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2 colleges join New York's industrial hemp farming program
April 01, 2017 10:59 AM
Binghamton University and SUNY Sullivan have been approved to join in New York's program to explore the industrialization of hemp. Under the program, farmers partner with universities to research hemp. The partnership launched last year and has already produced a crop. Hemp does not have the levels of THC as other breeds of cannabis, meaning it lacks the psychoactive ingredients as others. It can be used in a wide range of products from clothing to food supplements. The schools joining are interested in studying the medical components.
Read more: 2 colleges join New York's industrial hemp farming program
Schools are filled with bacteria, causing crippling lung function in children
December 19, 2016 07:59 AM
Sure, when you send your kids to school you worry about a lot of things: Fitting in, bullying, learning but never did you think that you would have to worry about bacteria from mice and other rodents. Researchers have shown that bacteria in school has caused an increase in asthma in school age kids. This is increasing at such an alarming rate that it finally caught the attention of health officials even though the effects have been happening for years.
"Some 284 children from 37 inner-city public Schools located throughout the Northeastern United States were evaluated as part of the research."
Dangers Of Over The Counter Drugs
October 16, 2008 03:42 PM
Parents have recently been hit with shocking information about the potential dangers to their children. First it was lead contamination that came from toys that were manufactured by some of our most trusted companies. Next, it was super antibiotic resistant bugs that may lurk in day care centers and Schools. The latest information is of greatest concern. Every study performed in the recent years has found that children’s cough and cold remedies are ineffective and may, in fact, be potentially dangerous. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended against the use of multi-symptom, over-the-counter, cold medicines in children under the age of three unless the parents are advised by a physician.
Many parents have depended on these medicines for years to help with runny noses, coughs, and sleep disruptions. However, our kids are not the first generation to suffer from frequent respiratory troubles. Herbal and dietary remedies have been the first line of defense for centuries, with Elderberry being rich in flavonoids, essential oils, vitamin C and organic acids. It reduces mucous secretions, helps ease breathing, and soothes an irritated nose and throat.
If your child frequently deals with a runny nose, earache, and sinus infection, he or she may have hidden food intolerances. One doctor states that there are various ways that you can recognize hidden childhood allergies. A classic symptom is the “allergic salute”, which the child demonstrates when he is constantly rubbing his or her hand across the end of a runny nose.
Food allergies are difficult to determine with standard allergy testing, but by avoiding common allergic provoking foods like dairy, wheat, corn, and tree nuts, often brings relief to the child. Changing the family diet is the best way to eliminate offending foods. Replace all forms of sugar and other refined carbohydrates, as they slow down bowel transit time and increase exposure to toxic bowel contents. Natural sweeteners, which can be found in most health food stores, can be used instead. Since dairy products top the list of provoking foods, they should be replaced as much as possible with other beverages. Inspect labels carefully to determine if they contain casein, which is a milk protein that often causes problems. A liquid calcium supplement is a good idea to give your children if they are not receiving dairy products.
Allergic children are often prone to digestive problems, which is a condition referred to as intestinal dysbiosis. Antibiotic use disturbs the microflora in the gut by killing helpful bacteria. Psychological stress can also impact microflora, which poses the question of whether or not stress is having a negative impact on our children’s health. Studies in which some children were placed in a stress relieving program showed that treated groups of children increased their levels of secretary IgA, which gives them a greater ability to resist colds.
Allergic children also have disturbed bowel function, making them constipated, frequently pass gas, be bloated, and have foul smelling hard stools. A low fiber diet is one cause of constipation, but an imbalance in microflora in the gut is another reason, which causes toxins to enter circulation. Supplementing with Bifidobacteria and other helpful probiotics can restore normal gut function, alleviate allergic symptoms, restore immune competence, and reduce allied bowel problems. Supplementing with fiber can also support proper elimination of toxins in children as well as adults. Acidophilus, fiber, and herbal cold aids can be found at your local health food store.
Supplements for Children
June 26, 2007 09:51 PM
Supplements for Children
While most parents try hard to make nutritious meals for their family, most children find the appeal of refined, fast, and junk food simply overwhelming. And, sadly, increasingly easy to buy and consume, as well. From kindergarten through 12th grade, in both grade Schools and high Schools, vending machines offer calorie laden candy bars, sugar-filled soft drinks, and snack foods loaded with fat and salt. Many school cafeterias actually sell fast-food to children for lunch every day. In fact, it seems almost everywhere children go and gather, visually enticing but nutritionally lacking snacks and soft drinks are sure to be available.
Determined to counteract this disturbing trend, parents everywhere are urgently seeking solutions to help their children get the nutrition they need. One answer is supplemental multivitamins. There are certainly plenty of multivitamins formulated for children currently on the market. However, these products vary considerably in quality and content. Some lack certain vital nutrients. Some taste terrible. Still others are loaded with sugar and artificial flavorings. The good news is that there are superior multivitamins and exceptional immune boosting products formulated specifically for children that actually taste great. In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will discuss childhood nutrition and how to help ensure your children’s health with high quality, 100% natural flavored nutritional supplements.
Q. Do children really benefit from vitamin supplements? Can’t I make sure they get the vitamins and minerals they need from meals?
A. Even the most nutritionally vigilant parent cannot be 100% certain what nutrients are in the food they serve their children. That’s because there’s so much variability in the food we prepare. For instance, fat-soluble vitamins can withstand normal cooking, but vitamins A and E are gradually destroyed by exposure to air. Water-soluble vitamins such as B1, B6, folic acid, and pantothenic acid are destroyed by heat. Vitamin B2 is destroyed by light and heat, while light and air destroy vitamin C. Certain food preservatives and preparation methods also destroy the vitamins in food. To further complicate matters, some fruit and vegetables are grown and harvested in such a way that does not promote nutrient content – so even raw foods may be lacking.
