Posts in remedies
Radiation protection, re-visited

It's been just over a year since the Nuclear meltdown in Japan.  We had a lot of concerns about radiation for a month or two, and then things sort of simmered down. However, I recently had a patient ask me what she could do to protect her young children from the effects of increased radiation in our atmosphere.  There's a lot out there on the web.  Weeding through all of it to determine an effective set of guidelines for families with little ones (or pregnant ones!) has been my pet project for the past few weeks.

Without further ado, I present "Dr. Roe's Radiation Protection Plan"

1. An apple a day.  Pectins (found in apples) are probably the most well-studied food source for radiation protection, even after exposure has occurred.  People in the Chernobyl radiation zone have been advised for years and years now to consume apples on a regular basis to help the body absorb and eliminate excess radiation.

2. Eat iodine-containing foods, and keep a source of iodine on hand for your family in the medicine cabinet.  There is no need to supplement Iodine on a regular basis, and this can, in fact, put people over the age of 40 at risk for thyroid cancer.

3. Add Spirulina to Smoothies or, even better, applesauce a few times per week.  Spirulina also shows the ability to bind radioactive isotopes so that the body can more readily eliminate them.

4. Find a reputable source for Kombucha tea, and drink it 3-6 times per week (8oz serving).  Besides, the hot-link there, I was able to easily find lots of evidence to show the anti-oxidant, free radical scavenging, radiation-busting effects of this ancient beverage.

5. Most of all, be healthy.  Eat whole foods.  Drink water.  Take a daily multivitamin (a good one!!!!)  Avoid sugar and processed foods to keep all of your organ systems intact and functioning properly.  Your body's ability to combat radiation exposure is only as strong as it is healthy.

So there you have it, the naturopathic doctor-approved, weeded-out version of Radiation Protection, 101.

Gear up for flu season

Well, the flu is back, and it might be H1N1, it might be H2N3.  Either way, it's landed and it's yucky.  A few years back when H1N1 hit, we had very few cases in our clinic using a protocol of Elderberry extract, Probiotics, good hygiene, and dietary modification.

  • Elderberry was proven to bind to and prevent H1N1 infections in vitro, according to a 2009 study published on NCBI/PubMed.
  • Probiotics enhance the gut-associated lymphatic tissue, thereby increase immune function.
  • Good hygiene goes without saying, but seriously: WASH YOUR HANDS and DON'T SKIMP ON SLEEP!
  • Keep your sugar consumption very low, and avoid known food sensitivities.

With these in mind, stay healthy...and come see me if you're not!

 

Natural Medicine: The healing effects of the exposure to nature

My buddy, Kurt Beil, wrote a really interesting article last summer that I don't think I have shared here on my blog.  Kurt is an ND/Acupuncturist who studied Environmental Public Health as well.  His focus is on how Nature heals us.  I think we all know that getting out into the fresh air and sunshine (when it does shine here in Portland) makes us feel better at a core level.  Kurt's research proves it. I know that when I was in medical school, stressing out over some exam or research paper could easily be remedied by lacing up my running shoes and heading for one of the many green spaces and hiking trails.  They're calling it "Vitamin G", G for green!  It's just so TRUE.  So after you finish reading this article, get outside and bask in nature.  It's for your own good.  :)

Natural Medicine: The healing effects of the exposure to nature.

A handmade healing salve!

Today, I'm working in my kitchen, whipping up a treat for the folks who come to the Green Sprouts Festival this weekend.  I've been infusing fresh organic calendula flowers in olive oil for 2 weeks, and today I'm turning that oil into a salve. salve 1 |sav; säv| noun an ointment used to promote healing of the skin or as protection.

The first 75 visitors to our booth this year will get a free sample of the Family Tree Medicine Calendula Salve!  We use calendula salve for cuts, scrapes, bruises, and other types of boo-boos.

You can also enter your name to win a brand new Moby Wrap.  Dr. Maurer and I both used this wrap for our little ones when they were babies. So, if you or someone you know is having a baby soon, stop on by, say hi, and try your luck at winning.

We look forward to seeing you there, rain or shine!

Summer is here!

Well, sort of. We aren't having the "summeriest" weather here in the Pacific NW yet, but soon.  Soon!  School's out and the traveling has begun as well as the nights spent outdoors longer and the minor scrapes, bites, and booboos.

For a post on Travel tips, check out this one from last summer.

For tips on dealing with unpleasant digestive issues while traveling, go here.

For kid-friendly recipes to help with stings, bites, bumps, and bruises, see this post.

And lastly, a few last words on travel tips, where you'll find info about miscellaneous obstacles to having a great time, like jet lag and motion sickness.

HAVE A HEALTHY HAPPY SUMMER EVERYONE!

A few last words on Travel Tips.

