Friday, October 21, 2011

Common Cold According to Chinese Medicine

Here in the Pacific Northwest, the cold winds are a-blowin' once again and it's time to get your scarves and hats out. Classical Chinese medical theory attributes common cold/flu symptoms to what we call "external invasion" of pathogenic factors, very commonly wind and cold.

The easiest way to prevent external invasion of these pathogens is to block their path of entry - indeed, it's to bundle up. Most importantly, keeping your neck covered when out in the cold, windy weather. Keep your scarf handy and wrap your neck even when going outside briefly during these cold windy days. Dress in layers and take a jacket as well so that you don't get cold even when the sun is shining. Another assist is to end your hot showers with a brief cold rinse - this helps to close your pores as well as to return your blood from the surface of your body to the center.

If you do get sick, Yin Qiao (also the herbal ingredient in Airborne) is a common Chinese formula for cold. Chinese herbal formulas are prescribed based on the pattern of your symptoms, though, so it won't work for every cold. For an evaluation of your cold, treatment with acupuncture, cupping and moxa as needed, and custom herbal formula, make an appointment with Dr. Wendy Rogers or Dr. Bijana Devo Kadakia.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dietary Supplements and Mortality Study

A couple of nights ago, a friend asked me why supplements increase mortality. While I was surprised, I was also glad to know what people are hearing. Yes, a study came out that correlated supplement use with an increased rate of mortality. But, before jumping to conclusions, you have to really look at the study.

The study was conducted over 18 years and the data was gathered by paper survey 3 times in those 18 years. The data was not verified. The forms, amounts, brands, additives and other quality markers of the product were not queried - that is, every product that a consumer thought was a multivitamin was lumped into the same category. There was no differentiation based on the frequency of use or the reasons for use - someone who started taking supplements following a diagnosis of heart disease, for example, who later died of heart disease is included as someone for whom their mortality would be correlated with their supplement use.

And a basic tenet of research is that "correlation does not imply causality." Even the authors of the study noted that, "It is not advisable to make a causal statement of excess risk based on these observational data." "When made by a quality manufacturer, when recommended by a knowledgeable health-care practitioner, and when taken for the appropriate indication, dietary supplements promote, enhance, support, and help maintain overall good health and well-being. The “results” of the recent study do not diminish this conclusion." (Thorn Research Position Paper, 2011)

If you are interested in using supplements to maintain and improve your health, my best recommendation is to visit a licensed naturopathic physician for guidance.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

surfer's health tip #1

dengue fever...

for all the people who have been so affected by the passing of Andy Irons, I’ve been swept up with the thoughts that maybe if we just knew a little more about Dengue Fever, we might avoid losing more amazing people, like Andy. As a naturopath I continually look for the answers in nature, when conventional medicine has no further answers. We live among our medicines and they speak to those who are open and listen. For thousands of years people have worked in harmony with what is provided in their local habitats.

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne illness of the tropics. There are four strains of dengue virus. Infection with any of the strains causes a high fever AND at least one other symptom:

* Severe headache

* Severe eye pain (behind eyes)

* Joint pain

* Muscle and/or bone pain

* Rash

* Mild bleeding manifestation (e.g., nose or gum bleed, petechiae, or easy bruising)

* Low white cell count

Symptoms usually are milder the first time a person has dengue. The most dangerous thing about dengue is that a second infection — with a different strain of the virus — can trigger dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).

Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a sneaky killer, although with proper medical care the death rate is about 1%. DHF appears AFTER a first bout of fever, usually on day 4 or day 5 of a dengue illness. The infection causes fluid to leak from small blood vessels, which can lead to profound shock, organ damage, and death.

One of the most frustrating things that I read in the articles all over the WEB about Andy Irons is that powerful prescription painkillers in his hotel room. Pain killers are a contraindication for people suffering from Dengue fever it can cause hemorrhaging internally. I’m not sure if any one ever told Andy that detail.

Natural remedies that may help:

Ginger tea

Ginger helps stimulate a therapeutic sweat. Studies also show that it helps fight against bacterial infections that may develop as a result of the viral infection. Lemon juice does the same thing, warding off secondary bacterial infections and giving a whopping amount of Vitamin C. Apple cider (and apple cider vinegar), is extremely rich in minerals and has been employed since ancient times for this reason.

Step One

One cup of peeled, chopped and minced fresh ginger

10 cups of water

Step Two

Apple cider (1/2 cup per serving)

Lemon juice


Peel and mince the ginger (a food processor makes little work of this job). Simmer the minced ginger in 10 cups of water for an hour or so. Strain.

When ready to have a serving place 1/2 cup of the strained ginger water in a pan with 1/2 cup of apple cider and a squirt or two of lemon juice. Heat and serve.

Read more:

Neem leaves extract for the rash:

Benefits of neem's fruits, seeds, oil, leaves, roots and bark. Each of these has been used in the Indian Ayurvedic medicine. ‘Neem bark is cool, bitter, astringent, acrid and refrigerant.

Increase water intake. Keep well hydrated during the fever.

Botanical Sambuscus is anti-viral,

Lauricidin found in coconut oil, which converts to monolaurin can also be anti-bacterial

The biggest and hardest thing to do is avoid pain medication even with the severe joint pain. Homeopathy Comfrey Symphytum officinate for the bone pain 1M Dose.

These remedies do not replace visiting with a physician and seeking medical treatment, but if they send you home with no advice consider natural medicine.