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A Healthy Heart

heart, healthSince heart disease still reigns as the number one killer of both men and women, let’s look at some supplements that will help you maintain a healthy heart.

Much has been written about the heart benefits of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Interestingly, even the FDA has approved the making of claims for the heart-healthy benefits of this outstanding supplement. I personally think it is the “missing link” in most of our supplement programs. Unless you eat a minimum of three four-ounce servings of cold-water, fatty fish (salmon, cod, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, etc.) each week, you should consider taking this oil. Recommended dosages are 1500mg of both EPA & DHA (the fatty acids!) each day. They are wonderful anti-inflammatories for your whole body but are especially beneficial for the heart.

Research shows that low levels of the amino acid l-taurine has been associated with heart weakness. So a “free amino acid” supplement may also be of benefit. The amino acid l-arginine is combined with molecular oxygen to make the neurotransmitter nitric acid which aids in maintaining blood pressure as a potent vasodilator. And another important amino acid for the heart is l-carnitine. This amino acid is a part of every muscle cell. It draws fatty acid molecules into the mitochondria, where they are burned to produce energy. In doing so, the levels of blood triglycerides are reduced. A deficiency of l-carnitine can result in the buildup of fat in muscles, heart, and liver.

Among heart-healthy herbs, the most commonly known is hawthorn berries. These berries simply treat the heart as a muscle and serve to give it added strength. They make the heart last longer and balance the heart and circulatory system. This is a plant that truly seems to target the tissues of the heart. Researchers believe that it helps the heart in several ways. It dilates coronary arteries to improve blood supply, it may increase the heart’s pumping force, it may eliminate heart-rhythm irregularities, and it helps remove cholesterol from artery walls. It has been used long-term to reduce angina attacks and to prevent cardiac complications in elderly patients with pneumonia and influenza.

Other supplements that can lead to a healthier heart include the following. The heart needs potassium to help control blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. Vitamin E and selenium should be taken together because they are co-dependent in the body and are both antioxidants that protect the body (especially the heart) from the damaging effects of chemically active pollutants. Unprotected fats become rancid when they oxidize. The heart requires a regular supply of the Co-enzyme Q10 to help move energy and increase the efficiency of cellular metabolism. And calcium and magnesium (in the proper ratio) are needed to control the heart’s beat.

So, if you are ready to improve your heart’s health and live longer, consider adding some of these supplements to your daily routine, stop smoking, and maintain your weight in a healthy range. Also remember, fat and sugar together make a good recipe for heart trouble. Live long and in good health. Genesis 1:29.

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

Your Cardiovascular System

Every day your heart beats over 100,000 times in order to push 2,000 – 5,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of arteries, veins, and capillaries. Astounding, huh? Heart disease is still the number one cause of death for both men and women. Over 600,000Americans die from heart disease each year, accounting for about one out of every four deaths. One-fourth of all Americans suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease.

This is the body system that is responsible for transporting nutrients to the cells and removing waste from the cells. It includes the heart itself which does the pumping. The arteries are living tubes which allow nutrients to be delivered to all parts of the body. The capillaries are the tiniest of the blood vessels which allow the blood to reach even the smallest areas of the body.  The veins do the return trip to carry waste from the cells back to the kidneys and lungs.

Problems within this system may be many. Just a few include:

  • Cholesterol buildup. Cholesterol is necessary for at least three actions in the body:
    1. the production of some hormones,
    2. as a building block for human tissues, and
    3. assisting in bile production in the liver for digestive purposes.

But too much can clog the arteries and raise blood pressure.

  • High blood pressure. Too much pressure can stress the heart and rupture blood vessels among other things.
  • Arterial plaque. Besides restricting artery sizes, it can also increase blood pressure and stress the heart.
  • Poor circulation through insufficient movement or degenerative vessels can cause restricted blood flow and hardening of the arteries and veins themselves.
  • Acne and skin problems. If wastes can’t be removed normally, the body pushes toxins to the skin surface causing skin problems such as rashes, eczema, and so on.

A well-functioning cardiovascular system requires:

  • proper nutrients,
  • adequate water to keep liquids in the body in balance,
  • and exercise to activate the system components and control of stress within the body.

