Saturday, January 31, 2009

Airborne


Immune system booster.

This popular remedy is one you can find in supermarkets, drug stores, and your friendly neighborhood WalMart. For about $5 you get 10 fizzy tablets (put them in water, not your mouth!) that may help thwart cold and flu bugs you pick up in public places. Like airplanes, where the air keeps recirculating.

Or classrooms, where you may sit for an hour or more with people who didn't want to miss a class, but are willing to pass the joy along to someone else who may miss a class or a fun weekend. Don't let this happen to you, not if you can help it! And you can - or at least you can try.

When something is going around, prop up your immune system before venturing out in public. Or if something has caught you by surprise, start taking this remedy as soon as you notice. (You can take antispas, too.)

Airborne has vitamins A, C, and E, minerals magnesium, potassium, zinc, selenium, and manganese, and herbal extracts including echinacea and ginger to help your immune system in times of challenge. It also has some amino acids.

In addition to the tube of fizzy tablets you can get single-serve packets that you add to a personal-sized bottle of water. (Caution: don't add the powder to your water bottle, close it up because it's suddenly (finally!) time to board the plane, take your seat, shake it up a little to remix, then open it. It makes a rather loud and suspicious-sounding popping noise that could alert the authorities! When I unthinkingly did this, I was very surprised - and relieved - that nobody seemed to notice.)
Note: My bad. Instructions clearly say DO NOT SHAKE.

For convenience - and airport security - Airborne Soft Chews have the original Airborne formula and don't need water. They come in caramel apple flavor. Sounds yummy! (I just found out about this one, so I'll let you know what I think of it later.)

In addition to several convenient forms and formulas, this remedy comes in many flavors. I've tried the orange fizzy tablets and the lemon-lime packets, and like both. Yet to try: pink grapefruit (tablets), and any of the other flavors and forms. Read on.

For kids, there are Airborne Power Pixies - put it right on your tongue - available in an 8-packet box with fun flavors Cherry, Grape, Sour Apple and Bubble Gum. Also, grape-flavored Airborne Jr. fizzy tablets that go in water.

Airborne Gummies is a throat-soothing formula with six natural flavors. Airborne Nighttime, in apple cider flavor, has the original Airborne formula plus herbs to help you sleep. Airborne Seasonal has herbs, vitamins, and minerals to boost your immune system during allergy season, and comes in a citrus blend flavor.

I highly recommend this company and their products. I've used the fizzy tablets for years and felt much better for doing it. With all these forms, formulas and flavors, you're sure to find one that's just right for you!

Have you already tried it? Did you like it? How did it work for you? Leave a comment below.

More Info:

Airborne - the official website, with history, product information, lists of ingredients, special offers, and new product announcements.

Airborne settles lawsuit for $23.3 million - article about the settlement of a class action lawsuit which alleged false advertising. [My personal opinion: the original formula is a good product and it works. I trust the other formulas are also helpful.]

Order Airborne:

Friday, January 30, 2009

AttentiveChild


It's not just for kids!

Attentivechild is a lovely remedy for anyone who has trouble keeping focused. "Enhances Mental Concentration" is what it says on the label. It's made by Source Naturals, and every product of theirs I've used has worked very well for me.

I first started using Attentivechild a couple of years ago. I got a small bottle at my local health food store. The kind of work I do - making and checking affiliate links, and typing all day long - is very taxing on my brain. And some days it just starts off kinda fuzzy. (Typical fibrofog.)

When I need more focus, I reach for this handy remedy. It's a tasty chewable - also available in liquid form. Although the recommended dose for children is 2 wafers, I often just take one and my thinking becomes much clearer within minutes. Usually I take two when I'm learning something technical (ugh!) where I'm naturally slower on the uptake and my mind starts spinning. It makes learning such things a bit easier for me.

After I went through my first bottle of 30 wafers, I ordered a 120 wafer bottle, and have gone through about half of that. My only complaint about this product is that it is packed with cotton at the top of the bottle. After a while, the wafers got a little sticky and cotton fibers would stick to them. Once I noticed that, I removed the cotton, but I'm still checking every tablet for threads and finding some. If I don't remove them, the tend to stick in my throat and annoy me for a while. So whatever size you buy, remove the cotton right away!

