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Natural Remedies

Save Your Health

Throughout our long history, humans have turned to natural remedies to ease and fix what ails us. Until the advent of Modern Medicine, that was all that was available.

 

Many natural remedies tend to be highly effective, less toxic, less costly and have fewer undesirable side effects than synthetic (patentable) drugs. Good examples are the alkaloid berberine derived from goldenseal plants and silymarin flavonolignans derived from milk thistle plants used in lieu of the pharmaceutical Metformin for diabetes.

 

What’s more, phytonutrients and other natural remedies tend to provide benefits beyond addressing a single health issue. For example, silymarin has pharmacological properties that protect the blood and heart.

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It also has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

 

Traditional herbalists and shamans around the world possess sophisticated knowledge based on experience healing and preventing diseases and conditions that plague human beings. In contract, Western Medicine relies mostly on pharmaceuticals to reduce only the symptoms of these diseases and conditions.

Allergies

“In general, there is no cure for allergies, but there are several types of medications available — both over-the-counter and prescription — to help ease and treat annoying symptoms like congestion and runny nose.

 

These allergy drugs include antihistamines, decongestants, combination drugs, corticosteroids, and others.” (WebMD, 2017) Read on if you’re interested in addressing what’s actually causing those symptoms – and much of what else is ailing you.

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Bones

Bones remain healthy and strong as long as bone-building activity exceeds bone breakdown. Our most intense bone growth stage runs from birth until about age 30-35. After that, our bones gradually lose minerals.

“If not given the right kind of care, bones can begin to weaken early in life. It’s a quiet, symptom-less process that steals away your bones. You can’t feel it happening, at least not in the early stages – hence the name ‘silent thief’.

Image by Mathew Schwartz

Breathwork

Research is confirming what yoga practitioners have long known: that practicing yoga reduces stress and inflammation. (Holland, undated) A study to test the mechanisms underlying hatha yoga’s stress-reduction benefits compared inflammatory and endocrine responses of female novice and expert yoga practitioners before, during and after a restorative hatha yoga session as well as in two control conditions.

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Cancers

The concept of ‘teaching’ the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells has been around for 100 years. During this time, much has been learned about the immune system and specific immunotherapeutic strategies for cancers are being developed. Two new immunotherapeutic anticancer drugs have recently received approval and several other drugs are in late-stage development, ushering in a new era in anticancer immunotherapy.

Image by National Cancer Institute
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Climate Crisis

“A powerful solution to the climate crisis can be found right beneath our feet—in the soil. By harnessing the immense power of photosynthesis, we can convert atmospheric carbon, a problem, into soil carbon, a solution. Emerging science proves that shifting to regenerative forms of agriculture such as agroecology, agroforestry, cover-cropping, holistic grazing and permaculture will allow us to store excess carbon safely in the ground.” (Center for Food Safety, 2016)

Image by William Bossen

Clostridium Difficile

With the poor condition of many our gut microbiomes, Clostridium difficile bacterial infections of the colon have become a public health crisis. CDIs (C. diff infections) are now more frequent, more severe, more difficult to treat and more often fatal. These infections typically occur after use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, which eradicate the good gut flora along with the targeted bad bacteria. Ironically, the treatment of choice for CDIs is usually heavy duty antibiotics.

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Colds & Viruses

In addition to supporting cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation in the body, and enhancing cognitive brain function, consuming omega-3 fatty acids is an excellent way to prevent colds and even cure flu – including “bird flu”. (Louis, 2013), (Morita et al, 2013) & (Rodale, 2013)

Our bodies can’t generate omega-3s so we must obtain them from outside sources. Plant sources include avocados, walnuts, and seeds (chia, flax, and hemp). Animal sources include fatty fish, egg yolks, and high-quality cuts of meat like grass-fed beef.

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Covid-19

Covid and other viruses spread among people whose immune systems aren’t working properly, making them vulnerable to pathogenic bugs. We often hear people express surprise that someone in ‘good health’ got Covid, a Clostridium difficile infection or some other nasty illness.

At issue here is how we think of ‘good health’. If you define it as not having been diagnosed with a disease, then you’re missing the important role of the gut microbiome. Modern conventional medicine tends to focus on and treat the symptoms of chronic poor gut immunity, dividing the various organs up into medical specialties.

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Dementias

“When immune cells of otherwise healthy individuals detect any peripheral infection, they release proinflammatory cytokines. Chemoreceptors of the sensory vagus nerve detect these localized proinflammatory cytokines, and send a signal to the brain to initiate sickness behavior. Sickness behavior is an involuntary response that includes fatigue, fever, myalgia, depression, and other symptoms that overlap with CFS.”