Keep the system in balance and it will serve you well for a full, viable lifetime.

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

The Fuss About Fiber

fiber, fibre, health, foodFiber. Yep, we need it. We all know that. But how much and why? What’s all the fuss about?

Fiber is the indigestible portion of the plant foods in our diet. It doesn’t break down for nutrients and it doesn’t burn to produce energy, but it is still important. There are two types that we need: soluble and insoluble

The soluble I call sponges. They soak up toxins and other noxious stuff to get it through the digestive tract and out of the body. They include prebiotics that feed the friendly fiber that aids digestion, beta-glucans that help lower cholesterol, and other mucilage that helps move the bowels. Foods rich in soluble fiber include nuts, many fruits and vegetables, root veggies like sweet potatoes, beans, peas, and whole grains.

The insoluble I call brooms – they sweet and clean the digestive and intestinal tracts. They provide absolutely no nutritive value, but “sweep” these tracts and they pass through. Foods rich in insoluble fiber are similar to those rich in soluble fiber but include the peelings of many of these fruits and vegetables.

Because of their cleansing effects on the digestive and intestinal tracts, there are many benefits of adequate fiber. Reducing cholesterol and triglycerides helps to promote cardiovascular health. Diseases like diabetes and obesity are helped because the fiber-rich foods slow the absorption of sugars in the blood to help correct the underlying causes of these diseases. They obviously help prevent constipation and keeping the colon cleanse aids in the prevention of colon cancers and helps promote overall colon health.

So how much fiber do you need? One source I found quoted: “The Institute of Medicine recommends that men under 50 should get about 38 grams of fiber daily and at least 30 grams if they are over 50. The recommendation for women is slightly lower: 25 grams under 50 and 21 grams over 50. Children, of course, needless. Unfortunately, the average American (both adults and children) consumes about half the grams of fiber they need.”

Adding fiber is both important and easy if you pay attention. Make it a priority and enjoy better health.

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

Is Your pH Balanced?

If you took chemistry in high school then you’ve heard of “pH.” “pH” stands for “potential of Hydrogen” and is the mark of the acid-alkaline ratio of an item. In this case, we’re talking about the pH balance of your body. It is the balance between positively charged ions (which form acids) and negatively charged ions (which form alkalines).

Why is this important? A recent pamphlet (available to you at the shop without cost) states that “the body continually strives to balance pH. When this balance is threatened, however, many unpleasant sicknesses can arise. Because our bodies naturally use hydrochloric acid to break down foods and nutrients, the optimal saliva and urine pH for our bodies is slightly acidic, around 6.4-6.5.”

This is only slightly acidic because the number assigned to “neutral” is 7.0. And the measure of a well-functioning body is a saliva pH between 6.4 and 6.8 both morning and evening, and a urine pH of 6.0-6.4 in the morning (since your body has been removing acids during the night) and 6.4-7.0 in the evening. Numbers outside these set up an environment in the body where disease can flourish.

You can easily know what your pH levels are. While the old litmus strips we used in chemistry class only showed us red for acid and blue for alkaline, newer developed strips use a color-code to measure pH from 5.0 to 9.0 in .5 increments.

While the range of diseases attributable to pH imbalance is great, it should be noted that more people suffer from too much acid – a condition known as acidosis. This condition causes the body to borrow the minerals needed to buffer the acids from other organs, tissues, and bones. And while less common, high alkalinity can cause the body to digest foods too slowly and create problems in the bowel and urinary tracts. And too much acid in the saliva can indicate a problem with digestive enzymes from the stomach and liver.

Another example of conditions attributed to an improper balancing of your pH may be the inability to lose weight because the body may be improperly using the minerals needed to maintain proper metabolism.

Many foods we eat contribute to acid and alkaline buildups in our bodies. Further, new research shows that our blood types cause our bodies to react differently from one person to another. A food that is well-used by someone with a blood type of “A” may cause acid problems in a person with blood type “O”, for example. You need to research which foods are best for your blood type.