The main ingredients in Attentivechild are DMAE, DHA and grape seed extract. DMAE has been shown to raise levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid found in found in phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylserine. It supports brain function and has been shown to help with both long and short-term memory. Grape Seed Extract helps reverse the effects of aging on the brain. Other ingredients include magnesium and L-Aspartate, the former helps with neurotransmitter function, the latter is an amino acid that functions as a neurotransmitter.

My recommendation: if your focus has fizzled and your brain feels drained, give this remedy a try! (See ordering info below.)

Order Attentivechild:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ginger: A Tasty Remedy


Yummy remedy for dizziness and nausea.

Ginger is one of my favorite remedies. It tastes great and works wonders! It goes to work quickly to allay nausea and is a natural for preventing motion sickness or making it go away. Even pregnant women can safely take ginger, and it is reputed to help the nausea of pregnancy.

It doesn't matter what form you take it in. If you like the convenience of pills - or don't like the taste of ginger - there are tablets and capsules. If you like ginger snaps or ginger bread, eat 'em up! If you like ginger ale, ginger beer (a stronger form of ginger ale), ginger tea, fresh ginger, pickled ginger, or crystallized ginger, enjoy!

A note on crystallized ginger: buy it by the bag at a health food store, not in the spice section of a supermarket unless it's an emergency. You'll save money and get more ginger!

When my kids were still at home we'd keep a bottle or two of Canada Dry ginger ale on hand in case of stomach viruses. If we heard something was going around we'd all drink it as a preventative measure. If a stomach virus suddenly appeared, ginger ale was there to help!

Nowadays I have more problems with dizziness and vertigo than with nausea or stomach viruses, and I keep crystallized ginger on hand. When an episode strikes me I hold onto the counter, reach for the ginger bag, stick a piece in my mouth, chew, and hold it in my mouth for a few minutes before swallowing. There are lots of blood vessels under the tongue to help it absorb quickly.

Crystallized ginger is also convenient to carry around. It isn't heavy and won't spoil or spill. You can knock off some of the excess sugar if you want before placing in an airtight container, such as a small Ziploc. Place that in a cloth pouch if you want to protect the plastic and avoid sugar messes.

Read more about ginger:

Ginger - history, uses, and precautions.

Ginger Recipes at Eating Well.

How to Make Candied Ginger - recipe and helpful tips

How to Make Pickled Ginger - at Recipe Zaar

Order ginger:

The Ginger People - A business and website devoted to quality ginger products.

Note: link to The Ginger People is not an affiliate link, but the following ones are:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Arnica Gel


For bruising - or rather for not bruising!

Caution: This remedy is for external use only. It is toxic if taken internally, except as a homeopathic preparation which is too dilute to cause harm.


Arnica gel is a great remedy to slap on yourself (gently!) whenever you bump into that nasty corner of the counter (again!) or whatever else you've banged into. It helps prevent bruising and promotes healing. I use it all the time (clumsy, I guess), or at least I did until someone needed it more than I did and I gave it away.

I need to remember I was given a jar of healing cream (Hippie Goo Bangs & Bruises) containing arnica I can use instead of my familiar tube. I remembered it once, and was happy to have it on hand. It worked just as well as my big tube I'd used over the years. (This and other remedies also available from AntikaNueva - scroll down her shop page to see the items.)

So apparently any good arnica gel or cream will do. (See "Order Arnica" links below.) I've been using Boericke's Arniflora Arnica Gel (2.75 fl oz tube) for years, and it still had about a quarter left when I gave it away. It only takes a little bit to make a big difference!

So, if objects tend to run into you like they do me, get some arnica and remember to apply it right away. (No, not right away when you get it, right away when injured...but don't apply it to an open wound. Remember, it's toxic internally.) Sometimes I even carried it with me if I was taking a backpack. You never know when your poor unsuspecting shin might get whacked.

Links to more arnica info:


Arnica - history, uses, precautions.

Arnica for Pain? - article on Dr Weil's website

Order Arnica:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tea Tree Oil for Mouth Sores


It's antiseptic and helps them heal faster.

I like to use this remedy - just a drop - on mouth sores when I get them. I put the drop on my finger, then rub it on the sore(s). There are warnings against it internally; however, health food stores do sell tea tree oil toothpicks, and many brands of toothpaste and mouthwash they sell contain it.