Then there are those crazy food phases all children seemingly go through. While these phases are generally harmless in the long run, a recent alarming exception was in the news. A five-year old boy ate nothing but cheese pizza, Pop-tarts, biscuits, and water, refusing fruits, vegetables, juices and vitamins. He slowly developed limp, swollen gums, and small purple spots appeared on his skin. After five months of this extremely deficient diet, he was unable to walk or get out of bed because the pain was so severe. Doctors diagnosed the boy as having a severe vitamin C deficiency after ruling out other ailments such as leukemia. Within a week of getting vitamin C supplements, the boy’s pain and other symptoms were completely resolved. Obviously, this little boy’s story is unusual. However, even mild food phases (such as “If It’s Green It Must Be Yucky” or “The Only Good Crust Is A Cut-Off Crust”) can result in awfully lop-sided nutrition.
Q. Can multivitamins help my child’s performance in school?
A. Most teachers firmly believe that nutrition and learning go hand in hand. They are convinced that children who are well nourished possess the mental stamina that’s needed to learn and retain even difficult concepts. But can multivitamins help children become better students?
Two independent research teams recently conducted randomized trials to find the answer. The researchers followed 245 school-children aged 6 to 12 years for three months. They gave half of the children multivitamin tablets every day, and half of the children placebos. When the children were tested, the children in the multivitamins group showed an increase in their nonverbal intelligence scores. Nonverbal intelligence is closely associated with academic performance.
Q. I can’t get my children to take 100% natural flavored multivitamins because they don’t taste very appealing. Isn’t there some way to make a 100% natural multivitamin taste good enough for my children to willingly take?
A. Yes, there is! Because most children need chewable multivitamins, manufacturers need to contend with the truly terrible taste of certain minerals. Magnesium, iodine, copper, and iron are probably the worst tasting. Some solve this dilemma by skimping on the amounts of these minerals in their children’s formulas. Others cover up the bad taste with either massive amounts of sugar or artificial flavors, or both.
However, a select few multivitamin makers have discovered how to offer a natural flavored, great tasting children’s multivitamin that contains these vital minerals. The best children’s vitamins are prepared in a base of natural fruit that provides both antioxidants and other healthy phytonutrients. Children’s multivitamins made in such a fruit base have very low sugar content, as well, providing as little as four calories a day. Fructose – fruit sugar – is the preferred sweetening agent, in addition to the fruit content.
Q. What vitamins should be in a multivitamin for children?
A. There are several vitamins and minerals that children need to take each and every day. They include biotin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamins B12, B1, A, B6, C, D, E, and K. Let’s review a few. We’ll start with folate, one of the B vitamins. This vital vitamin helps the body use protein, helps make DNA, helps cells grow and divide, and keeps the nervous system healthy. In fact, folate is so important to children that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that folate must be added to many foods most children eat daily. Since 1998, cereal, enriched bread, flour corn meal, rice, and pasta have been folate-fortified with this B vitamin.
One of folate’s vital actions is the reduction of homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid (the building block of protein) that is normally produced in the human body. Research has shown that high levels of homocysteine can irritate blood vessels, make blood clot more easily than it should, and cause blockages in arteries increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes .
However, study after study has proven that taking folate reduces harmful homocysteine levels. While most of this research has been in adults, a recent study looked at children’s homocysteine levels. Researchers examined over 3500 children and discovered that high homocysteine levels increased the risk for heart disease in these children, especially as they grow. The researchers leading this study reinforced how critical folate is for all children.
Other critical vitamins for children are the vitamins C and E. The rates of childhood asthma have increased significantly here in the
Q. Which minerals do children need?
A. It is absolutely crucial that children get calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus every day. Sadly, however, the majority of our children are not getting the recommended amounts of many of these vital minerals. Children in
According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health, only 13.5 percent of girls and 36.3 percent of boys age 12 to 19 in the
Lack of adequate calcium has immediate consequences for children, as well. The number of fractures among children and young adults has increased as a direct result of poor calcium intake. Pediatricians are also seeing children with rickets, a bone disease caused by low levels of vitamin D. Rickets became almost nonexistent after vitamin D was added to milk in the 1950s, but, due to lower milk consumption, is now appearing at greater rates around the country. And milk itself can be problematic for some children. Aside from alarming reports of hormones and herbicides in commercial dairy factory milk, even organic milk is not tolerated by all because of lactose intolerance and allergies.
Zinc is another mineral that’s vital for children. Because zinc is critical for normal growth and development, children need to take it every day. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, however, found more than half of US children ages two to 10 years fail to get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc. What’s even more troubling is that zinc is vitally connected to children’s ability to process information, pay attention, as well as remember and retain new information
Zinc does a lot to keep children healthy. More than 200 enzymes in our bodies rely on zinc. However, it’s zinc’s ability to connect with our immune systems to help fight infections that is crucial for children. While researchers are not certain how zinc precisely boosts a child’s immunity, they think that zinc might fight pneumonia and other infections by either enhancing the body’s immune status, preventing the infection from establishing itself, or improving the immune system’s ability to rid itself of the infecting organism. It’s possible that zinc does all three.
Q. No matter what I do, my children seem to come down with bad colds each year. Besides giving them a multivitamin, are there other nutritional supplements that can keep my children healthy?
A. Absolutely! In fact, there are 100% natural flavored children’s immune formula nutritional supplements that contain their good buddy zinc, vitamins B6, C, and A (as beta carotene), plus elderberry extract. Elderberry extract has been used as a traditional medicine for hundreds of years to treat colds and flu. And as it so often happens, scientific research has validated this use. In fact, scientists have discovered that elderberry keeps viruses from invading other cells and replicating. It also spurs important immune cells into action to fight invading germs.
While we previously discussed vitamin C’s ability to help children with asthma breathe easier, it also provides powerful immune protection. It speeds up the healing of wounds, such as those knee and elbow scrapes so common in childhood. However, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and can’t be stored in the body. It must be replenished every day. When children are under increased stress (like when they get sick with a cold or flu), their vitamin C levels are more rapidly depleted.
Vitamin B6 is also water-soluble and can only work in children’s bodies for eight hours. Then more B6 must be obtained. Vitamin B6 strengthens the immune system by helping white blood cells make antibodies. Vitamin A helps make lysozymes, important anti-infectious agents found in tears, saliva, and sweat. It also stimulates the thymus gland, an important immune organ, especially in children, to work better.
