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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.

Spicy Holidays

spices, spicy, holiday, turkeyBecause of all the recent interest in herbs for medicinal purposes, many of us forget that “herbs and spices” were first thought of as a cooking term. But it is especially wonderful at this time of year to stop and think about how the herbs and spices that we use in our holiday treats make them special for us. An exhaustive treatment of this subject would require books, but here I’ll present a few of my favorites. Much of the information is from a couple of my favorite books on the subject: Dr. Jack Ritchason’s Little Herb Encyclopedia and Hanna Kroeger’s Spices to the Rescue.

A friend from Puerto Rico gave me the recipe for my favorite way to fix a turkey for the holidays. And therefore we just call it “Puerto Rican turkey”. It is spicy and the skin is “hot” and zesty. Finely chop several cloves of garlic. Add them to one-fourth cup of each of the following: black pepper, oregano, and basil. Add to this mixture one-cup of raw Apple Cider Vinegar and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. This will form a paste when can be rubbed all over the turkey including the inside cavity. Then bake the turkey as you normally would. Your kitchen will smell like heaven and your taste buds will certainly be prepared for the feast to follow.

Why are we attracted to the wonderful taste of these spices? I think it is just one of the ways that God has of drawing us to some nutrients that are really beneficial to us. Look at the health benefits from just the ingredients in this one recipe.

Black pepper cures and prevents many diseases. “It is a digestive aid, relieving gas, and has been used as a tea for running bowels. It is good for constipation, nausea, vertigo, and arthritis. It is a diuretic and a stimulant. Black pepper is loaded with chromium which is needed for proper functioning of the pancreas and heart.” You can also sprinkle a bit of it on some honey and eat it to help alleviate infected sinuses.

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.

We could write books (and some have!) about the health benefits of garlic. Helping both the physical and mental bodies, “garlic has been prized by healers for more than 5,000 years. Pyramid builders and Roman soldiers on long marches were given a daily ration of garlic. Garlic is so strong an antibiotic that the English purchased tons of it during World War I for use on wounds. Journals of that period state that, when garlic was used on wounds, there were no cases of sepsis. It is a world-renowned cure-all and home remedy in practically every culture. Today even orthodox medicine accepts its healing powers.”

And if we follow the advice of Dr. Paul C. Bragg, perhaps the best-known advocate of daily use of apple cider vinegar, we’ll use vinegar in many tonics several times each day. He espouses its benefits to the digestive and circulatory systems, the bowel, and certainly the mind.

These are only a few of the spices we may find in our pantries and cupboards. We use them to prepare special dishes all the time. But we probably take for granted the wonderful health benefits they give to us. Perhaps, like my family, you may enjoy a Puerto Rican turkey this holiday season. 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. See our blogs and podcasts at www.TheHealthPatch.com. Our full staff are now offering affordable private consultations – call to schedule yours!

Staff Intro

Community Spotlight

The Health Patch
Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health

Randy Lee, the owner of The Health Patch has been interested in health care since he was a youth. His goal as a young man was to attend medical school and care for his family and friends. Lack of finances prevented medical school, but did not diminish his interest in the health care field. So in 1997 he opened an alternative health care supplement store and called it Nana’s Pawpaw Patch – he and his wife are Nana and Pawpaw to seven wonderful grandchildren, and he grew up eating pawpaw fruit in rural Arkansas.

Nana’s Pawpaw Patch has been open in Midwest City for 21 years. The store has blossomed. The alternative health care field has further evolved and both the store product focus and staff have grown with the times.

naturopathic doctorsIn April, 2016, the store “rebranded.” The new store, “The Health Patch,” is indeed “cultivating naturopathic care for total health.” Along with Randy, the other staff members – Shirley Golden, Jolene Griffiths, and Cheryl Sevy – have all become Naturopathic Doctors. The remaining staff member, Kim Anderson, already a Naturopathic Doctor, joined the staff this year. We believe this to be the most certified and capable staff of any like store in Oklahoma!

Once trending toward the health food format, the store is now moving toward full naturopathic care for its customers. Bulk herbs, essential oils, many varieties of teas, personal care products, fruit juices, alternative sweeteners, and numerous products for making your own protein shakes are currently among our products. We also cater to crafters and those who wish to make their own personal care products.