In my experience, a small amount has done no apparent harm - just be very careful not to swallow it. Tea tree oil is toxic if swallowed. (Expectorate your saliva for a minute or two after using.) You can also add a drop to a small amount of water and use as a mouth rinse. (Use caution, do not swallow!) Oh, and while I'm issuing cautions, be sure to wash your finger well after if you use it to apply the oil, lest you rub your eye later and cause yourself pain and or harm. (Or both!)

Without it, a sore will last me several days. With it, the pain diminishes right away, and the sore seems to heal much faster. Sometimes I don't even notice it again after the first application, other times it takes two or three applications, usually just after brushing my teeth.

It's also useful for cuts and scrapes, but shouldn't be used on an open wound.

Additional properties: antifungal, antiviral. (External use only. Good addition to natural household cleaning solutions.)

More info on this remedy:

Doctors test tea tree oil body wash for MRSA [methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus] article on Reuters website.

Numerous cautions on the NIH website, including cautions against using orally.

Use and precautions on American Cancer Society's website. Also has info on who is more likely to have allergic reactions to this remedy.

Order Tea Tree Oil:


Monday, January 26, 2009

Antispasmodic Tincture


Nip illness in the bud.

I'm starting off today with a caution: If you have pneumonia, may be on the verge of pneumonia, or suspect any other serious illness, get medical attention! And consider these contraindications before taking this remedy. [This link opens a new page.]

That said, on with the show! OK, today I want to tell you about a handy remedy described in Jethro Kloss's classic health book, Back To Eden. He calls it antispasmodic tincture. In our family, we are so friendly with this remedy we call it antispas. I keep all my family and close friends supplied with this remedy; I make a batch of it and divvy it up or send to them as needed.

Jethro Kloss gives two slightly different recipes in the book. I use a slight adaptation of one of them, omitting a couple of hard to get and relatively unimportant ingredients.

So, what is this remedy, and what's in it for you? First of all, what's in it (my adaptation): lobelia, skullcap, myrrh, black cohosh, cayenne, alcohol such as Everclear, vodka or rum. Black cohosh is antispasmodic and expectorant. So is Lobelia, which opens the airways, making breathing easier. Cayenne is warming, anti-inflammatory and helps mucous membranes do their job. Skullcap keeps nerves from being irritated and small vessels from rupturing. Myrrh helps prevent canker and bolsters the system. Alcohol is the extracting agent and carrier.

What we take it for: Originally, I used this remedy for my daughter who occasionally got croup as a child. She tended to get congested after consuming dairy products, which we avoided at home. When she reached school age, class holiday parties would often result in illness. I read in Back to Eden that this remedy was excellent for whooping cough and thought it might help her, too. And it did. Amazingly so. Coughs and congestion that usually took two weeks to clear took two or three days, especially if the remedy was given as soon as the first symptoms appeared.

I started taking it myself whenever I felt something might be coming on. Usually, I would get sick a couple times a year with a cold or the flu. After I started taking this remedy at the first hint of illness, I didn't get sick for several years! And when I did, it was because I didn't take the antispas at the first sign, or perhaps I did, but a few days later started feeling iffy again and didn't take it right away.

A neighbor's son whose colds generally led to pneumonia was very happy to try this remedy; it worked well for him, too. His colds didn't progress to pneumonia when he took the antispas.

I couple other people I'm close to were at or near the pneumonia stage before I was informed about their illness. One didn't have any antispas, and an overnight shipment arrived it time to help prevent it. The other was already quite ill, and a gentle reminder to take the antispas probably helped with recovery; however, at this stage of illness, it pretty much has to run its course. It was viral, so antibiotics, though administered to prevent secondary infections, couldn't touch the pneumonia itself.

Once you've had pneumonia, you become more susceptible to it in the future, so I make sure these two people stay supplied with antispas so they can take it as soon as they notice they may be coming down with something. An ounce of prevention and all that...it's so true!

Although I can't recommend its use in place of an inhaler for asthma, I did have occasion to give a dose of this remedy to someone who was having a mild asthma attack and couldn't find her inhaler. It did the trick for that one episode. But remember, asthma attacks can be fatal, so do not use this remedy in place of an inhaler or proper medical attention!