Q. Should children take an immune formula every day or only when they are sick?
A. It can be taken several ways. Some parents may want to give the formula when school first starts or other times that their children are exposed to lots of germs. For a child who suffers from asthma or seasonal allergies or just seems to get sick frequently, parents could provide the immune formula every day, increasing the dose when needed. And still others might feel it’s best to give their children the immune formula only whey they do catch a cold or have the flu.
No matter how it is given, the 100% all natural flavored, immune boosting nutritional supplement can provide powerful protection against all those disease-causing germs your children are exposed to every day.
The nutritional choices we make for our children today will have a profound effect on their health tomorrow. Recent research has revealed that diabetes, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and cancer in adults often result form nutritional deficiencies that occurred in childhood.
Thankfully, the reverse is just as true. This means that children who are well nourished with an optimal intake of minerals, vitamins, and helpful herbs can grow into healthy and happy adults. Providing high quality multivitamins and immune boosting nutritional supplements for our children can be an important part of that process.
NaturalCare Virus Induced Nasal Decongestant – Super Strength SinuFix
October 06, 2006 02:34 PM
Super strength SinuFix Nasal Decongestant Mist 90 percent of Germs, Viruses and Pollutants May enter your body through the nose! All of us breath in through our nose and are inundated daily with thousands of foreign micro particles. Super Strength SinuFix Mist is an innovative formula specifically designed to fight the virus induced nasal allergy/sinus/cold/flu-like symptoms that may result from exposure to germs and viruses in the air in any crowded, potentially germ-infested environment.
Germs in the Air Everywhere!
Indications: For temporary, soothing relief of virus induced nasal and sinus congestion and pressure, dry, irritated nasal membranes associated with a cold and sinusitis, irritated/swollen sinus passages, hay fever, overuse of decongestant sprays or drops, or other upper respiratory allergies (Allergic rhinitis). Helps cleanse nasal passages and promotes nasal and sinus drainage.
Med schools failing on nutrition teaching
September 19, 2006 05:45 PM
Almost 60 percent of US medical Schools do not meat recommendations for nutrition education for med students, producing physicians – the first port of call for nutrition advice for many consumers – who may have inadequate nutrition knowledge.
Twenty years ago the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reported that 21 hours of education in nutrition was required but found that many medical Schools did not offer nutrition courses.
Surveys show that hasn’t changed much, so it appears we are producing a pool of physicians who feel largely unprepared to counsel their patients about nutrition.
“Sooner or later, everyone sits down to the banquet of consequences.” Robert Louis Stevenson.
Soft Drinks Contaminated by Benzene
May 27, 2006 09:24 AM
A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) testing program has found cancer-causing benzene in soft drinks at levels averaging four times the standard for tap water. The brand names have not been released.
The test data were uncovered by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which posted the test results on the group’s website, www.ewg.org
Highly elevated Benzene Levels
Between 1995-2001 the RDA tested 24 samples of diet soda for benzene. The result: 79% tested at levels above the federal limit for benzene in tap water, which is 5 parts per billion (ppb). The maximum benzene level detected was 55 ppb. In addition to the diet sodas, the FDA tested a number of other non-diet soft drinks. One cola was contaminated at 27 times the tap water limit, and fruit drink had a 95 ppb level.
“These results confirm our suspicions there are highly elevated benzene levels in some very popular drinks,” Richard Wiles, EWG’s senior vice president said in a press release.
Reaction Triggered by Preservatives
According to an article in beveragedaily.com, sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid in soft drinks can react together to form benzene. Sodium benzoate is a common preservative in soft drinks, and ascorbic acid is often added as an antioxidant to extend shelf life.
Negotiations between the FDA and the beverage industry in 1990 resulted in an agreement that the industry would voluntarily reformulate its soft drinks to prevent this combination. The recurrence of benzene contamination may be due to new soft drink manufacturers in the market who were not a part of, or aware of, the original negotiations.
Britain Pulls Soft Drinks from Shelves
In contrast to the U.S. situation, food safety campaigners in England were successful in having benzene –containing soft drinks removed from the supermarket shelves. The British Food Standards Agency pulled four soft drink brands which contained more than 1 ppb of benzene, and rushed out the results of tests on 149 drinks, including a range of fruit juice, iced tea, squash, fizzy and low-sugar drinks, according to The Times of London.
The Wellness Revolution and Contaminated Soft Drinks
The controversy over benzene in soft drinks is an example of how toxic exposure exists in our food and immediate environment. The constant exposure to toxics were-and especially our children—experience is a major cause of chronic illness.
In this situation, the organic products available for purchase in health food stores are especially vital. And since some exposure to toxics is unavoidable we must take advantage of the herbs and nutrients that support detoxification and the liver, the main organ of detoxification, as well as immunity for example, silymarin, N-acetyl cysteine, calcium D-glucarate, folic acid, Reishi and shiitake mushrooms, and turmeric.
Sources: www.ewg.org www.beveragedaily.com 02/25/06. Associated Press 04/11/06. www.fda.org.
Public Pressure Forces Corporations to Curtail Most Soda Pop sales to Schools
The Nation’s largest beverage distributors have agreed to halt nearly all soda sales to public Schools, according to a deal announced may 3rd by the William J. Clinton Foundation.
The companies have agreed to sell only water, unsweetened juice and low fat milks to elementary and middle Schools, according to a spokesman for former President Bill Clinton. Diet sodas would be sold only to high Schools.
The deal follows a wave of criticism by school districts and state legislatures amid reports of rising childhood obesity. Soda has been a particular target because of its caloric content and popularity among children.
Protecting kids from Colds is a simple as Enhancing there immune system.
August 22, 2005 02:30 PM
Lax hygiene and parents who permit their children to attend school when they are sick are the main reasons that thousands of cases of colds and flu leapfrog from child to child each school year. Millions of school attendance days and adult work days are lost each year when schoolchildren get ill. In addition, schoolchildren can get and give a host of other illnesses, including strep throat, conjunctivitis (pinkeye), and impetigo. Sick children should stay home; a single child can easily infect 10 or more other children.