I'd like to round out the Travel series with a few last tips.  Below you'll find naturopathic remedies for travel-related conditions.imagesJet Lag: 1.    Melatonin: 1-3mg 2 hours before you would like to go to bed.* 2.    Exercise: 30 minutes each day, even while on vacation to regulate stress and help with sleep 3.    Lavendar essential oil drops applied to the pillow or rubbed into the temples to help with sleep.

I also found this: the anti-jetlag diet.  If you have time on your hands, there are some folks out there who swear by it.

images-1Nausea/Motion-sickness: 1.    Ginger: 6 capsules taken 1 hour before travel to soothe stomach 2.    Candied/crystallized ginger: to chew/suck on during travel 3.    Sea-bands: worn on the wrists, applies pressure to acupuncture points known to relieve nausea

Bacterial and fungal skin infections: 1.    Fungal infections:  topical application of Black Walnut (juglans nigra) 5-6 times/day plus vinegar wash 3 x’s /day—1/2 cup apple cider vinegar with 10 drops lavendar essential oil and 10 drops tea tree oil.  Keep the area clean and dry. images-22.    Bacterial skin infections: External: •    Make a strong tea of calendula officinalis flowers and apply as a compress to skin (after it's cooled a bit) •    topical application of Black Walnut tincture (Juglans nigra) 5-6 times/day Internal: Echinacea tincture  30 drops 5-6x’s day *caution: do not take black walnut internally during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

images-3Urinary tract infection: 1.    Parsley tea: simmer ½ cup of fresh parsley in 2 quarts of hot water for 5 minutes and drink over the course of 3 hours to flush the bladder.  Caution during pregnancy—high dosages may stimulate uterus.  Please talk to your Dr. or midwife before taking. 2.    Unsweetened Cranberry juice: up to 3L/day with acute onset 3.    Uva ursi (Bearberry) tincture: 90 drops 4x’s/day

*Always check with your health care practitioner before starting this or any other supplement.

Natural remedies for Traveling with Kids

Whether you're camping, heading to the beach, or staying close to home this summer, you'll want to know about these natural remedies for kids (and adults too!). Sunburn:

1. Mix 1 drop of lavendar essential oil per tablespoon of aloe vera gel and apply to burned areas.

2. For a full-body burn, combine 2 cups of baking soda with 10 drops of lavendar essential oil in a tepid/cool bath and soak for 20 minutes. Apply a soothing hypoallergenic body lotion to skin afterwards to seal in moisture.

Bug Bites: 1.    Prevent bug bites with a homemade bug spritzer: •    2 drops each: Essential Oils of Wintergreen, Citronella, Cedarwood, Peppermint, and Lemongrass. •    Mix with ½ cup distilled water and ¼ cup almond oil (or other yummy oil) and put in a spritzer bottle. 2.    If stung, remove stinger with credit card or fingernail and apply ice quickly to prevent swelling and spread of toxins.  If wheezing or dramatic swelling occurs, call 911 immediately. 3.    Apply lavendar essential oil topically (undiluted, 1 drop) 4.    If itching occurs, combine ¼ cup of witch hazel extract with 20 drops of peppermint essential oil and 20 drops of lavendar essential oil and apply as needed with a cotton ball.

Cuts/Bruises: 1.    If the injured area is bruised, apply arnica gel or cream there 2-3 x’s day until the bruised sensation is getting better.  Can also do homeopathic arnica acutely. 2.    If the injured area is bleeding/open, clean the area thoroughly with soap and water.  Apply calendula salve 2x’s/day until a scab forms, then you can apply comfrey salve and arnica gel to continue the healing process.  Never apply arnica or comfrey to an open wound.

More Naturopathic travel tips: Cha-cha-cha.

Diarrhea:  the runs, the Hershey's squirts, the Aztec tw0-step, Montezuma's revenge, the trots---whatever your name for it is, you need to be prepared when you travel.  Diarrhea is the number one ailment affecting travelers!  The best treatment here is prevention because traveler’s diarrhea can be difficult to treat.  A few things to remember, especially if traveling in areas where the water quality is uncertain:•    Avoid seafood in inland areas •    Carry wet wipes to wipe hands before eating •    For vegetables, cook them, boil them, peel them, or don’ t eat them •    Carry a water bottle with a carbon filter or sterilizer in it •    Order meat well-done •    Use filtered/bottled water for everything (even brushing teeth) To prevent traveler’s diarrhea: 1.    Tincture*** of 1 part each: dandelion root, hops, catnip, chamomile, and artemesia taken 30 drops before each meal ***Caution: this tincture should not be ingested by pregnant or lactating women.  Instead, include the following two suggestions: 2.    Betaine HCl: 2 capsules taken before each meal 3.    Lactobacillus acidophilus: 1-2 capsules taken 20 minutes before each meal with a cup of water 4.    The use of antibiotics is controversial.  With rest and conservation of energy, most cases clear up within 5 days.  Consider antibiotic use under the following circumstances: •    Stool analysis confirms bacterial cause •    Blood mixed in with diarrhea or high fever •    Symptoms continue for greater than 48 hours without sign of improvement •    Passing of greater than 6 stools in 24 hours •    If you are completely unable to stop, rest and recuperate during your travels.

