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Herbal Help for Chronic Pain

We have many friends and customers who suffer constantly from chronic pain and yet question the side effects of many over-the-counter and other common medications. To address these concerns and recent news stories, we recommend a variety of alternative herbal supplements.  Many are for general pain and some focus on specific body systems.

A few of the general pain relieving herbs are turmeric, boswellia, devil’s claw and white willow bark – a natural alternative to aspirin.  Curcumin is one component of turmeric and we have one company who has processed a curcumin extract that is 500 times as strong as basic turmeric and that they guarantee will “stop pain now!”

Feverfew is an herb that works on the neural transmitters of the brain to help alleviate migraine headaches. Herbs like red raspberry leaf, cramp bark, black cohosh and blessed thistle help alleviate menstrual cramping. And other herbs like mangosteen, andrographis, oregano, wild rosemary, and even simple ginger help to alleviate the pain associated with inflammation.

Additionally, many dietary enzymes, including bromelain, pancreatin and papain, have been shown to relieve many pain symptoms, and numerous essential oils have pain relieving qualities. Notable among them are peppermint for headaches, tea tree for burns, and blends you can make for yourself containing black pepper, rosemary, lavender, and ginger for back pain.

These are only samples of the diversity of herbal aids for helping you cope with chronic pain. Take your questions to any of our local herbal supplement stores for further, focused counsel!  Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

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

Multi-Level Healing

healing, multi-level healing, naturopathic doctorUsually, when we get sick our aim is to alleviate the symptoms.  We simply want to quit hurting and suffering and feel better. So, we look to those who can offer us relief and not really healing. Relief may lessen the symptoms that cause us discomfort and stress, but may not do anything to actually alleviate the root causes of that discomfort, causing us to feel better temporarily, but the symptoms return as soon as the medication (whatever it is) wears off.

We need healing on multiple levels – alleviate the symptomatic discomfort, find the root cause of the discomfort, and then promote true health in the affected area of the body.

Causes of stress may include any or all of the following: simple fatigue, known or unknown tissue wear or injury, nutrient deficiency, or our response to external pathogens.

Tissue Wear

Tissue wear is a part of the aging process, and while regular exercise is an essential pillar of good health, it should be commensurate with our age and our normal activity levels. Even the staunchest of athletes get occasional tissue damage, so it is important to start slow when starting to exercise. It’s easy to injure tissues that are not regularly manipulated if we jump into something new. If an injury does occur, look for creams and lotions containing arnica, camphor, menthol, capsicum, boswellia, and turmeric for short-term healing and don’t forget to seek medical care for more serious injuries.

Nutrition

As for nutrition, Dr. Joel Wallach (1991 Nobel Prize nominee for his work in nutritional supplements) states that we need 60 minerals, 16 vitamins, 12 essential amino acids, and three essential fatty acids in our diet every day to really stay healthy for life.  And that doesn’t count the addition of other herbal supplements that may be needed to help combat “family histories” of disease.  For example, you may need additional supplements if your family has a genetic history of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, etc.  And there’s a real sense of truth in the old adage “you are what you eat”.  Your body isn’t going to function well on a daily diet of junk foods, fats, and sugars.

Immune System

Our immune system should be kept at optimum to address the bombardment of a host of environmental pathogens – viruses, bacteria, yeasts, fungi, etc. These may reoccur and many have a variety of symptoms. Most people have a susceptibility to common pathogens that they have come to know and have treatments for. But finding the right match of a supplement for a specific pathogen may require the help of a health care professional.  If you’re continually fighting the same symptoms of recurring varieties of symptoms, get help!

stress free, low stressStress and Fatigue

Stress and fatigue are known contributors to all kinds of ailments.  If your life is in chaos or you’re going through a particularly stressful time, try to set aside time to just rest or find pleasant things to occupy your time – take even a mini vacation or “stay-cation.” You’ll reap super rewarding health from it. Enjoy a full life and always seek out healing on multiple-levels.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com. See our blog at www.TheHealthPatch.com. Our full staff is now offering affordable private consultations – call to schedule yours!