What do you do if you test your pH and find it out of balance? Well, besides modifying your diet, there are numerous mineral and herbal combinations available to correct either condition. Interestingly, different forms of the same mineral may be necessary to correct an acid as opposed to an alkaline condition. But some elements are common between the conditions: enzymes are essential to ensure vitamins and minerals are absorbed, using the correct calcium is needed, and one should cleanse regularly. Cleansing serves to detoxify your body and a “cleanse” should be accomplished quarterly or at least semi-annually.

While proper nutrition and a good supplement program are always advised, experts further recommend checking your saliva and urine pH levels twice a day and at least two days a week. Conditions caused specifically due to improper pH balances may go undetected for years, but the consequences can be devastating. 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 | ph:736-1030 | e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com

Call to schedule your private health consultation with one of our five Naturopathic Doctors!

A Game Changer – Body Systems

For years we’ve described our ailments in terms of specific aches – e.g., my head hurts so I need an aspirin; my tummy hurts so I need an antacid, etc. But the fallacy in this approach is that we are just treating symptoms. We may alleviate some individual discomfort, but we haven’t addressed the underlying problems.

But today, in addition to helping get rid of temporary discomfort, many of our better supplement companies are putting together herbal combinations that address the functioning of whole body systems. Now THAT’S a “game changer!” I can still give you an aspirin (or an aspirin substitute with fewer side effects) for your headache, but I may now give you a more complete herbal combination to treat your body’s many pain centers.

One of my main product suppliers has divided the body into nine primary body systems – the digestive system, the immune system, the intestinal system, the circulatory system, the respiratory system, the lymphatic system, the glandular system, the structural system, and the colon – and has used a panel of herbalist to formulate an “umbrella” supplement for each system. It’s a formula meant to keep that whole body system healthy. And they’ve kept the individual formulas for specific issues within the system.

So, for example, if you know you have a weak heart, you may just want to take a supplement that strengthens the heart muscle. My family genetics centers on an issue with the heart. So, for a number of years, I’ve been taking hawthorn, an herb known to strengthen the heart. So when my heart issues finally flared up my cardiologist said, “Based on what I found in your circulatory structure, you should have died five years ago. But your heart is incredibly strong, and I’m finding no other issues, I believe you should live another 20 years!” Needless to say, I have also been taking the core circulatory system products for many years as well.

New research has also unfolded another body system that is being called The Master System. It is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). It appears to be the center of the wheel that keeps all the other systems working properly. Over 200 cannabinoids have been identified and about 85 of them have been studied. This system seems to release cells to travel to other cells signaling them to adjust their activity levels. This is an exciting new area of research, and portions of it are heavy in the news these days.

The systems approach to body balance is the real “game changer.” I love the quote from Albert Einstein that was in a pamphlet supplied by one of my vendors. He says, “Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving forward.” Study YOUR body and seek help in finding the system products that will give you a longer life with more quality!

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health
1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130 | ph:736-1030 | e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com
Call to schedule your private health consultation with one of our five Naturopathic Doctors!

Cleansing – A New Year’s Priority

milk thistle, dandelion root, red clover, garlic, elecampaneI’ve always made it a practice to really enjoy the holiday season. So from Thanksgiving until the New Year, I eat pretty much whatever I want. I enjoy all the festive foods, and I always know that many of them really aren’t that good for me and that I’ll probably pick up a few extra pounds. So after the new year begins, I make cleansing a top priority.

Many of the things we eat routinely can not only be “not good for us,” they can often be toxic. Add these effects on our bodies to the others we encounter every day (smog, air pollution, industrial pollutants, household cleaners, food preservatives and dyes, chemical fumes, car exhaust, normal metabolism, poor elimination of food, waste products in the blood from illness or disease, …) and we can see that we can really bombard our with toxins. The consequences are inevitably further disease or debility. Cleansing (detoxification) should be a recurring part of our normal routine.

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

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

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

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

Regular cleansing and detoxifying (at least two to four times per year) along with good nutrition, exercise, and proper supplements will add quality to your life and ward off many of the diseases that rob us of real joy. Our improved distribution systems make most foods available to us year-round, so we tend to forget the cycles of nature. But this year, start your “Spring cleaning” early and start with your body. Good health and God’s blessings!

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

New Start

new start, resolutions, new yearAnother new year! January is the time of year we commit ourselves to renewal. New Year’s Resolutions reflect our intentions to make our lives better this year than we did in the last, not to repeat past mistakes, and to make life changes that will encourage better relationships, better livelihood, and better health. But we all know that it takes more than a resolution to make those changes in our lives … it takes a plan, too. The “how to” is often as important as the “what” where significant changes are concerned.

What resolutions do you have for 2019? How will you effect these changes? Have you heard the adage “plan your work, then work your plan”? Well, start with the resolution, the commitment. Make a list of desired changes. Then make a definite plan as to what it will take to effect the changes. Put a timeline on the plan: what will you work on daily, what will be worked on weekly, etc., and do you need to put together a chart to track your progress? Finally, begin immediately (no, not tomorrow!) to work the plan.

I hope “better health” is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions. It certainly is on mine. One of my goals is to lose some weight. Watching my diet, exercising more and taking my supplements are in my plan. I have a chart with places for weekly weigh-ins to track my progress. And I’m telling you about it so you can ask me how it’s going (accountability to others for my goals, too).

In her book Help Yourself: The Beginner’s Guide to Natural Medicine, Karolyn Gazella states that “natural medicine has been catapulted to the forefront of our ailing healthcare system.” She quotes Dr. Michael Murray giving a primary reason for this: “Modern medicine has not done a very good job at teaching people how to be healthy. The dominant medical model is really not a ‘health-care’ model. Instead, it is a ‘disease-care’ model that focuses on using drugs or surgery to promote health. This view is rapidly being replaced by a more rational model of health promotion where the focus is on what can be done to promote health rather than treat disease.”

Dr. Murray gives five principles for this focus:

  1. The body has considerable power to heal itself. The physician facilitates this process and must do no harm.
  2. An individual must be viewed as a whole person composed of a complex interaction of physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, social, and other factors.
  3. It is important to seek the underlying cause of a disease rather than simply suppress the symptoms.
  4. A physician should be foremost a teacher. Educating, empowering, and motivating the patient to assume more personal responsibility for their health by adopting a healthy attitude, lifestyle, and diet.
  5. Prevention is the best cure. Prevention of disease is best accomplished through dietary and life habits which support health and prevent disease.

People who have not used herbal supplements before often ask, “How do I get started?” I recommend any number of good books that correlate ailments to herbs or herbs to ailments. Here are a few examples.

  • The Little Herb Encyclopedia
  • The How To Herb Book
  • Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible

Then look up a hereditary family medical problem or a personal ailment, and see which herbs have historically been used for that condition. Or talk to older family members; many grew up using herbal remedies. Some of the more common ones are glucosamine for arthritis, valerian for sleeplessness, licorice root for fatigue, ginger for motion sickness, kava for nervous anxiety & restlessness, saw palmetto for an enlarged prostate, milk thistle for liver damage, peppermint oil for tension headaches, feverfew for migraine headaches, and vitamins C and E for heart medications that will keep arteries open and dilated, fight plaque buildup and ward off heart attacks.

It’s the New Year. Let’s take advantage of our good intentions at this time of the year and plan to GET STARTED. Then work that plan. Remember, it’s your health … make the most of it.

– 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

Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of frankincense and of myrrh.”  Matthew 2:11.

What were these gifts that we read about every Christmas?  Gold is the one most of us know the most about.  As a precious metal, it was certainly a gift worthy of a king.  And of the other two, probably all we have been taught is that they were aromatic spices used in burial ceremonies.  But there is more.

In the book of Leviticus, worshippers were told to add frankincense to their grain offerings and burn them before the Lord.  Even today one of the best-known aromatherapy sources says that frankincense can be added to our logs for the fireplace and that the fragrance of the burning frankincense is a wonderful addition to our festive occasions.

Frankincense is a gum resin obtained from the bark of a tree that grows in Somalia, China, Ethiopia, and Southern Arabia.  Besides its current use in religious incenses, it is also therapeutic in the treatment of sores, wounds, fevers, coughs, colds, stress, bronchitis, laryngitis, nervous conditions and tension.