If a sick child sneezes on, drools on or touches an object, the germs can be picked up by others who touch that object. The most proven way to reduce this problem is basic hygiene. In one day-care study, kids caught fewer colds after they were taught to wash their hands regularly and the toys were disinfected three times a week. It is vital to teach your child to cover his mouth and nose with a tissue while coughing or sneezing, and then to discard the tissue and wash his hands. Other ways to pick up germs are by petting a dog or a cat, handling dirty underwear, and using public restrooms. In one study, investigators added a mixture of bacteria and a virus to everyday objects at home and found that telephone receivers and kitchen faucets transferred enough organisms to the hands and then to the mouth to cause infections such as colds and diarrhea.
Hand washing is an important prevention measure, in terms of keeping healthy. The problem in some Schools is that they make it difficult for kids to wash their hands. They don’t always have paper towels or adequate soap available. With all the things that are important to learn in school, one of the most important is washing your hands before eating and after going to the toilet. The purpose of school is to learn. And what’s more important to learn than good hygiene? Since regular hand washing is one of the best defenses against the spread of colds and gastrointestinal infections, teach your children to lather the hands with soap for at least 15 seconds, scrubbing between fingers, under fingernails and around the tops and palms of the hands. Teach them to dry their hands with a clean towel and to use the towel to turn off the faucet, open door handles, etc. You may also provide your child with sanitizing lotion so they can protect against disease when a bathroom is not close by.
When eating out or at a mass-prepared school lunch, first wash the hands. Avoid any raw food that doesn’t look washed or any item that has been implicated in a current outbreak of food poisoning. Eating raw fruits and vegetables at home where you can wash them may be a better choice. If you are unsure about the drinks served, have your child carry their own bottled water. The best way to fight back against these germs is to enhance your child’s immune system. Adequate nutrition is the backbone of health. Even marginal deficiencies of a single nutrient can profoundly impair the immune system. At least have your child take a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement every day. Eating sugar in the form of glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, and orange juice all significantly reduced the body’s ability to have an effective immune system. These effects will start within less than 30 minutes and last for several hours. The white blood cells will not have the ability to gobble up those nasty bacteria the way they usually can.
Food is the largest challenge facing the immune system. When there is complete digestion, healthy bowel microflora, a healthy constitution, and minimal exposure to foods or elements that are toxic to the body, the immune system can do its job. Weaknesses in one or more of these areas can result in a weakened immune system. More than 50 percent of the immune system takes its signals from the digestive tract. It is one of the largest immune organs of the body that defends against the barrage of toxins ingested daily. Intestinal microflora also impact human health. The “friendly” bacteria living in us compete with the “not so friendly” germs and help us stay healthy.
The new U.S. food pyramid suggests we consume 5 servings of fresh vegetables daily and 3–4 servings of fresh fruits daily. Sounds easy enough. Yet, only 20 percent of the populations does this. It is also important to get adequate protein and fat in the diet. Water intake is vital as well. It’s best if the 6–10 glasses (depends on the age of the child) does not contain chlorine or fluoride. Dehydration may be a big factor in whether they stay healthy. By making even simple changes in your child’s diet and lifestyle, you might be amazed at how few illnesses she has this school year.
Well Child - For a Healthy Winter
June 21, 2005 05:13 PM
By Lesley Tierra, L.Ac.
As summer turns to fall and then to winter, the nights turn cold and the days brisk. This is a challenging time physiologically as our bodies, especially those of children, try to adapt to the changing climate. Coming into the Fall and Winter seasons, many people continue to eat and dress as if it were still summer, causing the body to work even harder at maintaining homeostasis. This is a special consideration for children who have the added challenge of being exposed to numerous other children in school and day care centers. This requires parents to be prepared by making sure your herbal health care chests are well stocked. One product worthy of having on hand is Well Child by Planetary Formulas, an echinacea-elderberry herbal syrup, specifically designed for the needs of our youth during the winter season. Well Child was developed by Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D. in the East-West Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic in Santa Cruz, CA. Michael has been a practicing herbalist and licensed health professional for more than 35 years. His more than three decades of experience are represented in all his formulas, which have stood the test of time in his practice with literally thousands of clients.
Key Herbal Elements
* Echinacea purpurea leaf and root: No other herb is as widely used for winter immune health as echinacea. Originally used by Native Americans of the Plains and introduced to Eclectic physicians in the 1800's, echinacea has become one of the most widely researched botanicals in modern times. While the clinical findings of many studies have been mixed, there is substantial pre-clinical evidence demonstrating its ability to stimulate various immune responses, such as increasing macrophage, phagocytic and natural killer cell activity. Most of the clinical trials that have utilized protocols and dosages similar to those used by professional herbalists have reported positive findings with regard to its immune-enhancing effects. Echinacea is also very safe. * Elderberry (Sambucus nigra): Whereas echinacea reigns supreme as North America's primary wintertime botanical supplement, the berries of elder have a similar reputation in Europe, where it is widely used in cordials. Most research on elderberries has been conducted in Israel, where it was found to contain potent immune-stimulating compounds as well as powerful antioxidant activity. It makes one of the most delicious proanthocyanidin-rich syrups, so it is an ideal wintertime supplement. In Western herbal terms it is classified as a warming diaphoretic, which makes it ideal in combination with echinacea as a first line defense against the cold winds of winter. * Honeysuckle flowers (Lonicera spp.): Honeysuckle flowers are among the most widely used botanicals in Chinese herbalism for wintertime health. They are a key ingredient in the legendary classic Chinese formula Yin Chiao, which is perhaps the most frequently prescribed of all Chinese herbal supplements. Honeysuckle flowers are rich in a host of unique flavonoids which likely contribute to their health-promoting effects. These key ingredients are combined with cinnamon twig, chamomile flowers, catnip, lemon balm, and licorice root in a great-tasting syrup base of purified water, vegetable glycerin, and honey, along with extra vitamin C.
