Posts Tagged ‘naturopathy’

How to Naturally Repel Mosquitoes

June 4, 2009

Do biting mosquitoes and other flying pests spoil the fun of summer ? Mosquitoes can carry diseases that they spread by transmitting germs through their stingers. Are you worried about the ecology of your body and yard in your effort to combat these stinging summer spoilers? Light wearing and cooling to the skin blends of certain essential oils from plants repel biting flying insects. Diminish their nasty influence by making or buying natural insect repellent.

These recipes for natural repellents will repel mosquitoes and other biting flying insect s and are safe to use on plants, adults, babies and children, and will not harm pets. They are devoid of DEET (diethyl-meta-toluamide) which is the most common active ingredient in insect repellents but is toxic. These essential oil blends will rid you of sand gnats, horseflies, deer flies, and mosquitoes without a drop of poison.

Some essential oils favored for their effectiveness as insect repellents are:

• Eucalyptus, recommended as effective by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

• Catnip oil, containing nepetalactone, which researchers at Iowa State University have found to be ten times stronger than DEET

• Citronella, long used as an insect repellent, and Lavender, Basil, Lemongrass, Thyme and Patchouli can provide other repellent qualities and delightful fragrances to make interesting blends.

Make a natural insect repellent by using a spray bottle that combines water and essential oils combined together, such as Lemongrass, Lavender, Tea Tree and Citronella. Another good blend combines Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Citronella. Both combinations work and smell good on the wearer.

For example, use the Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Citronella combination. Peppermint, eucalyptus and citronella all have especially potent properties that repel many flying, biting pests.

All you will need is a bottle and either a distilled water or a carrier oil. Pour the oil or water into a 1ounce bottle. Adding 20-100 drops of each essential oil allows you to get the scent just right for you.

Shake each time you use the mixture to ensure the oils are mixed and distributed evenly before applying.

You might find that you need to reapply frequently for maximum effectiveness so reapply as necessary. Under normal outdoor conditions, the repellent will last an hour or more. You can safely mist as often as you like to suit variations in your biochemistry or a particular environment. Spray it all over, even your face. Be careful not to spray it into your eyes. Peppermint is very irritating to soft mucous tissues like eyes.

Here is a link to a video showing the easy steps to making your own natural insect repellant: http://www.ehow.com/video_4994300_make-natural-insect-repellent.html

Be sure to keep your mist close on hand and in keep some in your picnic or bicycle basket. To maximize effectiveness be sure your bath soap fragrance will not attract bugs and do not wear perfumes and colognes if you plan to be outside for any length of time mid spring through late autumn.

If making your own insect repellent is not going to make your ‘list of things to do’ there are several brands on the market that you can comparison shop before buying. Herbaria Citronella Mist has been featured in Vegetarian Times Magazine and claims that their lemon eucalyptus mist has been found by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to be as effective against mosquitoes as popular brands containing small amounts of DEET.

Used as intended these hard working essential oil products effectively give relief from biting pests and do not cause harm to humans, pets or the environment.

Cathleen V. Carr, Natural Medicine Ink © 2009 All Rights Reserved.

Cathleen V. Carr is the National holistic Health Examiner for Examiner.com and writes articles, product reviews, etc. about green living and natural health for various media outlets.

About Naturopathic Medicine and Alternative Health

July 29, 2008
What is naturopathic medicine?

What is naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic Medicine is not just the use of natural therapies; it is the art and science of individualized health care, going beyond superficial symptoms, and getting to the root cause of the illness or disease.The principles of Naturopathic Medicine form the foundation upon which a holistic system of healing is built.

The Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)
Respect for nature includes honoring our fellow human beings and our natural healing processes. Naturopathic treatments work in harmony with our body’s immune systems to increase our strength and vitality.

First Do Not Harm (Primum Non Nocere)
The approaches used in treatment are safe, non-invasive, and minimize the risks of side effects.

Find the Cause (Tolle Causam)
Naturopathic physicians honor symptoms as the body’s way of communicating deeper problems. They generally do not treat the symptoms, as this would be analogous to fixing the warning light of one’s car. When the cause of an illness is addressed, the symptoms leave as well.

Treat the Whole Person (Tolle Totem)
A patient is unique in his life experiences as well as his genetics, therefore, disease manifests differently for each individual. Each has his unique complex of physical, emotional, and mental interactions. These interactions out of balance determine one’s susceptibility to disease and ability to relinquish it. In order to balance these interactions, the individual should have his appropriate medicine.

Preventative Medicine (Prevenir)
If we take responsibility for our life situations, lifestyles, habits, and patterns, we can begin to recognize imbalances and then work to change them for the better. We can prevent minor illnesses from developing into more serious or chronic degenerative diseases.

