on my chosen life activities. I still work at my store 40-50 hours each week; I take care of my farm animals on my five acre “farm”; I have a 5000sqft garden that produces much of what we eat; I have an orchard and I mow about half of the acreage each week. I have a loving, caring wife, three married kids, seven grandkids, and our second greatgrandchild is on the way. Life is good and God blesses us in countless (and often surprising) ways each day.

I would encourage you to stay healthy. Eat healthy, nutrient-rich foods; drink healthy liquids including adequate, daily water; get outdoors for a bit of sunshine and at least walk a bit each day; and take time daily to thank friends, neighbors, and family members for the regular support they add to your life, and God for His rich blessings. I can’t say enough about the uplift we get from a grateful attitude.

It’s been correctly stated that life is a journey, not a destination. Don’t try to run through it or walk it alone. Take time to enjoy the journey – with others and with God’s help!

Nothing here is meant to diagnose or treat any diseases. It is simply what I personally do for my health and is given to you for educational purposes. If you have a serious health problem, please consult a competent health practitioner.

July

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recipes:

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

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

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

“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.

June

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick Natural Remedies for Common Conditions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Specific foods known to benefit the prostate include:

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

Foods that aid conception:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Medicinal uses for coconuts include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recipes:

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

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

Natural Help for Anxiety and Stress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extra Help for Your Immune System

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

Foods:

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

Remedies your grandma used:

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

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

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

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

The Flow of Good Health: The Lymphatic System

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Health and Blessings,
Kimberly Anderson, ND

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