At the East-West Clinic, we have experienced dramatic positive results when giving Well Child. Luckily, this combination of botanicals tastes good. In addition, Well Child is formulated in a tasty glycerin base with added honey. The result is a liquid that is easily taken by most children. Because of the honey, we do not recommend Well Child for children under two years of age, unless it is subjected to boiling water. We also recommend specific dietary changes, including the avoidance of cold and raw foods during the cold season, eating plenty of broths, avoiding dairy, and eliminating simple sugars from the diet while ensuring the intake of adequate fluids.
Chang HM, But PP. 1986. Pharmacology and Clinical Applications of Chinese Materia Medica. World Scientific. Singapore. Mumcuoglu M. 1995. Sambucus: Black elderberry extract. RSS Publishing, Inc. Skokie, IL. Upton R, Graff A (eds.). 2004 Echinacea purpurea root: Monograph of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Scotts Valley, CA.
Lesley Tierra L.Ac., Diplomate in Chinese Herbalism (NCCAOM) is a California state and nationally certified acupuncturist and herbalist. She has been practicing as a primary health care provider with her husband, Michael Tierra, in Santa Cruz, California for almost 20 years. Lesley combines acupuncture, herbs and food therapies in her work. She is the author of several books, including Herbs of Life, published by Crossing Press, and is co-author, with Michael, of Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine. Lesley is also the director of the East-West School of Herbal Medicine, and has taught at Schools throughout the United States and England since 1983.
Nothing to Sneeze At
June 18, 2005 08:41 AM
Nothing to Sneeze At by Carole Poole Energy Times, August 14, 2004
To many, nothing is more annoying than a persistent allergy. Runny nose, itchy eyes, hives, sneezing, coughing...Frequently, allergies seem to represent suffering with no end.
When you are sensitive to something in your environment, often your only hope for relief appears to be to flee to an elsewhere that eludes the problematic, trouble-making allergen.
Complementary measures are available that can lower your risk of allergic reactions. Heading off allergic reactions before they strike can help you enter a comfort zone that leaves nothing to sneeze at.
Limit Your Antibiotics
While people have always suffered allergies, today, many experts agree, allergies are on the rise. One possible explanation: antibiotics. For instance, research at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit demonstrates that kids who get antibiotics within six months of being born run an increased risk of being allergic to dust mites, ragweed, grass and animals. At the same time, if two or more cats or dogs live with them, they reduce their chances of allergies (Eur Respir Soc ann conf, 2003).
" I'm not suggesting children shouldn't receive antibiotics. But I believe we need to be more prudent in prescribing them for children at such an early age," Christine Cole Johnson, PhD, says. "In the past, many of them were prescribed unnecessarily, especially for viral infections like colds and the flu when they would have no effect anyway."
Dr. Cole's investigators found that by age 7, kids who got one or more rounds of antibiotics were:
When antibiotics are necessary, they are crucial to quelling bacterial infections. However, if you or your children suffer colds or flus, diseases caused by viruses, antibiotics have no effect on your illness but could increase your chance of developing allergies.
" Over the past four decades there has been an explosive increase in allergy and asthma in westernized countries, which correlates with widespread use of antibiotics and alterations in gastrointestinal (GI) microflora," says Mairi Noverr, a researcher on a study linking allergies to antibiotic use (104th Gen Meet Amer Soc Microbiol, 2004). "We propose that the link between antibiotic use and dysregulated pulmonary immunity is through antibiotic-induced long-term alterations in the bacterial and fungal GI microflora." While a lot of research needs to be done, it may help to fortify the probiotic, or good, microbes in your intestines with probiotic supplements. One study has shown that giving probiotics to pregnant women helped their children avoid allergic eczema, a skin condition (Lancet 2001; 357:1076-9).
Green Tea Relief
Research has demonstrated that various types of tea can produce a range of health benefits. Tea drinkers can add allergy relief to that list.
Research in Japan demonstrates that for the allergy-oppressed, green tea may help them have nothing to sneeze at. In laboratory tests, scientist found that green tea contains a substance that blocks one of the immune cell receptors which is often a part of the allergic response. The substance, methylated epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is believed to have a similar effect in the real world (J Agr Food Chem 10/9/02).
" Green tea appears to be a promising source for effective anti-allergenic agents," notes Hirofumi Tachibana, PhD, the study's chief investigator and an associate professor at Kyushu University in Fukuoka. "If you have allergies, you should consider drinking it." Traditionally, many people have consumed tea as part of their effort to suppress sneezes, coughs and itchy eyes caused by allergies. This experiment supports the evidence that green tea, in particular, has a reliable effect.
According to Dr. Tachibana, green tea's anti-allergenic benefits have not been completely established, but tea apparently has the potential to be effective against allergens like dust, chemicals, pet dander and pollen.
EGCG has also been shown to be a very active antioxidant, helping to quell the destructive effects of the caustic molecules known as free radicals. Green tea is richer in EGCG than black tea or oolong tea (a type that falls between black and green).
Although other research has demonstrated that EGCG offsets allergic responses in lab animals fed this substance, scientists don't completely understand why it works for allergies. Researchers theorize that EGCG restricts the production of histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE), two substances secreted in the body as part of the chain of chemical reactions that lead to an allergic reaction, says Dr. Tachibana.
This study shows, for the first time, that a methylated form of EGCG can block the IgE receptor, which is a key receptor involved in an allergic response. The effect was demonstrated using human basophils, which are blood cells that release histamine. As of now, nobody knows how much green tea you need to guzzle to have the best protection against allergies and, of the several varieties available, nobody knows which green tea is best.
Outside of the US, green tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, right behind water. In the US, however, black tea is more popular than green. But the allergy sensitive should think and drink green.
Stay Away from Diesels
Those who are allergic to ragweed or pet dander usually know they should avoid the source of their allergies. But now scientists have found that, for many allergy sufferers, diesel exhaust can also worsen sneezes and wheezes.