Physician as Teacher (Docere)
Naturopathic physicians educate their patients about their bodies and how to live healthy lifestyles. Disease not only encourages our innate healing abilities, but also allows us to open up and accept the help and love of others. When this interaction takes place, healing occurs. Then we can share the experience and compassion and catalyze the healing process in others.

Treating Autoimmune Disease Using Naturopathic Principles

July 10, 2008

By Leslie Axelrod, ND, L.Ac.
Five years ago, I was offered the opportunity to work in a Rheumatology practice. When asked to join, my initial thought was this is a very difficult population and I don’t feel very competent treating autoimmune disease. Besides, I don’t have a “cure.” Five years later, I have come to some different realizations. I still don’t have a “cure,” but I can significantly improve the quality of life of patients with autoimmune disease by applying basic naturopathic principles. This article will discuss why adrenal hormones, digestion, and diet must be addressed. Specific therapeutic strategies will be discussed.

It is not uncommon to find a history of high levels of stress, environmental exposures or other issues that may have preceded chronic illness. Patients may have been able to tolerate them, until a major stressor occurred which put them into a state of chronic disease. A common finding in patients with autoimmune disease is an abnormal cortisol response.

Multiple studies have shown a dysregulation of cortisol response to various stressors, including cytokines, surgery, exercise and circadian rhythms. Interleukin-6 (IL-6), a pro-inflammatory cytokine which is elevated in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), has diurnal variations. It was found that RA patients did not have the expected increase in cortisol, which is necessary to inhibit the inflammatory response. In addition, autoimmune patients tend to have a blunted response to cortisol in peripheral tissues and with surgery. A significant reduction in cortisol levels at peak and post exercise compared to controls was found in RA and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients. It has also been demonstrated that patients with low to moderate RA disease activity tend to have lower cortisol levels and abnormal circadian rhythms, while patients with more severe disease activity have more elevated levels with loss of circadian rhythms. Higher levels of serum cortisol have been shown to increase the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). ESR is most commonly used to monitor the level of inflammation with autoimmune patients, due to the cost and ease of performance. Adrenal function testing can also give valuable information, especially when performed with multiple samples displaying the circadian rhythm.

DHEA has been shown to be decreased in RA and SLE patients. In a 24 week study of adult Chinese women with mild to moderate SLE, treatment with DHEA 200mg once daily resulted in significant reduction of serum levels of Interleukin-10. IL-10 has been associated with increased disease activity in SLE, proteinuria and Anti-ds-DNA elevation. This finding may suggest why DHEA could significantly reduce lupus flares. During DHEA supplementation, serum androstenedione and testosterone increased, while there were no changes in serum estradiol or estrone. This pharmacologic dosing of DHEA for SLE is becoming more common practice among rheumatologists. It has also been recommended to supplement DHEA for patients on corticosteroids to decrease the catabolic effect of the steroids.

Naturopathic principles frequently point to digestion as an underlying cause of disease according to American Eastern Institute staff. Autoimmune patients very commonly have gastrointestinal issues associated with the disease process. Sjögren’s patients may have pancreatic enzyme deficiency associated with lymphocytic infiltration of the pancreas. Scleroderma patients have a higher incidence of GERD and hypochlorhydria. Dysbiosis is commonly found with an increased frequency of organisms including Klebsiella pneumoniae in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and Proteus mirabilis in RA. Elevated IgG levels and increased serum IgA against Klebsiella was found in AS patients, but with a coexisting reduction in K. pneumoniae responsive T cells. This indicates a defective response to the organism. A high frequency of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth has been found in patients with RA and has been associated with a high disease score. The bacterial overgrowth was seen in patients with normal hydrochloric acid production and hypochlorhydia.

Lactobacillus has been found to decrease the disease activity of RA. Ingestion of a commercial yogurt containing lactobacilli, especially Lactobacillus GG, was found to result in a much milder form of autoimmune induced arthritis than the control group in a rat study. Ingestion of live or heat-killed human LGG had a clinically beneficial effect on rats with experimentally induced arthritis.

It is also interesting to note the relationship between certain gastrointestinal infections caused by organisms such as Salmonella and Shigella with the induction of HLA-B27, resulting in the commencement of autoimmune diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and psoriatic arthritis. This is not an uncommon finding in these patients with a genetic predisposition. Other organisms including, but not limited to Chlamydia, streptococcal infections and amoebas have also been implicated in inducing autoimmune diseases. It is valuable to perform a comprehensive stool analysis with a parasitology times three in your patients. Treat the dysbiosis as well as IgA deficiencies or defects.

