Archive for Alternative Health

Burdock – The Tenacious Tonic – Treatment for Cancer?

Sunday, September 7th, 2014
Burdock

Photo from Wikipedia

In traditional herbal texts, burdock root is described as a “blood purifier” or “alterative,” and was believed to clear the bloodstream of toxins.

It was used both internally and externally for eczema and psoriasis, as well as to treat painful joints and as a diuretic. In traditional Chinese medicine, burdock root in combination with other herbs is used to treat sore throats, tonsillitis, colds, and even measles. It is eaten as a vegetable in Japan and elsewhere.

Burdock root has become popular as part of a tea to treat cancer.  Burdock’s use against cancer goes down through the centuries and has been used as a tumor treatment in Russia, China, India and the Americas. In the United States, it was an ingredient in the popular but highly controversial Hoxsey Cancer Formula, an alternative therapy marketed from the 1930s to the 1950s by ex-coal-miner Harry Hoxsey.

Some studies show anti-tumor or anti-mutation activity.  The National Cancer Institute became interested in burdock as part of its Designer Foods Program, an effort to use biotechnology to introduce cancer-preventive chemicals into common food crops.  Burdock’s action is mild, but real. It has antibacterial and antiviral powers, and it reduces blood sugar, which helps prevent diabetes.  Burdock has value as a tonic, a subtle strengthener with cumulatively helpful effects.

Burdock root contains high amounts of inulin and mucilage. This may explain its soothing effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Bitter constituents in the root may also explain the traditional use of burdock to improve digestion. It also contains polyacetylenes, shown to have antimicrobial activity. Burdock root and fruit also have the ability to mildly lower blood sugar (hypoglycemic effect).

Burdock Usage

Herbalists generallly recommend 2–4 ml of burdock root tincture per day. For the dried root preparation in capsule form, the common amount to take is 1–2 grams three times per day. Many herbal preparations will combine burdock root with other alterative herbs, such as yellow dock, red clover, or cleavers.  Use of burdock root at the dosages listed above is generally safe.

To brew a pleasantly sweet-tasting tonic tea, boil one teaspoon of crushed, dried burdock root in three cups of water for 30 minutes. Drink up to three cups a day.


Burdock  (Arctium lappa) is native to Asia and Europe. The root is the primary source of most herbal preparations. The root becomes very soft with chewing and tastes sweet, with a mucilaginous texture.


Aloe – Special Precautions!

Friday, September 5th, 2014
Aloe

Photo from Wikipedia

The thick, juicy leaves of Aloe contain two distinct products used medicinally and are important to be distinguished for the purposes of caution and to avoid confusion.

  1. a thin clear gel or mucilage that oozes from the middle of a broken leaf.
  2. a bitter latex, referred to as aloe vera juice, derived from the cells just under the surface of the leaf.

Their compositions and uses differ.  The active ingredient in the gel is mucopolysaccharides.  The latex provides anthraquinone derivatives, mostly in the form of aloins, with smaller amounts of hydroxyaloins, aloe-emodin, and aloeresins.

The gel is used topically on wounds and burns to help them heal more rapidly. Taken internally, it is considered a general tonic. Unfortunately, separation of the gel from the latex for commercial preparations is often incomplete, and the gel may end up with some laxative action due to inadvertent inclusion of latex.

Aloe has been recommended for burns due to radiation, but like most of its uses, this is considered incompletely proved and controversial.  There is no harm in applying fresh gel from a broken leaf to a minor cut or burn, and many people find it soothing. In the test tube, gels from some species of aloe have antibacterial activity. A. vera, however, does not appear to kill many microbes.

The latex of Aloe is a powerful laxative that irritates the intestine. We do not recommend using this product.

There are nearly five hundred species of aloe. It’s a type of plant that originated in southern Africa, near the Cape of Good Hope.  The use of aloe goes back in history 5,500 years. There are pictures of aloe plants on some Egyptian temples. The Greek physician Dioscorides wrote of its benefits to heal wounds and treat hemorrhoids.

Aloe plants now grow throughout Africa, around the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, and in many countries in South America.


Aloe Special Precautions:

Pregnant women must avoid aloe latex; use has been known to trigger abortion or premature birth.  Nursing mothers should take this laxative only under medical supervision. Children must not take aloe latex.  Women who are menstruating should not use aloe latex, as it may increase blood flow.  Aloe latex may be very dangerous when there is an intestinal blockage and must be avoided in such cases. Aloe latex is not appropriate for people with intestinal inflammation such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, and it should not be taken by people with inflamed hemorrhoids.  People with kidney problems should avoid aloe latex.  The most serious difficulties encountered with aloe latex occur at higher than recommended doses or when used for more than a few days.  This laxative herb causes the loss of potassium and other minerals, which over time can result in a loss of muscle tone of the intestine and diminished effectiveness. Frequent use may cause irreversible damage.  Large doses of aloe have caused bloody diarrhea, kidney damage, and even death.  The urine may take on a reddish color after taking aloe latex. This color is harmless; however, with the possibility of kidney damage from large doses or prolonged use, any persistent color in the urine may call for medical diagnosis.

