Many holistically-minded consumers have heard of and/or tried Maca – a root vegetable belonging to the mustard family which has been used medicinally for thousands of years in the Andean region of South America. In health food stores, you’ll frequently find it in supplements intended to support athletic performance, hormonal regulation and virility. In addition, Maca powder is sometimes featured in juices and smoothie concoctions for added nutrition and unspecified health benefits. In essence, Maca has taken on a similar reputation as ashwagandha or ginseng, as an adaptogen which promotes balance in various systems in the body. However, not all Maca products are created equal.
Tags: High Blood Pressure, Maca, Menopause
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health | No Comments;
The number of scientific studies devoted to specific natural remedies and traditional foods is difficult to predict. For instance, it’s possible to have a few to several studies published in one year and then virtually nothing more for another decade. Certainly, this is partially due to economics. Big cash crops and patented products tend to receive more scientific attention because of funding and financial interests. On the other hand, more generic herbs and nutraceuticals often fall into the previously mentioned, erratic pattern of research. Pumpkin seed oil is an example of the latter.
Tags: Hair, Menopause, Prostate
Posted in Men's Health, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health | 2 Comments
Recently, a client inquired about the use of DHEA supplements as a means of counteracting male aging. Before I address that specific question, here’s a brief primer on DHEA. Dehydroepidandrosterone (DHEA) is an adrenal hormone which is considered “a reliable endocrine marker of aging because in humans and nonhumnan primates its circulating concentrations are very high during young adulthood, and the concentrations then decline markedly during aging”. This is of consequence because circulating DHEA is documented as having anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, cardioprotective and immune enhancing activity. However, controlled studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of DHEA supplementation have demonstrated inconsistent and mixed results. This begs the question: Is there a good reason to attempt to manipulate the predictable decline in DHEA in aging men?
Tags: Exercise, Meditation, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Men's Health, Women's Health | No Comments;
There are very few trends you can count on in the field of modern medicine and nutrition. The “stock” of virtually every food and/or supplement tends to go up and down more erratically than the Dow Jones or Nasdaq. One day coffee is bad for you, the next it’s being touted as a preventative for Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and liver cancer. For years, doctors have been recommending supplemental calcium for just about everyone. Now, there’s a grand debate about potential cardiovascular side effects involving this essential mineral. And, the examples go on and on. However, if there is such a thing as a bankable food/supplement which has sustained its sterling reputation over the years, it is most certainly green tea.
Tags: Diabetes, Green Tea, Liver
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Women's Health | 2 Comments
The hair and skin care aisles of most health food stores are stocked with multiple creams, ointments and shampoos containing tea tree oil (TTO). In fact, the popularity of this native Australian export has even made its way into many mass market products. The crossover appeal of TTO is largely due to its documented antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. In terms of practical applications, you’re likely to find TTO in remedies intended for acne prone skin, flakey scalps, gingivitis, toe nail infections and much, much more. But, just because tea tree oil is already well established in the beauty and health care sectors, doesn’t mean that there isn’t more to learn about it.
Tags: Eyes, Hair, Hemorrhoids
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Men's Health, Women's Health | No Comments;
Cheerio! I’m back in jolly old England to share some of the local healing tradition. The inspiration for today’s column comes courtesy of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM). There, patients are offered the best of both complementary and conventional care in an outpatient setting. The RLHIM administers an impressive array of holistic healing modalities including aromatherapy, homeopathy and reflexology. Also popular at this healing institution is a form of bodywork known as craniosacral therapy or CST.
Tags: Anxiety, asthma, Fibromyalgia
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health | 7 Comments
According to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 19% of women report frequent postpartum depressive symptoms. Postpartum depression or PPD describes a broad set of symptoms which often include feelings of anger, hopelessness, inadequacy and overwhelment. The onset of PPD can occur almost immediately after giving birth and may extend as long as one year. Changes in hormone levels (estrogen, progesterone, thyroid) and various emotional and lifestyle factors, such as difficulty breastfeeding, poor sleep quality and psychological stress, have also been noted as probable contributors. In the conventional medical system, antidepressants, counseling and hormone replacement are the mainstay treatments. However, there are also several alternative and complementary options that ought to be considered.
Tags: Aromatherapy, Fish Oil, Massage
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutrition, Women's Health | 4 Comments
Holistic practitioners pride themselves in treating individuals based on their unique needs and requirements. However, even when dealing with a holistic physician, it’s still important to make sure that you are indeed receiving personalized care. For instance, the effects of any given supplement may have slightly or significantly different effects based on age, gender and medical history. In practice, this could mean that one form of fish oil is better suited for pregnant women and another for those trying to improve exercise performance.
Tags: Diabetes, PCOS, Skin Care
Posted in Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health | 2 Comments
A new study appearing in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine has the potential to change the way urinary tract infections are treated from this point forward. In the 12 month trial, specific probiotics (Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14) were compared with antibiotic therapy for the prevention of recurrent urinary infections. The test subjects in the experiment were a group of 252 postmenopausal women. The results of the research determined that supplemental probiotics were almost as effective as prescription antibiotics. By “almost”, I mean about -13.8% less effective. However, probiotic therapy features a significant advantage over antibiotic treatment – it doesn’t lead to antibiotic resistance. With antibiotic resistance, patients and physicians encounter difficulties managing both minor and serious infections. This is why preserving antibiotics for truly essential purposes is of the utmost importance.
Tags: Cranberries, Probiotics, Vitamin C
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health | 6 Comments
In the course of my consulting work, many questions and answers emerge that I think would be of interest to readers of this site. Recently, a client inquired about an herbal extract commonly known as chasteberry or Vitex. Historically, Vitex agnus castus has been used to address irregular periods and symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In modern times, concentrated and purified extracts of chasteberry have been subjected to some degree of scientific scrutiny. For the most part, the results of these controlled trials have been positive. However, it’s important to note that not all Vitex supplements are created equal. In fact, only a few products have actually undergone clinical testing and proven effective.
Tags: B Vitamins, Herbs, PMS
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutrition, Women's Health | 2 Comments
This past weekend I was combing through hundreds of current studies involving natural health. I came across five trials that I thought would be particularly useful for women of all ages. Sharing this information with family and friends could very well make a difference in the life of one woman or perhaps many. In addition, you’ll honor the hard work being done behind the scenes by countless scientists who genuinely hope to improve the quality of affordable, effective and safe health care for women throughout the world.
Tags: Acupuncture, Garlic, Insomnia
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health | 4 Comments
One of the top five questions I’m asked has to do with natural, non-stimulating ways to increase energy. Most people are looking for fatigue fighters that do not contain caffeine (coffee) or related stimulants such as theobromine (cocoa). My first response is to establish whether there was a recent medical exam to rule out potential causes of low energy. Some serious health conditions such as heart, kidney and liver disease can result in fatigue. In addition, disorders involving red blood cells (anemia) and hyper or hypothyroidism may also be contributing factors.
Tags: Fatigue, Iron, Magnesium
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health | 2 Comments
EGCG, a naturally occurring chemical in green tea, is the star of two new publications focusing on breast cancer. The first trial examined the role of epigallocatechin-3-gallate as an adjunct to radiation treatment in breast cancers patients. The second study investigated the potential of a purified ECGC “drug” to modulate hormones which fuel breast cancer growth.
Tags: Breast Cancer, Green Tea, Insulin
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Women's Health | 2 Comments
Throughout history, adolescents and adults with acne and oily skin have utilized clay masks as a means of improving appearance. This technique may not be technologically advanced, but you’ll still find it featured in the most cutting-edge skin care lines and offered at clinics and spas in the ritziest neighborhoods. Still, historical practices and modern popularity don’t always guarantee a strong rationale for using a given therapy. Fortunately, in recent years, scientists have begun to examine whether therapeutic clay truly deserves a place in 21st century dermatology.
Tags: Acne, Circulation, Skin Care
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Detoxification, Women's Health | 6 Comments
During my last trip to London, I had the pleasure of visiting The Hale Clinic – a 25 year old institution that offers a wide assortment of alternative and complementary therapies and resources. The primary objective of this world renowned center of healing is to integrate holistic principles into the conventional medical paradigm. In addition to providing access to holistic practitioners, Hale also has a natural pharmacy and reading room on premises.
Tags: ADHD, Insomnia, Menopause
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Women's Health | 2 Comments
A few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast about natural skin care. One of the callers inquired about products featuring sea buckthorn. “What is sea buckthorn anyway? Is it a seaweed? How is it different than krill oil?”. Whenever I hear this sort of exchange, whether in a health food store or on TV, I have an impulse to interject and answer the question myself. I guess it’s an impulse still with me from my days working as a health food store consultant. I always loved answering questions posed by customers and employees alike. That enthusiasm and passion to share information about natural medicine remains within me. These days, I just have a different venue for sharing what I know.
Tags: Eczema, Skin Care
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health | 1 Comment