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Natural Health Questions and Answers

May 5, 2010 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Answering questions about natural health topics is one of my favorite parts of this job. It’s rewarding whether or not I have a good response to the inquiry being posed. If I already know the answer, it makes me happy to share it with others. On the other hand, if I’m stumped by a question, it gives me an incentive to do a little digging and expand my own knowledge base. Either way, it’s a winning proposition for all involved.

Today I’ve chosen three reader questions and answers to share with you because I think the answers will be relevant to many of you or perhaps someone you know.

  • Question #1 – Is there anything natural I can take to help ease the pain I feel after working out?

You might want to consider experimenting with ginger root. A study appearing in the April 23rd issue of the Journal on Pain reports that 2 grams a day of ginger effectively reduces pain intensity resulting from eccentric exercise. The degree of pain relief was classified as “moderate-to-large” and was evident in volunteers using either a heat-treated or raw ginger preparation. These results are consistent with previous studies that have demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity re: ginger and arthritis. (1)

  • Question #2 – I know some people use ginseng to boost energy. Is it a stimulant like coffee? My doctor doesn’t want me to drink coffee because it’s too stimulating.

Ginseng isn’t considered a stimulant. Rather it’s generally defined as an adaptogen – a non-toxic substance that aids your body and mind in dealing with mental and physical stress. Some physicians consider coffee inadvisable for certain patients with cardiovascular or psychological conditions. However ginseng may actually yield special benefits for select patients living with either of these health concerns. Recent experiments published in the American Journal of Hypertension and the journal Sleep indicate that ginseng may improve arterial stiffness and enhance sleep quality thanks to an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect. (2,3)

Whole Ginger (DCM) Extract May Reduce Arthritis Progression and Symptoms
Source: J Nat Prod. 2009 March 27; 72(3): 403–407. (link)
  • Question #3 – What’s new in the world of natural prostate cancer treatment?

A preliminary study in the May edition of the European Journal of Cancer Prevention tested the effects of a phytochemical known as DIM (diindolylmethane) in an animal model of prostate cancer (PC). Three groups of mice with PC were administered varying dosages of DIM (2 or 10 mg/kg) or a placebo for “five or more weeks”. At the completion of the trial, it was determined that the mice receiving DIM had “significantly reduced tumor development”. It’s interesting to note that the lower dosage of DIM (2 mg/kg) performed better than the higher dosage (10 mg/kg) – a 60% vs. 40% reduction in tumor development. The DIM mice also exhibited smaller tumors in comparison to the placebo mice. No changes were found in relation to kidney or liver function and body weight. This suggests a lack of toxicity. I wouldn’t call this a new “treatment” option, but it certainly seems like encouraging news which will hopefully be replicated in future human studies. (4)

What natural health questions do you want to have answered? Let me know what’s on your mind and I may be able to help. But even better than that, just know that your questions will also be helping me out and possibly even others who read our question and answer exchange. So please send me what you’ve got and keep a look-out. The answer to your question may be appearing soon in an upcoming blog.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!


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Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Exercise, Mental Health

10 Comments & Updates to “Natural Health Questions and Answers”

  1. Low Carb Daily ~ Angie Says:

    Wow, that is very intriguing information concerning the ginger! THANKS, JP!

  2. Nina K. Says:

    Good Morning, JP ☼

    ginger is one of my fav herbs, i love it for making a hot spicy tea to warm up or to digest heavy meals better. As the most people know its also good to eat raw ginger to treat sickness, helps with stomach or gut problems, flatulence (proven ☺☻). And of course i use ginger for cooking, spices up my chicken soup and a lot more…

    Greetings ☼
    Nina K.

  3. anne h Says:

    I took ginseng when I had H1N1….
    It seemed to help when nothing else would.
    I’m a real fan – of it, and you!
    Great research and writing, as usual, JP.

  4. JP Says:

    Anytime, Angie! Thank you for the positive feedback! 🙂

    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Nina! Ginger truly is a wonder of nature.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Thank you so much, Anne! 🙂

    That makes complete sense. Particular ginseng extracts are indeed being used to support immune function – especially re: viral infections such the common cold and influenza.

    Be well!


  7. Mark Says:

    JP, when looking at natural remedies can you suggest what to look for in the supplement. Should we pick supplements that contain standardized ingredients. Some companies have so many versions of an herb or mineral. What should we be looking for?

    Also I have been reading on magnesium supplementation for weight lifters. What type does the body more readily use?

  8. JP Says:


    That’s a great question without a simple answer. It really depends on the specific remedy and the purpose for using it.

    Example: For reducing exercise-related muscle soreness, you might try 2 grams a day of (un-standardized/whole) powdered ginger root.

    On the other hand, if you’re trying to support immune function, you should probably opt for a concentrated, standardized echinacea supplement that contains adequate levels of various phytochemicals such as alkylamides, polysaccharides and cichoric acid.

    In both of these instances I’m using published studies to inform my decision. That’s really the key, IMO. When considering a product, try to determine if there’s any evidence to support the formulation in question. Many companies make it a point to tell you why they formulate their products the way they do. This can be an effective selling point. Some manufacturers go as far as to fund studies to prove the efficacy of their supplements.

    re: magnesium

    I consider magensium taurate/taurinate to be among the best sources of magnesium for weight lifters.

    Be well!


  9. Sai Says:

    Hello JP

    Very good question/answer session. All good info.

    Best Regards


  10. JP Says:

    Updated 11/15/16:


    J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr. 2016 Jul-Sep;35(3):209-18.

    Effect of Ginger Supplementation on Proinflammatory Cytokines in Older Patients with Osteoarthritis: Outcomes of a Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.

    There is limited evidence that ginger powder consumption can relieve pain and inflammation due to specific anti-inflammatory phytochemical constitutents. This study investigates the effect of ginger supplementation on proinflammatory factors in participants (n = 120) of a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled 3-month clinical trial investigating knee osteoarthritis. Patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups: the ginger group (GG) or the placebo group (PG). Administered daily for 3 months, participants in the GG intervention received capsules containing 500 mg of ginger powder, while PG participants received capsules filled with 500 mg starch. Serum samples collected at baseline and 3 months were analyzed for serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β). At baseline, proinflammatory cytokine concentrations did not differ by group. However, at 3 months, both cytokines decreased in the GG relative to the PG. The results of this study indicate that ginger supplementation may have a promising benefits for knee osteoarthritis and may, therefore, may warrant further study.

    Be well!


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