Besides having an extensive line of herbal supplements, vitamins and minerals, the staff has the knowledge as to how to use them. And while any customer can get free information about the products by simply visiting the store, you may also now schedule private consultations with any of the staff members and allow them to track your wellness progress.

Our website includes weekly blogs, podcasts, videos, and most recently, an evolving e-commerce, online store where customers may purchase many of the products available in the brick-and-mortar storefront.

The store mission statement is “We want to help our customers attain and maintain Wellness – Physically, Materially, Emotionally and Spiritually.” In-store conversations, private consultations, free classes, and the best supplements available focus us toward reaching this goal.

The Health Patch is located at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, in the Village Oak Shopping Center in Midwest City. For more information, call 405-736-1030 or visit thehealthpatch.com.

Spicey Thanksgiving

turkey, spiceyBecause of all the recent interest in herbs for medicinal purposes, many of us forget that “herbs and spices” were first thought of as a cooking term. But it is especially wonderful at this time of year to stop and think about how the herbs and spices that we use in our holiday treats make them special for us. An exhaustive treatment of this subject would require books, but here I’ll present a few of my favorites. Much of the information is from a couple of my favorite books on the subject: Dr. Jack Ritchason’s Little Herb Encyclopedia and Hanna Kroeger’s Spices to the Rescue.

A friend from Puerto Rico gave me the recipe for my favorite way to fix a turkey for Thanksgiving. And therefore we just call it “Puerto Rican turkey”. It is spicy and the skin is “hot” and zesty. Finely chop several cloves of garlic. Add them to one-fourth cup of each of the following: black pepper, oregano, and basil. Add to this mixture one-cup of vinegar and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. This will form a paste when can be rubbed all over the turkey including the inside cavity. Then bake the turkey as you normally would. Your kitchen will smell like heaven and your taste buds will certainly be prepared for the feast to follow.

Why are we attracted to the wonderful taste of these spices? I think it is just one of the ways that God has of drawing us to some nutrients that are really beneficial to us. Look at the health benefits from just the ingredients in this one recipe.

Black pepper cures and prevents many diseases. “It is a digestive aid, relieving gas, and has been used as a tea for running bowels. It is good for constipation, nausea, vertigo, and arthritis. It is a diuretic and a stimulant. Black pepper is loaded with chromium which is needed for proper functioning of the pancreas and heart.” You can also sprinkle a bit of it on some honey and eat it to help alleviate infected sinuses.

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.

We could write books (and some have!) about the health benefits of garlic. Helping both the physical and mental bodies, “garlic has been prized by healers for more than 5,000 years. Pyramid builders and Roman soldiers on long marches were given a daily ration of garlic. Garlic is so strong an antibiotic that the English purchased tons of it during World War I for use on wounds. Journals of that period state that, when garlic was used on wounds, there were no cases of sepsis. It is a world-renowned cure-all and home remedy in practically every culture. Today even orthodox medicine accepts it healing powers.”

And if we follow the advice of Dr. Paul C. Bragg, perhaps the best-known advocate of daily use of apple cider vinegar, we’ll use vinegar in many tonics several times each day. He espouses its benefits to the digestive and circulatory systems, the bowel, and certainly the mind.

These are only a few of the spices we may find in our pantries and cupboards. We use them to prepare special dishes all the time. But we probably take for granted the wonderful health benefits they give to us. Perhaps, like my family, you may enjoy a Puerto Rican turkey this Thanksgiving. 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

Aromatherapy Intro

Do you remember entering your grandmother’s kitchen and being greeted by the aroma of fresh bread in the oven? How about the smell of a hot apple pie, the spicy pungency of your dad’s aftershave, or the scent of the earth right after a spring rain? I have a friend who has, with age, lost her sense of smell and she often tells me how much real joy has been lost in her life as a result.

I teach a ten-week course on herbs for the various body systems and every time we get to the digestive system I ask, “Where does the digestive process begin?” Obvious answers are “on the tongue” or “in the mouth.” But the real answer is “in the nose.” That’s right. As soon as we smell our food, in anticipation, our bodies begin to secrete digestive juices in both the mouth and the stomach. That’s one reason it is so important to “prepare” to eat our meals. Smell the aromas. Savor the smells. Take time to chew and enjoy the food.