If you think you may have a bacterial or parasitic infection (blood in stool, high fever, worsening symptoms, and very frequent bowel movements), proceed to the nearest hospital or urgent care clinic.   Next week's topic: Naturopathic first aid!

Herbal Nutrition in Pregnancy

DSC_0606Herbal Nutrition for Pregnancy Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus Idaeus): tones the uterus during pregnancy, prevents hemorrhage, provides excellent source of Vitamins C and E.  Also good source of Calcium and Iron.

Nettles (Urtica dioica): great tonic.  Has lots of Vitamins A, D, C, and K. Provides Calcium and Potassium as well.  The Vitamin K is instrumental in preventing hemorrhage during birth.  Also good for leg cramps and hemorrhoids.

Mint family (Mentha spp.): safe and helpful in pregnancy for digestive issues: morning sickness and indigestion.

Oatstraw (Avena sativa): good source of minerals for growing baby and for integrity of veins.  Oatstraw is calming and nourishing.  This herb is a personal favorite!

Specific issues during pregnancy*

Morning sickness:  1-2 cups Raspberry leaf tea, 1-2 spoonfuls of ginger root (Zingiber off.) decoction, peppermint of spearmint tea, alfalfa (Medicago sativa) tea for B vitamins

Varicose veins/Hemorrhoids: 1-2 cups daily of Oatstraw tea, 1-2 cups of nettles tea, raw parsley (Petroselinum sativum) in salads, witch hazel (topically)

Anemia: 1 TBS Yellow dock (Rumex Crispus) decoction per day.  Can also try teas of Dandelion root (Taraxacum off), Parsley, and Nettles.

Heartburn/Indigestion: Anise or Fennel seed tea for after meals, Papaya enzymes, raw almonds, Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva)

Bladder Infections: unsweetened cranberry juice, Uva Ursi leaves infuse for 8 hours, then drink one cup every 12 hours.  Can add yarrow (Achillea millefoilium) if not clear with just Uva ursi.

Hypertension: garlic, cucumbers, Hops (humulus lupulus)—only during 3rd trimester, Passionflower tincture (15 drops per day), Skullcap (Scutellaria off.) 1-2 cups per day, Hawthorn berries (Crataegus off.)

Late Pregnancy uterine tonics: Black and Blue Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa and Caullophyllum thalictroides), Squawvine (Mitchella repens)

*Please consult a helath care practitioner before beginning any new herbal or nutritional regimen

Swine Flu update

Good Morning! Well, it seems that we know a bit more about the Swine flu this week compared to last week.  It does not seem to be quite as contagious or deadly as originally suspected.  That being said, there are new cases every single day, and it's important that we keep ourselves healthy! Are you keeping your stress level down?  Well, you should be.  Stress can down-regulate your immune system.  Yoga, anyone?  Deep breathing?  How about a nice long walk (in the rain, for those of us here in the Pacific NW)?

Influenza can be contagious from one day before symptoms appear to 7 days after the onset of symptoms.  There are several other known strains of the flu going around right now in addition to the Swine flu.  Believe me, I've seen a LOT of people this week with the crud.  It's a bit late in the "flu season" for all this to be going around, but alas--it is.  It also happens to be high allergy season, and unfortunately this makes people more susceptible to things like the flu.  Here are some reminders from the CDC regarding contamination and cleaning to help decrease your chances of getting sick.

Contamination & Cleaning

Photo of hands and soapHow long can influenza virus remain viable on objects (such as books and doorknobs)? Studies have shown that influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for up to 2-8 hours after being deposited on the surface.

What kills influenza virus? Influenza virus is destroyed by heat (167-212°F [75-100°C]). In addition, several chemical germicides, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics), and alcohols are effective against human influenza viruses if used in proper concentration for a sufficient length of time. For example, wipes or gels with alcohol in them can be used to clean hands. The gels should be rubbed into hands until they are dry.

What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination? Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk, for example, and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

How should waste disposal be handled to prevent the spread of influenza virus? To prevent the spread of influenza virus, it is recommended that tissues and other disposable items used by an infected person be thrown in the trash. Additionally, persons should wash their hands with soap and water after touching used tissues and similar waste.

Photo of cleaning suppliesWhat household cleaning should be done to prevent the spread of influenza virus? To prevent the spread of influenza virus it is important to keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, kitchen counters and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.

How should linens, eating utensils and dishes of persons infected with influenza virus be handled? Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick do not need to be cleaned separately, but importantly these items should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Linens (such as bed sheets and towels) should be washed by using household laundry soap and tumbled dry on a hot setting. Individuals should avoid “hugging” laundry prior to washing it to prevent contaminating themselves. Individuals should wash their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub immediately after handling dirty laundry.

Eating utensils should be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap.