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Archive for naturopathic doctor

Parasites – Who Gets ‘em & How?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parasites – Get Rid of Them!

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

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

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

Some of the common herbs are:

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

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

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

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

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

Summer Energy – Keep it; Use it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diet and Supplements for the Liver

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Simple Liver “Flush”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep Your Liver Clean

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May

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

May Day

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

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

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

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

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

Kentucky Derby Day

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

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

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

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

Cinco de Mayo (Battle of Puebla Day)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mother’s Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Memorial Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recipes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Backyard Gardening

You know, I think I’ve had a backyard garden almost every year of my life. I love gardening and I love fresh vegetables. But many today did not grow up with a gardening heritage. They have always depended on the grocery store for their fresh produce, and this year they seem to be in short supply; at least that’s what many of our customers are telling us.

I order most of my seeds each year from an heirloom seed company I’ve used for a number of years and have never had trouble getting all I wanted/needed. But this year as I started to plant, I noticed that there was one favorite that I had forgotten. So, I got online and tried to order, only to find they were out of that seed. I was surprised, so I called them and asked what the problem was. They said that so many people have concerns about our food supply that they have been ordering seeds in record amounts, planning to grow their own.

We’ve had a number of customers state that they do not have either experience or know how to garden nor a place for a garden. So, I came up with four viable alternatives to share with our listeners.

  • Container gardening.  Literally, all you need is a container, some soil and some seeds.  You can grow an abundance of produce is a relatively small space.  My sister lives in an apartment and has only a 5’X6’ balcony, but it’s room for one chair and over a dozen different sizes of pretty pots.  She grows a lot.  And stuff grows in ugly pots like tin cans and soup cans as well as in the pretty ones. And when in the past I’ve done container gardening, I didn’t adhere to the spacings listed on the seed pouches. The packet may have said plant one seed every 6”, but neither I nor my plants seemed to mind touching each other. I had a friend who planted everything she needed for salads in a half whiskey barrel and kept it going spring through fall.  When she picked one thing, she just put in a couple more seeds!
  • Backyard gardening. Turn over whatever size plot of soil you want to plant, add some compost (usually available from your city – call around – at no cost if you’ll go pick it up (by the tub, or bucket, or pickup truck load), or a bag or two from the local home decor shop. Spread it on top of the area you turned over, turn it all over again to incorporate it, water it, and let it set till you’re ready to plant.
  • Raised beds.  Same as above, except start by putting in something for height (wood, concrete, stones, cinder blocks, etc.).  Fill it with soil and compost and plant. Stray bales may also be used. Either just put composted dirt on the top of them or arrange the bales in a square or a rectangle and fill the space with the composted dirt.  When the growing season is over, the bale will be partially decomposed and will add nutrients to the soil for successive plantings. You’ll be amazed with the quantity of produce you can grow in this small space!
  • Chip gardens. Companies who trim trees run them through a chipper and have to pay the city dumps for the privilege of dumping them there. There’s a tape online called “Back to Eden” that gives a fuller description, but basically you turn the soil, cover it with newspaper (or something like it) to keep the weeds from growing through, put some dirt on it, and then put some chips – free from tree trimmers – and wait for planting time. Add a couple of inches of chips each year and in no time, you’ll have a very lush garden area.

We recognize that backyard gardening is a dying art, so a buddy of mine and I are considering putting together a “beginning gardener” class in the August/September time frame to let some folks get be ready for next year’s spring gardening. Let us know if you’re interested. If we have enough interest, we’ll do it.

I garden and we can and preserve produce each year. Join me, and you too can control the quality and variety of foods you eat! Good health and God’s blessings!

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

The How and Why of Lymphatic Cleansing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.