Well, there’s certainly more to aromatherapy than eating and smelling our food. Aromatherapy is all tied up in using aromas and the essences of materials to heal. The most common method of doing this is to use the essential oils that are extracted from plants. These essential oils are the very “essence” of the plants. And the oils will contain all the healing properties of the plant material in a very concentrated form. They are the vital energies from the plants and they help to heal us on all our levels – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Quoting from Common Scents by internationally renowned aroma therapist Lorrie Hargis, “Essential oils are therapeutic because they have antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, analgesic, calming, soothing and revitalizing chemical constituents.”

It is extremely easy to extract the essential oils from some materials. For example, take a piece of orange peel and bend it double while holding it up to a window. See the “spray” from the peel? That’s the oil. And it’s so easy to extract that the cost of essential oils from most citrus products is very inexpensive. But it make take up to three or four tons of some rose petals to extract a single pound of its oil. So, pure, undiluted rose oil is very expensive. Not to worry! Most of the essential oils are used by the drop, diluted in carrier oils. Carrier oils are more common and inexpensive oils which contain very little (and easily overpowered) aroma of their own. A simple list of common carrier oils includes sweet almond, apricot kernel, grapeseed, avocado, macadamia nut, hazelnut, and jojoba. Even common vegetable oils – olive, canola, and sunflower – may be used as carriers. Carrier oils dilute the more expensive oils (needed due to the potency of the essential oils), extend the uses of the essential oils, and “carry” all the benefits to our betterment.

Each essential oil can be placed into a chemical family such as phenols, ketones, etc. Each family has a number of chemical constituents, and each oil may contain a number of these constituents. Therefore, each oil is unique and has a number of healing properties. For example, lavender is commonly known to be relaxing and restful. But not so commonly known is that it is also antiviral, antibacterial, calming, soothing and refreshing. An exhaustive study of the healing properties of all the oils is a life’s work. But anyone (yes, you) can gain an understanding of common uses of many of the more common oils. And such knowledge can make your life more healthful AND enjoyable.

Here are a few of the essential oils with which you may be familiar. Eucalyptus, which is purifying and invigorating, is often found in your sauna and is used in cough drops. Citronella is vitalizing and is the scent you’ll recognize in most of your bug sprays. Grapefruit is refreshing, but did you know that many use it to shrink fat? Jasmine is sensual and is found in many costly perfumes. Myrrh is meditative and has been used for thousands of years to treat gum disease. Nutmeg is rejuvenating and is a major component of many spicy men’s fragrances.

The uses of essential oils are myriad. They made be added to baths or saunas, included as ingredients in lotions and cremes, used as delightful enhancements to massage oils, crafted into soaps, diffused in light rings and potpourris, or misted in vaporizers. Only your imagination and creativity limit their utility.

A boon to the soul and the spirit, a strengthener of all the body’s systems, and an exciter of the mind, a study of aromatherapy on any level can enhance you and your life. Talk to a knowledgeable friend or acquaintance, read a book on the subject, or attend a course offered by a practitioner. You and your senses will be delighted! 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

Food Allergies

Though food sensitivities take many forms and various levels, most of us begin to have allergies to foods as we age – even foods we once enjoyed. Did you ever wonder why?

When we put things in our mouths, the body asks “can I digest that?” If it is something the body can readily digest, it considers it “food”, and begins the digestive process. This will mean the body has the enzymes and nutrients to turn the substance from its raw form to a form from which it may extract the nutrients and distribute them throughout the body. But as you age, your pancreas may lose the ability to produce some of the enzymes it needs.

So if the body says “I can’t digest this!” it considers it a foreign substance and begins the process of refusing it. It produces “allergic” reactions to kill, compartmentalize, or expel the matter:

  • Specialized cells are generated to “kill” the invader.
  • Mucous is produced to smother it.
  • Coughing and sneezing start to expel it.
  • Fever may be raised to “burn it up.”
  • Tearing may occur to wash it out.
  • While we call these “allergic reactions”, they are a valuable part of our immune system.
  • They keep the “foreign material” from harming us.

So, what can we do when these reactions start? Well, obviously we can stay clear of the foods that cause the reactions. But often we can just take a supplemental enzyme to “digest” the matter. This is especially true if it is foods that we once enjoyed and digested well.

Remember, many food sensitivities may be much more critical – don’t treat them lightly. While this won’t work for all food sensitivities, it may be a welcome relief for those who develop allergies to once-cherished foods later in life. You may not have to give up many of your favorite foods just because “old age” is slowing you down!

– 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.