Scientists at two southern California Schools have shown that about half of us have inherited a sensitivity to diesel pollution that can make our allergies significantly worse (Lancet 1/10/04). "[T]his study suggests a direct way that pollution could be triggering allergies and asthma in a large number of susceptible individuals...," says Frank D. Gilliland, MD, PhD, the study's lead author. Diesel exhaust particles are thought to act as destructive free radicals in the lungs, forming caustic molecules that damage lung tissue. This irritation can cause your immune system to create larger amounts of compounds that make you sneeze and wheeze more.
The Antioxidant Advantage
Antioxidants, scientists believe, can help defuse this damage and ease the body's allergic responses. The California scientists looked at two antioxidant enzymes the body makes to protect the lungs called glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) and glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1). Only about five of ten people's immune systems can make all the effective forms of these enzymes. The rest of us lack this protection to some degree, and the immune system in about one in five people can't make any effective form of these enzymes.
The research team found that people allergic to ragweed who lacked these antioxidant enzymes suffered more when they took in both ragweed pollen and particles from diesel pollution.
Breathe Easier With C
This research may help explain why many health practitioners recommend vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, to allergy sufferers. Vitamin C "prevents the secretion of histamine by the white blood cells, increases the detoxification of histamine and lowers the blood-histamine levels," says Sylvia Goldfarb, PhD, author of Allergy Relief (Avery/Penguin).
Scientists continue to study the allergy conundrum. Meanwhile, sip a cup of green tea and shut the window before the next truck comes by.
Marilu Henner: Energy Personified!
June 14, 2005 11:50 AM
Marilu Henner: Energy Personified! by Stephen Hanks Energy Times, January 3, 2005
Marilu Henner is an actress, dancer and author, a health, fitness and cooking guru and a devoted mom. Now she's also an advocate for nutritional supplements. In this revealing interview, she offers her thoughts on the battle to support consumer rights and to create a better health care system in America.
"So, you want to know what my schedule is after I finish talking with you?" Marilu Henner says, in an almost breathless voice. "Today's Tuesday, right? Tomorrow morning I leave Los Angeles [where she lives] for New York City so I can do the Tony Danza Show first thing Thursday morning, Then, I take a 9 am flight back to LA because my son has a sleepover birthday party. I have a 7 am flight to New Jersey the next morning because I'm speaking about mental health at a conference at a big country club. The next morning, I catch a 7 am flight back to LA for my son's soccer games, one at noon and the other at 2. Whew!"
Trying to keep up with Marilu Henner would make anybody feel out of breath because the woman is energy personified. At 52, her schedule includes acting in movies, on television and in the occasional Broadway show, writing books (she's authored seven, including Total Health Makeover and Healthy Life Kitchen), teaching online diet and exercise classes through her website (marilu.com), taking Pilates classes three times a week and raising two sons, Nicholas (10) and Joseph (8).
But now, on top of all that, the former star of the TV show Taxi has become a health and nutrition activist, speaking out in favor of the use of dietary supplements whenever she can. This past September, Henner testified at a hearing of the House Subcommittee for Human Rights and Wellness to advocate increased funding for research and full implementation of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). During her testimony, Marilu described why she believes consumers should have access to more information about supplements and why the products should be made more accessible through both government initiatives and private health plans. "I believe that dietary supplements should be part of a campaign to improve our nation's health," Henner testified.
Energy Times recently caught up with Marilu at her Los Angeles home for a freewheeling conversation. Here, this vibrant yet down-to-earth celebrity displays her passion for health, nutrition and consumer issues.
Energy Times: You've become one of the most high profile celebrities to advocate a consumer's use of dietary supplements. What was your motivation to get involved in such a public way?
Marilu Henner: As a teenager, I had been a yo-yo dieter. I could be around 135 pounds and balloon up to 174. I knew I needed a different way of looking at my life. I couldn't concentrate on those stupid diets where I could lose 20 pounds in a week and then gain it all back over a weekend. But after my mom died at 58 in 1978, I said to myself, "It's not really about my body anymore, it's really about my health." I just became obsessed with health. I read everything I could get my hands on. I starting taking human anatomy classes, going to medical libraries and seeing nutritionists and doctors. And I started experimenting on myself, turning myself into my own guinea pig. It took me about eight years to put together a program. I always say that my health birthday was 1979, but it wasn't until 1987 that I could say I was living a completely healthy lifestyle.
ET: Were you ever really heavy when you were performing in a show? MH: Sure. When I first performed the role of Marty in "Grease" more than 30 years ago I weighed about 175 pounds. But I hid it well. When you wear those 1950s clothes you can get away with it.
ET: When did you start incorporating supplements into your health program? MH: Before I became pregnant with my first son in 1993, I had never been a supplement taker. But I started taking prenatal vitamins and dietary supplements when I was breastfeeding and they made me feel really good. After the pregnancy, I just kept taking them because I was getting the essential nutrients that I couldn't get from food alone. I was getting great stuff from my food, but with all the travel I do-you know, the eating on planes and in restaurants-I couldn't always shop for organic food. I had a doctor who understood the value of dietary supplements and encouraged me to use them. I've taken them ever since and I recommend them to my family and friends, as well as to people through my books and classes.
ET: What supplements other than vitamins do you find helpful in your total nutrition program? MH: I take vitamin E, omega-3 fish oils, antioxidants, garlic, coral calcium and echinacea supplements.
ET: So let's get back to why you decided to testify before Congress in support of supplement use. MH: I know that as soon as you put a celebrity face on an issue, people tend to pay a little more attention. When I was in Washington, I was able to tell Congress the personal stories I've heard about people who turned their lives around-from debilitating illness to vibrant health-when they got the information they need to make good choices. By good choices, I mean rejecting the manufactured foods of our society, with their over-reliance on sugar, meat and dairy, and the chemicals, hormones and steroids that usually accompany these products. Instead, we should be moving towards an organic, vegan diet that produces a sense of physical health. I also believe that a healthy diet includes the use of appropriate dietary supplements.
ET: Do you think that government is moving fast enough to reduce the restrictions on safe supplements? MH: Things could always move faster. But I remember years ago writing letters on behalf of people who wanted supplements without needing a prescription. When I would tell people about the benefits of soy products or supplements, they'd think I was nuts. Now those ideas are mainstream. The floodgates are open and people want to know more. You can't even keep up with all the information. I think that the government knows they're not going to get away with making people have a prescription to take their vitamins.
