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Herbal Medicine

An herb is a plant or plant part used for its scent, flavor or therapeutic properties.

Plants have the ability to synthesize a wide variety of chemical compounds that are used to perform important biological functions, and to defend against attack from predators such as insects, fungi and herbivorous mammals.

Many of these phytochemicals have beneficial effects on long-term health when consumed by people, and can be used to effectively treat diseases. At least 12,000 such compounds have been isolated; a number estimated to be less than 10% of the total.

How it Works

Chemical compounds in plants mediate their effects on the human body through processes identical to those already well understood for the chemical compounds in conventional drugs; thus herbal medicines do not differ greatly from conventional drugs in terms of how they work. This enables herbal medicines to be as effective as conventional medicines, but also gives them the same potential to cause harmful side effects.

Benefits

The use of herbs to treat disease is almost universal among non-industrialized societies, and is often more affordable than purchasing expensive modern pharmaceuticals. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 percent of the population of some Asian and African countries presently use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care.

Studies in the United States and Europe have shown that their use is less common in clinical settings, but has become increasingly more in recent years as scientific evidence about the effectiveness of herbal medicine has become more widely available.

Precautions

Chemical compounds in plants mediate their effects on the human body through processes identical to those already well understood for the chemical compounds in conventional drugs; thus herbal medicines do not differ greatly from conventional drugs in terms of how they work. This enables herbal medicines to be as effective as conventional medicines, but also gives them the same potential to cause harmful side effects.

To use an herbal product as safely as possible:

  • Consult your doctor first
  • Do not take a bigger dose than the label recommends
  • Take it under the guidance of a trained medical professional
  • Be especially cautious if you are pregnant or nursing

Summary

Herbal medicine products are dietary supplements taken to improve one's health. Many herbs have been used for a long time for claimed health benefits. They are sold as tablets, capsules, powders, teas, extracts and fresh or dried plants.

Source:

  • Wikipedia contributors. Herbalism. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. November 26, 2012, 22:12 UTC.
    en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Herbalism&oldid=525028532. Accessed November 27, 2012.
  • NIH: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
    nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/herbalmedicine.html
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Qigong

Qigong literally means life energy cultivation, and it is nearly a 5 thousand year old Chinese art that is the practice of graceful movement with breathing to improve flow of energy. It is very closely related to the martial arts and is a wonderful holistic practice that will enhance health on all levels of body, mind and spirit.

How it Works

It combines certain movements with abdominal breathing and focus of the mind to unblock energy pathways to produce healing of the body, mind and spirit. The big focus is here is on the breath for in the breath there is life.

Benefits

Qigong is a wonderful healing art that has been around for thousands of years. It works to unblock energy pathways and create better flow of energy in the body. Whenever there is better flow of energy in the body there is more health. It will improve sleep, augment recovery time, reduce stress and enhance the immune system.

Precautions

In order to learn this correctly it would be wise to seek out a good teacher of Qigong and then cultivate your own practice at home with the use of DVD instructional videos. If you have any health concerns please check with your doctor prior to participating in a class.

Summary

Qigong is a wonderful healing art that has many different forms of practice. It is of great benefit to the body, mind and soul in that it is a gentle but highly effective modality that is non-invasive, economical and good for many physical ailments as well as emotional imbalances.

References

  • The Way of Qigong the Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing by Ken Cohen
  • Heal Yourself with Qigong by Suzanne Friedman
  • The Root of Chinese Qigong by Yang Jwing-Ming
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Reflexology

Reflexology is a natural non-invasive technique that involves the use of gentle pressure on certain “zones” of the feet, hands or ears that correspond to other areas of the body or organ systems producing a beneficial effect on those systems.

How it Works

Its works by the practitioner pressing on certain parts of the hands, feet or ears that has association with another body area or organ. The belief being that this pressure will have a beneficial effect on the organ or system being worked on.

Benefits

This has been found to be very useful in lessening anxiety, reducing stress and promotes a feeling of wellbeing. It is known to lessen fatigue and reduce muscular tension as well.