You may have noticed I keep saying to take this at the first sign of coming down with something. It isn't just for respiratory ailments, it can help with other illness, too. Jethro Kloss lists many we don't see much these days - typhus, typhoid, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, whooping cough - but I believe it is useful in cases of modern flu-type illnesses. When something's going around and I think I'm getting it, too, I take the antispas right away.

Speaking of right away, I really mean that. Often when I coming down with a cold, my first sign is a slightly sore throat in the middle of the night. If I wait until morning to take antispas, I'm more likely to get sick. If I take it right away, I usually avoid it.

So now that I've got you all excited about this remedy, I know you want to make it. Here's my recipe.

Recipe for Antispasmodic Tincture

3 oz lobelia leaf powder (or 1 oz powdered lobelia seed)
1 oz black cohosh
1 oz skullcap
1 oz myrrh powder
1/2 oz cayenne (regular cayenne powder from supermarket is fine)
1 qt alcohol (pure drinking alcohol such as Everclear is best, or you can use vodka or rum although they have a much lower proof and may not be as effective at extracting the useful properties from the herbs.)

Note: powdered herbs are best, but other forms will work, too. But if you get black cohosh in chopped up root form, rather than ground don't grind it in your coffee grinder, it's too hard and can break it. Just use the chopped roots as-is.


Place all herbs in a wide mouth jar. Add some alcohol and shake or stir to get the herbs wetted. Add as much more alcohol as will fit in the jar, with some space at the top to allow shaking. (You'll have a bit of the alcohol left over.) Keep in a dark place and shake well once daily for a week. Then strain out the liquid, and press out what you can from the herbs. Discard the herbs. Give the liquid a final straining through a cloth tea bag, then put into bottles and store in a dark place such as a cabinet.

If you're just using it for yourself (one household), put most into a larger jar, and fill a smaller dropper bottle for immediate use when needed. If sending some by mail, get one bottle that closes tightly for the remedy, and an empty dropper bottle they can fill themselves (or ask if they have one already or can get one.) Otherwise, it may leak out in shipping. Put it in a zip-lock bag to help contain any leakage.

Oh yes, how to use it! Open bottle. Squeeze out any remedy in the dropper back into the bottle. Close bottle and shake well. Older children and adults: Place 20 drops (about a half dropperful) in a couple ounces of water or juice. (If you place the dropper back in the bottle empty, you probably can just shake and use the next time.) Take 1 to 4 times a day, depending on severity of illness. If you need 4, consider medical attention! For younger children and babies, take less, down to a drop on a finger for a baby. Always use caution, and seek medical attention if indicated!

When you take it, you'll notice the cayenne and the icky taste, which is more noticeable in water than in juice. Chase it with some more water or juice if you like. If you have a sore throat and want maximum benefit, take it in water and don't drink or eat anything for a few minutes.

I hope you have as much success with this remedy as we have experienced. Here's to your health!

Order Antispasmodic tincture supplies:

Mountain Rose Herbs has everything you need. This is where I order my herbs for antispas. Good prices, bulk herbs in ounces, many organic herbs. Has all the herbs needed - most online shops are missing one or two.
Here are specific links to the items I get: lobelia, black cohosh, skullcap, myrrh, cayenne. They also have glass bottles in a variety of styles and sizes.

Here are some other sources, including an already-made tincture that includes skunk cabbage, and some tinctures of skunk cabbage, for those who want to include it. (It was in Kloss' original formula.) Apparently Skunk Cabbage is impossible to find as a powder or herb. It is available by itself as a tincture, but I have no idea what quantity to use in relation to Kloss' formula. I think Dr. Christopher's formula has the same ingredients as Kloss' original formula, but I don't know if the proportions are the same. His ingredients are: scullcap herb, lobelia herb, valerian root, skunk cabbage root, myrrh gum, black cohosh root, and cayenne.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Nettle


What a relief this remedy is!

I was having an annoying urinary frequency/urgency problem a few months ago, and happened to notice a bottle of Nettle in my cabinet that says right on the front of the label, "Promotes Urinary Tract Function." I didn't remember purchasing it, but obviously I did. (Perhaps I should buy something for memory - or maybe I already have!)

I've had this problem since 1970, and sometimes it's worse than others. This was one of those times. So I followed the directions: put 56 drops (about a dropperful) in a small amount of water and drank it down. Didn't taste bad to me (your opinion may differ.) And it made a noticeable difference within about an hour. What a relief!