Back to School

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

A well-balanced vitamin and mineral supplement is a necessity.  The purpose of every cell in our bodies is to produce energy.  But they must have a balance of proper nutrients as well as adequate water, exercise and rest to accomplish this task.  Since most of us don’t get regular, well-balanced meals, supplements help to meet this need.

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

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

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

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

Finally, remember that the new school year also brings on other conditions for the average student: increased mental stress, increased muscle aches and pains for those involved in school sports, and increased emotional anxiety.  Every student experiences these on different levels.  Watch your students and listen to them.  If a supplement is in order to help them adjust, contact your health food store or herb shop.

This is a wonderful time of the year.  We anticipate fall and the end of summer.  We look forward to school accomplishments and rejoining friends in daily communication.  But it can be a time of added stress.  Be sure to put a positive twist on every adventure.  Enjoy life and make it full. Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com.

Water, Water Everywhere!

How much water do you drink each day?  We all know we don’t drink “enough,” but how much do you really need?

8 Facts About Water

A friend I trust e-mailed me this list of 8 facts about drinking water… it’s rather eye-opening.

  1. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. (This likely applies to half the world population.)
  2. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.
  3. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%. (This will certainly make it more difficult to loose weight!)
  4. One glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a U-Washington study.
  5. Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
  6. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
  7. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
  8. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

Finding Good Water

With three-fourths of the world’s surface covered with water you’d think we’d have no trouble finding enough good water to drink.  But the truth is that we have not been good stewards of our precious water resources.  Pollution now affects virtually every lake, stream, river, sea and ocean in the world.  Yet every cell, tissue and organ in our bodies require pure water daily to perform properly.  While many have done lengthy fasts demonstrating that we can survive for many days, even weeks, without food, our bodily functions and our mental abilities begin to shut down in only a few days when deprived of water.

Finding potable water is getting to be a more difficult task all the time.  Let me quote Dr. Andrew Weil from his book Eight Weeks to Optimum Health.

According to recent reports, drinking water in the U.S. is increasingly becoming a health risk, whether you live in a big city or a rural area.  More than one hundred million Americans drink water that contains significant levels of three cancer-causing chemicals: arsenic, radon, and chlorine by-products … In addition to chemical contamination, chlorine-resistant viruses and parasites … can slip through the more than one thousand large water systems in this country lacking proper filters.

And we can add to his comments that many health advocates believe that even chlorine and fluoride, which we routinely add to our drinking systems, are themselves health risks.

Bottled Water

I recently saw a news program on television that also brought the bottled water movement into question.  Many of the tests they ran in preparing the program showed many bottled waters to be no purer than most tap water.

Home Filtration

To address this significant problem, many have turned to home water filtration systems.  There are a number of different types of contaminants that these systems are designed to reduce and remove.

Chemical:  We’ve mentioned the chlorine by-products already.  Many of our water sources also contain industrial VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), agricultural SOC’s (Synthetic Organic Compounds), pesticides, detergents, fertilizers, and so on.

Biological:  Besides the viruses and parasites mentioned above, there are also many types of cysts, fungi, and spores that may be present in our water sources.

Dissolved Solids:  We need to guard against heavy metals such as aluminum, asbestos, copper, lead, mercury, and others.

Aesthetic contaminants include sand, silt, sediments, odors, and offensive tastes.

What Can I Do?

What can you do to ensure a safe drinking water supply?  Have your water tested to see what contaminants are present.  If you need a filtering system, research a reputable one that will filter out the specific contaminants you need to remove.  Never drink from the hot water side of your tap.  Dissolved metals are more prevalent in hot water lines, and water that has been stored in the hot water tank is a prime candidate for contamination.  Flush your system regularly.  And research the origin of bottled water you may use.  You may even question the bottler regarding his bottling procedures.

Travel

What about travel?  I recently found a “mobile” water filtration system that I use away from home.  It is a water bottle that can be filled from any water source and has a filter that removes all these types of contaminants. Many such products can be found in health food stores and camping supply shops.

How Much Water Should I Drink?

Remember that you need to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to fully hydrate your body systems.  That’s about the equivalent of one two-liter bottle a day.  Fill a two-liter bottle each morning with good, pure water.  Make it a goal to drink it all before bedtime that night.  You may alleviate many of your health problems with just this simple solution.

Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com

Taking Care of Your Feet

naturopathic care for feet, foot massageThey’re there; they aren’t particularly attractive; they only serve to get us around.  Most of us don’t give much thought to our feet.  That is until they start to give us problems.  Americans spend tens of millions of dollars each year on foot care products.  But there are many items you may have around the house that will help to take good care of your feet.

Essentials for Feet

There are some rudimentary essentials for keeping our feet healthy.  A good diet is important – one low in junk foods and rich in nutrients.  Consider a diet balanced in carbohydrates, proteins and fats.  Stay away from processed foods and “junk” foods.  And maintaining a proper weight for your frame will put less stress on the bottom of you skeleton too.

Proper Footwear

Proper footwear is a necessity.  This is not the place to “cut back” on your clothing budget.  Good shoes are needed for protection as well as support for your feet.  Add these to plenty of water, regular exposure to fresh air, proper exercise, and safe amounts of sunlight and you can have the healthiest feet around.

Helps for Hurting Feet

There are some “helps” though for those of us whose feet need some tender, loving care.  For example, if your feet are “burning” (and you’re not standing on hot asphalt!) you may have contracted the ever-present “athlete’s foot”.  Herbals that help this condition are Una De Gato (Cat’s Claw), tea tree oil applied externally, or grapefruit seed extract as a wash (ensure it is diluted!).   Internally, ensuring that you have a healthy colony of friendly bacteria (bifodophilus), sufficient vitamins A and C, and the mineral zinc will also be helpful.

Another cause of “burning” feet is chemical toxicity.  Did you step in a chemical spill at work, or spill toxic materials on your feet?  If so, herbs like juniper, parsley, uva ursi, dandelion, and chamomile will help flush the kidneys, capsicum will improve circulation to move the toxins, and milk thistle combinations will help detoxify the liver (our body’s main filter!).

For sore, achy feet try this foot relaxer.  Soak your feet in a basin of warm water to which you’ve added some shower gel and six drops of tea tree oil.  After 15 minutes or so dry your feet and massage them with two tablespoons of olive oil mixed with a tablespoon of sugar.  The sugar will act as an exfoliant.  Then re-soak the feet, dry them well and elevate them for a few minutes.  What a wonderful way to pamper yourself!

Another soak that I have found very relaxing when my feet were particularly tired or overworked is to bring a pan of water to a boil.  Then place two tablespoons of dried yarrow in a tea infuser or cheesecloth and steep it for five to ten minutes.  Add five drops of tea tree oil, five drops of eucalyptus oil and five drops of lavender oil.  Allow this to cool until it is comfortable to the touch, pour it in a basin with glass marbles in the bottom, and soak your feet in it for 15 to 20 minutes.  While you soak them, roll the marbles under your feet slowly.  It’s almost as good as a massage done with your fingertips.

Daily Foot Care

Most of us simply neglect our feet.  Simple things go a long way toward keeping them healthy.  Wash them thoroughly when you bathe.  Ensure they are completely dry.  Massage them vigorously and often with a nice oil and let them breathe a bit.  Use dry socks and change them whenever they get damp.  Alternate your shoes daily so that they get a chance to dry completely.  And take advantage of opportunities to get off your feet and, when feasible, elevate them.  They’ll say thanks in a most comfortable way.  Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com.

 

Kid’s Health

School’s out – summer’s here!!! What do our kids need to stay healthy? Well for starters, a well-balanced vitamin and mineral supplement is a necessity.  The purpose of every cell in our bodies is to produce energy.  But they must have a balance of proper nutrients as well as adequate water, exercise and rest to accomplish this task.  Since most of us don’t get regular, well-balanced meals, supplements help to meet this need.