Victoria Edwards in her book The Aromatherapy Companion states “Frankincense acts as an antiseptic, expectorant, astringent (to uterine and mucous membranes), and digestive aid.  It treats anxiety, nervous tension, infections of the urinary tract, leprosy, wounds, and hemorrhages.  Frankincense is burned in the Catholic Church to protect against evil spirits.  The scent has an elevating, warming, and soothing effect on the mind and emotions.  Frankincense is ideal for meditation because it slows and deepens the breath.”

Myrrh is also a resin from the bark of a tree.  And this tree also grows in Somalia, Ethiopia and North Africa.  Having been known to cure mouth ulcers, it has links to use in dentistry.

The ancient Egyptians used myrrh for embalming.  It is cooling to the skin, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and purifying.  It treats uterine disorders, laryngitis, cuts, cracked heels, wounds, ulcers, and wasting degenerative disease.

Myrrh can enhance visualization, expand awareness, and calm fears about the future.  What a perfect addition to our preparation for the millennium ahead.

Valerie Cooksley’s book Aromatherapy: A Lifetime Guide to Healing with Essential Oils points out another interesting fact about both of these gifts.  She uses both essential oils from these resins to treat depression … especially the depression that accompanies loss.  She indicates that they are very helpful in dealing with grief and bereavement.  Perhaps as we meditate on the joyous season of the birth of our Savior, these gifts will help us to reflect also on the price He paid for our salvation.

May we at this season give to Him our selves as pure gold, refined “in the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10)”.  May the holiday season find you rich with family and the love of friends.  And may the dawning of the new millennium bring you continued 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.

Why and How to Make Mulled Cider

Apple Cider, mulled ciderOne of my most fond memories of the holidays from my childhood and one which has followed me into adulthood is the smell of the kitchen as we prepared the mulled cider which was a part of warm family gatherings.  The mulled cider was made by placing about a gallon of apple juice (or apple cider, red wine, cranberry juice, or pineapple juice) in a large pan on the stove.  We’d add the mulling spices (about a half-cup of them) tied in cheesecloth. These days we use a tea ball instead.  Then we’d simply let it simmer – at least a half hour, though I can remember mom dipping servings from the pan, adding more juice, and letting it simmer all evening.

Recently I thought, what were these spices? And since the recipe dates back to the Middle Ages, what was the importance of such wassail to the folks back then?  Obviously, it was a tasty treat.  But the spices were expensive back then, so the treat was only for the more affluent, their families and their friends.  And even then it was reserved for special occasions, like the holidays we’re about to enter.

I wanted to take it a bit further and look at the spices individually and see what other needs may have been met in their use as a festive, winter drink.

The Spaniards introduced Ginger to the Americas in the 16th century.  It is known to inhibit an enzyme that causes cells to clot and, as such, help to prevent “little strokes”.  It helps to relieve nausea, to relieve congestion in the sinus cavities, to warm blood vascular stimulation, to treat sore throats, and as a body cleanser. Herbalists have long recommended it as a regulator of blood cholesterol and to improve blood circulation.  In China, ginger is used for bronchitis, flu, and the first stages of the common cold.

The volatile oils in Orange Peel help to reduce fevers, help warm the body, aid in relieving scurvy, and help relieve heartburn.  Dental texts note that orange oil helps prevent gingivitis!  Aromatherapists traditionally use these oils to improve appetite, treat bronchitis and respiratory infection, lower cholesterol, and help to relieve mid-winter “blues”.

Cinnamon is listed in most texts as one of the spices that spurred world exploration. Studies conducted by Japanese researchers have shown that it contains a substance that is both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.  It helps to control virulent outbreaks by many microorganisms including the one that causes botulism and staphylococcus.  Historically it has been used for treating bronchitis, arthritis, diarrhea, stomach upset, fever, nausea, parasites, rheumatism, and vomiting.

One text on spices notes that Allspice can be used to make couples more harmonious.  Physically it is a balm for the liver, helps warm the body, improves digestion, calms the nerves, opens the sinuses, relieves colic and gas, and loosens tight muscles.

Herbalists have used Clove for centuries to cure nausea and rid the stomach and intestine of gas.  Its essential oil is today one of the most effective pain relieving agents used by dentists and has broad-spectrum antibiotic properties.  It also helps relieve bad breath, poor circulation, dizziness, nausea, and dysentery.  Oh, by the way, it is also said to increase sex drive (just what you need on those cold winter nights!).