Usually I try to avoid the things that will make this problem worse. Things like tomato sauce, or anything else with a tomato base like spaghetti sauce or (vegan) chili. Consuming sugar can also give me problems, but with frequency more than urgency. This was both, and it was very annoying. I don't remember now what might have brought it on this time, but I was glad to have this handy remedy on hand. (Of course, if you suspect an infection, get medical attention as soon as possible! See info at Mayo Clinic's website.)

My problem is a chronic irritation, possibly interstitial cystitis. After all these years, I didn't even realize that was a possibility until very recently when talking with a friend. I've had every test in the book done on it. I've tried all kinds of remedies. Corn silk tea helps, but I find it too inconvenient. And after "discovering" nettle, I was informed about another product which helps, too, Crystal Star's Bladder Kidney Comfort Tea.

What I like about the Nettle is that not only can it sit on my desk, ready to use any time, it also has some other nice applications. Like for arthritis, which I also have. Both kinds. Lucky me. I recommended it to my sister who has osteoarthritis in her hands, and it has helped her, too, and she's only taking one dose a day. Actually, I think she only takes a half dose a day. (She also takes ibuprofen when it's bad, but she was already doing that, and nettle tincture has been a useful addition.

She and I use organic Nettle (leaf) tincture from Nature's Answer (to order, see link below) though I imagine any good brand of liquid, tablet, or capsule would do. (Fresh nettle, too. Just be careful when picking and preparing it. This is stinging nettle we're talking about.

Before trying this remedy be sure to read the AltMed article on its history, uses, cautions, and contraindications on the University of Maryland Medical Center website.

There's also a Nettle Wiki if you'd like to read that.

Order Nettle:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Yarrow Flower Essence


Helps sensitive people reset their psychic filters.

OK, don't laugh because I said psychic filters. This is both real and serious.

I read about this remedy a few years ago in The Sensitive Person's Guide Survival Guide by Kyra Mesich, Psy.D. This was the third book I read in a short period on introversion/sensitivity, the first being The Introvert Advantage, and the second being The Highly Sensitive Person. Each of these books has a unique explanation of introversion/sensitivity. (In the context of this blog entry, sensitive means empathic.)

As I remember (yes, I have the book right in front of me; no, you can't borrow it) Dr. Mesich found yarrow essence to be an essential remedy for resetting her aura. (The aura is a subtle energy field that surrounds each one of us.)

Hers had become too permeable; she was sensing other people's emotions as if they were her own. She's a psychologist, and some of her clients were experiencing very strong negative emotions. Mistaking them for her own puzzling and unfounded feelings, she sought understanding and solutions. She found yarrow. In her book she told how it helped her and recommended specific types (pink, golden, white) for specific sets of problems, and also recommended particular brands. For me the choice was Yarrow (white yarrow, Achillea millefolium) by FES.

I tried it. I liked it! I felt a real difference!! I have recommended it (same type and brand) to friends and relatives, who have also tried it and found it helpful. None of them are as sensitive as me, and most of them are extroverts. Though sensitivity is found in introverts and extroverts, introverts have a double-whammy if they are also sensitive. Introverts have a relatively lower tolerance for stimulation than extroverts do. Also, introversion/extroversion runs along a spectrum. You aren't simply one or the other, you are introvert or extrovert to a greater or lesser degree, or perhaps fall somewhere near the middle.

And while I'm clarifying things, introversion is not the same as shyness. As Dr. Laney explains in The Introvert Advantage, shyness is a social disorder which can be worked on, introversion and extroversion are part of your temperament: built-in, unchangeable, but something you can learn to work with.

Now back to our subject: yarrow flower essence. This remedy has an interesting feature: once your aura is reset, you will probably only need it again occasionally. In the beginning I took it several times a day the first week, and two or three times a day for several weeks after. Now I only take it when I suspect I may be needing it.

Like when I feel kind of depressed, and I know someone who is depressed. If I'm empathically feeling their depression, yarrow will help. If taking yarrow doesn't help, I look at other possible causes: insufficient sleep (introverts must have their down time, including sleep), too much sugar, not enough exercise, didn't take my vitamins, financial worries, etc. (If you have major depression, or know someone who does, seek professional help! Do not rely on natural remedies, at least not without professional supervision.)