Establishing Mental Alertness

Mental alertness is an imperative.  Establish a routine early.  Schedule adequate time for rest, exercise, and desired learning activities.  It takes planning and hard work to fit in everything and balance all the desires of a healthy, well-adjusted young person.

Supplements to Enhance Alertness

There are some wonderful nutrient supplements to help with mental alertness, too.  They can aid with focus and concentration and they are all natural.  This is especially important if your child has focus and attention challenges.  Talk to the folks in your local herb shop about specific supplements for your child’s special needs.

Supplements to Enhance the Immune System

Also consider adding an immune system booster to your child’s supplement regimen.  I’d recommend an elderberry supplement.  During the summer we mix our ailments with those of our friends and become susceptible to “who knows what!”

The Stress of Summer

Finally, remember that summer also brings on other challenges for the average kid: increased mental stress, increased muscle aches and pains for those involved in sports programs, and increased emotional anxiety.  Every student experiences these on different levels.  Watch your kid and listen to them.  If a supplement is in order to help them adjust, contact your health food store or herb shop.

This is a wonderful time of the year.  But it can be a time of added stress.  Be sure to put a positive twist on every adventure.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com.

Herbs from Your Garden

herb garden, herbs

Herb Garden [photographer – ladymacbeth]

I was looking at a beautiful book this week that has pictures of formal herb gardens from around the world.  Many of them use classical designs and are carefully planned.  And I was reminded of my mom’s backyard garden.  It wasn’t formal by any stretch of the imagination, but it was useful and full of wonderful vegetables – and herbs.  You see, mom canned many of her vegetables and we ate them all year long.  The herbs were useful, and often essential, to the process.  Kitchen gardens, as they were called, were popular in much of American history, and had every sort of vegetable and herb which one might want for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

Possibilities

For many years now I too have had backyard herb gardens.  They have taken the form of a small plot surrounded by landscaping timbers, to an assortment of pots on the back porch or patio, to just using herbs as borders or focal points in my flower beds.  Most herbs are “cultivated weeds” and few of them need special attention.  We can grow a variety of tasty herbs in the Oklahoma Summers and enhance both our meals and our health.  Here are some plants which most of us regard as culinary herbs.  Yet many of them have wonderful health benefits in addition to their delectable flavors.

Basil

That staple of Italian cooking is easy to grow.  It is an annual which often re-seeds itself.  A single plant will grow to about two feet tall and provide most families with all the leaves they need.  What is left over at the end of the Summer can be dried and used all Winter too.  As a medicinal herb, its uses are usually associated with the stomach and its related organs; it helps stop stomach cramps, alleviate constipation, and stop vomiting.  It is also useful for drawing out poisons when applied to wasp and hornet stings or venomous bites.

Dill

Dill is a prolific producer.  It readily re-seeds itself so be careful to plant it where you won’t mind it coming back year after year.  While dill is necessary for making dill pickles, it is also very useful for stimulating your appetite.  Dill tea is a popular remedy for upset stomach, nursing mothers can use it to promote the flow of milk, and you can chew the seeds to get rid of bad breath.  An added bonus to dill in the flower beds is that it is one of the plants that butterfly larvae love to eat, so butterflies will be present to lay their eggs in a dill patch.  Use it to attract more butterflies to your garden.

