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Archive for naturopathic suppliments

Herbs and Natural Remedies for Sleep

Herbs and natural remedies for sleep are very beneficial. Sleep is one of the most deeply healing and revitalizing experiences known. When we can get enough restful sleep each night, the entire world looks brighter. Based on clinical trials, it is documented that our body naturally heals itself between the hours of 10:30PM and 6:20 AM.

There are 20% to 30% of American adults that are plagued with sleep disorders. Sleep disorders became so prevalent in 1993 that the U.S. Congress mandated a National Center on Sleep Disorders. Today sleep disorders are recognized as a disease.

What is the best herb to take to help you sleep? I will give you six of the most common bedtime herbs:

  • Chamomile. For years chamomile has been used as a natural remedy to decrease anxiety and help you sleep.
  • Valerian Root. Valerian is an herb that has been used for centuries to help with sleep.
  • Lavender. Lavender has a natural calming sleep effect and a fresh, energetic morning.
  • Lemon Balm. Evidence shows that lemon balm increases GABA levels which indicates a 42% reduction in lack of sleep symptoms.
  • Passion Flower. Recent studies have shown that passion flower has the ability to alleviate anxiety and improve sleep quality.
  • Magnolia Bark. Magnolia bark is a flowering plant that has been around for over 100 million years. This herb decreases the time it takes to fall asleep and increases the amount of overall sleep.

I would like to add that most of these herbs can be purchased in “tea” form. Some people prefer drinking hot tea before bedtime.

Good sleep is crucial to your overall health. In the meantime, these alternative remedies may help you get back to sleep sooner.

Your Wellness Friend:
Shirley Golden, Staff ND, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health

The Health Patch 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, ph:736-1030, e-mail: jehovah316@netzero.net.

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

Three H’s for a Good Night’s Sleep

For productivity and health, it is important to get a good night’s sleep. Today we will discuss 3 H’s that can help obtain better sleep:

  • Hygiene
  • Hydration
  • Herbs

Hygiene Sleep Hygiene is the simply the habits or practices for good sleep. Here are a few practices to incorporate:

  • Put down the phone. Today’s technology helps keep us connected, informed, and productive, but using phones and other devices before bed can interfere with our bodies normal, healthy, hormone cycle for sleep. At least an hour before bed, put away all devices and begin other routines for bedtime.
  • Keep your bedroom cool and dark. Darkness will trigger the Pineal Gland that it is time for sleep, releasing the sleep hormone Melatonin.
  • Have a regular time to go to bed and get up the following morning.

Hydration
Dehydration can contribute to anxiety, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking ½ oz. of water per pound of body weight. Be sure to drink early enough in the day to avoid the need to eliminate during the night.

Herbs
Two types of herbs that can be beneficial for restful sleep are Nervines and Adaptogens. Nervines are herbs that have actions on the nervous system. Relaxing Nervines help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system that is responsible for our “rest and digest” state among other actions, and to calm the sympathetic system which has the general action to mobilize the body’s resources under stress by inducing the flight or flight response. Some great Nervines are:

  • Hops—Help relieve mental strain and worry
  • Passion Flower—Helps calm mental chatter
  • Skullcap—Soothes the nervous system
  • Valerian—calming

Adaptogens are also beneficial for restful sleep due to their ability to reduce the output of stress hormones by affecting the hypothalamus/pituitary/ adrenal or HPA axis in the glandular system. These actions help to mediate the stress response and helps the body maintain a normal function under mental, physical, or emotional stress. Some great Adaptogenic herbs are:

  • Ashwangandha—helps reduce stress and inflammation
  • Eleuthero-helps reduce stress and enhances immunity
  • Holy Basil-helps protect the heart from stress

The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com

When the Sandman just won’t visit!

We’ve all had those nights when, no matter what we do, we just can’t seem to fall asleep. Right? We try counting sheep; we try clearing our mind of all thoughts; we try warm milk, a hot shower, or a warm bath. Well, an occasional night of tossing and turning may be a real nuisance, but for many of us this is a regular occurrence.

Lack of sleep may have a number of causes. One is simply advancing age. The pineal gland is a small gland about the size of a pea located between the lobes of the brain. It is a “light sensitive” gland. When we find ourselves in the dark, it begins to secrete the hormone melatonin. Increased melatonin makes us feel drowsy. That’s why most of us get sleepy at night. But as we approach 50 or so, give or take a few years, the pineal gland slows its production of melatonin. For that reason, many older folks have sleep problems. If you’re in that age group, perhaps all you need is a melatonin supplement. And if you’re not in this age group, you should note that artificial lights, stimulant beverages and stress can disrupt normal body rhythms. Thus, for you too, melatonin supplements can be very useful, especially for jet lag or occasional insomnia. Most companies carry them in one and ten milligram capsules. This is also a good help if you can GO to sleep, but then can’t STAY asleep.