It's easy to take, too: just add 4 drops to a small amount of water, and take as often as needed. FES's Yarrow (white yarrow) is a 1:6000 infusion of Achillea millefolium in water and brandy, so it's a fairly safe remedy. (Of course, if for some reason you react badly to it, stop taking it.)

So, if you think your emotions could use a natural remedy, give this one a try! (Ordering info below.) And if you're an introvert, you might discover all kinds of things about yourself by reading one of the books I mentioned. They're available from Amazon (links below), local bookstores (order if you need to), and perhaps your local public library (get it on inter-library loan if necessary). If you're not an introvert, recommend them to introverts you know, or get them for yourself to better understand the introverts in your life.

I'm not trying to get you to buy them through my Amazon affiliate link. If you do, fine, thanks, I appreciate it; but even more, I appreciate you spreading the word about these books and this remedy. I lived 50 years before discovering what it meant to be an introvert, and these books have given me an understanding of myself I wish I'd had since childhood! It's important information for parents of introvert children, too.

Order Yarrow:

White | Golden | Pink | Yarrow Environmental Solution - at FESflowers (official website; not affiliate links)

You can also purchase online from VitaSprings (affiliate links, I get small commission when you purchase, and it doesn't cost you any extra...thanks!):


Recommended Article:

Developing Positive Sensitivity - Article about yarrow types and Dr. Kyra Mesich

Order the Books I Recommended:

The Sensitive Person's Survival Guide: An Alternative Health Answer to Emotional Sensitivity & Depressionicon
by Kyra Mesich, Psy.D.

The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert Worldicon
by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D.

The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms Youicon
by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hot Lemonade


Good for the common cold.

Even good for the uncommonly bad common cold. It won't cure it. And for goodness sake get medical attention if you're that sick!

But back to our subject: hot lemonade and honey. What I mean by hot lemonade is put the juice of half a lemon (strain out the seeds) into a coffee or tea cup of hot water. Add honey to taste. If you like, add several pieces of thinly sliced fresh ginger. Let it sit a few minutes - especially if you add ginger but definitely until it is drinking temperature. Sip and savor or drink it right down. Repeat as desired.

Lemon helps dry up your sinuses a bit, helping you breathe a little easier, and hopefully feel a little better. The honey soothes your throat - especially important since some people find the lemon a bit irratating to a sore throat. If you don't like honey, use sugar or stevia (an herbal sweetener), but please don't use aspartame! (Ever! It's baaaad, so bad for you!)

Hope you're feeling better soon! Now get back under the covers and stay warm.

Order Cold Remedies:

Order Stevia:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ashwagandha


Ayurvedic remedy and adaptogen

Ashwagandha is similar to ginseng, but is purported to be better for one of my worst enemies, inflammation. It is also helpful for memeory (or lack thereof), anxiety, stress, and preventing cartilage damage from arthritis. It lowers cortisol - the primary stress hormone and causer of inflammation.(source) I have all these lovely conditions. Lucky me.

I started taking Life Extension's ashwagandha the morning of January 16, 2009, and it made a noticeable difference from the first day. I feel much less anxious, more relaxed and more energized, and feel more flexible when doing yoga. I think for me the anti-anxiety effect is the primary source of benefit: I'm not wasting energy on nervousness and excess muscle tension, therefore I have more energy, which increases my alertness and enhances thought processes, and with my muscles more relaxed I do yoga more effectively. Reading the cortisol info at About.com affirms my observations.

Ashwagandha isn't a stimulant - I don't do well with those (can't even drink decafeinated coffee.) I feel more energized simply because I have more energy. "Waste not, want not!"

One person I've recommended it to has hypertension and was concerned about ashwagandha's effects/safety. An article at Life Extension Foundation doesn't have any cautions regarding high blood pressure. Likewise, an article about ashwagandha on Deepak Chopra's website didn't have any warnings for people with hypertension. I don't know anyone who has more experience with Ayurvedic remedies than Dr. Chopra, so if he isn't warning against it, I would think it would be o.k., but do check with a qualified medical practitioner before taking ashwagandha or any other remedy!