Sage

Sage is a wonderful addition to sausages.  And many a mother has used a sage dressing for holiday feasts.  It’s a perennial bush that will grow to about three feet and should be pruned back like a rose bush every fall (otherwise it will get very woody).  It is well known for reducing perspiration making it useful for conditions which produce night sweats, and a nursing mother who has weaned her child can use it to help stop the flow of milk.  For occasional use, a tea made from sage has been prescribed for nervous conditions, trembling, depression and vertigo.  As a gargle, it is useful for sore throats, laryngitis, and tonsillitis.  And the crushed leaves can be used for insect bites.  Many a woman has used infusions of sage to color silver hair, and as a hair rinse to help return hair to its original color.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a popular perennial, but will not usually survive the Oklahoma Winters outdoors.  So plant it in a pot and bring it indoors for the winter.  You’ll enjoy the wonderful aroma it will impart to your kitchen.  Two of its most popular culinary dishes are leg of lamb and herbed potatoes.  Medicinally, rosemary has been in use for many years as a heart strengthener that helps reduce high blood pressure.  It is a blood cleanser and an antiseptic; it is useful for sores around the mouth, and it makes a wonderful mouthwash to freshen the mouth.  A tea made from rosemary has been effective as an eyewash to clean eyes that are sore due to allergic irritation.

Parsley

Parsley is another herb that the butterflies love.  It was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as both a flavoring and a garnish for foods.  While most of us see it as a token garnish on restaurant plates, it is really edible and its high chlorophyll content makes it a natural for breath sweeteners.  It is diuretic and is frequently used in formulas to build internal organs including kidney, thyroid, liver and prostate.  Rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals, it is especially known as a digestive aid, improving digestion and reducing cramping and gas after meals.

We could list many more herbs that you can grow this Spring: thyme, garlic, onions, any of the mints, oregano, etc.  But you get the picture.  Why not pick up a few of your favorites at a local nursery and enjoy them fresh from your own yard.  You’ll add taste to your food, joy to your soul, and health to your body.

Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com

Deliver Your Liver

Consider your liver.  You can’t live without it.  While it normally weighs only three to four pounds it is a very complex organ.

What Does it Do?

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.

The liver also manufactures cholesterol.  About two-thirds of the cholesterol in our bodies is manufactured by the liver; the other third comes from our diet.  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.

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.

Herbs for a Healthy Liver

There are a number of 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 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, and wild Oregon grape.

Vitamins for a Healthy Liver

Choline and inositol are B-vitamins that prevent scarring and help prevent cirrhosis and high cholesterol.  And liver-healthy foods include red beets, almonds, bananas, blackstrap molasses, prunes, raisins, wheat and rice bran, kelp, beans, and seeds.  Poor food choices include processed foods, junk food, refined white flour and white sugar foods.  Keep the colon clean, regularly use an herbal detoxifying blend if you work in an environment that contains known toxins, and limit alcohol intake.

What Can Harm Your 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.  All of its processes require vitamins, minerals, proteins (preferably from vegetable sources), amino acids and enzymes.

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.  Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com

Stings and Bites

Have you noticed the rash of insect bites this Summer?  In the years that The Health Patch has been open, I have been asked what to do for spider bites only once or twice – until recently, that is! In the past month, we have had eight customers call specifically for this reason.  Well, here is what our sources tell us.

Activated Charcoal

“Activated charcoal has an amazing ability to “attract” and absorb.  This makes it ideal for removing poisons from the body.  It is approved by the FDA in place of ipecac for internal poisoning.  The poisons adhere to the large surface area of the specially-processed, finely-ground powder so that both are eliminated together.

“It is used externally for insect bites/stings and surface infections.”  Just make a paste with water and apply it to the area.  This will neutralize the poison.  And for multiple bites or stings, put the charcoal in the tub and add warm water.  Then immerse your whole body.

There are other uses for the charcoal, too.  Charcoal will actually absorb intestinal gas, giving relief from bloating and acting to remove the intestinal coating that prevents normal absorption and removal of gas via the blood and lungs.  It is also used internally for a hangover, high cholesterol, food poisoning and to remove wastes from underactive kidneys or liver.

If you use charcoal in an open wound, be sure to rinse it out before the skin heals to avoid skin discoloration from trapped charcoal.

And some cautions: charcoal does not absorb caustics like lye or salts such as potassium nitrate very well.  It should not be used for more than a few days at a time; it absorbs nutrients, too.