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Diabetes

Among the numerous health benefits offered by goldenseal is reducing blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. Berberine (an active compound in goldenseal) is responsible for this beneficial effect. “In a preliminary trial, supplementation with 1 gram per day of berberine … for two months significantly lowered blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.” (University of Michigan Health System, 2015)

Goldenseal’s other health benefits include its antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, immune enhancing, digestive stimulating actions. See this 2015 article on Goldenseal by the University of Michigan Health System for more information.

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Essential Oils

Tea tree oil is a true miracle of nature — an essential oil, steam-distilled from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, which includes a variety of plants native to the southeastern area of Queensland and the northeastern coast of New South Wales in Australia. The oil has a fresh, camphor-like odor and a color ranging from pale yellow to clear.  (Wikipedia, 2014) It contains over 98 active compounds, is natural, green and sustainable.

Humans have found many topical uses for this miraculous natural substance. Often referred to as a “medicine cabinet in a bottle”, it stimulates the immune system and is effective against bacteria, fungi and viruses.

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Functional Medicine

I’ve wanted to write about Functional Medicine, as compared to what has evolved into the practice of Western Medicine, for a while and was spurred into action over the weekend by reading Dr Frank Lipman’s description of his Philosophy.

This is part of how Lipman describes his approach to the practice of medicine: I believe in true health care I believe that health is more than merely the absence of disease. It is a total state of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social well-being. 

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Gluten

Gluten is a protein composite comprised of gliadin and glutelin, conjoined with starch, in the endosperm of various grass-related grains, such as wheat, barley and rye.  Gluten is what makes bread dough elastic, helps it rise and keep it’s shape, and gives it a pleasantly chewy texture. Gluten is also used now in a large numbers foods as a thickener, binder, flavor enhancer and protein supplement.

Along with the obvious sources such as breads, cakes and pasta, you’ll encounter gluten  hidden in many processed foods – salad dressings, soups, beer, some chocolates, some licorice, flavored coffees and teas, imitation bacon bits and seafood, sausages, hot dogs, deli meats, sauces, marinades, gravies, seasonings, soy sauce.

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Heart

A recent study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine found that using an antiseptic mouthwash twice daily kills off the good bacteria that help blood vessel walls relax, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and a variety of other health issues.

 

Approximately one third of American adults have high blood pressure, often without any signs of symptoms. Chronically high blood pressure can damage the body and affects how the blood is pushed against the arterial walls while the heart is pumping blood.  (Borreli, 2014)

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Hippocratic Oath

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God. I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. 

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Immune System

Dr Shiva Ayyadurai holds four degrees from MIT, including a PhD in Biological Engineering specializing in Systems Biology. His doctoral thesis focused on modeling the whole cell by integrating molecular pathway models. In 2007, he was awarded a Fulbright US Student Program grant to study the integration of Siddha, a system of traditional medicine developed in South India, with modern systems biology.

Dr Ayyadurai founded CytoSolve, Inc. in 2011 to fulfill his life long mission to promote human health and well being by developing medicines and protocols, and integrating ancient and modern science with Eastern and Western traditional medicine.

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Inflammation

The word inflammation comes from the Latin, īnflammō “I ignite, set alight”. Acute inflammation is the body’s attempt to remove harmful stimuli and begin a healing process. A cascade of biochemical events occurs: Increased blood plasma flows to the threatened area to promote healing. White blood cells fight off foreign bodies. The cut or broken bone heals. (Wikipedia, 2014)

But prolonged, chronic inflammation in the body – also known as low-grade or systemic inflammation – is a different story. It is a maladaptive response leading to a progressive shift in the type of cells present at the inflammation site.

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Magnesium

Magnesium is used by every organ in the body, especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys. It is critical for the proper functioning of over 300 metabolic reactions in the human body. Researchers have also identified 3,751 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins. (Mercola, 2015)

“To name a few (uses), the nutrient is necessary for neurotransmitter, enzyme, and hormonal activity; mitochondrial protein, DNA and RNA synthesis; and glucose homeostasis, active transport, and glutathione and ATP production.

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Mental Health & Stress

Controlled breathing has been used since antiquity to relieve anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. What hasn’t been known is exactly how this works.

As reported in an article called “Breathing control center neurons that promote arousal in mice” published in Science, a group of researchers set out to locate the physiological, neuronal  basis of the relationship between breathing and higher-order brain activity and accidentally discovered a clue about how breathing calms the mind. (Yackle et al, 2017)

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Neti Pot

I recommend getting a ceramic rather than a plastic neti pot – much easier to keep it clean. The ceramic ones can be put in the dishwasher to sterilize. I’ve used the same white ceramic model for a few decades.

You can buy those more expensive packages of neti pot salt or get a big container of pure sea salt and use some of it. I like La Baleine Sea Salt (Fine).