ET: What is the citizen's responsibility in all this? MH: We're in a real transitional phase and people should take responsibility to educate themselves. You have to question your doctors and recognize when something is or isn't working. You have to find a health practitioner who really knows their stuff.
ET: As you said, there's so much information out there, how do you decipher it all? How can someone be an educated information consumer?
MH: I know it's very difficult because there are so many options. Believe me, I've been doing this a long time and I'm glad I did the research. I think you have to read everything. You have to find a nutritionist/herbalist/doctor who's the real deal and knows what they're talking about. You have to recognize the symptoms in your own body and try to figure it out. I think if you start out with a good multivitamin, a calcium supplement, fish oils and vitamin E, that can be your base and you can't go wrong.
ET: Isn't a diet built on buying organic foods much more expensive? MH: Sure, it's a little more expensive. But there's nothing more expensive than bad health. There's nothing more expensive than food being thrown away because it doesn't taste right. Organic fruit tastes so much better than the perfect-looking fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides.
ET: What's your advice to people who want to start a workout and weight-loss program? MH: I'm always saying to people, "Look, you walk your dog, your cat stretches, your hamster runs on a hamster wheel. You're an animal, too, so go move, go do something." I know a lot of people believe that when you want to lose weight you have to go on these 1,200-calorie-per-day diets.
Well, my weight is always between 120-124 pounds and I eat close to 2,000 calories a day, but everything I eat is of quality. And I burn a lot of calories because I wear comfortable shoes and I move around in my life. I'm always strong, I never get sick and I feel like an animal.
ET: How do you view the future of healthcare policy in this country and where do you think nutritional supplements fit in? MH: I strongly believe that the general public needs more access to dietary supplements to maintain essential good health. American research and development has come up with really great products, but the American Medical Association and the drug companies have stigmatized supplements. So what's the result? Most Americans don't have access to safe supplements because they are not covered by their health plans, nor recognized as effective by the federal government. This really needs to be changed.
I think we should take 90% of what we're spending on drugs that barely keep people alive and start spending it on prevention, nutrition and changing lifestyle habits. In this country we're all about curing the disease rather than curing the patient. We don't look at the patient holistically and try to find out how the disease developed. Your doctor should be in charge of keeping you well, not keeping you in that strange state of, what I call, "dis-ease." It's like the medical and pharmaceutical establishment wants to keep you just sick enough so you'll continue to be a paying customer. They've convinced people to think they've got to take a pill to cure themselves rather than use their own bodies.
ET: Do you think medical Schools will start training doctors to treat patients holistically and focus more on preventative medicine?
MH: I think we're seeing a lot more nutrition and alternative medicine specialists these days. And the general public is becoming more aware of health and nutrition issues then they were years ago. There's this groundswell of people saying "Wait, I need more information. Wait, my doctor's no longer God. I can't just keep taking these pills and trying to figure out all these warning labels and side effects."
ET: Do you plan on becoming more politically active on these issues? MH: Absolutely, I want to work with any organization that wants to improve school lunch programs, improve the healthcare system and get people more involved in understanding nutrition and disease prevention.
Acupuncture nutrient Connection
June 12, 2005 05:53 PM
Acupuncture nutrient Connection by Robert Gluck Energy Times, November 1, 1998
The theory behind the practice of acupuncture confounds western science. This therapy, originating in Asia, is based on the concept that currents of energy called meridians flow through your body. However, no one has ever been able to conclusively demonstrate the existence of these meridians.
Despite the evasiveness of these energy streams, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) holds that alterations in these energy flows can disrupt health and cause pain. Consequently, an acupuncturist punctures your skin with specialized needles to redirect the body's vital energy.
Despite the fact that western scientists have not been able to find satisfactory evidence of the existence of these energetic meridians, studies show that acupuncture works and is especially effective at relieving pain. This therapy has been used to alleviate a variety of conditions including chronic pain, nausea and even mental illness. In addition, some practitioners apply it to those trying to shake off the chains of drug addiction. (More recently, many practitioners now also successfully use acupuncture to relieve physical problems in animals.)
Of course, no matter what your perspective on this therapy, acupuncture's no panacea. While you might use acupuncture to relieve the discomforts of chemotherapy, you wouldn't use this technique as your primary weapon against a dangerous disease like cancer. Still, this reliable therapy occupies a welcome spot as an adjunct to many mainstream therapies. Consequently, many mainstream practitioners accept the validity of using acupuncture and many managed care companies reimburse this therapy. Some HMOs even keep a list of approved acupuncturists that they make available to enrollees.
Acupuncture East and West
The practice of acupuncture dates back at least 2200 years ago in Asia. Only during the last forty years has it become well-known and widely available in the United States. Today, 29 accredited acupuncture Schools train practitioners in North America. In addition, traditional healers in Belize (south of Mexico) have been found to use a form of acupuncture derived from traditional Mayan medicine.
Is the use of acupuncture by Mayan shamans coincidence? Or further evidence that acupuncture meridians really exist? No one knows for sure, although some experts believe the Mayan use of this therapy supports the notion that the original ancestors of the Mayans migrated from Asia.
Acupuncturists insert needles into the body to relieve pain or enhance bodily functions. TCM holds that acupuncture, and the manipulation of these tiny needles, moves and manipulates qi (pronounced chee), the body's energy force.
"Acupuncture is a method of balancing the body's energy," says Carol Alexander, an acupuncturist at the North Jersey Health and Pain Relief Center in Hackettstown, New Jersey. "Disease occurs because of an imbalance...Insertion of the acupuncture needles into meridians will bring about the balance of qi." Alexander has practiced acupuncture for 10 years and studied at the Tri-State School of Traditional Acupuncture in Stanford Connecticut.
Alexander says patients sometimes suffer a blockage of qi or display too much or too little qi. The manipulation and placement of the acupuncture needles vary according to the need for adjusting meridian energy flow.
Acupuncture can be used to prevent disease and, if disease is already rampant, it can be used to help the body correct the problem.