Often depression can hinder sleep, too. If this plagues you, perhaps you can benefit from a supplement of 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan). It is a precursor to serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. This is a metabolized form of l-tryptophan that the body can use directly to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter which plays a role in mood, hunger and sleep. One source states “Increased levels of serotonin may improve symptoms of depression and anxiety and may be required for improved mood, weight-loss success and better sleep.” Check with you doctor before taking 5-HTP if you’re taking prescription medication or if you’re pregnant or nursing. And if you use it regularly, take a two-week break about every three months.

One of the primary causes of insomnia is stress. We are often so keyed-up that we just can’t seem to turn our minds off to get to sleep – especially if there are important things planned for tomorrow. In this case there are some very helpful herbs to help calm the nerves. Hops has a gentle, relaxing, sedative effect on the central nervous system. It can be taken in a capsule, enclosed in a pillow placed on your bed, or added to evening teas. Valerian root is a stronger relaxant for nervous anxiety and muscle spasms. It has a nasty odor, but cats seem to like it! So, it is best taken in capsules and is not for long-term use in large doses as it can cause depression. Passion flower is a mild sedative nervine. This is not the ornamental blue passion flower (which is poisonous), but is an entirely different plant. Its name was given in the 1500s by a Spanish doctor who was reminded of the “Passion of the Crucifixion” by the configuration of the blossom. It is much more likely to help you sleep than to generate “passion.” And Skullcap is a perennial herb in the mint family originating from North America. Skullcap has a long history of use among Native American tribes due to its soothing properties. Combinations of these are often found in “nervine sedative” sleep formulas.

We have also previously mentioned Siberian ginseng (now called Eleuthero) before as an energy producer. So, while it seems contradictory, it is also mentioned in several references to be reputed as a cure for insomnia. And most people who work with herbs know that a cup of chamomile tea is very relaxing at night.

I’ll quote two formulas for you from a book entitled “The Way of Herbs.” Both are for insomnia. “Make an infusion using equal parts of chamomile, valerian, skullcap, catnip, wood betony, and spearmint. 1) Use one ounce of herbs per pint of water. Let it steep ten minutes and drink it before going to bed. 2) For incredible dreams and for nights when you can’t allow sufficient time for sleep, make an infusion of 4 parts kava kava , 1 part alfalfa , 1 part spearmint ,1 part raspberry leaves, and 1 part lemon balm. Vary the strength according to your needs, and sweeten it with honey. The kava kava will produce a numbing effect on the tongue.”

As for minerals, ensure that your diet contains sufficient calcium and magnesium if you wish to sleep well. And foods high in l-tryptophan promote sleep. These include turkey, pumpkin seeds, bananas, figs, dates, yogurt, tuna, whole-grain crackers and nut butters. Avoid caffeine, cheese, wine, potatoes, and tomatoes in the evening.

Remember, “he grants sleep to those he loves.” Ps. 127:2b. May you enjoy the fruits of your labor and sleep like a newborn baby tonight. Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings. Gen.1:29.

  • Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com

Using Herbs to Enhance Good Oral Health

Good oral hygiene is the foundation to having healthy teeth and gums, but occasionally we need a little extra help to keep oral health top notch. Herbs can be very beneficial in this area of good health.

Teeth, like bones, need constant remineralization. Mineral rich herbs can help prevent tooth decay by helping to remineralize and to fight bacteria in plaque. Alfalfa and Horsetail are two such herbs.

Alfalfa has tap roots that grow into the ground as far down as 60 feet. This allows Alfalfa to reach minerals that other plants cannot, making it a storehouse of nutrients containing major minerals like calcium as well as numerous trace minerals.

Horsetail is another great herb for oral care. It contains more silica than any other herb and it is in a form that is highly absorbable. This ability makes Horsetail a powerhouse in promoting collagen formation and working with calcium to strengthen teeth and bones.

Black Walnut has properties that are anticarious or helping to prevent cavities. Used as a powder and left overnight on teeth, it can help rebuild enamel and, due to its astringent properties, can help tighten loose teeth.

Bacteria in the gums can cause infection and bleeding of the gums. This is where Golden Seal can be beneficial with its bacteria-fighting alkaloid called Berberine. White Oak bark has also long been used for gum problems due to it being rich in tannins. Tannins help tighten tissue, fight infections, and halt bleeding.

Using a powder mixture of Horsetail, Black Walnut, Golden Seal, and White Oak Bark can help fight infection, tighten loose teeth, stop gum bleeding, as well as strengthen tooth enamel.
So, keep up the foundations for healthy teeth and gums, but for those times where additional support is needed, adding these powerful herbs to your dental routine can be quite beneficial.

Health and Blessings,
Kimberly Anderson, ND

The Health Patch 1024 S. Douglas Blvd. Midwest City, OK 73130 PH: 405-736-1030