Possible Interactions: Low potassium levels can be dangerous in a person taking a heart drug like Lanoxin.  Aloe latex might also be dangerous for anyone taking a diuretic that depletes the body of potassium (Lasix, HCTZ, etc.) because of the additive effect. It should be avoided in such situations.  Aloe latex could reduce the absorption of any pill taken around the same time because it cuts intestinal transit time so drastically.


Gentian Root – Herbal Bitter – Digestive Aid

Friday, August 29th, 2014
Gentian Root

Coutesy of Wikipedia

Gentian root and other highly bitter plants have been used for centuries in Europe as digestive aids (the well-known Swedish bitters often contain gentian). Other folk uses included topical use on skin tumors, decreasing fevers, and treatment of diarrhea. Its ability to increase digestive function, including production of stomach acid, has been validated in modern times.

Gentian root contains some of the most bitter substances known, particularly the glycosides gentiopicrin and amarogentin. The taste of these can be detected even when diluted 50,000 times. Besides stimulating secretion of saliva in the mouth and hydrochloric acid in the stomach, gentiopicrin may protect the liver.

Gentian root is also considered useful for poor appetite and indigestion according to the German government’s Commission E monograph.

Here is what Wikipedia reports:

It was considered especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It was also considered one of the best fortifiers of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and was thought to be an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects.

Usage of Gentian Root

Gentian root can be taken as a tincture (1–3 grams daily), as a fluid extract (2–4 grams daily), or as the whole root (2–4 grams daily).

Gentian root should not be used by people suffering from excessive stomach acid, heartburn, stomach ulcers, or gastritis.

At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with Gentian.


Gentian: (Gentiana lutea)

This plant comes from meadows in Europe and Turkey. It is also cultivated in North America. The root is used medicinally.


Natural Remedies for Anxiety

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Feeling Anxious?Some anxiety is a normal part of life – but extreme anxiety or feeling anxious for no reason can be devastating. If you experience insomnia, inability to reason, tiredness, headaches and/or a number of other maladies, you may be a candidate for some natural remedies that will help you get your life back.

Studies have shown that the following natural remedies can help symptoms of anxiety:

  • Passionflower – Long used to treat anxiety and insomnia, passionflower has been found to cause fewer side effects than prescription drugs such as mexazolam. Don’t take passionflower with other medications without consulting your health care professional.
  • Breathing techniques – Deep breathing exercises associated with yoga and other forms of meditation can positively affect anxiety issues. Research various techniques to find out which is best for you.
  • Valerian – The herb, Valerian, is often used effectively to treat insomnia and promote calmness. As with passionflower, don’t use with prescription medications until you’re sure there will be no consequences.
  • Aromatherapy – Massage oils added to baths or infusers can help anxiety. Some essential oils derived from plants for aromatherapy treatments are lavender, geranium, cypress and jasmine.
  • GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) – GABA is an amino acid that helps ease anxiety symptoms by positively affecting brain receptors.
  • B-Vitamins – Vitamin B12, in particular, helps the body ward off stress and anxiety. Try taking a B-Complex multi-vitamin supplement each day.
  • St. John’s Wort – Often taken as an antidepressant, St. John’s Wort can also lessen anxiety symptoms. Don’t take this remedy with other prescription drugs, especially antidepressants such as Paxil.

Most anxiety is caused by stress, both emotional and physical. It’s a sign that your body and mind are in distress. Seek balance in your life by taking steps to reduce stress, get enough sleep and take better care of yourself.

It’s important that you also reduce caffeine intake and attempt to work some type of daily exercise into your schedule.

Alternative Therapies for Menopause

Monday, June 6th, 2011
Alternative Menopause Therapy

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Menopause can be very disruptive in the lives of women who experience hot flashes, mood swings, and other symptoms. Hormone therapy scares have led many women to seek alternative treatments for menopausal symptoms such as osteoporosis and postmenopausal cardiovascular disease.