In conjunction with her use of acupuncture needles, Alexander rarely prescribes single herbs but uses combinations of whole herbs that are very specific for different diseases and disease patterns. "Certain herbs, such as ginseng, are very prized in Chinese medicine," Alexander notes.
"Astragalus is an herb used in China and around the world to tonify the qi and increase qi energy as well as stimulate the immune system."
Alexander uses licorice root for assisting digestion and for helping women with menopausal discomforts. On the other hand, she recommends whole food concentrates like bee pollen granules for enhancing the immune system, peppermint for treating gastro-intestinal problems plus fiber supplements as well as the antioxidant/antihistamine quercetin, coenzyme Q10 and melatonin.
"In terms of classes of nutrients, I use a lot of whole food concentrates: the green concentrates like barley greens, wheat grass powder, spirulina and blue-green algae," Alexander says. "These are high in minerals, antioxidants, nutrients and fatty acids. I also use some soy products because the isoflavone concentrates are very much anti-cancer."
The Fine Points of Acupuncture
Acupuncture needles are very fine, as thin as hairs. They are available in a variety of diameters and lengths. When an acupuncturist inserts these needles, the sensation is that of mild pinpricks. (The needles enter the body at depths of only 1/8th inch to two inches.) In many cases people experience mild pleasure during needle manipulation.
"From a Western point of view it's important to explain that there is a distinct function of acupuncture treatment and that is to increase circulation," Alexander says. "We do stimulate nerves and we know that with the stimulation of nerves many neurochemicals and neurotransmitters are released. They move through the nerves and find receptor sights, some in the brain, some in other parts of the body."
By stimulating nerves, acupuncturists can calm inflammation and deaden pain. These effects are believed to be linked to the release of endorphins and dinorphins, powerful painkillers and anti-inflammatories that the body produces for itself. Most acupuncturists use this therapy as part of an overall, multi-faceted treatment plan.
"Qi is what makes you different from a sack of chemicals," points out David Molony, an acupuncturist at the Lehigh Valley Acupuncture Center in Catasaqua, Pennsylvania who studied at the Nanjing Traditional Medicine Hospital in China and has lectured at Cornell University.
What You Need
"You can manipulate qi with acupuncture, herbs and diet. Because people's bodies work differently, there are different approaches. When you ask the question what nutrients and herbs are effective at enhancing acupuncture, it depends on what the person needs, according to an Oriental Medicine diagnosis."
An Oriental Medical examination, Molony says, begins with a long list of health questions designed to reveal factors that contribute to disease. A practitioner measures your pulse in several different places along your arm, inspects your tongue, may press on your stomach, sniff your general odor and closely examine your nails and skin for signs of problems.
"You take in everything you can," adds Molony, a board member of the Acupuncture Society of Pennsylvania and former board member of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. "This gives you clues that you need in order to make your diagnosis."
Acupuncturists use nutrients and herbs that complement the treatment, as well as dietary and lifestyle counseling. Some acupuncturists don't specialize in herbal remedies, so these practitioners might go to a specialist like David Winston for advice. Winston, an herb expert skilled in Cherokee, Chinese and Western eclectic herbal medicine, works as an instructor, lecturer and consultant.
"In China, acupuncture is considered a complementary therapy; you generally don't go for treatment and get purely acupuncture," says Winston who is working on a book about saw palmetto. "Herbal medicine, diet and qi gong are important therapies in their own right and acupuncture is one of those therapies. Qi gong is a form of martial arts that focuses on unique breathing and visualization methods. Qi is not exactly energy, it's energy in movement; it's what makes the blood move."
Acupuncture is used to open blockages that sometimes build up in what TCM practitioners characterize as excessive heat or cold. These hot and cold spots do not always literally refer to the temperature of the body but are meant to depict changes in the character of the body's vital energy.
Chinese acupuncturists don't necessarily treat diseases, but target clusters of physical discomforts. Winston says, "Herbal formulas change depending on the 'symptom pictures.' Somebody could have acute appendicitis but the symptom picture could vary. Usually Chinese acupuncturists use herbs like isatis (a very cold, drying herb that's a powerful anti-bacterial agent) and coptis (a powerful anti-bacterial herb)."
Americans often visit acupuncturists complaining of back pain or some type of musculoskeletal problem-a wrenched knee, a ligament that hasn't healed properly or perhaps a torn rotator cuff. "If the injury is hot to the touch, it's red, it's inflammatory-that's a condition where there's excessive heat and in that condition the acupuncturist would give herbs that are cooling and anti-inflammatory such as the root of large leaf gentian."
Pain that Moves
If someone suffers pain that moves, pain that is sometimes exacerbated by damp or humid conditions, acupuncturists often prescribe clematis root, a wild variety of the garden plant that is an anti-spasmodic, or acanthopanax, a relative of Siberian ginseng used for damp pain.
"If there's pain with excessive dampness," Winston says, "acupuncturists might use duhuo, a drying herb that opens the meridians."
Molony agrees with Winston that when it comes to choosing herbs to enhance acupuncture, accurate analysis of the root cause of the health problem is paramount to making the right decisions. For example, if a person is qi deficient and her tongue is thickly coated, she may not be processing her energy properly. Phlegm builds up, decreasing energy. "What you want to do is give them herbs that move phlegm, like citrus peel, and combine that with acupuncture points that move phlegm also," Molony says.
For stimulating metabolism, Molony uses lactoferin-processed colostrum from cows. He uses ginseng and atractylodes as qi tonics and he adds herbs like magnolia bark or atractylodes alba.
He believes antioxidants are helpful too, as preventive medicines, including vitamins C and E. These valuable nutrients disarm the harm that reactive molecules can wreak within the body.
So how important are herbs and nutrition to enhance acupuncture's effectiveness? Acupuncturists seem to agree that healthy doses of antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E plus antioxidants from grapeseed extract) as well as specialized herbs, turn this therapy into a highly effective healing tool. Those wanting to benefit from this penetrating technique should stock up on nutrients. Then sit back, relax, kick off your shoes and let the acupuncturist do her stuff.