And finally, star anise.  It was used by the Romans to provide a delightful palette and to help prevent indigestion from overeating.  And today it is a popular addition to cough syrups, mouthwashes, candies, and bakery goods.  It is a cell stimulator for the heart, liver, brain, and lungs, and its volatile oils can be helpful for treating bronchitis, spasmodic asthma, and emphysema.  It can also be used for colds, coughs, indigestion, excessive mucus, pneumonia, loss of appetite, and stimulating most of the glands.

Is it any wonder that this popular drink was used so extensively, especially during those cold Winter months.  Make it a welcome addition to your holiday festivities.  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.

Super Spices

spicesSpice up your life! Doesn’t that conjure up exotic thoughts of passion and that “something special” about adding a new dimension to your life? Interestingly, the whole idea of spices is to add that something special. Food can be just nourishment to keep us alive, but add some spices and turn the meal to pure joy! There are thousands of spies; here are some of my favorites.

Cinnamon is listed in most texts as one of the spices that spurred world exploration. Studies conducted by Japanese researchers have shown that it contains a substance that is both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. It helps to control virulent outbreaks by many microorganisms including the one that causes botulism and staphylococcus. Historically it has been used for treating bronchitis, arthritis, diarrhea, stomach upset, fever, nausea, parasites, rheumatism, and vomiting. Besides, don’t you just love hot cinnamon apples on a cold winter day?

The Spaniards introduced Ginger to the Americas in the 16th century. It is known to inhibit an enzyme that causes cells to clot and, as such, help to prevent “little strokes”. It helps to relieve nausea, to relieve congestion in the sinus cavities, to warm blood vascular stimulation, to treat sore throats, and as a body cleanser. Herbalists have long recommended it as a regulator of blood cholesterol and to improve blood circulation. In China, ginger is used for bronchitis, flu, and the first stages of the common cold. And at the table, it adds a special zing to some otherwise bland cuisine.

Herbalists have used Clove for centuries to cure nausea and rid the stomach and intestine of gas. Its essential oil is today one of the most effective pain relieving agents used by dentists and has broad-spectrum antibiotic properties. It also helps relieve bad breath, poor circulation, dizziness, nausea, and dysentery. Oh, by the way, it is also said to increase sex drive (just what you need on those cold winter nights!).

Star anise adds the delightful flavor of licorice. It was used by the Romans to provide a delightful palette and to help prevent indigestion from overeating. And today it is a popular addition to cough syrups, mouthwashes, candies, and bakery goods. It is a cell stimulator for the heart, liver, brain, and lungs, and its volatile oils can be helpful for treating bronchitis, spasmodic asthma, and emphysema. It can also be used for colds, coughs, indigestion, excessive mucus, pneumonia, loss of appetite, and stimulating most of the glands.

Oregano was named by the Greeks and means “joy of the mountain.” Technically it is wild marjoram. While its aromatic influence is to strengthen the feeling of security, it has anti-viral qualities. It may aid the body in balancing metabolism and is useful as a tea for coughs, stomach and gallbladder problems, and menstrual pains. “Oregano has also been used for nervous headaches, irritability, exhaustion, and as a sedative. It is thought to prevent seasickness. It can be applied externally for swelling, rheumatism, and a stiff neck. Chewing on an oregano leaf provides temporary relief for a toothache.”

“Basil was said to have been found growing around Christ’s tomb after the resurrection, and some churches use basil to prepare holy water while others set it around their altars. The Indians swore their oaths upon this herb.” Its aromatic influence is reported by many to help one have an open mind. “Basil is food for the brain. When you feel victimized or criticized, eat some basil.” Basil also works as an antidepressant, is helpful for nervous exhaustion and mental fatigue is anti-viral in its use against the flu and helps to relieve itching and ringworm. It may also be used for indigestion, kidney and bladder problems, headaches, cramps, and constipation. And in Africa, it is used to expel parasitic worms.

These and many other have medicinal value. That can sound dry and clinical, but they also just add joy to our lives. Isn’t that what makes them “Super Spices?” And that is a blessing.

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