Recommended sources of information on this wonderful remedy:

Deepak Chopra

Ashwagandha: Stress Reduction, Neural Protection, and a Lot More from an Ancient Herb - article at Life Extension Foundation, where it also says that animal studies on ashwagandha's anti-cancer properties look promising.(source)

Order Ashwagandha:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Vitamin K and Post-Menopausal Bleeding


My thoughts for the day, about vitamin K...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Update (2-25-09) - The person mentioned here found out today she has adenocarcinoma of the uterus. I wish I had known this was a possibility several months ago when her bleeding problems started. She is hopefully still in the early stages (now her doctors are in a hurry to get more information and start treatment) but if I had read the article linked here then, I would have made sure her doctors acted more swiftly to determine the cause of her post-menopausal bleeding!

Please read about adenocarcinoma before considering my information!
"The most frequent symptom of cancer of the uterus is abnormal bleeding. In postmenopausal women any bleeding is considered cancer of the uterus until proven not to be."
[source linked above]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I know someone who has post-menopausal bleeding, who is awaiting a d&c (is this really the best solution?) to remove the excess tissue believed to cause the problem. She recently had an infection on a finger and took a course of antibiotics. That was about a month ago. Now she's having the bleeding problem again.

It occurred to me that a deficiency of vitamin K might be making matters worse. You see, vitamin K is manufactured by friendly bacteria in the intestines. Antibiotics kill bacteria without asking if they are friend or foe. Vitamin K might make the difference between bleeding and not bleeding, or at least less bleeding rather than more. So I suggested she take a vitamin K supplement, take acidophilus or eat yogurt to help replace the friendly bacteria, and/or eat foods rich in vitamin K. Whatever is available to meet her vitamin K needs, if low.

Her blood-type is O, and according to Eat Right for Your Type, "Type O's have lower levels of several blood-clotting factors, which lead to bleeding disorders." (online source of quote)

She doesn't have a clotting disorder, which I mention because that and medications for it can be a contraindication for consuming additional vitamin K or pro-vitamin K substances. (See current recommendations on the Mayo Clinic website.)

Also important to mention is that her condition has at times been life-threatening and required immediate medical attention, including a transfusion. Her fibrinogen levels were so low they were in the range where you can suddenly die from hemorrhaging without warning and without any blow or injury. This is not something to fool around with! Her doctor also prescribed iron, folic acid, and B12 supplements.

You can read more about vitamin K at the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center on the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University website.

Other ideas to consider:

Adenocarcinoma - Straightforward article about what adenocarcinoma is, stages, and prognosis information.

Low Progesterone.
"Estrogen breakthrough bleeding occurs when excess estrogen stimulates the endometrium to proliferate in an undifferentiated manner. With insufficient progesterone to provide structural support, portions of the endometrial lining slough at irregular intervals. The usual progesterone-guided vasoconstriction and platelet plugging do not take place, often resulting in profuse bleeding."
Source: "Abnormal Uterine Bleeding" article on the American Academy of Family Physicians website.

"Low progesterone can lead to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis"
Not a vitamin K issue, but if you have postmenopausal bleeding and Hashimoto's you may want to look into progesterone as an underlying factor in both disorders.

Order Vitamin K:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It All Begins Here


Day one.

An auspicious day. One that concerns not only personal health but the health of the nation. How healthy are we? If we want a better health system, we should look to ourselves first. Yes, even me, a vegetarian/vegan and "health food nut" since 1986. People often comment, when I tell them I'm vegan, that my diet is so healthy. My response: I could be eating nothing but potato chips and still be vegan!

Fortunately, I eat better than that, but there's much room for improvement: more fresh fruits and vegetables, more quality protein, fewer carbs - yes, even the whole-grain carbs which constitute the bulk(!) of my carb consumption are unhealthy if excessive. I already avoid lots of bad things: don't smoke, rarely drink (and very little when I do), consume very little sugar (none would be better), do not drink coffee or soda, avoid partially hydrogenated fats (almost always). I could definitely use more exercise, fresh air and sunshine (safest when shadow is longer than I am tall).

What to Do

Start out small. Make one commitment for improvement. For today, I commit to eating more veggies. Maybe not all fresh, more than I'd like will be frozen (back problems make preparation difficult), occasionally canned (beets, artichoke hearts, asparagus) but more. It's a step in the right direction. And more importantly, it's a step. Breaking away from the inertia that keeps me repeating the same mistakes.

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