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Nutrition

Western medicine, led on by the pharmaceutical giants (with plenty of help from the media), has capitalized on your desire for instantaneous relief even though it leads to more complications down the road. They offer toxic poisons in the form of drugs to treat the symptoms of starvation.”   – Paul J Rosen, JD, LAc, author of The Great Health Heist: An introduction to nutrition response testing  

 

Rosen is talking about NUTRITIONAL STARVATION.

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Parkinson’s

A recently published study led by Dr Katherine C. Hughes at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health provides evidence of a positive correlation between consumption of low-fat dairy products and risk of developing Parkinson’s, a serious autoimmune disease. Subjects who consumed three or more servings of low-fat dairy a day were found to have a 34% greater risk of developing Parkinson’s compared to those who consumed less than one serving a day.  Dr Hughes study is the largest analysis of dairy and Parkinson’s to date. (Hughes, 2017) & (Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, 2017)

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Pre- and Probiotics

A lot is being written these days about the importance of probiotics for maintaining or restoring good health. Probiotics are micro-organisms, mostly friendly bacteria and some yeasts, that we consume to create a healthy and balanced gut microbiome. Probiotics are essential to our health – an unbalanced gut microbiome produces chronic inflammation in the gut and in other parts of the body, leading to all sorts of autoimmune diseases and other serious health problems. If your gut microbiome is lacking in probiotics, pathogenic bacteria can move in opportunistically and take over.

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Salts

Contrary to popular belief, table salt is not just sodium chloride. It also contains additives that are designed to make it more free-flowing. Ferrocyanide, talc, and silica aluminate are commonly included. Aluminum intake leads to neurological disorders, particularly when no selenium is provided to help the body to chelate it. Aluminum bio-accumulates inside the body, causing further degeneration over time. Talc is a known carcinogen, though its effects upon ingestion have not been heavily studied. 

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Skin

I’ve written on the dangers of hand sanitizers here and there on this site but decided to devote a whole post to them after encountering a big wall dispenser of Purell above a sink in a lovely West Village church bathroom  yesterday – with no hand soap option. I’m sure the church believes they  made a sensible choice. This got me thinking about how thoughtful people have been seriously misled. So here’s the explanation of why Purell in a bathroom is a bad idea.

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Sleep

The pyloric valve’s principal function is to control the flow of partially digested material from the stomach into the duodenum, the topmost section of the small intestine, where most of the nutrients get extracted from what we eat. When the valve is working well, it opens slightly a few times a minute to allow a small amount of food to move into the duodenum. Its secondary function is to prevent bile from flowing back from the small intestine into the stomach (bile reflux). 

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Stress & Tension

For many people, this kind of breathing is no longer instinctive. Instead, many of us have become shallow chest, or thoracic, breathers—inhaling through our mouth, holding our breath and taking in less air. Over time our breathing patterns have shifted as a reaction to environmental stressors, like temperature, pollution, noise, and other causes of anxiety. Cultural expectations, including the desire to have a flat stomach, encourage holding our breath and sucking in our stomachs, further tightening our muscles. 

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Summer Heat

New York City, along with much of the country, has been suffering through a prolonged heat wave with temperatures in the upper 90’s, high humidity, and ‘bad air’ alerts nearly every day.  Even a short while spent outdoors produces heavy sweating as the body tries to keep itself at a reasonable working temperature.

I’d been trying to stay hydrated but this scary experience made me realize I was probably dehydrated at the cellular level and needed to pay more attention to my electrolyte balance during this kind of weather.

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Teeth

Most of the billions of bacteria living in the mouth are harmless – even necessary for good health. Maintaining good oral health supports those good bacteria and enables the body’s natural defenses to keep bad bacteria under control. But, without proper oral hygiene, pathogenic bacteria can reach levels that lead to tooth decay and gum disease – and also create disease elsewhere in the body.

Additionally, medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants reduce saliva flow. 

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Traditional Medicine

Tibetan Medicine, one of the world’s oldest healing traditions, has been practiced for more than four thousand years in Tibet and the Himalayan region. Tibetan Medicine, called Sowa Rigpa in Tibetan, means the knowledge and science of healing. Sowa means to heal the imbalanced and Rigpa means the knowledge or science of a particular subject. Sowa Rigpa is regarded as one of the most important sciences in Tibet. (Tibetan Wellness & Healing Center)

 

Tibetan Medicine is a fully holistic system, highly esteemed throughout Asia for its subtle and accurate diagnoses and effective treatment. 

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Vertigo

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is caused by a problem in the inner ear. Tiny calcium “stones” inside your inner ear canals help you keep your balance. Normally, when you move a certain way, such as when you stand up or turn your head, these stones move around. Sometimes these stones move into an area of your inner ear called the semicircular canal. When you move your head in certain ways, the stones in the semicircular canal move. Sensors in the semicircular canal are triggered by the stones, which causes a feeling of dizziness.

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