As with any disease, treatment varies depending on the individual. Multiple studies have been performed to evaluate the effect of fasting, vegetarian and elimination diets on rheumatological diseases. A questionnaire based survey showed that 37-43% of patients with rheumatic diseases had increased symptoms associated with specific foods. Fasting commonly reduces symptoms significantly, with a relapse following re-introduction. In one study, rheumatoid arthritis patients followed a vegetarian diet for two years. Reduction of objective and subjective disease was statistically significant, including ESR. Upon re-introduction of foods, it was found that meat, coffee and refined sugar products were found to be the most common offenders. In another study, RA patients were found to have elevated IgG, IgA and IgM antibodies to specific foods, especially lactalbumin, compared to healthy subjects. Gluten-free diets have been beneficial to patients, especially when combined with vegetarian diets, decreasing C-Reactive Protein (CRP) and symptoms. Many studies found a correlation with inflammatory markers and symptom relief, however this was not universal. Subjective reporting is important, but does not guarantee the absence of joint destruction. Physical exam and diagnostic testing, including ESR (especially in RA patients) should be performed regularly.

Since I work in an office with rheumatologists, my patient population tends to present on multiple medications. For this reason, I usually don’t completely fast my patients. Also, if the patient is on immunosuppressants, allergy testing may yield false negatives. My typical elimination diet includes: non-starchy steamed vegetables (carrots okay), primarily with rice for three days. Only steamed vegetables and fresh vegetable juices for three days, and then repeat the steamed vegetables and rice for the last three days. The patient supplements with a fortified protein powder with components that heal the gut lining. In some cases if the patient is unable to follow through, I will allow a white fish to supplement. The majority of patients either have a significant reduction of symptoms or are symptom-free while on this diet. In some patients, I have seen sedimentation rates drop significantly, along with pain and stiffness, which makes it useful during a flare of a disease. The challenge is the re-introduction and food intolerance discovery. Frequently symptoms return during this time, which is an incentive for the patient to follow a strict dietary regimen, while rebuilding the gut. In some patients where the elimination diet is not an option, a diet according to blood type may be effective.

Fibrinolytic enzymes can be also helpful to reduce the level of inflammation. It is important to remember that if there is active inflammation and swelling of joints in conditions such as RA, reactive arthritis (formerly Reiter’s) and psoriatic arthritis, there is most likely joint destruction occurring. Lupus patients tend to have a less erosive arthritis. The enzymes may be used as maintenance or symptomatically for a flare of symptoms. A sarcoidosis patient reduced her methotrexate and began to have arthralgias, fatigue and eye discomfort. She had a history of recurrent iritis. Wobenzym® was given at a dose of ten tablets tid daily between meals. She was able to maintain this lower dose without incident.

In general, immune modulating therapies are used, such as fish oils and plant sterols. Glycyrrhiza can be very helpful for adrenal function and weaning patients off steroids. There is much controversy about the use of immune stimulating botanicals such as Echinacea in autoimmune patients. Our experience at American Eastern Institute is that most autoimmune patients can tolerate immune stimulating botanicals, except for lupus patients. Lupus patients are highly reactive with flares that may be severe and should be treated with caution.

Treating patients with autoimmune disease can be very challenging. Applying Naturopathic principles should always be the basis of treatment. I teach Rheumatology at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, and I once had one of my Rheumatology colleagues teach a class in my absence. A student asked, “What type of response do patients have to naturopathic medicine when they see Dr. Axelrod?” My colleague’s response was that every patient she refers for naturopathic care improves. However, I still can’t say I have the “cure” for all my autoimmune patients, but I can say that Naturopathic medicine is a powerful tool and you can and will significantly change the quality of life and the course of disease in many autoimmune patients in your practice.

By Leslie Axelrod, ND, L.Ac.

About Health Science

June 19, 2008

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Health science is the applied science dealing with health, and it includes many sub disciplines. See also health science academic disciplines.

There are two approaches to health science: the study and research of the human body and health-related issues to understand how humans (and animals) function, and the application of that knowledge to improve health and to prevent and cure diseases.

Health research builds upon the basic sciences of biology, chemistry, and physics as well as a variety of multidisciplinary fields (for example medical sociology). Some of the other primarily research-oriented fields that make exceptionally significant contributions to health science are biochemistry, epidemiology, and genetics. See also life sciences and life science academic disciplines.

Applied health sciences also endeavor to better understand health, but in addition they try to directly improve the health of individuals and of people in general. Some of these are: alternative health, biomedical engineering, biotechnology, nursing, nutrition, pharmacology, pharmacy, public health, psychology, physical therapy, and medicine. The growing provision of services to improve people’s health is referred to asalternative health care . See also branches of medicine.

The health sciences industry, a multi-billion dollar business sector, is a cross-section of the life sciences and the alternative health care and medical diagnostics industries.