Tobacco

How about other treatments?  Well, finally a good use of tobacco.  When I was a kid, my mom used to make a paste of tobacco, baking soda, and water.  This was placed over the bite/sting and this too worked to draw out the poison.

Black Cohost

If you are using black cohost for menopause then you will likely have capsules of it around the house.  A paste can also be made from this common herb.  When applied to the infected area, it will also draw out the toxins.  And you can also take this herb internally every 15 minutes for the first hour for additional relief.

Vitamin C

Large quantities of vitamin C can also help in recovering from the bite/sting, and pantothenic acid acts as an anti-allergenic.

Obviously, the best defense is a good offense, so watch out for dark, damp places and try to stay away from stinging insects.  But if you get stung anyway, try these home remedies and get medical attention in the case of allergic reaction.  Good health and God bless.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com

Lest We Forget

Memory is one of those things we don’t think much about unless we start to loose ours.  It is as natural as breathing and done almost as unconsciously.  Lapses in memory are common for all of us and are an annoyance, but the anxiety that accompanies these feelings of possible loss is even more of a concern to us.  We fear it may be only a symptom of some larger problem: depression, arteriosclerosis, or a progressive Alzheimer’s disease.  And while these may be real problems for many people, it is important to note that these temporary memory losses are common and may have little to do with permanent, degenerative conditions.

Memory Myths

The idea that all people will suffer memory loss as they age is not necessarily true.  We all know of people well past eighty years of age that are still “as sharp as a tack.”  One of the primary causes of memory loss is an insufficient supply of necessary nutrients to the brain.  Let me quote from the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing.  “The life of the body is in the blood.  It literally feeds and nourishes every cell within our bodies.  The brain is surrounded by a protective envelope known as the blood-brain barrier, which allows only certain substances to pass from the bloodstream into the brain.  [Certain conditions can], over time, result in the brain becoming malnourished.”  Add to this, problems such as poor neurotransmitters, exposure to free radicals from our environment, wide swings in blood sugar levels, and the use of toxins such as alcohol and drugs, and it is easy to see that encroaching memory loss can be a result.

How to Maintain Memory

What can you do to ensure that you keep your brain fed?  Certain vitamins and minerals are certainly needed, such as a good B-complex, the antioxidants C and E, and zinc, manganese and choline.  Lecithin helps “lubricate” the neural synapses.  The amino acids l-glutamine and l-aspartic acid serve as fuel for the brain and prevent excess ammonia from damaging it.  And l-tyrosine helps sharpen awareness.  Some research shows that Coenzyme Q10 improves brain oxygenation, and the hormone melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that may prevent memory loss.

Then there are the herbs.  Much attention has been given by the news media to ginkgo biloba.  This herb decreases capillary permeability and, in the brain, improves neural activity, increases cerebrovascular circulation, protects membranes and restores serotonin receptors.  Much of the recent research has concentrated on its ability to increase blood flow to the brain specifically.  Another herb that acts similarly is gotu kola.  It has long been used in Ayurvedic (East Indian) medicine as a tonic for memory loss. Other herbs that are helpful for memory are anise, blue cohosh, ginseng, Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids and rosemary.

Foods that are helpful in maintaining memory functions include brown rice, farm eggs, fish, beans, nuts, tofu, whole grains, and most raw foods.  Be sure to combine your carbohydrates with proteins and essential fats.  Purely carbohydrate meals inhibit memory functions. Foods to avoid include dairy and refined sugars.  They tend to “shut the brain down.”

Like the rest of the body, the brain responds well to exercise.  Use it!  Focus on things you need to remember.  Practice word puzzles, adding columns of numbers, or memorizing Bible verses, poetry, or phone numbers.  Keep learning; gain a new hobby; go back to school.  Anything that “exercises” the mind will help to keep it young.  Activities that don’t require us to think help rob us of our ability to think.

As with all our body systems, the brain needs water, nutrition, exercise and rest – all in good balance.  May you enjoy good memory and good memories throughout your life.  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, Midwest City, OK 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com.