Alternative therapies for irritability and depression during menopause are also being explored. Below are some remedies that are believed to alleviate menopausal side effects:

  • Soy – Scientific tests show that bone density is increased and depression, irritability and hot flashes are lessened. Although soy can decrease some symptoms associated with menopause, large amounts must be ingested for it to be completely effective.
  • Natural Progesterone – Extracted from plant sources, “natural” progesterone has been widely used to treat menopausal symptoms, but no scientific evidence exists to prove its effectiveness.
  • Fish Oils – Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil can be a positive component in preventing cardiovascular disease in menopausal women. You can get it through the consumption of fish or via a fish oil capsule if it’s more convenient.
  • Magnesium – Studies have found that the use of magnesium significantly increases bone mineral density in both the elderly and menopausal women.
  • Evening Primrose Oil – Commonly used to treat symptoms associated with menopause, Evening Primrose Oil may reduce hot flashes and depression. Read More→

Insomnia? Natural Ways To End Sleeplessness

Friday, June 3rd, 2011
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It’s very frustrating to even go through one sleepless night because you end up so tired the next morning that you may be disoriented and unable to function as you should. However, if you suffer from sleep loss on a regular basis, you most likely have insomnia. (Generally speaking, this is not a diagnosis.)

Hormonal changes, heart disease, depression and sleep apnea can all cause insomnia. Check with your doctor.

If you’re having trouble sleeping and you want to try some natural remedies here are some natural sleep tips.

  • Melatonin – One of the most popular natural remedies for insomnia, melatonin is actually a hormone produced naturally in the body. The brain makes serotonin which is then made into melatonin, which helps you fall asleep naturally. If your body isn’t producing enough melatonin, you may need to take a supplement before retiring each evening.
  • Meditation – Yoga practices of deep breathing and meditation before you go to bed have proven beneficial to help sufferers of insomnia fall asleep naturally.
  • Aromatherapy – The sedative qualities of inhaling lavender, ylang ylang and chamomile are found to be useful in treating insomnia.
  • Valerian – Non-addictive Valerian has been used for years as a remedy for insomnia. It has qualities that are believed to affect the brain’s calming neurotransmitters. Read More→

Why I Turned On to Herbs and Natural Remedies

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

It was the spring of 1997 when I first became highly interested in the benefits and the power of herbs and natural remedies. Very rarely have I had beneficial experiences with western medicine. I’m allergic to a lot of the “stuff” they prescribe and seem to have far more toxic reactions than average. And, unfortunately, I’ve often been a “victim” of iatrogenics, which means “of or relating to illness [or death] caused by medical examination or treatment”).

5 Hospital Stays,
4 Near Death Experiences

It’s true. I have been admitted to the hospital five times in my life and 4 of those times they nearly killed me… and that’s not what I went in there for! Even giving birth resulted in a medical mishap that nearly cost my life.

Did you know that medical errors kill an average of 44,000 people every year? Wait. That’s not all. It’s really much bigger than that when you look at the whole picture.

Death by Medicine

According to the 2003 medical report “Death by Medicine,” (by Drs. Gary Null, Carolyn Deanh, Martin Feldman, Debora Rasio, and Dorthy Smith) 783,936 people in the United States die every year from conventional medicine.  Approximately 200,000 are from prescribed-taken-as-directed-drug reactions.

According to a 1995 U.S. iatrogenic report, “Over 1 million patients are injured in U.S. hospitals each year, and approximately 280,000 die annually as a result of these injuries. Therefore, the iatrogenic death rate dwarfs the annual automobile accident mortality rate of 45,000 and accounts for more deaths than all other accidents combined.”

Over the course of a 12 month study, more than 2 million patients suffered a serious adverse drug reaction (ADR). Worse still, studies reveal that 75% of these were from toxicity rather than allegic reactions. 100,000 of these patients died.

(And that was before the Vioxx recall and other such cases that have taken place since then.)

Americans are heavily reliant on western medicine and all it’s trimmings, particularly a drug for every conceivable disease, health problem, and (IMO) made up diagnosis. (Have you been paying attention to the advertisements by the pharmaceutical companies? Listen to the side-effects, adverse reactions, and such, too. Then, if you’re prescribed any of these medicines, I highly recommend that you research them as much as you can! )

According to the governmental “Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services” (CMS), national health spending is expected to reach $4.4 trillion and comprise just over one-fifth (20.3 percent) of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2018. Talk about gargantuan business!

Iatrogenic causes now ranks as the #3 killer Read More→

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Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the combined use of medical practices and products that aren’t a part of conventional medicine. Many are using the CAM approach in hopes that they can prevent disease and live a more enhanced quality of life.

People often turn to CAM because conventional medical techniques aren’t always successful in treating chronic health conditions and psychological behaviors. The lack of proper insurance coverage is also a factor in more and more people turning to CAM.

CAM is based on both provider and non-provider therapies. The provider therapies include reflexology and acupuncture and the non-provider therapies include herbal remedies, certain types of exercise and meditation.

A complementary and alternative approach to your health can help you get in touch with your personal power and become the best person you can be, both in mind and body.

If you’re hurting physically or not mentally alert, life can begin to pass you by and you may find yourself in the proverbial rut. The ancient findings of Eastern medicine, combined with our modern technology, can lead the way back to physical fitness and mental alertness.

Some types of healing therapies and treatments that you might want to consider are: Read More→