Precautions

This modality has been found to be extremely safe. However if you have pain in your hands, feet or ears you may want to consider an alternative healing method as this one uses those areas to complete a session.

Summary

Reflexology is a wonderful non invasive natural healing modality that involves the gently use of pressure to cause a beneficial effect on the body.

Many report that it has been beneficial on their journey to wellness. Reflexology is also an economical, natural way to augment your health, and you can easily learn to do this for yourself and your family.

References

  • The Everything Reflexology Book by Valerie Voner The Reflexology Bible by Louise Keet
  • Reflexology and Acupressure: Pressure points for Healing by Janet Wright
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Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and look back on a tradition of more than 2000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage therapy, and dietary therapy.

These practices are a common part of medical care throughout East Asia, but are considered alternative medicine in the western world.

Chinese Medicine’s view of the body is little concerned with anatomical structures, but with the identification of functional entities (which regulate digestion, breathing, aging etc.). While health is perceived as harmonious interaction of these entities and the outside world, disease is interpreted as a disharmony in interaction.

Chinese Medicine diagnosis consists in tracing symptoms to an underlying disharmony, mainly by palpating the pulse and inspecting the tongue.

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Homeopathy

Homeopathy as a treatment has existed for more than 200 years and is gaining greater acceptance in many countries, particularly the United States. It was developed and put into practice by a German physician – Samuel Hahnemann. Since the days of Queen Victoria of Great Britain and till today an attending physician of the royal family is traditionally a homeopath.

The difference of homeopathic remedies from traditional drugs is incorporated in the name of “homeopathy” (homois – like, pathos – sickness, suffering). The basic principle of homeopathy is the similarity between a cure and an illness.

The treatment of a disease requires application of small amounts of substances that in large doses cause a healthy person to suffer phenomena with similar clinical presentation (i.e., complaints and symptoms) of a patient.

Here is a simple example: when people cut onions, their eyes tear and suffer a running nose – in short, it is the same effect as a cold or an allergic reaction. By deriving medicines from onions, homeopaths successfully treat a common cold, allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis. This is the principle of similarity.

Homeopathy does not seek to replace conventional antibiotics, sulfonamides and other anti-inflammatory drugs, but offer a complementary approach to preventing and healing illness.

How It Works

A specially trained pharmacist is responsible for preparing homeopathic medicines. They combine one part of a starting material and 99 parts of solvent – distilled water or alocohol. This is the first dilution. Then, one part of the first dilution is combined with 99 parts of a new solvent. Such a process is repeated multiple times. Homeopathic medicines are issued in dilution (potency) in the form of granules, drops or tablets. A dose is assigned individually and may change during treatment.

As supplements, they are usually taken 15-20 minutes before a meal or 1 hour after a meal. In acute conditions, a frequent intake (every 10-30 minutes) may be prescribed. Treatment duration, frequency and amount depend on the dynamics of the condition being treated.

A homeopath usually learns a history of a patient, conducts examination and communication with a patient to determine constitutional and personal traits. Only after this, a tactic of homeopathic treatment is produced. The raw materials for traditional homeopathic medicines are substances of plant, animal and mineral origin.

Benefits

The main advantages of homeopathy are:

  • Friendliness and safety
  • An individual approach to a patient
  • The use of medicine in small doses
  • The absence of addiction and withdrawal syndrome
  • The ability to use multiple medicines at the same time
  • The possibility of a combination of traditional and other treatments
  • Treatment of all age groups, ranging from fetal and neonatal period

Precautions

Homeopathy can be used for many types of conditions, but is difficult to treat people intoxicated with chemicals and people who are sick with serious illnesses: cancer, multiple sclerosis, etc. In such cases, homeopathy can only reduce a disease. Sometimes homeopathic medicines can exacerbate the symptoms one is experiencing. In such cases, the dose or frequency of administration should be reduced or temporarily discontinued.

Summary

Homeopathy is based in two primary theories:

  1. “Like cures Like” – a disease can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy people.
  2. “Law of Minimum Dose”- the lower the dose of the medication, the greater its effectiveness. Some homeopathic remedies are so diluted that no molecules of the original substance remain.

References

  • Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 9(6), 949-57., Aickin, M. (2003).
  • Integrative Cancer Therapies, 5(4), 293-307., Bell, I., Koithan, M. (2006).
  • Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 10(2), 269-83., Bell, I., Lewis, D., Brooks, A. et al. (2004).
  • Evidence-based Complement Alternate Medicine, 3(1), 13-24., Bellavite, P, Conforti, A., Pontarollo, F. et al. (2006).
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Natural Health News and Articles Treatment

CranioSacral Therapy for Migraines

For many people, migraine headaches can be severely debilitating. One holistic alternative to consider in treating your migraine is to employ the use of a practitioner skilled in the art of CranioSacral therapy. This form of treatment which has its origins in osteopathy and osteopathic manipulation can be very effective in the treatment of migraine headaches. In one study, twenty people underwent CranioSacral therapy for approximately four weeks. At the end of the study period, the participants reported a decrease in the migraine symptoms compared to before the treatments began.

The objective of CranioSacral therapy is to allow the nervous system to work as efficiently as possible. Just as the rest of your skeletal system, including your bones and joints are subject to the daily stresses and strains that can cause your skeleton to go out of alignment, the same is also true for the structures that protect the brain and spinal cord. Alterations in the alignment of your “brain and spinal cord skeleton” can adversely affect the functioning of the nervous system. Our understanding of the cause of migraines focuses on migraines being a “brain disorder” and dysfunction of the CranioSacral System can contribute to the development of migraine headaches.

In essence, CranioSacral Therapy involves the gentle massage of the skull as well as the lower back (spine and sacrum) to free up areas of tension, promote the natural flow of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and get your CranioSacral System into alignment. If you have any history of head or neck trauma, this may not be applicable to your own personal situation.

If you have migraine headaches that have been refractory to treatments, or if you are experiencing more frequent headaches, you should strongly consider working with a practitioner of CranioSacral Therapy.

By: Dr. Rich Snyder, DO

REFERENCES

  • Amadottir TS, Sigurdadottir AK. “Is craniosacral therapy effective for migraine? Tested with HIT-6 Questionnaire.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2013 Feb; 19(1):11-4.
  • Harrison RE, Page RS. “Multipractitioner Upledger CranioSacral Therapy: descriptive outcome study 2007-2008.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2011 Jan; 17(1):13-7.
  • Hoffmann J. “Recent advances in headache research.” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 2011 Oct;11(10):1379-81.
  • Hoffman, J, Magis D. “Scientific advances in headache research: an update on neurostimulation.” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. 2013 Jan;13(1):15-7. upledger.com/findapractitioner.asp.

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Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is prepared by mashing apples into a slurry of juice and pulp then adding yeast and sugars.

It has been used alone and in combination with other agents for many health conditions.

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Oregano Essential Oil

Oregano Essential Oil is considered to be “nature’s cure all” as it is reputed to have one of the best antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties.

It can also be used as a fragrance component in soaps, colognes and perfumes, especially men’s fragrances.

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Respiratory Essential Oil

Respiratory essential oils are commonly a blend of myrtle, spruce, peppermint, pine, lavender, marjoram oils and varieties of eucalyptus oil.

The intent is to relieve congestion, coughing, and difficult breathing.

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Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil is a powerful antiseptic oil and is used to destroy bacteria, viruses, and parasites found in the digestive tract.

It also helps to alleviate sinus and lung congestion, irritable-bowel syndrome and the itching associated with ringworm, herpes, scabies, and poison ivy.

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Thieves Essential Oil

Thieves essential oil is a blend of Clove, Cinnamon Leaf, Rosemary, Lemon and Eucalyptus.

Mix thieves and purified water into spray bottle to kill bacteria and harmful germs.

By spraying in front of the A/C unit, the mixture travels through the filter onto bed covers, sheets, pillowcases and bathroom counters.

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Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil is derived from a lemon peel, is antiseptic and antioxidant.

Use it to treat viral and bacterial infections, aid with digestion issues, and boost immunity.

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